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  • Back to index of Class Conscious, Second Edition
  • Class Conscious:
    The Injustice of Poverty

    Second Edition

    Chapter 9: Justification for Communism

    By Punkerslut

    Start Date: May 24, 2003
    Finish Date: June 2, 2004

    The freedom of the markets has gone, but the everlasting will to be free never goes.

    -- Henry Demarest Lloyd [*1]

    Section I: Preface to this Chapter

         Up until this point in the book, I have defined the way things in are. I have used evidence to describe the way things have been, historically and in modern terms. The first chapter dealt with the nature of society, that by working together, we produce more than by working apart. The second chapter dealt with the actual conclusion of this system, with freedom of economic rights: it dealt with the mechanics of a Capitalist system. The results of this system on the worker, consumer, and general poverty, historically and in modern terms, was then viewed. Up until this point in the book, the one thing I was trying to demonstrate to my reader and my audience, was -- quite simply -- the way things happen to be right now. With this chapter, I take a dynamic verge away from that. It is the scientist's profession to discover and make his discoveries known. But it takes an innovator to expound upon those discoveries, to make them useful and practical. I hope I have fulfilled this task accurately and adequately of these discoveries, but now, I am going to act as an innovator. With what we know about economics, its result on society in all spheres of life, I propose a new idea for society: Communism.

         Before I describe this system, I think it is necessary that I thoroughly expound upon some facts to support this system. With that, I continue with this chapter.

    Section II: Labor

    We reckon loyalty in general a good thing, even a fine thing - loyalty to country or faith, to school or University, even to your business firm or cricket club. Is it not even more clearly a fine thing, this loyalty to something less obvious, more ideal - the conception of the welfare of the great majority that earn their living under wage conditions?

    -- L.F. Giblin [*2]

         In this section, I have one contention and one contention only: that labor is the only producer of wealth -- there is no wealth that requires some labor to produce it. Not all labor, though, produces wealth, just as a man can labor in his recreations and hobbies, sometimes producing little more than the sweat on his back -- such as in sports. But, there is no wealth that exists without labor. One may argue that naturally growing fruit isn't requiring of labor to produce it, but labor is required to reap it, just like iron ore and coal aren't created by labor though they are harvested with labor. By labor, I am defining any activity that uses exertion, mental or physical, to specifically accomplish something. The definition of wealth is a bit more complex: it comes in the form of goods or services, the first capable of storage and the second not. Wealth may be defined as something useful that serves some purpose, or that may be traded for something that also serves a useful purpose.

         In 1662, William Petty, one of the earliest economists, wrote, "forasmuch as both Ships and Garments were the creatures of Lands and mens Labours thereupon; This being true, we should be glad to finde out a natural Par between Land and Labour, so as we might express the value by either of them alone as well or better then by both, and reduce pence into pounds." [*3] In a much more brief statement, he writes, "...Labour is the Father and active principle of Wealth..." [*4] In 1668, Josiah Child writes...

    To conclude, It is (I think) agreed on by all, That Merchants, Artificers, Farmers of Land, and such as depend on them (which for brevity-sake we may here include under one of these general terms) viz. Seamen, Fishermen, Breeders of Cattel, Gardners, etc. are the three sorts of People which by their study and labour do principally, if not onely, bring in Wealth to a Nation from abroad... [*5]

         In 1691, Dudley North writes in his discourse, "Commerce and Trade, as hath been said, first springs from the Labour of Man..." [*6] Elsewhere, he said, "In process of time, if the People apply themselves industriously, they will not only be supplied, but advance to a great overplus of Forreign Goods, which improv'd, will enlarge their Trade." [*7] In 1720, the field of economics would still be undeveloped, but trade would not go unstudied. Isaac Gervaise would write, "...all that is necessary or useful to Men, is the Produce of their Labour..." [*8] Elsewhere, he writes, "...Labour is the Foundation of Trade..." [*9] In a longer section, he writes more...

    God made Man for Labour, so not thing in this World is of any solid or durable Worth, but what is the Produce of Labour; and whatever else bears a Denomination of Value, is only a Shadow without Substance, which must either be wrought for, or vanish to its primitive Nothing, the greatest Power on Earth not being able to create any thing out of nothing. [*10]

         In the mid-1700's, the world would experience an enlightenment, as philosophers were born to question the authority of tradition. David Hume would write in this time, "Every thing in the world is purchased by labour..." [*11] In another manuscript, he writes, "...if the former kingdom has received any encrease of riches, can it reasonably be accounted for by any thing but the encrease of its art and industry?" [*12] In 1767, a cornerstone of economics would be reached with one of the biggest volumes being written: "An Inquiry into the Principles of Political Economy," by James Steuart years before Adam Smith would make his debut in the field of economics. The first book of Steuart is full of statements that agree with the idea that labor is the creator of wealth. He writes, "Did the earth produce of itself the proper nourishment for man with unlimited abundance, we should find no occasion to labour in order to procure it." [*13] Elsewhere, too: "...food cannot, in general, be found, but by labour..." [*14] -- "...man be made to labour, and make the earth produce abundantly..." [*15] -- "...wealth never can come in but by the produce of labour going out..." [*16] -- "....industry which makes the fortune." [*17] And, finally, "We may live without many things, but not without the labour of our husbandmen [farmers]." [*18]

