June 1, 2005
by Lil Joe
In this short essay, I will argue that the essence of the State flows from or is a product of human sociology. In other words, what I here call the State at the same time embodies and mediates the technological divisions of labor, economies of exchange, the subsequent class formations with mutually exclusive economic interests, and the resultant and mutually opposed political factions representing classes. Every class struggle is a political struggle, both relative and absolute.
I. The Origins Of The State
The divisions of labor with their corresponding property forms produce conflicts of interests between the economic categories of proprietors. For instance, pastoral tribes or classes conflict with agricultural tribes or classes. The origins of the conflict in Southern Sudan exemplify the conflicts among pastoral and agricultural classes regarding land usage. These pastoral/agricultural class conflicts center on whether fertile lands will be allowed to remain as natural grazing lands to provide pastures for cattle, sheep, camels, etc., or will they be transformed by human labor into farm lands to grow crop in subsistence agriculture and commercial crops for sale. (Note: the conflict in Southern Sudan has grown to be more complex, but its origins can be traced back to a conflict between pastoral and agricultural classes, as well as conflicts between individual proprietors of cattle, sheep, camels, etc. for exclusive sway and ownership of grazing lands.)
Within civil society, the State arises as a public power based in a military capacity to mediate the conflicts between property formations, and to regulate these conflicts through laws. Additionally, in civil society the State is used by the propertied classes to press their will on the property-less working classes and toiling masses. The political factions in the State represent class interests. Within these divisions and conflicts of interests arise further divisions and antagonisms. To regulate these proprietary conflicts and class antagonisms, the State arises to mediate conflict.
Max Weber wrote, “Like the political institutions historically preceding it, the state is a relation of men dominating men, a relation supported by means of legitimate (i.e., considered to be legitimate) violence. If the state is to exist, the dominated must obey the authority claimed by the powers that be. ***** Today, however, we have to say that a state is a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory. ***** Of course, force is certainly not the normal or the only means of the state—nobody says that—but force is a means specific to the state.” (Max weber's definition of the modern state 1918, see http://www.mdx.ac.uk/www/study/xweb.htm.)
Keeping with the earlier example of pastoral and agricultural classes, conflicts between the various forms of property resulting from the sub-divisions engenders conflicts. For instance, among farmers arose antagonisms between farmers who want to, for example, raise fields of vegetables for consumption and/or commerce, and, say, commercial farmers that want to produce cash crops for local and/or distant markets. The function of the state is to mediate conflicts between and among classes, to establish rules of equation, property rights, and privileges, and to legislate laws that are enforced by armed men.
II. Development of Class Divisions and the State as a Product of the Division of Labor
Between and within subsequent sub-divisions and antagonisms, there emerged an urban division of handicraftsmen and merchants. Handicraft labor was originally conducted on the farms and ranches as the need for manufactured tools and housing arose. Specialization in various handicrafts engendered other divisions of labor. For example, on the farms and ranches division of labor arose among and between family members and farm or ranch hands that showed handicraft talents. Talented handicraftsmen gained reputations that caused them to be sought out personally for their handicraft. Because of the “fame,” so to speak, of these talented handicraftsmen, there developed a practice of renting them and their handicraft out to other farms and ranches. As handicraft skills sharpened and the demand for these handicraftsmen and their products grew, many handicraftsmen set up artisan workshops in towns as guild masters with journeymen. Or, these handicraftsmen became artisan capitalists that hired workers to help craft tools and other merchandise to be sold to farmers or to ranchers. These handicraft specialists and artisans were also employed as stone masons and builders.
Handicraft specialists and artisans eventually emancipated themselves from the farms and ranches, and instead became tool-carrying, itinerant artisans that were hired by various farmers and ranchers for their handicraft specialty. Handicraft specialists and artisans began to also purchase specialized products to accomplish their work, and often would sell these specialized products to other farms or ranches that specialized in another or other product. This process caused itinerant artisans to, in essence, become merchants of the products that they circulated.
Merchants arose as part and parcel of traveling caravans that purchased crops of one kind or another, and then selling these crops to people who lived in the towns, on the one hand, and purchasing manufactured goods from handicraft specialists and artisans to then sell to farmers and ranchers, on the other hand.
The divisions of labor and, subsequently, the different kinds of wealth are instructive. The wealth of herders is counted as the quantity (number) of cattle or other herds possessed. For example, the wealth of the pastoral shepherd is in the quantity of sheep possessed. The wealth of farmers is in the quantity of fertile land owned as family property. The wealth of the handicraftsmen—when trade between them evolved from barter to commerce—is in the quantity of money possessed.
Merchant-capital wealth consisted of capital and money. So-called “rich” merchants possessed huge quantities of money. Large landowners and ranchers—each employing slave labor in connection with trade—evolved commodity production in which products were sold to merchants or others for money. Thus, artisan-capitalists and merchant-capitalists accumulated money wealth. Merchants specialize in buying and selling, which facilitates commodity production among farmers, ranchers, and handicraft artisans. Thereby, money evolved and became the medium of exchange. As the medium of exchange, money became the measure of value and [the stored] value equivalent of all commodities.
There gradually arose the concentration of sedentary handicraft and sedentary commerce in great towns. These towns became cities of great population centers, as well as centers of political power. Commerce, the resultant wealth, power and politics gradually were concentrated in these cities, which became the seats of government.
Tribal self-defense or offense (if the tribe was a marauding one) was in the universal armed people, or men at any rate. With wealth and political power concentrated in cities and in the capitals of federations or empires, standing paid armies displaced tribal militias. Additionally, the political representatives of the ruling classes governed the civil society of the cities and the agrarian provinces by evolving bureaucratic-military states that mediated the conflicts of interests of the various economic classes of different types of property. Furthermore, these standing paid armies served these proprietor classes as an armed power to defend their property against encroaching marauders, robbers, and thieves, and to act as a terror to keep the laboring classes, toiling masses, and the urban poor [plebeians] in check.
III. The State Mediates
All things are exchangeable for gold, and gold for all things. In other words, precious metals evolved as mediums of exchange. Being themselves commodities, because they are mined as use values, the usefulness of these precious metals evolved into them being the medium of exchange. With commodity production of gold and silver as money, there arose wealth for some and indebtedness and poverty for others. Large quantities of debtors sank into serfdom. Thus began the class struggle between debtors and creditors. At the same time, commercial agriculture and metallurgy forced debtors into indentured servitude, the first form of slavery. Subsequently, the State assumed the function of a public power, an instrument of class rule of the wealthy against the debtors, and slaves.
To put in check this transformation of citizen debtors into indentured servitude [slavery], some cultures, for example, the Hebrew Jubilee, periodically forgave debts on a large scale. Other cultures, for example, the Athenians, concealed citizen's debts (by way of the Solon Constitution). These policies brought the poorer of the citizens on board. Territorial expansion and empire building brought citizens into the armies, and the economic objectives of foreign conquests were as much to acquire slaves as they were to acquire booty and tribute.
