6 July 2019 — Counter Currents
Win the battle of democracy
Do away with private property
Abolish the wages system altogether`
End employment to end unemployment
Achieve abundance for all and inscribe on the banners:
From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs!
An association, in which the free development of each is the condition of free development of all
“Communism is the riddle of history solved, and it knows itself to be this solution.”
― Karl Marx, Private Property and Communism, 1844
“Empirically, communism is only possible as the act of the dominant peoples “all at once” and simultaneously, which presupposes the universal development of productive forces and the world intercourse bound up with them… presupposes the world market. The proletariat can thus only exist world-historically, just as communism, its activity, can only have a “world-historical” existence. World-historical existence of individuals, i.e., existence of individuals which is directly linked up with world history… Communism is for us not a state of affairs, which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the now existing premise.” – Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, The German Ideology (1845-46), Collected Works, Vol. 5, Progress Publishers, Moscow 1976, p. 49
A.”COMMUNISMUS, SOCIALISMUS, HUMANISMUS” – Marx & Engels, (ibid, p.458)
“communism or socialism” – Marx & Engels, (ibid., p.468)
Well in 1847 Engels saw “that the communist revolution will not merely be a national phenomenon but must take place simultaneously in all civilized countries … It is a world-wide revolution and will therefore be world-wide in scope.” (Principles of Communism, October, 1847)
“Our concern cannot simply be to modify private property, but to abolish it, not to hush up class antagonisms but to abolish classes, not to improve the existing society but to found a new one.” – Karl Marx & Frederick Engels, Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League…
“The proletarians cannot become masters of the productive forces of society, except by abolishing their own previous mode of appropriation, and thereby also every other previous mode of appropriation. … All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, or in the interest of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority. … the theory of the Communists may be summed up in a single sentence: Abolition of private property … of buying and selling… The working men have no country … the proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Working men of all countries, unite!” – Marx-Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party, 1848.
~ “To conquer political power has therefore become the great duty of the working classes.… the emancipation of the working classes requires their fraternal concurrences” (Marx, 1864, Inaugural Address of the Working Men’s International Association, Collected Works, Vol. 20, p.12, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1985)
Emancipation of labour – guiding principle of Marx
“That the emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves, that the struggle for the emancipation of the working classes means not a struggle for class privileges and monopolies, but for equal rights and duties, and the abolition of all class rule;” – Provisional Rules of the International Working Men’s Association, 1864
“the emancipation of labor is neither a local nor a national, but a social problem, embracing all countries in which modern society exists, and depending for its solution on the concurrence, practical and theoretical, of the most advanced countries.” – International Working Men’s Association 1864, General Rules
“At the same time, and quite apart from the general servitude involved in the wages system, the working class ought not to exaggerate to themselves the ultimate working of these everyday struggles. They ought not to forget that they are fighting with effects, but not with the causes of those effects; that they are retarding the downward movement, but not changing its direction; that they are applying palliatives, not curing the malady. They ought, therefore, not to be exclusively absorbed in these unavoidable guerilla fights incessantly springing up from the never ceasing encroachments of capital or changes of the market. They ought to understand that, with all the miseries it imposes upon them, the present system simultaneously engenders the material conditions and the social forms necessary for an economical reconstruction of society. Instead of the conservative motto: “A fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work!” they ought to inscribe on their banner the revolutionary watchword: “Abolition of the wages system!“”[emphasis added] ~ Marx, Value, Price and Profit, CW, Vol. 20, pp. 148-49; Also at:
Karl Marx and Peaceful Revolution
The following passage from 1878, which emphasizes that such a transition may not stay peaceful, is a good example of Marx mentioning the winning of a parliamentary majority:
“An historical development can remain ‘peaceful’ only so long as no forcible hindrances are put in its way by the existing rulers of a society. If, for example, in England or the United States, the working class were to win a majority in Parliament or Congress, it could legally put an end to laws and institutions standing in the way of its development, although even here only so far as societal development permitted. For the ‘peaceful’ movement could still be turned into a ‘violent’ one by the revolt of those whose interests were bound up with the old order. If such people were then put down by force (as in the American Civil War and the French Revolution), it would be rebels against the ‘lawful’ power.”
