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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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

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Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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That One Time I May Have Shot An Ex-Police Officer

Yeah, you heard me.

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In England, we don't really have guns, maybe hunting guns but I think it's pretty rare. Anyway, point is, barely any guns. I have never seen a gun, shot a gun, I don't even know anybody that owns a gun so as an exchange student in Oklahoma it's a novelty to visit a gun range.

I was pretty nervous about shooting but the instructor was super nice and told us how to hold the gun and load it before we went into the range. He also let us ask any questions we had about guns and explained the process of getting a gun in Oklahoma and he said he had visited Europe and was talking about England, and how he used to be a cop and opened his own gun shop. Basically a really really nice guy, which honestly makes harming him ten times worse.

We went into the range and we were shooting a 22 caliber and another guy at the range, I'm assuming a regular, asked if we wanted to fire his revolver so of course, we said yes.

This gun was definitely heavier and the trigger was super hard to pull but he kept his hand on the gun whilst I struggled with the trigger and then I fired it.

I heard a bang and I heard a yell.

I turned around and he was holding his thumb and there was blood dripping onto the floor. At this point, I thought I had shot him, so you can imagine the sheer level of panic that I was feeling.

The color drained from my face and I was frozen solid and all I could say was, "are you okay?" which was answered with a "Ma'am, put the gun down."

Basically, I'm freaking out and I look over at the lads for some form of reassurance, which was met with them looking equally as freaked out as me. So I asked,

"Do we need to call someone?"

"Yep. We are definitely gonna have to call someone"

So at this point, my nerves were shattered and I had no idea what was going on or what the procedure is for this sort of thing. I mean, the guy also took it like a champ and barely even winced and kept repeating "little lady, you're fine" – safe to say I did not feel fine nor did the situation, in my eyes, look at all fine.

Luckily the regulars knew what to do and took him to the ER so we were left in the store with another regular shooter.

Everyone else went back out to shoot but I didn't feel like assaulting/ shooting/ potentially murdering anyone else so I decided to sit this round out and talk to the woman that stayed with us and he called and said it wasn't me, something came off the bullet or gun and went into his hand- so no I didn't actually shoot him and he was going to be okay.

The point of this now very funny story is that whilst guns are cool they're also pretty dangerous.

I have no idea how someone can participate in these mass shootings because I didn't even shoot someone, only thought I did, and it was probably the most terrifying moment of my life.

So, if you are around guns, have fun, be safe and try not to send your instructor to the ER.

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