The Commies Had It Right

Anybody who even cursorily became familiar with Marxist literature (as many of us did during our radical days in the turbulent ’60s) knows that the true, socialist Left predicted our current economic chaos with a sure clarity that no purported psychic could begin to match.

“Reds” of assorted affiliations were incessantly telling us how capitalism in its imperialist stage was fatally compromised and doomed, intricately detailing the reasons why, and heavily underscoring the inevitability of the coming collapse.

But we were impatient and accustomed to instant results. We consequently dismissed those claims because they didn’t materialize at once, or even relatively soon.

Who could anticipate that many decades would pass before the “stuff” fully hit the proverbial fan?

Defenders of the bourgeois status quo, on the other hand, were so hostilely contemptuous of anything smacking of socialism that they wouldn’t deign to study, or take seriously, Marxist analysis, regardless of how cogent its penetrating view.

Commies could have tipped them off to their economic folly, but hubris and supremacism prevented it.

I recall reading, for instance, a paperback critique by Gus Hall, General Secretary of the Communist Party, USA. It was entitled Capitalism on the Skids to Oblivion.

Through very deductive and quite persuasive reasoning, he pointed out that the capitalist owning class’s constant campaign to reduce labor costs was unwitting suicide for the Wall Street set.

If bosses hold back workers’ wages, eliminate benefits, bust labor unions, saddle toilers with that portion of taxes the rich avoid through cavernous loopholes, etc., they may profit obscenely in the short run.

But ultimately a point is reached — very much like the situation we’re faced with today — where the societal majority gets sufficiently impoverished by relentless exploitation that people, by the many millions, become unable to buy back what a country produces.

The ensuing “overproduction crisis” triggers recession, and depression, and finally a broad, revolutionary awareness that capitalism is incapable of serving public welfare and the common good.

Reds also revealed how the depraved capitalist impulse of ripping off others for profit thoroughly corrupts a society on all levels, engendering festering decadence that rots culture to its core.

One need only surf America’s cable television channels to see the offensively tawdry entertainment, vile scandals, blatant hucksterism, and other pervasive negatives that have come to constitute our sick “values.”

Capitalism has plainly reached the end of its rope. It can sustain increasing levels of profitability — upon which its very survival depends — only by imposing harsh austerity on the world’s laboring multitudes, as the International Monetary Fund and similar institutions are currently, cruelly doing, with devastating impact.

That forced, collective sacrifice to save a relatively few oligarchic skins is infuriating workers everywhere, most dramatically in rebellious Greece, and it’s just a matter of time before the entire global proletariat rises in fury, understandably unwilling to have its living standards decimated simply because Fat Cats want to continue laughing all the way to the bank.

Whether the Marxists’ communist ideal can ever be gotten right and made to successfully function is definitely open to vigorous debate.

But their dissection of monopoly capitalism was so precise that you’d think they’d been reading our mail.

Dennis Rahkonen, from Superior, Wisconsin, has been writing progressive commentary with a Heartland perspective for various outlets since the '60s. Read other articles by Dennis.

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  1. MichaelKenny said on September 17th, 2010 at 7:47am #

    I’m slightly amused by the reference to “dramatic” Greece, which illustrates just how narrow a world view Americans get. Greece has been hyped in the US media because Wall St deliberately target it as a means of attacking the EU in general, but there is nothing so enormously exceptional going on there. People in the south of Europe normally demonstrate in the street about political matters. That’s just part of the way politics is conducted. People have been demonstrating in France for months now over a proposed reform of the pension scheme. And that’s to say nothing about local issues which give rise to local demonstrations. So don’t be fooled by US media hype. That’s just Wall St trying to disguise the failure of its attack on the euro!
    Communism was a version of monopoly capitalism in which there was a single monopoly capitalist, namely, the state. Precisely for that reason, it was the first form of capitalism to fail. Communism was American cowboy capitalism’s crutch and without that crutch, American cowboy capitalism is now also failing. What will replace it remains to be seen, probably some sort of Green ideology, judging by what the young generation think.

