Is the productive potential already beyond what capitalism can provide?

The fact that the hardest workers under capitalism are the poorest speaks volumes to its inefficiency. There is no denying that in not rewarding hard work, it has become a burden to the productive forces. Moreover with the very recent exponential increase of technological advancements we see that it is taking more and more innovation to sustain the capitalist economy. Capitalism, according to both pro-capitalist economists and marxian economists requires constant growth (around 3% annually) just to function properly. There is no doubt that we are pushing our economic system continually to the absolute limit, with such an amount of constant growth required, the economy must continue to produce new innovations exponentially in order to function. While the productive potential itself is also fundamentally rising, eventually the productive potential will rise far beyond what is economically feasible under capitalism, far beyond its potential to provide a decent life to those who actually produce societies wealth. It is arguable that this has already taken place, that the proletarianization of the American middle class itself is a sign of the decline in the economies power to sustain a strong middle class, and thus meet its productive potential. Thus the people of the world will soon have to confront the fact that we live in a system, and moreover have lived in a system for a long time now with the productive potential to feed, house, and otherwise provide the necessities to every man, woman and child however it is set up in such a rigid, outdated way that it’s innovations are unable to provide for and enrich the lives of those who actually produce the wealth of our society. This is undeniable proof that the current productive potential cannot be met under capitalism, that even though we are seeing an exponential increase in technological growth, it is not because the economy is keeping up with the productive potential, but rather that the productive potential is so far beyond what the capitalist economy can provide that the economy itself cannot keep up, that it is struggling to provide and grow at a constant rate, and that its struggling so much that it is impoverishing the middle class, the pride of the American dream.

Why Socialism?

“We cry shame on the feudal baron who forbade the peasant to turn a clod of earth unless he surrendered to his lord a fourth of his crop. We called those the barbarous times. But if the forms have changed, the relations have remained the same*, and the worker is forced, under the name of free contract, to accept feudal obligations. For, turn where he will, he can find no better conditions. Everything has become private property, and he must accept, or die of hunger.” -Peter Kropotkin

I decided to write this because I wanted to justify my views to the world, and I am not alone. You will find that the bulk of this explains the socialist system, but in doing so provides undeniable merit to its neccesity. Originally Albert Einstein published an article called Why Socialism? in 1949 in the first issue of the American socialist journal called the Monthly Review. His article was the inspiration for this post, I look up to Einstein not only as a role model but as a mentor. As a soon-to-be Astronomer/ Astrophysicist I have always looked up to Einstein for his genius, his contribution to the scientific realm and for his love and curiosity of the universe. The original Why Socialism? can be found here. If you’re going to read my version, I highly encourage you to read his. Mine goes into much more detail explaining what socialism and communism actually are than his. I’ll also post the link at the end of the article.

There is an alarming amount of hostile misinformation at best, or rather intentional propaganda against the mere term socialism. This is the reason for why I am going insofar as to explain what socialism actually is and how it works. In fact 9 out of 10, or rather 99 out of 100 people cannot actually tell you what socialism actually is, let alone how it works. Yet they are more than willing to tell you why it is wrong. So before you read any further I ask you to forget everything you’ve ever been taught about socialism, what it means, what it does, what it is, etc. Forget everything, and I truly mean everything. “Unless you have investigated a problem you will be deprived of the right to speak on it. Is that too harsh? Not in the least. When you have not probed into a problem, into the present facts and past history, and know nothing of the essentials, whatever you say about it will undoubtedly be nonsense” -Mao Zedong.

I am an intellectual, and with that comes a disdain for blindly accepting social dogmas, particularly in my case with the blind appraisal for the capitalist system in society today. Thus I have probed into sources which praise capitalism, and sources which criticize it. You cannot come to a conclusion about something so important without fully knowing both sides of the story, so that’s exactly what I did. After countless, countless days of research, I find myself fully siding with an intellectual concept which is not only at odds, but blindly hated by a majority of those in our society. Thus I feel compelled to have those who question my decision to advocate socialism hear my side of the story. As a Christian I feel compelled to not only reject capitalism, a system which is fundamentally based on greed and the love of money but to support the socialist, the fairer system.

To begin, Karl Marx was Capitalism’s most intelligent and thorough critic of the capitalist system. Even though he was born in 1818 nearly everything he predicted about the future of the capitalist system has come to pass, everything except a communistic revolution in an advanced capitalist country. Marx himself was an economist and a philosopher. He never actually wrote an article, let alone a book on communism. He scientifically analyzed the capitalist system. He was up to date on all the latest economic theories of his time, in fact he painstakingly poured over literally everything ever written by the major economists of his time before even beginning to criticize the capitalist system. He combined the philosopher Hegel’s concept of analysis via dialectics with the philosophical concept of materialism to form both dialectical and historical materialism. In doing such, he provided a clear, logical lens in which to scientifically analyze both the present world and both the past, taking into account the relations and complexities of the production of the necessities of life. Dialectical Materialism and Historical Materialism are the fundamental cornerstone of Marx’s theories, of his scientific analysis of the world. Now, I’m writing an article on my blog, not a book. So if you want to really understand Marx’s theories go him yourself! I can only take you so far, as to give you a very, very basic introduction into his theories on Marxian economics, and the basics of socialism and communism. Seeking Marx out for yourself is really the only way to learn about Marxian economics in the United States. There are hardly any college courses (in the US) which even teach Marxian economics, you can actually get a PHD in economics without ever once being required to read Marx in the United States. There are several reasons for this, firstly the United States is much more afraid of socialism (given the cold war) than many European countries, where Marxian economics are taught along side the traditional, neoclassical economics. Secondly, we live in a society which for the most part, blindly praises capitalism without even having to criticize it.