         In 1815, J.C.L. Simonde de Sismonde would produce a lengthy book on economics, or political economy as it was known in that era. He would write, "His [mankind's] wealth originates in this industry..." [*19] In another part, he writes, "All that man values is created by his industry..." [*20] and "...labour alone has created all kinds of wealth." [*21] Summing up the field of economics, he writes, "The history of wealth is, in all cases, comprised within the limits now specified - the labour which creates, the economy which accumulates, the consumption which destroys." [*22] On capital production, his opinion is similar: "The ore cannot be obtained till the mine is opened; canals must be dug, machinery and mills must be constructed, before they can be used; manufactories must be built, and looms set up, before the wool, the hemp, or the silk can be weaved. This first advance is always accomplished by labour..." [*23] He still writes, "...it may be generally affirmed, that to increase the labour is to increase the wealth..." [*24] and "...the labour of man created wealth..." [*25] This book would be written only some decades after Adam Smith's work, and more decades after Steuart's. Simonde de Sismonde was following in the same tradition of economists: when he looked at society, he realized one particular fact, that wealth is produced by the labor of laborers. In chapter 4 of his book, he writes, "By labour man drew his first wealth from the earth..." [*26] He writes further: "...the revenue which he [the worker] expects and has to live upon springs from the labour which he causes to be executed..." [*27] -- "Income...springs from labour..." [*28] -- "...all wealth proceeds from labour..." [*29] -- "We have recognised but a single source of wealth, which is labour..." [*30] -- "...those who labour and who should create every kind of wealth..." [*31] -- "New wealth, however, must spring from labour and industry." [*32] And, finally, in the last chapter, "...labour, the cause of production..." [*33]

         The 1800's would also bring thinkers who would oppose the ideas of Capitalism, referring to them as a form of exploitation. Robert Owen was one of these, and in 1816 he would write, "...know that revenue has but one legitimate source that it is derived directly or indirectly from the labour of man..." [*34] In 1825, Thomas Hodgskin would make an appeal in defense of labor, in perhaps one of the earliest pamphlets defending workers. Though he made no support of the system of Communism (which at that time did not exist, and Socialism was but merely developing), he did sympathize greatly with the worker, and stated simply that the worker ought to receive the wealth he creates. It was in this pamphlet that Hodgskin writes, "...all the benefits attributed to capital arise from co-existing and skilled labour." [*35] -- "...by their [labourers'] exertions all the wealth of society is produced..." [*36] -- "The labourer, the real maker of any commodity..." [*37] -- "...all the effects usually attributed to accumulation of circulating capital are derived from the accumulation and storing up of skilled labour..." [*38] -- "...those vast improvements in the condition of the human race, which have been in general attributed to capital, are caused in fact by labour..." [*39] Finally, in one section, he writes, "It is labour which produces all things as they are wanted, and the only thing which can be said to be stored up or previously prepared is the skill of the labourer. If the skill of the baker, butcher, grazier, tailor, weaver, etc., was not previously created and stored up, the commodities which each of them purchases could not be obtained; but where that skill exists, these commodities may always be procured when wanted." [*40]

         In 1830, Nassau Senior would give a speech on improving the conditions of the working class, though he himself was an economist and was quite detached from this group whom he sympathized with. He spoke, "...the labourers form the strength of the country." [*41] T.E. Cliffe Leslie was an economist whose articles swim around aimlessly in the journals of the 1800's. In 1875, he would write, "[Martin] Luther preached the same doctrine, and moreover anticipated Adam Smith's proposition, that labour is the measure of value." [*42] The following year, Robert Green Ingersoll would give a speech celebrating the one hundredth year anniversary of the United States, the centennial oration. In it, he said to his audience, "The great body of the people make all the money; do all the work. They plow the land, cut down the forests; they produce everything that is produced. Then who shall say what shall be done with what is produced except the producer?" [*43] Also in the year of 1876, between May and June, Friedrich Engels would write in an incomplete essay, "Labour is the source of all wealth, the political economists assert. And it really is the source..." [*44] In 1877, Robert Green Ingersoll would be seen defending the rights of the working class, working to get an eight hour work day as a law. He would say to a crowd, "...the time must come when they who do the work -- they who make the money -- will insist on having some of the profits." [*45] and, "All my sympathies are on the side of those who toil -- of those who produce the real wealth of the world -- of those who carry the burdens of mankind." [*46] In a journal article published in the 1898 to 1899 volume, Thorstein Veblen (the acclaimed sociologist) would write, "...the goods [are] produced by labor..." [*47]

         There should be no doubt that wealth is produced by the act of labor. In the previous chapters, I have shown how great the Capitalist has pushed the worker to produce. In the 1800's and the 1900's, working more than ten hours a day was common, and it is still commonplace today for the majority of the globe's workforce, even a great part of the Western world. The reason why a Capitalist would desire his worker to labor harder and longer is because labor produces wealth, which the Capitalist keeps, and then trades with other Capitalists for his needs. In the second chapter, I detailed how every person has desires and that they reasonably respond to these desires. It is an inherent desire in every person to have what they need to live, and maybe even excess of that. Capitalists reasonably respond to this desire by forcing pushing their workers to work as hard as they can for as long as they can. Why? Because labor produces wealth. This fact is realized even more with the theory of labor unions: workers organize and threaten to not work unless their demands are met. The reason why Capitalists give in to such demands is because they need labor to produce wealth.

