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The Meaning of Marxism

The Left-Wing doctrine displayed by the people and groups listed on this website is accurately than by this article on the SOCIALIST WORKER ONLINE. As you can imagine, they have extreme Socialist, Anarchist, and Marxist beliefs. CodePINK, the San Diego Coalition of Peace and Justice, the International Socialist Organization (ISO), and their supporters all have the same Marxist agenda. Paul D'Amato easily sums it up in this article. Our comments are in Red.

Socialist Worker Online

THE MEANING OF MARXISM
What will socialism look like?

By Paul D'Amato | June 24, 2005 | Page 10

What will Socialism look like? With all of the Socialist countries that cannot feed themselves, what is the reason to ask this question?

IMAGINE A society where all its members organize production and distribution on a cooperative, democratic basis according not to profit, but solely on the basis of need.

So here we go, we have a system whose definition for success is a marginal lifestyle designed to achieve a minimalist existence. If you are a practitioner of minimalism, and you have no desire to improve your standard of living, then a Marxist lifestyle might be a good choice.

Such a society has no exploiting minority or exploited majority. All property other than personal property is held in common, for the benefit of all. Consequently, there is also no money.

What is defined as "property other than personal property?" Does this include automobiles, gold jewelry, real estate, and designer jeans? At what point is personal property considered community property and taken from those that have worked to earn it and given to those that have not. There is no money either. That lowers everyone's standard of living. Money exists as a medium of exchange, which allows for the ease of trade. Of course, free trade is probably "highly regulated" too. The individual will not work hard if there is no reward for achievement, regardless of how small that reward is.

If you are hungry, you can eat from the collective store of food. If you want to work, work is always available, and each contributes what he or she can. When you are sick or old or too young, society always takes care of you.

You can eat and consume food from the collective store and you do not have to work. That sounds good. What a great entitlement - free food, free housing, and free clothes. And you know it is going to top quality. We can all just sit around, watch soap operas and Oprah, and eat out the collective food store.

Women play a prominent role, and are not the property or handmaidens of men.

Women play a prominent role under the Democracy that exists today in the free world. In fact, they out perform their Socialist counterpart by a wide margin. They live a better, happier, and longer life under Capitalism and they are free to make decisions that govern their lives as they see fit to do so.

All decisions are made collectively, and leadership is chosen rather than imposed.

What Socialist country in history are you talking about - China, the former USSR, North Korea, the former East Germany, Iraq under Saddam Hussein, Cuba? The leadership is always imposed on the population, usually with devastating results. For instance, who decided to build the Berlin Wall with the landmines and the shoot-to-kill policy?

There are no prisons, no standing army, and no state bureaucracy.

Are you kidding! To make this statement, you fail to understand the reason that there are prisons in the first place. You fail to see how Socialist governments utilize prisons. Do you remember the Russian Gulags? Examine the prisons in Cuba where the political prisoners are imprisoned because they disagreed with the decision-making skills of the leadership. You also fail to realize the reason for a standing army and that is to protect the country against attack. When another country attacks you, it is a little late to start forming an army. Moreover, Socialism is nothing but one big state bureaucracy! In the history of the world, what Marxist/Socialist government ever believed that there should be no prisons, no standing army, and no state bureaucracy?

The threat of social ostracism is sufficient pressure against anyone who threatens the collective or harms another.

Social ostracism is sufficient to prevent harm to others??? This is a prime example of why Liberals, Marxists, and/or Socialists should never be in positions of authority.

It is an attractive world, but is it realizable? The truth is, similar societies have already existed in one form or another, in all parts of the world, in what is known as "primitive communism."

Communism works in a very small unit, such as the family unit. But even that has a dictatorial regime... remember Mom and Dad. So much for Democracy and everyone voting. That never happens except for decisions that do not really matter. Beyond the family unit, Communism offers a very low standard of living.

"The brotherly sentiments of the Redskins," wrote the Jesuit Charlevoix of the new world Indians he observed, "are doubtless in part ascribable to the fact that the words mine and thine...are all unknown as yet to the savages. The protection they extend to the orphans, the widows and the infirm, the hospitality which they exercise in so admirable a manner, are, in their eyes, but a consequence of the conviction which they hold that all things should be common to all men."

