National-Liberationism

It has become very common recently for many leftists to denounce many liberatory movements as “nationalist,” particularly among the Left-Communist and Anarchist camps. They do this because the culture that binds these liberatory movements is often called “nationalism of the oppressed.” These leftists fail to analyze the nature of this “nationalism,” and thus lump it in with the same nationalisme which actually conducts oppression. I want to try and explain the flaw in that thinking, and encourage the use of a more accurate term for these liberatory movements: National-Liberationism.

First we have to look at what this so called “nationalism” is and what differentiates it from actual nationalism. The word “nationalism” is accurately applied to ideologies and movements like that of the Nazis, the KKK, Imperial Japan and it’s bushido code, and most recently with the Trumpism of the United States (as well as traditional American Culture). These movements and their nationalism are ones of domination; that is, they seek to impose the will of one nation upon others to exploit them. They are inherently xenophobic, rejecting diversity and embracing violently enforced political borders. This ideology has the effect of harm, slavery, exploitation, and most importantly: this ideology forces artificial national identity upon subjugated people.

Look at the national identity of Black Americans, or the Seminole people, even the Palestinians. These nations only exist because that national identity was forced upon them, they are nations that did not exist before the oppression that created them. As a result, their entire character is the polar opposite of nationalism, it is a Liberatory-Nationalism. Because it exists purely as a means of survival, and to maintain resistance to the nationalism that oppresses them. When an oppressed nation raises a national banner it does so not as a symbol for dominating others, but to throw off it’s own oppression. It does not seek to raise borders, but to eliminate the borders that have been forced upon it. This is characterized by these National-Liberation movements often welcoming foreign individuals, and groups that are not from the groups oppressing them. Such as the Kurds and Catalans welcoming foreign fighters, or the Native Americans welcoming “illegal aliens.”

Of course it is possible for a National-Liberation movement to corrupt itself into a nationalist movement, we need look no further than the Zionist movement for this to be seen. But it is not inevitable. Dismissing National-Liberation movements altogether as “nationalism” because of this possibility is as wrong as dismissing democracy and communist movements because they could become corrupted into despotic systems. Oppose a movement for embodying the things you stand against, not because it might become something that it isn’t right now. Opposing National-Liberationism only helps the oppressors.

The Reclamation of Communism

“The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the overthrow of all existing social conditions.  Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution.  The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains.  They have a world to win.

Workers of the world, Unite!

These fiery words concluded the “Manifesto of the Communist Party” by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.  They were a declaration and a rallying cry, boldly announcing to the world that Communists would not retreat, they would not hide their intentions because they did not need to.  The cause of the Communists was noble, just, and necessary.  For the Communists strived toward the total liberation of all people, the end of exploitation, and a classless society where everyone truly is equal.  Communists all over the world strived to overthrow monarchies and oligarchic republics, establish democracies, often for first time, and to improve the standard of living for all people.  Such a cause requires no deceit, no trickery to bring the masses to your cause.  Because the masses are the cause.  Their liberation, and your own, is the very thing which a Communist fights for.

For over 100 years Communists boldly proclaimed themselves in this way, never attempting to hide their intent and proudly calling themselves Communists.  But then came the cold war, McCarthyist fear and silencing of dissent, and the rise of the “new left.”

With the confrontation between the U.S. empire and the USSR, came heavy stigmatization of Communism.  The term came to become synonymous, in the public eye, with totalitarian dictatorship (much because of U.S. propaganda efforts to do just that) and even opposition to Democracy.  Because of this the “new left” sought to distance itself from the term “Communism,” and the ideals it represented.  They no longer sought to transform society into a classless one.  Now “leftists” looked to Social-Democratic ideals as the “true” embodiment of Socialism.  They denuded the left of it’s anti-Capitalist goals, now seeking to instead make Capitalism more ethical (something, Communists have always regarded as neither possible nor desirable.)  Even leftists that still sought to end Capitalism, such as Anarchists, tried to distance themselves from Communism and Marxism, denying the crucial role those ideals played in the formation of Kropotkin’s ideology.  Even Anarchists that acknowledged this, and sought to reinvigorate the Communist ideals of Anarchism, like Murray Bookchin, still avoided the term “Communism.” Because if they dared use it, they would be labeled a treasonous sympathizer to the Soviet Union, and perhaps even face arrest.  They ignored that all-important tenant founded in those final lines of the Manifesto; Communists do not hide our goals or abandon our ideals.  Communists proudly and boldly announce our ideology, we do not allow Capitalists to redefine our terms.