         Some may argue, though, that Capitalists do labor, and that because of this labor, there is wealth. I find this theory highly contestable, and I find that it can be debunked with a small scenario. Take every Capitalist, whether in the form of a master of stocks and trade, or a CEO of a highly respected firm, and then put them on a bountiful island, an island rich with mineral deposits, exotic and valuable plants, and then ask these Capitalists to produce wealth. They will produce not a single iota of wealth, nothing of value or purpose. One may inquire, "But the Capitalists may harvest the plants and dig up the mineral ores, and refine these natural resources even more," -- but, once a Capitalist does that, he becomes a laborer, and in fact proves my point: labor is the only producer of wealth. Is it true, then, that Capitalists do no labor? Capitalists actually do labor, but it is a non-productive labor. Perhaps it is efficiently organizing a group of laborers to produce, though experience would prove that laborers are more familiar with their work than Capitalists. While a Capitalist does this, he may find some way to cheat his workers out of two hours of overtime pay, and he may convince them to alter their plans of production, so that the commodity he sells breaks down in a matter of two years, require return business. Whatever the case, the labor that a Capitalist does is non productive, much like a recreation or a hobby's labor. To quote Bakunin, "Speculation and exploitation no doubt also constitute a sort of labor, but altogether non-productive labor." [*48]

    Section III: Public Interest and Prosperity

    In almost every other race of animals each individual, when it is grown up to maturity, is entirely independent, and in its natural state has occasion for the assistance of no other living creature. But man has almost constant occasion for the help of his brethren, and it is in vain for him to expect it from their benevolence only. He will be more likely to prevail if he can interest their self-love in his favour, and show them that it is for their own advantage to do for him what he requires of them. Whoever offers to another a bargain of any kind, proposes to do this. Give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want, is the meaning of every such offer; and it is in this manner that we obtain from one another the far greater part of those good offices which we stand in need of. It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.

    -- Adam Smith, 1776 [*49]

         In this previous excerpt, one found often quoted in every historical, modern, and post-modern textbook on the subject, we find what may be one of the bases of economic study. Adam Smith's book was revolutionary in itself, but it came at a time when the potential for technological influence over economy had barely been realized. It is true that he did identify specialization among the trades, allowing for a more efficient method of production, but with the aid of technology, their productive ability to increase one hundred fold, at least. This economic thesis has been quoted and requoted again, standing as a base for theoretical economics. By every person following their self-love, the greater good of the whole is realized. Of course, with the evidence of the following century, economists finally realized that Adam Smith had made an enormous mistake. Simply reread the chapters 3 to 8, and you will see the empirical evidence, that by everyone following their own self-love, a system of slavery and serfdom is entirely recreated. The evidence of poverty has been always unsightly, and so it was the effort of the high class, or any upper class, to place themselves as far away from the ghetto as possible. Economists of the 1800's doubted Smith, and in the 1900's had nearly discredited him as an appendage of economic history, without any value. And rightly so: the evidence mounted against his claims and made him appear quick in his assertions. It is true that many universities in this century have taught Adam Smith is truth, but I don't think the whole world should suffer just because Harvard, Oxford, or Princeton happen to be some of the slowest learners.

         The idea that by following self-love is the greatest method of attaining happiness for the whole is perhaps the most absurd of all ideas when considered with all of the evidence. I suppose by creating an artificial winter, hoarding coal, refusing to let miners work, and allowing hundreds of people to die -- to increase the price of coal and decrease the price of wages -- is in fact in the best interest of people? And what of the poor tenement housing, dilapidated and without sufficient fire escapes? And what of tainted, contaminated, and infected food that was sold to reap profit? And what of starvation wages, offered globally to third world nations to make great profits for investors abroad? I suppose, by all of these people following their self interest, the whole was benefited? In fact, all of this was commonplace in Smith's era. He simply lacked vision. But, it seems quite clear to anyone today with eyes open that self-love is not the way to saving society. Adam Smith was wrong.

         Even in the late 1600's, the presence of a Capitalist class was obvious, even though the people of only some nations had been liberated by Feudalist fetters. And, as comes with any class that owns, operates, and indulges in the greatest wealth of society, without contributing a single ounce of value or labor, there came the hatred of this Capitalist class. In an era where men were still burned at the stake for their opinions, surrounded by the the pages of their works as they turned crisp, there was one author who would write a dissertation against this class. In 1668, Josiah Child wrote on the Capitalist class...

    For the Sufferers by such a Law, I know none but idle persons that lives at as little expence as labour, Neither scattering by their expences, so as the Poor may Glean any thing after them, nor working with their hands or heads to bring either Wax, or Honey to the common Hive of the Kingdom; but swelling their own Purses by the sweat of other mens brows, and the contrivances of other mens brains: And how unprofitable it is for any Nation, to suffer IDLENESSE TO SUCK THE BREASTS OF INDUSTRY; needs no demonstration. And if it be granted me, that these will be the effects of an Abatement of Interest doth tend to the enriching of a Nation, and consequently, hath been one great cause of the Riches of the Dutch and Italians: And the encrease of the Riches of our own Kingdom, in these last fifty years. [*50]

         The scathing attack on the Capitalist class was not the first, and it certainly would not be the last. Other authors would come, pleading that public interest must be served. In 1683, Matthew Hale would write...