The question, then, is not: Is such a world possible? but: Is it possible again? The material prerequisites for such a society certainly exist. The previously undreamed-of material abundance created by capitalism, driven by incessant competition, renders hunger, want and even class divisions obsolete.

Just say what you really mean... This is how we keep the standard of living very low. We will level the playing field and make everyone equally miserable so no one is happier than anyone else is… and we will keep everyone that way.

There is, according to Food First, enough food produced today to provide enough for every person on the planet to make them fat. The fact that 850 million go hungry ever year is purely a product of the fact that food is produced for profit rather than for need.

Most of that food is produced by the countries that allow people to work for themselves for their own improvement and their own ability to raise their standard of living. The countries with the Marxist based governments are never able to feed their own people. They are forced to rely on countries with Capitalist based governments to send them aid in form of food.

The introduction of ever-more-advanced machinery and technology has rendered labor productive in previously unimagined levels. The result is unemployment for some, too many hours of work for others, and the degradation of work into a series of mindless, repetitive motions.

This is someone that has no clue of production. Machines allow increased production for less money. This is known as making a product or service more economical. This allows more people the ability to afford these products, thus increasing the standard of living for all. This is just another example of Marxism lowering everybody's standard of living forcing everyone to do with less.

Yet productivity has advanced to the point that the workday could be reduced to three or four hours. In a socialist society, improvements in labor productivity would be a means to shorten the workday and reduce the time and drudgery of necessary labor to a minimum in order to free people up as much as possible to devote their energies to other pursuits, including participating in the running of society.

If you reduce productivity, you reduce the standard of living for the individual. This concept is so easy to see, yet there is none so blind as those that are unwilling to see. The former Soviet Union kept coming up with a seven-year plan or a ten-year plan to reach some theoretical Socialist Utopia that does not and will not ever exist. They never got there because Marxist forms of government are unnatural to the human spirit. They stand in the way of achievement and the natural competitive tendencies of human nature. It all sounds good when they are offering to give you everything, but what they do not tell you is that to do this, they must take everything from everyone, then dole it out as they, not you, see fit. Most people are unpleasantly surprised when they get less than they were promised. When this realization is made, it is too late. Socialism is upon them like Small Pox.

Moreover, since workers would own and control the labor process, work would no longer have the sense of emptiness it often possesses today. Instead of workers dreaming of Fridays and working only in order to receive a paycheck, work would be a source of fulfillment.

So now, Marxism has just taken away the weekends. We are in a job that we do not like because there is no reason to work hard to earn the things that we want to make our life better. This is what Marxism/Socialism calls "fulfillment". Marxism is nothing but a collection of contradictions whereby the promise of a better life is always there, yet just out of reach of the general population. The freedom to achieve success on your own without the drag of those that will not work is no longer available. In fact, it is deliberately stifled thereby holding back achievement.

But if you do not have to work and everything is provided for you whether or not you work, workdays become weekends and holidays. There will not be any paychecks because there is no money, remember? Your labor is 100% taxed by the collective and they pay you directly in goods and materials that they have decided you require, not necessarily what you want.

A COMMON argument against the possibility of creating such a society is that the majority is incapable of ruling, and, therefore, we need a minority at the top to run things.

The common argument is that Marxism stifles competition and hinders achievement to the lowest common denominator i.e. the most lacking in ability.

But those at the top of society, the multimillionaires and billionaires, today play no function in its running--they merely collect the rewards of ownership. Workers, specialists, managers and technicians run things. In this sense, the ruling class today has become entirely parasitic, siphoning wealth but serving no useful social function.

You mean apart from the investment of capital to make the working conditions possible at all. The workers profit from the fruits of their labor. The more productive they are, the higher the standard of living they are able to achieve.

As early as 1881, Frederick Engels wrote that the capitalists of his day do little but "cash in the half-yearly dividend warrants. We [can] manage very well without the interference of the capitalist class in the great industries of the country," writes Engels. And he concludes: "Stand back! Give the working class the chance of a turn."

Under a Capitalist system, the worker can achieve because he can work and is free to provide for himself as he sees fit and keep more, if not all, of what he earns. In a Socialist/Marxist system, the collective provides for the worker based on what everyone else has earned, which if everyone decides not to work, the standard of living will be somewhat limited.

