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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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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We're All Thinking It, I'm Saying It: Too Many People Are Running For President

I'm all for options, but man, do we really need 24? I mean, I can barely pick a flavor of ice cream at Baskin Robbins let alone a potential President.

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There are, currently, 23 Democrats running for President. On the Republican side, there's, of course, Trump, but only one other candidate, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld. Democrats have a whole range of people running, from senators to congressmen, a former vice-president, and even a spiritual advisor. We can now say that there are DOZENS of people running for President in 2020.

Joe Biden has been leading the pack for quite some time now. He was even leading polls before he announced his campaign. Although he is the frontrunner, there really is no big favorite to win the nomination. Biden has been hovering around the mid-30s in most polls, with Bernie Sanders coming in second. Other minor candidates in the hunt are Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Kamala Harris.

After the surprising defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016, Democrats have become electrified and have a mission to take back the White House after winning back the House of Representatives in 2018. There are so many people running in 2020, it seems that it will be hard to focus on who is saying what and why someone believes in something, but in the end, there can only be one candidate. This is the most diverse group of candidates ever, several women are running, people of color, the first out gay candidate, and several more.

There could be a problem when it comes to debate time. I mean, the first debate is next month. Having around 20-plus people on stage at the same time, debating each other kinda sounds like a nightmare. How can someone get their point across in the right amount of time when someone else is going to cut them off? Debates are usually around an hour and a half. So, if you divide it up, each candidate would get just under five minutes to speak. That would be in a perfect world of course.

Democrats seriously believe that they can beat Trump in 2020. They say they have learned from the mistakes of 2016, and have the guts and the momentum to storm back into the White House. By July of next year, there will be only one candidate left. Will they be able to reconcile the divide during the primaries? We will see. It will surely be a fun election cycle, so make sure to have your popcorn ready and your ballot at hand to pick your favorite candidate, no matter what party you lean towards.

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