This section of ACA’s The Underground hopes to provide explanations and definitions of various theories and ideologies of the left. This will get larger over time, as we begin to expand into all the left, so keep on checking back for more.
What is communism?
Communism is a stateless, classless, egalitarian society. It will be based on the principle “each according to his ability, each according to his needs”. This means an individual shall produce to the best of their ability, in accordance with their talent, and in return shall take from society what he needs, be it food, commodities, clothes etc.
A communist society would be as follows:
I. Nothing in society will belong to anyone, either as a personal possession or as capital goods, except the things for which the person has immediate use, for either his needs, his pleasures, or his daily work.
II. Every citizen will be a public man, sustained by, supported by, and occupied at the public expense.
III. Every citizen will make his particular contribution to the activities of the community according to his capacity, his talent and his age; it is on this basis that his duties will be determined, in conformity with the distributive laws.
What’s wrong with capitalism?
Marx’s critique of capitalism was that it is exploitive and inherently flawed because of this. This will lead to internal conflicts within capitalism, leading to its collapse. There are many ideas about what it will be replaced by, but the end goal is communism. The main flaw of capitalism is that modern industrialisation created two classes, and the old classes from the feudal era evolved into these. These classes are the bourgeoisie, those who own private property, and the means of production, and the proletariat, those who sell their labour to the bourgeoisie to survive.
Considering the bourgeoisie want to maximise their profits, and they have to oppress the proletarians to do so by means of lower wages et cetera.
The proletariat will get tired of being oppressed, overthrow the bourgeoisie and take its place as the dominant class. Due to more and more money is being placed in the hands of the bourgeoisie, there is less money in circulation. This leads to loss of jobs, the erosion of the middle class (or petit-bourgeoisie) and more unemployment, to name a few causes of a recession, or depression as some may call it.
More and more capitalists go out of business with each recession, leading to the wealth being placed in the hands of fewer and fewer people, which leads to more recessions, until the gap between rich and poor gets so large that the poor have had enough- revolution.
What would capitalism be replaced with?
Some leftist claim capitalism will be replaced with socialism, as a transitional stage between capitalism and communism. Others say anarchism. These theories are explained below.
What is anarchism?
In the simplest of terms Anarchism is a political theory that works without hierarchy.
This of course means that the traditional (capitalist) relationships between people and government, people and businesses and the family relationship are significantly different.
Anarchist society works on a voluntary basis, members of society enter into a ‘mutual contract’ whereby they contribute to society in return for all the benefits that society has to offer.
What are the main forms of anarchism?
There are many forms of Anarchism but the main two are ‘Anarchist Communism’ and ‘Anarcho-Syndicalism’.
Although there are differences between the various types of Anarchism there are some commonalities such as: the abolition of the state, capitalism (the wage system) and private property (personal property is respected).
How do these forms of anarchism differ?
Anarchist Communism tends to prefer non-hierarchical worker cooperatives as a means of organising production of goods and services whereas Anarcho-Syndicalism lends itself to organising through trade unions.
Where would I learn more about anarchism?
If you are interested in learning more about Anarchism we recommend ‘Anarchism; a beginners guide’ by Ruth Kinna
And what is socialism?
To Marxists socialism is transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realisation of communism. During this stage,the state will abolish private property, thus putting control of the means of production into the hands of the state, and will then proceed to place control of the economy into the hands of the proletariat via workers councils, or soviets. After the world (as socialism is a world system, like capitalism), is socialist, and no man can exploit another, then the state, which has become but a burden on the proletariat withers a way.
A socialist economy would be a planned economy, opposed to the anarchy of market capitalism.
What is a planned economy?
A planned economy is a type of economy that gives the government total control over the allocation of resources. A planned economy alleviates the use of private enterprises and allows the government to determine everything from distribution to pricing. The economy would be managed democratically by the soviets, apart from in rare cases of emergency. This allows the workers to use the state to benefit them, rather in capitalism where the state benefits the bourgeoisie.