It is long past due that Communists reclaim our name, that we once again make our intentions known to the world, and proudly bear the title of Communists.  We will always be demonized by the Ruling Class, the owners, and always have been.  We shouldn’t care what they say and what they think of us, because they are our enemies; we aren’t appealing to the Ruling Classes.  It is the Working Class, the “Proletariat,” the renters, the laborers, the homeless and jobless, all those who cannot live off the work of others, it is they that we preach to.  We make it known to them that we seek to allow them to liberate themselves, because no one can do it for them, and we are them.  We tell our fellow workers what we are, and what Communism is.

It is to you that I now speak. To you , the wage-worker , the renter, to all those who do not own the factory or the department store, to all those who must sell their labor just so they can keep a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs.  I’m here to tell you that we Communists are not the wealthy owners trying to maintain their power, as the fascists are.  We are from among you, we are workers . As I write this I work two jobs to keep from becoming homeless.  So, when we tell you what we are seeking to accomplish, we are not making promises of things which we want to give you, as the politician does.  We are asking you to help yourself, to take our hands as equals to liberate us all.

What do we, the Communists, seek to liberate us all from?  We all know what the Capitalists have taught us that communism is, what they claim about our talk of liberation.  The Capitalists tell you we want dictatorship, that we oppose Democracy.  They point to the Soviet Union as if it were the primary example of Communism, and as if Communists want to duplicate it exactly.  The Soviet Union is an important country to study and learn from because it was the first great experiment with Communism.  But it is no more the perfect example of Communism than the first efforts at building Democracy out of Feudal-Europe were perfect examples of Democracy.  If we wholly reject the Soviet union as a learning tool because it was too oligarchical, why then do we hold up the establishment of Parliament in England with the Magna Carta as a triumph of Democracy?  That “Democracy” was anything but, as only the nobles could vote or hold office.  Even when America’s Republic was first established, only male landowners could vote or hold office.  But these are still important, still victories of Democracy that put us one step further down the road to a better world.  The Soviet Union is no different.  It was imperfect, but it made great strides in our march towards complete freedom and Democracy, and proved many of the core concepts of Communism as correct and possible.

Since I have pointed out that Communists oppose oligarchy and dictatorship, you might be asking what we want.  What do Communists Stand for, why do we believe a revolution is necessary, and how do we want to change society and Government?

Communism is the pursuit of the ideals that inspired the American Revolution, and that the U.S. Government has always paid lip service to.  Communism is the abolition of class society and all forms of exploitation, it is the end of the subjugation of the many by the few.  Communism is true Democracy where all people are a part of Government, not subjected to it. This is what we advocate when we call ourselves Communists; Communists demand Democracy in all systems that affect everyone and everyone needs to survive and live comfortably.  Instead of a sham Democratic Government controlled by wealthy Oligarchs, and workplaces ruled by small Tyrants.

Communists see the old echos of Feudal and Religious Society that continue to dominate our lives, and we know they must be abolished.  Where before we had the King, the Lord, and the Priest, we now have the Owner, the CEO, and the Economist.  Where before we were serfs subjected to Church law and the command of the Noble, we now are Wage-Workers subjected to the Puritan Work Ethic and the dictates of the Capitalists who own all things that we rely on to survive.  Where before the System was guarded by Knights devoted to the code of Chivalry, now Capitalist Society is enforced by Police that are blindly devoted to whatever the Capitalist Oligarchs declare is the law.

Communists, above everything else, oppose exploitation.  We want you, the worker, to benefit entirely from your work.  Not work to support the laziness of owners and be rewarded for your backbreaking labors with a miniscule portion of the wealth you create.  But we also know that we are not islands unto ourselves.  We all need and benefit from the society we live in, and thus it is in our interests to ensure that everyone is healthy, comfortable, and always has access to all they need to survive.  This is why Communists regard healthcare, shelter, food, water, and access to work, all as human rights.  And so seek to build systems that allow all access to these needs, instead of leaving most lacking these simply because they don’t generate profit for an owner, as Capitalism does.

However, unlike the Social-Democrats who think all of these can be provided without changing anything by implementing welfare systems, Communists know that the system must be drastically altered to ensure all of these things for everyone. Thus Communists advocate changing both the Government and the economy into a single Democratic System.  Under such a system, tax-funded welfare programs would not exist at all, because everyone’s needs would be provided for inherently by the socio-economic system.

I know that right now everything you’ve been taught in School or by your friends and family is screaming at you: “This is utopian, impossible!  This is tyrannical! It only works on paper, not in real life!  It always devolves into a Dictatorship!. etc. etc.”  All these points I will address in the coming pages.  I ask you to please remember that these points about Communism were taught to you by Capitalists.  If you wanted to learn how a car works, would you consult an Amish person?  If you want to know what Communism is, do not seek out its most ardent opponents.  Instead, listen to Communists.

