Workers! Workers!

Workers, workers must unite,

Workers prepare for the fight,

Capitalism must be shown the door,

Imperialistic ventures we want no more,

Karl Marx is the teacher and the best,

Vladimir Lenin opposed the West,

Victory will come through struggle and strife,

Even if it involves forfeiting one’s life,

I spread the message loud and clear,

Fight for justice and have no fear.

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Capitalism’s Effect on Climate Change and Environmental Damage

Generally speaking, capitalism is an economic framework whose impact is detrimental to the climate and environment. The excessive exploitative measures taken to fuel industry and consumer demand is extremely damaging. The ceaseless search for oil and other fossil fuels know no boundaries or limits. Oil extracting corporations are determined to exploit areas of interest until not a single drop of the precious liquid remains. This is done at the expense of farmers and the local populace. Most oil extraction methods severely damage the ecosystem in ways that are often irreversible. Hazardous toxins (chemical byproducts) are introduced to the locale through the air and waterways. Oil spills occur which wreak havoc on marine life and require decades of clean-up. Once an area has been completely drained, the corporation simply packs its bags and relocates to another area to exploit. This is done ruthlessly and mercifully without the slightest bit of regret or concern. From an economic standpoint, income inequality increases dramatically which often destabilizes societal peace and harmony. Similar consequences occur with mineral extraction processes. Overall, few benefit while most suffer.

Corporations invested in large-scale agricultural ventures are just as bad. These entities greatly disrupt the traditional farming patterns of a community. Many within the local populace of these regions face starvation despite being surrounded by plentiful amounts of crops and vegetation. This is based on the fact that, most of these corporate conglomerates (like Dole) sell their produce to consumers in the West. The prices of these goods usually is completely beyond the affordability of those doing the labor. This situation is very prevalent in Mexico and Central America.

Moreover, the hyper-exploitative nature of capitalism wreaks absolute havoc on the environment and is a catalyst for climate change. The emission of green house gases and toxic fumes destroys the ozone layer and the atmosphere. This is leading to loss of glaciers and polar ice caps. This loss is the reason and explanation for an increase in the frequency and intensity of large-scale natural disasters. In addition, the loss of glaciers is causing climate instability and unpredictability. In short, the start and ending periods of seasons are changing. Scientists who claim otherwise are only doing so because they are on the payroll of rich and powerful corporate entities. Scientists and corporations alike are hiding and distorting the truth in order to protect their economic and financial interests. Likewise, politicians have been corrupted by corporate money. They are in the pocket of corporations and hence support legislation that is financial beneficial to their rich sponsors. The need for a socialist revolution is not only to make society economically equal; but to ensure that future generations have a healthy and livable planet.

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The Socialist Solution

The Socialist Solution

Part One: The Carnage of Capitalism

“Behind the façade of many of the world’s ‘democracies’, lurks the monster of capitalism.”
“Before one can conceive the complex, one must first have sight of the simple.”

Chapter I

“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of profit”

The Birth of American Capitalism

During the early stages of human civilization and society, only one form of economical framework existed- socialism. This reality was exhibited by the shared and communal ownership of land. Not only was land communal, the concept of land ownership was completely foreign and inconceivable. This situation is depicted no more clearly than in indigenous Native American societies. These people regarded the land as divinity which belonged to the creator. As a result they perceived land ownership or private property as perverse and even sacrilegious. This frame of mind importantly provides immense insight into why and how the early Europeans were able to claim American lands for themselves and the empires they represented. A famous example of this trickery and clash of cultural understandings occurred in the state of New York. The Dutch “purchased” New York from the natives for a collection of beads. While the natives probably interpreted the beads as gift and were more than willing to share their territory with these peculiar people. The Europeans interpreted the beads as a means of exchange. Furthermore, they believed that a financial transaction had occurred and as a result claimed the territory as their own. It needs to be noted that the Europeans used dishonest trickery and knowingly took advantage of this misunderstanding in relation to land ownership. The signing of contracts which handed these lands to Europeans is analogous to a person signing a contract written in a foreign language after being deceived regarding its literal content. The natives had no idea what they were doing or giving up. They were completely unaware that these agreements being made would lead to the complete destruction and marginalization of their societies and cultures.
In America and various other regions of the world, this shift of land ownership from the public to the private sphere signaled the birth and introduction of capitalism. However, in America this adoption of capitalism was only partial. This incomplete economic framework can largely be attributed to the fact that at its infant stage America was subject to the demands of feudalism. These feudal overlords were the great European powers- England, France, and Spain. Due to the growing wealth and power of American colonialists, tensions arose within this feudal relationship. These tensions were aggravated by the American landowners and rising bourgeoisie class. Eventually, American colonists amassed so much wealth and resources that they could directly challenge the authority of the king of England. These growing classes of elites became tired of being exploited by the mother country and began making plans to revolt and secede from their initial sponsors.
Wars in general, regardless of location or time period all have one commonality- they are extremely expensive. The wealth needed for America to become a sovereign country largely can be attributed to one source- the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The lucrative financial nature of slavery cannot be completely understood or comprehended by even the most astute scholars of economics. During this period of forced (and stolen) labor, profits were consistently at 100%, while costs of production were zero over a prolonged period. In addition, the workforce of a company was completely indispensable and only needed the minimum amount of subsistence required for survival. The slave trade was also immensely important at this time because it served as a catalyst for technological innovation. These advances in technology were extremely evident in relation to transportation. The efficiency of transportation directly correlated with efficiency and power of capitalism. The faster slave ships could deliver their human cargo, the lower the costs of production became. Importantly, this advancement in transport technology also coincided with military technology.

Chapter 2

“The contemporary workplace in most societies operates as a factory.”

The Farm vs. the Factory

The technological innovations of the Industrial Revolution were essentially to the spread and grow of capitalism practically and ideologically. The increased reliance on machinery had positive and negative attributes. Machines increased the rate of production and simplified the completion of many tasks. Tasks which previously required arduous manual labor were eliminated or diminished greatly. Mass production ensured standardization amongst its products. For example, identical pairs of shoes could be produced unlike the past in which individuality characterized every pair. Tasks which beforehand could only be performed by men now could be completed by women as well due to the decreased necessity of brute strength. These changes greatly supported the ideological goals of capitalism- growth in production and efficiency.
However, the increased usage of machinery also had setbacks and negative associations. The elimination of certain forms of manual labor coincided with the loss of many jobs. Likewise, mass production of goods also left many people without work. For example, the shoemaker who previously supplied shoes to his community lost all his customers. This loss can be attributed to his inability to compete with the factory made shoes. The mass production of shoes decreased their labor costs immensely and made their price plummet. Contrarily, the individual shoe maker could not lower his prices in the same manner due to his higher costs of labor. Ironically, the balance of gender role in production actually hurt men while benefitting women. This is due to the fact that in many instances women workers were preferred to men because to their perceived docility. Therefore, some employed women instead of men because of a need or desire to exercise increased usage of exploitation, abuse, and intimidation. This decreased emphasis on strength also coincided with a willingness to use children and adolescents in the cycle of production.
Moreover, the most important economical and sociological change implemented by the Industrial Revolution is the transition of labor from the countryside to the cities. This movement was caused by the creation of the factory. The shift from outdoor to indoor labor or farm to factory settings had enormous consequences both physically and psychologically on the worker.
The physical differences of the two environments are worth notation. The factory is less spacious due to its enclosed structure and specifically its roof. This constricted atmosphere unconsciously makes the worker feel less free and independent. Also, the setting is completely artificial and unnatural. Most important, however, is the fact that the conditions of the factory can be controlled by man. Environmentally, man can determine the temperature, lighting, noise, and smell of this structure. In short, man can control and alter the sensory perception of the worker. This ability to manipulate the environmental conditions of the factory can have a tremendous impact on the workers’ rate of production and ultimately his total productive output. For example, when temperatures reach a certain level in the countryside, rate of production will reach a maximum level that cannot be exceeded. The human body is in danger of overheating when working in extremely hot temperatures. However, a factory can greatly minimize if not eliminate this risk due to the environmental controlling mechanisms in place.
Likewise, the ability to control the amount of lighting can greatly affect the production rate and output. In the countryside, the majority of labor must be performed during the daylight hours. This limitation does not exist within the factory. Due to the ability to illuminate the worksite at any or all times, labor can be performed accordingly. This abnormality removes the natural restricted period of labor governed by sunlight.
The social atmosphere and character of a factory is also drastically different from a farm. Due to its more confined structure, there is an increased degree of supervision and surveillance present in the factory. This facilitates the monitoring of workers at all times and thereby diminishes the prevalence of “slacking off” or escaping without detection. In addition, this controlling mechanism makes it possible to discourage and discipline various “wasteful” social interactions including singing or conversing.
Contrarily, the definite structure of a factory, make it less transparent to prying outside eyes. As a result, the ability to abuse power and exploit ruthlessly increases substantially. The indoor nature of a factory, force the worker to concentrate on the work-at-hand. This is accomplished by minimizing or eliminating contact or sight of the outside world. This sensory deprivation of nature and the outside world lessens the propensity to “daydream”.
Most importantly, however, is the difference of social interactions and relations that exist between workers within a factory. The degree of hierarchy is present to a much greater extent than a farm. Also, the active participation amongst the exploited workers in oppressing one another is much greater. There is also more fluidity and reciprocation between worker and management. An individual can be a worker one day and a supervisor the next. This exchange of roles facilitates infiltration and betrayal of the mass of workers by various individuals. Unsurprisingly, this reality has the potential to foster extreme mistrust and resentment between the workers. Consequently, the presence of this type of atmosphere makes it difficult for the workers to realize, unite, and rebel against their true oppressor and enemy.
Lastly, the increased reliance and presence of machinery greatly differentiates the factory from the farm. This reality in general makes the workplace more dangerous and makes the likelihood of injury more probable. Likewise, the heavy use of machines increases the chance of exposure to hazardous chemicals. Machinery also serves as a mechanism to maximize the rate of production and efficiency. Due to the ability to control the speed of a machine, the manager can thereby control the speed rate of the worker. If the worker resists a particular rate of speed, injury can and often is the end result. From the perspective of the manager, the machines present in a factory serve as the model of production: unceasing, consistent, and obedient. Moreover, machines are unsociable, emotionless, and undeterred by distractions. Capitalism aims to transform the worker into this type of being in the name of productivity, efficiency, and profit.
Overall, the introduction of the factory is the worst aspect of the Industrial Revolution. At this point the worker lost control of the means of production and his labor. As the machine functions as the model worker in capitalism, the factory serves as the model workplace. All capitalist workplaces contain an element of the factory. Some simply display this element to a greater degree. According to Marxist theory, capitalism’s most defining characteristic is the presence of class struggle. Marx emphasizes that within this economic framework a continuous struggle over resources ensue between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. I completely agree with this notion. However, I think struggle also greatly corresponds to the capitalist workplace. Within this factory reconstruction, struggle occurs regarding the control of labor. In particular both parties desire control over the rate and intensity of the labor. The worker wants to work at what he considers a comfortable pace. He wants to control his body and its rate production. In general, he wants to retain his natural human freedom and liberty. Contrarily, the owner of the capitalist workplace wants to extract the maximum amount of labor from the worker. He attempts to do this in a short period of time. The primary goal of the owner is profit. The rate of profit varies between owners. In order to prod and command the worker, managers are often recruited amongst the proletariat. These individuals serve as agents, tools, and buffers of the owners. They watch the workers and report their observations back to the owners. They implement the punishment and discipline desired by the owners. They provide a barrier between the workers and owners. Regardless of how humane, decent, or kind a manager may be outside of the workplace, the owner demands he behaves in a domineering, demanding manner. His livelihood and ability of advancement depend on this behavior.