There evolved an antagonism between the urban and the rural classes. A distinct urbane culture developed that corresponded to the handicrafts, to commerce, and to the wealth, politics and political power associated with handicrafts and with commerce. As a result, the surrounding agricultural life was economically and politically subordinate. The evolving antagonism between town and country is indicated in the Biblical symbolism of the opposition of Abraham and Lot. Abraham was rich with cattle and sheep, and Lot immigrated to the City of Soddom. The Biblical story that relates how the “wicked” cities of Soddom and Gaomorrah were destroyed by Abraham's god is indicative of the antagonism of town and country.
Every class struggle is a political struggle: the most powerful economically dominant classes are also the most powerful politically dominant classes. The great towns evolved into city-states that became seats of political power. Standing armies evolved into “police” forces tasked with keeping serfs, slaves and the poor in check—so they would not retaliate against the wealthy classes under which they were subject. Therefore, the State was not only a mediator of conflicts between the various property forms and proprietors; but also served these proprietors as a bureaucratic-military apparatus to advance (represent) and protect their united interests against the property-less masses and exploited classes (e.g., serfs and slaves). The city-states grew into empires, and the conquering armies of empire enslaved captives to serve as [slave] labor both at the imperial centers and in the conquered provinces.
IV. Mode of Appropriation and Class Interests
Excuse as I digress to explain what is meant by mode of appropriation or mode of production, which leads to identifying class antagonisms as a product of the divisions of labor.
In the mode of appropriation (commonly called mode of production) based in chattel slavery, those non-laboring layers of economic parasites that own the productive forces are, at the same time, in possession of the work force of human beings (slaves) that have been reduced to property. The slaves are distributed through society as workers in agriculture, handicraft, domesticity, and so on. In class societies, there are laboring classes and toiling masses that produce surpluses above what would be necessary to feed, clothe, house and provide social and cultural properties for themselves. The surpluses are appropriated by the property owning classes. Thus, the less commonly used phrase, “mode of appropriation”—meaning the mode by which wealth is “appropriated” from the laboring classes to the ruling or propertied classes.
It is a gross oversimplification to posit that a mode of appropriation has but two classes. As mentioned above, class conflict is based in the divisions of labor and the trade between them. The function of the State is to sublate class interests in the body politic, and to maintain “order” as the propertied classes transcend differences and come together in a united front against the property-less. Relations between citizens is characterized in the propertied classes recognizing the necessity of a “rule of law” as a means by which different conflicts of interest—inheritance, transactions, offices in the body politic, the military, etc.—are codified, and to it [the “rule of law”] the will of individual citizens is sublimated.
The State evolved as a result of changes in the modes of production and appropriation characteristic of pre-civil society. Historically, communalistic tribal communities are based on production for immediate distribution and consumption, and in horticulture and/or herding. Additionally, the basic division of labor within these tribal communities is such that men are horticulturalists or herders, and women, as childbearers and mothers, keepers of the hearth. But, this division of labor changed with the progress of knowledge and technology: agriculture and animal husbandry produced surpluses for trade. With the development of metallurgy and the iron plow, handicrafts and trade became relatively independent branches of labor, and trade between the various branches of labor evolved commodity production, merchants, and the use of metals as medium of exchange, money.
Civil society ('civilization') is class society, the state. The various citizens of the body politic have rights, and the state mediated their conflicting interests, by laws and armed might by which those laws were enforced. But slaves had no rights. The slaves were the property of the owners of the land, handicraft businessmen, merchants, &C. But, they as citizens and slave-owners in their respective sphere of economy, nonetheless, come together in a united front as a body politic against the slaves.
Civilizations ('civil society') is the political community of the ruling classes based on the most powerful, economically dominant of the various classes determining the dominate politics of the State.
The State is described by Engels as “special bodies of armed men, with prisons, &C. at their disposal”, a public force in which “the most powerful, economically dominate class is the most powerful, politically dominate class” as well. Still, the function of the State is not to merely serve as an instrument of domination, but to mediate between the conflicts of interests between the various division of labor determined property forms, their interaction and to provide a legal code, or laws recognized as not just necessary but valid to the various property owning factions of the body politic, citizens.
In The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, summing up his historical analysis, Engels wrote:
“The state is, therefore, by no means a power forced on society from without… Rather, it is a product of society at a certain stage of development; it is the admission that this society has become entangled in an insoluble contradiction with itself, that it has split into irreconcilable antagonisms which it is powerless to dispel. But, in order that these antagonisms, these classes with conflicting economic interests, might not consume themselves and society in fruitless struggle, it became necessary to have a power, seemingly standing above society, that would alleviate the conflict and keep it within the bounds of 'order'; and this power, arisen out of society but placing itself above it, and alienating itself more and more from it is the state.” (Frederick Engels: The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State)
The economic basis for the state is taxation. But the modes of appropriation of taxes by states differ from one mode of production and appropriation to the next. For instance, in the states based on slave modes of production, where the appropriation of the surplus labor products of the slaves was direct, the slaves were compelled to work surplus labor time that not only allowed the slave owners their means of subsistence and excess wealth, but that this wealth was sufficient enough to provide the state functionaries their means of subsistence, and later with the development of money, taxes to the state.
Thus, the early civilizations based on slavery had an inevitable proclivity to Empire building. Conquered, colonized peoples, territories or provinces were subordinated to the Imperial Centers, compelled to pay tributes, both in means of subsistence to feed the unproductive classes or castes (religious, political bodies) and also money to pay state functionaries and soldiers.
The ancient civilizations of the great empires in the Afro-Asian Mediterranean world—Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, China, Assyria, Persia, Nubian, Greece, Rome, Byzantium, Ghana, Songhay, Mali, or in the Americas: the Maya, Toltec, Aztec, Inca, &C. were based on slave labor in agriculture and metallurgy. Handicrafts, and trade collected in urban centers; towns became great centers of commerce and wealth. The use of metals, such as silver and gold as money, merchants became a political power. These towns became cities that drew the wealthy landed aristocrats and oligarchs and thus became capitals, seats of political power and government.
The slaves were property. Aristotle called them chattel, or tools. Slaves were not regarded as completely human, but smart animals. Excluded from the family of humanity, slaves were excluded from the body politic and had no political rights. Slaves were not citizens, and therefore these human beings not regarded as human beings had neither human rights nor political (civil) rights.
Whether we are talking about slaves in the ancient cultures, or in the in the era of modern capitalism in the Americas (Brazil, the Caribbean, the U.S. Southern Slave States) the slaves literally were outcasts. The members of the body politic of civil society, not withstanding the economic divisions and corresponding oppositions into factions of the body politic, in the governing of the State, were nonetheless a united front as far as the political communities were property owning, including slave owning factions as against the slaves. Even the property-less of the citizenry, proletarians and plebeians, citizen farmers or ruined handicraftsmen, drawn into the cities to find work for wages, remaining citizens, had 'rights' that were denied to slaves.
