Monday, November 26, 2012

Communism in America? We're on the Road - Hear it From Marx Himself

By Ben Porter

For the aural oriented viewer (those who prefer to listen rather than read), an audio recording of this article is available on Youtube here, It is also embedded at the end of the article.

Earlier today I was reading an article in Pravda by Xavier Lerma entitled "Obama's Soviet Mistake." For anyone who doesn't know, Pravda is a publication that was formed by Russian Revolutionaries just before World War I. It became the official Communist publication of the Soviet Union. I'm not sure what they do these days, but the article was fascinating and certainly not something you would expect from such a publication.

In the article, Xavier makes some very strong statements about Barack Obama, including "He is a Communist without question promoting the Communist Manifesto without calling it so.... His cult of personality mesmerizes those who cannot go beyond their ignorance. They will continue to follow him like those fools who still praise Lenin and Stalin in Russia. Obama's fools and Stalin's fools share the same drink of illusion."

If what Xavier is saying is true, then those of us who care about freedom have some work to do. Not many forms of government are so diametrically incompatible with freedom as Communism is, and if there is evidence that we are headed down the road of Communism, we must understand this and work to prevent it.

Communism in a theoretical, idealistic, and imaginary world may sound superior to all other systems (and the author thinks that it does), but it simply cannot and does not work when administered by imperfect and corruptible human beings. For this reason, many of the most brutal, oppressive, and controlling regimes in the World have been Communists.

The idea behind Communism, that is to eliminate social classes so everyone in society is equal, is not prima facie a bad idea. However, it typically results in the ascension of select individuals into a new ruling class, which becomes corrupted with power. In many cases, in order to maintain power, the ruling class must oppress the population, sometimes to the extent of torture and mass murder. Additionally, the government involvement, control, and oversight that is required to enforce Communism crushes individual incentive to work hard and achieve. This is why Communism is simply incompatible with freedom.

Is Barack Obama really a Communist? Is America becoming a Communist country?

It is important that we answer these questions and examine the truth, as very few topics are more important to freedom than Communism. To answer these questions, I recently read the Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. I was quite surprised at what I found, as it was very eye-opening. I encourage everyone to read the manifesto for themselves because what we are covering here is only a drop in the bucket.

I would like to draw the reader's attention to the following segment of the Communist Manifesto. Note here, that Marx and Engels are describing the process that a capitalist country (like the United States) would have to go through in order to overthrow Capitalism and install Communism in its place. There are ten steps outlined below, many of which we have already undertaken. I have copied here verbatim from the Communist Manifesto.

We have seen above, that the first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class to win the battle of democracy.
The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organised as the ruling class; and to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as possible.
Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionising the mode of production.
These measures will, of course, be different in different countries.
Nevertheless, in most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable.

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the 27 Chapter II: Proletarians and Communists populace over the country.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c, &c.

I realize that this article is getting long, so we will only cover a few very obvious points, and future articles will go more in depth. We will see how right Xavier Lerma is, and if you're anything like me, you will not be happy after reading this:

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

Surely Obama has never advocated for this right? Well, as of 2010 the Federal government owns a ton of land in the country. Over 1/4 of the country is owned by the federal government. There are many states such as Nevada (81.1% of Nevada is owned by the Federal Government), that are mostly Federal land. Why does the Federal government need so much land? This is a topic I would like to get deeper into at a later date.

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

Anyone who had ears during the campaign of 2012 must have heard Obama's message of "taxing the rich" and making "the rich pay their fair share." It is easy to stir up class warfare with statements like this, but something I never noticed before was how fundamental this is for Communism to function. The idea is that by confiscating the wealth and redistributing it as the government sees fit, all social class will be dissolved. Well, isn't this exactly what our tax structure is doing? The government is confiscating wealth through taxes, and spending it on programs of their choosing.

It is no secret that we have a heavily progressive income tax, and that Obama wants to make it even heavier by continuing the Bush tax cuts on the middle class but expiring them on the upper income earners. I do not want to go into a detailed breakdown of tax rates here because that would take all day, but think about all the kickbacks that essentially zero out the income taxes paid by most families, such as mortgage deductions, child tax credits, "making work pay" and more. Now, I enjoy those breaks myself being quite far from the level of "rich," but I will be enjoying them much less now that I see this correlation.

Prior to reading this I was supportive of a progressive tax, because it does seem intuitively more fair. However, I am currently reconsidering my position on this as I think about the implications and the slippery slope effect. Once the majority of people are not paying, what is it for them to raise taxes on those who are paying? I am fascinated at some of the ideas proposed in the Fair Tax and the Flat Tax (which are different). We won't cover those ideas here, but if you're interested I recommend reading about them.

3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.

When I read this one, my mind starting screaming "Estate Tax!"

