Why I Am A Communist

Why I Am A Communist

An informal post on communism, currency, and why I stand behind communism
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I've found myself defending communism very often this week. In one class I was tasked with designing a utopia and discerned early on that the only trouble I'd have in designing my utopia would be doing so without rewriting the Communist Manifesto. In another class, the professor asked about the implications of capitalism, and before I realized it I was preaching the tenets and the necessity of communism to a roomful of bored and confused college students. Only the professor seemed impressed with my claim that the goal of the current capitalist economy is to self-sustain and propagate. The market isn't interested in how to improve the lives of consumers unless they are concerned with how to make the process of commodity consumption simpler to take part in. However, even that concern falls second to profit. If the options for a capitalist are between employing more blue collar workers at a relatively high minimum wage so as to promote increased commodity consumption by the middle class (aka galvanizing the market so that all can take part while lessening overall profits through increased spending) and outsourcing in a different nation so as to lessen wages and increase profit overall while, as a consequence, decreasing the buying power of the middle class in US, outsourcing as an option always wins out because capitalists, whom Marx referred to as bourgeoisie, are interested how they can best make money. Best in this instance refers efficiency (the least effort and spending on the side of the capitalist).

The average working class citizen who bears the weight of this decision is not a capitalist in real life because capitalists are those running the market, the ones who own/manage the companies and corporations, those at the forefront of the industry. The capitalists are those who employ average working class citizens and provide them with wages for their work. To use Marxist vocabulary the working class citizen is a member of the proletariat, the group exclusively exploited by capitalists. However, if one wasn't born and raised in a world so heavily entrenched in the idea of capitalism, and, in my opinion, the idea of currency in general, one could easily see the failures of the current system and beyond it. One would be able to look past the monetary value of time, work, products, and services, and see that there is a deeper, more salient human value being ignored.

The reason we want to be paid is because we want to feel like the work we do, whatever work it is, is valuable. But, on the more practical side of things, we want to be paid because the amount of money one has determined their station in life and their standard of living. But, if we abolished the notion of currency if we completely wiped it off the table, what would be the point of working? And what would that work be worth?

Think about it this way: if tomorrow, every nation across the work announced they were switching from a capitalist system to a communist one, people would still work. Why? Because someone has to produce the goods and services we've come to depend on. Someone has to keep the lights on. Someone has to keep the water running. Someone has to keep the sewage out of the streets. Someone has to keep producing iPods and keep up the servers that sustain the mighty internet. We would still need hospitals and nurses. We would still need teachers. We would still garbage-men, firefighters, couriers. With currency, we think about work as something we need to do so we can afford a certain standard of life, no matter how low or high it is. Without currency, work evolves into something that allows us to maintain a certain standard of life, one that is not luxurious but also not plagued by need.

It's easy to assume that once people stop getting paid, they won't want to work anymore, that there'll be no practical incentive to get people off their couches, but that assumes that without working, they would still get to live the way they had been, that all of our social institutions run on magic and fairies, not human labor. Without currency, work still exists because need still exists. All that changes is one's attitude towards work. Work is no longer something that is detached from need. Work becomes the satisfaction of a need. One works so that his/her needs can be fulfilled, not to earn a paycheck that may or may not cover the bills. One works, whatever the job is, so as to do their part to keep the nation running, and as a result, their lights stay one, their phones stay on, they can share in the food produced, they can enjoy all the luxuries of what we in a capitalist society call “middle-class” life, but there would be no class, no rulers or CEOs, who occupy the highest economic strata and call the shots while others can't even carve out a spot on the totem pole.

I am a communist because I believe that without currency, the world would still run. In fact, it would run better because there would be real value in the work one does, value not dependent on a certain amount of gold or sheets of paper. We would work to sustain ourselves, not to attempt some ersatz imitation of the luxurious lives those higher on the social strata take part in. I'm a communist because without currency, a community is forced to persist for the good of itself instead of for the good of currency. Currency is something we constructed, something we gave value and something we try to protect, but it is not a necessity, and our constant pursuit of currency is what has created world-wide instability and inequality. Communism counteracts this because it is an ideology based on the understanding that working towards the good of the community necessarily provides for the good of the individual.

Cover Image Credit: TheOdysseyonline.com

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The Trump Presidency Is Over

Say hello to President Mike Pence.

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Remember this date: August 21, 2018.

This was the day that two of President Donald Trump's most-important associates were convicted on eight counts each, and one directly implicated the president himself.

Paul Manafort was Trump's campaign chairman for a few months in 2016, but the charges brought against him don't necessarily implicate Trump. However, they are incredibly important considering was is one of the most influential people in the Trump campaign and picked Mike Pence to be the vice presidential candidate.

Manafort was convicted on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failure to file a report of a foreign bank account. And it could have been even worse. The jury was only unanimous on eight counts while 10 counts were declared a mistrial.

Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer, told a judge that Trump explicitly instructed him to break campaign-finance laws by paying two women not to publicly disclose the affairs they had with Trump. Those two women are believed to be Karen McDougal, a Playboy model, and Stormy Daniels, a pornstar. Trump had an affair with both while married to his current wife, Melania.

And then to no surprise, Fox News pundits spun this in the only way they know how. Sara Carter on Hannity said that the FBI and the Department of Justice are colluding as if it's some sort of deep-state conspiracy. Does someone want to tell her that the FBI is literally a part of the DOJ?

