How Epicurism leads me to Anarcho-Communism

I am first an Epicurean and then a Socialist but the later flows naturally from the former due to moral reasoning.

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As an Epicurean, I require very little to be content: Food, Shelter, Friends and the absence of pain. All these things have always been generally easy to achieve and as such they are what each person should be able to have. The fact that so many do not is a telling problem of the disfunctionality of our society.

One could ask: “As an Epicurean, why do you care what others have? After all, if you can achieve a state of ataraxia why should you care if others do the same?”. This is really a moral issue and should be looked in this light.

The question is, how do I go from the descriptive “My only needs are those which bring me in ataraxia” to the prescriptive “Everyone should be able to fulfill the needs that bring them in a state of ataraxia“. To go there, we first need to look at my reasons for doing so.

  1. The more people that desire that others are achieving ataraxia, the more likely it is that I will be able to achieve and sustain it through their combined efforts.
  2. Achieving ataraxia allows people to work on achieving the rest of their desires. Since I’m trying to make it so that one of those desires is that everyone is achieving ataraxia, then this helps spread this desire as well as happiness which comes from being in this state.

From these we can see that I have reasons to promote the desire (i.e. it is considered good) that people should be able to fulfill the needs that bring them in a state of ataraxia. It becomes a moral value.

So how does this lead to Communism? Well, Communism has the ideological proposition that everyone should be producing according to their abilities and receiving according to their needs. By itself, the second part of the sentence is not very descriptive as anyone can claim the most extraordinary things as needs. However through the lenses of Epicurism, the needs transform to something objective: The things one needs to be in a state of ataraxia.

Communism then conflates exactly with the moral value I have reached via Epicurism. Each of us should be striving to the best of our abilities to help others fulfil their needs. And since the needs one has on average ((adding the cost of medicine which are more resource intensive but also much smaller in production scale than food)) are the very basic and most easy to create, the effort we would require from each of us for this to be achieved would be minimal.

Of course Communism is more than a ideological proposition. It also proposes the way a society would be organized (Classless & Staleless) which also follow from Epicurism since authority and inequality either lead to emotional pain or to the increased cost of basic needs, making them opposed to the moral value I explained above.

Now to be accurate, I never really moved towards the libertarian socialist quadrant because I looked at the subject philosophically, but rather because intuitively, for someone with an Epicurean mindframe, the concepts of Anarchism/Socialism/Communism fit very well to my moral values.

Only later did it occur to me how much one leads to the other and the dialectic relationship between them. As much as the Epicurean subconsiously espouses the libertarian socialist mindframe, so does the consistent libertarian socialist require an Epicurean thinking to avoid sliding into authoritarianism or crass individualism (ie Capitalism)

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Does Communism need a State?

Is a state mechanism required to achieve long-term planning, equality and free-loading? The answer is no. This is nothing that a federated solution can’t do

The Barefoot Bum takes a look at the concept of the State under Communism and discovers that there will be a need to retain some form of a state instrument, in order to both maintain balance so as to avoid negative effects from failed Prisoners Dilemma outcomes and also to have a central planning in order to provide long-term planning and guide complex manufacturing.

The later part of the argument, the need to have a central planning which allows complex processes to be guided has also been brought up by others, such as my recent argument with BadTux. In his case he brought it as an argument against central planning however.

The argument of the Barefoot Bum is based on the premise that very complex and long term plans are impossible to be achieved by a federated solution as these individuals and groups would be unable to plan beyond their short term interests and they would furthermore have an incentive to take actions which would be harming in the long-term, once their careers of lives have expired.

This however implies that a central planning comitee or a state would be able to foresee and plan such long term effects. I do not believe this is the case. If the individuals (who have the best knowledge about their sector) taking these actions are unable to foresee their results, then it’s unlikely that external viewers would. If they can foresee their results to have a long-term harming effect, then it means that others in their sector would be able to see that as well and raise the signs of alarm, and lacking the “greed” motive (which is impossible to retain under Communism), individuals would not have the incentive to turn a blind eye to such actions.

