A telegraphic (i.e. brief, concise and direct) presentation of communist theory. Basic concepts: private property, capital, proletariat, class struggle and communism.
telegraphic communist theory
We have capacities and needs.
Buying and selling is impossible if there is no separation between our capacities and our needs.
Buying and selling presuppose the deprivation of the means by which our needs are fulfilled by our capacities. This deprivation is private property, which makes us proletarians.
Private property ensures (thanks to the repressive force of the state) a situation of continuous scarcity so that the purchase and the sale take place continuously.
The separation between our capacities and our needs becomes a relationship in which we must sell the only thing we still have - our capacity to thinking and acting, the labor power – to the private property owners if we want to receive money to pay for things we need to survive (wage). But not everything is so gloomy, because private property also offers the freedom to choose another option: becoming a beggar, living in the street, starving, prison ....
When we sell our capacities (that is, when we sell ourselves in the labor market), the labor and everything we produce with it belong to private property. The more we work, the more we increase private property, that is, the gap between our capacities and needs, the more we are deprived of means of life, and the more we are subjected to the power of the owners.
By working, we are increasingly transforming all aspects of the world into private property. More and more deprived of the very world where we live, we are increasingly expelled from this world, used and thrown on the street, then we are consumed again, discarded again and so on - we are the proletariat, the overwhelming majority of the world's population. The private property that accumulates increasingly (thanks to our labor) as a inhuman hostile power against us is called capital.
Consumed, exhausted, stressed, irritated, mutilated, anxious, depressed, always living on a knife-edge, we are continually in existential and material contraposition to capital, no matter our will, opinion or conscience. To be deprived of property, to be proletarian, is not a condition we choose, it is a condition imposed by the existence of private property, commodity, capital, State. This continuous existential contraposition to capital is the conflict that is at the heart of capitalist society throughout the world: the class struggle.
The ruling class (particular or state businessmen, bureaucrats, managers ...) struggles to divert and channel the dissatisfaction of the proletarians by directing it against other proletarians (coworkers, unemployed, neighbors, proletarians from another company, from another country, another neighborhood, another skin color, opinion, nose shape, sex, customs, gender, language, leaning, football team ...) so that the cause of their suffering (such as exhaustion, irritation, fear of being discarded in competition, hunger, depression, violence, servility, helplessness) is illusorily attributed to them, as scapegoats; in fact, its real cause is the existence of private property, labor, and capital. In the competition between proletarians for submitting to private property (i.e., the ruling class and the state) in exchange for survival (wages), they find other proletarians as de facto enemies, real competitors who are hindering their difficult endeavor to survive in the dog-eat-dog world of the private property.
Given that the ruling class has been victorious in the class struggle to this day (otherwise, capitalist society, labor, private property and the state would have been overcome), the situation described above is the “normal” situation that necessarily prevails while capitalist society is perpetuated, a situation where there are no classes, but only “citizens” in a hellish competition for survival, property, and capital. However, this is only the most superficial appearance: in reality, the proletarians, regardless of their will, conscience or opinion, struggle incessantly for working as little as possible and for everything they need become as free as possible, in direct opposition to the owners of private property, whose struggle (also independently of their will or opinion) is for the proletarians to work as much as possible (thereby increasing private property, i.e. deprivation of property, capital, and his ruling class power) and for everything to be as expensive as possible by paying them the minimum wage they can. This conflict, the class struggle, is at the heart of capitalist society throughout the world, it is a conflict that capital strives in every way to end (from the “welfare state” to mass slaughter) but cannot.
This struggle that proletarians are continually fighting against capital everywhere in capitalist society can only succeed if they, in their concrete praxis, succeed in destroying what separates their capacities from their needs, that is, if they abolish the private property of means of life and production, suppressing labor, commodity, the state and capital. To this end, it is necessary that they communicate and act associatively on a world scale, fraternizing among themselves against “their” ruling classes everywhere, quickly and simultaneously suppressing all borders, private properties, enterprises, employments, unemployment, states, nations, identities (which are nothing more than stereotypes). In short, they must destroy all the conditions which compel them (against themselves) to join private properties and states, which are always in competition and war with each other in order to the workers to sacrifice and sacrifice each other to defend “their” ruling classes private properties and states.
Such a fraternization and association without borders of proletarians which destroys class society simultaneously throughout the world is impossible and meaningless if it is not at the same time the enthralling universal (i.e. cosmopolitan) creation of the material conditions where the practical affirmation of needs and capacities of each one, that is, the freedom of each one, is no longer coerced to limit or deprive the freedom of others (and of oneself), as it is under private property (which is why it is always synonymous with state, police …), but on the contrary, where the freedom of each one is multiplied the greater the practical affirmation of the capacities and needs of all others, the freedom of all others, the immense wealth that is the existence of all humanity, of the world human community. The worldwide movement whereby the proletariat freely affirms the human needs and capacities, imposing them dictatorially against the dictatorship of capital, money, private property and the state, is communism.
humanaesfera , March 2018
[Translated from the original article in Portuguese: Teoria comunista telegráfica]
See also this series of texts that develop several aspects presented above:
Below, a basic bibliography on communist theory (the genuine communist theory and not those theories, such as Leninism, which interposes capitalist reforms, that is, the continuation of wage labor, private property ["nationalized"], capital [concentrated in the state] and state, in short, not those theories which advocate for the continuation of exploitation in the name of a distant future where communism is supposed to exist).
BASIC BIBLIOGRAPHY ON COMMUNIST THEORY:
- The reproduction of daily life (Fredy Perlman, 1969)
- Capitalism and communism (Jean Barrot/Gilles Dauvé, 1972)
- Against work, against labour (GCI-ICG, 1979)
- Human Activity Against Labour (GCI-ICG, 1982)
- The refusal of work (Comitato Operaio di Porto Marghera, 1970)
- Class struggle in the Cuba enterprise (humanaesfera)
- Have you checked your labels lately? (Commie Rag, 1983)
- When insurrections die (Gilles Dauvé, 1998)
- Discussion paper on class composition (Kolinko, 2002)
- Marx, individualist Communist! (excerpts on the individual) (Karl Marx, 1843-1858)
- Anarchy and Communism (Carlo Cafiero, 1880)
- The soul of man under socialism (Oscar Wilde, 1891)
- A critique of the german ideology (Marx and Engels, 1845-1846)
- Comments on James Mill (Karl Marx, 1844)
- On “Exchange” (Joseph Déjacque, 1858)
- The Humanisphere (excerpts) (Joseph Déjacque, 1857)
- The attractive machinery - the theory of passionate attraction (excerpts) (Charles Fourier, 1808-1858)