Society could do away with the ruling class and suffer no more than when tonsils or an appendix are removed from a human body. Workers, after all, are the ones producing the wealth, and it is often their first-hand knowledge that engineers and managers use to figure out how to improve production.

Would you be able to get rid of the ruling class in a Socialist system? Not likely. It seems that you want to get rid of the upper management, then middle management comes next, then lower management goes. At some point, someone has to have the final authority to make the necessary decisions, and those people are called Management. These are the people that formulate the plan that encourages productivity. Without this facet of manufacturing, all you have is workers that have no management to manage the production and distribution of goods. Now this is the Communism that we all know and love. This is the result of Marxism.

True, today's experts and scientists would still be needed for a time even under socialism, until the education system was improved so that the majority received education that today is only reserved for the privileged few.

Perhaps a 12-year plan will fix what is wrong with the system. The former Soviet Union used to come up with a decade long plan in hopes of appeasing the population and in a few years, they would forget about what a failure it was. By then, another plan would be devised to fix what the former plan failed to do. They just kept replacing one failed plan after another. There was never real hope that any of the plans would actually work, but it kept the public hopeful, not as though they had any choice in the matter.

The educational system can be improved by increasing expectations of teachers and students. Replacing ineffective teachers with those that can actually teach would do a lot toward this goal. But when you have socialist programs like tenure, brought about by Teachers Unions that only care for the entitlements they can get for the teachers, it becomes impossible for teachers that are lacking the necessary skills to teach to be replaced, and all you are going to end up with is a marginal education system. This is what happens when the workers control the means of production. They try to make it easier for themselves so as not to have to work so hard and compete to be the best because there is no reward in doing so.

But with society's vast resources diverted toward education, the distinctions between mental and manual work would break down, and the majority would be capable of doing many different kinds of jobs, from manual work to scientific work to administrative work.

If forced to work for no reward, people will not want to do their best. The reason is the lack of incentive. While we are all capable of doing different kinds of work, we always want to do what we enjoy. We have Marxist policies placing people into jobs that they do not necessarily want. This is a far cry from the "If you want to work, work is always available..." system. And here we are in a position where the worker is forced to work at a job that he does not like where he cannot advance through hard work and where there little to no chance to increase the standard of living because of there is no incentive to work harder. Why does this need to be explained?

If workers, through their own directly elected representatives, were to seize control of production, no doubt mistakes would be made. But they would be the mistakes of the collective and could quickly be remedied by experience.

Mistakes would be made because there is no reward for going that extra mile and giving that extra effort. The experience you talk about is the Management position where someone takes control of the situation i.e. the control of production and runs the company.

For example, if the workers of Chicago ran the city instead of corporate bigwigs and their corrupt political hirelings, they would immediately begin solving the city's most pressing problems. The homeless would be quickly housed in unused homes, excess hotel space and the requisitioned second and third homes of the rich.

We could even place some of the homeless in with the workers homes. How many unused homes are there in Chicago? Do the workers in the hotels want the homeless living there? The hotels will be looking pretty poor pretty quick. Who decides who gets the large suites? Then you are going to take the homes of people that have worked and earned the money to purchase them. And if they do not give up their homes, what are you going to do? You do not have any prisons, remember? Or do we just have them for the rich.

Meanwhile, unemployed construction workers would be organized to begin building houses. The ill-gotten gains of the city's patricians and their hangers-on would be seized and used to feed the hungry, improve dilapidated schools and provide better park services, improved transportation and real after-school programs for all.

And what Marxist government has this ever been done without making things worse.

The run-down, destroyed ghettos of the West Side would become beautiful neighborhoods by redirecting the millions in parking-ticket money siphoned off to crony capitalists, as well as funds earmarked for boondoggle stadiums--and by giving real jobs (and real job training, where necessary) to the thousands of able-bodied young Black men who are left to rot on the streets or in prison.

Who is going to build them? There is no reason that a construction worker will want to work with no hope of improving his situation. Maybe this construction worker could have one of the suites at the Drake Hotel. When it is time to get off work and go home, is anyone going to offer to stay and increase production? Marxism offers no reason to give a 100% effort at work when it is easier to just give a 50% (or less) effort and receive the same pay.

On a national level, billions earmarked for the utter waste of weapons of mass destruction production would be diverted into projects that benefited the mass of the population. The solution to homelessness is simple--build homes for the homeless.