I believe that such planning, if possible to be achieved through a state, is possible to be achieved without a state as well, through federated methods. There is not reason why these experts need to monopolize the use of force and give the orders to the syndics. All of these can just as well be achieved by the syndics retaining their own experts or leader who also provide some valuable service to the manufacturing process. Those people can then simply get together when the need arises to arrange the long-term path they should take.

As to the argument of increased complexity, well there is nothing inherently impossible in it. When we have a very complex manufacturing process, requiring the cooperation of dozens of thousands of people (such as the creation of a computer) then the individual syndics of workers are perfectly capable of arranging it themselves. All they need to do is send committees (and now with the internet, even that is not necessary) to the syndic of the factory which produces the item they require and simply convince them that there is a benefit in providing these items to them, on a higher priority than others who request them. The committee of the receiving syndic would then allocate the items depending on the perceived need and benefits, through a democratic process.

Such was the case for example during the Russian Revolution, when the production of energy fell suddenly wholly to the hands of the Soviets which then managed to arrange the receiving of raw materials and maintenance items through the use of such committees to the Soviets of the Coal producing plant etc.

But there is also a large negative inherent in the use of a state apparatus. The people running central committees and the like, by the nature of their work would be separated from the workforce and thus be away form the needs of the proletariat. Furthermore they would be able to wield power and it is widely known that power corrupts. People in these positions would have an incentive to fortify their position and also to expand their power. This is the biggest failing of a state apparatus, the tendency to become entrenched and corrupted.

Marx I believe recognised this and this is why he gave the socialist state the very explicit task of simply protecting the proletariat from a counter-revolution. As this threat went away, the role of the state diminishes until it is not required anymore when the society has stabilized. The withering of the state. By giving the state extra legitimate duties, you are giving it a reason to continue its existence and a ledge from which to expand its power (“If as a state we’re necessary now to manage the complex long-term planning, in the future, where the planning is even more complex, we are needed even more. So give us some more power”)

If indeed long-term complex planning cannot be achieved without a state by a newly born communist society, then I would be in favour of removing the state and getting back to a less technological world in the short term. As long as the living humans were able to secure food and shelter, things which require only the lowest technology, then we could start from the basics and then work out the system from which to produce the more advanced items. The knowledge to do so would still be there and we would simply have to innovate in the field of communist logistics. Among thousands of brilliant minds searching for a workable solution to this problem, I’m certain there wouldn’t be too long until the system required was discovered.

A small step back would certainly be a small price to pay to guarantee that the basis of a classless society is preserved. And I even doubt that such a step back would even be necessary.

Arguments from Ignorants

If there is one thing that annoys me when seeing arguments against Communism is persistent ignorance. We’re not talking about simple ignorance where someone is not aware of a fact, but the kind of stubborn insintense on false ideas even when one has explicitly been told that they have it wrong. At this point we’re not simply talking about someone who has it wrong but about someone who is unwilling to learn.

Witness now this obtuse argument from BadTux who tries to explain why Communism is doomed to failure with arguments even a cursory look at an introductory text to Marxism should have put to rest.

He flies right off the bat by separating the political aspect of Communism from the economic, not obviously undertanding that this is impossible. Communism is not simply an economic system but a complete one, ecompassing social, political and economic aspects. You cannot disconnect the economic aspect of Communism from the social simply because it requires a specific type of society to work.

Communism is about having a classless, stateless society. It’s that simple. If you have a state or separation of classes, whether in the form of government bureaucrats or simple capitalists, you cannot claim to be in Communism. In any sense. It’s that simple. So by taking the economic aspect of the Soviet Union and calling it “Economic Communism”, you are using a flawed system as an example.

Next, we have the argument of how people would not join communes by themselves and they would have to be forced. Something which is of course totally away from any historical reality. If BadTux had bothered to actually read the History of the Russian Revolution he would have seen how “few” people were willing to to form soviets. The reality was that people were joining Soviets by the thousands, both the proletariat in the cities and the peasants in the armies. They were very much the majority and did not have to use any force.

