Is there any future for the concepts of Marxism & Communism in today’s society; could its true doctrine and values be fully realized, possibly through Social Democracy?
In this piece I will seek to determine whether true Marxism has ever been truly implemented and seek to discover whether the Communist Philosophy has ever been truly realised and to identify whether or not the real values of Marxist Communism can truly overcome the woes of Western Market (not even ‘free Market’) Capitalism. In essence, I seek to justify why Social Democracy is the only current ideological alternative to this crippling, private, billionaires’ club controlled Capitalism.
In current Western Market Capitalist society, we ride on the proposition by Adam Smith, from the Wealth of Nations in 1776, the bible of Economics, that there is an invisible hand controlling Supply and Demand internationally. This is NO LONGER the case. We have developed into a society where at the top, the invisible hand is dominated by the few…wealthy billionaires, organizations and politicians, for example. This private club of elites, is what is ruining the World and depleting our resources.
My own personal view could be seen as controversial. I believe that we haven’t reached the end of Marxist Communism. It hasn’t EVER been truly implemented in the correct fashion by ANY ‘regime’ and been used and abused, by the few, to control the many. Politically, it is the abuse of the dialectical process which has resulted in a torn and divided World and negative Western political mind-set about the failure of Marxist Communism.
There are a few key stages to real Marxist Communism. These have not been fully realised and the problem is that some countries dictate the methods in which the stages are developed. By tinkering with true Marxist communism they have found methods in which to prolong certain stages of the doctrine to trade off for power, control and oppression. Stalinism is a key example of this.
The dialectical approach of Marxism is flawed. It fails to demonstrate, after the socio-economic stage, that there may be a shift in ideologies and a class synergy, rather than a class struggle. This in turn can form the basis for the evolution of Socialism with a peaceful transition rather than a dialectical struggle.
Marx wrote in depth about the virtues of the ‘mode of production’. He stated that with this notion, came the idea of the base and the superstructure in society. A better-rounded outlook would be to suggest that the base and the superstructure need guidance from an organization that is heavily rooted in both worlds and systems which can produce positive ‘systemic’ AND ’systematic’ change. But more on that later!
Marx forgot to factor into the equation one CRITICAL value. As the bourgeoisie expand and further their reach, they in essence educate the proletariat; and whilst the proletariat get richer, they learn off the bourgeoisie. What this in fact means is that there is a ‘coming together’ of classes to educate each other, hence the notion of class synergy.
Every ‘good’ human wants a better world, no matter what ‘class’. Although Capitalism is not perfect by any means, it has done its duty to influence us and educate us and provide semi-transparent information, accessibility and knowledge. There are many ‘upper-class’ citizens who invest a lot of time, money and effort into ameliorating society. At the other end, there are a lot of working class citizens who pride themselves in forming communities and helping each other. This ‘human’ element has been overshadowed by the narrow focus of Marxist Communist theory. What this element can achieve is unparalleled in the future. It can create a class convergence. The factions that will be outside this circle will be those who will not agree to better world, or seek to destroy the pure Marxist notion of equity, equality and egalitarianism. But they will be the few, not the many.
If there was ONE theory that would have to be rewritten to find pure political equality and equity in the future, it would have to be Marxism. There is a fallacy that Marxist communism has already been tried, tested and has failed. But I aim to analyse this more deeply.
In Part 14 of the Communist Manifesto, Marx writes:
What will this new social order have to be like? Above all, it will have to take the control of industry and of all branches of production out of the hands of mutually competing individuals, and instead institute a system in which all these branches of production are operated by society as a whole — that is, for the common account, according to a common plan, and with the participation of all members of society. It will, in other words, abolish competition and replace it with association. Moreover, since the management of industry by individuals necessarily implies private property, and since competition is in reality merely the manner and form in which the control of industry by private property owners expresses itself, it follows that private property cannot be separated from competition and the individual management of industry. Private property must, therefore, be abolished and in its place must come the common utilization of all instruments of production and the distribution of all products according to common agreement — in a word, what is called the communal ownership of goods. In fact, the abolition of private property is, doubtless, the shortest and most significant way to characterize the revolution in the whole social order which has been made necessary by the development of industry — and for this reason it is rightly advanced by communists as their main demand.
