The Continued Relevance of the Communist Manifesto

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The Continued Relevance of the Communist Manifesto

Post by Coach on Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:48 am

I present here a quite excellent article asserting the continued relevance of the Communist Manifesto today.
I disagree here only with the IS Review's characterization of the Soviet Union as "state capitalist" (but that is a discussion for another time and another thread).

PS. In 2006 Phil Gasper wrote a book on this subject called The Communist Manifesto: A Road Map to History's Most Important Political Document
You can read an inside preview (a partial view) of his book here:

"The world political situation as a whole is chiefly characterized by a historical crisis of the leadership of the proletariat."
--Trotsky, Transitional Program (1938)

“Anti-capitalism doesn’t do the victims of capitalism any good if you don’t actually destroy capitalism.”
(‘The Historical Failure of Anarchism)

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Re: The Continued Relevance of the Communist Manifesto

Post by Celtiberian on Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:19 am

I've been familiar with the International Socialist Review, and Phil Gasper's work in particular, for some time new. Grasper is an astute analyst of modern science and has written several excellent articles for the ISR. I've been wanting to read his book on the Communist Manifesto for quite a while now, and I hope I'll be able to do so in the near future. Judging from his 1998 article on the subject, which you linked to, I can tell it'll be well worth the read.

As for the "state capitalist" term, I understand why many leftists use it to describe the Soviet Union (on occasion, I have done so myself). After all, the workers were still essentially wage laborers, who had no control over the management of their firms or the manner in which their surplus was allocated. However, I'm not sure if the label can accurately be applied to planned economies, since capitalists in the strict sense of the term (i.e., private owners of means of production) didn't actually exist in the post-NEP Soviet Union, Maoist China, etc. I think a more appropriate term would be something along the lines of "managerial technocracy," in the case of state socialist nations. "State capitalism" is more befitting to every hitherto existing post-feudal/non-socialist nation, since capital has always depended on a highly interventionist state just to keep the system viable.

"The dogma of human equality is no part of Communism . . . the formula of Communism: 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs', would be nonsense, if abilities were equal."
—J. B. S. Haldane Hammer Sickle

"Nationality. . . is a historic, local fact which, like all real and harmless facts, has the right to claim general acceptance. . . Every people, like every person, is involuntarily that which it is and therefore has a right to be itself. . . Nationality is not a principle; it is a legitimate fact, just as individuality is. Every nationality, great or small, has the incontestable right to be itself, to live according to its own nature. This right is simply the corollary of the general principle of freedom."
—Mikhail Bakunin Red Star

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