A fundamental part of Marx’s worldview takes into account class distinctions and class conflict. Class, in Marxian terms is not mere economic inequality (though that is a result of class conflict). It is the conflict between the makers which in capitalist society are the workers, or the proletariat and the takers which in capitalist society are called the capitalists or the bourgeoisie. So for this I’ll give you a real world example of some very basic Marxian economics, and yes I’m sorry but it requires a little math: The worker produces say 100 dollars in the span of an hour. The capitalist takes that whole hundred dollars and naturally uses that 100 to pay the worker his wage, say 8 dollars. The rest of that money is what we call the surplus value. So the capitalist takes the rest of that money to pay for the resources for the raw materials of production, taxes, etc. which we’ll say totals 35 dollars. But that leaves 57 dollars left over which the worker made, yet does not receive. So the capitalist takes the whole of that 57 dollars, perhaps some of it goes to the board of directors if we’re talking about a corporation, but in essence, that 57 dollars, the bulk of the profit, is not taken by the worker who made it, but by the capitalist. The goal of the capitalist is to maximize his profit by maximizing the amount of the surplus value he takes to the bank, also to minimize the other expenses including the workers’ wage. So what does he do? He pays the worker the lowest wage humanly possible. In the days of the early industrial revolution, before workers unions came around he payed the worker enough to merely survive, to maintain a wretched, yet real existence. Obviously he has to pay the worker enough to eat, because if he dies the capitalist loses a major source of income. Thus the human being is dehumanized, or alienated by his labor. He is no longer a human being, but merely a tool of production to make money for the capitalist. Alienation appears not only as the result of production, but also in the act of production itself. Where the worker “feels himself at home only during his leisure time, whereas at work he feels homeless. His work is not voluntary but imposed, (compulsory) forced labor. (His work) is not the satisfaction of a need, but only a means for satisfying other needs (food, water, shelter, etc.). Its alien character is clearly shown by the fact that as soon as there is no physical or other compulsion it is avoided like a plague.” [3]. The goal of socialism is communism, and while socialism alleviates some of this alienation, the worker is not completely emancipated from it until communism has been fully achieved.

In modern society we have a minimum wage, but that is not a living wage. Every once in a while the wage goes up, but it does not go up with inflation. It is a constant struggle on the part of the workers, a class struggle to continually raise the wage so the workers have enough to survive. The capitalist also doesn’t want to pay taxes, that’s less money for him. So naturally he dodges paying taxes by any means necessary, as we often hear about corporations in the news with so called off-shore ‘tax havens’. Also to save money the capitalist will outsource labor to third world countries, where he can pay the workers their significantly less! Why pay 8 dollars to the US worker when you can pay the foreign worker $2.50? With the abundance of mass production the raw materials of production are lower than ever! Why even pay a worker at all when you can replace him with a robot that will do the exact some thing for free? The state, the government, the media, all things which capital has a hand in, are ruled by- or at least heavily influenced by the bourgeoisie, the ruling class to maintain the prevailing social order, such is the nature of the ruling class in any social system. The capitalist doesn’t want socialism because under socialism he himself would be required to work to survive! Under socialism those who make the surplus value, get the leftover surplus value (after taxes, raw materials, etc)! Socialism does not cause laziness, rather socialism directly rewards hard work, unlike capitalism where the wage stays the same regardless of how hard the worker works! The philosophy of socialism is “He who does not (apart from those who physically, mentally cannot) work does not eat”. Thus socialism is not the system which takes from people who work hard and gives it to people who don’t deserve it, that is actually capitalism!

To understand what Marx and Engels meant by saying that, “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.” in the Communist Manifesto it is essential to look at the world today, but also at all human history through the lens of historical materialism, to see how humans develop in relation to the materials they produce which are essential to life. I will try to make this analysis as brief as possible, but it is essential to truly beginning to understand the answer to the question of Why Socialism?

The original hunter gatherer societies were what Marx called Primitive Communist societies. He called them this because the way the necessities of life were organized. “They depended on finding enough food to survive through a combination of hunting and scavenging wild animals and gathering wild plants. They were at the mercy of their environment and had no way of storing more than small amounts of food long-term, particularly as they usually had to travel long distances to find food. Everyone was involved in producing the necessities of life (food, shelter etc) because otherwise the group would starve. There was no room for an elite to develop who could exploit the labour of others…Studies of hunter-gatherer societies carried out in the last century show that in many cases they had developed a complex system of sharing resources within and between the groups as a kind of insurance against famine or conflict. In hunter-gatherer society, if one group does well it is in their own long-term interests to share the fruits of their success with other groups. If they have a surplus of food they cannot eat or store they give some to other groups, understanding that if another group is successful the original group will be able to share their surplus. This not only helps the groups through the times when food is scarce, it also reduces conflict between them. When everyone is dependent on each other, it is in everyone’s interests to avoid conflict”.[1]

Thus the communistic, and even biblical principle of “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” was met in these primitive communist societies. Such a philosophy, both in primitive times and when communism, as many intellectuals such as myself believe, inevitably triumphs over the whole world “in turn produces a democratic and co-operative method of decision-making.”[1] Democracy is absolutely essential to any socialist or communist system. Socialism is- in essence the extension of democracy, contrary to what you may have heard. When the bourgeoisie are overthrown who will replace them? In our present society, the workplace cannot be described as anything less than a dictatorship. The workers are a mere tool of the capitalist to produce a profit, they have no democratic control of the business they sacrifice their livelihood to maintain. Under socialism AND communism democracy is extended from mere formal democracy into real democracy, democracy in the work place. As Lenin said, “Democracy is indispensable to socialism”.