Chapter 3

“Capitalism has made the physical and the abstract a commodity.”

Capitalist Money

What is money?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary money is a medium of exchange. However its function and role in capitalism entails much more. In this economic framework the two most common forms of money are currency and credit. However, money can take many forms; some tangible, others abstract. Also, it can be permanent or contrarily perishable. Moreover, it can be valuable one day and worthless the following. As a consequence, money has an immense degree of variability and versatility. In actuality money is not an object but a consensus or compromise reached in a market or economic arena. For example, assume that an individual owns a book stand and an interested customer approaches to purchase a book. The customer asks the proprietor how many dollars a book costs. The proprietor responds that he does not accept dollars but apples instead. As a result, the customer fetches a bag of apples and later returns to the same book stand. Now satisfied, the seller and buyer swap a book for seven apples. At this important economic juncture, the apples have become a form of money.
What is the difference between money and cash?
As stated beforehand, money is a medium of exchange. Cash is simply a form of money. In economic terms money is usually referred to as currency. Henceforth, I will refer to it as such. Currency is a form of money in a physical form. This physical form usually takes notes, bills, and coins. The crucial and distinct characteristic of currency is its lack of what Karl Marx refers to as use-value. Use-value is real benefit an individual gains from the acquisition of a particular product. For example, the general use-value of an apple is derived from its consumption. It provides essential nutrients for the human body. In contrast, the general use-value of currency is minimal. Unless of course, you use a dollar bill to blow your nose upon. The real value of currency is reliant upon compromise and representation.
Why is compromise necessary for the effective functioning of currency?
Compromise is necessary for the effective functioning of currency because its value depends immensely on two or more individuals believing that the object has an understood value. However, if one of the individuals in this interaction reject the representative value then currency has become worthless. This situation demonstrates the vulnerability and fragility of currency. These damaging tendencies were widely illustrated during the financial crises of the World Wars. Further this economic reality depicts a great weakness of capitalism.
Is currency necessary in capitalism?
Yes, currency is necessary in capitalism. There are various explanations for this reality. Capitalism is an economic ideology which displays totalitarian behavior. Like totalitarian governments, repression is practiced on an economic level. Certain segments of the population are intentionally oppressed. Moreover, maximum and total participation are required within this framework. Currency facilitates this participatory environment. Due to its general acceptance and availability, currency is used by nearly everyone. This includes the rich and poor alike. The homeless beggar can make a purchase in the same way as the lawyer. Like its desire to economically expand infinitely, capitalism has a desire for the wages of everyone. Its hunger knows no satisfaction. Its greed is on continual display.
In addition, currency is necessary because it cultivates what I refer to as the capitalist mind state. This is largely due to the fact that currency lacks use value. As a result, it is usually hoarded and collected to maximize its economic potential. This behavior teaches people how to be greedy, stingy, and selfish. Ultimately, it teaches people how to think like a capitalist. People are taught to behave like pigs.
How does the credit system benefit capitalism?
The credit system is a form of economic slavery. The purpose of its most common form, the credit card, is to make individuals experience immense economic debt. While in this dire economic state, participation within capitalism is required. However, the credit system excludes the homeless and other outcasts of society. This is due to the residence, application, and bank account requirements.

Chapter 4

“War is the vehicle by which capitalism spreads its tentacles.”

Capitalism and War

Capitalism is an economic ideology that needs and perpetuates destruction. War has and always will be associated with capitalism. In the early days of American capitalism, its wars and application of force were related to domestic colonialism. This was demonstrated through Native American wars and African slavery. Also, America partook in international colonialism. This was illustrated in Hawaii, the Philippines, Alaska, and Cuba. America’s legacy of colonialism has an enormous impact on its currency value. Likewise, the values of international currencies are a reflection of the strength and scope of a countries’ colonial past. The British pound is an economic reflection of the British Empire. India and the Caribbean are examples of colonial lands that supported the economic strength of the pound.
Due to the inherent relationship between capitalism, currencies and the global economy, international conflicts have been waged to support this destructive economic system. This occurrence is very much apparent in the stabilization of currencies. An example would be the European economic crises which gripped the continent during the first decade of the 20th century. Many European currencies plummeted in value and in some cases were reduced to being nothing more than printed paper. In some cases bank notes held so little value that they were used as fuel to heat homes. The fact that this economic crisis was shortly followed by the World War I is not mere coincidence. Throughout world history, economic depressions are often followed by wars and finally prosperity. America’s involvement in World War II in many ways was an attempt to stabilize the American dollar following the Great Depression. This reality should not come as a surprise when one considers the economic benefits and opportunities when waging war. Wars stimulate employment while simultaneously crushing competition. Overall, the value of a countries currency is directly proportional to its military might and rate of success in contestations with other nations.
When capitalism is duly analyzed, one finds an immense degree of similarities with colonialism. Firstly, both systems involve the exploitation of the third world for natural resources and labor. This appropriation usually is conducted by a more powerful country which exercises complete dominance. Likewise, the raw material being exploited is usually manufactured into a more complex product within the subjugated country. The manufacturing process is usually carried out by local workers who are exploited at every level. Initially, this labor fell under the umbrella of slavery (or some other form of forced/coerced labor); now, it usually can be categorized as cheap labor. In most cases, the manufacturing operation is overseen by management originating from the mother country or local individuals who are trained and employed as agents of the exploiter. Next, the finished good is transported back to the mother country. Finally, the completed and packaged product is sold and distributed on a global scale. Due to the cyclical nature of this complex relationship, the first and last steps are usually the same. This step takes the form of wars and invasions launched by the powerful mother country. Wars and invasions are used to “expand the market” and to gain increased access to natural resources and raw materials. Also, these acts of aggression are used to quell rebellions occurring in subjugated and colonized countries.
The social relationship between the mother country and the oppressed is very important as well and harkens back to colonialism. This relationship is characterized by cultural hegemony or domination. There is usually a complete disregard for the indigenous cultures that are encountered. This disdainful attitude often results in cultural assaults and forced assimilation. Religion, language, and familial relationships are three common aspects of indigenous societies that the oppressor desires to revise or reform. In extreme instances, important cultural aspects of indigenous society are intentionally destroyed and annihilated until they reach a point of extinction with no chance of recovery. Probably, the most damaging cultural shift resulting from colonization is the importation of racism and the cultivation of self hate within the indigenous subjects. These enormously destructive mental constructions tend to resonate within third world countries long after the physical presence to the oppressor has left. Examples are the legacies of the Indian caste system and the African slave trade. Both societies still possess a great deal of self hate mentalities which are illustrated in various attempts to mimic their previous European oppressor in behavior and appearance.
Overall, the cyclical relationship discussed above is very reminiscent and bears great resemblance to the animal food chain. This similarity depicts the savage and animalistic nature of the ideology of capitalism and its likeness to colonialism. However, there is one essential difference between the animal food chain and the capitalist chain of consumption. The animal food chain is natural and therefore results in balance and harmony on earth. Contrarily, the capitalist chain of consumption has an end result of environmental and social imbalance. Hence, one chain produces renewal and revitalization; the other destruction and death.

