Communism, or Socialism, (at least the type that I am promoting) would curtail this economic right. What are the justifications or reasons for it? Well, there are two that I shall further elaborate upon... First, I believe that Communism is more capable of elevating a person's status. Second, I believe that Communism grants a right that Capitalism does not (that is, the right to the wealth of your own labor). Whether these reasons are justified, I will try to demonstrate in a concise, powerful manner, in the following paragraphs....
The Ancestral Roots of Civilization and the Evolution of Rights
When looking at society today, at the big factories and the various outlet stores, and seeing all that has come technologically, it can only fascinate the human imagination. I admit to looking at these wonders in awe. But, any person interested in society will have certain inquiries. Where did civilization come from?
The Roman Empire is sometimes regarded as the starting point of Western Civilization, having its own roots in some Greek culture (borrowing religion and philosophy). Here, the word "Proletariat" was first used, describing a soldier who went to a far off land, captured slaves, and then returned home, to find that he could not find employment, due to the abundance of slaves. The word "Proletariat" would later be used by Marxists, to describe workers who had no property and could only sell their labor. The number of slaves that were in Rome during its rise cannot be known for certain, for no official records were kept of slaves brought in to the city. But, modern historians seem content with the idea that 1/3rd of the population was enslaved -- 300,000 to 350,000 out of 900,000 to 1,000,000 people. When the Roman Empire fell, a new political and economic system took place known as Feudalism.
Feudalism entailed different rights and privileges. The land was divided into fiefs and a vassal was in charge of his parcel of land. Serfs were the peasants who labored for the wealth of their vassal. A serf was not allowed to leave his land without proper permission to do so. Feudalism developed from post-Roman estates filled with many slaves. Today, though, most liberal historians will refer to serfs as "just a differnt type of slave," and this is quite true.
However, the bondage of Feudalism could not last forever. A new way of working and producing came into effect. And it came, as we have today, the industrial society. Various revolutions of the European nations took place, even as late as the middle 1800's (such as the case of Germany). Eventually, Feudalism was eliminated, the serf was liberated, and freedom reigned. The crystaline dove of prosperity was on the land, and there was never again to be a cry of brutality... or, at least, that is the picture painted by many historians.
The rights of slaves in the Roman Empire was simple: they had none. Well, there were some laws dictating action to be done to slaves, certain protection measures, but beyond that, they were as much slaves as Africans were for centuries in America. The rights of serfs in the Feudal times were much evolved from that of slavery. A serf worked, and a great deal of his produce went to his master. A serf was not allowed to leave his land without consent. Finally, we have Capitalism, or Free Enterprise, the system where a worker can leave his land whenever he wants. But, is it real freedom, or is it just the manifestation of slavery in another form?
The Brutal Nature of Capitalism
In Feudalism, there were various classes, but two distinct ones: nobility and serfdom. The nobles did no manual labor yet they lavished in the wealth produced by peasants. In Capitalism, we see again the rise of two distinct classes: the Bourgeoise and the Proletariat. The Bourgoise are the capital-owning class, those who own the means of production. They own the farms, the banks, the factories. The Proletariat, however, own nothing. They have no farm land. They have no factories. They do not even have food for themselves. In essense, slavery is entirely recreated. Because, while a worker can refuse one job or move from his land, he is entirely dependent upon the Bourgeoise class for providing him with his subsistence.
Peter Kropotkin once wrote of the workers, "We are perfectly aware that they often work for even less, but we know also that they do it entirely because, thanks to to our splendid social organization, they would die of hunger without these ridiculous wages." ["The Wage System," by Peter Kropotkin.] Mikhail Bakunin once wrote, "Suppose I am your worker and you are my employer. If I offer my labor at the lowest price, if I consent to have you live off my labor, it is certainly not because of devotion or brotherly love for you. And no bourgeois economist would dare to say that it was, however idyllic and naive their reasoning becomes when they begin to speak about reciprocal affections and mutual relations which should exist between employers and employees. No, I do it because my family and I would starve to death if I did not work for an employer. Thus I am forced to sell you my labor at the lowest possible price, and I am forced to do it by the threat of hunger." ["The Capitalist System," by Mikhail Bakunin.] In that same document, he also wrote, "The worker is in the position of a serf because this terrible threat of starvation which daily hangs over his head and over his family, will force him to accept any conditions imposed by the gainful calculations of the capitalist, the industrialist, the employer." Robert Green Ingersoll once wrote, "The working people should be protected by law; if they are not, the capitalists will require just as many hours as human nature can bear." ["Eight Hours Must Come," by Robert Green Ingersoll.]
Workers have no property, so they cannot bargain. They cannot demand higher wages, for while they do, their children are shouting for bread that does not exist. That is the result of Capitalism. A Capitalist philosopher may speak of "freedom" or "liberty" all he wants. But when it comes down to it, it's th politics of starving. It is perpetual poverty. A person can argue all they want, "If the job is unfair, they can quit and find another one." But as they are thrown back into the job market, they will rarely be able to find another boss willing to pay more.