He at least tries later to improve the validity of his article by talking about “modern communism” not realizing that there is nothing “modern” about it but rather that the original idea was about industrial societies. The idea for Communism was that it always required an industrialized society before it could take hold. This was the original idea from the time of Marx. The lack of a big proletariat in Russia and China was a large, if not the largest reason why the revolutions failed. A feudal peasant population is incompatible with Communism.

Then we’re treated to the impossibility of handling the modern production under communism simply by bringing up all the elements required for a product. But that’s just it. There’s no explanation of why this makes it impossible other than the inability of the author to think about it.

And with these arguments we are then told “So this, then, explains why communism as an economic system has failed every time it has been tried” and then goes on to bring the Soviet Union as an example. So he has failed to grasp what Communism even is, and then brought up State Capitalist society as proof. Incredible!

We then continue with the “other aspect” of Communism which is the political which apparently has been shown to fail…in a capitalistic society. What BadTux does not realize is that Communism does not work on an per-nation basis. Communism has to be achieved internationally so as to not have the need for standing armies or a state apparatus.  Even Lenin recognised the need for International movements for Communism and this is what he was counting on. He knew that if that did not happen, the Russian Revolution was in a really tight spot.

It is no worth looking at individual communes in a Capitalist society as they are not the point or an example of socialism. Their struggle to survive in a Capitalist society is what creates contradictions among the people within. This “problem of power” that BadTux keeps referring to does not exist in a society where people can easily leave a syndic they do not like and immediately join another or form their own.

And indeed. there is no better example for this than the Free Software movement. Therein you have groups of people clustered around any specific application and you have a benevolent dictator at the top. This “leader” or group of leaders that BadTux claims would always cause problems and dissolving the group. However not only does this work our, but it works admirably. When the leaders are indeed benevolent, the group prospers and keeps them in their place due to their abilities. If the leaders misbehave enough however, the dissatisfied people simply fork the project and start a new group. What “problem of power”?

This is why such arguments from ignorants are so annoying. You end up having to refute arguments which have nothing to do with Communism at all. This is not productive at all to the Communist who does not learn anything new but rather has to waste time pointing out strawmen left and right. Argue why the Labour Theory of Value is wrong. Argue how exploitation of the worker does not exist. Argue, in short, for things that Marxism actually explains and proposes, not whatever half-truths you gathered from school and popular news sources.

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The Lesser Evil

Medieval illustration of Hell in the Hortus de...
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It seems that the Debate Link has recently been criticizing the Barefoot Bum for promoting revolutionary communism instead of simply supporting Democrats as the lesser evil of the US political system. I’ve written before how supporting bipartisanism is harming to society and this the latest post prompted me to throw me 2 cents in the ring.

Debate Link’s David seems to find the suggestion that one should not support a party which goes against everything you believe in, is wrong. He argues that it is mistaken not to give my vote to someone who will use this power to do harm because if I do not do so, the other guy will do even worse than that. He argues that I become morally condemnable for supporting movements who have a chance to do real good because I may allow the really bad guys to do more harm.

But this is simply caving in to a threat. It is not much different than paying caving in to a captor’s demands. The Captor threatens that I should give him what he wants or else the hostage will be harmed. In our situation, the captor is the “lesser evil” party. People like David threaten that we become morally responsible for whatever happens to the hostage (the USA and the world) if we do not give the Democratic party whatever they want, even though we know that caving in will simply give them the incentive to take hostages again. Hell, very often we know that the hostage is going to get it whatever we do.

Further to that, when TBB says that it is worse to keep voting the “Palliative” it is not because we are not curing the disease, it’s because we are making it worse. Dave argues that taking the Palliative is better than letting the disease hurt as much as it would because in the real world, not taking the “Palliative” (ie voting Democrats) means more people would die. But what David fails to see in this example, is that in the long run, taking the “Palliative” will have even worse results than not. Specifically, the patient will die as a whole. In the real world that translates to much more people dying because a Democrat rule did not allow the necessary revolutionary cure to take place when there was still time.

Continuing to vote Democrats instead of struggling for revolutionary communism means that eventually it might be too late for even that. And the suffering people will have then will be bigger than whatever bad shit a revolution would require.