Chapter 5

“Within a capitalist society, everything is a commodity.”

Higher-Level Education, Health Care, and Legal Counsel as Commodities

Higher-Level Education

Within a capitalist economic construct, nothing is spared the assignment of a fee or market value. This practice is extremely problematic due to the fact that certain services within a society should be considered inalienable rights which are a right versus a privilege. Notably, a citizens’ access to institutions of higher learning fall within this category. It is within every individual’s human right to fully develop their intellect and reach its maximum potential. Why should this be limited to certain segments of society? A person’s ability to attend these institutions of education should not depend upon where one’s parents reside within the economic hierarchy. The only logical reason to persist with this practice is to create and sustain hierarchy and a rigid class system within society. What better way to accomplish this goal than by limiting, obstructing, or eliminating a person’s ability to engage in economic mobility. This practice also serves a means to develop an economic ceiling for certain members of society. For example, if an individual can obtain no higher than a high school diploma, his ability to obtain employment as a professional is greatly diminished. Most likely, his employment opportunities will be restricted to menial jobs or some form of physical labor. In addition, his degree of job security, will pale in comparison to his professional counterpart. This enforced separation of labor that educational restriction produces is necessary within a capitalist framework. If everyone sought and could obtain professional employment, who would do the work considered undesirable- trash collecting, bus driving, construction work, etc. Furthermore, a society composed of mainly professionals would lack the gross inequality that capitalism requires to function efficiently. In order for the wheels of capitalism to turn, ignorance and intellectual infancy are necessary.

Health Care

As is the case with higher-level education, health care should be regarded as a right and as a result should be funded by the government. Every citizen has the right to live a healthy life within the country they reside. Health services should never be restricted certain segments of society that possess the economic means or resources. This is even more the case when dealing with ailments caused by an unhealthy environment produced or neglected by the government. For example, individuals who contract cancer due to environmental pollution within the society in which they reside should not be required to pay medical fees.
Moreover, the acquisition of medicine or other needful pharmaceuticals should be government funded. Drug companies should not be able to place a price or economic value on medicines which can ultimately decide life or death. Therefore, as is the case with health service, medicine must be nationalized and taken out of the realm of private ownership.
Doctors in capitalist countries should harbor an enormous amount shame and guilt for their mercenary tendencies. One should enter the field of medicine with the intent of providing a helpful social service opposed to the desire of enriching oneself. In addition, when patients are regarded as customers or simply transactions, the personal and intimate characteristic of health care is replaced by ruthless callousness. The discipline of medicine should be under the umbrella of philanthropy. People should study and engage in medical practice due to a genuine concern for the well being of all members of society.

Legal Counsel

Similarly, to higher-education and health care, the acquisition of legal counsel should be funded and provided by the government. An individual’s obtainment of acquittal when accused of a crime should not be directly proportional to the price of his lawyer. If two individuals commit the exact same crime, one should not face harsher penalties because he cannot afford a sufficient defense attorney. When this type of situation exists egalitarian justice and fairness within a society is absent in relation to law. Moreover, society in this type of framework implicitly declares that justice is for sale to the highest bidder. Courtrooms should be arenas in which justice is administered fairly and blindly opposed to resembling an auction. As a result, when this type of system is allowed to persist, expect to corruption to reign and pollute law to its absolute core.

Chapter 6

“Within capitalist societies the concepts of loyalty and honor are replace by greed and ruthlessness.”

The Capitalist State of Mind

One of the most damaging aspects of capitalism is the type of human behavior and tendencies it necessitates and cultivates within the individual. Due to the fact that within a capitalist society, everything is a commodity, people learn to place a monetary value on everything. This tendency is not only limited to the physical but includes the abstract as well. Furthermore, every social interaction is essentially viewed as a transaction or an opportunity for gain. This mindset leads to personal relationships being forged based upon financial interests. People choose “friends” depending on possible financial or material gain. Marriages and unions being formed based on expected financial security or gain. The result is also children being created by two individuals who truly do not love each other. At the point in which people accept and adopt this capitalist mindset, they lose all sense of honor, loyalty, and morality. Society becomes corrupt to the core and decency disappears.
In addition, capitalism is an economic framework which cultivates ruthless, callous, and cut throat behavior in people. In order to prevail and succeed one must have no qualms about crushing, conquering, and coercing the opposition. Due to these demands being placed on individuals, people conclude that the golden rule is to kill or be killed. This type of atmosphere has the ability to reduce man to its most base and savage consciousness. Capitalism creates human monsters and animals who seek to devour everything and anyone they encounter. Individuals who possess these barbaric characteristics lend credence to the term capitalist pig. Like a pig they have insatiable appetites and are themselves a threat and hazard to society.

Chapter 7

“Democracy is a cloak under which capitalism plots and conspires.”

The Façade of Democracy

Within capitalist societies, democracy exists by name exclusively. True democracy or direct democracy entails the participation of all members of society. In addition, political egalitarianism characterizes this political framework. Democracy in most capitalist countries does not possess these traits. The flag-bearer and chief proliferators of democracy even fail to adopt and practice these ideals- America. In truth, American democracy is a sham and a hoax. It is categorized a representative democracy. The crucial question must be asked: who is really being represented and why?
First and foremost, who are these representatives? They are members of the bourgeoisie class with a vested self-interest. These individuals do not represent the general populace (despite their claims to the contrary) but rather the rich and powerful. How can these people claim to represent and belong to a constituency in which they have never been a member? Not only have the majority of politicians never been a member of the proletariat, throughout most of their lives they have held disdain and repugnance towards the poor. They were and still are a member of the privileged and wealthy. Most have no conception or understanding of struggle or hardship. Yet they claim to be a champion of the people. What an absolute joke and disgrace.
Political candidates, who eventually become leaders of the masses, represent by large one constituency slavishly. This entity is the corporation. Corporate money usually funds the bulk of their political campaigns in exchange for favors and preferential treatment in the future. Politicians live in the pockets of enormously powerful multi-national companies. The legislation they support and advocate usually benefits their paymaster tremendously.
Besides the questionable background of the candidates, one must analyze the process of election in this so called “democracy”. In particular the Electoral College must be studied and dissected. The Electoral College exists for one reason exclusively- to disenfranchise the proletariat. Due to the assumption that average people are not intelligent or sufficiently informed politically, their influence is minimized and eliminated. The lie is continually propagated that this body represents the will of the people. This is a complete an absolute fallacy. They only represent and support the will of the powerful. Direct democracy should be the policy of choosing leaders for all important political posts. As stated by Karl Marx, “the oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them”.

Chapter 8

“When capitalism can conquer no more, it will consume itself.”

The Death of Capitalism

I sincerely believe that capitalism as we know it will one day cease to exist. My reasons for holding such provocative beliefs are numerous. Firstly, many aspects of contemporary capitalism are not aligned with the desires of the creator. These include selfishness, greed, violence, dishonesty, and oppression. Eventually, justice always defeats injustice in battle. Secondly, as noted by Karl Marx, due to the inherent contradictory nature of capitalism it will eventually consume and destroy itself. Lastly, the exploited masses who form the base of the capitalist structure will reach a point of exasperation resulting in a collective effort to reform, revise, or destroy the economic system responsible for their torment. As stated by Vladimir Lenin in State and Revolution, “…all revolutions which have taken place up to the present have helped to perfect the state machinery, whereas it must be shattered, broken to pieces”.

