20 May 2006
Socialism & old rope
Neil Clark seems to have got involved in an interesting little spat with the former warmonger, Johann Hari. Neil wrote Hari on an unrelated matter and got this reply from the ex-'monger:
Yuck. I really have no interest in engaging with you on any level. You believe the state should kill its own citizens in peacetime using the death penalty, so please don't offer me any lectures on anything, ever.Now, Hari's nonsense actually raises one interesting point: why can't a socialist also believe in capital punishment?
The point is that socialism is about collectivising the economy and nothing more. We socialists may debate how this is to come about, should argue about whether old style nationalisation is better than a system of co-operatives, but that is the only debate that should take place within socialism.
Other matters need to be debated, but not within the socialist movement. Cuba is a socialist country that uses capital punishment. I wish that they didn't, but that is not the point: the point is that socialists can believe in old rope.
For that matter, Cuba used to forbid the entry of homosexualists into the Communist Party, and the German Democratic Republic used to use electro-shock aversion therapy on them. One may say that this is wrong - alternatively one can believe that it is a good idea - but it is impossible to say that it is anti-socialist. The GDR was a fully collectivised economy and Cuba still is.
Let the socialists get back to debating what they should be debating: how and in what form should the economy be collectivised and run. The rest can be ignored.