Marx states in Capital:
"Capital has not invented surplus-labor. Whenever a part of society possesses a monopoly of the means of production, the laborer, free or not, must add to the working time necessary for his own maintenance an extra working time in order to produce the means of subsistence of the owners of the means of production, whether this proprietor be an Athenian esererrre erwreer , Etruscan theocrat, civis Romanus, Norman baron, American slave owner, Wallachian Boyard, , modern landlord or capitalist."
(Karl Marx: Capital, A Critique of Political Economy Volume I pp.259-60)
The technological based economic arrangements of production (division of labor) determine human characteristic modes of appropriation as a form of exchange, and consequently property forms, -the existing mode of production and appropriation is an economic system from which arises class formations, politics, laws and culture.
In an economic mode of production based on slave labor the corresponding mode of appropriations of the products of slave labor is direct: those who owned the slaves owned the products of the slaves labor; the same as the horses and oxen. The slaves means of subsistence were provided by the owners.
Advances in technology and trade engendered corresponding changes both in the divisions labor as well as types of labor, resulting in new types of property.
"Social relations are closely bound up with productive forces. In acquiring new productive forces men change their mode of production; and in changing their mode of production, in changing the way of earning their living, they change all their social relations. The hand-mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam-mill society with the industrial capitalist."
(Karl Marx: The Poverty of Philosophy)
The form of productive forces, engenders types of labor, exchange so engendered and resulting "types of property" -- e.g. the slave-owner's slave is a type of property and the mode of appropriation of the produce of slaves is direct. The feudal baron's landed wealth is rented to serfs, thus the characteristic feudal mode of appropriation of the surplus labor/produce of serf labor is rent in kind, or [later] cash. The capitalistic mode of production/appropriation is purchase - capitalists purchase the labor power of proletarians - thus owning the labor power and the products of the work, predicated upon having purchased the labor power.
Obviously, slaves are a type of property, the feudal estate another, industrial capital another. Slave labor, as basis of this mode of production's method of appropriation is direct appropriations resulting from direct ownership of the slaves as productive forces, along with the tools used by slaves in production [labor], the land as corresponding types of property: the landed estates characterized by slave-owning/work is a different type of property than feudal estates, with land rented to serfs, just as serfs who own themselves differ from slaves; and capital in agribusiness different from those two types as well as proletarians working for wages differ from slaves and serfs.
The respective work forces characteristic of the different modes of production and appropriation differentiates one mode of production, or 'economic system', from another.
Technologies, and the types of labor based on their specific structure and function. Their respective structure and energy sources, must in any case must facilitate in/by the labor processes must have productivity enough to supply surplus produce, exceeding what is required were he or she working subsistence agriculture, &c. What would be socially necessary labor time, required to reproduce the laborers and their families, must be, and is transcended in societies based in class in order to supply the owning classes with means of subsistence, and cumulative accumulating of wealth.
Thus, over centuries, slaveowning landowners ceased to benifit from ownership of their work forces, e.g. in agriculture, and as ruined farmers lands were bought by wealthy large landowners, or rich merchants, those farmers became tenets. This evolving tenet system, in Roman dominated Europe for instance, and also in the West African kingdoms, became the basis for what evolved into feudal serfdom. In Europe, the invading Germanic tribes, and finally the Vikings displaced the Roman landowners, and became warrior nobility.
"N.B. - It must not he forgotten that the serf's very need of existing and the impossibility of a large-scale economy, which involved the distribution of the allotments among the serfs, very soon reduced the services of the serfs to their lord to an average of payments in kind and statute-labour. This made it possible for the serf to accumulate movable property and hence facilitated his escape out of the possession of his lord and gave him the prospect of making his way as an urban citizen; it also created gradations among the serfs, so that the runaway serfs were already half burghers. It is likewise obvious that the serfs who were masters of a craft had the best chance of acquiring movable property."
(Marx and Engels: The German Ideology)
The characteristic features of the feudal modes of production and appropriation is that the landlords, the landed gentry or nobility, were warlords that appropriated the surpluses of the tenet farmers by forcing them to yield portions of their produce as taxes, rent, or/and tribute to this landed nobility. The military organization, and rank system of the conquering hordes became the basis of the feudal state: kings, princes, dukes, counts, earls, squires &C.
However, the same as in the previous mode of production and appropriation based on slave labor, this feudal system was at the same time one in which the division of labor between landed proprietors and handicraftsmen and merchants, &C. resulted in different economic classes with different, often conflicting economic and political interests resolved in the State. This feudal mode of production and appropriation likewise evolved urban centers (towns) based on handicraft and trade.
In consequence of changing technology and trade, the one mutually facilitating the other such as shipbuilding and the compass, together with the rise of empirical science, global trade directly enhanced the wealth of the merchants and rising merchant-capitalists in urban centers of commerce and politics in the European kingdoms. At the same time, there arose the Great Monarchies, the Absolute Monarchs that formed alliances with the rising bourgeoisie of merchants and capitalists, and bankers.
Savvy feudal barons, living in the cities, began to convert their estates from serf labor and rent collection into agricultural businesses worked by proletarian labor for wages. The bourgeoisie needed the central political power of the Absolute Monarchs bring central government to the kingdoms, to put an end to feudal dislocations, dukedoms, counties, earldoms: their tolls and their wars were becoming a burdensome hindrance to kingdom-wide business, emerging commodity production.
“It is, however, clear that in any given formation of society, where not the exchange value but the use-value of the product predominates, surplus-labor will be limited by a given set of wants which may be greater or less, and that here is no boundless thirst for surplus-labor arises from the nature of the production itself. Hence, in antiquity overwork becomes horrible only when the object is to obtain exchange value in its specific independent money-form; in the production of gold and silver. Compulsory working to death is here the recognized form of over-work. …Still these are exceptions in antiquity. But, as soon as people, whose production still moves within the lower forms of slave-labor, corvee-labor, &c., are drawn into the whirlpool of an international market dominated by the capitalistic mode of production, the sale of their products for export becoming their principle interest, the civilized horrors of over-work are grafted on the barbaric horrors of slavery, serfdom, &c. Hence, the Negro labor in the Southern States of the American Union preserved something of a patriarchal character, so long as production was chiefly directed to immediate local consumption. But in proportion, as the export of cotton became of vital interest to these states, the over-working of the Negro and sometimes the using up of his life in 7 years' of labor became a factor in a calculated and calculating system. It was no longer a question of obtaining from him a certain quantity of useful products. It was now a question of production of surplus-labor itself. So was it also with the corvee, e.g., in the Danubian Principalities (now Romania).” (Marx: Capital op. cit. p. 260)
The new money-wealth bourgeoisie, capital, was facilitated by advances in technology and science, applied to world trade and investments in colonies made possible by guns as well as shipbuilding and scientific navigation.