What is it that makes this sickening, revolting, and cruel, to the sight of every humane person? It is that the workers are responsible for producing the wealth! Adam Smith wrote, "It was not by gold or by silver, but by labour, that all the wealth of the world was originally purchased." ["Wealth of Nations", by Adam Smith, Book 1, Chapter 5.] Ingersoll wrote, "The great body of the people make all the money; do all the work. They plow the land, cut down the forests; they produce everything that is produced. Then who shall say what shall be done with what is produced except the producer?" ["Centennial Oration," by Ingersoll.] In another work, he wrote, "All my sympathies are on the side of those who toil -- of those who produce the real wealth of the world -- of those who carry the burdens of mankind." ["Eight Hours Must Come," by Ingersoll.] Friedrich Engels wrote, "Labour is the source of all wealth, the political economists assert. And it really is the source..." ["Part Played by Labour in Transition From Ape to Man," by Engels, 1876.]
The fact that Capitalism incurs brutality is not at all at question. Robert Owen, an Industrialist and Utopian Socialist of the early 1800's, wrote that in one particular incident, a factory owner had employed children ages 6, 7, and 8. They worked for thirteen hours a day. Their work was so grueling and difficult for such tender bodies, a great deal of them became permanently deformed. ["A New View of Society," by Robert Owen, essay 2.] Thomas Malthus also noted the same, "Boys that you would guess to be fourteen or fifteen are, upon inquiry, frequently found to be eighteen or nineteen." ["An Essay on the Principle of Population," by Thomas Malthus.] The fact that Capitalists have been forcing workers to work under harsh conditions is not in question by anyone known to the facts. To quote Robert Green Ingersoll, "We have seen here in America street-car drivers working sixteen and seventeen hours a day. It was necessary to have a strike in order to get to fourteen, another strike to get to twelve, and nobody could blame them for keeping on striking till they get to eight hours." ["Eight Hours Must Come," by Robert Green Ingersoll.] Adam Smith noted that in China, the condition of the worker is so degraded, that families are forced to live in boats, and would welcome a stinking, putrid piece of meat as a godsend. He also noted that the wealth is so concentrated in the hands of the few, that families have to drown their infant children in water, because they cannot feed them. ["Wealth of Nations," by Adam Smith, chapter 8.] Thomas Malthus also noticed this, "the custom of exposing children, which, in times of distress, is probably more frequent than is ever acknowledged to Europeans. Relative to this barbarous practice, it is difficult to avoid remarking, that there cannot be a stronger proof of the distresses that have been felt by mankind for want of food, than the existence of a custom that thus violates the most natural principle of the human heart." ["An Essay on the Principle of Population," by Thomas Malthus, Chapter 4.]
Even today, the condition of the workers is horrid. Workers are paid between 4% and 20% of the wealth they produce, with an exception in the Lodging industry (being closer to 37%). [U.S. Census Bureau, 1997 Economic Census, Comparative Statistics, Core Business Stastitics Series, EC97X-C52, issued June 2000.] This translates to this... If a person operates machinery for a Capitalist, and produce enough products to make his employer $100,000, the worker -- that is, to say, the person who built the machinery, who operated it, and then sold it -- would receive perhaps $15,000. But, this is given the best case scenario.
There are many more reasons to believe that this number is closer to $6,000 or $4,000. For instance, if a miner was REALLY paid 12% of the wealth they made, they would be making $40,820 per year. Now, it doesn't take much understanding of economics to see that factory workers do not make this much per year. We must understand that CEOs are paid greatly, yet what they are paid by the company is also counted as pay roll. Robert M. Delvin, for example, is Chairman, President, and CEO of American General Corporation. He is an employee, but in one year, he made over forty five million dollars. [Source: The Houston Chronicle.] When his payroll is averaged in to all the other workers, then the 12% of all the wealth made by the workers means that the median average of each worker is about forty thousand. If Delvin worked for the retail trade industry, then that would mean that for his wage, there are 14,900 full time workers that are being paid $5.15 per hour. Most workers typically receive the minimum wage, meaning they make $10,712 per year. Now, a miner for the mining industry produces a great deal of wealth compared to what he is paid. A miner makes, on average, makes $400,000 for his employer, but he is paid only $10,000 per year. In this case, the worker receives 2.5% of the wealth in which he produces. If a farmer ploughed the field of 200 crops, the Capitalist would turn around and give him 5 of them. How is it that the Capitalist can do this? Simple. Because he owns the farm, he owns the tractor, he owns the tools, he owns the land. And by what right can this be done? By what doctrine? The right to property.