To my Communist Comrades I say stand up and boldly proclaim our name!  End this cowardly concealment of our title, do not let the Capitalists take it from us.  Those who fight to end tyranny and exploitation never have anything to be ashamed of, but rather it is their opponents that should be ashamed.

Of course, Communism is a solution to a problem.  We cannot ever convince you to advocate for a solution if you do not believe there is a problem.  Obviously, we all want a classless society, or at least the vast majority of people, especially those who believe in Democracy.  Communists point to Capitalism as a system that must be eliminated first if we are to achieve that classless society.  But why?  Why can’t we achieve classlessness without abolishing Capitalism?  That, is not a short answer, Karl Marx wrote for years on the subject, and created the most comprehensive analysis of Capitalism to-date, called “Das Kapital,” and it is three immense volumes long!  Nonetheless, I will attempt to answer this question as concisely as possible.

The Reconciliation of Anarchism and Leninism

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

The issues between Anarchism and Leninism must be dealt with, not ignored and sorted out at a later time, as some “left-unity” advocates preach.  Neither can the two camps disregard each other and vie for dominance.  Because that’s exactly what they’ve been doing for 170 years.  Leading Communists from one defeat to another as energy and revolutionary momentum is wasted fighting between the two camps.  And they are of the same house!  No one of either camp can insist that the other is “not real Communists,” because both camps have the same ultimate goal.  When two groups fight for the same thing, they have no choice but to share the same space and fight the same enemies.  Enemies which will take advantage of any conflict between the two groups to foil all attempts to obtain the prize by either group.  We have to reconcile these two camps, we have to end this conflict permanently.  Which isn’t impossible, as the conflict really arises from us throwing around terms that we seldom take the time to look at, to understand what each other means. State, Authoritarian, and whatnot.

The reason Leninists advocate for the establishment of a Socialist Transitional-State, is because of what they define as a State.  As I have already pointed out: Engels and Lenin defined it as a type of Government that is held above society, a Government that enforces class-divides. Leninists argue that this physically cannot be eliminated immediately, simply because of the fact of it’s nature.  The Government established by the Proletariat to eliminate Capitalism and class is, by this definition, a State.  But it is a state that eliminates itself as a State through the act of eliminating private ownership and control over the means of production and Capitalist class systems.  Engels describes it, as quoted by Lenin in “State and Revolution”:

“The first act by which the state really comes forward as the representative of the whole of society — the taking possession of the means of production in the name of society — is also its last independent act as a state.”

That is what is meant by “Transitional-State.”  Once such systems are eliminated, once the means of production is fully Democratized, Leninists argue that the Government is no longer a State.

This is a fact that most Anarchists even acknowledge.  They readily admit that the State is a Government used to enforce class-divides, and they don’t actually believe that Capitalism can be eliminated overnight.  It is not a switch that can simply be flipped, making the means of production Democratically-managed in an instant.  Thus neither can the State, as Leninists define it, be eliminated overnight, as even Anarchists wish to prohibit the Bourgeoisie from participating in systems set-up to eliminate their control over political and economic power, and thus eliminate the existence of that class and reducing its members to simply being members of society.

The conflict between Leninists and Anarchists arises over what Anarchists point to when they refer to Authoritarianism:  highly centralized and Oligarchical Governmental-Power, which Anarchists argue must be eliminated from any Governmental system.  Anarchists recognize the need to empower the whole Proletariat in Government through its very structure.  Because if the Government is structured in a way that concentrates power in a small group of people’s hands, then it will never eliminate itself as a State.  Because even after it has eliminated Capitalist systems, it will continue to enforce the class divide of the Governed and the Governors through it’s very structure; Governance will continue to be alienated from the vast majority of the Proletariat during the revolution, and the people as a whole after Capitalist systems are eliminated.

Interestingly, Lenin himself echoes this in “State and Revolution”:

“…the proletariat needs only a state which is withering away, i.e., a state so constituted that it begins to wither away immediately, and cannot but wither away.”

The State cannot wither away if it is structured in a way that continues to hold itself above society.  If it is so constituted, then it neither eliminates private ownership and control over the means of production, nor class.  Instead merely consolidating both under itself, and holding itself above society, manages both like a monopolistic corporation.

In this we can find common ground between Anarchists and Leninists.  Because once we both acknowledge this,  we can structure a Government that satisfies both sides.  A Government that is structured so that the people, the Proletariat, are the government from the very beginning.  That way, as the Government eliminates Capitalist systems, it eliminates all class systems as well, and thus eliminates itself as a state.

