Turning the Tables: Short and Sweet

Bourgeois anti-Communism knows no bounds when it comes to unreliable, irrational and unfounded criticism. Anti-communists will jump onto anything they can find that makes communism out to be monstrous and bloodthirsty. I’ve written before about their use of “yellow media” and even Nazi propaganda. But that isn’t the only ridiculous source they have utilized. Recently, Snopes had to debunk an article from the fucking Onion about Cuba because anti-communists were leaping onto it as if it was true. It occasionally gets so bad that even bourgeois outlets like The Guardian have had to admit that most coverage of North Korea is bogus, as, time and again, those people reported to have been executed in the DPRK have shown up alive and well on television, and defectors are often offered higher pay for scarier stories. The same is true for the coverage of the socialist states of the past as well.

What most of this proves, also, is that socialist or perceived socialist states are held up to standards that the bourgeois intellectuals never set for their favored capitalist states. It is well known that the US has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, higher than the USSR ever had, and yet we are told to think of the Soviet Union as some bloated police state and the US as some bastion of freedom. Bourgeois historians often cite suicide rates as proof of “state oppression,” but only when it can be applied to socialist or “unfavorable” states. Suicide in capitalist countries are just “isolated incidents” of sadness, having nothing to do with the system as a whole, except when that system isn’t to the bourgeoisie’s liking. For bourgeois anti-communists, socialism must work absolutely perfectly in order to be considered anything other than barbaric, but capitalism’s crimes and inefficiencies are just quirks that are part of the beautiful unpredictability of the free market, or whatever.

Not only is socialism held to higher standards than capitalism in large-scale matters, but also, and most annoyingly, in anecdotal commentary. “It works on paper, but…”, “It goes against human nature,” “It discourages innovation.” If I were to point out how it raised the standards of living for the vast majority of people living under socialism, I am told it is inefficient. If I point out how socialism effectively industrialized backwater nations faster than capitalism ever has, proving its efficiency, I am told that it did so at the expense of the people’s well-being. Do you see the contradiction there?

All of this becomes even more clear when the workers in capitalist countries start fighting for their class interests. Every time there is a spike in the Fight for $15 movement, the anti-workerists start spouting off reasons why raising the minimum wage wouldn’t work, and in doing so they mistakenly provide support for socialism by proving that their precious system of exploitation doesn’t work, either in treatment of the people or economically. If a system is to be judged by how it provides for the people or in economic efficiency, the right-wingers’ are basically admitting that capitalism does neither very well.

Let’s take a minute to turn the tables on the various arguments that Rightists use in their opposition to workers’ rights, and put it up to the same standards against which they judge socialism. (Note: I am not trying to imply that the following is anything more than anecdotal. These are not legitimate or useful arguments when I use them, but they aren’t legitimate or useful when anti-communists use them either, which is my whole point.)

Rightist: “If workers are paid more, prices would sky-rocket.”
Response: Then capitalism isn’t efficient enough to care for the people–which is the whole point of every -ism.

Rightist: “If employers are forced to pay their workers higher wages, they will just cut jobs.”
Response: Then capitalism must only work on paper.

Rightist: “Fast food jobs are supposed to be temporary, but too many people are using them as full-time jobs.”
Response: Then capitalism must go against human nature.

Rightist: “No one has any work ethic anymore, they’re all lazy.”
Response: Same as above.

Rightist: “If workers have to be paid more, more jobs will just become automated.”
Response: Then. Capitalism. Doesn’t. Work.

How do these anti-worker reactionaries not see the logical conclusions of what they’re saying? In all of these standard arguments, they admit that capitalism lacks the efficiency to take care of the people, and they shout it like it’s a good thing. Like it somehow proves capitalism’s “inherent goodness,” when it does the very opposite. They are proving they care more about defending their ideology than about how well it works(or doesn’t work).

In all seriousness, anecdotal bullshit aside, the Rightists have to admit one of two things if they take their own words seriously: either 1) Capitalism isn’t capable of doing the very thing they claim it does best–providing equal opportunity and being efficient enough that the people’s basic needs are met, or 2) It is capable of providing a living wage and benefits, but such measures are being blocked by the capitalist owners of industry.

Because, you see, none of these reactionaries complain about price hikes when executives are given millions of dollars in bonuses or raises. No one complains about the bourgeois bosses making 5-digits every hour, when most of those bosses have never produced a single thing in their lives. No one whines when those who don’t produce reap the benefits of production. The arguments against a higher wage all revolve around “work ethic,” but where is the work ethic of the CEOs who profit from labor they don’t take part in?

This is the real capitalist work ethic: Try your best to get others to do the work for you so you can sit in an office and make a profit from their labor. Undeserved luxury, inherited wealth, exploitation–these are the virtues of capitalist “work ethic.” The workers making $7.25 an hour are not lazy for wanting a bigger piece of the pie for their labor, the bosses of industry are the lazy ones, and they’re who we are supposed to look up to. No one points a finger at them for not working while they rake in the profits. And yet, socialism allegedly “brainwashes” people into “blind acceptance of authority.”

No, the fact that the bourgeoisie has people pointing fingers at those who actually do the work is more than enough proof that it is they who are propagating falsehoods. It is they who despise any form of “work ethic,” and this is no more apparent than in their hatred of workers.

The above anecdotes may not be genuine, honest arguments, but the gist of them is essentially true when applied to capitalism. The argument that the capitalist economy can’t handle the pressure of providing for the people is just proof of a critical point Marx and Engels bring up in the Communist Manifesto:

“Hitherto, every form of society has been based, as we have already seen, on the antagonism of oppressing and oppressed classes. But in order to oppress a class certain conditions must be assured to it under which it can, at least, continue its slavish existence. The serf, in the period of serfdom, raised himself to membership in the commune, just as the petty bourgeoisie, under the yoke of feudal absolutism, managed to develop into a bourgeoisie. The modern laborer, on the contrary, instead of rising with the progress of industry sinks deeper and deeper below the conditions of existence of his own class. He becomes a pauper, and pauperism develops more rapidly than population and wealth. And here it becomes evident that the bourgeoisie is unfit any longer to be the ruling class in society and to impose its conditions of existence upon society as an over-riding law. It is unfit to rule because it is incompetent to ensure an existence to its slave within his slavery, because it cannot help letting him sink into such a state that it has to feed him instead of being fed by him. Society can no longer live under this bourgeoisie, in other words, its existence is no longer compatible with society.

So, just for a moment, let’s assume that raising the minimum wage under capitalism is impossible(it’s not impossible, just not favorable to the ruling class and its dictatorship). If we take the reactionary’s word for it, if we are to believe that it is, indeed, impossible for the wages to be raised without “destroying the economy,” then all this does is, once again, prove that Marx got it right over a century ago. It only further validates the theories of communism that the rule of the bourgeoisie, capitalism, has run its course and that it is no longer useful–but is, rather, a hindrance–to society’s development.

The reactionaries, with almost every breath, prove the necessity of a socialist revolution, even if they don’t realize it. Thanks for the ammunition. You are continuously giving the workers the tools we need to dig your grave.

-SFB

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