A Future That Works

A Future That Works
NO2aTory/Liberal coalition - Vote with your feet for an alternative to a neo-liberal economy and neo-conservative state Yes2aLeftFront and a Red/Green Left Alliance

Monday, 31 January 2011

What is socialism?

Urban Food Growing in Havana, Cuba


Havana Cuba foodmarket


‘If man draws all his knowledge, perception from the world of the senses and the experiences gained…..what has to be done is to arrange the empirical world…that man experiences and becomes accustomed to what is truly human in it…..private interests…made to coincide with the interests of humanity’

(Marx and Engels cited in J B Foster ‘Marx’s Ecology Materialism and Nature p63)


  1. Communists and socialists offer an alternative collectivist solution that benefits the individual, the community and ecology

    ‘private interests…made to coincide with the interests of humanity’.

    to quote

    ‘You tell me that it's evolution
    Well, you know
    We all want to change the world
    You say you want a revolution
    Well, you know
    We all want to change the world’

    ‘You say you got a real solution
    Well, you know
    We'd all love to see the plan
    You ask me for a contribution
    Well, you know
    We're doing what we can’

    ‘You say you'll change the constitution’

    'You tell me it's the institution’

    I would question

    ‘But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao
    You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow
    Don't you know it's gonna be all right
    all right, all right
    all right, all right, all right
    all right, all right, all right’

    John Lennon

  2. Why the green cause is a working-class cause


    East New York Farms Project organizes to address food justice in the community by promoting local sustainable agriculture and community-led economic development, power to the people.


  3. What is Communism? The metabolic interconnection or the material exchange between humanity and nature

    The material interchange constitutes the metabolism of human society with the earth. Marx saw capitalism breaking the cycle at the micro and macro level. Marx argued that agriculture was more ecological when practiced by small farmers working as associated producers in co-operatives. He argued that large land owners are more destructive in their relationship with the earth (Foster p165). This in my view is in line with the ethics of the Fairtrade movement and the practices of co-operative farming in Cuba and the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. I would also say that Marx would have foreseen the problems that occurred under the larger scale production systems that occurred in the Soviet Union under Stalin's collectivisation program in the 1930’s Marx was also concerned with depletion of coal and the destruction of forests and criticized the Malthusian view that nature is a free gift which is the classical economic view which Marx saw as a major error in capitalist economic thinking based on the exchange-value produced from the surplus value of labour in a commodity rather than the use-value. This is therefore a basic contradiction in the dialectic relationship of production based on the profit motive within capitalism (Foster p167-168).

    Marx saw wealth or Use-Value coming from the combination of labour and nature, and that under a socialist mode of production material use-value replaces exchange-value as the foundation of human development. This Marx saw as a unified concept of labour and natural materials reconnecting the metabolism of humanity with the Earth.

    Unlike the capitalist mode of production where uncontrolled production based on profit rather than use creates alienation and estrangement of humanity with nature and as a result the environmental degradation that occurred in capitalist land use in his time and the environmental pollution we see today as a consequence of globalized capitalism. Marx also argued that if a socialist society ignored the relationship of mankind to nature it would produce the same alienation as occurs under capitalist production. What happened in the Soviet Union can therefore be seen as the transition from feudal production to a capitalist mode of production rather than achieving a socialist mode of production based on an association of producers. Marx saw social production eliminating the antagonism between town and country, labour and material and eliminating the estrangement between human society and nature. Form this full understanding of Marxist theory Foster argues that Marx view of a communist society was eco-socialist based on the association of producers. This was I would argue the original aspiration of the soviets formed after the 1917 revolution rather than what actually developed in the late 1920’s and 1930’s.

    J B Foster ‘Marx’s Ecology Materialism and Nature’ Monthly Review Press 2000

  4. Lucretius with a stork-like fate
    Born and translated in a state
    Comes to proclaim, in English Verse
    No monarch rules the universe.
    But chance and atomes make this All
    In order democratical
    Without design, or fate, or force

    Edmund Waller Poem

    J B Foster ‘Marx’s Ecology Materialism and Nature’ (p43)

    The capitalist mode of production is a ‘Castles Made of Sand’ uncontrolled production based on profit rather than use creates alienation and estrangement of humanity with nature and as a result the environmental degradation



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