Those who argue that power must be concentrated in the hands of “the most class-conscious” temporarily, during the revolution, are expressing simple naivety and the very “infantile disorder” that Lenin was so critical of “Left-Communists” for.  Because people are resistant to change, always.  Especially when there is a fear that such change will empower those they oppose.  This is why there will always be people in those positions of power who feel that it is “not yet time” to restructure the Government away from statehood, to give power to the people as a whole.  This is why such a Governmental structure will always necessitate a second revolution to overthrow the first Revolutionary-Government.  Which is, obviously, absurd and needlessly destructive, and ends up opening the door for Capitalism to reassert itself.  Which is exactly what happened in the Soviet Union.  

It’s doubtful that the majority of people who resisted the KGB coup d’etat wanted to reinstall Capitalism, but rather felt that they were fighting for the original spirit of Communism.  And perhaps even had the noble goal of building a truly Proletarian Government that was not constituted as a State.  After all, it was reforms such as “Perestroika,” which privatised many aspects of the Soviet Union’s economy and thus began rebuilding Capitalism, which led to the fall of the Soviet Union’s economic system in the first place.  This is further testified by the fact that 71% of the population of the Soviet Union voted to retain its existence.  After all, it was in prime condition to install a proper and permanent Government that was not a State.  Despite “Perestroika” the major parts of the means of production was not privately owned, and all significant Capitalist class systems had been eliminated.  

But by this time, the forces of Capitalism had already taken advantage of the weakened state of the Soviet Union, brought on by the mistakes of the Soviet Union’s Oligarchy, like “Perestroika,” and more importantly by the vacuum in power left by the revolution of 1991.  So the desires of the people were ignored, and Capitalism was reinstalled.

This would not have happened if the Soviet Union’s State had been constituted as Lenin had desired, and as the Anarchists advocated it should be.  If power was not concentrated in the hands of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (indeed, the Committee should not have existed at all), reducing the Congress of Soviets to a mere rubber-stamp service for the Committee’s decisions, there would have never been the need for a second revolution.  The State would have eliminated itself as a State in the early 1920’s as it won the Civil War and eliminated Capitalism.  Thus achieving Communism, or as close to Communism as is possible while Capitalism still rules over the rest of the world.

However, we’ve also seen Anarchist systems fail similarly.  Because in the past they’ve manifested themselves as parochial and disparate communities and groups, only loosely allied with each other.  Allowing any group to “opt-out” whenever they feel like it, making the whole movement weaker and unable to stand against the onslaught of reaction.  This also has made them less appealing to large movements, and indeed many Anarchist revolutions even rejected large-scale methods all-together.  Leaving them alone and isolated.  Anarchists must throw off such inward focus, and build a system that is not only dissipated in political power, but linked through interdependence between all communities and groups.  Because even after the revolution, parochial independence isn’t to be desired.  As it cannot provide a community with a modern standard of living.  We cannot have modern medicine, infrastructure, personal technology, nor goods in regions they do not grow, without large-scale interdependence between communities.  This Leninist argument is correct.  

We need a large Governmental system (in the way I’ve been using “Government”) to facilitate such things.  Otherwise communities will be left after the revolution to be reduced to old ways of backbreaking subsistence farming in antiquated living conditions with inadequate healthcare.  And that’s even in the unlikely event that such a loose association of Communities could ever achieve a revolution in the first place.

This is the compromise that both camps need to reach.  Both their methods for revolution and Governance have failed.  They must build a system which accomplishes interdependence between all communities, but does so with a Government that is not alienated from the people.  Government must be centralized while also being Directly-Democratic.  This seems like a contradiction, and it is why it must be carefully planned out, not simply be a statement that is made in hopes that we can figure it out one day.  We need concrete plans for systems to ensure this kind of Government can be implemented and sustained.

Anarchists and Leninists both have arguments against such a system, as is expected.  It is a synthesis of both ideas, after all.  And as such is not a “pure” reflection of either system.  But that is the purpose of it:  it must give in to the dialectical process of Anarchists Vs. Leninists, which will knock down the parts of both systems which have no basis.  Leaving only the parts that work, and allowing them to reconcile each other.  

The Leninists argue that such a system leaves the Government susceptible to the forces of reaction.  But the pure-Leninist system they propose does the same, as it makes a second revolution a necessity, opening the door to Capitalism reasserting itself.  Anarchists argue that power is still too concentrated, and that concentration always leads to Authoritarianism as they define it.  But so too does their pure-Anarchism.  As the communities and groups fall prey to a “divide and conquer” strategy, but one where their enemies do not need to divide them as they’ve already divided themselves.  And it also leaves communities without their needs and goods, because there is no system in place to facilitate the well intentioned and correct philosophy of Mutual Aid.

