American Activists Foolishly Take A Page From 'Communist Manifesto'
I made a brief note a few days ago about the rhetoric of class warfare duping people as easily today as it did when Marx first developed it. At Forbes, I've expanded the idea to show how chillingly the language of American activists in the Occupy and 99% Movement echoes that of The Communist Manifesto.
After tracing the similarities, which were uncomfortably easy to draw, I point out that what makes our mimicry of that ideology so dangerous is that the circumstances are entirely different.
Now, this is where something curious happens. This is where our particular modern majoritarian movement flounders and makes a fool of itself even compared to Marxism, which Solzhenitsyn already clarified is rationally unsupportable. This is also where our movement gets the most frightening because it continues to agitate for the same radical solution of democratization that communists did.
For Marx, 19th Century European capitalists turned men into slaves, starving, ignorant, and bound to “sell themselves piece-meal” as a commodity, “an appendage of the machine” of industry. With “nothing of their own to secure and to fortify; their mission is to destroy.” The last lines of The Communist Manifesto read: “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.” In other words, people are incited to a socialist revolution from a position of abject misery and strife. They have nothing to lose.
For our 99%, the stakes are supposedly just as high. 21st Century American corporations subjugate free people as unacceptably as their olden-day counterparts. Hundreds of thousands of activists have willingly abstained from the comforts of indoor living so that all may know how we suffer abysmally in bondage to corporations and the rich. According to Occupy Wall Street, those in the 1% are captors and masters who “have held students hostage.” The bourgeoisie made men slaves; the 1% holds us hostage. How do they do this? With what do they forge these vile chains? “With tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.”
All people who have actually been oppressed and subjected to violations of their humanity have license to mock us mercilessly for a statement like that. Oblivious to the absurdity, our 99% employs the hyperbole of communism to make the point that naïve twenty-somethings voluntarily took out loans for optional higher learning and can’t figure out, despite the education they received, how to pay them back. Marx sought a rebellion of those who had nothing to lose. This situation is so far from that as to be comical, yet the American class struggle doesn’t give up his language.
In the end, I try to prove that reciting from this script is an unconscionable error and that the politicians who listen to it aren't worthy to lead our country.
Marx guaranteed the proletariat: “In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.” This sounds perfect and precisely what America needs—a good, fair, equal system based on mutual freedom—but our 99% should grow up, read a history book, and realize that it is utter deceit. This logic was flawed when Marx wrote it and it is flawed now. It will lead us nowhere we want to be.
I don't understand why communism hasn't been completely discredited by now. No one who adopts the rhetoric of Marx should be taken seriously in our society. My hope is that by laying out this comparison, some people will wake up.