Free Speech

“Free Speech” is the mantra of today. Cried by both liberals and conservatives alike. It’s so important to our society that it was the very first right guaranteed in the U.S. constitution. And rightfully so, because the freedom to speak your mind is the cornerstone of civilization, of innovation itself. We cannot hope to ever make advancements in our society if we cannot speak freely. Hell, it’s how Communism itself was developed.

However, we also recognize the need for limits to speech. As the common phrase goes: you cannot yell “fire” in a crowded theater. We recognize this because it causes undue harm, it actually erodes the foundation of society. If we recognize the need for restrictions of speech in one area, then we must at least recognize the possibility to limit speech in other areas.

The very purpose of hate speech is to bring harm against it’s target. It is used to create antagonisms against a group of people and organize actions to hurt them and restrict their freedom. Hate-Speech is anti-freedom. If we want to maintain a free society, then we must not tolerate hate-speech.

However, the “slippery-slope” arguments against prohibiting hate-speech does make a good point. If we simply outlaw the vague concept of “hate-speech,” then that could be turned towards any language that the government doesn’t like, such as mere criticism of it. But that is why you don’t make such laws so vague. We have to be specific about what speech we outlaw, such as Germany’s law against denying the holocaust. We can outlaw speech that promotes white supremacy, genocide, or the inferiority of different ethnicities.

I know that many people would argue that such laws could still be abused by the government, that it could twist such laws to restrict dissent. But that is an argument that can be levied against any and every law. And besides, we already limit speech in this exact manner. It is already illegal to verbally threaten someone’s life. That very law could be abused. They could arrest anyone that makes offhand comments like “I wish they would die,” or “I’m gonna kill someone,” which is a common expression to indicate that a person is angry. But the government doesn’t, because discretion is used, as it must be used in the enforcement of all laws.

Society must be as flexible in the enforcement of anti-hate-speech laws as it is in the enforcement of all laws. It must be flexible, it must have administrators that know when and where to hold people to the strict “letter of the law” and where to let it slide. And if those administrators abuse the law, like they can with any law, society must have systems in place to remove them from office.

In order for a tolerant society to exist, it must be intolerant of intolerance. Otherwise intolerance will gain power and end the tolerant society.

Decentralization

Decentralization is recognized as an important measure in computer systems in order to ensure their security. It’s lauded as bitcoin’s most important feature. Because we recognize that when a computer system or almost any system is decentralized, it’s much harder for malicious actors to gain control over it. They might be able to steal bitcoins from one person, or hack one website, or even take over the power-grid to one region. But they can’t take over the entire bitcoin system, or the whole internet, or the entire U.S. power-grid. Because the decentralized nature of these systems means that those malicious actors would have to repeat the method that they used to take over one part of the system and do it over and over again in its entirety with every part of these systems if they want to take over the entire system. And that is nearly impossible with decentralized systems. This is in contrast to a highly centralized system, where the malicious actor only has to take control of the core organizing or distributing center and they have control of the entire system. If the internet was a centralized system, where the whole thing was controlled from one processing center, one website or controlling computer, then a single hacker could take control of the whole thing simply by hacking that one computer.

So why do we continue to insist that so many other organizational systems be so highly centralized, like our Governments? We claim it’s to fight against corruption and reaction, but we can see in Computer systems how centralization actually more easily facilitates corruption. In a decentralized system, a malicious actor has to take over ever part individually. But in a centralized system, they only need to take over one part. In a decentralized Government, reactionary forces have to take over the entire government, wholly. But in a centralized government they only need to take over one or two offices.

And it’s not like we don’t have examples of organizations working in this decentralized manner to protect against this very reactionary corruption, even Marxist-Leninist organizations. The partisans that operated all over Europe during World-War-Two, even the Marxist-Leninist partisans, operated using a highly decentralized organization. No cell even knew the identities of individuals in other cells. They shared information and supplies through dead-drops and by using aliases. All this was to foil any attempts by the Nazis to infiltrate and disrupt the entire movement. Because even if the Nazis could capture or infiltrate one cell, they couldn’t use it to gain information on other cells. If partisans were eąptured, they couldn’t give up the identities of anyone outside their cell even if they wanted to. In a decentralized organization when one section is corrupted or destroyed, the other sections can adjust accordingly to stop the damage from spreading. Maintaining the organization as a whole.

Of course it goes without saying that a Government cannot operate with the secrecy of the partisans, every member of the Government must know the identities of every other member and work directly with them. But the principles of decentralization remain the same. If no single part of the Government has overreaching power or influence over the other parts, then that actually fights against the forces of reaction in a more effective manner than a centralized system ever could. Because the reactionaries have to take over every part of Government individually, instead of a single office.