Thus, what do we find? We find two great, incontrovertible facts: (1) The laborers, the workers, are the producers of wealth. Without them, there would be no food, there would be no iron ore, there would be no tools. Without them, there would not be the farms to grow the food, the mines to mine the ore, and the factories to produce the tools. They are the sole creators of wealth. (2) The condition of those who create all the wealth is in such a horrid state. They are paid a subsistence wage, remarkably below what they deserve to be paid. In "Demands of the Communist Manifesto," Marx wrote that one of the first conditions of a just government is this: that child labor is immediately eradicated, and that an education is provided for them.
More simply put... Those who produce everything are given almost nothing. This is not justice. Capitalism has nearly reproduced Feudalism, in such a manner that Feudalism nearly reproduced slavery. No humane heart can look at these children, growing deformed because they work for their food, and say, "Ah, liberty! What a great godsend we have before us!" No kind person can see the mass of workers, without hope, without heart, without meaning, working only that they may feed themselves and pay their rent. And where does their money go when they buy food or when they pay their rent? It goes directly back into the pockets of those who exploited them. Perpetual poverty. I detest Capitalism because of its inherent brutality. I am not alone.
In his "The Capitalist System," Bakunin wrote, "Thus the worker's liberty, so much exalted by the economists, jurists, and bourgeois republicans, is only a theoretical freedom, lacking any means for its possible realization, and consequently it is only a fictitious liberty, an utter falsehood. The truth is that the whole life of the worker is simply a continuous and dismaying succession of terms of serfdom -voluntary from the juridical point of view but compulsory in the economic sense - broken up by momentarily brief interludes of freedom accompanied by starvation; in other words, it is real slavery." Thomas Paine argued against Capitalism, writing, "It is not charity but a right, not bounty but justice, that I am pleading for. The present state of civilization is as odious as it is unjust. It is absolutely the opposite of what it should be, and it is necessary that a revolution should be made in it. The contrast of affluence and wretchedness continually meeting and offending the eye, is like dead and living bodies chained together." ["Agrarian Justice," by Thomas Paine.] In the same work, he wrote, "The state of civilization that has prevailed throughout Europe, is as unjust in its principle, as it is horrid in its effects; and it is the consciousness of this, and the apprehension that such a state cannot continue when once investigation begins in any country, that makes the possessors of property dread every idea of a revolution." As Henry Salt once wrote, "Our capitalists persist to the bitter end in the fatuous assertion that to live idly on the labour of others is not the same thing as to steal." ["Thou Shalt Not Steal," by Henry Stephens Shakespeare Salt, Justice, March 14, 1885.]
What is it that we have before us? Great injustice, brutality, cruelty, misery, and vice. I believe that every worker should be paid the wealth they produce. I believe that those who own capital should be relinquished of their rights to the means of production. Did Harriet Tubman ever leave money behind, to compensate the slave-owner? Certainly not! The idea of it is an absurdity. So, then, too, the Capitalist class should have its right to the means of production released. Because, as they own the means of production, as they own the farms, they are then granted the economic right of exploitation, which is opposed ot all good creeds. That is the first step to revolution. A law ought to be made... stating that no person may become wealthy from the labor of another. Everyone should have an equal obligation to work. Upon this commencement, I believe the idea of Welfare ought to also be abolished, or at least extremely minimalized. Once workers are being paid what they produce, no person will ever need a handout. Imagine, for instance, if instead of 2.5%, a person was paid closer to 90% or 95%. Imagine every wage multiplied by forty. What you have, then, is that corporate profits, instead of going to the idle, go to the industrious. That is justice. Since working one hour will be able to get someone enough subsistence for days, I imagine criminal activity will be greatly reduced. Why would a robber ever decide to steal a TeeVee from someone's home, when working one hour would be enough to produce one or two television sets? Instead of having our Capitalists decide for us what industries are best, people would Democratically decide for themselves what they want. By voting together, every person will have a say in the matter of decision-making. So, then, a new business will be erected, or an old one destroyed, by the vote of the people. The industries of food, of housing, of luxuries, will all be determined by the people. In this regard, we will not have the egregious abuse of the consumer that we have today under Capitalism. A person will never go into a tourist shop, and find a molded piece of pottery on sale for $40 (though it cost $2 to make), upon which any rational person would respond, "We made this, while we have starving people in the corners of the globe?"
That is Communism, and that is what I believe in.
Punkerslut By Punkerslut
Whenever any moral, ethical, political, or even economic question comes up, there is often a question of rights involved. "Does the woman have the 'right' to abort her fetus?" or "Does a man have the 'right' to kiss women he is not involved with?" or "Do corporations have the 'right' to avoid paying livable wages?" Whatever it comes down to, there is always the question of rights. In Capitalism, there is one distinguishing right: the right to private property. In this system, a person can offer their property for sale at ANY price, can offer ANY price for the property they want. It doesn't mean that someone will buy it, or that someone will accept their offer. They simply have this one right: to set any price for the property they are selling, or to offer any price for the property they wish to acquire. That is the basic premise of Capitalism.
Why I Am A Communist
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