In all of this, it seems that David is desperately trying to spread the blame to everyone regardless of the choices they made. He is not interested in whether Communism is indeed the right choice to take but claims that even if it is, simply because people consider it a fringe ideology, striving for it makes us as much culpable for any deaths as is doing the deed ourselves. In essence a failed attempt to do the right thing should be considered as bad as doing the wrong thing altogether. The only correct action for David is compromise. Do just a little of the bad even though you always have to increase how much bad you do progressively anyway.

And this compromisistic mentality of our society is why we’re heading down the crapper. Because people don’t finally get Mad as Hell and refuse to take it anymore. Because as long as it doesn’t affect them, people will compromise and vote for leaders who will betray them the moment they are given the power and screw everyone else.

And for David, if you’re not a compromiser, you’re as bad as the opposition.

But what me and TBB is for people to stop compromising. To stop caving in to the “captors” demands. We want to charge the captor and free the hostages and we want the hostages to bite and kick to help us. Certainly some of us and some of the hostages may suffer in the process, but it will certainly be less than the number of hostages who would suffer in the future if captors figured out that taking hostages is a risk-free proposition for getting what they want.

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Quote of the day: Knowledge before Expertise

Quoth Isaac Puente

We are asked from the outset to come up with a flawless system, to guarantee that things will work this way and not that, without mishap or error. If learning to live had to be done this way, then our apprenticeship would never end. Nor would the child ever learn to walk, nor the youngster to ride a bicycle.

This is a classic gripe I have with people inquiring or criticizing communism with me. They ask me to provide a perfect answer for every question they have, and when they can think of holes in my replies, they ask more. If I refuse to keep playing this game, they point this out as proof of an obviously poor-thought system.

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Are the commies out to get you?

How much does the communist concept leads people to act violent. Is it reasonable to think that they’re out to violently oppress?

A 1947 comic book published by the Catechetica...

Is Communism something violent? Does it inherently require that people start killing those who do not agree with it in order to achieve it? Hearing the propaganda thrown around, one could very well be led to believe that Communists are bloodthirsty demons who will break down your door and take your stuff. That they will force you to sing hymns, and clap for the glorious leader on pain of death etc.

Some of this is patently ridiculous but there is the sliver of truth in that every attempt at communism has gone through a violent struggle which then ended up with a dictatorial state rule. One looking no more than skin-deep at this might indeed get the idea that communists somehow spring out of the ether, kill the resisting peaceful citizens and establish their brutal rule

But when having a deeper look, one easily can find the errors in this image.

The Revolution

If one thing is true about Communism, it’s that it has proven impossible to be achieved without a revolution. The Capitalist system has proven to be very resilient to reformation from inside and instead of it changing, it ends up changing the reformers. Thus there is no alternative that to destroy the flawed system and rebuild from scratch.

But this revolution is not about violence. The people who demands things change do not want to kill their fellow man, they simply wish to stop being exploited. The way they go about it is by ignoring the Capitalist rules and simply starting to live under their own. Thus they ignore the previous agreement about private property. The majority decides that the means of production should belong to the majority who has paid their cost many times over already and they peacefully take them over.

It is at this point that violence occurs. Not from the workers, but from the state machine who steps in to protect the interests of the minority. When the workers are assaulted first by the police and later by the army, it would be foolish to remain peaceful. For peace would only mean the continuation of exploitation. But the workers are not the aggressors. Communism is not the cause of violence.

This assault from the minority towards the majority has always been the case in all revolutions. Accusing the communists of violence is as morally empty as accusing the slaves Rome of being violent when they revolted, or accusing the bourgeois of being violent when they overthrew the monarchies.

Revolutionary violence always comes from the side of the exploiter who has the most to lose and who controls the power of the state.


This is the fear that a communist nation would engage in the classic imperialistic moves. That it will attempt to invade other countries and forcibly turn them “Communist”. This of course is absurd. Communism has no state to wage out the war and the workers of a commune have no incentive to leave their homes and assault other countries.

Certainly, the USSR was guilty of playing the imperialist game (at least as much as the US did when it was making dictators while “spreading democracy”) but as this was a State Capitalism, it should come as no surprise. Indeed they were acting perfectly in the capitalist nature.