Part 2: The Shortcomings of Socialism

Chapter 1

The Birth of Socialism

The existence of societies bearing socialist characteristics date very far back into human history. In fact, this type of economic framework pre-dates capitalist-type societies. Socialist frameworks first appear within indigenous cultures. These structures were characterized by communal living. In addition, the degree of cooperation and partnership were extremely high. The concept of private property was foreign and usually considered outlandish. An example of this reality appears in Native American societies prior to European contact. Land was shared and considered communal; the harvests of crops were an all encompassing community effort. The system of labor was simple, everyone participated and in turn everyone benefitted. As a result, the importance and rigidity of class structure was extremely low.
The French Revolution of 1789 had a profound effect upon what would become modern socialism. First and foremost, it was a complete rejection of the existing political structure at the time: monarchy. In addition, it was a reaction to the economic hardship experienced by a substantial portion of the population. This uprising of the masses, illustrated their refusal to remain idle and wallow in economic plight and deprivation. It was also an attack upon the upper echelon of society, in particular the king and the French nobility. As is the case in most revolutions throughout history, as food prices rose and became unattainable for many, people were pushed to the very brink of tolerance. The general populace had to make a crucial decision: starve to death or revolt against the authorities. When placed in such a dire situation, the majority if not all individuals will choose to partake in the latter. As is the case with all animals, at some point of extreme deprivation natural and survival instincts will emerge. Adding to the fury of the French populace was the immense unpopularity of foreign policy. France’s enormous debt stemming from its role in the American Revolution left the country in a very bad economic situation. To alleviate the massive financial strain on the country, inflation ensued and prices sky-rocketed. Lastly, the negligence of the head of state, King Louis XVI, to effectively tackle this dilemma pushed people over the edge. Peaceful and passive reform was no longer desired or optional.
In many ways, the emergence of Utopian Socialism can be attributed to the legacy of the French Revolution. Utopian Socialism is the earliest form of modern socialism. The primary focus is on ideals instead of materialism. The proliferators of this ideology lived mainly during the first quarter of the 19th century. They desired an expansion of the principles of the French Revolution. These principles according to Utopian Socialists revolved around desire to create a society possessing less economic and political polarization.
The prefix utopia was a later application which implied an unrealistic or unattainable character. This disparaging term can initially be attributed to Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto of 1848. Marx’s colleague Friedrich Engels also held this negative perception of this constituency. Contrarily, Marx regarded himself as a scientific socialist and perceived his ideological views to be more based upon empirical evidence and statistics. Furthermore, he believed his ideas could be put into practice, thereby, instituting a transformation of society. Contrarily, in his opinion Utopian Socialists produced theory which was not applicable to society. Engels expands upon this viewpoint in his work Socialism: Utopian and Scientific (1892). Unlike Utopian Socialists, Marx placed an enormous emphasis on the importance of class struggle and revolution. Marx viewed these confrontational contestations as essential in creating a more efficient a fair society. Conversely, Utopian Socialists preferred and advocated a peaceful transition to a reformed economic framework.
One of the original adherents of Utopian Socialism was Charles Fourier. He believed that cooperation was key in an efficient economic system and society. Likewise, he thought free will should determine a person’s occupation within the labor force. Also, occupational compensation should be inversely proportional to its degree of desirability. Therefore, street sweepers should be amongst the highest paid members of society. He supported an economic class hierarchy and accepted that inequality was an aspect of society beyond remedy. However, he rejected and despised poverty and thus regarded it as the “source of all evil”. Furthermore, he viewed poverty as the root of all societal disorder. To combat this extreme plight, he advocated an increased minimum wage which would enable people to secure the basic necessities of society. He also rejected the practice of trade due to his perception of it being dishonest and immoral. Fourier also supported gender equality. Overall, Fourier viewed the world as being characterized by chaos and disorder. His goal was eliminate this reality. His ideas were tremendously influential upon the Revolution of 1848.
Another original Utopian Socialist is Henri de Saint-Simon. He was born into an aristocratic family, however, his views regarding politics transformed dramatically throughout his life. Eventually, he would reject feudalism and dictatorships in favor of the ideals and desires of the French Revolution: liberty, equality, and fraternity. In addition, he opposed religion and theocratic political frameworks. He held the utmost regard for science and technological innovation. Consequently, he held that industrialists and scientists should rule and govern society. Ultimately, he believed that industry and technology would trump religion and lead to a New World Order.

Chapter 2

Marxism

As aforementioned the primary difference between Utopian Socialism and Marxism, was the favored remedy to a society characterized by chaos and disorder. The former advocated a peaceful transition while the latter believed that class struggle and an uprising by the oppressed masses was essential. Karl Marx held the belief that society was constructed of two opposing entities. These entities were the proletariat and the bourgeoisie or more simply the haves and have nots. According to Marx, these two groups were engaged in an endless contestation for societal domination. Their competition stemmed from a mutual desire to possess the natural resources of society. Numerically, the proletariat greatly outnumbered the bourgeoisie. However, the bourgeoisie were much more powerful. This imbalance of power stemmed from the fact that the bourgeoisie essentially owned society. Due to their immense wealth and possession of most of the state’s natural resources, they owned and control all the key mechanisms of society. These included legislators, the military, and the means of production. Each of these constituencies were corrupted and operated in the best interest of the bourgeoisie class. Contrarily, the proletariat owned nothing except their bodies. In order to survive and gain access to the natural resources required for sustenance, they had to sell the only thing they possessed solely. The collateral relationship which emerged involved the exchange of human labor for natural resources. Due to the enormous leverage of one party over the other, exploitation ensued and a slavery type of system developed. Eventually, various labor entities would collude with one another, thereby eliminating the prospect of workers receiving a “fair” wage or compensation for their toil.
Karl Marx also place tremendous importance of the emergence of private property. This concept guaranteed that the bourgeoisie could dominate the proletariat entirely. It made it nearly impossible for the oppressed group to escape exploitation. With private property under its wing, the bourgeoisie could control agriculture and ultimately all the means of production. Henceforth, the oppressed were presented with a dilemma: accept the exploitation which would entail or face the prospect of starvation and extinction. As the labor force steadily increased, and technological advances were made, a new form of workplace was created to maximize efficiency and control. This workplace was given the name of factory and eventually the corporation. Marx hints at the exploitation which follows the establishment of private property when he states, “the representation of private interests…abolishes all natural an spiritual distinctions by enthroning in their stead the immoral, irrational and soulless abstraction of a particular material object and a particular consciousness which is slavishly subordinated to this object” (Marx, on the Thefts of Wood, in Rheinische Zeiting (1842).
The essential difference between Utopian Socialism and Marxism is the advocated action needed to enact change and reform. While Utopian Socialists, regarded negotiation and cooperation as a viable vehicle, Marx disagreed wholeheartedly. In his opinion, political reform was ineffective and pointless. He held this position due to his perception and belief that the entire political process and constituency was rife with corruption. This corruption stemmed from the fact that he viewed the political actors as being either a member of the oppressing class or bribed by them. Likewise, Marx thought elections were a sham which served the interests of the dominant class while masquerading as a representation of the masses. Marx encapsulates this position when he states, “the oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and oppress them”.
Generally, Marx believed that the most effective mode to initiate and complete the transformation from capitalism to socialism involved the application of force. He believed force was essential due to the refusal of the bourgeoisie to willingly cede their power and overall strangle-hold on society. Marx viewed the prospect of their cooperation as unrealistic and highly improbable. Contrarily, he expected the rich to fight savagely in order to retain the resources which they had accumulated upon the backs of the poor. As a result, one viable option remained: the bourgeoisie must be crushed with overwhelming force. A proletariat revolution must occur in which society is destroyed and then reconstructed.

The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917

While Karl Marx was the architect who provided the blueprint for the establishment of a socialist regime, Vladimir Lenin played the role of the construction worker. Lenin was the individual who put the revolution in motion and ultimately emerged as the leader of the globe’s first socialist country. However, as is the case in most successful revolutions the conditions had to be ideal and the ground needed to be fertile in order to cultivate effective reform. These conditions were present based upon the domestic and international state-of-affairs regarding the Russian Empire.
Firstly, the participation of Russia in World War I can be characterized as nothing other than disastrous. The fatalities and casualties were extremely high and demoralizing. People were weary of war and wanted Russia to get out of this grand conflict as soon as possible. The readiness to exit the war provided enormous incentive for Germany to intervene in Russia’s domestic affairs. This stemmed from the fact that the Germans were fighting Russian forces on the eastern front of Europe. If they were removed from the conflict, Germany could concentrate all of its forces and efforts on the western front and substantially improve the likelihood of victory. Germany began to lay the groundwork and strategize a way in which to place Lenin in power. Lenin was opposed to the Russian participation in World War I and aimed to withdraw his country upon capturing power. To facilitate the Revolution and eventual transfer of power, Germany smuggled Lenin (who was exiled in Switzerland at the time) back into Russia by railroad. With Lenin back in the country, the Revolution had its charismatic leader and could proceed towards its final goal.
Another reality of Russia which would play an enormous role in social upheaval and rebellion were the dire economic conditions present. The country was in enormous debt and owed massive loan amounts to various countries. This led to hyper inflation especially in relation to food prices. The price of bread sky-rocketed and unrest and riots followed.
The reaction of the Czar Nikolai to this domestic instability provided the final catalyst for revolution. He callously and without hesitation ordered his troops to fire on the revolting crowds and crush the upheaval mercilessly. His troops obeyed and shot angry people who had been queuing for bread. This show of brutality crystallized the fury of the people and ensured that his days as czar were numbered.
Following the Bolshevik Revolution and the Russian Civil War, the world’s first communist state emerged with Lenin residing at the apex. Consequently, the czar and his noblemen were stripped of their power and possessions. Affluent citizens, likewise, had their privileges and private property confiscated by the state. In addition, all banks along with their accounts were nationalized. In general, a massive campaign of collectivization and redistribution of wealth ensued. Russia was truly undergoing a complete restructuring of its political, economic, and social landscape. In 1924, the unthinkable occurred and Russia once again faced a political crisis: Vladamir Lenin died.
Following the death of Russia’s enigmatic leader, a power struggle emerged. The contestants were two ambitious, yet polarizing figures: Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky. Both were members of the original Bolshevik party, however, their political ideologies and views differed tremendously. While Trotsky advocated the proliferation of socialism on a global scale, Stalin believed that Russia should focus on socialism domestically. Both men had enormous political credibility due to their participation in the Revolution and the Civil War. However, Stalin demonstrated superior cunning and maneuverability. When the smoke cleared, Stalin would occupy the Kremlin, while Trotsky was forced to take exile in Mexico.

