"This is Marxism, and Marxism is based on the belief that no person has any value as an individual." When you hear someone say these words, like Republican Senator Marco Rubio, know that they're full of shit and don't understand the first thing about Marxism. The same goes for the dimwits who repeat the lie that Marxists "believe in government-guaranteed equal outcome."
The mere use of the words "equal outcome" should tell you that the person uttering them has lost all touch with reality; there's no such thing as "equal outcome", for we are all different. The thing is, Marx never used these words and never advocated for "equality". On the contrary, he was a great thinker, and great thinkers don't utter such silly words. Even "equality of opportunity" is something that can't ever be accomplished, but there's something to be said for aiming at that goal nonetheless. Much like there's no such thing as a perfect democracy, but there's something to be said for nevertheless trying to make it better than it is right now.
Marx was a great admirer of the individual and individuality, and this is one of the main reasons why he criticized capitalism. He understood that capitalism will never allow for the individual to reach his or her greatest potential. He understood, much like Abraham Maslow when he wrote his 1943 paper on "A theory of Human Motivation" in Psychological Review, that in order to get to the higher levels of self-fulfillment needs, the individual has to fulfill his or her basic physiological and psychological needs first, like food, water, warmth, rest, security, safety, relationships and friends. If these aren't realized first, there's no path to the higher rungs in Maslow's hierarchy of needs, on top of which is self-actualization; prestige, accomplishment and achieving one's full potential, including creative activities. In simpler terms: there's no room in an individual's life for these higher goals if that life is all about surviving. And capitalism ensures that most lifes will be about that struggle to survive, work all day to pay the rent and put food on the table, work all week to only fulfill the needs found in the lower rungs of Maslow's pyramid of human needs.
And that's when it becomes not only useful, but necessary to to regard human activity in relation to the socioeconomic arrangement that dictates how individuals interact with each other and with the material world that provides for all the needs in Maslow's pyramid. Albert Einstein had all the time in the world when he conjured up the theory that would change our understanding of space and time forever. Newton also had loads of spare time. There's even this stubborn myth about him daydreaming while leaning back against an apple tree when an apple fell on his head; that's how he supposedly got his idea about the gravitational force. How many inventors, artists, philosophers, scientists and world-changing ideas are denied humanity, simply because we hold on to this wasteful system in which everyone has to work in order to be allowed to live? We're better than that, and Marx knew it, you know it, dear reader. Some of you may be too young, but in my childhood the dream of a 4 day or 3 day work week was still alive, because we know that all necessary work can easily be done in that time with modern technology. It's just the system that falsely claims to be all about individuals and individuality that convicts us all to the same fate of living to work instead of working to live.
I really don't care if you call it Marxism, socialism, communism or whatever else, but we should aspire to a different kind of economy, one that truly values the individual by providing each and every individual with the most basic needs on the lower rungs of Maslow's hierarchy of human needs. Any other goal is simply inhumane. Our current system is inhumane, with more empty buildings than there are homeless people, simply because it's not profitable to house them, with more food than there are mouths to feed, simply because it's not profitable to feed the hungry and the starving. On one hand we overproduce everything, partially to keep alive that stupid requirement of having a job, and on the other hand we manufacture scarcity to keep prices up. It's irrational and it's destroying the environment we depend on for our collective survival. Capitalism will end, just like every other economic system that has come before it; the only question is how many lifes will we destroy, how many species will we make extinct before we realize that Marx was right...
Capitalist theorists present capital as a creative providential force. As they would have it, capital gives shape and opportunity to labor; capital creates production, jobs, new technologies, and a general prosperity. Marxists turn the equation around. They argue that, of itself, capital cannot produce anything; it is the thing that is produced by labor. Only human labor can create the farm and the factory, the machine and the computer. And in a class society, the wealth so produced by many is accumulated in the hands of relatively few who soon translate their economic power into political and cultural power in order to better secure the exploitative social order that so favors them.
An essential point of Marxist analysis is that the social structure and class order prefigure our behavior in many ways. Capitalism moves into every area of work and community, harnessing all of social life to its pursuit of profit. It converts nature, labor, science, art, music, and medicine into commodities and commodities into capital. It transforms land into real estate, folk culture into mass culture, and citizens into debt-ridden workers and consumers. - Michael Parenti on Marxism in "Blackshirts and Reds: Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism"
A Future Beyond Capitalism? Socialism Explained.
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