About 10,000 years ago came the first use of agriculture, of farming. “For the first time ever, human society was able to produce a permanent surplus (the amount of food and goods produced over and above what they needed to survive). This allowed a section of society to be released from the day-to-day work of producing the necessities of life without endangering the survival of the group.” This is the dawn of modern society, of all documented human history. “As the productivity of labour increased and some societies became more complex, a layer of administrators also emerged. For example the first known writing system in the world was developed by the Sumerians in the years leading up to 3,000 BC.”[1] With this came the emergence of class society. With it, there are historically 3 systems which have dominated recent human history, these are Slavery, Feudalism, and Capitalism.

“SLAVERY: The ancient slave societies, for example Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, were based on 57 the exploitation of slave labour on a massive scale. Large cities where wealthy landowners lived were supported by huge numbers of slaves (mostly captured in war) who worked the land and made most of the goods such as oil, wine, pottery and jewellery that made the slave societies so rich.

FEUDALISM: is a peasant-based economy where the peasants control what they produce on their “own” plot of land but are forced to give a portion of the fruits of their labour to the feudal lord who owns or controls the land where they live. This surplus taken by the lord can take many forms, for instance: the peasant doing a certain number of days labour on the lord’s land; giving a certain proportion of the year’s produce; or paying money rent. The landowning aristocracy are the ruling class under feudalism. Although the state usually centres round the monarchy, the royal family is generally drawn from the landowning aristocracy and follows their interests.

CAPITALISM: the economic system which dominates the world today, is based on private ownership of the means of production (manufacturing industry, the raw materials and resources needed for industry and, today, even the seeds necessary for food production) and exploitation of the labour of the working-class. The working-class, with no land or substantial inherited wealth, have no means of supporting themselves and are forced to sell their labour to survive. Capitalists buy this labour power, then get their money back and make profits by selling necessities and other products to the working-class and other classes in society.” [1]

Thus we see what Marx and Engels meant in the Communist Manifesto when they said, “In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social rank. In ancient Rome we have patricians, knights, plebeians, slaves; in the Middle Ages, feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices, serfs; in almost all of these classes, again, subordinate gradations. The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones.” [2]

The slogan of the French revolution was Liberté, égalité, fraternité (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity). They thought that by overthrowing feudalism and replacing it with capitalism these things would be achieved. Even today, 300+ years after the birth of modern capitalism this has yet to be achieved, even worse, with the forces of production growing ever faster inequality is actually exponentially more than it was in the days of feudalism. Marx recognized that capitalism was not a system which could deliver on its promise of Liberté, égalité, fraternité. He did, however praise capitalism for it’s vast technological advancements. Through the lens of historical materialism he saw that the socioeconomic systems historically lag behind the technological advancements of the means of production, that the old ways of doing things (slave economies, feudalism, capitalism, etc.) eventually become outdated, and the people realize that there can be a better way, a more efficient and humane way to run society. So the people rightfully take up arms and through means of revolution overthrow all existing social conditions and build a radical, new social order. Marx knew that with the coming of capitalism, society would be radically transformed. He accurately predicted that the living conditions of the proletariat would increase with the advancement of society, as they have today. But so long as capitalism exists, the bulk of the surplus value (the economic fruits of the workers labor) would be taken by the capitalist (bourgeoisie), who had not worked for it, in exchange for a wage or a salary. Marx saw that while capitalism would bring the world into a new age, humanity could do better, and must do better.

The only thing that can change this is the  abolition of private property (meaning private, individual ownership of the economy, not personal property). Thus with this comes social ownership of the means of production and for the first time the workers, those who produce the product enjoy the full fruits of their labour, for the first time have democratic control over their business and thus the economy moves from operating under the motive of capital (accumulation of money through greed), to the bettering of society as a whole. For the reasons of doing away with the grave evils that pervade our society today (vast inequality, poverty, greed, etc.) I support the transition to a socialist economy. No one should have the fruits of their labor stolen from them, no one should be able to amass a fortune without they themselves working for it. In the present capitalist society, Kropotkin accurately states that “Everywhere you will find that the wealth of the wealthy springs from the poverty of the poor”. This is a fundamental truth to the capitalist system. 