Stalinism

When Joseph Stalin gained control of Russia he made a conscience decision to portray himself as the heir to Lenin. In addition, he depicted himself as a model of continuation and natural successor to Marx and Lenin. This was a complete fallacy and an exercise of immense fraud. Interestingly, Lenin recognized the greed, selfishness, and brutality of his young protégé. Lenin warned his political peers about Stalin and disapproved of Stalin ascending to the forefront of Russian leadership. Stalin would verify Lenin’s suspicions repeatedly. Under Stalin’s leadership, brutality and intolerance would increase dramatically. An example is the creation of the secret police. This constituency literally terrified the citizens of the state with their practices of abuse. It became a regular occurrence for people to fall victim to abduction, torture, and permanent disappearance. All opposition was ruthlessly crushed in the face of completely intolerant behavior. This was most notoriously apparent in the various political purges ordered by Stalin. Due to his immense paranoia that Russia was under siege internationally and domestically, he felt the need to periodically reconfigure the Communist Party. As a result, members of the party were eliminated either physically or politically. They were accused and eventually convicted of sabotage. These convictions usually resulted in exile to Siberian labor camps or immediate and swift execution. Stalin took these campaigns of change to the nth degree by even making people “vanish” from official party photographs.
In addition, Stalin’s campaigns of rural collectivization were even more intensive than those enacted by Lenin. This led to destabilization and sometimes resistance among the proletariat farmers in the countryside. As was standard policy in these situations, opposition was ruthlessly crushed by either execution or exile to Siberia. Stalin also instituted a substantial increase in the industrial output of Russia. Many new factories were created and those engaged in industrial labor grew greatly. This shift in production essentially transformed Russia from an agrarian to an industrial economy overnight. Moreover, it elevated Russia to a global industrial power. However, the metamorphosis was too abrupt and consequently disrupted the agrarian mode of production. Crippling famines and widespread death and suffering characterized Russia during this period. It is estimated that between five and ten million people perished as a result of these famines.
World War II had an enormous impact on Russia as did the first War. The death toll of the country far exceeded that of any other country in the war excluding China. It is estimated that approximately 23 million Russians died. By comparison, China’s toll measured at between 10 and 20 million. It can be argued that without Russia’s assistance, the allies would have certainly lost WWII. Due to the self-sacrifice of Russia, the allies felt indebted to them these sympathies were reflected in the aftermath of the war. As is the case following all large conflicts, the victors divide and share the spoils of war. WWII was no different, Western Europe and the United States essentially gave Russia the “green light” to behave in any manner desired within its region. Russia engaged in a campaign of imperialism and domination across its own territory and most of Eastern and Central Europe. Poland, Romania, Hungary, Ukraine and Czechoslovakia all fell prey to Russia’s lust for territorial gains following WWII.

Chinese Communism

At the onset of the 1930’s China was embroiled by internal political conflict and war. The leaders of the two warring constituencies were Chiang Kai-Shek and Mao Zedung. The former led an entity known as the KMT (Kuomintang), while the latter presided over the CCP (Chinese Communist Party). Even though Kai-Shek was responsible for attacks on capitalists and communists, he reserved the bulk of his ire for the latter. In truth, he occupied the role of a military dictator who oppressed everyone outside of his inner circle of support. Due to this reality, his friends were scarce, while his enemies were plentiful. Mao and his followers triumphed following a fierce and bloody civil war. Contrarily, Kai-Shek and his defeated followers were forced to take exile in Taiwan where they dominated and established their own government.
Following Mao’s securing of power in China, he implemented intense economic campaigns aiming to improve the country’s economy. An example is the Great Leap Forward. This was a massive campaign of increased industrial output. Mao’s primary aim was to substantially increase Chinese steel production. To attain this goal he first disseminated mass propaganda throughout China; this occurred in the cities and countryside alike. All Chinese citizens were encouraged to assist in obtaining this industrial growth. As a result, farmers constructed homemade kilns and steel production centers. Tools, cooking utensils, furniture, and other miscellaneous metals were melted a molded into large segments of metal. Unfortunately, the process of production lacked the necessary chemicals to complete the steel making process. As a result, inferior steel resulted which was essentially worthless and inferior to the prior metal. The campaign was a complete disaster and failure which would lead to the largest famine in human history- approximately 30 million people died during this period. This famine largely resulted from the neglected agricultural sector caused by a complete societal dedication to large scale industry.
Despite the common admiration of Marx, Engels, and Lenin, there were some fundamental and ideological differences between Chinese and Russian Communism. First and foremost, the background of the two leaders differed tremendously. Lenin was an intellectual and scholar who once held a position as a professor. Contrarily, Mao never attended an institute of higher learning and possessed a basic level education. These varying levels of educational attainment had a great effect on their ideological views. While Lenin believed that the revolution should be led by intellectual revolutionaries, Mao held that the participants should be comprised of the common laborer. This viewpoint of Mao emanated largely from his background as a poor farmer. Lenin engaged in extensive travel throughout Europe and lived in various countries within the continent. Mao only traveled outside of China once and disdained the prospects of travel abroad. Lastly, Mao served in the Chinese army, while Lenin never acquired military training or experience.

