Communism - Introduction
why capitalism is bad
Communism is the opposite of Capitalism. Capitalism being money rules (what adam smith invents)
When we looked at Democrats V Republicans its as thought these people are Super Democrats. Democrats are often accused of being secret communists. That is the government should control everything to make all equal and happy.
In the word communism you should hear communal and community. Co meaning with as in “Con”.
The number one goal of communism is equality. Equality comes from class war.
In 1793 the wars of kings were over the wars of peoples had begun. This 19th century pattern lasted until WWI.
After 1917 the conflict of government theories supplemented that of nation states. Now that is dead All the great 19th century government theories fought over were western.
More than anyother idea communism has torn the world in half. This century is the story of the fight between the US and this system.
For most of this century their have been two superpowers. One was the US and the other Russia.
We were capitalist and the Russians were communist.
China is also communist. Mexico too. Cuba too.
China still holds to this sytem with one-fifth the worlds population.
Most other countries are a blend of our ideal and their ideal.
As I present this topic try to remember that it isn’t one hundred percent black and white. There are shades of gray.
The reverse of the Adam Smith
Basic Communism of Karl Marx
Marx was born in 1818 May 5th.
He is a German Jew. He studies under Hegel. The large german system and Hegels theory of history he steals.
He is a powerful writer. He is involved in revolution and is throw n out of his native germany and France. He settles to write in England. In England Marx and his family live in total poverty. plagued by creditors, sickness, squalor, and hunger.
At times his children couldn’t lea ve the house because they had no shoes or suitable clothes. And his wife became emotionally disturbed because of the wretched hardships they lived under.
Of their 6 children (the seventh born dead) only three girls grew to maturity.
he writes and writes as members of his family starve to death. He is aware that ideas are more important than people. This makes him very German.
Indeed, his families deaths have no impact. Not even hardcore commies can name his childrens or his wifes names. But his writings shook the whole world and still do.
Part 1 of Das Capital - theory of capitalism
1 - The theory of Necessary labor and Extra labor
When people still produced all their needs social division didn’t take place. All were equal.
Every increase in the productivity of labor beyond this low point makes a small surplus possible.
That sets the stage for a battle over control for that “extra” value. And some of that labor can now be used to free a segment of society from working for its own sustainance. This becomes the bourgeoisie
Thereafter you have two types of labor: Necessary labor; (done by the Proletariate And the labor needed to maintain the bourgeoisie extra labor.
Proletariate work for others and they don’t get rich. The Bourgeoisie are people who live off the proletariate.
This is seen in slaves in all eras. In America there were plantations. The slaves food was generallly not provided by the master. A slave had to produce that himself by working a tiny plot of ground on Sunday.
So his week can be divided into two parts: Sunday is necessary and 6 days of Surplus labor.
The same thing happened between fuedal lord and serf in the Dark Ages. But that was a three day, three day split between the Land lord and the Serf.
2 - Use Value and Exchange Value
Every product of human labor satisfies some human need. It has a use value. This product, say a shoe, can also have an exchange value. It can be made to be exchanged or sold and not to be used.
Some thing that is made to be sold is a commodity.
Every commodity must have a use value and an exchange value. It must have a use value or noone would buy it. A product with no use value wouldn’t be bought, it would be useless.
However, every item doesn’t necessarily have an exchange value. There are societies where people don’t exchange. These would be the early societies where there was only necessary labor. A tribe for example. If everyone makes all they need then trade isn’t necessary.
In an advanced capitalist society all are making things for exchange value. Some stuff is made in the home for use value ( a bowl of soup or a button sewn on a shirt) and some stuff on the farm for use value. But mostly stuff is made for exchange value.
Division of labor: when people make different things purely for exchange value.
Exchange value comes with division of labor: When people make different things. A wheat farmer has no need to trade with another wheat farmer.
When we start making different things we get exchange value. When I start making things to exchange along side the product with use value.
So Extra product is that product which is produced by the surplus labor.
Extra value is the monetary form of this. When the ruling class gets rich off of others work this is from taking Extra Value.
It comes from taking without giving pay for all products of labor.
Exchange value comes from labor
People do do some stuff early on for exchange value. How do they determine what the value of the product is?
By counting the labor it takes to make it.