According to CNN Money, Obama "Would reinstate the estate tax at 2009 levels -- meaning estates worth more than $3.5 million would be subject to the tax and face a top rate of 45%." This means that if Obama gets what he wants, when someone with more than $3.5 million in their estate dies (keep in mind that this isn't just the super rich here, this can hit people with valuable family property and retirement funds), the government will confiscate approximately half of their belongings, for no other reason than their death! Obama's position on this is clear, and it is obvious that he is indeed inline with the Communist Manifesto.

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

As far as I know Obama has never proposed anything like this. Please point me in the right direction via comment below if you have any information about this one.

5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.

Two things immediately jumped into my head when I read this one: Student loans, and Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac.

After taking office in 2008, Obama made two major changes to the student loan program. Firstly, he nationalized the student loan program, such that the only place to get a student loan is now the federal government! For many low income people, this now means that they must comply with government requirements or else they will not be able to attend college. For now there are no restrictions on what can be studied and what qualifies (as far as I know), but what happens when the government needs to stimulate a certain industry by providing more graduates in that field (such as doctors now that Obamacare is chasing many of them into retirement)? Secondly, he offered a forgiveness program for people making long-term payments on their student loans.

As for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the amount of government involvement in the mortgage business is staggering. According to the NY Times, Fannie Mae alone backs over 40% of US mortgages. On top of that you have Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae that are government backed, that also buy mortgages. Also, the percentage of government-backed mortgages is increasing quickly.

The point here is that the government is clearly involved in mortgages and student loans, and government involvement is expanding under Obama. Mortgages and student loans make up the bulk of credit an average person will receive during their lifetime, so the fact that the government is becoming the only source should give us all pause, particularly in light of the fact that it is on the Communist Manifesto list of things to do to convert a country to Communism.

6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.

Public transportation has been proliferating in most cities nationwide, though it has been heavily subsidized because it is very difficult to make a profit. The reasons for this are many, but a large part of the problem is that people don't like public transportation so they avoid it when they can. In addition to public transportation, the automotive and transportation industries are heavily regulated. Obama has been highly supportive of increased mass transit projects, even funneling a lot of his stimulus money into them. This is yet another category in which Obama is clearly inline with the Manifesto, and the country is headed in the wrong direction.

7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

This is another area that does not have a strong amount of evidence, although Obama's takeover of General Motors after the bailout certainly seems to qualify. The GM deal was wildly unprecedented in many ways such as having a government official fire a private sector CEO, having the government take stock in the company and redistribute it according to their wishes instead of fairly to the current stake holders, etc.

8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

I haven't heard Obama (or anyone else in either party) talk about industrial armies, but we have certainly heard from Michelle Obama that "Barack Obama will require you to work." Michelle made this seemingly bizarre statement at a campaign event in 2008. Funny thing, after this Michelle was not put in the spotlight a whole lot. At any rate, a statement like this is very inline with the Communist Manifesto, and very unusual for an American politician.

9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the 27 Chapter II: Proletarians and Communists populace over the country.

This one is a bit more difficult to place, although George Soros has been buying up lots of farmland. I'm not sure if this is linked to Obama or not, but it is interesting.

10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c, &c.

This one shouldn't require a lot of explanation. It is very clear that we have followed this completely, and that Obama supports this.

So is Xavier right?

After examining his position on these ten items, it is clear that Obama supports at least 70%, possibly more. I think it is important to point out though that although Obama is the current president, many of these are policies that both Democrats and Republicans have been supporting for decades and even centuries! Obama (as has been shown) is more Marxist than typical American politicians (and in fact in his book "Dreams from my Father" he describes many of his influences and sympathies as distinctly Marxist), although he cannot be single-handedly given credit for pushing America towards Communism.

In closing, I would like to clarify my position (and thus the position of the Freedom Review) on the issues addressed here. I am not necessarily advocating a discontinuation of policies that mirror these 10 points from the Communist Manifesto. I am however, advocating that we take a closer look at how we can structure our government and society to fulfill our needs without government intervention (as much as is possible), and according to our Constitution. Freedom cannot exist where an intrusive and overreaching government restricts the rights of citizens (within reason of course). Therefore, it is important that we critically consider policies that were laid out as stepping stones toward Communism, and decide if they really do make sense for our country. These are complex issues, but the time to start considering them is now.

Here is the audio recording of Communism in America? We're on the Road - Hear it from Marx Himself:

Direct Link: Communism in America? We're on the Road - Hear it from Marx Himself

1 comment:

  1. Very thought-provoking. It's a relief to see that someone at least is doing their homework before they rag on Obama or spout political niceties.

    It was awfully frightening to hear the percentage of mortgages being controlled via Fannie Mae, and how much land the government owns. One of the key elements of communism is the absence of private property; with land being one of the first that's supposed to go. I hope there's a way to slam on the brakes with the direction we're going, but it does seem pretty unreasonable for those we elect into power to pass legislation that takes away some of the powers they already have. Seems like the nation is between a rock and a hard place.

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