    A Due care for the relief of the Poor is an act, 1, of great Piety towards Almighty God, who requires it of us: He hath left the Poor as his Pupils, and the Rich as his Stewards to provided for them: It is one of those great Tributes that he justly requires from the rest of Mankind; which, because they cannot pay to him, he hath scattered the Poor amongst the rest of Mankind as his Substitutes and Receivers. [*51]

         The principle of the rich giving to the poor, or simply serving the public interest, was realized in hundreds of other manuscripts by different authors. In 1690, Nicholas Barbon writes, "The Chief Causes that Promote Trade, (not to mention good Government, Peace, and Scituation, with other Advantages) are Industry in the Poor, and Liberality in the Rich: Liberality, is the free Usage of all those things that are made by the Industry of the Poor, for the Use of the Body and Mind; It Relates chiefly to Man's self, but doth not hinder him from being Liberal to others." [*52] Not all authors pleaded charity. Some argued that it wasn't so much the charity of the rich, their liberality, as it was their responsibility, their duty to feed the poor. In 1720, Isaac Gervaise writes, "For all Men have a natural Right to their Proportion of what is in the World..." [*53] Caesar Beccaria, Humanitarian and social justice advocate of the era, as well as enlightenment author, would promote the idea of public welfare. In a treatise of political economy, most likely written in the mid 1700's, he writes...

    ...the study of public oeconomy must necessarily enlarge and elevate the views of private oeconomy, by suggesting the means of uniting our own interest with that of the publick. When accustomed to consider the affairs of the common weal, and often to call up the ideas of general good, the natural partiality we bear to our own reasonings, and to objects which afford us so much intellectual pleasure, re-kindles the languishing love of our country. We no longer look upon ourselves as solitary parts of society, but as the children of the public, of the laws, and of the sovereign. The sphere of our feelings becomes greater and more lively; the selfish passions diminish, and social affections are dilated, and gather strength from the power of imagination and habit; and measuring objects according to their real dimensions, we lose sight of every mean and groveling disposition; vices which spring continually from a false measure of things. [*54]

         In one manuscript by David Hume, the author writes, "In short, a government has great reason to preserve with care its people and its manufactures." [*55] In 1755, Jean Jacques Rousseau writes...

    It is therefore one of the most important functions of government to prevent extreme inequality of fortunes; not by taking away wealth from its possessors, but by depriving all men of means to accumulate it; not by building hospitals for the poor, but by securing the citizens from becoming poor. The unequal distribution of inhabitants over the territory, when men are crowded together in one place, while other places are depopulated; the encouragement of the arts that minister to luxury and of purely industrial arts at the expense of useful and laborious crafts; the sacrifice of agriculture to commerce; the necessitation of the tax-farmer by the mal-administration of the funds of the State; and in short, venality pushed to such an extreme that even public esteem is reckoned at a cash value, and virtue rated at a market price: these are the most obvious causes of opulence and of poverty, of public interest, of mutual hatred among citizens, of indifference to the common cause, of the corruption of the people, and of the weakening of all the springs of government. Such are the evils, which are with difficulty cured when they make themselves felt, but which a wise administration ought to prevent, if it is to maintain, along with good morals, respect for the laws, patriotism, and the influence of the general will. [*56]

         In 1767, James Steuart would write a great deal on political economy, commenting that public interest must be served to enrich the whole. He would write...

    The principal object of this science [Economics] is to secure a certain fund of subsistence for all the inhabitants, to obviate every circumstance which may render it precarious; to provide every thing necessary for supplying the wants of the society, and to employ the inhabitants (supposing them to be free-men) in such a manner as naturally to create reciprocal relations and dependencies between them, so as to make their several interests lead them to supply one another with their reciprocal wants. [*57]

         Speaking of the duties of a statesmen, he writes, "A statesman should make it his endeavor to employ as many of every class as possible, and when employment fails in the common run of affairs, to contrive new outlets for young people of every denomination." [*58] And speaking of the downfall of a Capitalist economy, he writes, "From this results the principal cause of decay in modern states: it results from [economic] liberty [in a Capitalist system], and is inseparably connected with it." [*59] With strength against poverty, he writes, "...the principal care of a statesman should be, to keep all employed..." [*60] With duty to justice, he writes, "...grain, which belongs to the strong man for his labour and toil..." [*61] Finally, James Steuart writes...

    In like manner, if a number of machines are all at once introduced into the manufactures of an industrious nation, (in consequence of that freedom which must necessarily be indulged to all sorts of improvement, and without which a state cannot thrive,) it becomes the business of the statesman to interest himself so far in the consequences, as to provide a remedy for the inconveniences resulting from the sudden alteration. It is farther his duty to make every exercise even of liberty and refinement an object of government and administration; not so as to discourage or to check them, but to prevent the revolution from affecting the interests of the different classes of the people, whose welfare he is particularly bound to take care of. [*62]

         Thomas Paine, in the late 1700's, would be writing the American Revolution, and defending the rights of all humans, of every race. In one document, speaking of justice in society, he writes...

    It is a position not to be controverted that the earth, in its natural, cultivated state was, and ever would have continued to be, the common property of the human race. In that state every man would have been born to property. He would have been a joint life proprietor with rest in the property of the soil, and in all its natural productions, vegetable and animal. [*63]

         Thomas Malthus would continue the tradition of economic theory, but diverging greatly from Adam Smith on many points. While David Ricardo can be hailed as the true successor to Adam Smith economics, Malthus's system held truer to the evidence. In one 1815 essay, arguing for tariffs to protect the people, he writes, "As those, however, form but a very small portion of the class of persons living on the profits of stock, in point of number, and not probably above a seventh or eighth in point of property, their interests cannot be allowed to weigh against the interests of so very large a majority." [*64] In another work dated to 1815, J.C.L. Simonde de Sismondi writes...

