I enjoy starting blog posts with rhetorical questions. Aren’t they nice?
I’ve had some heated debate with friends and not-so-friendly individuals about communism. For some reason, people seem to insist on linking communism to that bourgeois paradise of the USSR or China. For the uninitiated, communist theory can by scary, it’s filled with slightly foreign terms like proletariat or bourgeois, and scary words like capital (which has nothing to do with places like Paris, Berlin or Washington DC). It all has to do with what’re called dialectics. Dialectics are, simply put, methods of argument. Karl Marx introduced Marxist dialectics (the best kind, if I do say so myself), which revolutionized the discussion of history. Rather than the traditional Western view of history, government and its influence on the people, along with military conflicts, Marx presented the idea that all of human history was the history of class struggle. The proletariat, or working class, are constantly oppressed by the bourgeoisie, or the business owners. The bourgeoisie own capital, which is a method of production. The easiest way to understand these concepts is in a factory system. In a factory, you have the workers (proletariat, individuals are called proletarians) who are paid for their labor by the factory owners (the bourgeoisie) who own the machinery and factory itself. The workers basically trade their labor for money, then the owners go out and sell the goods. Marx presents the idea of removing the bourgeoisie, who don’t actually add anything to the process, they just serve as a middle man. The means of production, or capital, would be owned by the workers, or proletariat, cutting out the middle man. Obviously, there’s a lot more to Marxist theory, but this is a basic crash course.
Later communists added things to Marx’s original theory, but I prefer to take it straight from the source. Ideally, I believe that through socialism, through common ownership of capital, we will eventually reach a communist society. A communist society is, essentially, a state-less society run by what is called a “dictatorship of the proletariat.” People generally tend to shy away from the term dictatorship, but this is another Marxist dialectic. It doesn’t refer to an actual dictatorship, rather, it refers to a system where there is no “government” per-se, rather, it’s simply a direct democracy. In my ideal political system, politicians and representatives would be done away with, and instead, we would have a direct democracy, similar to that of Ancient Athens. All governing was done on the communal level, at a certain increment of time, all the townspeople (mind you, in that day, this excluded women, slaves, and non-land-owning men) came together to take a vote on everything concerning the community. Naturally, in an egalitarian society, absolutely everyone would be included, regardless of gender, ethnicity, job etc. This is, naturally, a very simplified overview of what would happen, someday, I want to get deeper into individual issues, but I’ll leave it here for now.
The next thing I want to touch on is the abolition of money. This is something that, I think, many people have a great deal of trouble with. The concept of money is quite ingrained in our society, many people really just don’t understand how a system could work without it. I do not propose that we return to a barter economy (obviously that would be useless today) but rather that we revolutionize the concept of work. Right now, you work because you want to provide for your family, you want to secure yourself a better economic status, or you simply want to eat. Rather than seeing work as a begrudging obligation, as we do today, work should be seen as a fundamental important part of the smooth running of a community. We shouldn’t work because we want a pat on the head and a present, but rather because we realize that our work allows society to function properly. Something that I find very irritating today, is the reverence of different types of work. The jobs that contribute the least to society, being a businessman or stock broker for example, are seen as more prestigious than the ones which contribute the most to society, like plumbers or janitors. Money is another kind of middle-man between the work done and goods, similar to the bourgeoisie.
A quick obligated note: I always feel that it’s important to mention that this is not a process that could feasibly happen overnight. The speed in which it would occur is up to your own personal theories, but I don’t think anyone thinks that society could completely be overhauled in the space of a couple weeks. Indeed, this would have disastrous effects, displacing people’s jobs without creating new ones.
I think I’m going to pause now, and let this portion be absorbed. Feel free to leave a comment or contact me another way, let me know what you think of my political and economic theories! Thanks for listening 🙂