But a general fear of communist imperialism can simply be attributed to projection on the Capitalist’s part. If anything, the only form of “imperialism” that can be waged is peacefully cultural, where the workers or the world take the example from the ones who have succeeded and work on their own revolution. But of course, this is why Capitalist nations are so propagandistic against Communism in the first place.

Day to day

So will a communist society breed violence day to day? After all, violence is the norm in a capitalist state which depends on competition and greed. Well, that’s exactly the point. Communism does not depend on those. Why would violent crime happen when people can simply get what they need for free? How could violent suppression happen without a state?

Any system based on cooperation instead of competition can only be peaceful and this is why fears of communist violence are not only unfounded but a telltale sign of propaganda.

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This Human Nature

Is Communism or Anarchism impossible to achieve due to the inherent flaws of “Human Nature”. Not at all. On the contrary, it’s human nature that makes it possible and yearns for it.

A group of youth interacting

We interrupt your regularly scheduled program to look into an argument that is starting to annoy the tits out of me.

One of the most frequent arguments against Communism that I seem to face almost every day now, is the one that says that human nature is such that a system based on cooperation and altruism could never be achieved.

The claim is that this human nature is necessarily greedy, competitive, aggressive and whatnot. With such a nature then it’s only understandable that we’d have wars, poverty and capitalism as these are the only things that our nature is compatible with. It’s then no wonder that Communism has failed every time it was attempted. It went against human nature! Nevermind other factors, it was doomed to failure from the start.

These interpretations basically take the view that human nature is generally “flawed” and is such that only under Capitalism can it be somehow tamed. It is with such reasoning that white becomes black and vices become virtues in order to defend the current system. Against the human nature argument one cannot win for nobody can escape his nature.

Or can they?

The point of calling something a human nature is that a human cannot escape or avoid it. I cannot avoid eating for it is my nature to need energy. Perhaps at some indefinite point in the future we might arrange that we won’t need food anymore but we’ll certainly still need energy, thus our nature remains. The same goes with anything else that we cannot escape.

And this is where evolutionary psychology comes in and tell us that we have genetical predispositions to various behaviours. Fight or Flight, children’s language learning capability etc. One of these predispositions is then posited to be Competition and thus that the human society must be organised in a way that Competition is put to good use. Ergo Capitalism.

Putting aside the quite large controversy around Evolutionary Phychology itself, I have the following arguments:


If one thing is said to certainly be part of our nature, then that is our ability to reason and use logical arguments. Indeed we are the only known animal that uses it so one can easily even call it our defining nature. It is the only reason why humans are capable of introspection and thus of managing their own predispositions.

It is with reason that not only can we control our psychological predispositions, but even our biological ones. It is because of it that I can suppress my urge to eat because I am overweight. It is because of reason that men can suppress urges to rape women when they otherwise could and are driven to it by their biology. And it is because of it, that I can suppress whatever urge I have to compete or simply turn it into a noble or friendly competition.

Thus, the strongest and undeniable part of human nature, indeed the one that can be said to be defining humans, is the one that allows us to control all other parts of our nature, whatever they may be. This means that even if, theoretically, competition, greed or whatever else is in our nature but it is against our benefits, we have the innate capability to suppress it.

Cooperation VS Competition

Humans are a social animal, that much is certain. As such we have a definite predisposition towards cooperation with other humans. But is it stronger than any predisposition we may have towards competition? I believe that is the case.

Someone reading about the origins of the family and the state can easily see how before civilization, the humans were barely competitive with each other at all. Within a gentile community, the predominant behaviour was of mutual cooperation and the further back one goes into the stages of barbarism and then savagery, the more powerful this cooperation becomes. This is simply because the less tools and ability humans had to survive independently, the more they had to cooperate with each other to survive.

The only cause of competition that could have happened, was when meeting another band of humans and there was a lack of resources to go around. Then, as a results of humans being separated into haves and have-nots, competition emerged. Other than that, there was no other competition to be had. Their societies were ones of group marriages and thus there was not even male competition for women.

