Amendments on the problem of bureaucracy

Amendments on the problem of bureaucracy

I propose the following amendments to the latest draft of Towards a Socialist Australia.

  1.  In the section headed Why Socialism?:
    1. delete paragraph 3, which reads: “Apologists for capitalism have long devoted enormous efforts to arguing against socialism. They argue that it is a completely utopian exercise that flies in the face of human nature; that it will never work; or that it will always lead to bureaucratic dictatorship.”
    2. Amend paragraph 4 by deleting the word "But", so that it would read: “Imagine a society where each individual has the means to live a life of dignity and fulfilment, without exception. Imagine a society where discrimination and prejudice are wiped out, and where all members of society are guaranteed a decent life, the means to contribute to society and a safer planet.”
  2. Create a new section:

The problem of bureaucracy

Apologists for capitalism have long devoted enormous efforts to arguing against socialism. They argue that it is a completely utopian exercise that flies in the face of human nature; that it will never work; or that it will always lead to bureaucratic dictatorship.

It is true that some revolutionary governments have degenerated into bureaucratic regimes, leading eventually to the restoration of capitalism. This highlights the importance of the struggle for democracy as a part of the struggle to build a new society.

But it is also necessary to understand the objective conditions that contributed to such degeneration. Most revolutions that occurred in the twentieth century took place in poor countries devastated by war. They faced constant attacks from the imperialist powers that used war, terrorism and economic sabotage to undermine them. This created conditions favourable to the growth of bureaucracy.

If these countries had received support and disinterested aid from richer countries, rather than hostility and aggression, things may have turned out completely differently. Thus socialist revolutions in rich countries are important, not only for their own people but also for those of the poorer countries.

The reason for these amendments is:

The current paragraph 3 of the Why Socialism? section quotes what “apologists for capitalism” say about socialism leading to “bureaucratic dictatorship”, but without answering it. This paragraph should be either deleted or, as I prefer, expanded into a new section discussing the causes of bureaucratic degeneration.

I suggest that the new section become the second-last section of the document, i.e. before the section headed “Towards Socialism”.

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