The History and Idea of Communism



hot hello zero books patrons this is the first in a new series of patron only videos on the subject of communism although this one will be released on YouTube for everyone and then in the future every month a new video will come out that will then be released for everyone two months after its seen by our patrons the basis for this video series is a book by a meal later called communism a pretty cool looking book it was released during well during the year of 1970 by the professor Emil viateur who was what was he was the chairman of the department of political science at the University of Arkansas for a year between 1969 and 1970 before he died at the age of 48 which is the age I am now professor aider appears to have been a level-headed anti-communist a google search reveals that in 1963 he wrote an essay for the journal social science entitled Soviet imperialism or communist ideology wherein he argued that the ideology of communism did not represent any real threat to the United States once it would separate it out from Soviet imperial aggression this book communism represents his attempt to push past the irrational fears that had gripped the u.s. public and policymakers in order to assess the ideology rationally it was an attempt to produce a relatively honest and close to comprehensive account of communism from a rational anti-communist perspective in 1970 anti-communist were faced with a problem namely the resurgence of homegrown communist movements that in ators book he mainly treats as front organizations for a foreign power and a foreign threat from our post Cold War perspective quite a lot of what ada writes will seem hyperbolic and perhaps even reactionary that said the aim of this video series will be the steel man-eaters arguments before we overcome them and to flesh out the history he describes can we overcome aiders Cold War interpretation of communism is there something in the word that is worth reviving and developing further obviously my inclination is to answer in the affirmative but we'll have to see to develop an argument before we can answer the question Eider starts out by defining communism as it appeared in the historical moment he was writing in what is communism it's a version of Marxism as modified by Lenin which served as the theoretical underpinning of the 1917 1918 Russian Revolution but it also has a more general definition and character communism advances the idea that there could be a society where in a common interest takes hold of and directs its members aters first historical example of the concept of communism comes from Plato's Republic a text that he says is in many ways antithetical to the idea of communism but that does put forward an idea that is somewhat communist in the section that describes Plato's plan for the ruling class according to a der Socrates lays out the Communist ideal in lines like these quote if our citizens are well-educated and grow into sensible men they will easily see their way through all these as well as other matters which I omit such for example as marriage the possession of women and the procreation of children which will all follow the general principle that friends have all things in common as the proverb sets the state if one started well moves with accumulating force like a wheel for good nurture and education implant good constitutions and these good constitutions taking root and a good education improve more and more and this improvement affects the breed in man as in other animals this vision of the development of man as conjoined with the development of the state certainly matches the common stereotype that's developed around communism and echoes the sort of propaganda that one could find in really existing socialist states in the 20th century however the idea that the perfection of man would be achieved through the exercise of state authority well it's not fully embraced in the works of Marx or even in the writings of Lenin in his critique of a national German daily newspaper column a critique he wrote in 1842 Marx makes it clear that he will not abide with state censorship put forward in the name of mass education or the betterment of citizens something Plato's Socrates fully embraced Marx did not advocate for education from above but felt that as he later wrote in his critique of for Bach the educator must himself be educated and by this he meant that the educator tasked with providing the understanding necessary to maintain the social order must not separate himself off from society but participate in a social world composed of freely associated men who work together towards the sort of change that educators are meant to bring to their students that is for Marx the sort of Education that has a chance to develop men and women the sort of education that might improve mankind and its lot must be the product of freely associating people engaging in what he called a revolutionary practice Lenin in his essay Staton revolution wrote about the state as a product of the irreconcilability of class antagonisms and echoed Marx and Engels objection to the creation of a special public power standing above society while the history of the Soviet Union would naturally lead us to worry about concepts like the dictatorship of the proletariat and be skeptical of the idea that such a dictatorship would ever wither away the clear aim of linen in 1917 was to create a revolution so that the proletariat could use the state in order to take possession of the means of production and create the material conditions to realize freedom for every individual so that the state would die down of itself or wither away after mentioning platonism as a precursor to communist ideology ater points to Christians such as Sir Thomas More who in his utopia wrote quote though to speak plainly my real sentiments I must freely own that as long as there is any property and while