When reading your letter, it seems you like you agree with me on the main points of my argument.
I agree entirely. I've pointed this out since the beginning. Our technology has reached such a state of development that every person should be able to feed themselves with only ten or fifteen minutes of labor per day. Kropotkin pointed this out in 1880, though the UN scientist Jacques Diouf has only recently pointed this out a century or two late. (The Pro-Life article you sent me.) Diouf, though, isn't very scientific. He's asking for those who have the technology, the land, and the resources to share with those who have absolutely nothing. An elementary class in history would tell him that he's wasting his time, if not working against the cause he professes to hold.
Anarchists have been the only group that have persistently fought for the sharing of all natural resources to every individual in society. This is why the two-hour day and the four-hour day were emblems on the banners of the Industrial Workers of the World. It is possible to provide everyone with everything they need, in exchange for just a little bit of work. This isn't a statement about politics or economics. It's a simple blank statement about our current state of technology. It becomes political and economic the moment we say that world ought to be ours -- we should make our social environment so it provides everyone with everything they need. But, if you can say that, then you'd be something of an Anarchist, Socialist, or Communist.
The argument is simple, though. If only 2% of people can provide food for everyone, why is 20-25% of the globe in starvation, and even 15% of the wealthy United States in hunger? Why don't they split up the jobs, so that the 2% of farming is done a little bit by every one of the 25% unemployed and hungry? That way, everyone would still have enough food and wealth to provide for themselves, and the workday would be only 30 minutes. The technology is there, you agree to that, and nobody will argue about the effects of the Industrial Revolution. But can we make something humane out of it?
I agree with you entirely. The castes separate one part of society into those who have little and must depend upon others, and those who possess sufficiently and live off the labor of others. Because one part has nothing, they'll give in to whatever wages they're offered, as starvation is worse than work. This is the definition of exploitation. But do you really think it's different if a business owner does the exact same thing to a worker? If you help one caste by giving it businesses, does that not create a new class of exploited -- the propertyless, wage workers? After all, given the expanding rate of humanity, it seems very doubtful that we can possibly provide every person with their own business in this economy -- to have a society of those who live by owning, without those who live by working.
And how honest and genuine can the Catholic Church be? At one point, they owned one third of all the industry in Spain. The notorious "cacique" was hand-selected by bishops and the clergy in Rome. They hired assassins and thugs to break up unions, bribed local officials, and often fired any laborer even suspected of sympathizing with the union. These are Catholic bosses, pushing Catholic workers, off of land that their ancestors held in common centuries ago. I can provide selections from Spanish texts if you doubt the plight of the campesino, but for such a renowned Catholic country, I would hope you'd accept some of its basic history. Isn't this, the dispossession of the masses and the empowerment of the very few, also exploitation, just like the caste system? And how can the Catholic Church really be opposed to the exploitation of castes, when it is the benefactor of exploitation of wage workers?
If you really disbelieve in exploitation, become an Anarchist. Refuse to participate in those ancient, age-old institutions that have historically bonded the masses to a few, brutal masters. In Paris in 1968, Anarchist activists convinced ten out of fifteen million workers to go on strike. The state dissolved, like the fictitious entity it was, and Capitalism fell to pieces, with workers managing businesses for themselves democratically. It wasn't until de Gaulle opened fire on the original Free Fighting French, who had freed France from Nazi Germany, that the state and Capitalism were resurrected. Apparently, a similar General Strike shook the foundations of the state and Capitalism in the French Caribbean in 2009. It has happened before, and it will happen again. The point is supporting a revolution that provides every person with a right to work, bread, land, and liberty.
It would be nice if you could persuade everyone to share everything equally, but they won't, partly out of selfishness (I want a nicer house than Mr. Smith across the street, and even if my land and house is identical, I will make mine prettier by nice curtains, etc), but also because people don't put in identical effort. I am not willing to share everything with the irresponsible person next door who smokes and drinks to excess.
This is likely to be the most common opposition to Socialism or anything resembling Communism. Why should I work hard, if everyone is guaranteed everything automatically? I'm not arguing that the poor, common workers need to share more with each other -- except solidarity and mutual organization. I'm arguing that the 1 to 2% of those on top, who own the majority of land, should be dispossessed of it. The land, and the productive capital on it, should belong to the workers. After all, we are the ones who made the land usable, and then we made the capital that produces on the land, whether it's a factory, a farm, or a warehouse. So, it's not about equalizing the current property of every single person in society. It's about providing equality of opportunity.
What's the difference? With equality of PERSONAL property, everyone has the same amount of property. With equality of PRODUCTIVE property, everyone has an equal right to voice how the economy is directed, and also an equal right to work and benefit from the fruits of that labor. In the first case, everyone has equal things, food or housing, regardless of contribution. But, in the second case, everyone has a right to earn the best things, if they can contribute fairly. This is certainly not the case with today's economy. The inventor of the computer, Charles Babbage, watched his children die from easily cured diseases.