The Trans-Atlantic slave-trade was a triangular trade in which the arms industry was pivotal to the industrial revolution in England, produced by proletarian labor in England as exchange values, shipped to West Africa to be exchanged for human beings reduced to commodities in Africa, captured by raiders and delivered to African slave merchants who sold them, or bartered them in exchange for European commodities—guns, and other commodities from Europe, in particular British manufactured commodities.
“With the development of capitalist production during the manufacturing period, the public opinion of Europe had lost the last remnant of shame and conscience. The nations bragged cynically of every infamy that served them as a means to capitalistic accumulation… Here the Asiento Treaty trumpets it the privilege of being allowed to ply the Negro-trade, until then only carried on between Africa and the English West Indies, between Africa and Spanish America as well. England thereby acquired the right of supplying Spanish America until 1743 with 4800 Negroes yearly. This threw, at the same time, an official cloak over British smuggling. Liverpool waxed fat on the slave-trade.” (Marx: Capital Vol. I pp. 832-33)
The British industrializing capitalists built the ships used in carrying trade, deploying in 1730, 15 ships; in 1751, 53; in 1760, 74; in 1770, 96; and in 1792, 132. This occurred along side the building and deployment of British arms and warships that protected the slave trading ships generally. British cargo ships, protected by British navy ships, carried cargo back and forth, and between colonies from Britain to Africa, and Asia as well as trans-Atlantic trade.
The 'military-industrial complex' is as old as the Italian Mediterranean sea trade, and the Dutch, and Spanish, Portuguese and British mercantile Empires.
The British mercantile system was pivotal in the English industrial revolution. The trans-Atlantic Triangular Trade, for instance.
“Whilst the cotton industry introduced child-slavery in England, it gave in the United States a stimulus to the transformation of the earlier, more or less patriarchal slavery, into a system of commercial exploitation. In fact, the veiled slavery of the wageworkers in Europe needed, for its pedestal, slavery pure and simple in the new world. …to complete the process of separation between laborers and conditions of labor, to transform, at one pole, the social means of production and subsistence into capital, at the opposite pole, the mass of the population into wage-laborers, into 'free laboring poor', that artificial product of modern society. If money, according to Augier, 'comes into the world with a congenital blood-stain on one cheek,' capital comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt'” (Marx: Capital Vol. I pp. 833-34)
The Absolute Monarchs in their own interests pursued internal political cohesion that of necessity destroyed the fiefdoms, dukedoms and so on and at the same time established the political territorial cohesion for what was to become the modern nation state on one hand, and established mercantile empires with overseas colonies bringing gold and silver, treasures and raw forms on the other, that objectively corresponded to the interest's of the rising 'national bourgeoisie'.
The dynastic and colonial rivalries between European kingdoms facilitated great mercantile fleets, whether to protect the treasures from pirates and privateers (e.g. Spanish Armanda to protect against British Privateers and French Buccaneers) or to engage in piracy, culminated in the naval conflicts between Spain and Britain, with the defeat of the Spanish Armanda. This was not just a conflict between two European kingdoms the outcome of which determined which would dominate the seas, but a war of the Spanish Absolute Monarchy representing the European landed aristocracy challenged by the rising British capitalist class that was operating through the Absolute Monarchy.
The Spanish Empire in America was based on looting silver and gold treasures from the American kingdoms—the Aztecs, the Incas, and so on. While this supplied the Spanish monarchs, and adventurers with feudal wealth of luxury, it was not invested in production, wasn't capitalized by such investments.
Meanwhile, the British capitalists were investing in manufacture, labor engendering new wealth. Capitalists sold their manufactured commodities to Spanish landed aristocrats, and even had ships that met Spanish treasure ships, not to fight but to do business. In the end, the British ended up with large quantities of Spain's loots, not by robbery on the high seas but by business transactions.
This too facilitated and stimulated manufacture in Britain. There were other changes in England. The Bubonic Plague, which wiped out nearly a third of the English population deprived the landed aristocracy in many instances of the previously relatively abundant serf labor, appropriated feudal wealth appropriated surpluses as rents, and labor service of labor time on landlord or/and state property, to change from these feudal modes of appropriation of surplus produce to attract agricultural laborers with money, to work for wages.
The feudal mode of production and appropriation in classical form is surplus labor time expended in producing of surplus produce, wherein surplus produce is appropriated in the forms of feudal tithes, rent and/or tribute.
But, in the capitalistic mode of production wherein the capitalist mode of appropriation prevail, the property-less proletariat, having no productive forces at their disposal are compelled to sell their labor power as commodities in the labor markets, that in exchange of work for wages proletarians acquire the wherewithal (money) by which to appropriate (purchase) means of subsistence.
The capitalistic form of wealth — money— enables the bourgeoisie to trade manufactured goods for gold, silver, and treasures from the Spanish landed aristocrats and soldier adventurers, thus ending up with the feudal wealth and subordinating the feudal nobility, and as owners of the productive forces to command the property-less proletariat. Capital comes to dominate land and labor both in the global arena, and domestically as well. Capital, the economic power of money, enables the capitalist class to become, politically dominate as well, the hegemonic power in the state.
The objective changes in the British economy, have direct continuity with the introduction of sheep and woolen industries in England inherited from the Roman Empire, for instance, and the Enclosure Acts driving peasants from lands and into the cities as vagrants; vagabonds having no means of production of their own migrated to the towns where they entered the ranks of an emerging bourgeois, or forced by these circumstances to hire out their labor power for money payments, wages.
“In the infancy of capitalist production, things often happened as in the infancy of medieval towns, where the question, which of the escaped serfs should be master and which servants, was in great part decided by the earlier or later date of their flight. The snail's-pace of this method corresponded in no wise with the commercial requirements of the new world-market that the great discoveries of the end of the 15th century created. But, the middle ages had handed down two distinct forms of capital, which matured in the most different economic social formations, and which, before the era of the capitalist mode of production, are considered as capital quand meme—usurer's capital and merchants capital.” (Marx: Capital Vol. I p. 822)
Marx goes on, to quote from a quote from an anonymous author, quoted Hodgkin:
“'At present, all the wealth of society goes first to the possession of the capitalist…. he pays the landowner his rent, the laborer his wages, the tax and tithe gatherer their claims, and keeps a large, indeed the largest, and continually augmenting share, of the annual produce of labor for himself. The capitalist may now be said to be the first owner of all the wealth of the community, though no law has conferred on him the right to this property…this change has been effected by taking interest on capital…. and it is not a little curious that all the lawgivers of Europe endeavors to prevent this by statutes, viz., statutes against usury… The power of the capitalist over all the wealth of the country is a complete change in the right of property, and by what law, or series of laws, it was effected'”—To which Marx comments: “The author should have remembered that revolutions are not made by laws” (Marx: Capital Vol. I pp.822-23)
In England, our case in point, is the classic example of technological and economic changes resulting in political adjustments, the bourgeois property forms, that is to say the capitalistic relations of production had challenged the feudal barons, and did so in an alliance with the Absolute Monarchy. The alliance held together against the barons, but once the capitalists stood on their own economic feet, it correspondingly forced its political form as well. The Parliamentary revolution of 1640.