money is the standard of all other things I cannot think that a nation can be governed either justly or happily not justly because the best things will fall to the share of the worst men nor happily because all things will be divided among a few and even these are not in all respects happy the rest being left to be absolutely miserable this seems to be much closer to the spirit of Marx's idea of communism than Plato's idea of communism for a ruling elite however a terse summary of Moore's communism exposes perhaps the same discrepancy we've already encountered ATAR explains that in Moore's Christian commune all products of labor would be placed in a common store from which all would draw to satisfy minimum needs more society would be one in which luxury was shunned and education and experience would both be aimed at teaching the basic virtues of a common life Marx on the other hand would surely turn against such a provincial and a liberal state in the Communist Manifesto he wrote glowingly of capitalism's ability to melt all that is solid into thin air and to reduce all that is holy to the level of the secular or profane the task for the working classes according to Marx is not to produce a meager allotment of sustenance for an immobile and stagnant community of believers but rather was to create the conditions where in all would be free to develop new aims new modes of production and new desires next aider tells us borrowing perhaps from Karl Marx's associate and sometimes critic Eduard Bernstein that quote in the 17th century such theorists as Francis Bacon Peter Chamberlain and John fellers together with that radical group known as the diggers advanced ideas on which communism was built in quote what's interesting to note is that the inclusion of bacon leads us to conflate the history of communism with the history of republicanism and classical liberalism both in fact it seems to me that we might be justified to hold with this conflation if we keep in mind that the overturning of traditional forms of authority and the long process of secularization in Europe involved a mass of tangled ideas players and plants the diggers on the other hand were most certainly communists of some sort even though their agrarian form of communism had neither the benefits nor the problems that all the various types of communists held in common in the 19th and 20th centuries that is the working class as such had barely emerged the first factories would not appear for more than 50 years and the overturning of monarchism was far from complete let's pause for a moment and consider the diggers in context who were they the diggers were also known as the true Levellers and the Levellers were a political movement that arose during the English Civil War the English Civil War was a series of conflicts between the English Parliament and King Charles the first after parliamentary forces defeated the Royalists at the end of the first English Civil War once the King had been captured and held and due in part to how Oliver Cromwell had admitted commoners and to his ironside cavalry the Levellers arose demanding that they institute a new government upon grounds of common right granting all men equality under the law and freedom of religion and guaranteeing that new Parliament's will be regularly convened in order to prevent the many inconveniences apparently arising from the long continuance of the same persons and authority the people would select a new Parliament every two years of course the gentry in the Parliament did not choose to take up the Levellers demands and Cromwell managed to quiet these demands coming from the army once the king escaped from the Parliament and the second English war began the true Levellers arrived after the second English Civil War King Charles's attempt to take back his throne with help from the Scots was defeated and Charles due largely did pressure from the Levellers in the parliamentary army was tried for treason and beheaded the Mahadi king was back then a big deal and Charles's death created crisis for the Parliament now that the king was dead where exactly did the justification for their governmental authority lie the king's son charles ii claim to be the sovereign and sought to take his father's throne as cromwell became the dictator of the new english Commonwealth and the third English Civil War began it was at this time that the diggers sought out not only equality under the law and not mirror universal suffrage but economic or material equality and it was during this time that Cromwell out of the English Republic suppressed their movements aims to take hold of common lands to produce crops for the poor and eventually to create a society based on holding all land in common as I said before it seems to me that communism and republicanism arose together the struggle to end traditional authority to escape from tyrannical rule brought with it utopian dreams of fully realized liberty so in the next section of this book Aitor talks about socialist theorists like Fourier and de Gaulle he provides kind of a quick gloss of the late 18th and 19th centuries and just a few paragraphs but I feel as though crude all especially if the theorist who deserves for us to take some time and in the next episode of this communism series we will go even more slowly as we contrast the Socialists of 19th century with each other and with Marx so go over to patreon and join us for this series on communism which is coming out for patrons only are for patrons first thanks for watching this zero ebooks video if you enjoyed it subscribe to this channel and click on the notification spell so that you'll be alerted whenever we release a new video you should also consider supporting us on patreon our patrons get access to our inside 0 Books podcast every week and can get access to the 0 books Book Club and help us to continue making online content from the left you