This cooperative method of living persisted for millions of years with the strongest forms of cooperation lasting longer (as the lesser forms of evolutionary progress lasted longer) until eventually, roughly 9000 years ago, humans enterred civilization. It is with civilization that the monogamy, private property and the state emerged. This was the reason why humans were separated, for the first time in history, into classes. And it is because of the friction between those classes that competition became the fact of life.

The larger the society grew, the bigger the class separation, the larger the gap with other humans in one’s society, The impression of individual independence grew even though it is patently false. Nevertheless, the human within a huge society finds it impossible to perceive it and ends up assuming that he actually has no codependence on other humans. Thus in this vast society, competition feels like the only choice, add to that the constant reinforcement of this idea by popular media and memes and it’s no wonder that this feels like “human nature”.

But what do you think is evolutionary stronger. Cooperation which lasted millions of years or competition which in the grand scheme of things is as long as a blink of an eye? Not only logic but simple empirical evidence points to the former. Cooperation survives even in the most hostile environment of Capitalism – the system which honestly expects people to act rationally and individualistic and ends up having to work with emotional cooperative humans.

And to top it all off, we still have reason, as explained above, which can further suppress competition in favor of cooperation when warranted.

If there is any truth to evolutionary psychology, it is as Marx noted, in that humans have the nature of cooperation and individualism. Our nature do not prevent Communism at all, it yearns for it, for it is both in all of our best interests and also closer to our psychology.

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But won’t communism lead to stagnation?

It is often claimed that because under communism “everyone will earn the same” there will be no incentive for people to work harder. Is this so?

Communism is frequently accused of having a system which promotes laziness and drudgery. They posit that this happens because as in the system everyone is equal and the incentive of people to compete with their fellow man is not there, nobody feels the need to innovate, be creative or productive. And since the state will reward everyone the same no matter what they do, as in a prisoner’s dillema, people will prefer to “defect” from work.

This problem did seem realistic to me when I knew little about it and before I actually gave more thought to it. How indeed do you make people work if they are not going to be rewarded for their trouble anymore than their lazy ass neighbour who sits and watches television all day?

The answer to this problem lies in understanding that reward does not drop down from the non-existent state but that simply the reward of each worker comes from the work they do. One of the core tenets of communism is that the total value of labour, which includes the surplus value which currently goes to the non-working capitalist, belongs to the worker who produces it.

Lets say that I work in a factory making cars with a thousand other people and we make a 1000 cars, each of us ends up owning one. Once I have a car, either I can keep working in the same factory (say because I like the work or because I do not care to learn anything else) or I can move to another job, say making computers.

But what about the people who don’t want to work in the car factory. Don’t they get a car? Of course they do. It’s very easy for a car factory to give one car to each of its workers and after that, the rest of the cars can be given for free for anyone who requests one. And why not? After all, while working at the car factory, I got to eat food for free from the bakers, got the raw material for free from the steel and plastic workers,  got to enjoy culture for free from the artists etc ((This does not happen through state allocation but rather through classic supply & demand. I will attempt to tackle this in another post)).

As such, the incentive of people to be productive lies in the fact that they will get to own the result of their increased productivity. Not only that, but people have a large incentive to be more productive because that way they get to work less hours.

If you think that this is an unrealistic scenario and that this can never work you might be benefit from looking at the free software movement.
Why does a Free Software programmer help coding a program when he’s not getting paid for it? Very often it’s because he needs it to do something he can’t at the moment. But why do it for free instead of selling his labour to the highest bidder? It’s because he knows that he will get to reap the results of his labour. Not only that but once more programmers join, he will get to reap the results of their labour as well, while all of them get to work less hours individually.
Furthermore, the Free software programmer knows that there are other free software programmers out there who do the same thing as he, but in their own projects. He gets to reap the results of their labour and they do the same. Similar to my previous example of cars for food, raw materials and art.

But the free software movement is comprised from generally middle class people who can afford to do it as a hobby, generally middle class people or students. Most cannot concentrate their full potential on it because they must put a good part of it on their normal work or school. Imagine what they would do if they could work totally free without worrying about survival. Imagine what any other worker could do if he had the freedom these renegade programmers do.