Man never renounces what he has gained, but this does not mean that he never renounces the form of society in which he has acquired certain productive forces. On the contrary. If he is not to he deprived of the results obtained or to forfeit the fruits of civilisation, man is compelled to change all his traditional social forms as soon as the mode of commerce ceases to correspond to the productive forces acquired. Here I use the word commerce in its widest sense-as we would say Verkehr in German. For instance, privilege, the institution of guilds and corporations, the regulatory system of the Middle Ages, were the only social relations that corresponded to the acquired productive forces and to the pre-existing social conditions front which those institutions had emerged. Protected by the corporative and regulatory system, capital had accumulated, maritime trade had expanded, colonies had been founded-and man would have lost the very fruits of all this had he wished to preserve the forms under whose protection those fruits had ripened. And, indeed, two thunderclaps occurred,the revolutions of 1640 and of 1688. In England, all the earlier economic forms, the social relations corresponding to them, and the political system which was the official expression of the old civil society, were destroyed. Thus, the economic forms in which man produces, consumes and exchanges are transitory and historical. With the acquisition of new productive faculties man changes his mode of production and with the mode of production he changes all the economic relations which were but the necessary relations of that particular mode of production.
In the England of the 1640s we see a parliament based upon the most whimsical franchise, which at the same time regarded itself as the representative organ of the people. The lower house represented the nation in that it represented the bourgeoisie and thereby national wealth. In the reign of Charles I it was found, and not without amazement, that the House of Commons was three times richer than the House of Lords. The king now dissolved this parliament and now recalled[ it according to the pressure of financial need. Parliament created an army for its defence. The army gradually concentrated in its ranks all the most active, courageous and resolute elements. As a direct consequence of this, parliament capitulated to this army. We say: as a direct consequence of this. By this we mean that parliament capitulated not simply to armed force (it had not capitulated to the king's army) but to Cromwell's puritan which expressed the requirements of the revolution more boldly, more resolutely and more consistently than did parliament. The adherents of the Episcopal or Anglican, semi-Catholic Church were the party of the court, the nobility and of course the higher clergy. The Presbyterians were the party of the bourgeoisie, the party of wealth and enlightenment. The Independents, and the Puritans especially, were the party of the petty bourgeoisie, the plebeians. Wrapped up in ecclesiastical controversies, in the form of a struggle over the religious structure of the church, there took place a social self-determination of classes and their re-grouping along new, bourgeois lines. Politically the.Presbyterian party stood for a limited monarchy; the Independents, who then were called root and branch men or in the language of our day, radicals, stood for a republic. The half-way position of the Presbyterians fully, corresponded to the contradictory interests of the bourgeoisie -- between the nobility and the plebeians. The Independents' party which dared to carry its ideas and slogans through to their conclusion naturally displaced the Presbyterians among the awakening petty-bourgeois masses in the towns and the countryside that formed the main force of the revolution. Events unfolded empirically.
The Absolute Monarchy negated small principalities of the same economic category, quantitative negations resulting in the concentration of the Many into One. It did so in an alliance with a property form, Capital, because it was also in the interest's of self-expansion of capital to have a uniform territorial state without hindrances of archaic principalities—fiefdoms, dukedoms &c., that had become fetters restricting capital to locations. From an historical perspective, the Absolute Monarchies were based economically in the feudal estates systems, but in their alliances with Capitalists, had actually become an instrument of the class that, now using it for its own purposes as a transitional regime politically creating the kingdom structure, for what was to become the modern territorial national state, it would become a fetter because the Absolute Monarchies remained feudal in content and form.
The rising bourgeoisie engendered by the self-expansion of capital intrudes in the feudal relations of production, displacing relations of lords and serfs by relations of capital and wage labor, the bourgeoisie displaces the landed aristocrats and the serfs are turned into proletarians, not paying rent but paid wages. The capitalist wealth in money form is mobile and qualitatively different than the feudal sedentary property forms and relations of production; capital self-expansion was transforming by subsuming feudal land into capitalist agribusiness.
As the self-expansion of capital radically altered English economy, the feudal state, which though economically outmoded, clung to power in the armed forces personified in the Absolute Monarchy, had now ceased to be a progressive partner in alliance with the bourgeoisie as facilitator of capital, but become a political fetter.
The bourgeois democratic republican revolution in England occurred in the 1640s, as the outcome of political struggles between the nobility and royalty one the one side represented by the House of Lords and Monarchy, and on the other the bourgeois, representing the rest of society (farmers, peasants, artisans, shopkeepers, &c.) in the Parliament [House of Commons]. The political conflict could be decided but by open civil war, in which the Independent Army under leadership of Oliver Cromwell defeated the nobility, crushed the king's loyalist army and executed the king. Tabula Rasa! This changed, forever, English politics, although there was an attempted 'Restoration', that was subsequently overthrown and an imported king, and “Constitutional Monarchy”, was established by Parliament, in the so-called “Glorious Revolution” of 1688.
Social Capital, and therefore bourgeois material wealth was already the economic power in England. In fact, the revolution of 1640 was initiated when the monarch needed money from the bourgeois parliament, and thus called it into session. The bourgeois parliamentarians held the king's feet to the fire, demanding that Parliamentary Reform, rights and powers be granted as a precondition. Thus, the economic struggle between these classes became a political struggle, and the latter a revolution.
Similarly the Great French Revolution of the 1790s, and into the 18th century.
The bourgeoisie, in France as in England was in possession of great wealth, money-capital and finance capital. The monarch had ruled as a dictatorship, backed by the Church hierarchy and armed nobility. The landed gentry and monarchy had political power and ecclesiastical authority, and owned lands, but capital had already subordinated the feudal forms of wealth. In fact, an entire faction of the nobility had bought their way into the landed aristocracy, and the moneyed aristocracy of the bourgeoisie was economically dominant.
The French political establishment was supposed to be 'power sharing', in the sense that the Estates General comprised the Three Estates, each representing its class. The 1st and 2nd Estates, representing the High Clergy and Nobility respectively, were comprised of 300 deputies in each body, but functioned in unison as a French equivalent of the English House of Lords, representing the landed aristocrats and monarchy; whereas the 3rd Estate was the same as the English House of Commons, the popular organ representing the common folk comprised 600 deputies. By voting by Estates, the combined vote of the 1st and 2nd Estates always triumphed over the 3rd Estate.
The monarchy, in need of money, was compelled to convene the Estates General in 1789, its first convocation since 1614. The bourgeoisie was in the 3rd Estate, and that's therefore where the money was. Based on their economic resources and financial powers, the bourgeois was conscious of its subsequent political power as well. Every class struggle is a political struggle; the bourgeois and lawyers in the 3rd Estate demanded that there be one national assembly, and voting be one man one vote as opposed to votes by Estates.