Another thing that bothered Marx is that since capitalism is a system of hundreds if not thousands of individual, separate firms, there is no real central planning in the production of goods. Thus, under capitalism we regularly face crisis’ of overproduction. Where we produce too much food, too much of a basic economic essential to life. Because of this we regularly see booms and busts. The economy regularly crashes with appalling human consequences. But do we as a society label this as a failure of capitalism? No! We blame corporate greed, bankers, etc. for the fundamental problems associated with the capitalist system.“…capitalism does live by crises and booms, just as a human being lives by inhaling and exhaling.” -Leon Trotsky

With the lack of centralized planning we see another alarming fact of the capitalist system. In the past famine was caused by lack of food, but in the present society we have more than enough food to feed everyone who is hungry. We in fact have too much food. Thus in the present society people go hungry not because they don’t work, not because there isn’t enough food, but because the poor are merely discarded as trash. We have enough food, water, shelter, raw materials, etc. for every man, woman and child on earth. But so long as profit is the motive, and not humanity, the poor will be discarded as trash. This is arguably the most appalling aspect of the capitalist system. Poverty is not only a result of capitalism, but it is essential, intentional, and systematically maintained. We have incredible, unprecedented productive potential as a global society, and we are tragically pursuing a profit motive rather than one that both provides and is based on providing the basic essentials for all. The only economy I believe in is one that aims to meet the basic needs of all human beings. Poverty today can be completely eliminated worldwide, but never through a system which places profits before people. The only system which can do this is socialism, and eventually through socialism: communism.

Capitalism has been a catastrophe for the exploited peoples in third-world countries, people who are forced to work for hours on end for just pennies a day in exchange for their labor, their countries resources, etc. Arguably even worse is the unsustainability of the capitalist system. Capitalism, according to both pro-capitalist economists and marxian economists requires constant growth (around 3% annually) just to function properly. There is also the climate emergency which we are facing today, it is only to be expected of a system which puts profits before both people and planet. There is no question that capitalist is unsustainable. Socialism is the only real solution to this problem.

As with any radical new idea, people often take it to the extreme. The early emergence of capitalism was no different in this regard. We saw this in Russia in the 1930’s, in Albania, in China, etc. While there is a vast amount of misinformation out there, it is imperative to learn from the mistakes of the past, and to condemn them. As much as I understand why Stalin did what he did, having foresaw WW2 back in the 1920’s and the need to prepare the country, the ends did not justify the means. I see Stalinism as the bastardization of Leninism, as many critics of Stalinism often do. The original tenets of the October revolution were largely abandoned when Stalin came to power and all the original Bolsheviks from the period of the October revolution were executed under Stalin’s orders. For if they realized how far off from the original tenets of Leninism he had gone, they would have undoubtedly tried to stop him. Thus every single country which is or has ever been Marxist-Leninist has based their country off- not the tenets of the October revolution, but off of Stalin’s Russia. This to me, is a huge mistake, and even more than that a tragedy. This bastardized version of socialism is what comes to mind when we hear the word socialism. Under Stalinism we often see religious oppression, a lack of democracy, the existence of state capitalism longer than needed rather than socialism, etc. Though it is impossible to deny that even this bastardized version of Leninism, of centralized planning has has impeccable results. Russia had just gone through a violent revolution which- as revolutions so often do- traumatized the economy. The country had just ended WW1 devastated, and they were in the midst of a famine. Yet within 20 years they had become a modern, industrial superpower. People were fed, literacy was comparable with the West. This never would have happened so fast without a socialist revolution. China in the 30’s was a largely feudal peasant society, 4 out of 5 people were poor peasants. Only the wealthy could read and mass famine was common. Yet after Mao Zedong came to power, after many failed and often tragic mass social experiments, the country was once again radically transformed into a period of food stability, literacy, industrialization, etc. China even now rivals the United States. If you look at Cuba before Fidel Castro came to power you will see the same thing. Over 40% of the land owned by 1% of the people, often American corporations, child mortality and illiteracy were among the highest in the world, etc. Today Cuba has a better literacy and child mortality rate than the United States. Many socialist countries have been severely damaged, if not totally destroyed by the US. The Cuban trade embargo has left Cuba trapped in the 60’s, yet still they persevere. In Chile the worlds first democratically elected Marxist president was violently overthrown by the CIA and replaced with a brutal, puppet military dictatorship which caused the lives of thousands of innocent people. In North Korea, few people realize that it is the trade restrictions imposed by the US and not the North Korean government which is actually starving the people of North Korea. Quality of life was actually better in North Korea than in South Korea in the time before the fall of the USSR. None of these revolutions were the revolution that Marx predicted, but they still show the sheer power of having a scientifically planned economy, and offer great lessons to be learned from in the future. While I condemn many of these states, I see them as examples to learn from in the future as not to allow the negative aspects of history to repeat themselves. As a footnote, socialism has not been achieved in many of these countries, many of them never went past the (arguably unnecessary in an advanced capitalist society such as the US) state-capitalism phase. Communism has never been achieved in any country ever, and it can only be achieved globally. The US and other imperialist powers will stop at nothing to ensure that socialism is crushed. Just take a look at the declassified operation blackwoods in which the US planned a massive series of homeland terrorist attacks to provoke war with Cuba.

