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by Christopher Henry Sunday, Feb. 08, 2004 at 12:55 PM

An article on the true nature of Marx and socialism/communism.

By Christopher Henry

Millions around the world cheered and celebrated the day the Soviet Union and its allies in Eastern Europe collapsed…among those celebrating were many socialists/communists. This may sound strange to many, but it is indeed the truth.

Since the 1850’s the truth of socialism (in general), communism and Karl Marx (in particular) has been severely distorted by those who are opposed to it and those that claim to advocate it. I’m constantly angered, disappointed and saddened by the fact that to this day people still don’t know what socialism/communism is, and more importantly what it is not!

There are many lies and misconceptions that have been told about socialism/ communism; I, at this time, will give you the cold, hard, proven facts about it. First of all, socialism and communism is in fact the same thing, communism is only Karl Marx’s version of socialism; if you read into it you will see that Marx is, and is referred to as, a socialist.

Since it’s inception in the early 1800’s there have been many versions of socialism; from “utopian socialism” espoused by Owens, Saint-Simon and Fourier to the “conspiratorial socialism” of Babeuf and Blanqui, “anarchism” of Proudhon and Bakunin right up through the so-called socialism of Lenin and Mao.

Some forms of socialism do advocate tight governmental controls of everything, however, these forms are in the minority and in no way are advocated by most socialists. It is indeed unfortunate that socialism/communism has become a flag of convenience that accommodates bureaucrats and market-minded economists and allows evil-minded two-bit dictators a way of deceiving people in order to basically enslave them. Most socialists/communists do however advocate Karl Marx’s version of socialism in which no way involves a large governmental bureaucracy that controls everything, and anyone who calls him/herself a socialist/communist that is in favor of such a thing is not a true socialist.

I am providing this information in order to set the record straight and so that in the end you may make up your own mind about it since our so-called leaders are afraid to tell the you truth that they’ve known about for so, so long.

Let us examine just a few of the lies told about socialism/communism.

LIE- Marx was just some old gray haired radical with wacky utopian ideas.

FACT- Marx was an intellectual, philosopher, historian, economist and sociologist. He was a Doctor of Philosophy; he was fluent in Latin, Greek and French. He studied Legal Sciences, Roman law, mythology, modern art history, German law, European legal systems and Natural law at the University of Bonn. At the University of Berlin he studied criminal law, anthropology, Ecclesiastical law, criminal procedures, Prussian Civil codes and logic.

Karl Marx confronts us as a thinker of world-historical dimensions; it would be hard to imagine another scholar who has had as much influence on intellectual history as Karl Marx. He provided a complex and profound analysis of the class system under capitalism- an analysis that, although over a 100 years old continues to inform sociological analysis and has been the basis for major world change, the study of modern sociology still begins with the work of Karl Marx. On every continent, to this day, people find inspiration in his writings. His Communist Manifesto is the second most published book in history, the Bible being the first.

LIE- Communism is a brutal repressive system ruled by a dictator in which people have no civil liberties and are forced to live a sub-standard life in the name of equality.

FACT- When Marx became a socialist, what set him apart from other socialists of his time was his insistence upon the democratic character of the coming revolution. The commitment to democracy dominates his whole life, this can be found in all of his writings. The core idea of communism is democracy, not a chairman or dictator or bureaucracy. Marx makes this point very clear from his earliest writings, in 1847 he wrote: “We are not among those socialists who are out to destroy personal liberty, who wish to turn the world into one huge barrack or into a gigantic workhouse… We have no desire to exchange liberty for equality. We are convinced that in no social order will be freedom assured as in a society based upon communal ownership”.

“Man’s self-esteem, freedom, must be awakened once more in the heart of these men. Only this feeling, which disappeared from the world with the Greeks…can once more transform society into a fellowship of men working for their highest purposes, a democratic state.”---Karl Marx, A Correspondence of 1843

“Freedom consists in converting the state from an organ superimposed upon society into one completely subordinated to it.”--- Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Program

LIE- In communism you can’t own property.

FACT- “Hard-won, self-acquired, self-earned property!...There is no need to abolish that”.---Karl Marx, Proletarians and Communists

“We by no means intend to abolish this personal appropriation of the products of labor, an appropriation that is made for the maintenance and reproduction of human life, and that leaves no surplus wherewith to command the labor of others. All that we want to do away with is the miserable character of this appropriation, under which the laborer lives merely to increase capital, and is allowed to live only in so far as the interest of the ruling class requires it”---Karl Marx, Proletarians and Communists

What Marx meant by the abolition of private property (or bourgeois property) was that no one person or small group of persons was to privately own property that was utilized to make profits (at the expense of others) for their own advantage, not personal property! Everyone has been led to believe that the common ownership of property means that you share everything including personal belongings, not true. Marx wrote clearly that common ownership only included those items which were necessary for the means of production i.e. factories, foundries, mines, etc., etc.

LIE- Communism forces everyone to be equal.

