Communism for dummies?
Let’s go, while simplifying thousands of pages… (From memory and while trying to be most honest possible, it is a summary, nothing more, not a criticism)
Communism is an idea, that of the pooling of the whole of the essential goods. To each one according to its needs. … It is an old idea. The doctrine was formatted by Marx among others.
Marx defined his thought as the synthesis of German philosophy, French sociology and the English political economy.
Marx extended the studies of the English classical economists.
The value of a good depends on the quantity of work which is directly or indirectly built-in there. The current economic system, known as capitalist, is founded on the private appropriation of the capital, i.e. the means of production. An employee contributes to the production of goods and services. He yields his labour force to the capitalist and this one uses it to produce goods and services. Part of the goods and services produced are sold to ensure his remuneration. The surplus, once deduced first, the cost of the materials, of external services, investments, etc constitutes the added value that the owner of the means of production keeps for himself.
In fact, the labour force of the employee is used to produce a quantity of goods and services higher than the value of that force, equal to its cost of reproduction.
The capitalist system is thus founded on the exploitation of the man by the man, i.e. by the appropriation by the capitalists of the labour force of the employees. The capitalist system is condemned to extend and include all planet, to destroy the other modes of production and to incorporate in the commercial sphere the whole of the human relations. (Badly not seen in 1850). As it can survive only while extending, it is condemned to decay during the day when it will not be able to grow any more.
The evolution of the society starts with the division of the labour. That implies the specialization and the appearance of the social classes. The place of the individuals in the society is determined by their place in the system of production. The individuals who occupy a similar place form a social class. The social classes are in permanent conflict, more or less opened, for the division of the added value and the property of the means of production.
A given society is constituted according to the existing system of production and the long-term history is that of the passage of a system of production to another. Thus, in the feudal system, the essential good for the production of tangible properties is the earth. Those who control the ground, the lords, form the dominant class. The peasants form the dominated class.
The developments of the productive forces, the appearance of the merchant, allow the appearance of a new social class, the bourgeoisie. This one reverses the feudal order and founds a new society, the capitalist society. The function of the State is to keep the social order, i.e. to guarantee the perenniality of the system of domination. It has ideological and repressive apparatuses, the army, church etc…. In the capitalist system, the principal classes are the capitalist class and the formed proletariat of the productive employees and their families. There are other classes but they are subordinated to the capitalist class.
Materialism: the matter is all, the conscience of the man, his spirit are not separated from his body. The thoughts of the men are born from their material conditions of existence, of their place in the process of production of the tangible properties. (Process meaning the methods and proceedings of production). The capitalist system controls the ideological production and the ideology of the dominant class constitutes the dominant ideology.
An ideology is a system of ideas, of representation which translates the vision of the world by the individuals. The man is alienated because it is dispossessed of his labour force, exploited, because is reduced to the statute of good, because his conscience of the world is distorted by the dominant ideology. In fact, he is not any more owner of himself.
Lastly, the revolution…. Pass by the throwing down of the capitalist State, and during a phase of transition, by the installation of dictatorship of the proletariat. This one does not constitute a dictatorship with the traditional meaning but the replacement of a class by another. The communist society supposes the disappearance of the exploitation, the social classes and the State.
For those which that interests: a novel of SF of Ursula K Guin describing an anarchistic company: “The Dispossessed” which is even worth being read for himself.