The Third Estate declared itself the National Assembly, thus abolished the Estates General and with this the dismissal of the 1st and 2nd Estates forever. Political power thereupon passed from the clutches of the nobility and monarchy, and their Church companions to the clutches of the bourgeoisie. At this point, the bourgeoisie represented the masses as the nation, and the principle of citizens as opposed to the aristocratic castes and Church appointments became the political basis of the New State.
The inherently competitive character of capitalist production and distribution engenders a democratic character of capitalist politics. So long as the bourgeoisie in confrontation with the landed gentry and nobility was the revolutionary avant-garde it provided the leaders, politicians and theoreticians, representing the masses in the Assembly, and Convention.
The revolution was defended in the streets by the masses. The masses—the artisans, proletariat, the shopkeepers, &C., were thus, as in England so in France, brought into political struggle by the bourgeois democratic revolution. It is to be pointed out at this juncture that, both in England and in France, once brought into the political conflicts of class against class, the proletarians came to recognize that true democracy means majority rule, and that they were, as a class, the majority class. Thus, in England arose the Levelers, and the Diggers advocating labor democracy, and communism as its economic base. Similarly, in France, the sans-culottes and the Communes of Paris advocated radical democracy, supported the Jacobins, and evolved revolutionary communism. It goes without surprise that in England, Cromwell's troops suppressed the Levelers, and with the overthrow of the Jacobins in France the corrupt Directory in an alliance with Napoleon suppressed the political associations of the sans-culottes.
States only “seem” to be “above” society. But in fact by its function, the laws it produce and enforce, the state is the political representative of the economically dominant classes—until such time that the march of science and technology engenders new divisions of labor and property forms, challenging those ruling classes economically and politically. But, revolutionary classes become conservative ruling classes, so soon as they overthrow the old power, destroy its property by redistribution, and set about to establish its class power as dominant.
The Absolute monarchies, having fulfilled their historical role, by negating the feudal barons and establishing modern, bureaucratic-military states with professional armies, became themselves, fetters upon further progress. They were overthrown by bourgeois-democratic revolutions—first in the Parliamentary Revolution in England in the middle of the 16th century, and then the Great French Revolution in the latter 18th century. By the Mid 20th century, the once absolutist monarchs of Europe were either overthrown, displaced by democratic republics or were reduced to symbolic heads of state in Constitutional Monarchs, where real political power was in the hands of bourgeois politicians in parliaments.
Unlike feudal knights or Samurai warriors, capitalist themselves do not go around in full amour. In modern capitalist society, bourgeois class interests are advanced by Laws: bourgeois parties dominate the legislature, which legislates the laws that presidents execute, enforced by the courts, and professional cops, and armies.
In the ancient class society, as in Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, India, Rome, Japan, Ghana, feudal Europe and so on, the slave-owning and/or landowning personifications of relations of production, in the slave or feudal modes of production the kings, the nobles, the knights, the Samurai warriors, and so on, were directly the armed power of the state. The modern bourgeois conditions of production, however, class power is wealth derived from appropriating, by purchasing proletarian labor power capital wealth created value by wage-labor provides the bourgeois qua personification of capital indirectly by money, by which it dominates the government that commands professional cops and soldiers.
The modern working classes existing under bourgeois conditions of production has its decisive political power in the economic power in the labor power of the industrial, agricultural, energy, and transport proletariat. These divisions of labor are of course interdependent, but any single total strike in a given industry has the capacity to shut down the economy as a whole. But, as economic struggles regarding wages, hours, conditions, and benefits, the capitalists have the capacity to outlast the workers strike funds, or bring the government in to force workers back to work to 'cool off', or deploy state's troops to force the workers back to work as a matter of 'national security'.
The working class as a class can win political power if and only if it has an economically and politically independent political party, a Labor Party financially based in the trade unions, and socially based in the class as a whole that has the conquest of political power as its immediate objective. Every class struggle is a political struggle, and political struggle unites the working class without regard to worker's religion, ethnicity, race, gender, or national origin.
The objective of the labor party as such, in political struggle, is to win the battle of democracy, to legislate a working class agenda.
The economic system of capitalist commodity production by wageworkers is competitive, and the laws of motion of self-expansion of capital—capital accumulation, and reinvestment in more productive technology, and thereby more surplus commodities, more competitive prices of production and exchange are self-contradictory and capitalist production and distribution therefore anarchistic.
In itself machinery is no more capital than gold in itself is money. Machines are an economic category qua capital and gold qua money are such as social relations between people and things. In capitalist commodity production by wageworkers, the natural prices of commodities, or more correctly the substantive value of objects, is its prices of production based on the substance of value congealed in the object.
It is the labor process by means of which human beings labor power's value - the socially necessary labor time required to produce and reproduce means of production and subsistence required to reproduce humanity - that is labor's value objectified in product, congealed value. Thus the objective values of machines being used up by ware and tear, and raw materials transformed transferred by human labor to the product; by this same labor process is the value of labor power objectified, social labor congealed in particular objects taken together.
The values contained in the mass of commodities so produced, must be sold at their values, to at least cover the prices of production expended in the cost price of the capital goods (machines, raw materials, energy) qua constant capital =cost price, and the money paid out in wages in the purchase of variable capital, the mass of labor powers so purchased. The capitalists, however, are not in business to 'break even', but to turn a profit.
Since commodities sell at approximately their values (measured in money as their price of production), in order to turn a profit capitalists have to compel proletarians to perform surplus labor-time, calculated in the product but unpaid to the workers. Surplus labor-time unpaid is the source of capitalist profiting from surplus value quantified in surplus produce, by which is meant surplus produce above socially necessary labor-time embodied in the mass of products.
The wages of labor is not worker’s share of value created, but is limited to his socially necessary labor time required to reproduce himself/herself and family, the cost of living. It is by this means that the rate of surplus value/degree of exploitation of wage labor by capital is quantified. Profits thrown back in production, purchasing more and newer, more productive capital, increases the rate of exploitation by employing 'labor saving' technology increasing the productivity of social labor, while either maintaining the same wages or throwing excess workers into the streets as a surplus population.
In racist countries, oppressed ethnic minorities and genders work for less wages, and are the last hired and first fired. In any event, increased labor productivity manifested in increased surplus produce, resulting in cheapening the prices of production cheapens the cost price of the commodities so produced, and competition between capitalists with more products cheaper sold, results in a tendency of rates of average profits to decline on one hand, and overproduction on the other, resulting in cyclical recessions and depressions, increased competition for foreign markets, imperialism and wars.
The advances in technology, engenders a conflict between the forces in rebellion against the capital form of production, commodity production and wage labor, that is the capitalistic mode of appropriation. The proletariat, the human productive forces alone representing the promise of technological progress must sooner or later recognize that the only way out of this economic mess engendered by capitalist commodity production by wage labor is to take control of the economy itself. So soon as the proletariat seizes possession of the productive forces, the means of production and distribution, it achieves the economic, social and political powers to do away with commodity production and appropriation, wage labor and exploitation.