Build homes and give them to the homeless. That is a good idea. What about the construction workers, how are they compensated? Do they get a larger home? If it is too big, it will be taken from them and given to two homeless families.

But in our society nothing is done if it isn't profitable. In a society run by the collective producers, these problems can be solved because social need, rather than the market, will determine how decisions are made.

That is because profitability encourages competition and incentive. Social need encourages entitlements and a lack of incentive. Capitalism allows for an ever-increasing standard by which success is measured. Socialism, on the other hand, allows for an ever-increasing standard of dependency and entitlement.

ANOTHER ARGUMENT against the possibility of socialism is that human beings are naturally greedy and competitive.

It is not that all human beings are greedy; it is just that many like to work for themselves to improve their lives and living conditions. It is what makes one feel good about hard work. There is a reward for it and that reward is a very important motivating factor. It is called being self-sufficient and independent. They get to work and keep what they earn.

There are plenty of examples of spontaneous acts of sharing and cooperation in our present society that contradict this one-sided picture, for example when people pitch in during a disaster. But the real problem with this argument is that in a society based upon abundance, people don't fight over resources.

And this is a bad thing???

American socialist James P. Cannon wrote in defense of the idea that in a socialist society money, indeed, even a system for accounting for what was produced and how it was allotted, would eventually disappear: "In the socialist society, when there is plenty and abundance for all, what will be the point in keeping account of each one's share, any more than in the distribution of food at a well-supplied family table?"

Give one example of when this has ever happened. Records would have to be kept to show that no one is unfairly receiving more than their fair share. Besides, it really does not matter, because it will never reach this point. In a Socialist society, there is never an abundance of anything except despair.

"You don't keep books as to who eats how many pancakes for breakfast or how many pieces of bread for dinner. Nobody grabs when the table is laden. If you have a guest, you don't seize the first piece of meat for yourself, you pass the plate and ask him to help himself first."

You can bet under a Marxist regime, you do keep books to show who is getting what. Without keeping accurate records, how would you know how the inventory is being used?

The point is that under socialism, society's surplus wealth would be collectively used to enhance the welfare of all rather than that of a small group. Based as it is on the collective solidarity of the producers, it would also be compelled to socialize household functions, freeing women from bearing primary responsibilities for taking care of kids and home, and create a society in which all discrimination based on race, ethnicity, nationality, religion or sex were erased.

Who is going to take care of the children, the government? Is the government going to do a better job than the parents do? It is only a collective solidarity of producers if people choose to be productive. A three to four hour workday, as mentioned earlier, is not going to produce much, which means that production is lower. Not to mention the discrimination felt against those that work harder and feel that they deserve more.

Such a society may seem too utopian. But as Cannon said: "What's absurd is to think that this madhouse is permanent and for all time. The ethic of capitalism is: 'From each whatever you can get out of him--to each whatever he can grab.'"

This person does not understand productivity or the reason that Capitalism works. They see Capitalism as taking from others, when in reality, that is exactly what Marxism, Socialism, and Communism does as we have clearly shown. There is an unlimited amount of wealth available and it can be achieved if the fruits of one's labors are kept by the individual. This is the motivation to work harder and produce more thereby increasing one's standard of living.

"The socialist society of universal abundance will be regulated by a different standard. It will 'inscribe on its banners'--said Marx--'From each according to his ability--to each according to his needs.' "

Universal abundance is not achieved by Marxism. It never has been achieved by Marxism. It never will be achieved by any kind of Marxist form of government. It can be achieved by Capitalism because under a free system like Capitalism, the individual has the right to exist, live, and prosper for one's own sake. With everyone providing for them own interests, there is a minimum of entitlements that are required to be removed from the means of production thereby keeping the production high and the drag on society is kept low.

Capitalism thrives of competition which leads to innovation, better technology, economic growth and ultimately higher living standards.

The reason that Socialism has always failed in the past is that a Marxist system of government is based on the redistribution of wealth from those that do the work to those that do not produce anything of substance. These entitlements are supported by a population that is growing smaller and smaller compared to the numbers of people that are receiving the entitlements. This redistribution of wealth from those that produce to those that take from the producers eventually become unsustainable. In other words, more and more will be doing less and less until the entire country is supported by a very small percentage.

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