If we can build a system where there is no central power, no figurehead like a President or a Central Committee, and centralized power is dispersed to separate Governmental groups, groups which are left to Govern themselves in matters that only affect themselves and only require engaging in Parliamentary Government in matters that affect all groups, then we can finally achieve the reconciliation between Anarchism and Leninism.  And then, finally, the forces of Capitalism can be overcome, and Communism will be achievable.  I believe this system to be Communalism, which I have already touched on.  It empowers each community to Govern itself in a Directly-Democratic way, but still has a system in place to facilitate interdependence and allow other communities to Democratically interject when such actions affect them.  This accomplishes the needs and desires of both the Leninist and the Anarchists, and finally ends the maladies of Capitalism.

How?

That’s possibly what you’re asking. How could any of these Changes actually stop the problems of Capitalism that we’ve talked about?

For starters they end the contradiction between profit and wages by ending that entire system.  No longer is the system built on the necessity of profit.  Instead of the need to first make money for a private owner, the needs of the Community are put first.  Shelter, food, water, heat in colder environments, and transport. These are all ensured for everyone without the need for anyone to pay for them, and are regarded as human rights.  No one is left without simply for not having adequate money.  Without profits and wages governing the economy, it no longer lurches from one economic catastrophe to the next, and no one is left wanting.

The details of how this is accomplished vary between the different proposed ideologies, but all of them directly eliminate profit and Capitalist wage systems.  Some of them do so through the use of “labor-notes,” which I have criticised before.  But even though these systems are problematic from a moral and systemic point of view, they are still superior to Capitalist wage-systems.  As “labor-notes” are not given based on a private owner’s profits, but instead based on the availability of goods and needs.  And a “labor-notes” system of wages does not deny anyone what they need to survive, it’s really simply a ration method to ensure that goods and needs are distributed fairly, so nothing is hoarded by some and denied to others.  Even advocates of it rarely see it as anything more than a temporary measure until the revolution is over and scarcity is fully eliminated.  This system was used by the Soviet Union, which certainly stands as a testament to the flaws of such a system, but also it’s positive sides.  After all: the Great Depression did not have an effect on Russia, which experienced a period of prosperity and expansion of industry during that time.

Others advocate a system where goods and needs are simply distributed to all based on availability and need by a Democratic system, all without the issuance or exchange of any type of currency, even labor notes. This group often points to the region of Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War, where this very system was used to great effect. There was no one lacking any need or good until supply lines were cut off by the Government’s forces.  War always creates severe scarcity of everything. Were it not for the war, it is difficult to see how anyone would have been without whatever they needed or wanted, despite no money being used.

By eliminating private ownership over the means of production, and profit we liberate everyone from the tyranny of “The Puritan Work Ethic,” from tedious and unnecessary work, as well as overproduction. With wage-labor motivated by the need for profit, people have to work a certain amount of hours just to gain enough money to survive, whether or not that work even needs done that much.  This creates a system which over-produces everything and reduces all workers to a life of drudgery.  But without profit there is no need to over-produce anything. Products can be made in only as much as is needed or wanted, and distributed for the same reasons.  Meaning that no one has to work a set amount of hours beyond the bare minimum to produce what is needed.  Leaving everyone With far more free time to pursue their passions, which enriches all of society.

The end of profit also means that the value of someone’s work is no longer determined by how wealthy it can make a business owner.  Meaning that work which was cast aside by society as “hobbies,” or worse, would be able to flourish under Communism.  Art would be in great abundance under Communism, as it would be no longer be restricted by the need for profit or the poverty of the artist.  But “hobbies” are not simply artistic pursuits, many such interests are in math, science, medicine, and a myriad of other subjects which greatly benefit all of society, but get tossed aside under Capitalism simply because the individual doesn’t have the knowledge or interest in marketing their research to Capitalist investors.  Or simply such investors lack interest in investing in pursuits which they cannot turn a profit on, even if it will benefit society.  Because Capitalism only gives value to things which can turn a profit for someone.  Ending this tyranny of profit would free academia to expand in every direction, and also free its availability up to the entire population.

The elimination of profit and Capitalist wage-labor has another effect which contributes to the end of class divisions: ending the division of labor.  As Karl Marx describes it in “The German Ideology:”

“For as soon as the distribution of labour comes into being, each man has a particular, exclusive sphere of activity, which is forced upon him and from which he cannot escape.  He is a hunter, a fisherman, a herdsman, or a critical critic, and must remain so if he does not want to lose his means of livelihood; while in Communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic.  This fixation of social activity, this consolidation of what we ourselves produce into an objective power above us, growing out of our control, thwarting our expectations, bringing to naught our calculations, is one of the chief factors in historical development up till now.”

