Studies in Communism
Representation and the State
"The State! Whatever the State saith is a lie; whatever it hath is a theft: all is counterfeit in it, the gnawing sanguinary, insatiate monster. It even bites with stolen teeth. Its very bowels are counterfeit."—FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE.
"Communism in material production, anarchy in the intellectual, —that Is the type of a Socialist mode of production, as it will develop from the rule of the proletariat—in other words, from the Social Revolution, through the logic of economic facts, whatever might be the wishes, intentions, and theories of the proletariat."
The argument that Socialism involves State tyranny of a type with which the worker is not unacquainted under present day society is one which the opponents of Socialism regard as being not the least valuable in their somewhat limited armoury. This fact, coupled with the somewhat hazy notions which even some Socialists seem to have as to the position of the State in future society, warrants an examination of the part the State plays in Capitalist society, an enquiry into its transient elements, and a recognition of what constitutes its permanent character. The matter is one which must be considered in the light of society's evolution. We must note how the Central Directing Authority in society has evolved its threefold function of legislative, judicial, and administrative power.
From living in a tribal state and gathering whatever nature offered him spontaneously, man slowly came to invent one weapon and tool after another, in order to aid him in his struggle for existence. Each instrument was more delicate and complex than its predecessor, and corresponded with the development of his skill as fisherman, hunter, and cattle raiser. The latter occupation carried with it a negation of primitive Communism, wherein no class struggle existed, and led to the private ownership of the land and instruments of labour which were the necessary basis of a final settling down to agriculture and handicraft. As pasture farming involved Communism, so cattle breeding on the one hand, carrying with it handicraft on the other, required individual skill, a negation of associated labour, and consequently private ownership of the means of production employed by the craftsman, and of the products which he created. Thus began petty industry based upon the individuality, the skill, industry, and perseverance of the worker, demanding, requiring, and securing unto himself private property. These were the basis of bourgeois society. From satisfying its own requirements only, the peasant family, owing to the progress of
agriculture beyond the needs of the family, began to produce a surplus of food, tools, and garments. The situation of the family governing largely the nature of the surplus they produced and the differing implements required and tastes acquired, the basis for exchange was laid, specialization of industry was established, and goods were produced both for consumption within the establishment in which they were produced, and for the purpose of exchange for the products of another establishment.
Goods now became commodities, barter was established, and the necessity for some standard commodity or exchange value— such as gold—realised. As the handicraftsman had produced primarily for exchange purposes, so the peasant, in the course of industrial development, was brought to be a producer of commodities. The division of labour which these conditions necessitated took the form of every single concern producing a different class of goods, and the private ownership of the goods exchanged by those who exchanged them. Mutual independence in society, side by side with private property, became increasingly the main conditions of society. As production for personal consumption was more and more superseded by production of commodities, buying and selling became an art, and merchant trading arose, the success of which was founded on buying cheaply and selling dearly. How these economic conditions made for monopoly, on the one hand, in the course of time, and for the creation of a proletariat on the other, is known now to every student.
The rapidity of industrial development in the terms of an ever-increasing velocity, and its financial reflex in the present generation of steam, electricity, and centralization, is apparent to the eyes of all. With the story of its daily unfoldment before him, let the reader but reflect how the peasant who produced goods for his own consumption gave place to the peasant who exchanged these commodities for other articles for his own use; how he, in turn, made way for the merchant who neither produced for his own use nor bought articles for his own use exclusively, but bought and exchanged commodities with the intention of making a profit.
Removal from the manufacture and production of commodities constituted the road to wealth. The merchant prince gave way to the financier, and the latter made for present day monopoly.
The political reflex of this industrial development is found in the story of a social passage from Communism through tribalism to nationalism founded on feudalism and vassalage, to Imperialism and Colonial developments. As the commercial class laid the basis of imperial developments, so the financial class pursued the exploitation of other lands within that development, and identified successful share-mongering with national prosperity, and consol returns, and Imperial debts, with the opening out of 'Colonial civilization. The courage of the soldier, the nautical equipment of the sailor, the scholarship of the scientist, the permanent value of
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