Michael Lebowitz: Ponovno otkrivanje socijalizma i ponovno obnavljanje Marxa

SkriptaTV donosi snimku predavanja Michaela Lebowitza s ovogodišnjeg Subversive film festivala pod naslovom “Ponovno otkrivanje socijalizma i ponovno obnavljanje Marxa”. Michael Lebowitz je profesor emeritus ekonomije na kanadskom Sveučilištu Simon Fraser u Vancouveru, a trenutno živi u Venecueli, gdje aktivno sudjeluje u bolivarskoj revoluciji i izgradnji novog venecuelanskog društva.

Remember that socialism develops by changing the economic structure that subordinates individuals and prevents their all-round development. But what happens if instead of consciously attempting to subordinate the defect of self-interest, by building solidarity among members of society, you attempt instead to build on the defect? Consider in this respect, the experience with Yugoslav self-management. Looking at the Soviet model, in 1949, Yugoslav leadership described it as state capitalism and bureaucratic despotism. And they argued that bureaucracy in the Soviet union had become a new class. State ownership, they declared, was only a precondition of socialism. For socialism, the argument was – you need socialist relations of production, in other words, self-management. Without worker management, the argument went, there is no socialism. Which, incidentally, Chávez has said recently… Accordingly, in Yugoslavia, a process was begun to develop worker managed enterprises, based upon social ownership of the means of production. And certainly, without a question, the extreme alienation characteristic of the Soviet workplace was not to be found.

But, something went wrong.

In the end there was neither social production organized by workers, nor social ownership of the means of production.

So, what did happen?

For one, in the absence of a sustained effort to educate workers in the workplace, as to how to run their enterprises, the distinction between thinking and doing remained. Although workers had the power to decide on critical investments, such as questions like investments, marketing and production, the workers councils did not feel they had the competence to make these decisions, compared with the management and the technical expertize. So, they tended to rubber stamp proposals that came from the managers. Why weren’t the workers real self-managers? A very important part of the problem is the context in which these self-managed enterprises existed. They functioned in the market, and were driven by one thing – self-interest. When maximizing income per worker, rather than the development of the human capacity is the goal, the Yugoslav experience shows that it maybe logical to rely upon experts who promised to take workers to their goal. The result is to undermine worker management and to ensure that workers themselves do not develop their potential.


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