The Republican Party has for too long let Trump get away with criminal behavior, and it's long past time to, at the very least, remove Mr. Trump from office.

And then Trump should face the consequences for the crimes he has committed. Yes, Democrats have a role, too. But Republicans have control of both chambers of Congress, so they head every committee. They have the power to subpoena Trump's tax returns, which they have not. They have the power to subpoena key witnesses in their Russia investigations, which they have not.

For the better part of a year I have been asking myself what is the breaking point with Republicans and Trump. It does not seem like there is one, so for the time being we're stuck with a president who paid off two women he had an affair with in an attempt to influence a United States election.

Imagine for a second that any past president had done even a fraction of what Trump has.

Barack Obama got eviscerated for wearing a tan suit. If he had affairs with multiple women, then Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell would be preparing to burn him at the stake. If they won't, then Trump's enthusiastic would be more than happy to do so.

For too long we've been saying that Trump is heading down a road similar to Nixon, but it's evident now that we're way past that point. Donald Trump now has incriminating evidence against him to prove he's a criminal, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is just getting started.

Will Trump soften the blow and resign in disgrace before impeachment like Nixon did? Knowing his fragile ego, there's honestly no telling what he'll do. But it's high time Trump leaves an office he never should have entered in the first place.

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Dear Jeff Bezos, Why Did You Wait So Long To Start Donating To Charities?

The richest man in the world finally decided to become charitable; I do not think his intentions are pure.

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Recently, Jerry News reported that the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, donated $2 billion to charities in support of homelessness, and the construction of pre-schools in low-income neighborhoods.

This charitable effort made by the Bezos family has been named, "The Bezos Day One Fund", and the report was made by Jerry News on September 13, 2018.

For those of you unaware, Jeff Bezos has been the richest man in the world (and in modern history) for some time now. Yet, the Bezos Day One Fund is his first recorded substantial charity effort. As a matter of fact, in 2017 Bezos ranked last in charitable giving amongst billionaires.

In addition, to being the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos is also responsible for the unsafe conditions within Amazon warehouses.

EHS Today reported that in September alone, two people were killed while working inside of an Amazon warehouse. Their names were Devan Shoemaker, 28, and Philip Terry, 59. Shoemaker lost his life when he was run over by a truck in a Pennsylvania warehouse; Terry lost his life when his head was smashed by a forklift in an Indiana warehouse.

Terry and Shoemaker are only two of the many individuals that have been killed and/or harmed inside of Amazon warehouses across America (not to mention, the rest of the world).

On top of these unsafe working conditions, Bezos is responsible for the consequence of providing his employees with low wages and unpaid medical leave.

In reference to wages: Zip recruiter reports that the average salary for 'title pickers' – individuals working in Amazon's warehouses – averages an annual salary of $25,000. This is not consistent among Amazon executives and officers, whose annual salaries range from $58,000-$147,000.

In reference to medical leave: Vickie Shannon Allen reported to heavy.com that she became homeless after being injured on the job at Amazon and denied a proper paid leave. I highly suggest taking a look for yourself (click here). Allen started a Go Fund Me page to raise enough money to get medical attention.

Vickie Allen's story is a lot to digest but what is even more alarming is that she is not the only one. Several Americans across the country have turned to homelessness while working for Amazon due to being injured at work and not being compensated for their time of recovery.

To cut Jeff Bezos a break for a minute and to make the situation somewhat worse, it is important to mention that Bezos is not the only one doing this to Americans; take the Walton-Walmart family, for instance. When was the last time you heard something good about the treatment of Walmart employees? Never? – Me neither.

When employers do not pay their employees enough to seek medical insurance and also do not provide their employees with medical insurance, employees generally seek help from the government. Hence, this is where our tax dollars are going – folks.

That said, in response to corporate absurdities, on September 5, 2018, Bernie Sanders made a fairly bold political move: he introduced the Senate bill, "Stop BEZOS". The "Stop BEZOS" Act would require companies such as Amazon and Walmart to pay the government for food stamps, public housing, Medical care, and other federal assistance received by their employees.

Quoted from Sanders' Instagram, "Yesterday I introduce a bill to give billionaires like Bezos and the Walton's a choice: pay workers a living wage, or pay the public assistance your low-wage workers rely on."

The Washington Post reports Bernie Sanders stating, "In other words, the taxpayers of this country would no longer be subsidizing the wealthiest people in this country who are paying their workers inadequate wages," Sanders said at a news conference announcing the bill. "Despite low unemployment, we end up having tens of millions of Americans working at wages that are just so low that they can't adequately take care of their families." (click here to read the full article)

All of the foregoing considered, it seems to me like Jeff Bezos' newly proposed charity effort is entirely meditated.

I mean, let's look at the timeline:

In 2017 Jeff Bezos became the world richest man – who also ranked last on the list of billionaires to give – who also was responsible for the homelessness of many of his injured employees.

Beginning early in 2018, Bernie Sanders began calling Bezos out until he finally introduced his "Stop BEZOS" Senate bill.

On September 13, 2018, Bezos introduced his charity efforts for homelessness and the construction of pre-schools in low-economic areas.

Why didn't he make his charity foundation earlier? He has been the richest man in the world for a year now, after all. And, why did he decide to focus his foundation on homelessness and socio-economic issues?

Maybe I am just a skeptic, but it seems pretty obvious to me that Bezos does not have honest, humble intentions. It seems like he is doing everything in his power- which includes donating billions of dollar –to preserve his image as well as Amazons.

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