Archive for Engels

Study of Marxism

Posted in Communist Movement, Marxism with tags , , , , , , on September 17, 2009 by Umer

by Imran Barlas

“According to the materialist conception of history, the ultimately determining element in history is the production and reproduction of real life. Other than this neither Marx nor I have ever asserted. Hence if somebody twists this into saying that the economic element is the only determining one, he transforms that proposition into a meaningless, abstract, senseless phrase.”Engels

To derive a more accurate conclusion of whether the economic and philosophical theories of Marx can work or not, it would be beneficial to:

  • Study the economic theories themselves

We spend the entirety of our school, college, university years learning about capitalism. We cannot rely on a simple booklet which was never intended to form the basis of economic/philosophical theory anyway. On the contrary, we study in depth about subjects to arrive at truly accurate analyses about how the world works.

After all, something is clearly wrong with how the world works today. Today, we are in what is being termed as the Great Recession. Had the major capitalist economies not regulated or intervened through the state, it would have been quite likely that we would have entered a Depression. And that would have been even more disastrous.

Why is it then that despite having Ivy League graduates at the helm of businesses, top professionals from the highest ranking universities regarded as some of the smartest people in the world, that the interlinked economies were quite helpless in preventing the crisis? The answer is that the crisis is systemic. No matter how smart one is or how moral one is, the nature of the system is such that recessions and depressions, i.e. perpetual failures will continue to result due to the irreconcilable antagonism between labor and capital.

The effects on people of a recession are obvious. Hundreds of thousands are thrown out of their jobs. Those workers that remain begin to see reductions in their wages so that the owners/shareholders may continue to stay rich! The ‘symbiotic’ relationship between capitalists and workers that is so often claimed in university text books ends without a second thought. Resource based wars start brewing for the retention of profitability and economic vitality. And so on.

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Moosa Sai Marx Tak (From Moses to Marx)

Posted in Books & Authors, Marxism with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 9, 2009 by Umer

Preface and Chapter 1

Moosa se Marx Tak is one the best known writings of the South Asian Marxist and public intellectual, Syed Sibte Hasan. Sibte Hasan remained steadfast in his commitment towards Marxism-Leninism through out his life and contributed enormously in the revolutionary struggle through his pen.  For many decades, Moosa se Marx Tak was the fundamental guiding texts for the activists and students of the Leftist politics of Pakistan. Therefore, it gives me great pleasure to present the preface and the first chapter of this authoritative text translated by Syed Ehtisham (with minor editorial changes) at the Red Diary:

Preface

Marx and Engels devised the term scientific socialism for their political thought, and idealistic socialism for ‘old fashioned’ socialism, which encompassed the reformist plans which European thinkers offered from time to time. The plans had not been inferred from the conditions on the ground, but were a reflection of their subjective aspirations. Scientific socialism, on the other hand, was derived from, and logical conclusion of existing objective conditions (maroozi hallat). Its principles of evolution had been derived from a deep study of the capitalist system.

Scientific socialism refers to a social system in which all means of production-land, minerals, factories, banks, trade-are collectively owned by the society, and the produce is distributed according to the qualitative worth of the work performed by physical and intellectual cadres.

Communism is the next stage of scientific socialism, under which means of production and the produce is so advanced that the measure of distribution is not worth, but need of the people.

Foes of socialism have tried to malign it by asserting that it does not allow any personal possessions. That is far from the truth. Socialism does not permit exploitation of labor for accumulation of wealth by individuals or groups, for example control over land, minerals, manufactories and finance. Private property is sacrosanct under the feudal and capitalist systems (and supported by all religions), where as the foundations of socialism lie in abolition of such private ownership and transferring it to social ownership.

Private ownership has created so many social evils that public ownership is being promoted even in capitalist societies (nationalization of essential services and welfare). Means of production were nationalized (in the post-WW II Europe) and Asian countries.

The other private ownership pertains to items of personal use, like clothes, utensils, home, books, bicycle, radio, etc. Under a capitalist system, people do not have adequate quantities of items of personal use (even in rich societies). A socialist society, on the other hand aims to provide people with sufficient quantity of items of personal use. There is no equivalence in people’s productive or inventive capacity, so the income of each and every one under a socialist system will not be the same.

Socialism does not repress individuality, in fact it encourages it. Only exploitation of labor for personal aggrandizement is proscribed.

Chapter 1: Early Communism

Europeans ‘discovered’ America, and traveled to India in the early 15th CE. They gained great material wealth, and gained important knowledge and information. The general public was entranced by the stories of travelers, and though they contained more half truths and outright lies than facts, the general public listened to them and developed great interest in exploration of the world unknown to them and the greed to acquire wealth.

This mind set induced Sir Thomas Moore to write his classic work “Utopia”, which relates experiences of a fictitious sailor, who happened to land in a far off island, where people lived in a communist society. The same instinct led the English novelist Daniel Defoe to pen “Robinson Crusoe”, and Swift to write “Gulliver’s Travels”.

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