Trotsky on workfare

The very principle of compulsory labor service is for the Communist quite unquestionable. “He who works not, neither shall he eat.” And as all must eat, all are obliged to work. Compulsory labor service is sketched in our Constitution and in our Labor Code. But hitherto it has always remained a mere principle. Its application has always had an accidental, impartial, episodic character. Only now, when along the whole line we have reached the question of the economic re-birth of the country, have problems of compulsory labor service arisen before us in the most concrete way possible. The only solution of economic difficulties that is correct from the point of view both of principle and of practice is to treat the population of the whole country as the reservoir of the necessary labor power – an almost inexhaustible reservoir – and to introduce strict order into the work of its registration, mobilization, and utilization.

You'll note that this is much more systematic than Chris 'Lev Davidovich' Grayling's current plan to help out his Party's business mates by giving them free labour underwritten by the taxpayer. On the other hand, Leon and friends did pay his conscripts, at least nominally.

4 thoughts on “Trotsky on workfare

  1. Pingback: David Cameron should learn to love Trotskyites « Though Cowards Flinch

  2. Do you know how much it costs to hire somebody – the time spent on paperwork, the additional insurance costs, the time spent training? If somebody does, say, eight weeks of workfare, the first x weeks of the scheme are money down the drain even if the task is as simple as stacking shelves.

    The Guardianistas, who live in a parallel universe, have no idea about the reality they comment on. I mean, for educated people, they’re just so ignorant about things.

  3. Not sure he would have been so impressed with the compulsory labor being free and the capitalists profiteering from it, later from the same source he says:

    “But at the same time it is necessary once for all to make clear to ourselves that the principle itself of compulsory labor service has just so radically and permanently replaced the principle of free hiring as the socialization of the means of production has replaced capitalist property”

  4. Adam Smith is surely a better critic of this policy; slavery is inadmissible says Smith as it violates the right to both civil and economic Liberty. Nothing is done well says he when done by compulsion, and compulsory Labour is the provision of a commodity free of charge to the consumer. A recipe for waste and inefficiency. The history of Totalitarian Governments is that of extremely poor growth of Labour productivity just as Smith predicted; which is one reason why the USSR collapsed. If only Trotsky had read smith! And Hitler also.

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