by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
The title is misleading on purpose as there is and was no problem with communism only that that which has, after the death of Lenin, been masquerading as communism in most places was not communism but state capitalism.
While the talk was about the means of production in the hands of the workers and farmers the fact was that those means were in the hands of the state and that the worker exchanged being a wage slave to a private owner to that of being a wage slave to the state.
Communism after Lenin, when Stalin and Beria usurped the leadership of the Russian Communist Party, became state capitalism with forced collectivization of farms and industry and led, in the end, to the downfall of this version of communism which was not true communism.
For the working masses, whether workers or farmers, to truly be in control they must own the mean of production and not the state. There are simply no two ways about it. While it may be possible to plan production according to the possible needs and demands of the people the control of the means of production must not be in the hands of the state. One form of capitalism is not better than another form of capitalism; it remains an exploitative system where the worker has no choice. They are still slaves, whichever one wants to look at it.
Co-operations, whether agricultural or industrial ones, and the same in retail, are the true answer, where every worker is a stakeholder and shareholder in the business and not just a salary recipient. Only then will the workers not just feel empowered but be empowered as they truly are the owners of the means of production.
To nationalize industry and agriculture is not putting the means of production into the hands of the workers and farmers but to put the means of production into the hands of the state which is not, regardless what some may believe, the same as into the hands of the working class and the farming community for they are not the owners but the state.
Communism is as old as the hills. Well, almost! Scientific socialism and communism, as defined by Marx and Engels and refined, one could say, by Lenin, is just grown out of it. It was designed for the modern industrial world where the workers faced, and still today face, exploitation by the capitalists, by the bosses.
However, the first Christians practiced a form of communism but they too were not the first and others followed later who were not Christian or religious at all though much of the communism that they practiced was, to a degree at least, based on the teachings of the New Testament and the early church.
The Diggers are probably the best known communist group that was going to form agrarian communities where things were held in common. The Quakers also, to a degree, practiced a Christian form of communism and many of the philanthropists of the pre-Victorian and Victorian era in Britain were Quakers or Christian Socialists, such as Rowntree and Cadbury. It was George Cadbury who developed the Bournville estate, a model village designed to give the company's workers good living conditions.
As far as the working and living conditions of the workers in other factories are concerned, however, they were dismal and few factory owners had even the slightest inclination to change this. It would have eaten into their profits.
A slave who was bought by an owner was treated better than any of those workers of the factories and other businesses of the industrial revolution for, as soon as the slave was a wage slave and was paid per hour of labor it was easier for the business owner to lay him off and hire new – cheaper labor - at time in the form of children.
Philanthropists inspired by Christian socialism and later the Trade Unions, many of which also were based on the same principles, fought for the change in those practices and got us all the eight hour working day, which today is once again under threat, as is decent pay for our labors.
The established parties of the left, of the working class, and even the Trade Unions, have made deals and much of what has been fought for by the martyrs of the first hour is being swept away.
The so-called party of the working class in Britain, the Labour Party, founded in 1900 and created by the Trade Unions and other movements of the working class, has become more or less the left wing of the right and has entirely deserted the working class and other parts of the labor movement, such as it is today, simply cannot get the people interested.
The proletariat is first of all not organized and, I hate to say, dumbed down by the establishment and the media that works for the establishment only...
They have also been dumbed down to believe that being allowed to go to vote every four or five years changing one party of oppression for another is the way things will change for the better. As someone said: “If voting would change anything the powers-that-be would have made it illegal long ago”.
Communism is not a problem and there is no problem with it except in the eyes of the capitalists and those in capitalist counties, which are almost all on the globe at the moment with a few exception, and they may not be true communism either, who have been blinded by the propaganda of their governments.
True communism is the liberator of the working class and the working class – and communists and socialists must learn to understand that too – are not just industrial workers but also farmers (peasants) and all who work for a wage. This was something that Ernst Thaelmann had difficulties getting into the heads of some member of the German Communist Party in the 1930s who saw the party (and I am saying that despite of not believing in political parties) as for the industrial workers only and exclusively. In addition to that also small craftsmen and others must be included. All, in fact, must be included bar the exploiters and those that make a living on the backs of others.
Nationalization of businesses, however, is not the way to go whatever Marx and Engels and Lenin have believed. By nationalizing companies all that is being done is moving from “free-market” capitalism to state capitalism but not to “means of productions in the hands of the workers” and it is the latter that must be achieved. So-called free-market capitalism and state capitalism are but opposite faces of the same coin and a liberation of the workers can only be achieved if the means of production truly are in the hands of the workers and not in the hands of the state.
Communism, as we have seen it so far, in the main, is far removed from what it truly should be and is intended to be and has been all but state capitalism in about 90% of the cases. And even the latter, often, which may have begun properly, so to speak, ended up going the same route.
The problem does not lie and never did lie with communism as an ideal and a system but with the interpretation of it. The means of production never were truly – in the main – given into the hands of the workers and thus it was just a continuation of capitalism and wage slavery. But it is not the ideal that is at fault, it has been the implementation.