This not only increases everyone’s happiness, but their productivity as well.  Because people work more efficiently when they’re happy, and labor power is no longer being wasted by making anyone work more than is necessary, nor making them work jobs they hate or aren’t even the best at.  Everyone’s talents and interests can be allowed to be applied to their greatest effect.  And the general education and capabilities of the population as a whole will be greatly increased.  Because under Communism everyone has the opportunity to learn a myriad of different skills and knowledge, but they also have the opportunity to focus on any subject or skill they please in order to become an expert in that field.  This is all accomplished by the elimination of profit, Capitalist Wages, and the need for every individual to work a specific number of hours so they personally can acquire enough currency to survive.  When these are gone it no longer matters who performs a job or when, because the product of that job benefits all anyway.  So who performs that job can be different at different times.  All that matters is that the job gets done, not who does it or how long it takes.

This also tackles homelessness and joblessness, allowing everyone access to their rights to shelter and work.  Because when profit and private ownership of business no longer exists there is no longer a need to prohibit any one from doing a job.  Once again: all that matters is that a job is done, it doesn’t matter how many people perform it.  There’s always work that needs done, and everyone will benefit from the produce of that work, So everyone would be encouraged to perform as many jobs as they want instead of being forced to do a single job for their entire lives, and an employer only hiring as few people as possible in order to increase profits as things are now.  As for homelessness: already right now in the U.S. there are more empty homes than homeless people. The problem is not lack of homes or a lack of resources to build homes.  The problem is the need for profit and currency.  People’s needs under Capitalism are not placed first, profit is.  And so, those who need a home are denied one simply for lacking currency to purchase one.  We have the resources at this very moment to end homelessness in the blink of an eye, all that stands in the way is profit and the Capitalist system which necessitates profit.

The elimination of the necessity for profit also goes very far towards ending the degradation of the environment.  As global warming, and other damage to the environment, is almost entirely created through overproduction and the pursuit of profit before everything else.  A socio-economic system that is not built on profit would have no reason to keep using practices or making products that damage the environment, because abandoning such practices or products wouldn’t have any negative impact on profits since there would be no profits to begin with.  Under Capitalism, such destructive behaviors are not only performed in spite of knowledge to their destructive nature, they are continually expanded.  Because Capitalism necessitates that a business continually expands to continually generate profit.  As Edward Abbey wrote in “The Second Rape of the West:”

“Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”

And as Murray Bookchin put it in his book “Remaking Society:”

“To speak of ‘limits to growth’ under a capitalistic market economy is as meaningless as to speak of limits of warfare under a warrior society.  The moral pieties, that are voiced today by many well-meaning environmentalists, are as naive as the moral pieties of multinationals are manipulative.  Capitalism can no more be ‘persuaded’ to limit growth than a human being can be ‘persuaded’ to stop breathing.  Attempts to ‘green’ capitalism, to make it ‘ecological’, are doomed by the very nature of the system as a system of endless growth.”

Ending the pursuit of profit, ending Capitalism, allows us to have a system that is sustainable.  Because when profit no longer governs our lives or our socio-economic system, any and all practices or products that damage our environment can be abandoned without economic repercussions, and they can be replaced by sustainable ones.  Because ending profit and the division of labor also means that no potential “green” technology would lack funding or people to undertake it, nor would it ever be deemed “too expensive” to pursue, as that very concept wouldn’t exist anymore as a fact of society.

Then there is the issue of Democracy.  As I’ve already pointed out: Democracy cannot exist under a Capitalist system.  The only thing it can ever be is a Plutocratic-Oligarchy.  When the ownership and control over the means of production is removed from private hands and placed into the hands of the people through a  Democratic system that is composed of the people rather than held above them as a State, then and only then can Democracy exist.  With the end of this ends the accumulation of gross personal wealth and political power, ending the influence of such things over the Governmental process.   Power resides with the means of production, it always has, and always will.  It is, after all, the single greatest influence on our lives, because it is the things which we all need and rely on for a modern life.  And so, once again:  whoever controls the means of production controls society and the organization of society; whoever controls the means of production controls the Government.  So, in order to have a Democratic Government, a Government “Of the people, by the people, and for the people,” the means of production must be Democratically controlled by the people, not private owners, nor controlled by an alienating State-type-Government.  This is what Communism accomplishes.

Of course, as I’ve said before: this is not a guarantee simply because private ownership over the means of production has been eliminated, eliminating the constitution of Government as a State is just as integral.  Because the best any State-type-Government can ever be is an Oligarchy.  But the institution of Socialism is integral to that process, because as long as private ownership over the means of production is continued, then Government will continue to be dominated by those private owners.