Comments
  1. "Communism is not an ideal to be realised: it already exists, not as alternative lifestyles, autonomous zones or counter-communities that would grow within this society and ultimately change it into another one, but as an effort, a task to prepare for. It is the movement which tries to abolish the conditions of life determined by wage-labour, and it will abolish them only by revolution." – capitalism and communism, Gilles Dauvé

  2. History of communism is about the ideology and the idea of communism is about an imaginary just social system, did I understand it correctly?

    I think that referring to the Levellers it is more correct to talk about the historical communalism of the traditional societies and feudal systems where agricultural lands and forests belonged to the village communities. There was no private property, the lands toiled by families were in constant rotation. Private land property was introduced by seizure by landlords under different circumstances (conquest, famine, debts) and nationalisation under absolute monarchies. This is what was in the minds of Levellers, this is not connected to later Marxism otherwise than as an object of his historical research.

    The analysis of the history of the dictatorship of proletariat is very thin in this video. Nobody expects it just to whither away, it is a purposeful policy. After it had served its purpose it was meant to be dropped so that society could develop unconstrained which was the ultimate purpose of any revolution.

    In Soviet Union the dictatorship of proletariat made space to free market and entrepreneurship during NEP era. It was followed by the artistic and technological explosion with no sign of dictatorship. Why Stalin managed to restore the habitual status society with the formalised nomenklatura on top is a separate question but in order to achieve it he had to kill almost all the original revolutionaries who had dedicated their lives to the removal of status society in Russia. To justify the conservation of the dictatorship of proletariat Stalin introduced, out of blue, the notion of the intensification of class struggle under socialism which had nothing to do with any previous social democratic idea nor with political reality. Later this notion was dropped by Khrushchev but picked up by Mao. Vietnam, in contrast, has never adopted this notion and the dictatorship of proletariat is not an issue there.

  3. End of Kings
    it's more complicay than that caitellin …. king money kinda sprouted social contract [rebel] money (a distinction that grew exceedingly slow … an epoch during which feudalizzum and martiality consumed most of the trees before any machines were born … but then became something that 'he' needed to get in on and 'serve'. He served derailments, policed violations, kept 'abreast' of duh stray ones … imagine a wandering jew trying to argue with his 'duh' translator of the next large target pool thta his bundle should be left inviolate cause it represented the wills of peoples capable of seeking redress.
    calling money collections books [this is a stitch up … litteraily .. of letterse] greatly helped THEIR cause … which in my lifetime, me, lover of 'Treecrops' over any and all ethniCity mind you, culminated in the demise of the very loveliest of middle eastern olive groves, courtesy lying lamesthingkstreamwhoremedia
    More from Caitlin Johnstone: https://caitlinjohnstone.com/

  4. You should get the rights to Ader’s book and publish it. I would buy it. Just searched amazon and there are only used second hand copies. Get a writer (or do it yourself) to write an epilogue detailing go Ader’s thesis has fared with the collapse of Statist Communist regimes, and the rise of State Capitalism in China, along with the resurgence of Leftist ideas in the West.

  5. Nothing wrong with communism. If you want world peace you need a world government and the abolishment of money, People need to share the world's resources fairly. They also need to realise they are caretakers of the planet. Business and commerce have their own survival of the fittest built into the capitalist system. The problem with this is the wellbeing of both of those has little to do with the welfare of society, and is often at odds with that welfare. Business only cares about surviving in the world at any cost.

  6. Dear Doug, I prefer the videos like this one, where you narrate from the studio and use incredible visuals to illustrate, more than the one's where you're hanging out drinking beer and eating french fries!

  7. 🕺 🎶 Everybody get down…down…down…down….🎶
    …With the revolution! 🕺
    Put that to a disco beat & party ‘til the Egalitarian Age ushers in! (And then continue to party. It’s a Communist Party! 🎉🎊🎉

  8. Of course the real threat to the US elite was never communist revolution but creeping social democracy such as it was implemented in European democracies like Sweden and France.

  9. Dude. Why make this only for patreon members? You should move the cultural Marxist stuff for the patreon members and keep this public. This stuff is exactly what people need to advance the socialist movement. This is your best video to date.

  10. Marx was a liberal. He was brainwashed by the enlightenment fetishization with the value of liberty of his time. He also was a pre-scientist rather than a socialist ideologue. Im more of a socialist ideologue rather than a pseudoscientific Marxist. In otherwords im in favor of Moore's type of national community minus the religious baggage rather than the Marxist version.
    “Marx’s view of a classless society was not the subordination of society to a universal interest (such as a common vision of socialism), but was about the creation of the conditions that would enable individuals to pursue their true interests and desires. Thus, Marx’s notion of a communist society is radically liberal. Marx’s vision, therefore, would not be one in which some truly universal interest at last reigns, to which individual interests must be sacrificed to a socialist common good” – Allen Wood

  11. Communism comes from the cities similar to disco. Cromwell was a farmer. Telling a farmer they are better off not owning their own farm isn't very convincing. Crop yields go down when no one has a stake. However, city dwellers seldom own property and like the idea that no one else can own property either. Communism always spreads out from the cities to the farms like a disease fueled by envy. Capitalism liberated the farmer from feudal land owners by allowing them to purchase their own land. Communism takes away that land and puts the farmer back into servitude of the elites.

  12. I believe that Marxism-Leninism or similar versions of State Socialism are the only true type of communist, Marxism-Leninism is also the only form of Socialism that created long lasting societies. Not just the Soviets and Chinese, but several independent nations with different policies and ideals. I feel like this was an attempt to justify "Left-Communism".

  13. This goofy and quirky style will mostly serve to reinforce the notion that radical politics are a frivolous fashion attribute for hipsters. If you want to be taken seriously, be serious yourself first.

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