    ...it is sufficient, in general, that the use of the ground be transmitted to the industrious man, who may turn it to advantage, whilst the property of it continues with the rich man, who has no longer the same incitements or the same fitness for labour, and who thinks only of enjoyment. The national interest, however. sometimes also requires that property itself shall pass into hands likely to make a better use of it. It is not for themselves alone that the rich elicit the fruits of the earth; it is for the whole nation; and if, by a derangement in their fortune, they suspend the productive power of the country, it concerns the whole nation to put their property under different managers. [*65]

         In the year 1825, Thomas Hodgskin, defender of labor, would write, "...whatever labour produces ought to belong to it." [*66] and elswhere, too, "...allow labour to possess and enjoy the whole of its produce." [*67] In a less brief section, he thoroughly outlines the matter of justice, as it applies to economics...

    He who makes the instruments [of production] is entitled, in the eye of justice, and in proportion to the labour he employs, to as great a reward as he who uses them; but he is not entitled to a greater; and he who neither makes nor uses them has no just claim to any portion of the produce.

    Betwixt him who produces food and him who produces clothing, betwixt him who makes instruments and him who uses them, in steps the capitalist, who neither makes nor uses them, and appropriates to himself the produce of both. With as niggard a hand as possible he transfers to each a part of the produce of the other, keeping to himself the large share. [*68]

         In 1830, Nassau Senior would give a lecture, saying, "...the labourers form the strength of the country, and that to diminish their number is to incur voluntary feebleness." [*69] To end the injustice of the Capitalist system on the worker, Karl Marx made a bold demand, "Princely and other feudal estates, together with mines, pits, and so forth, shall become the property of the state. The estates shall be cultivated on a large scale and with the most up-to-date scientific devices in the interests of the whole of society." [*70] In his centennial oration, Robert Green Ingersoll said to the crowd, "Liberty: Give to every man the fruit of his own labor -- the labor of his hands and of his brain." [*71] Speaking of what the founders of the United States said, he spoke further...

    They then declared that each man has a right to live. And what does that mean? It means that he has the right to make his living. It means that he has the right to breathe the air, to work the land, that he stands the equal of every other human being beneath the shining stars; entitled to the product of his labor -- the labor of his hand and of his brain. [*72]

         In 1877, Ingersoll wrote, "The working people should be protected by law; if they are not, the capitalists will require just as many hours as human nature can bear." [*73] In 1904, Gustav Schmoller, more of a sociologist than an economist, would write, "The lower classes have always been most unfavorably situated for that sort of influence [on making laws], but custom and law have sought to protect them, and every intelligent state government has had the same purpose." [*74] In that same document, he writes...

    We have either to crush the laborers down to the level of slaves, which is impossible, or we must recognize their equal rights as citizens, we must improve their mental and technical training, we must permit them to organize, we must concede to them the influence which they need in order to protect their interests; not forget that this organization of the laborers alone could so emphatically remind rulers and property owners of their social duties that a serious social reform would be undertaken. [*75]

         In 1908, social reformer A.J. McKelway would write, "The need of placing the principle of child-protection upon the statute books is no longer to be considered, but the duty of securing advanced and effective legislation." [*76] In a 1910 publication, Henry Demarest Lloyd writes, "We have given competition its own way, and have found that we are not good enough or wise enough to be trusted with this power of ruining ourselves in the attempt to ruin others." [*77] Outlining his theory of social economy a bit more, Lloyd writes...

    Failing competition and regulation, ownership by the people is the only agency which the people can use to restore their market rights and all their other rights. If we cannot have freedom by competition, we must get freedom by the Commonwealth.... Germany, England, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia and a multitude of municipalities furnish illustrations of the successful recourse to public monopoly as an escape from the evils of private monopoly. [*78]

         Here, Lloyd suggested that ownership by the common people was the best method of obtaining justice. It was a Socialism, what some people call a lighter form of Communism. He didn't believe in the ownership of the entire economy by the public, but he believed that certain industries that produced necessities ought to be. Today, the American government does this with electricity and water. In 1921, Zimand Savel would describe the role of trade unions...

    The American trade union movement is in part organized by international unions into an American Federation of Labor to promote the economic welfare of the workers outside of political parties. England, with its many independent unions, now on the way to amalgamation, finds them almost united in the support of the Labour Party. Germany's Social-Democratic unions form the economic arm of the different Socialist parties. In France the unions, originally moulded by anarchist influence, have, since the Great War, become more centralized. [*79]

         Before proceeding to the next section, dealing with property rights, there is one last excerpt that I feel ought to be read in its entirety. It was written in the 1700's by David Hume, and contains a wealth of information on public interest being served, rather than private desire. With that, I hope it is as informative as I believe it to be...

    It will not, I hope, be considered as a superfluous digression, if I here observe, that, as the multitude of mechanical arts is advantageous, so is the great number of persons to whose share the productions of these arts fall. A too great disproportion among the citizens weakens any state. Every person, if possible, ought to enjoy the fruits of his labour, in a full possession of all the necessaries, and many of the conveniencies of life. No one can doubt, but such an equality is most suitable to human nature, and diminishes much less from the happiness of the rich than it adds to that of the poor. It also augments the power of the state, and makes any extraordinary taxes or impositions be paid with more chearfulness. Where the riches are engrossed by a few, these must contribute very largely to the supplying of the public necessities. But when the riches are dispersed among multitudes, the burthen feels light on every shoulder, and the taxes make not a very sensible difference on any one's way of living.