I am by no means making the assumption that an actual perfect system can be achieved by implementing these changes.  A perfect society is impossible But we can and should always strive for a better society than what we have, especially when the current society is so oppressive and exploitative, as it is now.  If no one ever attempted to correct the flaws of society simply because perfection was unobtainable we would certainly be living in a much worse world than even now, and we absolutely wouldn’t have even a semblance of Democracy.  Neither are any of these changes a guarantee that things could never become worse, more tyrannical.  No system can serve such a guarantee.  Just look how many Capitalist Republics have fallen to totalitarian regimes every bit as horrendous as what everyone imagines the totalitarian systems of past Communist regimes to have been.  Still, even a skeptic can see how a Governmental and economic system which prohibits any single person or group from having control over it would be much more difficult to turn towards totalitarianism and oppression.  The most vulnerable that such a society can be is when it is first being built, and it is during that time when our society must be more vigilant than ever at resisting those elements which will seek to end Democracy.  That is really what it comes down to, and always has: the vigilance of the people to build and protect their Democracy.  Even the United States while it was in its infancy nearly fell to a Dictatorship.  The leadership of the military, a mere weeks after defeating the British forces, approached George Washington with a plan to seize power and establish an American Monarchy.  The only thing which stopped the plan was the fact that Washington had no desire for it.  The battle for Democracy never ends, but it always begins with our desire to realize it.

The only way to realize Democracy, the only way to end the greatest problems of our society: poverty, homelessness, slave-like wage-labor, over-production, environmental degradation, and undemocratic Government, is to place ownership and control over the means of production into the hands of the people as a whole through a truly Democratic system, and the only way to have a truly Democratic system is to end all class systems.  Otherwise Government will simply be an Oligarchy of whatever ruling class exists.  The only way to do that is to structure Government so that it is not elevated above the people, so that it is instead composed of the people themselves, so that it is a proper Communist Government.  Communism is the cure to the maladies of Capitalism, and the maladies that continue to plague us from past systems, it is the only cure to them, and the only system to finally realize a truly Democratic society.

What Can Be Done?

Where do we go from here? What can I do? These are what I constantly asked myself for a long time when I first realized the things I have discussed in this book.  It’s frustrating to realize that society has gone so wrong, and not have any cause actively working to right this great wrong.  So that is what we need to do: build that group.

That begins by simply talking.  Make Communism, and critiques of Capitalism, regular conversation again.  Talk to everyone who will listen, and organize discussion groups.  That is the only way to accomplish anything; dismantling Capitalism is a societal effort, so the first things we need to do is build networks to directly confront the forces and ideas of Capitalism.  The seeds of such a movement are planted by holding open discussions.

Start by simply talking to friends, when you convince enough of them, hold formal discussion groups.  Advertise them, and encourage anyone and everyone to join them.  When these grow large enough they can branch out, other chapters can be started in other neighborhoods and cities.  Eventually the scale will be large enough that they can be transformed into a network of confederated assemblies which can begin to work in their communities to make people’s lives better, and eventually to directly confront the existing Capitalist Governments, syphoning political power from them, and eventually replacing them and taking control of the means of production.

But that is very long term. Right now you, and every other Communist, simply needs to build a network of support for each other, and to work constantly to raise the class consciousness of those around you.  “Democracy dies in darkness” the liberals like to say.  Throw this at them when they scoff at criticism of Capitalism.  If they love discourse so much, to the point that they are willing to “hear out” fascists, then why do they shut down dialog when we attempt to talk about the immoral nature of Capitalism and Class-Society?  Dialog must be open and constant on this, push every oρortunity to point out the flaws of Capitalism and Class-Society, and Constantly bring the discussion back to Democracy, because that is what Communism is about: Democracy finally realized.

But when you are talking to people, even other Communists, keep what I call “the Robin Hood Effect” in mind.  I am not talking about the concept in economic and political circles of “taking from the rich and giving to the poor.”  What I am talking about is the effect of a past person being seen more favorably by people later on, and perhaps even taking on symbolism for ideas that the historical figure may have even been opposed to.

I call this “The Robin Hood Effect” because the actual historical figure called Robin Hood is perhaps the earliest and best documented figure for this phenomenon to occur around.  You see, the actual Robin Hood was simply a common bandit, or perhaps several different bandits. (Some historians believe that Robin Hood was a title given to the leader of a group of bandits, rather than a single person.)  This person didn’t care about the plight of the poor, and would rob and kill them as much as the wealthy, perhaps even more so due to the poor being easier targets.  Attack the poor and the Feudal lord won’t care.  Attack the nobility and you’re likely to face down an army that’s come to kill you.  And yet, despite this, only a few years after the disappearance of the real Robin Hood, we see romantic tales being told about the champion of the poor who “stole from the rich and gave to the poor.”