Many of these countries are based not only on Stalinism, but with that on Stalin’s theory of Socialism in one country. This theory advocates the building of socialism in one country, then, once world revolution comes along, the transition to full communism. I, and many others disagree with this theory. The capitalist economy is a world economy, so too must be the socialist economy. The main reason, in my opinion that Socialism in one country does not work is because outside threats, such as the US pose too great a risk and thus the regime can easily become oppressive to hold onto power and to fight foreign imperialist influence. The only solution is the emergence of a communistic revolution in an advanced capitalist country which will help to bring about worldwide, permanent revolution. The existence of any single socialist country in a capitalist world economy is the same as a single capitalist country in a feudal world economy. The Feudal lords would impost trade restrictions, provoke war with and try to tear apart the capitalist country from the inside because capitalism is a direct threat to the monarchs power. It is no different with socialist countries today, the leaders of the capitalist system want nothing less than the complete destruction of these countries. As a result many of them end up becoming highly authoritarian. I myself am a libertarian socialist, I condemn excessive authoritarianism, though some would of course be necessary.

I cannot emphasize this next point enough. Socialism is an economic system based on social (worker, sometimes public) ownership of the means of production. Capitalism is an economic system based on private (capitalist, individual) ownership of the means of production. Socialism and capitalism both can exist in an authoritarian or libertarian country alike. There are anarchist-socialists, anarchist-capitalists, and anarchist-communists who advocate these systems without the existence of government. Contrary to what you may have heard, socialism has nothing to do with the government. 

As I said earlier, there is no ruling class under socialism, no one under socialism gets rich without they themselves producing the fruits of the labor they receive. Yes capitalism has brought us iPhones and flat screen tv’s and I praise it for that. But historically there comes a point in time when the prevailing socioeconomic system, be it slavery, feudalism, or capitalism lags behind the productive potential (or sustainability) of the forces of production, something which has arguably already begun. Capitalism is proving to be more and more unsustainable. And thus the people- realizing that the ruling class is not only no longer needed but an actual hindrance to the productive forces, to their livelihoods, revolt in an act of revolution. Historically this is the replacing of one ruling class with the other. But here is what makes socialism different. In the case of socialism, it removes class distinctions completely, there is no one to hold onto the surplus value produced by the workers themselves. Under socialism, ‘he who does not work (excluding those who cannot work) does not eat’. Under capitalism the rich get richer by contributing absolutely nothing to the forces of production, and to society at large. Thus the hardest workers under capitalism, are the poorest, while the richest are the laziest. Under capitalism it is possible to become wealthy and simply live off the wealth, and the ever increasing interest rates, stocks, etc. And it is possible, nay it is common for one to amass a fortune by contributing absolutely nothing to society, while impoverishing those who actually produce the wealth. Socialism turns that upside down, the hardest workers of society make the most money. This is the essence of socialism.

However socialism is only the first step, communism is the end goal. With the emergence of communism the state is set up in such a rigid way that it withers away. What is the state? The state is the aspect of the government which exists for the domination and suppression of one class over another. In the case of the capitalist countries today the state serves the bourgeoisie and thus works to suppress the proletariat to maintain the prevailing social system (capitalism). I said earlier that there is no ruling class under socialism, but this is only partially true. For the majority (proletariats) become the ruling class, because they are the makers and the takers, they are the only real class. The bourgeoisie, or moreover the former bourgeoisie are prevented by the state from returning to power, just as the French state prevented the feudal lords from returning to power. Thus we call any capitalist country a ‘dictatorship of the bourgeoisie’ (regardless of how ‘free’ it might seem) and likewise a socialist country we call a’dictatorship of the proletariat’ (of the working masses, the 99%). The goal of socialism is to rid of the state completely, as Lenin said, “So long as the state exists, there is no freedom. When there is freedom there will be no state“. This is not to say that Lenin was advocating that the state intentionally deprive the masses of freedom, for he also said that “It is sheer mockery of the working and exploited people to speak of pure democracy, of democracy in general, of equality, freedom and universal rights when the workers and all working people are ill-fed, ill-clad, ruined and worn out not only as a result of capitalist wage-slavery, but as a consequence of four years of predatory war, while the capitalists and profiteers remain in possession of the ‘property’ usurped by them and the ‘ready-made’ apparatus of state power… Never share the ‘superstitious belief’ in the ‘state’ and never forget that the state even in the most democratic republic, and not only in a monarchy, is simply a machine for the suppression of one class by another.” Thus the goal of socialism is to move to where the state apparatus of the government no longer exists. With this, the various governments around the world also become heavily decentralized. This only happens once lower level communism has been achieved, once all former class distinctions have vanished. In our society today it is arguable that all former class distinctions of feudal society have also long since vanished, so too will those of capitalism.

So what is the difference between socialism and communism? Under socialism the philosophy is that each working individual is entitled to the full fruits of his labor, basically the idea that ‘he who does not work, does not eat’. Under communism the philosophy is this: From each according to their ability to each according to their needs. Communism can only exist once the productive forces have become so productive that it is no longer necessary to toil away at meaningless tasks to receive a meager wage to sustain a basic existence. The means of production have become so productive that meaningless work for long hours on end no longer becomes necessary, and that work which is necessary is not destined to be done solely by any one individual but by all. Under communism money is completely abolished, wages are completely abolished, and the state is completely abolished, and (according to some anarcho-communists) the government itself is abolished. Like renting a book from the library, the librarian does not ask what you have contributed to society before you rent a book. Under communism the essential amount of work is done, but it is not asked what you have contributed to society to meet your basic needs (food, water, shelter, etc.). The world economy, having been transformed in such a productive way no longer requires long hours of hard work just to maintain a basic existence and thus the work week is drastically reduced. The freedom of the individual is expanded to such an extent never before seen. People have much more time to work on things that really matter such as science, literature, philosophy, art, etc. People are free from toiling away, wasting their time for hours and hours on end, from all former oppression. Thus the philosophy of the whole world becomes, “From each according to their ability to each according to their NEEDS (not to the amount of labor they produced). Such a society, with common ownership of the means of production, which puts people before profits and does away with the profit incentive (and money) altogether we call communism.

