Facts, Myths and Observations of the social equality movement, through Ernest Mandel’s “From Class Society to Communism” and others.
A quick glance at the current world affairs and its history over the past two decades proves that the dilemma facing humanity is more evident and more inevitable than ever: socialism or barbarism.
First, two main points:
-The temporary collapse of the superpower nation and other states built on the social equality principles does not imply the failure of the ideology. Neither do the mistakes made along the way mean the impossibility of application or the inability of the approach to achieve satisfaction. Every life-arranging social system (even the ones that are (allegedly) divine) is an eternal process of trial and error, leading to victories and defeats, highs and lows. For example: The terminal collapse and failure of the Islamic State (The Arabs sole pride and contribution to humanity) and the severe deviation from the main Islam principles in the post- Mohammad (post-Omar) era (as indicated by civil wars, massacres, corruption, immorality, inequality, power struggles,…) do not mean that the Islamic ideology is intrinsically incapable of being the base for a modern progressive state based on equality, peace and respect of the other. Even the capitalist imperialist ideology that appears to be the most dominant and successful in this era went through its share of peaks and near-collapses, and is eventually destined to fail. As humanity continues to experience the tragic results of the social systems based on exploitation and injustice, the “alive populations” will definitely choose (or revert to) the ones promising to achieve social equality.
-The social equality movement and its associated theories are not necessarily against spirituality. It is not set to fight “religion” as much as it rallies against the religious institute that “teaches the exploited to accept their fate”. Human beings awareness of “death” instantly pushes them towards a spiritual connection with an unseen force. This connection should not be allowed to get abused by a privileged, non-productive (sometimes illiterate) class of intermediates who view themselves superior to the masses and are closely allied with the exploiting and governing class.
Lenin in this famous “Religion is the opium of the people” piece states that: “Impotence of the exploited classes in their struggle against the exploiters -just as inevitably- gives rise to the belief in a better life after death as impotence of the savage in his battle with nature gives rise to belief in gods, devils, miracles, and the like. Those who toil and live in want all their lives are taught by religion to be submissive and patient while here on earth, and to take comfort in the hope of a heavenly reward.”. This is the perfect explanation to the passive approach of the Arab masses and the recent ever-escalating religious “awakening!” phenomenon among the Arab youth. Lenin also adds: “Religion must be declared a private affair”. “Everyone must be absolutely free to profess any religion he pleases, or no religion whatever, i.e., to be an atheist, which every socialist is, as a rule”. Notice how even though he prefers atheism to be the religion of socialists, he still acknowledged the freedom of religion as long as it does not interfere with the government (i.e. the struggle towards equality). Adopting from President Nasser: “Religion is for God and (Equality) is for all”.
One cannot neglect the role of the regressive agent regimes in promoting the misconceptions regarding the atheist nature of the social equality movements. Instructed by their American imperialist masters, these regimes (
(Notice that despite the recently surfacing “differences” between the oppressive regimes and these Islam-based political movements, the regimes continue to prefer them over any other genuine “people-based” social equality and reform movements. The historically passive Islamic movements lack a true destination and has moved from the unconditional support to the regime to a grey area, (As Nahid Hattar recently asked here: What is political Islam relation to the government? (And more importantly to the regime)). Political Islam ability to marginalize a large sector of the population (especially the youth), the ability to control “action-vital” positions in the workers unions and student council under the simple programs of: “I pray, you pray, hence I am your best candidate”, and the ability to employ all that into guiding the masses in the wrong direction and towards fighting the wrong battles are the best guarantees that the regime will never face a true opposition).
A few more facts and fictions:
-Fact: Socialism is a need and not a choice. Inequality of wealth is not only an economic fact; it is a matter of life and death. A quick look at infant mortalities, malnutrition, war casualties, literary rates and the availability of the basic needs of food, clothes and shelter shows the unfair distribution of numbers between the rich and the poor.
-Myth: Everybody have a chance to be an owner of capital in the capitalist society. This is against the basic definition of the capitalist society. The capitalist society is built on constantly reproducing the same two classes: wage earners who can never become the owners of the means of production through their earnings and the owners of those means of production who expand this ownership through reinvestment. It is true that some technicians become company directors, but that usually needs a university education (impossible for workers under a certain poverty level), and even these positions represent another exclusive institution that is closed for the workers. In the
-Fact: The aim of socialism is a society founded on abundance not poverty. All producers liberate themselves from constant punishing labor, granting sufficient leisure time to the whole community so they can collectively fulfill the tasks of economic, social and political life. There will not be the need for excessive hours of labor that will be appropriated by the capitalist who is accumulating fortune for the sole purpose of accumulating fortune. There is no need for unlimited production growth, but a need for an enough social surplus product, generated from an advanced economy and distributed among all.
-Myth: Social inequality is rooted in the inequality of individual talents or capacities and the class division in society is the product of (inborn selfishness) and egoism. This generally accepted view has no scientific basis. The exploitation of one social class by the other is the product of the evolution of society and not human nature. It has not always existed and it will not survive. There have not always been rich and poor and there will not always be. Humanity has always showed its nostalgia for the community life, and that is proven through the numerous historical revolts against inequality.
-Fact: The members of the exploited class are brought to accept the appropriation of the social surplus by a minority as inevitable, permanent and just. Social equality movements try to convince the workers otherwise, despite the constraints that try to stabilize the class rule. Laws, family and religion try to enforce the surrender to this “fate”, in order to consolidate the domination of one class over the other.
-Myth: “The disorder provoked by the struggle against injustice would be worse than injustice itself (Goethe against the French Revolution)”. Stability and security are necessary for the capitalist economy to function as normal. The collective interest of the capitalist class is what dictates the capitalist state’s behavior. The false sense of security (strictly enjoyed by the rich) also helps convince the exploited to surrender to the established order.