    Add to this, that, where the riches are in few hands, these must enjoy all the power, and will readily conspire to lay the whole burthen on the poor, and oppress them still farther, to the discouragement of all industry.

    In this circumstance consists the great advantage of ENGLAND above any nation at present in the world, or that appears in the records of any story. It is true, the ENGLISH feel some disadvantages in foreign trade by the high price of labour, which is in part the effect of the riches of their artisans, as well as of the plenty of money: But as foreign trade is not the most material circumstance, it is not to be put in competition with the happiness of so many millions. And if there were no more to endear to them that free government under which they live, this alone were sufficient. The poverty of the common people is a natural, if not an infallible effect of absolute monarchy; though I doubt, whether it be always true, on the other hand, that their riches are an infallible result of liberty. Liberty must be attended with particular accidents, and a certain turn of thinking, in order to produce that effect. Lord BACON, accounting for the great advantages obtained by the ENGLISH in their wars with FRANCE, ascribes them chiefly to the superior ease and plenty of the common people amongst the former; yet the government of the two kingdoms was, at that time, pretty much alike. Where the labourers and artisans are accustomed to work for low wages, and to retain but a small part of the fruits of their labour, it is difficult for them, even in a free government, to better their condition, or conspire among themselves to heighten their wages. But even where they are accustomed to a more plentiful way of life, it is easy for the rich, in an arbitrary government, to conspire against them, and throw the whole burthen of the taxes on their shoulders.

    It may seem an odd position, that the poverty of the common people in FRANCE. ITALY, and SPAIN, is, in some measure, owing to the superior riches of the soil and happiness of the climate; yet there want not reasons to justify this paradox. In such a fine mould or soil as that of those more southern regions, agriculture is an easy art; and one man, with a couple of sorry horses, will be able, in a season, to cultivate as much land as will pay a pretty considerable rent to the proprietor. All the art. which the farmer knows, is to leave his ground fallow for a year, as soon as it is exhausted; and the warmth of the sun alone and temperature of the climate enrich it, and restore its fertility. Such poor peasants, therefore, require only a simple maintenance for their labour. They have no stock or riches, which claim more; and at the same time, they are for ever dependant on their landlord, who gives no leases, nor fears that his land will be spoiled by the ill methods of cultivation. In ENGLAND, the land is rich, but coarse; must be cultivated at a great expence; and produces slender crops, when not carefully managed, and by a method which gives not the full profit but in a course of several years. A farmer, therefore, in ENGLAND must have a considerable stock, and a long lease; which beget proportional profits. The fine vineyards of CHAMPAGNE and BURGUNDY that often yield to the landlord above five pounds per acre, are cultivated by peasants, who have scarcely bread: The reason is, that such peasants need no stock but their own limbs, with instruments of husbandry, which they can buy for twenty shillings. The farmers are commonly in some better circumstances in those countries. But the grasiers are most at their ease of all those who cultivate the land. The reason is still the same. Men must have profits proportionable to their expence and hazard. Where so considerable a number of the labouring poor as the peasants and farmers are in very low circumstances, all the rest must partake of their poverty, whether the government of that nation be monarchical or republican. [*80]

    Section IV: Property Rights

    It is certain that the right of property is the most sacred of all the rights of citizenship, and even more important in some respects than liberty itself; either because it more nearly affects the preservation of life, or because, property being more easily usurped and more difficult to defend than life, the law ought to pay a greater attention to what is most easily taken away; or finally, because property is the true foundation of civil society, and the real guarantee of the undertakings of citizens: for if property were not answerable for personal actions, nothing would be easier than to evade duties and laugh at the laws.

    -- Jean Jacques Rousseau, 1755 [*81]

    The property which every man has in his own labour, as it is the original foundation of all other property, so it is the most sacred and inviolable. The patrimony of a poor man lies in the strength and dexterity of his hands; and to hinder him from employing this strength and dexterity of his hands; and to hinder him from employing this strength and dexterity in what manner he thinks proper without injury to his neighbour is a plain violation of this most sacred property. It is a manifest encroachment upon the just liberty both of the workman and of those who might be disposed to employ him. As it hinders the one from working at what he thinks proper, so it hinders the others from employing whom they think proper. To judge whether he is fit to be employed may surely be trusted to the discretion of the employers whose interest it so much concerns. The affected anxiety of the law-giver lest they should employ an improper person is evidently as impertinent as it is oppressive.

    -- Adam Smith, 1776 [*82]

         Up until this point, we have a few immutable, inarguable facts. The first chapter drew upon the productivity that we can receive from technological innovation and occupation specialization. The second chapter set a basic understanding of the structure of Capitalism, without relying all too heavily on specifics. With a stable understanding of the socio-economic system, I then ventured to show the historical and modern effects of it. In this chapter, I proved that labor produces all wealth and that public interest is necessary toward creating prosperity.