Given this accurate explanation of what socialism and communism are is it really necessary for me to go on? As Einstein said in the original Why Socialism? which can be found here, socialism “is about moving past the predatory phase of human development”. It doesn’t mean the government should control anything, it means that the workers, those who produce the wealth should reap the full fruits of their labor and thus control the world they themselves democratically build. It means that it is time for humanity to move on in the name of freedom and democracy, to abolish all poverty, all inequality, to give every child an equal chance to succeed. It is the ultimate extension and expression of true freedom. Why socialism? Why not socialism? Need I say more?

Thus allow me to finish with the final words of Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto:

The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible 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.

Working Men of All Countries, Unite!

 

* My italics

Special thanks to Jordan S. and others at SA for giving me advice on what to write about!

[1] Socialist Alternative New Member Reading

[2] The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx, Fredrich Engels

[3] Karl Marx The Essential Writings: Second Edition edited by Frederic L. Bender and Westview Press

On separation of Church and State

I believe in absolute separation of church and state. What I mean by this is absolute separation of the church from the state and absolute separation of the state from the church. Never do I believe that the intertwining of any religious institution with the state can benefit society at large. We all know examples of where there is no separation of the state from the church. We see this now in Saudi Arabia, where women’s rights are horrendously oppressed. In Saudi Arabia conversion from Islam to another religion is punishable by death. Gay people are forced to become surgically transexual (even though gender identity and sexual orientation are completely separate) or face execution, etc. etc. Many proponents of even minor theocracy, who advocate only some separation of of the church from the state argue that examples such as these are the result of Islam, and somehow not a Christian issue. But historically this is not true, one only has to look at the oppressive theocratic institutions of the dark ages to see that such a claim is not mutually exclusive. The theocratic state, by definition oppresses all non-adherents to the dominant state religion from which the state derives it’s power. There is also the issue, which is of equal importance, of the separation of the state from the church. This became an issue, historically only relatively recently in the course of human development. With the progression of science, humanity leaves behind the superstitious ideals and explanations for natural phenomenon, though they do not in essence discredit religious beliefs. The emergence of ‘state atheism’ justified by the strictest dialectical materialistic viewpoint of the world in so-called ‘Marxist’ states. This, often oppressive version of Marxism-Leninism has been called the “bastardization of Leninism” (though even Lenin himself was a proponent of state atheism to a certain extent) by critics like myself who are very critical of Stalinism but still see the need for real egalitarianism, such as those proposed by Marx and Engels in the modern day. The worst cases of this historically took place in Albania during the 1960’s when all religious institutions were completely destroyed by the state, thus making it the world’s ‘first atheist state’. Even in modern day China and the DPRK (North Korea) we see heavy regulations on religion (i.e. requirements to register to practice religion, religious adherents forbidden from running for office, the destruction of ‘Sunday school’, and even limitations on religious doctrines). Cuba however, by and large has lifted it’s former religious restrictions which is certainly something worth mentioning. Given the atrocities of the lack of the separation of the church from the state AND the state from the church I have come to the conclusion that the absolute separation of church and state is the only way forward. Officially the state should hold no positions on religious affairs, neither theistic or atheistic. I hesitate as the whether to even call this ideal stance on religion state agnosticism as even that would imply that the state favors agnosticism over theism or atheism. Thus, I call this religious neutrality, or a religiously neutral state. Such is the nature of separation of church and state.

Does anything really matter?

I’ve often pondered this, wondering about what meaning we have. We are things- things that were thrust into existence without our consent. When I think about what should exist I often come to the conclusion that nothing should exist. Not just empty space which itself is governed by natural laws but truly nothing at all. This can be a hard concept to grasp, especially in a universe where it appears to be the exact opposite of this. There is of course, the existence of virtual particles which shows us that the universe can spontaneously thrust particles into existence so long as an equal but opposite anti-particle is also produced and manages to collide with the twin parter, thus annihilating. To put this principle in mathematical terms, we can say 1 (particle) + (-1) (anti-particle) = 0 (nothing). So perhaps the universe itself is simply a virtual particle waiting to annihilate with it’s anti-universe in an even bigger universe. Perhaps if you zoom out forever you’ll keep finding yourself zooming out of the same- or a similar virtual particle (or similar thing), and this- along with every possible thing which nature allows is all there is. Pondering such things which cannot be proven can be exhausting as one is never really satisfied with the conclusions. What makes it even worse is the question it always comes back to- does anything really matter? Where do I play a role in all of this? To answer this question you have to come to the realization that to matter is in fact an abstract concept (not to say it has no value, money itself is an abstract concept). My friends matter to me,  my family, those around me, etc. But for someone in China, what matters to him is fundamentally quite different. A rock sitting on the surface of Venus or some far off, unknown world does not matter. Entire individual galaxies, while grandiose structures which are to be respected do not matter to me. Even on the smallest of scales we see the opposite, when a new element is produced the whole world celebrates at the birth of a single atom which existed for a fraction of a second before decaying. We have people saying that everything has a purpose even if we don’t understand it, and perhaps this is true. But fundamentally to matter is a relative concept, dependent on the subject. To matter arguably requires a conscious being to care about something, or to later be grateful for it (ex. the first life on Earth). So to say that nothing really matters and to say that everything matters are both true statements. Nothing really matters to inanimate empty space and everything matters to say God or someone who truly believes that everything has a purpose. Sometimes it’s just best to accept the flame as hot and go from there. To say that the flame is hot, that is concrete, that is a material thing which is tangible. Instead of getting worked up on the meaning of life, existence, etc. you can simply accept the fundamental concrete (even if you do not yet understand it) and move on from there, to focus on say human affairs. To decide to spend your mental energy on human problems and human issues, things which matter to people. Thus everything matters, some things matter depending on the subject and nothing matters, all of these are true statements. Thus to matter, being a relative concept, is also relative to you the reader. So perhaps the question is not merely an existential one, but a personal one.

