Thinking Out Loud: Are We Witnessing The Decadence in U.S. Society That Makes Disintegration Inevitable?
December 9, 2015 by Herbert Daughtry
Greed: The Root of All Evil?
Marxism, Communism, Socialism, and Capitalism
The serfs were declared legally free to hunt jobs in the markets, mines, and factories. Their labor itself became a commodity to be bought and sold. Thus, man’s labor was alienated from himself. Man’s labor was no longer a satisfying experience. He no longer worked for the sheer enjoyment of processing and creatively producing. Now his labor was a god, in the form of a product, which translated itself into money. The capitalists and the non- producers grew richer on the blood of the laborers.
The final stage, and there’s evidence of its emergence all around us, is communism and socialism. At this point, the ownership of property and wealth, and its distribution, are in the hands of the proletariat – the masses of workers.
As each stage carried within it the seeds for the next stage, so capitalism had within it the ingredients for its own destruction. The reason for the death of capitalism, or the reason for the Golden Age of communism was the extremely competitive, monopolistic nature of capitalism. With capitalism, a cycle of market creation, raw materials to satisfy the markets, and machinery to turn the raw materials into marketable items, the proliferation of the world with a plethora of things exists. The most advanced technologists in all of this – the workers, who are made ever more wretched by the growing wealth of the few, finally reach a point of explosion, rise up, and take possession of everything.
When the proletariat takes over, it’s just a matter of owning and sharing equally what capitalism has already produced. It must be understood, and this is crucial, that Marx never thought that the simple collective ownership of the means of production would bring in the Golden Age of communism.
“The mere conversion of the property relation into the public property owned by all does not nothing to change the servitude inherent in the property of relationship itself. It merely turns the state into an abstract, generalized capitalist, and generalizes the servitude of all men relative to this public capitalist. Such a view of communism as a leveling of all things and the transfer of the property relation from private to public hands is simply the uprising of general greed and envy. The transfer of property to the public simply reveals in finalized form the bastardization of man to things. Man’s basic root problem of subservience to commodities is left unchanged but simply transferred from private prostitution to the public prostitution of all.”
Marx understood and propounded with as much fervor as some of our religious brethren that there was something in the inner nature of man that was wrong. The persistence of the self-alienation principle could not be resolved with more people owning and distributing everything. Marx might have anticipated the present Russian state, where the region is called communism. Yet the government, in the form of the Party, controls wealth and is in the business of making capital rather than, as Marx talked about, making all things available to all people. In short, the communism of Russia, whatever else it is, is not the same communism Marx said would come after the disintegration of capitalism. Instead of an advance beyond capitalism, it became a way of introducing capitalism.
Russians answered this contradiction by saying, “We are bringing in the day of communism.” Entered Lenin and others. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (April 22, 1870 – January 21,1924) was a Russian revolutionary, Bolshevik communist politician, principal leader of the October Revolution, and the first head of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, better known as the Soviet Union. He taught that a vanguard was necessary to lead the proletariat/workers to the Golden Age of true communism. One might answer, “Very well then, but if you are bringing it in, you are still in the stage of some form of capitalism.” It ought to be said that in the teaching of Marx, it is necessary to create the capitalist state to set the stage for communism and that, therefore, the present stage of development is moving from capitalism toward communism.
Significantly, Marx had to alter his timetable. When he saw that the revolution in Europe did not produce a communist state, capitalists were not becoming fewer but were increasing in number, and that the condition of the workers was getting better, he then said that it is possible that communism would emerge in a backyard country like Russia where the process would be from capitalism to communism.
… to be continued.
(Originally published in the Daily Challenge on December 9, 2015.)