Notice that the role of the parliamentary majority is not to legislate socialism into existence, but to help clear away obstacles for the working class movement as a whole.
Source: German: http://www.dearchiv.de/php/dok.php?archiv=mew&brett=MEW034&fn=487-500.34&menu=mewinh English translation: https://libcom.org/library/karl-marx-state
That against the collective power of the propertied classes, the working class cannot act, as a class, except by constituting itself into a political party, distinct from, and opposed to, all old parties formed by the propertied classes. That this constitution of the working class into a political party is indispensable in order to ensure the triumph of the social revolution and its ultimate end – the abolition of classes.” – Resolution IX, London Conference of the International, 1871.
1880: Marx on Universal Suffrage and Political Self-organization
That the emancipation of the productive class is that of all human beings without distinction of sex or race;
That the producers can be free only insofar as they are in possession of the means of production;
That there are only two forms under which the means of production can belong to them:
- The individual form which has never existed generally and which is being more and more eliminated by the process of industry;
- The collective form whose material and intellectual elements are being formed by the very development of capitalist society.
That this collective appropriation can only be the outcome of the revolutionary action of the productive class – or proletariat – organized in a separate political party.
That such organization must be pursued by all the means, which the proletariat has at its disposal, including universal suffrage, thus transformed from the instrument of trickery, which it has been up till now into an instrument of emancipation.” [Emphasis added]
Written on about May 10, 1880
Printed according to L’Égalité, No. 24, June 30, 1880, checked with the text of Le Précurseur
First published in Le Précurseur, No. 15, June 19, 1880
Translated from the French
Engels on Mode of Revolution
Frederick Engels cautioned in 1895
“… there could be no doubt for us, under the circumstances then obtaining, that the great decisive battle had commenced, that it would have to be fought out in a single, long and vicissitudinous period of revolution, but that it could only end in the final victory of the proletariat….
But history has shown us too to have been wrong, has revealed our point of view at that time as an illusion. It has done even more; it has not merely dispelled the erroneous notions we then held; it has also completely transformed the conditions under which the proletariat has to fight. The mode of struggle of 1848 is today obsolete in every respect…
All revolutions up to the present day have resulted in the displacement of the rule of one class by the rule of another; but all ruling classes up to now have been only small minorities in relation to the ruled mass of the people. One ruling minority was thus overthrown; another minority seized
the helm of state in its stead and refashioned the state institutions to suit its own interests. …
History has proved us wrong, and all who thought like us. …
With this successful utilisation of universal suffrage, however, an entirely new method of proletarian struggle came into operation, and this method quickly took on a more tangible form. …
And so it happened that the bourgeoisie and the government came to be much more afraid of the legal than of the illegal action of the workers’ party, of the results of elections than of those of rebellion. …
Rebellion in the old style, street fighting with barricades, which decided the issue everywhere up
to 1848, was to a considerably extent obsolete.
Let us have no illusions about it: a real victory of insurrection over the military in street fighting,
a victory as between two armies, is one of the rarest exceptions. And the insurgents counted on it just as rarely. … all the conditions of the insurgents’ side have grown worse. An insurrection with which all sections of the people sympathise will hardly recur; in the class struggle all the middle strata will never in all probability group themselves around the proletariat so exclusively that in comparison the party of reaction gathered round the bourgeoisie will well-nigh disappear. The “people”, therefore, will always appear divided, and thus a most powerful lever, so extraordinarily effective in 1848, is gone….
Does the reader now understand why the powers-that-be positively want to get us to go where the guns shoot and the sabres slash? Why they accuse us today of cowardice, because we do not take without more ado to the streets, where we are certain of defeat in advance? Why they so earnestly implore us to play for once the part of cannon fodder? …
We are not that stupid. … The time of surprise attacks, of revolutions carried through by small conscious minorities at the head of masses lacking consciousness is past. Where it is a question of a complete transformation of the social organisation, the masses themselves must also be in on it, must themselves already have grasped what is at stake, what they are fighting for, body and soul.