‘But what about innovation?’ I hear you ask. What’s the point of someone inventing new gadgets, systems or whatnot? I already mentioned that people have an incentive to be more productive as in that way they will get to work less hours. Well, this is what machines do isn’t it? They make people more productive. The workers have thus an incentive to create new and better machinery in order to reduce the time they have to spend working.

Medicine? Art? As is obvious from even our current culture, people who are inclined to those paths generally provide their own incentive. An artist keeps creating despite the fact that in our capitalist culture he cannot make any money of it. If anything, under Communism instead of the pop-culture we have to endure because it’s the only thing that can bring a profit, artists can follow their own muse and create the new and interesting things they should. Instead of medicine and science being driven by profit, with all the known problems of that, it will be driven by need and creativity. A future Tesla will not have to die poor and starving because his exciting new science could not find sponsors or he did not understand economics, but rather will have the necessities he needs to focus on his work as much as he needs.

Of course, it is conceivable that social parasites will manage to find a way to survive within communism. Perhaps they will prefer to hide how little they work, or they will group together and avoid working, I don’t know. The thing is that it’s much more difficult to hide from the people you have to work with who know they will have to pick up the slack. Where in a capitalist corporation the parasite can simply suck up to the boss and get off lightly, in Communism, there is no boss to speak of and the other workers will quickly put them in their place when they discover them, or at worst, ostracise them.

But lets take the worst case scenario, that somehow these parasites manage to survive and hide within a communist system. What is the difference from our current system? Under capitalism we have parasites who not only don’t need hide but are actually the ones who wield all the power. They’re called Capitalists. The rich do not need to work, their money works for them. All they need to do is sit around all day and give orders to the ones who are not as rich as they. The life of the rich is one who does not contribute anything to society and gets to reap all the benefits. And the worst part is that the overwhelming percentage of them do not even need to work to reach that level. They simply are born into wealth.

Communism is not statist

Does Communism require everything to be under state control, with a Bureaucratic government deciding everything? Far from it

Whenever most people think of Communism, they assume a big fucking government which is responsible for the central planning and the running of the society as a whole as the benevolent rulers think best. This preconception once again generally comes from the way Socialist regimes of the 20th century have ended up running their shows and as I pointed out in the first part of this series, they do not represent communism.

Indeed a statist Communism is an oxymoron for, by definition, Communism is stateless. There is not central planning commitee, no benevolent leader-for-life, no bureaucracy.

In the original ideas of Karl Marx, Communism was always supposed to be the end result when the state had finally withered away. The only situation where state exists is under socialism which is the stepping stone to Communism. But the state of Socialism is not in any form the state which you are aware now or the one of Stalinist Russia either. Is is a completely new beast.

The state of Socialism is based on the working class and the point of it, as opposed to the current example of state, is to protect the rights of the majority against the assault of the minority.

It is not based on location, it is based on profession.

The elected repressentatives do not simply come from a general location and thus put forward the requests of the workers, farmers, capitalists etc as the current system is. Instead they are the repressentatives of the workers. One for the car workers, one for the computer techs, one for the scientists and the like. As such these repressentatives not only put forward the requests of a group of people who have a very close interest in their actions but they are themselves part of those people.

The current crop of politicians who generally end up being either progeny from rich families or people from professions which make a lot of money (ie lawyers), thus they have no interest or knowledge of the working class situations. If they look elitist, foreign and untouchable, it’s because they are. They have nothing in common with the lower class so how do you expect them to know what is good for you or others like you?

Unlike them, socialist delegates should know exactly what the people they represent want and if they do not, then they cannot hide behind excuses. Everyone of their group will understand their language and failings and they will be recalled and replaced.

It is not supposed to be untouchable

The most important thing that changes in the socialist state is that elections do not happen only infrequently, making it difficult for people to decide if their chosen representatives did their job or not. The members of the state are supposed to be subject to, if not instant, at the least very quick recalls when they do not represent their people anymore.

The state machine is not for the protection of the state

Currently the police and the army are not there to protect the citizens. They are there in order to stop the majority of citizens from fighting with the capitalists. When the poor and homeless rise up and demand to occupy the empty buildings of the rich, it is against them that the army will turn.