FACT- “ One man is superior to another physically or mentally and so supplies more labor in the same time, or can labor for a longer time; and labor, to serve as a measure, must be defined by its duration or intensity, otherwise it ceases to be a standard of measurement. This equal right is an unequal right for unequal labor. It recognizes no class differences, because everyone is only a worker like everyone else; but tacitly recognizes unequal individual endowment and thus productive capacity as natural privileges. It is, therefore, a right of inequality, in its content, like every right.”---Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Program

Marx was an intellectual and was intelligent enough to know that in no way could any system, no matter how good it might be, could ever have all individuals equal, he knew that to even try would be pure folly.

LIE- A person would receive the same no matter how hard he/she works.

FACT- Further, one man is married, another not; one has more children than another, and so on and so forth. Thus, with an equal performance of labor, and hence and equal share in the social consumption fund, one will in fact receive more than another, one will be richer than another, and so on. To avoid these defects, right instead of being equal would have to be unequal.”---Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Program

LIE- There would be no incentive to work…it would make everyone lazy.

FACT- This is the funniest of the all the lies about communism…what incentive is there to clean your house or yard? What incentive is there to do many of the things that we do in which we work but yet we receive no monetary compensation for?

Marx clearly states that the economic goal of communism is to require everyone to work an equal and minimum amount of time and to eliminate differential rewards at least as life’s basic necessities are concerned. The motivation to perform the accepted minimum amount of work would derive from a sense of civic duty and/or the need to acquire life’s material necessities, while the motivation to do additional work would derive from the enjoyment of unalienated labor or, alternatively, from it’s material rewards justly earned.

The fact of the matter is, is that the incentive to work will be the same as it is now. In order to secure the basic necessities of life we have to work. The last part of the above statement also serves to show that people will not be equal, if a person decides to do additional work he or she will in fact receive more; in other words, if a person wants to have more material items in which to enrich their lives, all they have to do is work for it. And what about those lazy folks? Simple fact is, is that in any system you’re going to have a very small minority of person’s who genuinely don’t want to work.

LIE- You don’t have the right to own guns in communism.

FACT- “Universal arming of the people. In the future the army shall be simultaneously a worker army, so the military arm shall not, as in the past, merely consume, but shall produce more than is actually necessary for it's upkeep. This will like wise be an aid to the organization of labor”.---Karl Marx, The Demands of the Communist Party in Germany

“The arming of the whole proletariat with flintlocks, carbines, guns, ammunition must be put in hand directly...Arms and ammunition are on no account to be handed over; every attempt at disarmament must be frustrated, by force if need be”.---Karl Marx, Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League

LIE- Communism forbids religion and the worship of God.

FACT- Most communists are atheists, however, many do believe in God, like me, the author; Marx only wished to see religious organizations diminished to the point where they exercised no power to influence society at the behest of the ruling class, a true separation of church and state. As far as the right of a person to worship as one pleases Marx stated that:

“These rights include freedom of conscience, the right to practice one’s chosen religion. The privilege of faith is expressly recognized, either as a right of man or as a consequence of one of the rights of man-the right of freedom”.- Karl Marx, On The Jewish Question

“The incompatibility between religion and the rights of man is so little part of the concept of the rights of man that the right to be religious in the fashion that pleases one and to practice a particular form of worship is explicitly included among the rights of man. The privilege of faith is a universal human right.” - Karl Marx, On The Jewish Question

LIE- The USSR collapsed and that proves communism doesn’t work.

FACT- Everyone has been taught that the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, N. Korea, Vietnam, etc., etc. are communist, this is simply not true; there has never been a communist country in existence, the closest thing to communism that has existed was the Paris Commune and the Amana Colonies (The Amana colonies existed right here in the US for almost a hundred years).

The USSR was formed by the Bolshevik Party after the 1917 revolution, they later renamed themselves the Communist Party after the term used by Marx. It would seem that the only test politicians and the media use to determine if a country is communist is whether or not they call themselves communist. If 30 years ago the Hell’s Angels changed their name to Jehovah’s Witness’s would they actually be Jehovah’s Witness’s? Of course not!

In order to simplify this particular topic I will use the Soviet Union as an example because we think that you and most people will agree that the USSR was the model for all other so-called communist countries. Who was the “father” of the Soviet Union?
Of course it was Vladimir I. Lenin. Lenin himself stated on numerous occasions (in speeches, articles and letters) that the USSR was not communist or socialist. If you read his [Lenin’s] works you will see that he strove to establish capitalism in Russia, state capitalism specifically.

