Common objections to socialist planning from below
In my last article, “Do You Socialists Have Any Plans? Why We Need Socialist Architects“, I argued that the only way 21st century socialism is going to get any traction with working class people is to not only have a socialist vision, but also to have feasible plans which suggest transitions in between the current capitalist crisis and our ultimate vision.
In that article, I presented the following objections along with their rebuttal through a dialogue between two workers: an older worker, Andrew, and a young, anarchist worker, Sean. The objections of Sean to socialist planning transitions were:
- Marx said a plan isn’t necessary—the workers of the future will figure this out.
- Workers are only capable of dealing with survival needs. Planning is too remote from every-day life for them.
- Plans are rigid and can’t do justice to the complexity of social life.
- Plans aren’t implemented as politics gets in the way. (Stalin’s chaotic five-year plan)
- There is something inherently revolutionary about collective spontaneity.
Let’s examine some small but hopeful moments that could benefit from and be deepened by socialists who have collective experience making socialist plans.
Disaster socialism as a precursor
In his book Introduction to Collective Behavior and Collective Action, David Miller cites convincing research demonstrating that natural disasters bring out the best rather than the worst in people….