It is that image of Robin Hood that has endured, not the real one.  No one cares about how the real Robin Hood was horrible towards the poor, and they don’t think anyone is a monster for idolizing Robin Hood.  Because it’s understood that no one idolizes Robin Hood the bandit that robbed and killed anyone. They idolize the image of Robin Hood the champion of the poor and the oppressed.

This phenomenon didn’t Stop With Robin Hood, it even continues today with more contemporary figures.  By far the most well known and controversial, is Stalin.  Whether or not Stalin committed the atrocities he is accused of is no longer relevant, because those who look to him do not see that, nor support anyone doing such things.  Indeed, they don’t believe Stalin did them at all.  For them, Stalin is that champion of the poor and the oppressed, an advocate of democracy and justice.  People who look to Stalin for inspiration do not advocate for mass-murder, homophobic oppression, or suppression of criticism towards the Government.  In fact they are, in the vast majority of cases, staunch opponents to all those things.  Many of them are even LGTBQA!

In a person’s life, their actions and beliefs are important.  What living people an individual looks to for inspiration matters, because those people are still alive, they still lead groups and take actions.  But what dead leaders a person looks to for inspiration doesn’t matter at all.  These historical figures can come to represent anything.  All that matters is what inspiration an individual finds in that historical figure, what ideas the individual advocates as a result of their admiration for the historical figure.  Don’t recoil from someone because they admire an historical figure that you think was a monster, or allow the conversation to get caught up on what that figure did or didn’t do.  Instead, listen to the ideals and principles that the person advocates, because that’s all that matters.

Spreading class consciousness is a slow and often agonizing process and it’s likely that we will never see Communism realized within our lifetimes.  But we must begin that process, we must plant these seeds.  They will take many years to germinate, but no Communist ever promised that this would be a fast process.  I stumbled upon a poem that spoke to me on this subject just the other day.  It is by Josiah Gilbert and titled “Gradatim:”

“Heaven is not gained at a single bound;

But we build the ladder by which we rise

From the lowly earth to the vaulted skies,

And we mount to its Summit round by round.

 

I count this thing to be grandly true,

That a noble deed is a step toward God-

To a purer air and a broader view.

 

We rise by that are ‘neath our feet;

By what we have mastered of good and gain;

By the pride deposed and the passion slain,

And the vanquished ills that we hourly meet.

 

We hope, we aspire, we resolve, we trust,

When the morning calls us to life and light,

But our hearts grow weary, and, ere the night,

Our lives are trailing the sordid dust.

 

We hope, we resolve, we aspire, We pray,

And we think that we mount the air on wings

Beyond the recall of sensual things,

While our feet still cling to the heavy clay.

 

Wings for the angels, but feet for men!

We may borrow the wings to find the way-

We may hope, and resolve, and aspire, and pray,

But our feet must rise, or we fall again.

 

Only in dreams is a ladder thrown

From the weary earth to the sapphire walls;

But the dream departs, and the vision falls,

And the sleeper wakes on his pillow of stone.

 

Heaven is not reached at a single bound:

But we build the ladder by which we rise

From the lowly earth to the vaulted skies,

And we mount to its summit round by round.”

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Communism will take even longer.  Because we are not simply trying to evolve the existing socio-economic system into another form, as Feudalism did to become Mercantilism, and then Capitalism.  Instead we are proposing a revolution; we seek a complete change to something else.  That takes patience, and determination.  “Heaven will not be reached at a single bound, But we must build the ladder by which we rise.”

That ladder to Communism is built by talking, by talking often, and by helping each other. “The propaganda of the deed” is powerful.  If we can build Communist assemblies in every city that improve their Communities, as groups like the Black Panthers did, then we will have a power that the Capitalists never even thought to tap into: the power of Solidarity, of mutual aid, and of mutual love.

Capitalists maintain power through fear.  Fear of arrest, fear of homelessness, fear of hunger and poverty.  But fear is a weak motivator.  Make a man afraid of you, and he will do what you say only as far as is necessary, beyond that his contempt will make him look for a way to defeat you.  But work to make a man love you, and they will gladly throw themselves upon the gates of hell for you.  We must cultivate that kind of love with each other and with our Communities.

This is how we build the ladder to Communism. With each word spoken to raise class consciousness, another rung is added.  With each homeless person sheltered and fed, another rung is added. With each meeting held to teach about Communism, another rung is added.  Slowly and gradually we will build our ladder, until one day the people will gladly raise the red banner above every rooftop, and we can finally greet each other as equals in a Democratic Society.

“Workers of the world, unite.”