Chapter 3

The Collapse of Socialism in Russia and Eastern Europe

Socialism’s collapse was not inevitable. Many political analysts attribute its collapse to an inherent flawed structure. This approach is too simplistic. Socialism collapsed largely because its implementation did not match its ideology. The discrepancy between ideology and reality was largely caused by the intentional abusive behavior of its managers. This behavior should be characterized as betrayal to their respective nations, people, and socialism as a political concept. Likewise, there were many problems associated with the administration of socialism in Central and Eastern Europe. These problems contributed greatly to its demise. Most of these issues could have been avoided if proper diligence would have been adhered.
First, corruption was an enormous problem which damaged socialism’s effective implementation. Within most socialist regimes in the region, corruption was rampant. Those who held positions in politics often abused their power. They engaged in activities exclusively motivated by their self-interest. Opposed to striving to uplift their fellow countrymen and nation, they instead looked to enrich themselves. These actions were especially undertaken by those who controlled the allocation of finances and resources. As stated by the political analyst White, “there were enormous differences in income between officials and ordinary workers, and there was a ‘special kind of corruption’ caused by the fact that government was in the hands of a single political group, which was the source of all privileges” (White, 49).Moreover, the perpetrators often operated under complete immunity. When this plunder and theft were discovered, mass resentment ensued among the general population who felt swindled.
Also, a phenomenon commonly referred to as the “brain drain” was a problematic characteristic of socialism in Central and Eastern Europe. This term refers to the mass exodus of a county’s intelligentsia. It is usually caused by various enticements from other countries or forms of government. The major enticement which lured the intelligentsia from this region was economical. Specifically, they sought increased economic mobility and power in the West and other capitalistic regimes. These individuals were also spurred on by an increased social status which they could attain in a capitalistic setting. The intelligentsia also left the region in order to study fields of study which were unavailable in their socialist country due to censuring policies. The political historian Magocsi illustrates this socialist domination of the education system when he notes:
The second major influence during the interwar years had to do with the efforts of Bolshevik leaders in the Soviet Union to create in that country a new generation of young people who would be inspired by the principles of Marxism-Leninism and be able to participate in the industrialization and modernization of society according to the guidelines of centralized state planning. To achieve that goal, several new polytechnical and professional training institutions were established for the most part during the 1920’s in the present day states of Belarus (at Minsk, Mahiliou, Vitsebsk), Ukraine (Kiev, Odessa, Bila Tserkva, Vinnytsia), and in that part of Moldova (Tiraspol) then under Soviet rule (Magocsi, 208).
One of the most damaging problems associated with socialism in the region involved its popular perception. Many citizens of former Soviet bloc countries viewed socialism as Soviet injustice. This injustice was believed to include imperialism, hegemony, and oppression. White provides evidence of this perception when he states, “perhaps the clearest case of political change ‘from below’ was in Poland, where communist rule had always been resisted because it was Russian and not just because it was Marxist…” (White, 53). These views were reinforced by various military campaigns launched from Moscow. The 1956 Hungarian invasion is an example of these aggressive
tactics employed by the former USSR. Ultimately, Moscow was seen as an oppressor opposed to a protectorate. Many individuals characterized the relationship between Moscow and their respective capital city as one of exploitation opposed to mutual benefit. Socialism was also interpreted by many as a purely Russian concept. This made it seem foreign and strengthened many arguments that it was being applied forcefully instead of voluntarily. As a result, this resignation of socialism as a Russian ideal stymied and hampered nationalistic sentiments. Many rightly and logically questioned why they should make economic sacrifice if Moscow was the sole benefactor of their labor.
Another problem associated with socialism in Central and Eastern Europe was the emergence of a ruling class. This constituency was completely contrary to the egalitarian character and ideals of socialism. As stated by White, “…there were some who argued that a socialist society of this kind was qualitatively no different from capitalism; specifically, that its ruling group was the functional equivalent of a capitalist ruling class” (White, 49). Even more damaging was the fact that these individuals were obviously distinguished from the general population economically. This privileged and separate constituency caused feelings of resentment and suspicion to arise in their respective countries. As stated by the political historian Stephen White “…for some there was already enough evidence of systematic and continuing inequality to justify the identification of a communist ruling group that had most of the distinguishing features of the capitalist ruling class they were supposed to have left behind” (White, 42). Many of these leaders were not elected democratically but appointed based on military service or political ties. As a result, many questioned their legitimacy and right to power. These contentious feelings were only exasperated by the fact that these officials were rarely held accountable for their actions.
In addition, ambition regarding advancement is a challenge for socialism to overcome. If economic egalitarianism is the economic policy, what will encourage people to seek employment requiring massive training? Employment fields which fall into this category are doctors, lawyers, and engineers. Why should someone spend countless hours acquiring the skills to become a doctor when your salary will match that of a coal miner? Socialist regimes had difficulty in retaining robust skilled labor sectors. Most individuals who practiced skilled labor fled their respective countries for capitalistic alternatives where their quality of life was higher (if possible).
Further, the presence of various forms of censorship was highly problematic and damaging to socialism in Central and Eastern European countries. This practice only reinforced ideas that socialism was oppressive by nature. Limits on expression were primarily implemented to provide security and stability to various socialist countries. In the short-term this policy was highly successful. However, in the long-term it had the opposite effect. Censorship planted seeds of dissention and rebellion among the populace. These limits can be categorized into two sectors: personal and cultural censorship. Personal censorship refers to limits placed the ability to speak and project one’s opinion or outlook. Cultural censorship refers to limits placed on public outlets that include literature, music, and art. As stated by the political historian Timothy Cheek, the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich was an example of a musician whose work was limited by socialist censorship. He chose to accept these limitations and work within its realm. As a result, he and like-minded musicians received official Soviet endorsement. An example of one of his works is Symphony No. 7 in C major or “Leningrad”. In this patriotic musical selection he expresses the joy of a Russian military victory (Cheek).
The effective implementation of socialism was also complicated by the former USSR’s perversion of the political ideology. Following the Bolshevik Revolution, its leaders conveniently forgot the major aims and goals of the movement. As stated by Novikov and Bascio, “when, in 1922, the Bolsheviks destroyed all political opposition in the country, they established a system of special privileges for themselves” (Novikov, 25). Also, as time progressed, the original teachings and ideological positions of Marx were implemented with less frequency. White states that, “under its constitution, the USSR’s highest goal was the ‘building of a classless communist society’; it’s political system was a ‘socialist all-people’s state’; its economic system was based on socialist ownership of the means of production of a kind that could not be used for personal gain or other ‘selfish ends’” (White, 1). As stated by the political historian White, “…Marx’s belief that human labour was the only source of wealth, that productive resources should be owned by the people as a whole” (White, 1). Instead of abiding by this teaching, workers were disenfranchised of power and the leaders scrambled to acquire the booty and spoils of the defeated monarch regimes. Novikov and Bascio describe this self-indulgence when they state that:
While building up a totally militarized economy, the party elite took great care to ensure the good life for themselves. To do this they created a covert sub-economy closed to any outside control. The sub-economy with its own industry, agriculture, and services, worked exclusively for the party elite, providing party bosses with marvelous housing and health facilities special food supplies, transportation and spa services inaccessible to common people (Novikov, 25).
Leon Trotsky argues in Revolution Betrayed (1937), “the productive resources of the society, however, were not being used for the benefit of all its members because the bureaucracy, the sole privileged and commanding stratum in Soviet society’, had taken control of the state machinery and was using that control to further it’s own selfish interests” (White, 51). Likewise, the political historian Kotkin describes this betrayal of socialist ideology when he states that “by the 1930s, under Stalin, the revolutionary dream for a world of abundance without exploitation had become an enslavement of the peasantry and a forced headlong expansion of heavy industry, with millions of people called upon to sacrifice whatever it took to ‘catch and overtake’ the capitalists” (Kotkin, 32).
Moreover, the former USSR’s stance on religion was damaging to socialism’s appeal. Communism had an atheist ideology. Consequently, most countries that were members of the Soviet bloc were generally subjected to complete religious intolerance from Moscow. This intolerance was illustrated by various forms of suppression and isolation. Moscow demanded complete and unwavering allegiance from its satellite states. It largely viewed religion as an obstacle and possible hindrance to the accomplishment of this goal. The political historians Novikov and Bascio illustrate this intolerance when they describe Soviet behavior in Turkistan:
Within a month of the Bolshevik Revolution, Lenin assured the Muslims that their religion and customs, their national and cultural institutions “are proclaimed free and inviolable.” It was a promise not to be kept; most of the country’s 26,000 mosques and 24,000 religious schools were shut down, the teachers either killed or imprisoned. (Novikov, 173)
Novikov and Bascio also state:
Muslims in the USSR defended their religion and traditions as a legitimate expression of their national heritage. The Soviet authorities, however, responded that Islam (and its associated underground community) represented a threat to the Soviet system, and characterized their repression of it in terms of a struggle against nationalism and chauvinism. When Muslims reacted violently, to Soviet discriminatory policies, official propaganda labeled them as mafia and organized criminals. (Novikov, 177)
Also, the absence of democratic behavior and practices provided a negative perception of socialism which affected its effective implementation. This void further reinforced viewpoints of socialism’s oppressive character. It also made people feel distanced from their leadership and government. Many felt as if their interests and concerns were being ignored. As stated by the political historian Kotkin, “democracy came to Russian atop the debris of the Soviet Union’s expressly anti-liberal state, the institutional twin of the industrial planned economy” (Kotkin, 143).Democratic absence moreover diminished the liability of political figures to the public they claimed to represent. As stated by Kotkin, “…liberalism entails not freedom from government but constant, rigorous officiating of the private sphere and of the very public authority responsible for regulation” (Kotkin, 144). Kotkin summarizes this authoritarian structure when he states, “the Soviet Union was governed by men, not laws” (Kotkin, 144). The lack of democratic practices also created unnecessary conflict with the West (specifically the powers in Washington and London). The West conveniently, used this existence of limited political power to demonize Moscow and all countries under its umbrella of socialism.
Another factor which strongly influenced the fall of socialism in Eastern and Central Europe was the violence associated with the respective regimes. This destructive behavior also made many view socialism as a forceful and oppressive form of government. It was displayed in the use of various invasions and political suppressions. Examples would include the 1956 and 1968 invasion of Hungary and Czechoslovakia, respectively. These insurrections often included immense brutality. Indiscriminate killing of innocent civilian dissidents was the norm. Besides the Russian military, the KGB was also an instrument used to perpetrate violence against dissenters. As stated by the political historians Novikov and Bascio, “the KGB was also used against members of the Party elite who opposed or appeared to oppose the Party Secretary’s unlimited power or his ‘indisputable genius,’ murdering Stalin’s victims according to his whims and fancies” (Novikov, 23). As a result of these atrocities, nationalistic impulses rose rapidly and provided a continuing threat to socialism’s existence.
Moreover, the economic influence of international financial institutions was problematic for socialism. Specifically, the World Bank and the IMF (International Monetary Fund) fall into this category. The goal of these organizations is to establish global economic hegemony. Their agenda is one of capitalistic imperialism. These organizations are actually arms of the West (specifically New York and London) and transnational corporations (such as Microsoft). Their intimate relationship with the United States is evidenced by the fact that the U.S. president chooses the president of the World Bank. The political historian Michael Kennedy illustrates this bias towards the West and capitalism when he notes:
At its foundation, the World Bank assumes the necessity of movement from state-dominated to market-dominated societies: “The deep inefficiencies of planning became increasingly evident with time.” It is necessary because the world has changed, and statist forms of economic organization, since the 1960’s at least, have become outmoded. If societies do not shift form statist to market economies, they will fall further and further behind. This is a given (Kennedy, 98).
Likewise Kennedy, says “the World Bank happens to conclude that ‘extensive liberalization and determined stabilization’ are the best policies…” (Kennedy, 99). The World Bank and the IMF’s supposed neutrality and goal of alleviating worldwide poverty is a complete farce. Contrarily, their goal is to promote exploitation of poor countries and economic inequality. Kennedy notes that the World Bank has been widely criticized and accused of being unconcerned with the quality of individuals lives (Kennedy, 99). He adds that, “…it is well known that life expectancy has fallen in many countries during transition” (Kennedy, 100). The behavior and hegemonic economic goals of the IMF are very much identical to that of the World Bank. The scope of influence and power of these two capitalistic vehicles, presented a formidable foe to socialist countries in Central and Eastern Europe.
Finally, the most damaging factor of socialism was its slow and limited economic growth. This existing trend made it difficult to compete with capitalistic economies. It also increased unemployment rates and decreased available skilled labor. Consequently, this caused public discontent to rise dramatically. As stated by White, “…a steadily falling rate of economic growth could not be sustained without serious damage to the international standing of the USSR, and to the ‘social contract’ between regime and society” (White, 45). This erosion of the economic sector made inequalities in relation to their political leaders more apparent and unacceptable. As stated by the political historian White, “equally, a falling rate of economic growth meant that shortages became more acute, and this meant in turn that the privileges of the party-state leadership became less acceptable to those who were denied them” (White, 42).
A major flaw of socialism was the way in which it was administered. If the managers and care-takers would have taken different measures the results would have been different. Socialism could have existed in Central and Eastern Europe for a longer period of time. Consequently, it could have been a more viable political and economic system.

Part Three: Capitalism and Socialism Merged

“When used excessively, the good becomes bad.”

Since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, the debate has continually raged: which economic framework is superior, capitalism or socialism? In my humble opinion, the answer is neither. Both ideologies are immensely harmful when practiced in their extreme forms. A correct balance must be obtained to before the most viable system is reached. Capitalism and Socialism both have positive and negative attributes. The positives must be isolated and extracted from both frameworks and applied to society. Once this balance has been obtained, there will be an increase in the degree of fairness and opportunity in relation to the acquisition of natural resources.