To bring this about, workers have to fight in the trade unions for class struggle perspectives, challenging pragmatism and business unionism, defeatism, racism and sexism, craft-trade unionism, parochialism, nationalism and patriotism by running Labor Party advocates on the issues that benefit the class as a whole and promotes proletarian internationalism and solidarity with workers of every country including low wage workers in 3rd world countries on one hand, and defending immigrant workers regardless of legal status on the other.
This means that the labor and trade union movements, on a class basis, have to be revitalized politically. By this I mean, in industrialized countries where trade union based Socialists and Labor Party already exist, running radical labor candidates for union offices - from shop stewards and local officers to regional and national committees, on a platform that Socialist and Labor Parties have as their immediate objective by winning the battles of democracy, i.e. raise the working class from its present dominated, subordinate position vis-à-vis the capitalist class, to becoming ruling class.
In Western Europe and Australia, Social-democratic, Socialist, Communist and Labor Parties have histories of becoming parliamentary majorities, and governing. Yet, once in government, these parties limit their agendas to operating within the bourgeois 'rule of 'laws', and Constitutions, rather than recognizing that those Constitutions were written by bourgeois lawyers and politicians to safeguard bourgeois property, and the capitalist class domination of society, the subordination of the proletariat to the interests of capital.
So long as the capitalist class possesses the productive forces, and labor parties operate within the limits of bourgeois rules of law, these capitalists remain the ruling class, and labor, socialists and communist parties in government will inevitably be political representatives of bourgeois interests.
The smug, complacent, pragmatic class collaborationists that presently run the trade unions and Labor Party, must be challenged politically, by ousting them both from union leadership and from party representation. Trade unions must be transformed from mere economic defensive organizations, retaining the economic gains achieved, into offensive political institutions, cadres in the politics of class war, the objective being to legislate the transfer of the productive forces from the private possessions of capitalists, to the public property of the working classes and toiling masses.
Trade unionists, socialists and discriminated ethnic and gender groups in European Socialist and Labor Parties need to radicalize the trade unions politically, by the praxis of revitalizing and expanding the trade union base, with programs and strategies that will expose and displace the existing ideology of pragmatic trade unionism and their Social-Democratic, Socialist and Labor Party class collaborationists.
In the United State the American Labor Party is more potentiality than actuality. At best it is in its infancy. It can be built, but by boldness and radicalizing praxis of running workers for office, intent on winning. But, this can only occur by politicizing the trade unions by challenging the union leaders who are collaborating with, if not members of capitalist class parties. I mean the Democratic Party as well as the Republican Party.
Simultaneously, we need serious, committed Labor Party advocates running to win offices in their trade unions in political campaigns on openly class war platform.
Workers, on the job and at pubs, union meetings, cafes, and at neighborhood PTA, ethnic and gender organization meetings, at church, at the bowling alleys and so on communicating the importance to having our Labor Party in the political arenas operating in workers interests; workers must patiently explain to workers the need to retake the trade unions from class collaborators, Democrats and Republicans.
The radical worker-communists can no longer stand outside the pragmatic unions and reformist- Socialist and Labor Parties. That's where the workers are.
Sectarian (Marxist [read: Leninist, Trotskyist, Maoist]) organizations have been important to preserve cadres of serious revolutionaries during periods of repression and/or working-class inaction. It is in such organizations, in their magazines, press, pamphlets, conferences &c., that Marxist theory advances in principled polemics and activities, even more than among Marxist academics and professorial journals, because Marxism is a theory of social revolution, and these sects maintain the ideological heritage and principles of revolutionary Marxism. But, it is in the social praxis of the actual class wars that sectarian errors of theory and practice are exposed, corrected and reformed.
Once the proletariat begins to stir, today as in the 60s, these revolutionary cadres need to break from their sectarian perspectives and wars fought in relative isolation from the trade unions and trade union based mass workers parties. It is in the Socialist, Social-democratic and Labor Parties, where the more politically advanced class-conscious workers are, that radical worker-communists need to be fighting for Party platforms that the Socialists and Labor Parties worker-candidates run for political offices campaigning on the program that, once elected, legislation would be presented that would defend workers jobs by nationalizing industries under workers self-management, for instance.
The emancipation of the working class is task of the working classes themselves. The economical emancipation of the working class can be achieved only when it is ready, confident enough to win the battle of democracy, and legislate the transfer of the productive forces from the possessions of the capitalist to the working classes themselves; it is this economical emancipation that is the objective, to which the party is subordinated as means.
In the United States, this means trade unionists without exception fighting for this praxis, in the unions and during lunch breaks, in the bars and restaurants, at PTA meetings and Church gatherings convincing workers, women and minorities that the emancipation of the working class must be conquered by the working classes and toiling masses themselves. The struggle to win a majority in Parliament, in America in the House of Representatives, is for workers to win seats in the House of Representatives the same as workers do in Britain.
The trade unionist as part and parcel of the Labor Party, instead of funding Democratic Party candidates for President, Senate, the House, State Governors, State Senates and Assemblies, County Supervisors and City Councils, Mayors, and so on can put those finances and leg work into Congressional Districts at the disposal of Labor Party candidates for the Congressional House of Representatives. Congressional campaigns are at once local [district] and national, and Labor candidates can and will win these races.
Given the millions of dollars and thousands of campaign workers that goes to Democrats; instead, the trade unions and neighborhood districts can choose which workers to run for office, whom they know already. Putting this money, and cadre of trade unionists and none trade unionists alike, the unions and Labor members can select, say, ten workers to run for Congress and deploy its money and man/woman power to those districts in a serious campaign bid for seats in the House of Representatives.
The American working class must use the House of Representatives as an instrument of politics in class war - against the Senate, President and Courts; the same as the British capitalists, supported by the masses, used the House of Commons against the House of Lords and Monarchy, and the French bourgeoisie used the 3rd Estate against the 1rst and 2nd Estates, and the National Assembly against the Estates-General and monarch, and the Convention against the Assembly.
To preserve what one has won through advances in technology, and decades [if not centuries] of labor struggles against employers, and not forfeit the fruits of civilization the American working class will be compelled to enter politics, to beat the bourgeoisie at its own political game. As in Europe, Latin America, Africa, Canada and Asia, so in America, workers drawn into the praxis of class wars will engender a class-consciousness proletariat.
With it, political independence and theoretical clarity, including the ability to recognize, as such, bourgeois ideology masquerading in the forms of rhetoric, race politics, patriotism, religious intolerance, anti-communism on the one hand, and flowery rhetoric about 'democracy', 'human rights', 'the rule of law', and other demagogic tricks on the other.
The basis of class-conscious, theoretical clarity is recognition of material interests as determinant and the understanding that the proletariat is the independent majority, acting in the interest of workers as a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, cosmopolitan class with common interests, and as the immense majority, acting in the interests of this immense majority, the workers movement and self-elevation to ruling class is the actualization of democracy.
