[Marxism] A five-minute introduction to Marx’s Communism

David McMullen dfmcmullen at gmail.com
Wed Nov 8 18:28:28 MST 2017


Below is a pamphlet that I am distributing around the place. I am keen 
for feedback.

And here is a PDF version



David McMullen
The Communist Manifesto Project

*Starting the Real Human Journey*

*A five-minute introduction to Marx’s Communism*

In these interesting times, as the old certainties crumble, it is worth 
taking at least a quick peek at Karl Marx's views on the prospects for a 
class­less, communist future. If nothing else, this will give you a 
better idea of what you dis­agree with.

The first thing to note is that Marx would not have been sur­prised at 
how the revolutions in countries like Russia and China went sour. He 
would have consid­ered them too backward. He saw communism as requiring 
condi­tions created by fully developed capitalist societies. These 
condi­tions did not exist in those places.

Marx believed that capitalism has to wrench us out of social and 
economic backwardness before communism is possible. This mission has 
been accomplished in the devel­oped countries where about 20 per cent of 
us live. How­ever, capitalism still requires a generation or two to make 
this more of a reality on the global scale.

Capitalism has been crucial to the emergence of modern society. This 
eliminates or undermines much of the backward culture of pre-capitalist 
conditions, which is characterized by the supremacy of the 
elder-dominated extended fam­ily, the tribe and other groups to the 
detriment of the individual and social progress; the subordina­tion of 
women; the acceptance of autoc­racy and grovelling to superi­ors. A 
classless, communist society could not possibly emerge directly from 
such conditions. Emerging from capitalism will be challenging enough.

At the same time, by developing modern industry and technology, 
capitalism makes itself obsolete by removing the need for the profit 
motive. It eliminates arduous and routine labor and so work can be 
transformed into an activity that people want to do for its own sake and 
the benefit it brings. And it makes possible afflu­ence for every­body 
and so output no longer needs to be fought over. We can happily share a 
growing pros­perity.

Marx also believed that by rele­gating most of us to the status of 
proletarians or employees, capital­ism creates its own grave diggers. 
This is because we have no vested interest in the capitalist system of 
ownership - concentrated largely in the hands of the 0.1 percent - and 
every­thing to gain from a society where we jointly own the means of 

An important part of Marx’s thinking is that a period of revolu­tionary 
transition is required to get us from capitalism to 
com­munism.Overthrowing the old order, in which the capitalists own the 
means of production and dom­inate political life, is only the nec­essary 
first step. We then have to create a totally new society. This will 
re­quire quite a change in our­selves and how we do things.

At the beginning, we will have to contend with the fact that we are not 
used to running the show and those opposing us will be well prac­ticed 
schemers desperate to restore their place in the sun. Suc­cess will 
depend on the emergence of a strong bottom-up revolution­ary mass 
movement that is com­mitted to the task of making the world anew. 
Without this, we end up with an empty shell - no more than state 
ownership with phonies in charge and a populace still only equipped for 
capitalism. China and Cuba are present examples.

Marx recognized that for a peri­od there will still have to be some link 
between share of output and work performed. It will take time to 
sufficiently transform how we work together, and so make work into 
something we would want to do without reward. We will need to break down 
a lot of the en­trenched separation of deciding and doing that was 
appropriate when work was coerced - in other words, a lot less bossing 
and more of people de­ciding for themselves how to do their own job. 
Then there is helping rather than hin­dering our work­mates. Developing 
ourselves as people is the key to these changes - the confidence to take 
on challenges, the courage to deal with prob­lem people and the 
cognitive and social skills to work better together. A positive attitude 
to work will also be reinforced by the fact that we will all find 
our­selves part of a soci­ety that is working for our benefit. The 
result will be the performance of work in a far more efficient and 
innovative fashion than under capi­talism, and the emergence of more 
fully devel­oped human beings.

Just as the individual will achieve full development at work, so in life 
at large. You could not have one without the other. And each new 
generation will thrive from day one because they are be­ing raised by 
fully functioning and well-educated individuals.

Our relations with others will be guided by mutual regard. We will 
endeavor to do the right thing, knowing that others are doing the same. 
And we will understand that we can truly thrive only when others thrive. 
We will have arrived at the beginning of the real human journey.

The Communist Manifesto Project

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