Eventually society gets organized on the basis of an accounting system founded on labor. Early on a group might control blacksmithing by caste or by guild. When someone employs them they must supply the materials and work their field the whole time they do the blacksmith job. This is an exchange in work hours.
Villiages in Japan one thousand years ago had tally systems where who worked on whos land for how long was recorded. At the end of the year there had to be a balance. Kids were given 1/2 hours credit for an hour of labor.
And this was the time value for a good worker. A slow person would spend longer on making a shoe, but get the value of what a normal person would take to make the shoe.
People would also have to adjust for the skill level of the task. But not much.
With more and more division of labor this exchange is still based on apporximations of one hours value for one hours. value. People off the farm knew how long it took to make a shirt or a opund of butter or mend a fence or feed the pigs. They could exchange labor honestly.
The amount of hours it took a good worker to make something determined its Exchange value. Slow inept workers got no extra value for their wasted time.
So the exchange value is determined by the skill level and the hours taken.
3 - Profit is underpaid labor
Profit comes from the difference between the value of labor put in (use value) and what the product is sold for (exchange value).
A shoe takes some skill and time to make. That is the value of the product. If sold for what it is worth there is no profit. What the capitalist does is to pay you too little and then sell it for what it is really worth.
How is this extra value squeezed out of a product? By not paying the laborer what he’s worth.
The bourgeoisie lives off what he doesn’t pay the proletariate.
If you want to paint you house, usually a guy hires a bunch of guys and he and his crew paint it. The laborers get paid, but the hirer gets a profit. Where does that profit come from? If getting the house painted is worth 3000 and it takes ten guys each guy should get 300. But the hirer pays them 200 each and he goes home with $1000. He got a profit by under paying them.
This sets up classes. There are the super rich and the poor. Some get very rich and do no work and others do too much work and don’t get paid.
4 - Marx’s proof that all value comes from labor
1) if you examine something you’ll see that all value comes from labor.
The value of coal is the cost it took to get it out of the ground. The value of fixed sink is the value of the labor it took to fix it. The parts used by the plumber are priced according to the value of the labor that went into mining and manufacturing it.
If all value comes from labor, where does profit come from? Underpaid labor.
Labor produces use value and that is what the product is good for and exchange value, that is the boss living off the underpayment of the worker for his labor.
2) Another proof is if you imagine a society where all need for labor is gone. Machines do everything. How much would stuff cost? Nothing. Eliminate the labor you eliminate the value.
Conclusion to part one
Government will make necessary things for use value instead of the bourgeiousie making things for exchange value.
In Marxs day there were many factories and many poor people.
Under his plan the government would make things for people at cost. And give them away with out profit. To supply people’s basic needs would take little work.
Das Capital Part II Two bad parts of capitalism
The modern problem comes from capital getting into production. This is only 200 years old. It is a problem because of a few things:
First Part: The worker is separated from the tools of production
If we go back to the serfs. They were tied to the land. But they had the means of providing themselves with their subsistence. They didn’t need to sell their labor to survive. Now its sell your labor or starve (written in 1848).
Industry couldn’t proceed apace in Africa while there was more than enough land to feed the inhabitants. They had to be taken off their sphere into reserves where they could not support themselves.
They were called lazy when they didn’t want to work more than they had to. No man wants to spend 8 hours a day in a factory. It is only fear of starvation made possible by the fact that the person cannot provide for themselves that makes this possible.
This makes Alienation: feeling of separation.
Before, You could express your self by decorating the product. you might take pride in your work. Put your special touch on your product.
In industry, people work on one purely machanical and repetitive task. Where there is no artistic embellishment of the final product. There is no pride in the craftsmanship.
Before, people made things for their use value. They made a bowl when and because they needed a bowl. They had the satisfaction of using it or seeing someone use it. This provided satisfaction to them.
When an employee in a capitalist shoe factory completes his work on a pair of shoes he is apt to forget about them forever, unless the quality control person sends it back.
Before, labor was not looked upon as an obligation imposed from without. It took less time and you could sleep in and do it when it was necessary and you got to wear the final product. Man worked at his own pace, though hard in summer and nearly not at all in winter.
Now labor is imposed from outside of you. You control nothing. Not the how the when the what. It goes with the rythms and needs of something beyond man.