It is because Russia cannot advance from the economic situation now existing-here without traversing the ground which is common to state capitalism.--- V.I. Lenin,“The Tax in Kind”-The Significance Of The New Policy And Its Conditions, Published: May 1921

“The alternative (and this is the only sensible and the last possible policy) is not to try to prohibit or put the lock on the development of capitalism, but to channel it into state capitalism. This is economically possible, for state capitalism exists-in varying form and degree-wherever there are elements of unrestricted trade and capitalism in general”.--- V.I. Lenin, “Tax in Kind”-Freedom to trade and concessions, Published: May 1921

“Since the spring of 1921, instead of this approach, plan, method, or mode of action, we have been adopting (we have not yet “adopted” but are still “adopting”, and have not yet fully realized it) a totally different method, a reformist type of method: not to break up the old social economic system-trade, petty production, petty proprietorship, capitalism-but to revive trade, petty proprietorship, capitalism, while cautiously and gradually getting the upper hand over them, or making it possible to subject them to state regulation only to the extent that they revive”.---V.I. Lenin, “The importance of gold now and after the complete victory of socialism” Published: Pravda No. 251, November 6-7, 1921

In its intermediary and regulating function, its concern to maintain social ranks, and its exploitation of the state apparatus for personal goals, the Soviet Union is similar to every other bureaucracy, especially the fascist, a bureaucracy that had converted itself into an uncontrolled caste alien to socialism/communism.

The state in the USSR (and all other so-called communist countries) acted as a collective capitalist class, ruled by Stalinist dictatorship(s) and driven by military competition. The capitalist nature of the USSR and its allies became clear with the collapse of Stalinism in 1989-91, when yesterday’s Communist Party bureaucrats became today’s corporate executives.

So, in short, the USSR was not communist, it was in fact a state-capitalist society led by a small bureaucratic elite. They were/are communist in name only (in fact they were Bolsheviks and what you had was not the “spread of communism”, but the spread of bolshevism), they called themselves communists in order to make the claim that they were bringing to the people a system of true freedom as envisioned by Marx, instead all they received was an ‘ole bait and switch routine.

“They” used the term communist in order to hoodwink their people in order to take and keep power and “we” use that term for the exact same reason; except that “we” use “them” as an example to our people to make them automatically reject it, instead of educating them as to what it truly is and thus keeping the upper class in it’s dominate position in society.

LIE- Communism could never work.

FACT- People that have researched this subject know what a simple system it is…and it is a simple system, it’s not hard to understand at all if you know the facts. It is all together amusing and ironic that since the late 1930’s man has split the atom, cured scores of diseases, invented computers that can perform a billion actions a second, invented artificial hearts, performed intricate brain surgeries, mapped the human genome, put men into space and on the moon and invented nano-technology. With all the countless technological marvels that we have now, that just a few short years ago were thought to be beyond the realm of possibility; doesn’t it stand to reason, that we could group together the most brilliant minds of society, and give them the simple task of making communism work?

I think everyone would agree that Albert Einstein was first and foremost a genius, everyone would also agree the he was a lover of freedom and liberty. What people do not realize is that Albert Einstein was a socialist/communist and was against the capitalist system and was very much in favor of communism. I am sure that by himself he could have worked out the particulars of making communism work. After all, if the common citizens of the Paris Commune and the simple immigrants of the Amana Colonies came very close to making it work surely the best minds of today’s world surely could!

As it was stated briefly before, my intention is to provide you with just a few of the facts about the true nature of Marx and communism so that YOU can make up your own mind. Some maybe asking the question-“If communism is so great why all the lies about it?” It’s very simple folks, think about it for a minute; the powers that be know what it is, they know that to teach the truth about Marx and communism would mean the end of their power and control! Marx and communism is a deadly virus that threatens their privileged positions, so in order to inoculate themselves against this virus (much in the same way an influenza vaccine works) they spoon-feed the people these lies so that the people will automatically reject it whenever a threat appears.

My intention is not an attempt to change anyone’s mind; my intention is to have you change your own mind by hopefully reading what Marx actually wrote and learning the truth. A system in which a person can go without the basic necessities of life simply because they don’t have enough money is truly immoral and disgusting. A system in which a person works forty hours a week and cannot afford adequate healthcare, but yet, is told repeatedly that all you have to do is work hard and you’ll be successful; it’s criminal. Though we can’t have a perfect society, we can sure as hell have a better one than this and it all starts with abolishing ignorance and lies…in other words, it all starts with people like you learning the truth!

Questions/comments can be directed to: Chris or Brandon by E-mail at- marxist_duo2004@yahoo.com

Suggested readings-

KARL MARX- THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO Edited by Frederic L. Bender, Norton Critical Editions---Includes all prefaces by Marx and Engel’s- sources and backgrounds- history of Marxism- interpretations.

THE PORTABLE KARL MARX Edited by Eugene Kamenka, Penguin Books---The complete Marx anthology includes personal letters, early and major writings.

WHY SOCIALISM? By Albert Einstein, Ideas and Opinions From Monthly Review, New York, May 1949

SOCIALISM FROM BELOW By Prof. David McNally www.anu.edu.au/polsci/marx/contemp/pamset/socfrombel/sfb_main.htm

THE MARXIST INTERNET ARCHIEVE www.marxist.org ---Major writings by Marx, Engel’s, Rosa Luxembourg, Lenin, Mao and many other major figures in socialist history.
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