Today We Learn About: Communism

Throughout the twentieth century there have been several stigmas associated with communism, which range from people thinking that it takes away freedom to always having poorly run central planning, all of which are nonclass assumptions perceived from previous governments claiming communism.  While in some instances there may be nonclass structures such as central planning or a despotic government in communism, the only aspect of a state which makes it communist, is the presence of a class structure of production, vis-à-vis whether or not workers are exploited.  The fundamental class process within communism is one that grants the producers of surplus the first access to the surplus they produce.  Examining class by surplus separates communism from other economic and state structures by allowing the reality of workers labour to be measured and rewarded.  If a state does not have these class surplus structures in place then it is not communist, as is the case for every nation in history that claimed to be as such.  This means that all negative notions of communism from history are invalid and the door must be reopened in order to examine how any nonclass structures, religion, power, property, etc., can coincide with the class process of communism.  Differentiating the class structure of production, in terms of surplus, and the various nonclass social arrangements is vital in understanding various communisms.

Classically it has been the prerogative of many Marxists and self acclaimed communists to design property arrangements that take away private ownership of the means of production and collectivize them.  While this step is possible in communism, it is a nonclass issue and not a determinant of communism.  The state of property may range from one hundred percent private to its totally collective, as long as it contains the communist fundamental class process.   Any composition of ownership will have to have with it complementary laws and customs.  Each nonclass aspect of society affects the others, they are known as having an overdetermining affect upon one another.  There are an infinite series of combinations of property that a state may oscillate within over time, from private to collective and everything in between.  The ownership of the means of production could be considered trivial when determining whether is a state is communist or not.  If the fundamental class process is such that those who produce the surplus labour are the immediate receivers of said surplus, then the state has reached communism.

What is said for the ownership of the means of production can also be said for distribution of goods.  Determining what and how many goods to produce may be done by private, market driven nonclass structures or the consumer goods may be planned by a central agency.  The arrangements may take any form, as long as they do not impose a condition that would take the producer of surplus away from the position of first receiver of his or her self-produced surplus.  A common topic of confusion that relates to competitive markets is the presence of labour markets within a state and how these markets can coincide with a communist class process with surplus.  If there are laws and customs within society that create conditions that allow workers to sell their labour power willingly, for the right to work and produce surplus then first receive that surplus, then communist fundamental class processes will not be disrupted.   Some arrangements may be needs based, as with planning, and some may be optimization based, as with competitive markets, but they are all nonclass structures that support the communist class structure.

Power has been a subject of great debate between private and state capitalists for decades, worker self-management and the presence of a “board of directors” carry with them stigmas and associations that classify the former with communism and the latter with capitalism.  However, as with other nonclass structures, that is not the case.  The constitution of power has no jurisdiction on whether or not a state is communist.  A single person may direct governments or they may be fully democratic, as long as those in power comply with laws and customs in society and follow a communist class process.  Power struggles in governments and businesses will breed various tensions in society.  That is why the overdetermination affect of nonclass processes on class processes and vise versa requires countless customs and laws to make sure that the communist class process, with regards to surplus, stays in place.

Nonclass processes are not pre-determined communist class structures.  The fundamental communist class process is one that grants the producers of surplus value the first receivers of that surplus.  All other aspects of society such as power, religion, consumer goods, labor and the ownership of the means of production are all nonclass structures that have no claim on whether a state is communist.  Some nonclass ideals have been bundled with communism, and may be a goal of many communists, but they are not necessary in communism.  Thus there are infinite combinations of communist fundamental class processes and nonclass processes and they all share a familiar thread; groups of surplus producers appropriate and distribute the surplus.  Nonclass processes in state capitalist countries that claim communism have driven people to negative connotations about communism.  Yet these assumptions take no precedence in communist class processes of surplus.  By this reasoning it is proper time to reopen the communist idea in its true form, giving labourers the surplus they produce, and examine exactly how a state can form or restructure around the communist fundamental class process.

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