         What is the most common response to all this information? Quite simply: why is it that the worker, who produces the wealth, is the person to receive the least amount of it? Why is it that the Capitalist, who produces nothing, is the person to receive the greatest amount of wealth? The answer is simple. In a Capitalist economy, a person has the right to private property. By this, it is meant that he has the right to obtain property through legal recourse, by making contracts and agreements. What is the result? There becomes the haves and the have-nots, the separation of classes. How is it that a person comes into possession of wealth? Perhaps they worked at a fair-paying job (as uncommon as it is), and earned enough wealth to amass their own shop or factory. Perhaps it was simply a small amount of wealth wisely invested in the right corporations. Or, another likely scenario, it was inherited. Whatever the case, once a person becomes wealthy in a Capitalist economy, they have the working class to do their bidding. Why is this? Because every worker is subject to their own needs: particularly housing and feeding themselves and their families. The Capitalist will amass a working force to operate the factories, the farms, the mines, the shops. He will say to them, "You must do as I command you -- you must work these gears, sow these fields, mine this coal, drive this train, sell this merchandise. If you refuse, you will not be paid. If you are not paid, you will not be able to buy food or housing." The human will to survive is strong, and so the worker accepts the Capitalist's terms.

         Wage-slavery is the result of Capitalism. No longer the slave to any master, but their own self-interest: they sign over a certain amount of hours of their lives that they might not starve to death. The right to private property is the right to enslave any person who has no wealth. It is a right exclusive to those who already own the wealth of society. The fact that one class of individuals is oppressing another class is deplorable enough, but then we must recognize that the oppressors in this situation are those who do no labor though they are the ones who indulge in the sweetness of wealth. And, those who do the labor (that creates wealth) are those who are given the smallest amount of wealth. The oppressors form the smallest part of society of a handful of nations, while the oppressed form the great majority of the entire planet. African slaves in the south made up a third of society. Yet in our Capitalist system, those who are forced to labor are in fact the greatest part of the society. One may argue, "But the person may change any employment they like; they can quit and reapply anywhere else!" But a Capitalist anywhere has the same interest of depressing wages. It is slavery, because the only alternative offered to labor is starvation. It is an injustice, a cruelty, a poorly-acted sense of social behavior. To quote Karl Marx...

    All property relations in the past have continually been subject to historical change consequent upon the change in historical conditions.

    The French Revolution, for example, abolished feudal property in favor of bourgeois property.

    The distinguishing feature of communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property. But modern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products that is based on class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the many by the few.

    In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.


    You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths. You reproach us, therefore, with intending to do away with a form of property, the necessary condition for whose existence is the non-existence of any property for the immense majority of society. [*83]

         This view of society, that Capitalists are in fact responsible for poor working conditions, for scams on consumers, for the poverty that infects every city, this view of society changes around our entire perception of civilization. The initial view of unemployment in our cities is the idea that people are lazy and detest work in its forms. Homelessness that ensues from unemployment is given the same idea. While some may argue that it is in fact problems in personal life, including physical, mental, or sexual abuse, the greatest reason why homelessness exists is Capitalism. If you can't work 10 hours a day at a repetitive job with no possibility of rising up, so you can rent out a closet for sleeping and eat shit food -- if you can't do this, you're lazy. That is the ethos of Capitalism, a system that is as deplorable as it is impractical. The view of poverty is entirely changed: it is not caused by the worker, but by the Capitalist, whose sole goal is to gain profit by allowing miserable working conditions, poor quality products, and a sinking economy. The perception that we have on social ills like crime and violence certainly change, as well. It may be believed that crime is the desire to live easy without doing work: the same perception that we had of homelessness, unemployment, and poverty. But no, that is not the case. Crime's cause is the same as the cause of homelessness: the conditions of upholding a "straight, narrow, working class life" being enough to physically deteriorate the human body and destroy any potential for liberty, happiness, or security. By putting the means of production into the hands of a few, Capitalism has been realized. To quote Karl Marx...

    The bourgeoisie keeps more and more doing away with the scattered state of the population, of the means of production, and of property. It has agglomerated population, centralized the means of production, and has concentrated property in a few hands. [*84]

         What is the result of this system of Capitalism, besides a nearly artistic rage against human greed and a sickening disgust against modern civilization? There is an underlying sentiment, an idea that seeks expression in our hearts. Spoken by the philosopher and felt by the worker, there is the ideal... can we have any other system besides Capitalism? We are restricted to living one life on earth, so why must it be a life full of misery and struggle? We are torn, distressed, enraged, sickened, almost hopeless and almost believing there can be no better future. But, what comes from it? We want to live in a different society where the property relations are different. Homelessness is caused by Capitalism's low wages and high costs. Police officers arresting people for sleeping in an abandoned building is class war. Two hundred people dying from salmonella poisoning because packaging plants lack safety is class war. Working ten hours a day to feed yourself and your family is class war. What the good, common people want is to live in a society where none of this exists. We want Communism.

         To redefine the class relations of society, the idea of class must be destroyed. When I speak of class here, it must be understood that I am speaking of the haves and the have-nots, the Capitalists and the Proletariat. We must establish a society where the economy is managed not by the Capitalist, but by the Proletariat. The only solution to the crime that Capitalism is, is to create a society where the Proletariat are in control. Who decides the wages and the costs of commodities? In a Capitalist society, it is the Capitalist: those who own the means of production and have the legal right to do as they please. But, in a Communist society, it is the Proletariat. The people will own the means of production and have the legal right to set the wages and the prices of commodities. In a Communist society, there will be no Capitalist class. Each and every person in this society will be as much a Capitalist as they are a Proletariat. Everyone will own the means of production, just as everyone will work the gears, dig the mines, harvest the fields, and manage the distribution of wealth. Henry Demarest Lloyd wrote, "Democracy found that the only way to regulate kings was to make every citizen a king." [*85] If this is true, then what is the best way to regulate an economy? It is to make every Proletariat a Capitalist -- it is to give the means of production to those who operate them. In a Communist society, every farm, every factory, every mine, and every distribution center will be public property, as much as the roads and highways are.

