Featured image: Photo by Koushik Chowdavarapu from Unsplash.
Double click or tap any English word in this post to open its definition in a new window (external).
4 for Now
This is my third (and for now, last) post in a series about communism. I covered communism basics first, then debunked some popular “communism” examples. This time, I want to lay out the specific differences between communism and capitalism.
|Means of production ownership||Everyone||Individuals|
|Means of production valuation||Usefulness to people||Profit|
|From each according to their||Ability||Ability|
|To each according to their||Need||Income, wealth, and borrowing ability|
|Relies on||Community, compassion||Individualism, oppression|
Means of Production
The means of production are the tools, machines, and resources required to produce goods and services. When they are owned privately, as they are under capitalism, workers are not automatically entitled to the fruits of their labor. They are paid a wage, and the owner gets the fruits of their labor. If the workers are lucky, the wage is big enough to buy what they need.
Under communism, the workers would own the means of production, so each would get a share of what their work produces. It’s kinda like if every business was a worker co-op, but everyone owns it, and you don’t need to buy the goods or services it produces. Or like the Black Panther Party, but on a universal scale.
Distribution of Resources
Both communism and capitalism ask people to give according to their abilities. (I would argue, especially for marginalized people, capitalism asks for more than many folks are able to give.) But when distributing the fruits of our collective labor, the ideologies vary. As we’ve experienced in capitalism, those who already have or can easily get money are those who receive more, as money is required to purchase goods and services.
Under communism, people would receive based on their needs. Houseless folks need somewhere to live? They get houses. Sick people need a cure? They get medicine. Disabled folks need access? They get accessibility aids. And so on. They don’t need money. They would just contribute to society however they are able.
Why Communism Is Better than Capitalism
There are many other reasons, but here are three of my favorites (see Comrade Gomer’s video for more about them [YouTube]):
- Humans were communist long before we invented capitalism.
- Communism gets and keeps people out of poverty (while capitalism creates both poverty and waste).
- Communism doesn’t erase cultures (while capitalism relies on white supremacy).
“But we can’t just get rid of the capitalist government and go communist! That would be anarchy!”
Yes, it would. And I do think it would be chaotic to jump straight into a stateless, classless, moneyless society without some kind of transition. (But if my anarchist comrades can make it happen, I’m happy to support them however I can!)
Enter socialism. It’s not the end goal, but it’s a state where we can put into place the frameworks of communism so we can ensure everyone’s needs are met. At that point, we’ll all be in much better places to move towards true communism and leave capitalism and all its oppression behind.
4 for Later
- Still have questions? The Communism subreddit is a good place to start if you know what you don’t know (or what you want to know more about). I will again link comrades to learn from, as well.
- Mutual aid is a great way to practice the “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need” philosophy that communism is built on. Check Mutual Aid Hub, join a local community organization, or ask your neighbors if there’s anything they need that you can provide.
- Demonstrate your solidarity. Join a protest. If you’re working, join or start a union. Spread the word on social media and call out misinformation when you see it. We need to work together to create a better future for us all.
- Help prevent the US from sliding further into fascism. Contact your reps at every level of government when they introduce or consider legislation that hurts people. Vote 3rd party, in line with your values, not for who’s popular or the “lesser evil.” Run for a local office yourself. (If you can. It can be grueling.) And remember to center people, not profits.