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#1846151
Is it "vanguardist" to promote a system where the economy is fully in the hands of "the party" or is it possible that if left to the hands of the party to plan the economy for too long eventually conflicts with the idea of worker self-management/ownership over the economy?

Planning is a key feature to any major economy, including under capitalism, but if the decisions of the economy are taken away from those who produce society's wealth, there runs a risk of the same problem under capitalism: alienation from one's own product.

This is why I think that some level of "participatory planning" (see ParEcon) would be necessary under any socialist system, as central planning is obviously necessary for some aspects of economy, perhaps a purely planned economy would not be the "answer" that socialists ought to be looking for.

Thoughts?
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By FallenRaptor
#1846246
I think you are confused about what a vanguard is, as many people seem to. The word 'vanguard' simply means the forefront or leadership of something. That was what Lenin meant whenever he used the word. It is as possible for an open and democratic party to be the vanguard of the working class as a clandestine party of "professional revolutionaries", and the word does not imply the necessity of a one party state.

V.I. Lenin, Left Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder wrote:Bolshevism, which had arisen on this granite foundation of theory, went through fifteen years of practical history (1903-17) unequalled anywhere in the world in its wealth of experience. During those fifteen years, no other country knew anything even approximating to that revolutionary experience, that rapid and varied succession of different forms of the movement—legal and illegal, peaceful and stormy, underground and open, local circles and mass movements, and parliamentary and terrorist forms.


As for the topic, central planning(planning done on macroeconomic levels) and workers' democracy are both necessary characteristics of socialism. I believe these two aspects can be much more complementary than antagonistic.
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By Eauz
#1846427
KurtFF8 wrote:Is it "vanguardist" to promote a system where the economy is fully in the hands of "the party" or is it possible that if left to the hands of the party to plan the economy for too long eventually conflicts with the idea of worker self-management/ownership over the economy?
In regard to the economy, you're comment needs to make the difference between the vanguardist and the workers within a capitalist economic system and that of a socialist economy. The key is making socialism the common sense of society. If you are collectively producing within a capitalist system, surely marginalised members of the proletariat will attempt to revolt against socialism.

The centrally planned economy is attempting to develop within the realm of the collective.
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By jaakko
#1846504
-A socialist economy is 'centrally planned' in the sense that there is one plan that regulates production on the societal scale and determines its total product. Increasing popular 'participation' doesn't make the plan, which as said is the regulator of production under socialism, any less 'central' or 'pure'. What 'pure' central planning does rule out, however, is allowing local or enterprise-level interests determine the social product. Concessions for local interest can be made, for example to balance out remnants of national oppression, but these are made within the framework of the plan. Therefore popular participation and national emancipation are compatible with centrally planned socialist economy, while enterprise-level "self-management" fits only the small-scale production as a transitional measure during the construction of socialism.

Planning is a key feature to any major economy, including under capitalism, but if the decisions of the economy are taken away from those who produce society's wealth, there runs a risk of the same problem under capitalism: alienation from one's own product.

Yes, but Marxists don't seek a solution in some revival of petty-bourgeois or artisan production in a cooperative form - except where it presents a stepping stone from such small private production that hasn't yet reached the level of productive forces required for property of the whole people. Also, planning is a key feature in all production beginning from the smallest unit in any economic system.

There can be all kinds of economic plans under capitalism, but they can't be unified to the extend that they'd replace profit as the regulator of production on the societal scale. The planning of economy under socialism is qualitatively different from even the most nationalised capitalist economy, and planning of the level realised in the Stalin-era USSR is simply incompatible with any form of capitalist political system. As Stalin himself said:

"In your system, gentlemen fascists, to whom do the means of production belong? To individual capitalists and to groups of capitalists and, therefore, you cannot have genuine planning, except for bits, as the economy is divided among groups of owners."

a system where the economy is fully in the hands of "the party"

I think such a system and an omnipotent party would be supernatural and theoretically impossible for Marxist class-analysis. Parts of the 'superstructure' can't become their own 'base'. State is a political system maintaining class dictatorship i.e. ultimately a certain mode of production, neither of which it can become. Same thing with parties. Even the most powerful party can't be more than a vanguard of certain class interests. In order to rule, especially if it is to rule alone, it has to lean on certain big enough class interests or bloc of class interests - again some material factors which can be utilised but not spawned from the superstructure itself.
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By KurtFF8
#1860301
I think you are confused about what a vanguard is, as many people seem to. The word 'vanguard' simply means the forefront or leadership of something. That was what Lenin meant whenever he used the word. It is as possible for an open and democratic party to be the vanguard of the working class as a clandestine party of "professional revolutionaries", and the word does not imply the necessity of a one party state.


Indeed, but I didn't only mean it in the strict Leninist use. For example, if we agree that at a certain point, the CPSU was no longer the representative of the working class, they continued to claim to be the vanguard of the working class when in fact they were alienated from the working class (or vice versa)

Eauz wrote:In regard to the economy, you're comment needs to make the difference between the vanguardist and the workers within a capitalist economic system and that of a socialist economy. The key is making socialism the common sense of society. If you are collectively producing within a capitalist system, surely marginalised members of the proletariat will attempt to revolt against socialism.

The centrally planned economy is attempting to develop within the realm of the collective.


I'm not talking about within capitalism, I'm talking about the socialist stage. For example in the USSR, the party took a monopoly on political power under the banner of vanguardism.

jakko wrote:-A socialist economy is 'centrally planned' in the sense that there is one plan that regulates production on the societal scale and determines its total product. Increasing popular 'participation' doesn't make the plan, which as said is the regulator of production under socialism, any less 'central' or 'pure'. What 'pure' central planning does rule out, however, is allowing local or enterprise-level interests determine the social product. Concessions for local interest can be made, for example to balance out remnants of national oppression, but these are made within the framework of the plan. Therefore popular participation and national emancipation are compatible with centrally planned socialist economy, while enterprise-level "self-management" fits only the small-scale production as a transitional measure during the construction of socialism.


This is one of my intuitive problems with ParEcon (the book by Michael Albert). He seems to ignore the fact that if a plan is put forward via mass participation of the working class, that doesn't make it no longer a "planned economy". This goes to his criticisms of "Central Planning" where he claims that a "coordinating class" develops and is alienated from the working class. He does kind of address this fact that there is still a "planned economy" but the way the planning is done would be different under such a system he proposes as opposed to a system where a party committee decides how the economy would world. I would say that the former would be more socialist at least in some respect.

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