Frank Girard reply to the De Leonist Society of Canada

Frank Girard
reply to the article As To Premises!
by the De Leonist Society of Canada
on the subject of labor time vouchers
reprinted from the Discussion Bulletin
March-April 2002 #112, pages 25-26


Consider the quotations from "The Gotha Program" that the De Leonist Society uses in DB110 to bolster its claim that labor time vouchers (LTVs) will have to be a feature in the post-revolutionary society:

(1) "What we are dealing with here is a Communist [i.e. a Socialist] society, not as it developed on its own basis, but, on the contrary, as it is just issuing out of capitalist society; hence a society that still retains in every respect, economic, moral, and intellectual, the birthmarks of the old society from whose womb it is issuing."

(2) "In the higher phase of Communist [i.e. Socialist] society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual under the division of labor has disappeared , and therewith also the opposition between manual and intellectual labor; after labor has become not only a means of life but also the highest want in life; when, with the development of all the faculties of the individual, the productive forces have correspondingly increased, and all the springs of social wealth flow more abundantly-only then may the limited horizon of capitalist right be left behind entirely, and society inscribe on its banners: 'From everyone according to his faculties, to everyone according to his needs!'"

I submit that in blindly repeating Marx's assertion, made 125 years ago -- the sense of which is that a post-revolutionary society in its early phase will be both corrupted by capitalism's mores and unable to produce enough to satisfy human needs-the DLSC is forgetting two basic DeLeonist concepts: 1) that the task of the socialists is to educate our class before the revolution, and 2) that through decades of industrial development under capitalism our class has created the material basis for plenty in a socialist society - plenty that will end the scarcity and resulting insecurity that lie at the root of the greed that marks society under capitalism.

It's possible, I suppose, that the "capitalist class and its lackeys" could foil the efforts of an overwhelming socialist majority, the working class that has just overthrown capitalism; but of course that was not the problem that Marx foresaw when he wrote The Gotha Program. Marx was writing about a corrupted "society," which would include the ex-working class. This idea that we will have to be educated to function in a socialist society after the revolution lies at the root of the view that a post- revolutionary society must function as a dictatorship to save us from ourselves and that we need LTVs to prevent us from cheating ourselves.

-- Frank Girard