It’s also important to remember that decentralization does not mean separation. Just like the internet, which is recognized as the epitome of connection, and not despite of its decentralization, but because of it. A decentralized organization allows people to operate and engage with the organization in accordance with their local material conditions. This encourages participation in the organization because it does not alienate anyone from the organization. And that builds an environment of camaraderie and loyalty to it, and that makes people want to participate because they directly see the benefits that the organization provides to them , and no downsides. The organization is only a boon to their lives, and does not become a burden. This is the very environment necessary to exist in order to facilitates the principles of mutual-aid. It builds natural networks of interdependence, building bridges between people and communities that cannot be destroyed by the forces of reaction. Because love motivates people in a way that fear never can. Fear can motivate a person to do what you want for a short time, but only so long as they don’t see a way to fight back, and never to the best of their ability. A fearful person naturally seeks a way to attack the source of their fear. But if a person is motivated by love, they will work with a fervor unknown to the fearful person, and will gladly throw themselves on the very gates of hell to protect what they love.

Capitalism Betrays Democracy

Democracy is the great imperative, and the triumph of civilization. it is birthed from the principles of the enlightenment age, where our ancestors realized that the only way to advance society and improve life even for a few, was to improve life for all.  It is inspired by and sustained by an ethical system which promotes equality, justice, and prosperity for all, and for everyone to have an equal voice in the systems that affect their lives.  It’s safe to assume that the one thing that I and any reader of this book can agree on is the necessity for a Democratic Government.  What is always baffling to me is how any advocate for Democracy can ever support Capitalism.  How can anyone demand Democracy in Government, and tolerate tyranny over the means of production?  How can we claim equal representation in the system which creates our laws, while subjecting ourselves to dictatorship of the systems which provide all the things we rely on to survive and live a modern life?  Capitalism is a betrayal of the ideas behind Democracy.  For this essay I am going to rely on the writing’s of a colleague of mine, Chris Tumlinson, to argue this point.  As I feel I could not argue it better than he already has.  I am going to quote his essay on this subject in its entirety, which he originally wrote in the form of “memes” to share online.  I highly encourage anyone to visit his facebook page: “Learn Socialism” to read more writings like this one:

“In a Democracy, we expect our leaders to answer to us and we expect to have an equal voice in the day-to-day decisions that govern our lives.  As a worker, does the leadership of the company you work for answer to you?  Do you have an equal voice in the decisions that govern your workplace, where you spend the majority of your life?  Why do we expect Democracy over our political systems , but not our economic systems, which have the most impact on our lives?”

The issue of course is one of freedom. The goal of Democracy can be summed up in this word.  Democracy is meant to increase the freedom for everyone , and the common belief is that collective economic systems, like Communism, stifle this freedom.  Chris Tumlinson moves forward with this theme:

“First of all, what is freedom?  Freedom is the power to act, speak, think, or choose without restraint .  In other words, it is the power to make decisions over one’s own life.  We can all agree that freedom is very important, that all individuals should have the power to make decisions over their own lives.

But is freedom of the individual an absolute?  An absolute is something that can be viewed as existing independently and not in relation to other things.  Unless an individual isolates themselves completely from human society, the freedom of the individual cannot be viewed as an absolute because the freedom of one individual does not exist independently from the freedom of other individuals.

In human societies, where individuals live side-by-side and interact with one another every day, the freedom of any individual to make decisions over their own lives will always have a relationship with the freedom of others to make decisions over their own lives.

For example: if an individual while exercising their individual freedom, decides to dump garbage into a water supply, their decision will interact with the freedom of others, the freedom to have clean and unpolluted water.  If an individual , while exercising their individual freedom, decides to express hate speech towards others, their decisions will interact with the freedom of others, the freedom to live without fear.  If an individual , while exercising their individual freedom decides to build a fence around a natural resource, their decision will interact with the freedom of others, the freedom of access to that resource.  If an individual, while exercising their individual freedom decides to tear down someone else’s house and build their own in its place, their decision will interact with the freedom of others, the freedom to have and live in their own home.

Our freedoms overlap.  Some decisions made by individuals have the potential to affect the lives of more than that individual.  This is the purpose for which Democracy exists.

Democracy is the process of making decisions together so that everyone whose life will be affected by a decision has a chance to participate in making that decision.  When the freedom to make decisions over one’s own life overlaps with the freedom of another to make decisions over their own life, we use Democracy so that each person affected by the decision has a voice in that decision.

