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The Communist Perspective

From a True Communist

B. Traven

My Story

 

June 5th, 2016

Photo: plherrera/iStockphoto


I'd like to preface by saying while I am a communist, I'm not a supporter of Marx, nor Stalin, nor Lenin, nor Mao, nor Castro, nor anyone else who has perverted the ideas of communism and managed to make so many develop a bad taste in their mouth when they hear the word. All of these people in one way or another support a government which promoted hierarchy which the very core of communism rejects. Often this was described as a dictatorship of the proletariat (sounds like a contradiction if I’ve ever heard one). True communism is not “A way of organizing a society in which the government owns all property” as Webster's dictionary and many people would have you believe. In fact, it's quite the opposite. I support true Communism, that is to say the ideology that hopes to dissolve social hierarchies, which necessarily involves dissolving not only money, but also the state. This belief sprung from the strong desire for freedom and equality, while believing that they aren’t mutually exclusive, but are rather dependent on one another.

 

Many people think it's impossible to have equality within a society without having some sort of social hierarchy (whether it's organized by the state or otherwise) to regulate and enforce equality on the people. While I understand where this thinking comes from, as I said earlier, I refuse to accept it. In fact, I believe that this is a contradiction. Inequality is created when power is decentralized and distributed equally. If any individual has the power to enforce equality they have inherently gained more power than the populace and destroyed the very thing they hoped to achieve. My beliefs in regard to inequality tend to result in me getting confused for a right wing individual (I would like to point out that being right wing is to think that many forms inequality are justified while being libertarian is to want to limit government power). In all fairness I do tend to associate more with the anti-statist component of my beliefs than the left wing portion, so if there were a right-wing libertarian society I would rather live in that than a left wing authoritarian one. This is likely rooted in my belief that there is no such thing as objective value or knowledge. This thinking is what lead me towards ideas of agnosticism, moral relativism, anti-statism, and most of all, doubt. My doubt means I only want equality if there is a consensus amongst individuals involved that it is of great value, which while seemingly paradoxical, this is the way democracy operates any way, and is the only reason we have progressed thus far. Minorities are only currently treated as fairly as they are because the majority says they should be. Laws don’t protect minorities, the Jungian collective unconscious does.

 

The main argument against equality comes from those who believe in a decentralized equity based systems, they say because of self-ownership, economics not being a zero sum game, and supply side economic theory, the benefits of liberty and the improvement of the lives of the poor means equity based systems are of greater benefit to society than equality based systems. The idea of liberty or the lives of the poor being improved more by equity based systems is fundamentally wrong. What those arguing self-ownership over equality would say is that everyone should own themselves, and because of this they should own the products of their labor and be able to make voluntary exchanges with anyone for anything they own. This however promotes neither equity nor equality but simply lottery, because those born into affluent households are given the huge advantages of starting capital and disproportionate opportunity. The fact that the poor do not have access to these things and the rich do, means that for all groups equity is inaccurately measured. The argument about economics not being a zero sum game is true, but not entirely. It’s true that the poor will always become richer when compared to yesterday’s poor. This is simply the nature of advances in technology and manufacturing. However, the poor will always become poorer compared to the rich, because it is fundamentally easier to invest capital than it is to generate initial capital (even more so when you are paying someone else to invest for you), and also there is a finite amount of capital making it a commodity and if you have more of a commodity than someone else must to have less. Supply side economics call for having tax benefits to those who succeed so that they can invest more in the supply and employ more people. This however only worsens the problems mentioned earlier as trust fund kids sit on their massive piles of money and pay someone else to invest for them or even just ride the interest while not promoting innovation or taking any risks on new ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karl Marx

The main disagreement I have with Marx and almost all of the attempts at creating a communist society thus far is that they rely on a socializing dictatorship of the proletariat in order to redistribute wealth and they say, insure equality. This step will and always has failed because it necessarily involves consolidating power, which by definition promotes inequality. In my eyes the best way to achieve a communist society is not through a command economy, nor limiting liberties but rather through classical liberalism (liberty for all groups and individuals) and through syndicalism (where workers seize the means of production from their masters). These systems allow for power to be distributed and decentralized without promoting the consolidation of wealth and with it power that capitalism does. After these socializing libertarian steps, the society would operate on ownership by use, work for work’s sake, and defensive unions.


Often the conclusion that working for works sake causes people to have is that it will not work because undesirable jobs will not get done. This is true; no one would be rewarded accurately to justify doing undesirable jobs. In my ideal society people would simply work for themselves, or for work’s sake as I said earlier. If you need to have your bag of aluminum cans taken to an automated recycling plant, you can either create a carpool with your neighbors and have one of you take everyone's cans to the recycling plant once a week or you could simply take your cans to the recycling plant yourself, but there certainly wouldn’t be any one being obligated to do it for you. Ownership by use means that no individual or group can make their wealth on the backs of others labor. One simply owns what he or she uses.

 

I think the idea of defensive unions is fairly intuitive, they are similar to neighborhood watches, or gangs, or police depending on your perspective. There would inevitably be good and bad ones, but because this society’s creation would be inevitably entirely dependent on the will of the majority, I hope they would continue to uphold the values with which they created this society when they choose to form defensive unions.

 

In conclusion, communism would maximize both equality and freedom because you can't have one without the other, and because the alternatives limit the ability of the individual to achieve their goals. The way I see true communism is dissolving both the state and money can maximize both of liberty and equality, to make a society in which individuals can succeed or fail on their own terms and because of no one but themselves nearly within our grasp.