“Socialists” as a Central Component of Capitalism

To some people (libertarian socialists) this post will simply re-iterate an obvious truth. To others (mainly Trotskyists) it will be evidence of an infantile disorder. To those who are signed up to no faction, it may just be interesting.

Traditionally, Marxists have tended, as I understand it, to say something like this:

“In the typical ‘bourgeois’ revolution, to bring in rational, market-driven, technological, capitalism, such as those in France of the US, the bourgeoisie itself and its supporters (the economists and philosophers of free markets, individual liberty, free enterprise, etc.) was able to lead and organise the revolution.

But in many other, less developed countries, the national bourgeoisie was too weak or cowardly to do this itself, preferring a comfortable compromise with imperial capitalists and local pre-capitalist rulers. As a result, some other coalition of classes, such as the intelligentsia and the peasantry, have had to perform its tasks (the inauguration of capitalism) instead.”

Now there’s clearly a certain degree of cogency to this. Chinese capitalism, for example, is clearly the result of the Communist Party, not of local free marketeers. But it raises a question.

If that ‘substitute’ pattern has generated functioning capitalism for far more people across the world than the classically-liberal bourgeoisie-led pattern, then is it really fair to still see it as an aberration?

Doesn’t it actually make just as much sense to say that capitalism is typically, and characteristically, brought in by a mass movement of the peasantry animated by state-socialist ideology?

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