Now man works more and more at a pace he doesnt’ control and does a stupid job without any connection to the final product. The worker makes something he doesn’t understand, without creativity for someone he’ll never see use it.
This is no small thing. This is 40 to 70 hours a week of pain for most of your life.
The flip side, Marx said, was that societies that only did Use value for themselves were usually poor.
The workers being unable to influence their conditions of work, or the way in which their enterprises are managed leads to alienation. Labor is just a raw material bought and sold like any other.
So people are not motivated. They work only due to negative reasons.
Watchdog managers try to create efficiency via routinization. All extra efficiency is done at the cost of worker freedom. The worker is mutilated and made an appendage of a machine. This destroys the joy of work and turns it into toil.
The alienated person falls into two things they are:
Getting no satisfaction at work. Being alienated from his real source of joy, the person shrinks into religion and consumerism.
Second Part: The rich own all the tools of production
In the middle ages noone guilds used very cheap instruments usually handed down from father to son. The value of them could be made in a couple of years work easy.
In industrial society it is quite different. Machines got more and more complex and expensive. The means of owning such equipment got way beyond the purchasing power of a wage earner.
The worker cannot own the tools. All he owns is his labor. He msut just sell his labor to survive. He becomes a wage slave. He must rent himself to others.
This makes classes
The persons who have enough inherited it. Only this class of folk can afford large scale equipment. They are called the Bourgeoisie
The proletariate is a social class that has no possessions other than its own hands and no way to survive other than selling its labor.
There are millions of such folk. They live in cities and they are called the Proletariat. The definition is not whether his wage is high or low but that he has been cut off from his means of production.
To count this we check what a person can save on their wage against what it costs to open an enterprise. Few can afford it. Most people only own a few consumer goods and they mostly have alot of debt on that.
READ THE ARTICLE ON POVERTY UNDER CLINTON
In the US less and less are self employed. In fact the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. The ability of the poor to save anything is diminishing, our country is awash in debt. (____ % of our economy owns __ % of the capital.)
Show video on Marxist economy
What will happen? Revolution!
Profit is underpaid labor. The difference between its use value and its exchange value.
Competition will cause employers to pay less and less in order to drive prices down.
Eventually, all workers will be so poor that they will rebel.
There will be class Warfare. This will lead to socialism ( then communism)
Marx cried for “workers of the world, unite” They had nothiing to lose in the struggle but their chains. There should be an international revolution by the working class against their employers and against an economic system in which they had no stake.aa
When they rebel they will take over the factories and run them , not for the profit of the bosses, but to make things for their use value.
Explain that first is class warfare and then socialism (government ownership) then when all is equal government will disappear and that is called (communism).
READ FROM THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO
Parts of socialism
Government will be made of workers and soldiers.
Soviets are representatives of workers and soldiers from an area that will make up the government.
Hence the (USSR) Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or the Soviet Union
Here we find factories directed by elected worker representatives and manned by a free association of workers. Each of the associations was joined into one large union. The workers must rise up and take control of the factories.
Democratic emloyee control over production is the key to reducing alienation.
Workers will run the factories for themselves
Then they won’t make things for profit or exchange value , but to use value.
Necessary labor will remain , but extra labor (needed to maintain a bougious class) will die.
People will make stuff for use, not for the profit of the big pig.
Each will work as much as they can to make what all need. Each according to his ability, to get what he needs.
Then people will no longer be poor next to big factories.
They wanted folks to change their jobs many times the worker could become accomplished in any bracnch he wishes, society regulates the general production and this makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, run cattle in the evening criticize after dinner without becoming any of them.
Everyone was to do mental as well as manual labor.
The new man will appear
When workers run their own factories bonds of loyalty, trust, friendship and respect will link coworkers to eachother, their workplace and their customer and to all society.
This person will work because he wants to, because he is contributing. He will be proud of what he does and not feel alienated from the product because he will be involved in decisions on how its done.
Religion is the opiate of the masses. Their soul in a alienated world.
Traditionally, people have been poor and exploited by the employers above them. Instead of dealing with their economic oppression, they went to the church. The church was the emotional half of economic capitalist oppression. Look how priest live off the labor of the poor too.