In Europe, for instance, the proletariat establishing its class dictatorship by dominating Parliament could accomplish this by throwing out the old laws and judicial precedents by disbanding the existing bureaucratic-military state.
Proletarian revolutions are cosmopolitan. In that sense co operative, and well coordinated political and ideological assault on the bourgeoisie has the same objective - expropriation of bourgeois property of town and country - and means: workers coming to power by winning the battle of democracy, dismantling the existing bureaucratic-military state apparatuses. But, according to relative customs, traditions in class struggles, and different particulars of circumstances and cultures, workers in the various nations have the task of overthrowing its own bourgeoisie.
The goal of the African Renaissance to eradicate poverty in Africa by the mid 21st century is impossible under present economic conditions: international division of labor and terms of trade. If African debts are cancelled today they will have returned by this time next year.
The African, Asian and Latin American debtor countries are in debt, not because of 'mismanagement' by 'corrupt 3rd world country dictators', nor even because of 'finance capital' or 'structural adjustment policies' of IMF or World Bank. Rather, oppressive economic conditions characteristic of the primarily agrarian is based in the global economy where the productive forces and natural resources of earth are the private possessions of capitalists. The laws of motion and the inherent limits and contradictions of capitalist commodity production by wage labor in the industrialized regions expanding into the 3rd world are the causes of 3rd world poverty.
However, once the worker's democracy legislates expropriations of the productive forces it frees the productive forces from the fetters and contradictions of capital formation and thus from the exploitative character of industrial development as the self-expansion of capital. Ending capitalist commodity production and wage labor ends the buying and selling of labor power and capital accumulation, competition, anarchy, overproduction, profits and declining rates of profits, recessions, depressions, imperialism, export capital and exploitation of 3rd world workers and peasants.
By workers self government in the industrialized and technologically advanced countries, the proletarian majority legislates the transfer of the productive forces to the public property of the working classes and toiling masses. Expropriating the productive forces from the clutches of the bourgeoisie thereby ends bourgeois control of production. Workers self-management of production and distribution is the precondition for putting an end to bourgeois property and the categorical division of labor, capital and money, wage labor and commodity production, trade and markets, imperialism and war.
Rather than mediating economic conflicts between individuals and regulating class contradictions the workers democracy, at the service of the workers management of the economy will eliminate economic conflicts arising from the division of labor, and antagonism of town and country, wealth and poverty; in proportion to this progress the state, including the workers state, will cease to have a function, become obsolete and whither away.
Public ownership of the productive forces, both agricultural and industrial, is placing the means of production and distribution in the hands of the community of associated producers. Once commodity production, wages and markets together with money are done away with, the object of production becomes consumption: each and every community member of associated producers will have free access to whatever they and their families need.
All able to do so will have an equal obligation to work for the community, providing labor and services. However, smart robots will sharply reduce socially necessary labor time. Advances in technology and science will transform the deserts into agricultural gardens and eliminate scarcity, poverty, and war. Each individual will be truly free, abundance will eliminate scarcity and all will have free and equal access to social products.
Since the productive forces of social labor, social production as an activity of all members of society, is the property of society, the increases in labor productivity by the new technology, robots, and so on will continually reduce socially necessary labor time, thus correspondingly increasing personal disposable time.
The individuals of an industry might decide that they want to work together 1 ten hour day every week, or so, freeing themselves to engage in educational, cultural, or pleasure pursuits as he or she has a mind to. Or, they may decide to spread the workday out over the five-day workweek, to oblige them to work two hours per day, and have the rest of the day free. There is any number of variations and alternatives that the workers can opt for in this branch of industry might try. But each and everyone is under strict discipline to turn up on his or her workday, to do the 10 hours slotted to work.
Throughout the economy, qualitative advances in the sciences and technology, improvements and innovation reducing the socially necessary labor time by increasing social labor productivity, will increase individual's disposable time free for leisure, education, culture, or to just hang out.
Education will be universal and free. Every member of society, and eventually every human being in the world, will achieve an all rounded technical and academic education. Scientific knowledge and technical skills will be valued in their own right and as a means of improving life on this planet. Individuals will be empowered to alternate from one branch of production to another rather than being limited to a single, lifetime 'occupation' or 'career'. Every individual, without exception, will be freed from the enslaving division of labor to work, travel and live anywhere in the world he or she choose to, in an organized fashion.
The scientific and technological basis for socialism is perpetual improvements perpetually increasing labor productivity, reducing socially necessary labor time, manifesting in perpetual reductions in the labor time individuals commit to the working day. Unlike capitalism, based on commodity production and wage labor, where every 'technological revolution' results in mass unemployment and poverty on one hand, overworking of new industrially skilled and technologically adapted on the other, in which the employed workers are living off credit cards and in debt, socialism's increases in labor productivity on one hand and ending the division of labor on the other will enable the individual to have time to go to university as often as he or she pleases, studying any topic of interest, and working in that field so long as he or she has a desire to do so.
Since the wage-labor system would be abolished there will be no competition for jobs. Individuals will learn several, as many “specialties” as they have interests in over a lifetime, doing any work they feel like. All individuals would be free, and encouraged to study physics, as well as mechanics, construction and literature, the culinary arts, biology, child-care, surgery, electrical technology, mining, paleontology, auto mechanics, music, national economic planning and accounting, paramedics, chemistry, forestry, fishery, astronomy, and on and on. Each person will study as much or as little as he or she chooses, and to each would be encouraged work in at least several academic and technical kinds of work. No one would be restricted to any one “occupation”.
If one so chooses, one days work option might be to work the first couple of hours cooking and serving in the community kitchen, then go to the community hospital to perform a short surgery by previously arranged appointment, and afterward go to the lab and do physics or do radio astronomy elsewhere. The next week he or she might commit to working one five hour day in agriculture, the next week put in five hours in the hospital, the next week do five hours in industry, the next spend the entire week in radio-astronomy, e.g. attending seminars, and so on.
Together with the ending of capitalist commodity production and wage labor in today's highly industrialized and technologically advanced regions, capital accumulation and export capital to less developed regions will give way to the free sharing of technology and sciences equally developing every region on earth. Today's less developed world, to the extent it is their choice, will have all the technology and science freely at their disposal, without barter or charge. The people of these regions will have at their disposal, and participate in, the development of the means of wiping out sickness, disease, draughts, famine, and for the eradication of wars, vampire states, corruption and poverty.
Scientific and human resources that are today wasted on research and development of hideous new weapons of terror, subjecting the world to the tyranny of capital in politics as well as economics. We are fighting for a new world by the mid-21st century, the working classes and toiling masses become the State, the working class self-elevated to ruling class will use its power to expropriate the productive forces from the clutches of capitalist and by transfering the means of production to public property ending commodity production. This will put an end to the domination of the product over the producer, the world of money and things overthrown for good. The present world of a fractured, impoverished humankind will be cancealed out as by negation of negation engendering a positive world of social humanity without class, national borders, and consequently no state.
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