  2. teafoe2 said on September 17th, 2010 at 12:17pm #

    The Gospel according to the saintly Monsignor Kenny (I do hope he’s getting more than Indulgences for his labors in the vineyard of His Whollyness?): Capitalism headquartered in NorthWest Europe GOOD, same hq’d in North America ROOT OF ALL EVIl, almost as evil as (ugh, shudder, say it in a whisper…) socialism…

    Any problems experienced by Southern Europeans are Their Own Fault; the domination of their economies by German & British pro-Izzy bankers couldn’t possibly have anything to do with it, and Greeks are bitching in the streets out of habit, purely for their own entertainment, the ungrateful bastards.

    “Hail Merry, Full of Grease…”

  3. teafoe2 said on September 17th, 2010 at 12:22pm #

    BTW, didja ketch the one about US Capitalism is failing because it lost its main source of profits, the USSR?

    Hey Mickey, you oughta be writing for Letterman! You’re a lot funnier than the bunch he’s got now:)

  4. bozh said on September 17th, 2010 at 2:10pm #

    But as i see it there is constant or an invariant and also a constant change in interpersonal and interethnic relationships.
    The invariant, having its beginings, say 10-15 kyrs ago, appears as division of people into lesser- and more valued and thus more and less econo-military-governmentaly powerful people.

    In short, some phenomena appear in constant flux; some other remain the same.
    The ratio [i am using two extremities now] of most powerful to least powerful thruout much of the history had been, say, one to one k.

    Now let’s find out what the ratio is now in US, india, et al. Is it one to ten, one to hundred, or one to 5oo?
    Or does it matter whether we find out this ratio? What matters is another constant and that’s establishment of spies, police, and army to guard the iniquity.

    I have never read anything writen by any communist; however, strongly suggest that bolsheviks knew just this and cld correct the iniquity only via military revolt.

    However, gorbachev made bolshevik work go dwn the drain. Wld i? No, not ever and no matter what!
    Curioso appears that bolsheviks have won support from orthodox church.
    This analyses shows that only an equivalent or superior atipodal power can do away with iniquitously-structured US society. tnx

  5. teafoe2 said on September 17th, 2010 at 3:57pm #

    Bozh, “…only an equivalent or superior atipodal power can do away with iniquitously-structured US society.”

    may possibly be an important insight, but your post is not an “analyses” or even an analysis. At best it’s a collection of impressions, isolated anecdotal information which may or may not contain a kernel of fact, and pure not-very-informed speculation.

    And incoherent: consider this proposition: “…there is constant or an invariant and also a constant change in interpersonal and interethnic relationships.”

    what the fuck? first you say one thing and then immediately contradict it. You seem to believe that to express your thoughts directly and clearly will expose how trivial they are, will expose the poverty of your thought processes.

    I’m sorry, but the more you try to dress them up in esoteric vocabulary the sillier they and you come across.

    Yes, the human species has become, since the appearance of stationary sedentary communities, divided into classes whose access to the means of production and right to partake of the socially-produced product differ along lines which have nothing to do with said classes respective contribution to the process of production. But to say this much is to say so little that it were better to keep silent.

    Your excursion into “ratios” was a complete waste of time; I congratulate you for eventually realizing it, but when you knew it was a deadend, why didn’t you just delete the whole nonsensical passage? Why embarrass yourself? sheesh.

    “What matters is another constant and that’s establishment of spies, police, and army to guard the iniquity.” This statement reflects an aspect of reality but only a part of the phenomenon it refers to.

