Site Loader
Get a Quote

though probably less among the proletariat who had fewer material possessions to begin with, than among the small-holding peasants and the remnants of the bourgeoisie.
We have just seen how aware each communist person is of the effect his actions have on others and how concerned he is with their obtaining satisfaction, both because his own personal needs require it and because he has conceptualized himself as a social being of which they are integral parts. It is this which allows him to say, “The sense and enjoyment of other men have become my own appropriation.” Consequently, if one person has something another wants his first reaction is to give it to her. Of private property in land, Marx says, “From the standpoint of a higher economic form of society, private ownership of the globe by single individuals will appear quite as absurd as private ownership of one man by another.” In full communism, with human relationships as I have depicted them, private ownership of anything will appear equally ridiculous. It should be clear that it is never a matter of people depriving themselves for the sake of others. Consumption for all citizens is that which “the full development of the individual requires.” The community stores are complete with everything a communist person could possibly want. “To each according to his need” is the promise communist society makes to all its members.
The question that remains is how to evaluate Marx’s vision of communism. Experience is not a relevant criterion, though the history of the species should make us sensitive to the enormous flexibility of human needs and powers. It is no use to say that such a society has never existed and that the people Marx depicts have never lived. The communist society is the ultimate achievement of a long series of developments which begin with the socialist appropriation of the capitalist mode of production. Its distinctive characteristics evolve gradually out of the programs adopted in the dictatorship of the proletariat and the new relationships and possibilities established. These characteristics cannot exist—and one should not expect to find them—before this context itself has developed in ways that the world has yet to experience. Likewise, the extraordinary qualities Marx ascribes to the people of communism could never exist outside of the unique conditions which give rise to them, and given these conditions the development of other qualities, certainly of opposing qualities, simply makes no sense. One can only state the unproven assumptions on which this expected flowering of human nature rests. These are that the individual’s potential is so varied and great; that people possess an inner drive to realize all this potential; that the whole range of powers in each person can be fully realized together; and that the overall fulfillment of each individual is compatible with that of all others. Given how often and drastically the development and discovery of new social forms has extended accepted view of what is human, I think it would be unwise at this time to foreclose on the possibility that Marx’s assumptions are correct.
There is really only one way to evaluate Marx’s vision of communism and that is to examine his analysis of capitalism to see if the communist society is indeed present within it as an unrealized potential. If Marx sought, as he tells us, “to find the new world through the criticism of the old,” then any judgment of his views on communism rests in the last analysis on the validity of his critique of capitalism. After all, communism is hardly ever opposed because one holds other values, but because it is said to be an unrealizable ideal. In these circumstances, making a case for communism as a possible successor to capitalism is generally enough to convince people that they must help to bring it about.

Post Author: admin