Every person that goes to a church stops thinking about their economic exploitation and their enslaved workers around the world.
Churches must be stopped if progress is to really happen.
(churches may not own property, can only have services with government permission. May not take materials from the workers to build new churches. May not teach religion to youth under 18.
READ 604 discontent to just before workers protest 605 history and life
Do russia vido (Nicholas the second part)
Nicholas II Rules
Nicholas II was inept and autocratic. He had shot at one group that was trying to get reform in 1905.
This group was led by the Griest Georgy Gapon. They marched to the Winter Palace singing “God Save the Czar,” The Czar had them shot at.
WW I was going poorly and , there were big shortages and Rasputin had control of the court just when they needed reform.
PICTURE 612 of History and Life
Discontent let to soldiers and workers and politicians, in 1917, organizing themselves into a soviet. They created a Congress, called a duma, they pleaded for a responsible cabinet and end to governmental chaos.
When they sent the demand Nicholas commented “This fat Rodzianko has written me some nonsense to which I will not even reply.” Instead he ordered the Duma dispersed. He ordered the army to supress the revolutionary government. But the generals had already pledged alegience to it.
Nicholas II quit.
Lenin Comes to power
The new government was headed by Krensky.
The new government soon had new problems. The army was falling apart and war supplies of food and weapons was down. Morale was at a low and the cry for PEACE and BREAD. got louder from peasants and workers. But Krensky wanted to pursue the war.
Then came Lenin. Lenin was the russian who lead the Marxist communist revolution. He didn’t want to go slow but have a fast revolution of the proletariate. He wanted no half baked revolution, but a total attack on the bourgeiousie. To take all private factories and give them to the workers.
His party was called the Bolsheviks. Those who wanted to go slow to communism were called Mensheviks.
In 1907 (and 1905) after being sent to Siberia, Lenin was exiled to Switzerland. But he was famous as the most radical of communists.
When the new government wanted to continue the war, Germany snuck Lenin into Russia again.
He took over the Bolsheviks and forced a strikes
Lenin and Bolsheviks and soviets of workers and army took the winter palace and Kerensky went into exile.
It was a bloodless revolution (the October revolution).
Page 608 - 611 section 2 (Lenin seizes power)
He renamed the country the Soviet Union or USSR. The symbol was the hammer and sickle.
They abolished all private land and gave it to the peasants and then sent Trotsky to make peace with germany. They quit and gave Germany money (6 billion marks).
When lenin came to power he knew that many folks would hate his communist program. So his constitution called for a congress, but it waas only to meet evvery two years. It was only mde up of people from the communist party.
This was to agree to the Council of the Peoples Commissars. This was a group of true believers.
The red army was attacked by the white army which had all from Mensheviks to czarists, from americans to brits in it., but under trotsky’s leadership the reds won. The Western intervention made it possible for Lenin to portray it as a war for national soveriegnty. By 1920 the Russian civil war was over.
The civil war left the country starving. Factories not working and peasants wouldn’t give their food to the cities. Workers left factories and went back to the farms.
Read of famine in Russia Handout.
So the New Economic Plan of 1921, permitted the reestablishment of private trade and small-scale industry. The economy came back.
Trotsky believed in world revolution. Stalin said just socialism in Russia. When lenin died, trotsky was exiled. Stalin took over.
Stalin started 5 year plans to turn the agricultural state into an industrial state with out foriegn or domestic private money. (1928) He succeeded.
He decided to make the farms collectives. Many people would work on a farm together and share farm equipment. collective ownership. The extra food produced would go to feed people that would make the factories.
This would succeed because it would give lands to poorer peasants. But do to price fixing, few made the extra food. And rich peasants destroyed farm animals and equipment.
Stalin sent 2 million to forced labor camps in Siberia (a cold part of russia)
By 1931 private ownership had been destroyed, the state owned all. But the standard of living remained low. That is because they had to build factories to build factories, before factories to make consumer goods.
By the second 5 year plan (1933) the Soviet Union was an industrial nation.
In 1936 Stalin granted a real congress with all of the soviet unions nationalities represented. Communism seemed to be realized (at the terrible cost of millions of life) except
Beginning in 1935 he carriet out a systematic purge of the party. All the “old Bosheviks” that had prestige or popularity that might rival his. They had to confess their betrayal of the revolution in trials whose evident aim was to influence world opinion.
