Communism for our times?: It’s no further than the democratic party
Below is a list of positions of a political movement. I have interjected some explanatory notes so the reader can understand them. Would you be inclined to vote for a party or a candidate with such a platform?
1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes. (The value of economic rent is the unimproved value of land. Historically, this proposal has attracted a lot of interest but the separation of the unimproved value from the improved value while theoretically possible, has proved to be a very difficult challenge. But still, the reader should think about this.)
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax (Self explanatory & depending on your view, is present on this country either adequately or inadequately).
3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance. (This would mean that when you die, all of your property would revert to the state, a 100 percent estate tax. You might choose a smaller or a larger percentage of the estates left by people.)
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels. (If you leave the country, or if you oppose its government, your property would be confiscated.)
5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly. (This would be the Federal Reserve Board and other government agencies that control credit and banking.)
6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State. (This would be agencies such as the Federal Aviation Authority, Federal Communications Commission, Department of Transportation, Homeland Security and the Federal Highways Administration with its highway projects such as the Interstate System.)
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan. (This would include agencies such as the EPA and projects such as the various dams that have been erected primarily in the west for irrigation and fisheries and other purposes; programs such as the Public Works Administration, Works Progress Administration and the building of the series of dams in the Tennessee Valley. The Civil Conservation Corps (CCC) might fall under this provision or #9 below.)
8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture. (No matter what you are trained to do, you would have to participate in government directed projects.)
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country. (This is what zoning and land use laws do. Huge agriculture businesses have developed as part and parcel of their consequences.)
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc, etc.
Now, the reader should mull this entire platform over and consider what it represents. After this consideration, the reader should wonder if he’d like it to be part of the American political and social scene. Obviously, many of these things are already in place. Income taxes, steeply progressive or not and the Federal Reserve Board have been around for nearly a century. Public school systems have been in place for nearly two centuries. Others have also been around for quite a while, at least to some extent.
At first glance, many of these things seem like laudable goals but whether they should be part of a political system is the question before the house. Some might seem like over aggressive reaching by a government but there is no doubt all have been discussed to some extent in this country and have been implemented both here and elsewhere. Some have been around for so long that it would be hard to imagine life without them. Yet over the millennia, societies have existed without them.
There is no doubt that the overall tenure of such a platform would be ‘progressive’. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal introduced many of them. They have been hailed since by various centrists such as Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. They were rooted in theories of John Maynard Keynes, the central figure in the movement for an economically activist government.
So now the reader should contemplate this entire platform proposal for a while. Think about each and every one, especially the ones that are somewhat open ended such as #8 and the final sentence in #10. The first sentence in How much of this would you want and would you vote for a candidate or back a political party that espoused such a platform? Once more, I urge the reader to read through the entire ten proposals and mull them over a while before reading further.
Is there a political party or candidate that would espouse such a platform? Well, at first glance, you realize that with differences here and there, the Democratic Party would likely find a lot of agreement with #s 1, 2, 3, 5 & 10. Indeed, just about major Democratic figure of the past forty years has exhorted the nation to increase income taxes on ‘the wealthy’ in the interest of ‘fairness’. What they have meant is not so much the wealthy but high earners. In effect, this stops high earners from becoming wealthy. Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island has made higher estate taxes a central part of his campaigns. I am sure others have also.
Meanwhile, the major and possibly only bone of contention that the Republicans might have with such a platform would be over provision 2. Provision 8 is the only one that seems to be too vague to bring into effect but when you think of America in the 1930s and other countries such as Germany under National Socialism and the Soviet Union, with their posters of men marching off with pickaxes and shovels on their shoulders to various projects, a vision emerges that makes it consonant with many of the others. And this is where it gets very interesting.
Some readers may have recognized the above ten planks above but many may not have. They are the ten programs that Karl Marx says that progressive people throughout the world should work for.
I Americanized some spellings but otherwise lifted them verbatim from an English translation of The Manifesto from the original German. The following are the immediately preceding paragraphs:
“The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the state, i.e., of the proletariat organized as the ruling class; and to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as possible.
Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionizing the mode of production.
These measures will, of course, be different in different countries.
Nevertheless, in most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable.” The Manifesto goes on to lay out the ten positions above.
With this in mind now, the reader should reread the above. It is important to realize that The Manifesto has very little in the way of violence on its road to the communist paradise. Having read it twice and skimmed it several other times, I can recall no specific recommendations for the violence that followed its assumption of political power in the Soviet Union, China, Cuba and Cambodia and certainly nothing on the scale of those abominations.
There is no doubt that the platform is socialist. There is also little doubt that most of it would be accepted, even applauded, by most of the Democratic Party leadership and even its membership. What’s worse, is that even if some Republicans, and there are many, worked for their repeal, they have become so entrenched in the American way of life, that the political opposition to their repeal would be impossible to overcome.
The American people have become completely dependent on the government for certain services and inured to the extent to which their freedoms have been eroded. Karl Marx himself might view America as the most successful communist government in history.
Lenin said that communism is just socialism in a hurry. At the turn of the twentieth century, Norman Thomas, the seven time Socialist Party candidate for president stated that the American people would never stand for the imposition of socialism in one feel swoop but rather piecemeal and he identified the Democratic Party as the likely vector of it.
By Marx’s gauge, it can therefore safely be concluded that the Democratic Party of The United States of America is the operative communist party in this country, minus the violence to be directed at their enemies, but perhaps not either. There is a lot of class resentment and hatred that has been cultivated within the Democratic Party and by the Democratic Party for decades and there is a lot of hate in their hearts for the free enterprise system and especially for those who succeed within it.
They would, of course, object to such a characterization while steadfastly saying that there really is nothing wrong with being a communist. It’s one of those ironies.
The problem is the Republicans are not much better and, it appears, that they have no intention of changing it. We are likely stuck with our mild brand of communism for a long time
“Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.”