Those who are affected by the outcome of a decision should always have a say in that decision.  When determining whether a decision should be made individually or Collectively (through Democracy), the question should be asked: who will be affected by this decision?  If the decision will affect only the individual, it can be made individually by the one who is affected. If the decision will affect more than the individual it should be made collectively (Through Democracy) by all who are affected.  This is how we create fair and equal societies where the freedoms of all are respected, so that the best decisions can be made for the best benefit of everyone. Without Democracy, individuals can make decisions without concern for the lives of others, which limits the freedom of those who are affected by excluding them from making decisions over their own lives

The core of Capitalism is individualism. Capitalism emphasizes the importance of individuals (Capitalists) and the pursuit of their own self-interests (profit) as having a higher importance than the collective interests of others.  Capitalism ignores Democracy and grants decision-making power over the lives of many into the hands of a few.  Under Capitalism individuals own and control the means of production; they dictate all of the decisions of a business in order to pursue their own interests, which is the pursuit of profit.  In pursuing profit, Capitalists make decisions which affect the lives of many others (their employees and their communities) while giving little or no decision-making power to those who are affected.

The core of Socialism is collectivism, Socialism seeks to democratize work, production, and distribution so that workers and communities are empowered to make decisions over their own lives rather than be subjected to the dictatorial decisions of individual owners of the means of production (Capitalist employers.)  In this way, the collectivism of Socialism offers greater freedom than the individualism of Capitalism. When workers come together to make the decisions that affect their lives, they don’t decide to endanger themselves, to eliminate their own livelihoods, to shut down the facilities that support their communities, or to damage the environment in which they and their families and loved ones live.  Socialism emphasizes the shared interests of all workers and the whole of human Society.  Socialism is about real Democracy.”

A Democratic Government cannot exist Within an undemocratic socio-economic system like Capitalism.  We realized this with the system that preceded Capitalism: Feudalism.  Why can’t so many people see that it is the same situation?  We know that Feudalism could not facilitate a Democratic Government because the Nobility held all the real power, they held control over the means of production, the things everyone needed to survive and live a modern life.  And as such the Nobility would simply control any Governmental body as well.  It is the same situation with Capitalism; those private owners over the means of production (the Bourgeoisie) will always dominate Government, no matter how Democratic the Government is structured.  Because the Bourgeoisie control the very systems and resources that we all need and rely on for a modern life.  The means of production has an even more profound impact on our lives than the Government.  It is where we get our food, it is where we get our homes, it is where we get our medical care, it is where we get our education (books and the internet), it is where we get our news and entertainment, and it is where we get our transportation.  As such, it must be Democratically owned and controlled, not privately as it is under Capitalism.

The common theme of today is for people to insist that such radical change is not necessary, that Capitalism can be regulated into an ethical and Democratic system through Social-Democratic reforms and regulation (although they usually mistakenly call this “Democratic-Socialism.”) This is simply a fallacy.  It does not matter how many laws you lay on top of the Capitalist system, how many regulations and social -welfare programs you use to try and force it to be ethical.  The best you could ever achieve by such is a slightly broadened Plutocratic-Oligarchy.  Because at the end of the day, the people who privately own and control the means of production will have to be catered to simply because the real power over everyone’s lives lies in their hands.

Even if it were possible to regulate Capitalism into a solid Democracy and an ethical socio-economic system would it even be desirable?  I do not think so.  For starters, because you still cannot overcome the inherent contradiction between wages and profit, it’s a part of the bedrock structure of Capitalism; Capitalism is an inherently unstable system and it’s preferable to end it simply because of this.  But on top of that, the amount of legal structure and bureaucracy needed to accomplish such a feat would be immense.  Making Government too costly to operate and further alienating the people from it.  Resulting in the very same situation that we started out trying to rid ourselves from.  It’s like trying to modify an antiquated vehicle, like a wagon or a chariot, so that it could travel on modern highways safely.  The weight from the added engine, brakes, lights, drive-train, and safety equipment, would stress the frame, which was never designed for such things, requiring constant maintenance and the ride would never be as comfortable or as safe as a modern car that has been designed from the beginning to drive at current speeds on modern roads.  Capitalism is an antiquated socio-economic system that works against the interests of the majority, against the interests of you and me.  It must be scrapped and replaced with a system that has been designed from the beginning to preserve and facilitate Democracy. Capitalism must be replaced with Communism: a classless society.

As long as one group of society is held above another, as long as society is divided and stratified, the top group or groups will always rule and the bottom group or groups will always be subjugated.  We cannot just hope that the rulers will be benevolent, we must not have rulers.  Society must be Democratic, not Oligarchic.  But society will always be Oligarchic as long as there is class, even if we establish Socialism, the democratic ownership and control over the means of production, and eliminate the class divide of the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat.  Because that wasn’t the first class system to be created, and still isn’t the only class system to exist.  In order for Democracy to finally flourish we must have a classless society.  And in order to have a classless society, we must eliminate Government as a State.  And that is ultimately the goal of Communism.  

Still, I’m sure that word no doubt creates a sense of great apprehension in your mind, and that is understandable given what you’ve been taught Communism is.  But please, now, let a Communist tell you what Communism is.