Chapter 1

“Within capitalist societies, the category of commodity can and will be applied to anything.”

The Societal Triumvirate: Higher Level Education, Legal Counsel, and Health Care

Access to the three aspects of society listed above is absolutely essential in order to have a healthy and secure societal existence. The absence or exclusion from one or all three can create quite precarious and insecure circumstances. In my opinion, these three aspects of society are fundamental rights that a citizen of a state should possess regardless of socio-economic status.

Higher Level Education

The peddling of higher education is one of the most shameful and disgraceful practices in a capitalist economy. The primary problem stems from the misconception of education within society. Many wrongly perceive it as a privilege; on the contrary, it is a right. All members of a society should have the right obtain intellectual enlightenment. Otherwise, one concedes that not everyone deserves to fulfill and reach their maximum intellectual capacity. The mental growth of a person is their human right. The wealthy should not have a monopoly on the access to a college education.
The explanations for college being treated and regarded as a business are complex and numerous. Firstly, based on its potential for profitability, the assignment of commodity characteristics is highly desirable. For many people, a college education is an acquired debt which takes multiple years to eliminate. Obviously, this increases an economies’ GDP substantially. When miscellaneous fees and costs are taken into account (excluding tuition) the sum is quite lucrative.
The second reason for higher-level education’s treatment as a commodity is more tactical, shrewd, and sinister. It is treated as such to maintain the status quo of capitalism. This status quo is characterized by stark inequality and hierarchy. Education is one of the most effective means to gain economic mobility; therefore, if one wishes to retain an unequal society, this vehicle must be restricted. Otherwise, a society would exist in which everyone was engaged in a professional occupation. This would create a conundrum: who will do the manual labor? Who will desire to work with their brawn opposed to their brain? Moreover, in a more equal society, individual power will be along similar lines due to the decrease and elimination of leverage. The ability of one affluent party to exploit and oppress another diminishes. In general, people will be in a situation to choose their employment, opposed to being forced to toil for an employer.
The remedy for this societal ailment is simple. Higher-level education should be nationalized by the government. Everyone who desires attending college should be allowed to do so. The government should fund higher-level education on a national scale. To pay for this extra expenditure, resources should be shifted from the military sector to education. If necessary, taxes should even be raised to accomplish this goal. However, attending college should not be compulsory. Those wishing to bypass college can enter the workforce after obtaining a valuable skill or trade. Private educational institutions should be dismantled and deemed illegal. Admissions should be based solely on academic merit versus socio-economic status. However, institutions can still implement a selection process in order to create healthy competition and a quality incoming class of students. As long as universities are allowed to charge students, economic discrimination will persist.
Lastly the age at which people enter college or the university should be increased. Currently most Americans enter college at approximately 18 years of age. This should be raised to 21 years of age. Too many entering freshmen are excessively immature and unable to handle the responsibility of college. As a result, they often waste their first two years of study partying. Instead of wasting valuable resources within these two years, they should enter the workforce or the military. This 3 year experience will engender discipline, work ethic, and maturity. After they complete this service, they will be more prepared psychologically for college and the university. Overall, their college experience will be more fruitful and productive than under the previous system.

Legal Counsel

As is the case with higher-level education, legal counsel should be nationalized. The entire practice of law needs to be placed under the umbrella of the federal government. All members of the state should possess an equal ability to defend themselves when accused of a crime. Individuals should not have a diminished probability of successfully denying a charge simply because they are lacking resources. When this type of arrangement exists, the distribution of law and justice is essentially for sale to the highest bidder. All lawyers should be employees of the state. In addition, prosecutors and defense attorneys should receive identical pay rates to prevent one side of the law possessing more quality than the other.

Health Care

Similarly, the health care system needs a complete overhaul. It also should be nationalized. The practice of medicine should be completely regulated by the government. This involves funding for the training of medical personnel; the building and maintenance of hospitals; the manufacture and distribution of drugs; and the compensation of its workers. Medical workers should receive government-paid training as any other discipline. Hospitals should be built with tax money. Independent pharmaceutical companies should be outlawed and nationalized. People should not be condemned to endure suffering or even death because of their socio-economic status. It is completely morally wrong to allow people to die when a remedy for their ailment is available. Likewise, companies should not be able to gain a monopoly over certain drugs or treatments (such HIV medicines). Medical workers should be employees of the state like their legal counterparts. Lastly, an increased degree of humanity needs to be injected into medical practice. The current state of the medical profession is disgraceful. Patients are treated like paying customers opposed to human beings. Callousness and indifference have no place in the medical profession.

Chapter 2

“Minimum wage should be equivocal to a living wage.”

The Establishment of a Base Salary

The United States government should create what I will refer to as a base salary for all Americans. This salary will be applicable to all adult members of the state. It should reflect the amount required to live a modest existence. The minimal items for survival- food, clothing, and shelter- should be accessible based on these funds. In addition, it should be illegal for companies to pay its workers anything below this wage level. The overall goal of this fund should be the elimination of poverty and unemployment within the state. Any adult engaged in work contributing to the national GDP should be eligible to receive this payment. To prevent individuals abusing this arrangement, idleness will be categorized as a criminal act. Regardless of socio-economic status, all adult citizens who are able to work should be required to work. The only individuals excluded from working should be those attending school, the retired elderly, and handicapped or mental ill. Those found guilty of idleness should be told to choose an acceptable mode of labor or have one chosen for them. In extreme cases involving repeat offenders, fines or prison sentences should be applied. In general, everyone should be required to work 40 hours per week until reaching the retirement age of 50.

Chapter 3

“The IMF and World Bank are the vehicles by which capitalism seeks to dominate the globe.”

The Revamping of the International Banking System

The international banking system as it currently exists is largely characterized by immense levels of corruption, favoritism, and undemocratic behavior. For this reason, complete renovation is necessary before a fair and unbiased system can emerge. In particular, the World Bank and IMF must be completely and utterly dismantled as they currently stand.
When one analyzes the composition and practicing methods of the IMF, the outdated and biased nature of the constituency becomes quite apparent. Firstly, the leadership is unelected. This in itself is extremely problematic. How can a body that claims to represent global interests neutrally be composed of hand-picked individuals? Secondly, only four countries have permanent seats on the board- U.S., China, Japan, and the U.K. The remaining countries are grouped into constituencies. In total 24 representative bodies, represent 187 countries. Each of these bodies is led by a managing director. The 24 bodies have varying levels of voting power, supposedly dictated by the strength of respective economies. However, contrary to this claim, the fact remains that Europe’s voting power is overrated while China’s is underrated. In total, European votes constitute one-third of the sum of votes. Together Europe and the U.S. constitute fifty percent of the total voting value. Therefore, if the U.S. and Europe decide to collude in order to force economic legislation, their attempts will meet insufficient resistance from other countries. Moreover, when taking note of the unrivaled dominance of the U.S. and Europe, it should come as no surprise that historically the IMF president is European, while the World Bank president is American. As is argued by many countries within the developing world, leadership within international economic bodies must be chosen democratically if they are to be truly representative.
Moreover, the World Bank and IMF are two of the primary proliferators of capitalism. Most of the economic plans they construct for countries require the adoption of capitalist practices or in their terminology “a free-market economy”. Failure to accept these conditions, often results in the denial of international loans. These bodies also tend to advocate a massive reduction in the funds required to operate needful social programs. These reductions usually take the forms of austerity measures which unequivocally hurt the poorest members of society. Often, these measures are met by fierce and violent opposition. Examples of these policies and the reactions they spur can be seen in the economic crises of Greece, Ireland, and Portugal. In general, the IMF and World Bank are anti-socialist and opposed to most if not all socialist economic policy. Their ultra-capitalist agenda is extremely unfair and harmful to the global economy.

Chapter 4

“While private property remains the essence of capitalism, it is the antithesis of socialism.”

The Concept of Private Property

Private property is immensely important within a capitalist framework. It is essentially the foundation in which the ideology rests. Contrarily, many socialists completely and wholeheartedly reject the concept and advocate public ownership of land. In order to create the most viable system, a consensus between both ideologies must be reached. Private property should be permitted but only on a small scale. The ownership of large scale property should belong to the federal government exclusively. Small scale property includes: houses, cars, tools, computers, and other consumer products. Large scale property entails actual land and territory. Land should not be owned by individual members of society because land is a public concept. It should be accessible to all members of society and not a select few. I find the idea of people owning an entity created by God to be perverse and absurd. Land existed before mankind’s creation and it will exist beyond mankind’s extinction. Humans are simply the farmers and cultivators of the earth. The acceptance of land as a commodity is a very European conception with roots in imperialism and colonialism. It should be regarded as an outdated mode of thinking. Consequently, it should be ideologically and practically purged from society.