Race and Crime, a brief analysis and criticism of racism and the current economic, judicial system

I decided to do this because I’ve seen all the evidence for my hypothesis individually however I wanted to make this to connect all the dots and back my research with scientific studies. It is well known that minority groups are disproportionately affected by poverty. However with this progressive ‘wave’ that emerged as a result of the civil rights movement, “the number of black and Hispanic elected officials has dramatically increased, and a black middle class is thriving. On the other hand, some members within the different groups have fallen even further behind…” [1]. What makes this important is that (According to University of Alberta research) “Children in low-income families start off with higher levels of antisocial behaviour than children from more advantaged households. And if the home remains poor as the children grow up, antisocial behaviour becomes much worse over time compared to children living in households that are never poor or later move out of poverty” [2]. By ‘anti-social behaviour’ it is meant criminal and malicious behaviour. So given this it would be clear to say that poverty and crime as a result of poverty disproportionately affects ethnic minorities. Indeed it does, the murder rate among Black and Hispanics is significantly higher than any racial group, and it remains this way today even though murder rates are down significantly among all populations [3]. So does that mean that the criminal justice system is NOT racially biased? NO! Quite the contrary! There is an increase among violent crime among minority populations however one can clearly see the racial bias in the criminal justice system by looking at the statistics of a real-world example. Take this into account: Marijuana use rates are roughly equal among white and black populations however black people are 4X as likely to be arrested [5]. This shows the baffling, blatant racism which permeates the criminal justice system. To look at fixing this issue we have to look at the root causes of poverty. Allow me to quote one of my famous philosophers, “Everywhere you will find that the poverty of the poor springs from the wealth of the wealthy” -Peter Kropotkin. “Revealing studies on poverty in rich countries in the United States and Great Britain have strikingly confirmed that the misery of these old-age pensioners, unemployed, sick homeless, degraded or irregularly working lower layers of the proletariat is indeed a permanent feature of capitalism, including the capitalism of the ‘welfare state’.”  [4](Mandel, 71). We also see that, “Capitalist economy is thus a gigantic enterprise of dehumanization, of transforming of human beings from goals in themselves into instruments and means of money-making and capital accumulation… It is not the machine, nor any technological compulsion, which inevitably transforms workers and men and women in general into appendices and slaves of monstrous equipment. It is the capitalist principle of profit maximization by individual firms which unleashes this terrifying trend.” [4] (Mandel, 65). In Marx’s analysis of the capitalist system we see that poverty is an essential part of the system, that humanizing labor, that putting people before profits, that the worker receives the full fruits of his or her labor, that those who do not work do not eat, etc. are impossible in the capitalist system. Capitalism creates poverty, poverty disproportionately affects minorities, poverty increases anti-social behavior (crime), which is thus met with over-policing and excessive force among minority populations and individuals. Thus it is not race that is to be blamed as it is by the ignorant reactionaries who spew these hateful lies about our fellow Americans, NO! It is poverty which is to be blamed, and more-so the fundamental cause of poverty: capitalism. Before I close let me finish by criticizing the ‘private prison’ industry. It is a barbaric and disgusting trend to allow anyone to capitalize off of these so called ‘correctional facilities’. In America calling a prison a ‘correctional facility’ is like saying ‘Freedom is slavery!’ (from 1984).Prison is a business, it capitalizes off of having some of the highest reincarceration rates in the world, in having the largest prison population in the world. They make more money by not rehabilitating prisoners as we see in European countries with mere 20% reincarceration rates, compared to our 80%. When prisoners return to prison it means more money for them, even though they know it means that it makes society more dangerous, less safe, and morally degenerate. Capitalism has absolutely no business in the prison system, or in society at large.

Sources:

1:   http://www.irp.wisc.edu/publications/focus/pdfs/foc112d.pdf

2:  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060206171449.htm

3: http://journalistsresource.org/studies/government/criminal-justice/violent-crime-united-states-youth-minorities-public-awareness

4: Capital Volume 1 by Karl Marx (Penguin Classics edition) with an introduction by Ernest Mandel.

