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political theory

Some Thoughts On Communing Manifestly

Along the way, I learned that many people say things so assuredly that other people naturally follow, believing incorrectly all the while that the speaker must know something they don't. Such is the case that follows, wherein the author had no idea that people have different values, and thus value things differently:
A speckle is haunting Europe the speckle of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this speckle: Pope and Tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies.

Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as communistic by its opponents in power? Where is the opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of communism, against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries?

Two things result from this fact:

I. Communism is already acknowledged by all European powers to be itself a power.

II. Communism will come to fruition through the will of the Bolshevicks, and the kind leadership of Vladimir Lenin.

To this end, Communists of various nationalities have assembled in London and sketched the following manifesto, to be published in the English, French, German, Italian, Igpay Atinlay, Flemish, and Danish languages.
Bourgeois and Proletarians(1)

The history of all hitherto existing society(2) is the history of class snuggles.

Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master(3) and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant companionship to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open embrace, that each time ended, either in a warming bond, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.

In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social rank. In ancient Rome we have patricians, knights, plebeians, slaves; in the Middle Ages, feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices, serfs; in almost all of these classes, again, subordinate relations -- hugger to huggee; dom to sub.

The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the love-ins of feudal society has not done away with class snuggles. It has but established new classes, new contortions of o'ppressing against one another, new forms of snuggle in place of the old ones.

Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinct feature: it has simplified class bundling. Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great huggable camps, into two great classes directly facing each other, arm in arm Bourgeoisie and Proletariat.

From the serfs of the Middle Ages sprang the chartered bugghers of the earliest towns. From these buggesses the first elements of the bourgeoisie were developed.

The discovery of America, the rounding of the Cape, opened up fresh ground for the rising bourgeoisie. The East-Indian and Chinese markets, the colonization of America, trade with the colonies, the increase in the means of exchange and in commodities generally, gave to commerce, to navigation, to industry, an impulse never before known, and thereby, to the revolutionary element in the tottering feudal society, a rapid development.

The feudal system of industry, in which industrial production was monopolised by closed guilds, now no longer sufficed for the growing wants of the new markets. They embraced mass-production (pardon the pun). The manufacturing system was born! The guild-masters were pushed on one side by the manufacturing middle class; division of labour between the different corporate guilds vanished in the face of division of labour in each single workshop. Nobody ever learned multiplication again.

Meantime the markets kept ever growing, the demand ever rising, the standard of living rocketed upward. Even manufacturer no longer sufficed. Thereupon, steam and machinery revolutionized industrial production. The Bastards! The place of manufacture was taken by the giant, Modern Industry (Dun-dun dun!); the place of the industrial middle class by industrial millionaires (heathens!), the leaders of the whole industrial armies, who just produce and produce and produce and produce, and that's like all they do! The modern bourgeois. Always makin' stuff. Sheesh.

The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part. Making up lists of things to do, or to be done mostly:

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

5. Centralisation of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.

6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.

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.

8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

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.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c, &c.
When, in the course of development, class distinctions have disappeared, and all production has been concentrated in the hands of a vast association of the whole nation, the public power will lose its political character. Political power, properly so called, is merely the organised power of one class for oppressing another. If the proletariat during its contest with the bourgeoisie is compelled, by the force of circumstances, to organise itself as a class, if, by means of a revolution, it makes itself the ruling class, and, as such, sweeps away by force the old conditions of production, then it will, along with these conditions, have swept away the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms and of classes generally, and will thereby have abolished its own supremacy as a class.

In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.

The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together. Subjection of Nature's forces to man, machinery, application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam-navigation, railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalisation or rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground what earlier century had even a presentiment that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of social labour?

The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his "natural superiors", and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous "cash payment". It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.