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The Contradictions of "Real Socialism"
  • Bandtyp: Häftad
  • Språk: Engelska
  • Utgiven: 20120801
  • Antal sidor: 192
  • ISBN10:1583672567
  • ISBN13:9781583672563

The Contradictions of "Real Socialism"


What was "real socialism"--the term which originated in

twentieth-century socialist societies for the purpose of distinguishing

them from abstract, theoretical socialism? In this volume, Michael A.

Lebowitz considers the nature, tendencies, and contradictions of those

societies. Beginning with the constant presence of shortages within

"real socialism," Lebowitz searches for the inner relations which

generate these patterns. He finds these, in particular, in what he calls

"vanguard relations of production," a relation which takes the apparent

form of a social contract where workers obtain benefits not available

to their counterparts in capitalism but lack the power to decide within

the workplace and society.

While these societies were able to claim major achievements in areas

from health care to education to popular culture, the separation of

thinking and doing prevented workers from developing their capacities as

fully developed human beings. The relationship within "real socialism"

between the vanguard as conductor and a conducted working class,

however, did not only lead to the deformation of workers and those

elements necessary for the building of socialism; it also created the

conditions in which enterprise managers emerged as an incipient

capitalist class, which was an immediate source of the crises of "real

socialism." As he argued in The Socialist Alternative: Real Human Development,

Lebowitz stresses the necessity to go beyond the hierarchy inherent in

the relation of conductor and conducted (and beyond the "vanguard

Marxism" which supports this) to create the conditions in which people

can transform themselves through their conscious cooperation and

practice--i.e., a society of free and associated producers.

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