5:http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/04/us/marijuana-arrests-four-times-as-likely-for-blacks.html

Respect those distant Suns, gentle wanderer

To me it seems, that to catalog a star as a number is almost an insult. It stupefies the importance, the millions of mysteries hitherto ignored by mankind regarding that particular star. It’s not just a star you are labeling, but a complex system of planets, asteroids, comets, stars (if binary system) etc. The star in and of itself is worthy of the respect we pay to the sun itself. Without sunlight the world would be filled with darkness, without starlight the universe would be filled with darkness. Stars nourish the universe with life, they are the bringers of light in a universe cloaked in darkness. The universe is filled with a divine essence, we find the beauty of geometry and other mathematics from the grandest of scales down to the smallest subatomic particles (even if things get rather odd at such small levels). The universe itself is governed by laws only recently (and largely still not) understood by man, which are sacred and for all intents and purposes- eternal and universal laws. The macro universe moves like clockwork, nothing moves beyond it’s assigned path. Like the atom is to the micro universe, so to is the star to the macro universe. It is the essential element from which the universe itself is built. Without atoms the universe would be stranger beyond comprehension, if there was nothing to replace the atom, the universe would appear largely empty (no pun intended (gold foil experiment)). If it weren’t for stars there would be no light, and the universe would be cloaked in darkness. The ancients speculated about the nature of stars, but few philosophers and great thinkers of their time had the sacred realization that stars are other suns! But the sun itself was seen as an object truly worthy of respect and sometimes even worship. Akhenaten, the Egyptian pharaoh who ruled from ~1353-1336 BC disregarded the traditional (for all intents and purposes) polytheistic religion which had dominated Egypt for thousands of years and instead chose what he saw as the one true thing worthy of his praise- the sun which he called the Aten. On the cliffs of the city of the sun (Amarna) he had etched a poem of praise to honor the sun for all it’s glory and splendor:

“You arise beauteous in the horizon of the heavens
Oh living Aten who creates life.
When you shine forth in the Eastern horizon you fill every land with your beauty.
You are so beautiful: you are great; gleaming and high over every land.
Your rays embrace the lands and all you have created;
You are Re and reach out to all your creations, and hold them for your beloved Son.
You are afar, but your rays touch the earth;
Men see you, but know not your ways.
When you set in the Western horizon of the sky
The earth is in darkness like the dead.
People sleep in their rooms with covered heads;
They do not see each other.
If all their possessions were stolen
They would know it not.
Every lion leaves its lair;
All snakes bite;
Darkness covers all.
The world is silent
For the creator rests in his horizon.
When you rise from the horizon the earth grows bright;
You shine as the Aten in the sky and drive away the darkness;
When your rays gleam forth, the whole of Egypt is festive.
People wake and stand on their feet
For you have lifted them up.
They wash their limbs and take up their clothes and dress;
They raise their arms to you in adoration.
Then the whole of the land does its work;
All cattle enjoy their pastures,
Trees and plants grow green,
Birds fly up from their nests
And raise their wings in praise of your spirit.
Goats frisk on their feet,
And all fluttering and flying things come alive
Because you shine on them.
Boats sail up and downstream,
All ways are opened because you have appeared.
The fish in the river leap up to you
Your rays are in the deep of the sea.
You are the creator of the issue in woman,
The seed in men;
You give life to the son in his mother’s womb
Soothing him so he does not cry
Oh nurse within the womb.
You give the breath of life to all your creations
From the day they are born.
You open their mouths and give them sustenance.
To the chick that cries “tweet” while still in the egg
You give breath in the shell to let him live,
And make the time for him to break the shell
And come out of the egg at the moment for him to chirp
And patter on his two feet.
How manifold are your works: they are secret from our sight
Oh unique god, no other is like you.
You made the earth after your own heart
When you were alone. All men, herds
And flocks, all on the earth that goes on its feet;
and all that is in the sky and flies with its wings.
The land of Egypt, the foreign lands of Syria and Nubia too –
You put every man in his place and fulfil his needs;
Each one with his sustenance and the days of his life counted,
Their language is different,
And they look different;
Their complexions are different,
For you have distinguished the nations.
You make the seasons to bring into being all your creatures;
Winter to cool them,
And the heat of summer to come from you.
You have made the sky afar off
So when you rise you can see all you have made.
You alone rise in the form of the living Aten
Shining afar, yet close at hand.
You make millions of forms out of you alone,
Towns and villages, fields, roads and river.
All eyes see you before them
For you are the Aten of the day, over all the earth.
You are in my heart and none other knows thee
But your son “Akhenaten”;
You have given him understanding of your designs and your power.
The people of the world are in your hand
Just as you have created them.
All men since you have made the earth you have raised for your son
Who came forth from your body,
The King of Egypt who lives in truth,
Lord of Diadems, Akhenaten, whose life is long:
And for his beloved wife
Mistress of Two Lands, NefernefruatenNefertiti
May she live and flourish in eternity.”

Thus I say once more that it is disrespectful to label a sun as a mere number. I imagine that our son is labeled as something like HIP 294038927 in some alien language, a mere speck in an ocean of light. Of course I realize the logistics of cataloging stars with actual names, we’d quite literally run out of words and word combinations! But I cannot stress the importance of respecting the sacred essence of those distant suns. God only knows how many poems and praises have been written to the Aten’s of the intelligent extraterrestrial beings which (as logic would dictate) dominate the heavens.