War communism will save us
The need for communism in the war against capitalism
By Martin Hare Michno
Image courtesy of Jp Valery via Unsplash
We have all heard of the old joke where a small town is caught in a flood, and the local preacher kneels down on his roof to pray. A canoe, a motorboat and a helicopter all pass by one after the other to save the preacher, but to all three he says: ‘No, for the Lord shall save me’. Once he inevitably drowns and goes to heaven, the preacher says: ‘Lord, why didn’t you save me from the flood?’. Utterly bewildered, God replies ‘What do you mean? I sent you two boats and a helicopter!’.
The flood is rising quickly around us: rising sea levels, extreme weather events, massive extinction rates, economic crashes, global pandemics, fascist resurgence, mental health crisis and countless more. Just as the local preacher prays to God for salvation, we pray to the Invisible Hand of the free market to save us from worldwide catastrophes. And, just as God had already sent unto the Preacher two boats and a helicopter, Capitalism already produced a solution – Communism.
Capitalism has not only developed the tools which make Communism possible, but has also produced the global crises which make Communism necessary.
Even the most devout libertarian cannot deny the role of capitalism as the root cause of climate change. Merely a hundred companies cause 71% of global emissions – a hundred! Where do we find the root cause of mass-deforestation if not in the large-scale industrial commodity production? Cheap land, low labour costs, year-round growing seasons are all too tempting for the capitalist who seeks to survive in the competitive market. Of course, mass-deforestation is the logical outcome of a system that relies on the constant expansion of capital. Even if all capitalists were kind-hearted eco-conscious vegans, the logic of the free market would still lead us to the imperialist expropriation of indigenous lands and the exploitation of its resources.
Deforestation also leads to the loss of biodiversity, with some estimates claiming 100,000 species becoming extinct each year (rising!). Moreover, this is also the cause of the current pandemic. The chances of a zoonotic spillover of the coronavirus were massively increased by profit-driven deforestation and climate change which, through the demolition of natural barriers, exposes us to pathogens. Experts linked pandemics with deforestation decades before the COVID-19 outbreak.
The beginning of lockdown witnessed the absurdity of capitalist logic when, due to a drop in demand, dairy farmers were forced to dump up to 3.7 million gallons of milk a day to avoid low prices. An estimated 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted every year; enough to feed the hungry four times over. In any previous epoch, overproduction was a blessing. In capitalism, abundance is a problem – this is what libertarians call common sense!
How ironic for capitalists to despise anarchism, for what is more chaotic and anarchistic than a society subjected to the whims of capital? Too often Communists are accused of youthful idealism. Golly! What is more idealist than to believe the free market can persist? What more utopian than to insist capitalism will deliver us from its own crises? To be a Communist is to leave behind such fantasies and to confront the material world and scientific truths.
If capitalist forces persist then the present pandemic is merely a dress rehearsal for future crises to come, some already visible on the horizon. As the floods rise, we pray on the rooftops, when God already sent us two boats and a helicopter: Marx, Engels, and Lenin.
Just as snakes shed their skin to allow further growth and remove parasites, so has capitalism grown too large for its own skin. It must shed away its old form and parasites, and hence emerge anew! Capitalism contains the seeds of its own destruction; it has produced, above all, its own gravediggers. The possibility for a post-scarcity and post-work economy has never been so tangible. Capitalism is pregnant with Communism.
War Communism kept Soviet Russia afloat against all odds. Hardly had the Bolsheviks stormed the Winter Palace to exit the world war before the civil war broke out, causing the food system to collapse followed by a severe drought. Then came the epidemics: typhus, cholera, smallpox, dysentery, bubonic plague, and the Spanish flu. Crisis after crisis, Soviet Russia pushed through.
In light of new capitalist catastrophes, we need a twenty-first-century form of War Communism. It has already started!
With the pandemic, capitalist states have been forced to freeze capital and impose lockdown measures. Even Trump invoked the Defense Production Act, allowing him to command private enterprises to produce essential goods during a crisis, such as car manufacturers producing ventilators.
Capitalism has already produced the tools necessary for Communism, and the time is now. Only fools shall continue to pray to the free market. Join us, reader. The waters are quickly rising!