In the socialist state there is no army and police force as a separate force from the workers. This is simply part of a societal “chore” that the members of the working class must do in order to protect themselves from outside forces or from people who would destroy them in order to take power. Thus these forces are constantly changing and their members mingle with the working class, insuring that they will be protected from propaganda and not turn against their own people.

The withering of the state

All of these characteristics of the state above, are not about Communism. They are about socialism. This state is not there to control the people but to protect them from those who would use force or intrigue to dismantile the new system. Once this danger has gone away, this state has no reason to exist anymore. There is no need for many people to do the “army chore” when there is no external country ready to invade and enforce capitalism on them, and thus slowly there will be less and less people doing it until the army slowly withers away. Similarly there will be no reason for police or any other state instrument.

Only once the state has withered away can a society be said to be in Communism.

Does communism stiffle individualism?

The most scary concept for anyone who considers communism seems to be the idea that it requires the total submission of the individual will for the good of the country, the state or the party. This misconception is happily perpetuated by the capitalist propaganda machine who gives you such great images as people having to wear the same clothes, sing the same songs and share the same toothbrush.

Indeed such a thought is terrifying enough that it’s enough for the propaganda machine to label anything it does not wish to happen as communism and start rolling out those images to scare the public to the path they want, as is what happened with the first attempt of US for universal healthcare when Hillary was pushing for it.

The most scary concept for anyone who considers communism seems to be the idea that it requires the total submission of the individual will for the good of the country, the state or the party. This misconception is happily perpetuated by the capitalist propaganda machine who gives you such great images as people having to wear the same clothes, sing the same songs and share the same toothbrush.Indeed such a thought is terrifying enough that it’s enough for the propaganda machine to label anything it does not wish to happen as communism and start rolling out those images to scare the public to the path they want, as is what happened with the first attempt of US for universal healthcare when Hillary was pushing for it.

But not only is Communism not against the individual but it is the only real celebration of individualism possible and It aims to achieve this through positive freedom. Under communism people are supposed to have the liberty and the capability to do whatever they wish, as long as this does not inhibit the liberty and capability of others to do the same.

Now I can just imagine the anarcho-capitalists (or “libertarians” as the US Americans like to call them) jumping up to cry foul. They consider that true freedom is when one has just the liberty to do something, as long as they do not infringe on the liberty of others. But this is simply the illusion of freedom. Are you free when you can wear any type of cloth you like but you can’t afford anything more than plain brown?

No. Negative freedom is simply the freedom for some to reduce the freedom of others through non-violent means.

Think of the freedom Communism provides as the freedom which exists between a couple. Both have a voluntary relationship within which they agree to limit their freedom in order so that one is not degraded for the benefit of the negative freedom of the other.  Thus, while they both have the freedom to wear whatever clothes they want, have their own possessions and totally different taste, they do not have the freedom to avoid doing their share of the chores, for then, the burden falls on the other and the relationship is strained. But no one would ever consider such a limitation as an affront to liberty.

And this is the kind of limitation Communism demands. It requires that people voluntary do their part of societal “chores” simply so that all the burden does not fall to the few unlucky. It requires that people do not take actions which reduce the freedom of everyone else. It only demands that people be equal, not identical.

Other than that, it is of no consequence how each person chooses to live his own life. It is exactly because under communism you do not have to limit yourself in any way in order to survive that people are truly free. Aren’t you jealous of all those small startup companies whos employees get to work whenever and however they want? Imagine that not only every job was like that, but you also had the freedom to do exactly the kind of work you want, without worrying if it’s economically feasible.

Having said all that, it is worth pointing out that there is a system that does restrict your freedom. This system not only requires that you do a kind of work that you do not like in order to survive, but it frequently requires you to conform to the wishes of the company to a large degree. From the demand for a suit&tie, to personal styling to outright uniforms. This is not only demanded in work but can even start as early as school years. Not only that, but it breeds a uniform culture where every artist ends up sounding the same and the only new things to wear are what others tell you in the form of trends.

This system is, of course Capitalism. The system where true freedom is reserved only for the rich.