    “Spies, police, and army” are components of what serious students of society, politics and history refer to as The State, or the State Apparatus. In all social formations known to the historical record, the State includes three basic components: the Political State, which includes the instruments of armed violence and of coercion, along with the social structures by which the deployment/employment of same are organized and directed, such as parliaments, court systems, Departments of Defense, Executive Branches etc; the Ideological State apparatus, which includes all the mechanisms and institutions via which the general population is induced to support, nay to demand, its own oppression and exploitation plus attacks on selected less-valued portions of the population of the empire; and the Financial or Economic State apparatus. Re which I could go into more detail but this is already getting tedious. In fairness you ought to pay me for tutoring you like this, just send a check to CoEditor Kim. Soon as he passes it along I’ll resume your lessons:)

    But you may be onto something with your reference to a “superior antipodal power”;) I’m not sure “antipodal” is the best word you could have chosen: how about “countervailing”?

  6. JE said on September 17th, 2010 at 6:11pm #

    This a god awful article predicated on the false notion that we live in a Capitalist Society.

    We clearly have a centrally planned economy via the Federal Reserve and the Pentagon System. How someone could compare something so tightly regimented to capitalism is baffling. You can’t argue that the commies we right when the system we have more closely resembles the one outlined in the communist manifesto than anything else. Central Banking, Graduated Income taxes, the largest and most dynamic sectors of the economy being publicly funded…yep sounds like capitalism.

    How can you know what you stand for when you don’t even know what it is you’re opposing?

    Perhaps, it would help to actually READ communist literature before positing the assertion that communist thinkers were correct in their assessment of capitalism?

  7. bozh said on September 17th, 2010 at 7:36pm #

    Dividing people into classes began at latest since ca 10 k yrs and the process may have lasted millennia before it had been completed by ca 8k yrs.
    Division of people into less- valued or serfs-slaves and master people in all societies is a historical fact.

    And i call that “a constant“. We do make better tools. Alas, also `better` weapons. That`s the change one can believe in. Serf-master relationship can be seen with naked eye.
    This interpersonal relationship has not changed in kind– only to a degree; However, the basic structure has been with us for at least 10 k yrs.

    Many people have noted that the more things change, the more they are the same or as i say, “constant“. I don`t think that they meant that knowledge and technology do not change.
    As conditions change for better, the masters may give u a few more crumbs. When things change for worse, masters can take away some crumbs, but the master-serf relationship had been constant.
    So, i do not see any contradiction when one notes that some phenomena never ever change and some always.
    Gravity is also a constant and under ideal conditions leaves and rocks wld be falling dwn with equal speed.

    In ideal conditions, master-serf relationship cld be utter, but, of course, they can`t cage us in, kill us, feed us to lions, starve us to death since they need us.
    But don`t be surprised that this cld not happen under some conditions.

    Well, pashtuns, pal`ns, and iraqis cld say: But that`s what the are already doing to us and they are just begining! tnx

  8. bozh said on September 17th, 2010 at 8:19pm #

    You`re right about : “there is a constant and change in interpersonal reationship“.
    I recall that i meant to say that interpersonal relationship is a constant but other phenomena change. As u noted, the statement is quite confusing and contradictory.
    And it`s not the first time i have been contradictory or put statements in wrong order.

    About the state? I never use the word. I describe what i see. But now that u mentioned it, i aver there is no state without people. In US army cia, fbi, police echelons are vital parts of US governance and i may note the most important part of US system of governance.
    That`s where i see power and not in congress or judiciary. But of course, the higher echelons get well paid; else no cia, fbi, army to do the dirty work.
    And have to perform as payers demand.
    All this is totally out of hands of about at least 80% of americans. Calling all this by any name does not explain anything but seeing all this explains everything.

    Let`s face one fact and shout it from roof tops: money always bought killers let alone liars and apsolute power brings us only evil.
    Still, money is a great tool; it is not an evil: people behave in an evil way and for at least 10 k yrs. tnx

  9. Rehmat said on September 18th, 2010 at 5:18am #

    Karl Marx being a ‘liberal’ Jew – still could not act other than a usual ‘Shylocks’. His communis recipe to Capitalism – was nothing but the other-side of the same coin…..Money for the ‘chosen’ elite.

    Russian legend is that Ksenia Khrushcheva after watching her son’s pompuous life-style for three days at the Red Square – she told her son before returning to her village home: “Wait until the real communists arrive”.