[Marxism] A five-minute introduction to Marx’s Communism
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
And here is a PDF version
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
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
More information about the Marxism