Monday, June 6, 2011

Individualism: The Basis of Socialism

This is part 3 of a 3-post series dealing with the Marxist concept of Socialism and Individualism.

Part 3: The Basis of Socialism

Socialism is on the one hand the transfer of the control over the means of production to the working class, in order to relieve this oppression. It is to overthrow the irrational, free-market state of political economy. But it serves a far more fundamental purpose for human society. As we have seen, socialism seeks to abolish the state of things wherein human labor is objectified. Human labor should, given the conditions of emancipation, serve the essential interests of the human being in the context of satisfied human needs. Erich Fromm:
"For Marx, socialism (or communism) is not flight or abstraction from, or loss of the objective world which men have created by the objectification of their faculties. It is not an impoverished return to unnatural, primitive simplicity. It is rather the first real emergence, the genuine actualization of man's nature as something real. Socialism, for Marx, is a society which permits the actualization of man's essence, bu overcoming his alienation. It is nothing less than creating the conditions for the truly free, rational, active and independent man; it is the fulfillment of the prophetic aim: the destruction of the idols."7
The socialization of the political economy is in keeping with the rejection of values, processes and constructs which do not meet the essential interests of a society of human beings. It is the judgement of capitalism, and all forms of organization, for the specific value in terms of rights and privileges it bestows on its members.

A humanized civil society will reject a political structure which grants disproportionate rights to individuals based on age, gender, and ethnicity. The same society will reject an economic structure which supplies value in the form of wages proportionally to supply-demand curves, yet supplies value in the form of capital on a logarithmic basis. The individual interests of each actor in such a system are represented proportional to their leverage over the system. Property, if it is to be considered a right, an extension of the paradigm of human rights, should reflect the constituent interests of members of society.

Instead, the propertarians trip over themselves to prove that free-market activity resolves itself into these conditions. However, the most consistent arguments to this end are always solipsisms divorced from the reality of political economy. And in a sense, they are correct. The contradictions inherent in the capitalist system are already proving too much to handle. Recessions are increasing in both frequency and longevity.

The only condition which allows for the voluntary, free state of human interaction is a state of freely-expressed human labor. The myriad of forces endemic to capitalist class society are wholly contrary to these interests, with one caveat: their failure should usher in a new social arrangement, free from the exploitative private management of the very tools which could allow us solve our current problems, and instead strive to worry about the smaller ones.

7Fromm, Erich: Marx's Concept of Man. Frederick Ungar Publishing Co. New York. 1966. Pp. 59-61, 66-9

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