The history of the last fifty years has taught us that. But in order that the masses may understand what is to be done, long, persistent work is required, and it is just this work that we are now pursuing.”
- Engels, Introduction to Marx’s “The Class Struggles in France 1848 to 1850”
(1895), Marx – Engels, Selected Works, Volume One, Progress Publishers, Moscow 1969, pp. 190, 199-200; Also See: Works of Frederick Engels 1895 at: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1895/03/06.htm
“For the full representation of labour in Parliament, as well as for the preparation of the abolition of the wages system, organizations will become necessary, not of separate Trades, but of the working class as body. And the sooner this is done the better. …”(Engels, Trades Unions, written on about May 20, 1881, C. W. 24, pp. 386-89)
“Democracy nowadays is communism” – Engels, The Festival of Nations in London written at the end of 1845
The Death of the State in Marx and Engels … Saint-Simon [17 October 1760 – 19 May 1825] looked forward to the replacement of the government of men by the administration of things.
Elect MPs as mandated socialist delegates to overwhelm the Parliaments and pronounce: Annulment of all property and territorial rights whereby all that is on and in the earth will become the common heritage of the whole humanity. This will help clear away obstacles for the working class movement as a whole and usher the humanity into the realm of freedom towards World Socialism.
>> Socialists are not against persons, but against capitalism.
>> Socialism has never and nowhere been tried at all.
>> When it will be done, it will have to be established worldwide.
>> World socialism can be established only through a peaceful and democratic way, by means of collective understanding, number and rallies of the working class. However, if any minority group obstructs initiation of socialism, socialists will have to advance by encountering it. But force does not mean violence. Force or power is born out of the union of knowledge based on materialist conception of history and an independent organization of the working class. It is number, understanding and solidarity that constitute real force. Only working class is the majority – 95% of the population of the world. It is only the working class who perform all work in capitalism. Therefore their power is not violent.
>> Winning elections does not weaken the argument for applying force, rather strengthens it. On the other hand, without taking the first step of declaring the legal defeat of capitalism through its own constitution, applying force against an elected government not only becomes futile, but also decimates the truth that it is the class conscious working class who is the majority.
>> To win the battle of democracy after understanding what we are going to do, where the danger lies, what and why socialism has a double advantage: (a) we can show the socialist majority by sending majority delegates (not merely representatives) to the parliament, and (b) in case there be any attempt from any corner to block this mandate by using parliament, we can abandon the legality of the parliament, This tactics of social change via democratic means is free from violence and certain.
>> Arriving at the majority and with it instead of reforming capitalism and running its administration socialists will get set to its abolition; they will not accept any administrative posts of capitalist society before arriving at the position of its abolition. The task of socialist delegates (MPs) is not to help run the capitalist governing process, but to incapacitate the process itself, to facilitate the abolition of capitalism by the immense majority of socialists. Because, socialists neither support nor oppose the reforms of capitalism. Their only and immediate aim is to establish socialism.
>> Without informed majority participation in order to reach at a democratic decision in the interest of all the conception of vote and democracy is meaningless. We need participatory democracy.
>> Socialists do not trust political leaders, since the existence of leaders means the existence of followers and both remaining drowned in political ignorance. Leader/follower relation is anti-democratic. Organization and leadership are not the same thing; there can be organization without leadership. Leadership is not necessary when an organization is democratic. The immense majority of people of society can create socialism consciously in their own interest and with their own initiative.
>> A socialist party does not require a leader, socialists are all equals.
>> The World Socialist Party (India) has organization, but no leadership. This organization is carrying on political class struggle as a vigilant guard of one most appropriate and pertinent explanation first put forward by the Socialist Party of Great Britain in 1904.
In Marxian conception socialism and communism are synonymous. Marx and Engels have used the two terms alternatively to mean the same thing – post-revolutionary participatory democratic socialist administration of things – affairs of life – in lieu of the capitalist administration of men. In Marx’s view the principle of communism or socialism is: From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.
⃰ See: The World Socialist Party (India) INTRODUCTION at: http://www.worldsocialistpartyindia.org/introduction.doc
Binay Sarkar is a retired college teacher from Kolkotta