Chapter 5

The Reformation of American Democracy

There are numerous improvements that should be made to the current democratic machinery which would enable it to function with increased fairness, transparency, and efficiency. Firstly, the Electoral College must be eliminated and dismantled. Political representatives should be chosen in a popular election. Each member of society should have and identical degree of political power regardless of socio-economic status. With the technological innovations at our disposal (in particular computers) this is not infeasible or impossible. The Electoral College is outdated, biased and an inept representation of the will of the people.
Secondly, the nature of political campaign funding must change entirely. The current practice of corporations and big business financing politicians must come to an abrupt halt. Most of these politicians have been essentially bribed by these corporate entities and are practically on their payroll. This situation creates fertile terrain for corruption and favoritism. Likewise, the amount of resources required to run a successful campaign must decrease substantially. Currently, politicians must be millionaires themselves or be sponsored by millionaires in order to have a realistic chance. This should not be the case; this is completely unacceptable. More candidates should be comprised of regular people who actually can sympathize and relate to the desires of the populace. How can people who have lived lives characterized by privilege and entitlement represent the common laborer or worker?
Thirdly, the Supreme Court justices system must change dramatically. The current appointment process is unacceptable and extremely problematic. Justices are chosen by the serving president. Even though the House of Representatives can theoretically oppose and thwart his appointment, practically this never occurs and is very difficult to accomplish. As a result, the president picks the Supreme Court justices at his discretion. This type of arrangement grants a president excessive control and influence over the judicial branch of government. In addition, it compromises the alleged balance of powers with the political framework. Even more problematic than the aforementioned situation, is the term of service granted to justices. Their life appointments are excessive and absurd. This length appointment bestows immunity upon justices while stripping them of accountability. As is the case with any political official, they should be subject to review and even recall if they abuse or neglect their posts. Supreme Court justices should be popularly elected as is the case with all other politicians.

Chapter 6

The Revision of American War Policy

American War policy as it currently stands is completely unacceptable and problematic internationally. The consistent and continuous use of aggressive and intrusive tactics needs reform immediately. Current war policy exacerbates anti-Americanism and ill will towards the U.S. As long as domineering and imperialist behavior are displayed, America will remain engaged in warfare and will have no shortage of enemies.
Firstly, repeated campaigns involving invasions and incursions must come to an abrupt halt. Several of the recent conflicts in which America has participated have been completely unprovoked. Likewise, many of the aforementioned conflicts are technically illegal based upon international law. This should not be the case. America should only exercise self-defense when attacked by an aggressor country or state. Countries should never be assaulted based on assumptions or potential ability to harm. Therefore, pre-emptive attacks should no longer be practiced. There have been far too many instances in which the “evidence” used to validate pre-emptive has later been proven to be unreliable or blatantly false. The prime example is the suspicion that Iraq had a nuclear weapons program and posed an imminent danger to American national security.
Secondly, the implementation of occupations resulting from conflicts has to cease. This practice essentially is a modern form of colonization. It often infuriates the local populace who largely want the Americans to go home after the completion of their mission. The American military should enter conflicts with clear, attainable, and tangible goals. Upon completion of those goals American forces should depart. Without these visible aims, a quagmire develops and forces remain in foreign countries indefinitely. An example of such a situation exists in Afghanistan. Once the Taliban and Al-Qaeda were removed from power, the U.S. military should have left. Afghanistan and countries in similar situations must be responsible for their own country. Ultimately, they must determine their fate instead officials in the Pentagon.
Lastly, America’s aim and intent of globally proliferating democracy has to change. If we spread our political ideology by force, what differentiates us from the USSR? Countries should be made aware of their options and left to choose the best arrangement. They should not be coerced or forced militarily to adopt a democratic framework. In addition, if the banner of democracy is hoisted by the U.S. we should not befriend dictators or autocratic actors. For example, they should not be allies with the monarchal leadership of the Middle East. Moreover, we definitely should be supplying these leaders with weapons which serve to stagnate and strangle the democratic cries of their people. If this disgrace behavior continues, America earns the right to be considered the bastion and epitome of hypocrisy. Is political proliferation the goal or global hegemony?

Conclusion

Equality, justice, and peace will inevitably prevail. It is the responsibility of all revolutionaries to  inform, unite, and revolt.

“A revolution is not a dinner party” – Mao Zedong

 

Works Cited

Magosci, Paul Robert. Historical Atlas of Central Europe. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993.

Kennedy, Michael D. Cultural Formations of Post Communism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002.

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The Rise of the 95

The current global economic situation in which the minority dominate the majority is an unsustainable imbalance. Within this world in which we live, 5% of the populace control 95% of the wealth. Their immense wealth has enabled them to build fortresses and armies to protect the resources they have stolen and appropriated from the poor. This does not have to remain the case. When the 95% awake from their prolonged slumber and realize their dire economic situation, the 5% will tremble with absolute terror. The raising of consciousness both individually and collectively is the first step in changing this unacceptable reality. This must be done through education at the grass-roots level. It is the responsibility of every socialist and left-leaning individual to proliferate and inform the ignorant of their economic plight in this world. Furthermore it is their responsibility to present a solution and alternative to the status quo. Secondly, the informed and educated must organize, plan, and plot on the best course of action needed to rectify the current situation. Third, the existing global economic superstructure must be infiltrated at the local, national, and international level. Once all of these steps have transpired, decisive action must be taken to assault and destroy the 5% entities’ power base. This  powerful superstructure is so entrenched in global societies, that it must be attacked from the interior and exterior simultaneously or in waves. We will eventually be victorious; the clock of doom  is currently ticking on the 5% and their allies.

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The Metamorphosis of Capitalism

What once began as an economic structure or frame-work, capitalism, is changing before our very eyes. Capitalism can no longer be solely restricted to economic policy. Instead, it has spread it tentacles throughout various aspects of contemporary society. This is very evident within the United States. Capitalism has permeated politics, law, medicine, education, marriage and even religion. It has become a way of life or to put it simply a culture. Capitalism represents and proliferates a culture of greed, selfishness, and superficiality.

In politics, one must be a millionaire in order to have any chance at gaining meaningful power. Political campaigns are extremely expensive endeavors in which very few individual can launch.

In law, one has a much greater chance of acquittal if millions of dollars are at one’s disposal. A court appointed lawyer rarely obtains an acquittal for his client.

In medicine, hospitals have become one of the most economically lucrative industries in America. Moreover, the profession of doctor has been stripped of all honor and charity.

In education, colleges have shamelessly transformed a human right into a privilege. A privilege denied and unobtainable to large portions of the populace.

In marriage, capitalism has reduced an essential family bond to a financial investment in which both parties eventually wrangle over property and goods.

In religion, many churches and religious leaders have become money-making ventures and pimps that dole out religious instruction for a fee.

Capitalism is constantly shifting and changing. It will not rest or gain satisfaction until it dominates every aspect of society. It must be fought, suppressed, and eventually destroyed if humanity is to live in peace and harmony.

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The Profitability of War and Conflict

The financing of wars and conflicts is undoubtedly one of capitalism’s most lucrative ventures. This has been the case since the advent of capitalism and it will remain as such. It is no coincidence that wars often precede the economic recovery of a country. War is a catalyst for increased industrial output and job creation within the war industry. There is no better example than World War II in America. This international conflict is just what was needed to boost the tattered American economy following the stock market crash of 1929. To a lesser extent World War I had a similar impact. Following WWI, Europe was in a state of ruin because many European cities had been pummeled by continuous bombardment. Contrarily, America was completely intact, unscathed and untouched. This reality enabled America to extend enormous economic loans to their European counterparts who needed to reconstruct their cities. In essence, this new-found financial power catapulted America into superpower status. Contemporarily, this tight-knit relationship between war and money remain extremely strong. This relationship is very prominent and observable in America’s involvement within the Middle East. Iraq was invaded simply to stabilize and exercise more control over the global oil industry. Had Saddam Hussein never invaded Kuwait in an attempt to monopolize crude oil, the Gulf War never would have transpired. In addition, he would still be in power. Saddam got greedy and forget his role in the imperialist game. As a result, he had to be removed from power and had to pay the ultimate price. Bottom line: America is just as willing to go to war to acquire money as it is to protect its money.

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As The Rich Get Richer, The Poor Get Poorer

Within a capitalist framework, the pattern of widening economic inequality is generally present. This existence is largely illustrated by the disconnect that exists between the stock market and the disposable income possessed by the populace. Logic would lead one to believe that as the stock market rises, joblessness decreases. An inversely proportional relationship would be the expected correlation. Wrong. Currently, the Dow Jones is at its highest rate ever. However, the economic health of your average citizen is worse than 5 years ago (when the housing crisis began). How is this possible. I’ll tell you how. While corporate profits have soared, wages have decreased. This can largely be attributed to job outsourcing (corporations moving to other countries) and the severely weakened state of worker unions. The corporations that have remained in America, have forced their workers to take substantial pay cuts, while laying off thousands. Workers have been coerced through fear of losing their jobs. All the while, the price of living (measured by inflation) has continued to rise. At the end of the month, when all expenses have been paid, Americans have less money in their pockets than 5 years ago. However, corporate CEOs have more. The so-called economic recovery is a facade.

If you noticed, I have not used the term unemployment rate. There are numerous reasons for this. The unemployment rate, regardless of its popularity, is not a sufficient barometer for measuring the economic health of the populace. The unemployment rate masks two critical realities. Underemployment and the lack of skill utilization. There are many people who previously were full-time and now are part-time workers. In addition, many people have had to settle for lower paying jobs that do not utilize their skill set. An example would be a skilled worker, now working in the service industry. Both of these individuals are excluded from the unemployment rate. Moreover, the masses of frustrated people who have simply given up looking for work are also excluded from the rate. Therefore, the disposable income of people is a more accurate measure of economic health. In actuality,the best way to conduct an economic analysis is to study multiple sources of data. Economists need to start analyzing the state of the average American worker, opposed to the state of the average CEO.

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