File spoon-archives/marxism2.archive/marxism2_1996/96-07-31.055, message 120

Date: Mon, 29 Jul 1996 23:05:39 -0700
Subject: Re: Marxism: meat and potatoes questions

> Can anyone describe Marxism for me?  Please don't say "socialism" or
> even "socialism based on the writings of Marx" because we all know
> that socialism predates Marxism, and also that there are any number
> of Marxist, post-Marxist, and neo-Marxist schisms.
> What are the primary philosophical differences between democratic
> socialism and Marxism?  What are the criticisms of the latter for the
> former?  Is democracy compatable with Marxism?  By "democracy"
> I refer to a multi-party system in which basic constitutional rights
> to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom from unreasonable
> search, seizure, and invasion of privacy are recognized, along with a
> judicial branch genuinely independent from the executive branch (i.e.,
> judges independent from the police and their administrative or political
> bosses), and a justice system incorporating habeus corpus, etc., and in
> which people are not prosecuted for political crimes.
> What are the goals of Marxism, and how does it intend to reach these
> goals, i.e., what are the acceptable tools for political activism, and
> do Marxists expect to attain their goals without some form of action
> outside the bounds of the elective system?  If not, what form would
> such action take, or be expected to take, eventually?  Organized
> civil disobedience?  Extra-legal seizure of property?  Armed action?
> (And if the latter, in an offensive or purely defensive and reactionary
> capacity?  Give examples of potential scenarios.)
> What economic models do the various modern Marxist schisms propose?
> What is the role of the state in contemporary Marxist economic theory?
> How centralized or decentralized should state control of the economy
> be?  Is economic power to be held directly and democratically, by
> the people, or indirectly by some party?  If the former, how would
> that work?  Is Marxism consistent with market socialism?  (By market
> socialism, I have in mind a system in which individual businesses,
> particularly above a certain level of assets, are democratically
> owned and controlled by the workers; but these businesses remain
> part of a market economy in which the information flow from consumers
> to producers remains in tact; but superimposed upon these networks of
> more or less independent worker-owned and controlled enterprises would
> be broader regional and national mechanisms for the redistribution of
> income and capital, to insure a basic standard of living for everyone.)
> I would also be interested in a Marxist critique of liberal capitalism.
> --
> Pufferton's the name -- baccarat's the game
> Mark Adkins (
>      --- from list ---

My old undergraduate adviser recommended Erich Fromm's "Marx's Concept of Man."  I've 
read the first few chapters (before I found that the ancient copy that Cal Poly Pomona's 
library had was missing a good chunk of the book), and I plan to read the rest over the 
next month.  What I read was quite good.  I had to order it, but it is still in print, so 
it isn't too difficult to get a hold of.  Another advantage of it is that it is 
relatively short.  About half of the book is a translation of some of Marx's essays.
Yours &c.,

Jeff Johnson				  "Amicus Socrates, amicus Plato,
Graduate Student, Political Science		sed magis amica veritas."
University of Wisconsin--Madison	 	              --Aristotle

     --- from list ---


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