Further on in the Manifesto, this is written:
Democracy would be wholly valueless to the proletariat if it were not immediately used as a means for putting through measures directed against private property and ensuring the livelihood of the proletariat. The main measures, emerging as the necessary result of existing relations, are the following: (i) Limitation of private property through progressive taxation, heavy inheritance taxes, abolition of inheritance through collateral lines (brothers, nephews, etc.) forced loans, etc. (ii) Gradual expropriation of landowners, industrialists, railroad magnates and ship-owners, partly through competition by state industry, partly directly through compensation in the form of bonds. (iii) Confiscation of the possessions of all emigrants and rebels against the majority of the people. (iv) Organization of labour or employment of proletarians on publicly owned land, in factories and workshops, with competition among the workers being abolished and with the factory owners, in so far as they still exist, being obliged to pay the same high wages as those paid by the state. (v) An equal obligation on all members of society to work until such time as private property has been completely abolished. Formation of industrial armies, especially for agriculture. (vi) Centralization of money and credit in the hands of the state through a national bank with state capital, and the suppression of all private banks and bankers. (vii) Increase in the number of national factories, workshops, railroads, ships; bringing new lands into cultivation and improvement of land already under cultivation — all in proportion to the growth of the capital and labour force at the disposal of the nation. (viii) Education of all children, from the moment they can leave their mother’s care, in national establishments at national cost. Education and production together. (ix) Construction, on public lands, of great palaces as communal dwellings for associated groups of citizens engaged in both industry and agriculture and combining in their way of life the advantages of urban and rural conditions while avoiding the one-sidedness and drawbacks of each. (x) Destruction of all unhealthy and jerry-built dwellings in urban districts. (xi) Equal inheritance rights for children born in and out of wedlock. (xii) Concentration of all means of transportation in the hands of the nation. It is impossible, of course, to carry out all these measures at once. But one will always bring others in its wake. Once the first radical attack on private property has been launched, the proletariat will find itself forced to go ever further, to concentrate increasingly in the hands of the state all capital, all agriculture, all transport, all trade. All the foregoing measures are directed to this end; and they will become practicable and feasible, capable of producing their centralizing effects to precisely the degree that the proletariat, through its labour, multiplies the country’s productive forces. Finally, when all capital, all production, all exchange have been brought together in the hands of the nation, private property will disappear of its own accord, money will become superfluous, and production will so expand and man so change that society will be able to slough off whatever of its old economic habits may remain.
These parts of the Communist Manifesto are CRITICAL of understanding why it has failed to date in all countries that have championed it. Basically, when Marx stated that the proletariat need to concentrate their efforts on gaining access to the state and altering the superstructure from this level, he meant that the proletariat officials need not forget their background. But power corrupts and examples such as Stalin can be used here.
This ‘stage’ of Marxist Communism, has been used and abused by the few and authoritarian dictators.
Marx states that in order to ‘overthrow’ the bourgeoisie, a controlling section of proletarian leaders need to emerge to take control of state resources and aid the transference.
As far as I can understand, this is a freeze-out of the third stage (out of four), of the dialectical process…where the ‘leaders’ of the proletariat replace the elite, bourgeoisie at the top, in government and business, and are supposed to seek to create the necessary structure for transcending to stage four, where there is no need for an elite circle of proletariats, as they will have influenced and educated society enough to have created a harmonized, balanced and equal world, through their temporary, esteemed positions. In essence, the kind of society and World that Social Democracy seeks to achieve, champion and implement.
BUT all strands and variations of Marxist Communism have failed here. Stalin used his power as the leader of the Russian communist party to implement some of the stages as described by Marx, but in essence still controlled the masses through a state of terror. There are parallels in virtually every other Communist Regime since.
This was meant to be a small stage in the works and ideas of Marx and Engels. They stated that rule by a few proletarian officials who understood the need and requirements of Communism to progress, would in effect lead to the dissipation of the bourgeoisie. But what occurred, was the opposite. They took control of all the assets and resources of this class and used methods as delineated in the Manifesto, to prevent progression and control the masses. As I have already stated, they ‘froze’ this stage of Marxism to secure their individual gain, power and control at the top.
History has always been unkind to Marxism. What Marx and Engels truly sought was a utopian society; and this ideal or virtue, has been long forgotten.
In order to fully realize their political mission, we must understand that It will be done through a transcendence of class. A top-down, as well as a bottom-up transcendence or convergence. Marx only believed it would be achieved from bottom-up revolt. But Western Market Capitalism has shown that you could be a millionaire one day, then lose it the next. You could have everything, then one day have nothing. How can we realistically be compartmentalized, pigeon-holed and boxed up by society when our experiences and lives are so varied, unique and individual? How can we truly put ‘labels’ on people, stereotyping them and differentiating ourselves via class separations? And why does it always need to be branded a revolution? This is what switches people off to these principles…they fear loss; of the status quo.
We must understand that every person on this Planet is different, unique and special. We each have skill-sets, knowledge and abilities that cannot be defined by class. We must understand that if we are to ever achieve a balanced society, then we must apply stage four of the dialectical process, and live as though the current Capitalist system, is stage three of the process. This will be done by expanding the values and mind-set of Social Democracy.
We must transcend class differences, struggles and conflict. This can only be achieved by Socially Democratic transcendent World politics.