The inventor of MS-Dos, which is the basis of the Windows file system, received $50,000, for a creation that today is worth $50 billion. Did Bill Gates do any productive work? No. He made money off of the productive work of others. There is no equality of opportunity in Capitalism, as the person who made the best contribution (by working) received almost nothing, but the person who made the worst contribution (by owning) received almost everything. This is Capitalism, and why I am opposed to it.
So, you should understand now, the big difference between real Socialism and Socialism as they talk about in Capitalist books. In Britain, 1% of the nation owns 70% of the land. [ Progress.org ] Do you think a real Socialist is going to waste their time making sure that every house in their neighborhood has an equal amount of cabinets? No, that's not where the inequality exists. We are not asking for an equality between wage-slaves, which already exists, but an equality that abolishes wage-slaves and wage-masters -- no person should have enough capital to exploit another, or so little capital that they are powerless to exploitation. Socialism is not about making sure everyone has the same amount of loaves of bread. It's about making sure that everyone who works gets the full product of their labor, without having to pay profits to a Capitalist, as though it were a tax imposed by the state.
If you divided all the arable land in the world and gave equally to everyone, at the end of the year some would use it productively, others would waste their time with smoking, drinking and gambling and would lose their land in borrowing money to fund their vices. If you give $1,000 each to l00 men/women, but the end of the year some would have multiplied it to $10,000 and others would fritter it all away.
That is how inequality starts - I know there are heaps of injustices too, but human weakness is one cause of inequality.
Below what the Catholic Church actually does to help the vulnerable.
This isn't the story of poverty, though. Poverty did not begin with equality. For thousands and thousands of years, maybe even a hundred thousand years, humanity lived in a pure economic equality -- all land was common, and where agriculture was practised, it was communally worked. The "parishes" of France were once, and sometimes still, called "communes." The ancient British, similarly, lived in such a manner, where many worked together in common. Where everyone had a right to work, and a right to receive the bread from that work, poverty did not exist, nor did it come about.
Now, look at where poverty does exist: the United States, Europe, and the globe over. Look at the very wealthy: Carnegie, Vanderbilt, even Bill Gates. You know that each one of these people has hired government agencies to gun down and shoot workers who went on strike, correct? Even in our own time, we see this occurring regularly at the IBM, Microsoft, and Apple factories in China, Vietnam, and Korea, in areas that are both "capitalist" and so-called "communist."
Margaret Sanger wrote an article about Carnegie, how he had hired assassins in broad daylight to execute unionized workers, and how the president sided with Carnegie. But the Church didn't oppose Carnegie, because this budding Capitalist threw millions of dollars at the coffers of the priests. Then, with that aid, the church can go run around the planet pretending to be good with its "philanthropy." Do the Catholics tell the victims of these relief disasters, "These bandages and antibiotic ointments -- we were only able to bring these here by executing men, women, and children publicly in the streets for demanding the right to bread." ? Do you tell them that the relief was built up by the workers and invented by the workers? Do you tell them that your church helps murderers in your own land get away because of this philanthropy? Probably not.
Yes, machine-guns blazing on men, women, and children. "On July 23rd,  an incident occurred which gave the signal for the general strike. During the night two delegates of the railwaymen were arrested. The strikers immediately demanded their release, and as this was not conceded, they decided not to allow trains to leave the town. At the station all the strikers with their wives and families sat down on the railway track – a sea of human beings. They were threatened with rifle salvos The workers bared their breasts and cried, 'Shoot!' A salvo was fired into the defenseless seated crowd, and thirty to forty corpses, amongst them women and children, remained on the ground." ["The Mass Strike," by Rosa Luxemburg.] Ah, yes, poverty -- clearly caused because these women and children "frittered away their money."
I'm not asking for the land to be divided up evenly. I'm asking for an equal right to every person to work and receive the fruits of their labor. All production today is collective, from the miners in the pit to the mechanics on the assembly line. Even the lonely architect could produce nothing without the education he received from teachers, nor the writer produce a single page without the workers who provide ink and paper. There is no point in cutting up everything into tiny portions and giving it to each person. Why not simply say that all productive property is held in common, everyone has a right to work, and nobody has a right to claim productive property as solely their own?
In this situation, one could not hoard up the natural resources, nor society's productive powers. This way, exploitation and poverty could not reappear, since such things are the product of isolated bargaining power of the few over the many (inequality of productive property). If everything was divided into tiny portions, the worst human beings would use artillery to claim their neighbor's plot, and the problem would begin again. A tiny portion is meaningless, anyway. What's a mechanic going to do with a turbine, and not the assembly line? What about a generator and not the iron press it powers? What about a canal and not the watermill it powers? That would be individualist capitalism.
Socialism is collective -- all of society's productive property is collectively owned by everyone. It is the equivalent of Democracy, except applied to the economy. In a political Democracy, everyone has an equal voice to decide how the whole structure operates, applied to the political institutions. In an economic democracy, it is the same thing, applied to the economy. In parliamentary voting, we do not break up the nation into districts, and exclude the laws passed by those of the majority. Rather, there is an attempt to give all and equal voice in deciding how the whole functions. That is exactly the purpose of Socialism. Every person should have an equal right to voice how their whole society ought to function.