We already know that the root of the evil of all plundering wars, of oppression of the working classes and of all the atrocities of capitalism, is that the world has been enslaved by a few State organised capitalist bands, who own all the wealth of the earth as their private property. The capitalist ownership of the means of production – this is the reason of reasons which explains the barbarity of the present order of things. To deprive the rich of their power by depriving them of their wealth, by force, that is the paramount duty of the working class, of the Labour Party, the party of communists.
Some think that, after depriving the rich of their possessions, these should be religiously, justly and equally divided between everybody, and then all will be well. Everyone, they say, would have just as much as everyone rise; all would be equal, and freed from inequality, oppression and exploitation. Thanks to this equal share-out, general division and allotment of all the riches amongst the poor, everybody will look alter himself, will own all things convenient for his use, and the domination of man over man will vanish.
But this is not the point of view of the Communist Party. The Communist Party considers that such equal sharing would lead to nothing good, and to no other result than confusion and a return to the old order.
Firstly, there are quite a number of things which are impossible to divide. How, for instance, would you divide the railway? If one man gets the rails, another the steel plate, a third one of the screws, and a fourth begins smashing up the carriages to light his stove, a fifth breaks a mirror to have a piece of glass for shaving purposes, and so on – it is plain that this kind of division would not be fair at all, and would only lead to an idiotic plundering and destruction of useful things. It is just as impossible to divide a machine. For, if one takes a pinion, another a lever, and the rest, other parts, the machine will cease to be a machine, and the whole thing will go to ruin. And the same thing holds good with regard to all complicated machinery, which is so important as a means of further production. We have only to think of telegraph and telephone apparatus, and the apparatus at chemical works, etc. It is evident that only an unintelligent man or a direct enemy of the working class would advise this kind of sharing.
This, however, is not the only reason why such a sharing is harmful. Let us suppose that by some kind of miracle, a more or less equal division was attained of everything taken from the rich; even that would not lead to any desirable result in the end. What is the meaning of a division? It means that instead of a few large owners there would spring up a large number of small ones. It means not the abolition of private ownership, but its dispersion over a larger area. In the place of large ownership there would arise ownership on a small scale. But such a period we have already had in the past. We know very well that capitalism and largo capitalists have developed out of the competition between one small owner and another. If we bred a number of small owners as a result of our division, we should get the following result: part of them (and quite a considerable part) would, on the very next day, get rid of their share on some market or other (say the Soucharev Market in Moscow), and their property would thus fall into the hands of wealthier owners; between the remaining ones a struggle would ensue for the buyers, and in this struggle, too, the wealthier ones would soon get the upper hand of the less well-to-do. The latter would soon be ruined and turn into proletarians, and their lucky rivals would amass fortunes, employing men to work for them, and thus be gradually transformed into first-rate capitalists. And so we should, in a very short time, return to the same order which we have just destroyed, and find ourselves once again before the old problem of capitalist exploitation.
Dividing up into small property-holders is not the ideal of the worker or the agricultural labourer. It is rather the dream of the small shopkeeper oppressed by the big one, who wants to become a large shopkeeper himself. How to become a “boss,” how to get hold of as much as possible and retain it in his greedy clutch – that is what the shopkeeper is aiming at. To think of others and consider what this may result in is not his affair so long as he gets an extra sixpence clinking in his pocket. He is not to be frightened by a possible return to capitalism, for he is cherishing a faint hope that he himself, John Smith, may become a capitalist. And that would not be so bad for him.
No; there is an entirely different road along which the working class should go, and is going. The working class is interested in such a reconstruction of society as would make return to capitalism impossible. Sharing of wealth would mean driving capitalism out of the front door only to see it return by the back door. The only way out of this dilemma is a co-operative labour (communist) system.
In a communist order, all the wealth belongs not to individuals or classes, but to society as a whole, which become it were, one great labour association; no one man is master over it. All are equal comrades. There are no classes; capitalists do not employ labour, nor do workers sell their labour to employers. The work is carried out jointly, according to a pre-arranged labour plan. A central bureau of statistics calculates hom much it is required to manufacture in a year: such and such a number of hoots, trousers, sausages, blacking, wheat, cloth, and so on. It will also calculate that for this purpose such and such a number of men must work on the fields and in the sausage work respectively, and such and Midi a number in the large communal tailoring workshops, etc., and working hands will be distributed accordingly.
The whole of production is conducted in a strictly calculated and adjusted plan, on the basis of an exact estimate of all the machines, apparatus, all raw material, and all tin- labour power in the community. There is also an exact account kept of the annual requirements of the community. The manufactured product is stored in a communal warehouse, from whence it is distributed amongst the workers. All work is carried out only in the largest works and on the best machines, thereby saving labour. The management of production is conducted along the most economical lines: all unnecessary expenditure is avoided, owing to work being carried out on one general plan of production. We do not have here the kind of order that allows one kind of management in one place and another kind of management in another; or that one factory, for example, should not know how things are done at another factory, Here, on the contrary, the whole world is weighed and accounted for. Cotton is only grown where the soil is most suitable. The production of coal is concentrated in the richest mines; iron foundries are built in the neighbourhood of coal and in parts where the soil is fit for wheat, it will not be employed for building monstrous city edifices on, but will be used for sowing wheat. Everything, in short, is arranged in such a manner that each kind of production should be carried out in a place most suitable for it, where work could be done most successfully, where things could be obtained easiest, where human labour would be most productive. All this can be attained only by working to a single plan and by organising the whole community into one vast labour commune.
People in this communistic order do not benefit at one another’s expense. There are no rich here, no parvenus, no bosses and no bottom dogs; society is not divided into classes of which one rules over the other. And there being no classes means that there are not two sorts of people (poor and rich), gnashing their teeth against one another, the oppressor against the oppressed, and vice versa. For this same reason we have no such organisation as the State, because there is no dominating class requiring a special organisation to keep their class opponents under their heel. There is no Government to rule men. and there is no power of one man over another. There is administration of things only, management of machines; there is the power of human society over Nature. Mankind is not divided up into hostile camps; it is united by common labour and by a common struggle against the elements. The political barriers that divide nations are done away with. Separate fatherlands are abolished. The whole of humanity, without distinction of nationality, is bound together in. all its parts and organised into one united whole. All peoples form one great united labour association.
Last updated on 7.8.2008