         With the people, the common people, in ownership of the means of production, with the capability of producing food, housing, clothing, necessities and pleasures, there can be no doubt that fairness, justice, and truth will succeed. In a Communist society, homelessness, poverty, and crime will nearly disappear entirely, and those social illnesses that still do exist will exist by means of habit rather than necessity. The prices of commodities and the wages of the workers will be decided much like the way we today decide laws and regulations: by the public voting and deciding these matters. I imagine that under such a system, the working hours will be cut in half, the total wages will double (or quadruple under eight hours), and the prices of commodities will be cut to one third or one fourth. It will be in such a society that poverty, unemployment, and other undesirable features will completely disappear. Such things only existed in a Capitalist society.

         But one may ask, one may inquire, one may bring up the argument, that by turning the means of production into public property, are we not infringing on the rights of those Capitalists? Are we not encroaching upon their right -- particularly, their right to private property? A right which says that a man can amass wealth, forge iron contracts with his employees of twelve hours a day, and then sell black bread and rotten meat at such high costs, as to render the entire society with the burden of poverty?

         We are brought up in our culture to believe in this right to private property. Every social issue seems to revolve around it. When we become the judge and jury of opinion, and a quarrel or a conflict is brought up, we tend to think and believe, "Well, does that man not have the right to private property -- and to do with it as he likes?" The idea of personal property is not specifically being attacked here. I do not contest a man to own belongings, to do with them as he might like. The part of personal property that becomes a conflicting point for a Communist, is when it is used to engage in wage-slavery, either in the form of worker abuse, consumer abuse, or poverty. So, when it comes to the matter of private property, as it exists with the form of private capital and private means of production, what of the Capitalists' rights?

         When we think of these matters, of the rights of a man or a woman, we often think of the great political battles that were waged and fought. We think of the pamphlets that circulated in countries, convincing the people that they have rights: the right to freedom of press, the right to freedom of speech, the right to freedom of religion, of opinion, to bear arms, to fairness and equality in the justice system. What of the right to private property? Do we overturn it, without thought, without caprice, almost as scoundrels? It is difficult to know what rights we really have, or what rights we really should give. We cannot turn to god and ask what rights we have, for if he could just as arbitrarily give us the right to private property, he could just as well give us the right to rape, or to murder -- and it still would not make it a just right, because it comes from a god. This right, the right to private property, has long been held sacred, upheld as one of the greatest rights, in Western civilization. How can we just overturn it? With what justice can we do it? It may be difficult, but when we examine the situation, the oppression that is dealt by the Capitalist class with the aid of this right, the absolute misery and poverty that strikes the majority of the people, we must see that the right to private property is no different than a king's right to the throne: it is simply a right to tyranny, to overflowing and unrestricted brutality. We must pass over the right to private property as a right that no longer exists; just as man has no right to murder or rape, he has no right to private property. No, he cannot and must not. We must have a new right: the right to personal property. To own and control your own personal wealth, so long as it is not used in contractual agreements to control or abuse the lives of others.

         When one really thinks of it, what good is the right to private property? It simply assures us that, if we become wealthy enough, we have the right to buy and own our own factory, mine, farm, or shop. It gives us the very limited potential to become wealthy. If a person falls in to that 2% of the population, then that right to private property actually means something -- otherwise, it means nothing. What is greater, what is for the common good to mankind: the right to private property, or the right to live without the fear of starvation, misery, and poverty? Should we uphold the dreams of those who oppress us and force us to live in cruel living conditions -- or should we uphold our own sacred right to in just working conditions, paid our value for work, rather than paid what is enough to subsist? We must believe in the right to live without absolute poverty wracking our lives, bankrupting our souls, and turning misery into an everyday battle. "When liberty is the system, every one, according to his disposition, becomes industrious, in order to procure such enjoyments for himself," writes James Steuart. [*86] But slavery is our system, in the form of Capitalism, and men labor, but in order to subsist.

         The right to private property has been eroding ever since the year 1900 passed. No longer is it allowed for corporations to conspire in price hikes or wage depressions: the anti-trust laws disallow this use of private property. Social services provided by the state now aid those living in poverty. Everywhere, all around, it is becoming more and more clear that the Capitalist class is wholly responsible for the poverty that abounds, not only in this nation, but around the world. It is a crumbling creed, but that does not mean that the poor are liberated, nor does it mean that those abused are without misery.

         We must do what we can to destroy the right to private property and instill liberty and the right to a free life in our world.

    Section V: Cynicism Fueling the Flame of Our Idealism

    The working men in their suffering and resistance are only the pioneers of all the rest of us. As the weakest class they have felt first and worst the pain...

    -- Henry Demarest Lloyd [*87]

         We have four facts that seem to contradict our every sense of social justice: (1) wealth is produced by labor, from section II, and (2) workers receive the smallest amount of this wealth, from the chapters 3-8 -- then there is the other pair: (1) public interest is necessary to the common good, from section III, and (2) private property allows Capitalists to disregard public interest in every way that they desire. We, as a common people, want a better system than Capitalism. Free Enterprise, coupled with the right to private property, has put the common worker in bondage. Wage-slavery has taken over, and it is through Communism, the common ownership of the means of production, by the common man, that we shall be free. It is a struggle, that we will endless work to, until we are free.



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