No doubt there had been criticism. He had killed many, the kulaks were bad and he never switched to the creation of consumer over capital goods. The peace he made with Hitler.
Stalin killed millions.
READ STALIN CREATED A .... PAGE 613 - 614 AND ANSWER ALL QUESTIONS.
Industrial Revolution Idea
This may be the most important lecture of the year. This will help us know where you stand politically.
They write an essay on if people are poor because they are bad or because they have no chance. Are people rich because they make others poor, or because they got rich.
First we want to know who is Democrat and who is Republican. Take a poll. How did you decide?
Book is “wealth of nations” 1776.
He kills mercantillism
Capitalism: money rules
Invisible hand= money will meet all needs.
Adam Smith defined Laissez Faire capitalism. Also called capitalism. Laissez Faire means “Leave to do”. It is our system.
But we aren’t exactly Laissez Faire capitalist. We’ll compare us to the ideal.
There are five basic parts. 1) Private Property 2) Self interest 3) Market determines price 4) Specialization 5) Limited government
1) Greed is great . People don’t go into business for societal good. Economists have concluded that greed often works to the best of society. This is the invisible hand. If they produce what the society wants they will succeed. If not they will fail. The buyer buys what he wants and the seller sells what they want. We get the most out of our dollar when we do our own shopping. If we buy cheap and they sell for the most they can get all will work out.
Illustrate the invisible hand by having them list all the things that go into making a tennis shoe. The group that gets the most wins.
should you give to beggars?
Should one only fight for themselves or have to fight for others?
Dem 1. We should help the less fortunate
Rep. 2 - You help others by being great yourself.
Communist: enlightened self interest
2) Decisions made in markets . Market is where buyers and sellers meet.
Supply the behavior of sellers & demand is the behavior of the buyers.
Price happens in the market place. For goods and labor Here show supply and demand.
price quantity demanded supply
The crown shouldn’t determine prices. Buyers want low prices and sellers want high prices. A compromise will be reached. Not the buyer or the seller, but the market controls it. Price controls human behavior. If the price goes up, new sellers enter the market, price goes down, buyers come.
That means you can choose to do anything you want to do. people thought Laissez Faire was so perfect it would take care of all ills. It is incredibly efficient. If I want to hire people at .50 an hour I should be able to do that. If I want to Start a coat factory let me.
should there be a minimum wage?
Dem. 1 - The government should make a minimum wage and make people have limits on work hours.
Rep. 2 - Each person gets what they are worth.
Communist: Decisions made through government deciding what is needed.
3) Private property means all resources are privately (not publicly) owned and can be sold or bought.
This was radical in Adam Smiths day. The system then was mercantillism. All was for the glory of the country and king. So the government and guilds controlled all rights to whatever businesses existed. Materials and rights to them were controlled by the kings.
Adam smith said dash that!!! The needs of the public will only be served when the public controls everything. This will cause the most wealth and distribution.
But more than 1/3 of our land is owned by the government. In california its near 50%. In Alaska near 90%. Our military has over a trillion in capital. The post office has thousands of buildings. Eagle Rock high school it owned by the government.
Should the government provide schools? 1 to 10
Dem. 1 - The government owns schools and roads and trash and post office etc.
Rep. 10 - sell ev erything.
Communist: Government owns all.
4) No government interference. Regulation through traditional values.
This also means that all can be sold to whomever we want. We can spend our money as we want. What of prostitutes, child labor, seling drugs, guns Or alchohol to children.
Should you be forced to hire blacks and gays if you don’t want to?
Dem 1 - The government should regulate somethings for the public good.
Rep 2 - I should be able to do whatever I want with myself.
Communist: Total Government control
China,Korea, Vietnam, Russia, All of eastern europe, Cuba, often south american countries went cuban.
In outcome, authority had to always be centralized.
With low pay authorities may become corruptible, and with constant rotation, they may not be able or motivated to acquire the expertise they need to run the economy well.
Also, plans must be made consistent. What was needed in the country and what would be given to whom in terms of raw materials and investment monies.
613 - 614 section 3 (Stalin and the 5 year plan)
PROBLEMS with COMMUNISM
Communism required a new man who would be cooperative, not individualistic.
People don’t work out of altruism.
All workers got paid the same, no matter their work, and amount of work due was based on what had been done the time before.
What if you didn’t get paid due to what you put out.
And, what if the amount that you were required to produce was based on how much you did last year. And every year you had to up your output. It would be low. it would be public school
And starting in countries that were agricultural, rapid economic growth was gotten from a low start.
State never dies
Again, who does this in capitalism? Supply and Demand. But that implies a profit off the back of labor and exploitation and alienation. It is therefore not allowed. Instead a group of leaders called the “vanguard” would lead.
A more permanent leadership and bureaucracy emerged which got more power, though always thoeretically elected by the workers, the vanguard leading the revolution.
A central State Planning Commission directs the econoic life of the nation and integrates education with it.
With Stalins first 5 year plan (1928 - 1933) collectivization of farms and livestock began and grasping peasants (kulaks) who opposed the program were liquidated or made to support it by taxes or exile.
No choice was allowed
In the soviet union, the state is the owner of nearly all property, land, factories, industrial and farming machines and operates, through various departments and agencies, nearly all businesses, farms etc. Private business almost entirely vanished.
Really , the workers are frozen to their jobs. They cannot quit they cannot change without being against the revolution. The state assigns jobs.
Absenteeism, etc and some violations such as will full absence are considered criminal offenses, bunishable by imprisonmenmt for up to four months.
Peoples are complex
People want religion. They want inequality. They want choice. They want stupid movies. They want to starve and be rich.
show problem with communism video from mother russia series
FREEDOM FROM, FREEDOM TO
The Fundamental Mechanism of the Capitalist Economy
The basis of capitalism and decisionmaking in it is Competition . This assumes more than one competitor.
What is socially necessary labor?
For all stuff that is made must have some social need. If noone wants it it has no value it is above the social need. And the value that is created must equal the need (Supply and demand). Used to be horse carriages had a high value. Many were made and they had value. After the car was invented they had less and less value. There was no use for them. The labor expended on horse carriages soon was above the social need. It was socially unnecessary labor. The amount spent on cars was below the social need. It was socially necessary labor.
Go over the law of supply and demand as relates to carriages.
They must say take over the state and have the state take over the factories. Then run them, not for profit, but for the people.
So the state runs the factories for the people.
Marx liked technology just not who owned it.
Alienation: the feeling that you have no connection to the world.
Dialectic materialism - Marx’s belief that the society goes from thesis to anti thesis to synthesis. The last one of these would come when the workers over through the state and created communism.
First would come a dictatorship of the proletariet then would come communism.
Russia’s failure to match the rapid military modernization programs of other European powers in the nineteenth centruy became obvious after its defeats in the Crimean War (1853-1856) which persuaded Tzar Alexander II (1855-1881) to embark on a broad probram of reform in Russia.
Elected local assemblies were set up. The law courts were modernized. The army was reorganized. And in 1861, the Emancipation Proclamatio , the Russian peasants were freed from serfdom to their landlords. They did remain ties to their village community, they were given about half the land in communal ownership They remained dissatsfied however, with their lack of personal rights, the burden of payment for the land, and the denial to them of education and financial help. While some peasants rose to become prosperous, most were backward and occasionally on the edge of starvation, and often engaged in arson or murder against the rich landholders.
Their condition led such populist groups as “land and Freedom” in the 1870s to “go to the people,” to help at the local level while more impatientrevolutionaries like the “People’s Will” turned to assassination. After many attempts, they finally killed Alexander II in 1881. Tzar Alecander III (reigned 1881-1894) returned to a policy of repression, with strict censorship, arrest and execution of revolutionaries and reduction of the powers of the local assemblies. National and religious minorities such as the Catholic Poles and the Jews were persecuted. The one progressive step undertaken was the start of industrialization. But this was to create yet another depressed group, the urban proletariat.
Opposition to the continuing repression under Tsar Nicholas II (1894-1917) came to a climax when russian defeats against Japan in 1904-5 showed that Russian industrialiation was far from sufficiently advanced to beat a small countries on the edges of civilization.
Workers, peasants sailors, middle class folk all marched and pressured the Tzar for constitutional freedoms in 1905. He grudginglyu granted them.