To understand the world of politics and change it for the better, it’s paramount that people begin to study political theory and the ways in which it has manifest throughout history up into the present day. By bringing light to the origins of political and philosophical thought, the present day becomes all the more explainable because one is now able to see the logical progression of such manifestations.
With this urge to better understand the root of many of the common political ideologies present in the world, The Last American Vagabond has decided to team up with Keith Preston in a new podcast series in which the who, what, where, when and how of different political theories will be explored.
For those unaware, Keith Preston was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, United States. He received a B.A. in Religious Studies and an M.A. in History from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, with additional graduate study in Sociology and Criminology. Keith is a former instructor of Sociology at John Tyler Community College. He is a former regional delegate for the Industrial Workers of the World and a former member of the National Committee of the Workers Solidarity Alliance, the U.S. section of the International Workers Association. He is the founder and director of American Revolutionary Vanguard and the chief editor of AttacktheSystem.com. Keith has been a contributor to LewRockwell.com, Antiwar.com, Anti-State.com, Taki’s Magazine, and AlternativeRight.com. He was awarded the 2008 Chris R. Tame Memorial Prize by the United Kingdom’s Libertarian Alliance for his essay, “Free Enterprise: The Antidote to Corporate Plutocracy.” Keith has been a featured speaker at conferences of the National Policy Institute and the H. L. Mencken Club. He has been interviewed on numerous internet podcast and radio programs and appeared as a guest analyst on Russia Today and BBC Persian. He is also host of the ongoing “Attack the System” online podcast series.
Episode 7: Socialism and Communism
After discussing classical liberalism and reform liberalism/progressivism in part 1 of “Understanding the Left,” Keith and Tim go deeper in part 2 to examine the foundations of both socialism and communism; terms that are often used interchangeably, with communism being a more extreme version of socialism.
What makes discussion of socialism or communism so difficult, yet fascinating, is that there are many around the world that adore this political ideology, deeming it a colossal progression in human civilization, yet on the other hand there are just as many who completely oppose the ideology, asserting it as one of the highest forms of tyranny. Needless to say, these terms are very polarizing, but how many really understand the roots and complexity of these ideas?
Communism, more than anything else, was an outgrowth of the massive class division in society, and in particular the newly minted capitalist class that arose out of the Industrial Revolution. Feudal agricultural societies that were once ruled by monarchs, transformed into industrial civilizations dictated by wealthy financial capitalists. Often times it was the same elite networks of people who ruled over society, but just opted to use different methods of control. Those who personally owned the capital in society, whether that be land, people, or resources, become extremely rich, while the laborers who powered the economic engine of society were subject to horrendous working conditions, measly wages, and little to no say in what goes on in the business/economy they participate in.
As a result, the workers of the world rose up and demanded for a bigger portion of the pie, which eventually gave rise to the tenants of socialism and communism. The idea was to have a worker owned society, instead of a society owned by a few people. Unfortunately, like many other political movements throughout history, statism turned the idea of giving society back to its citizens into real world political movement that revolved around the buildup of the state and a massive bureaucracy to control/manage society. This centralized power in society to a one party state that acted in the “best interests” of the people, which never history shows never goes as promised.
While communism turned into a form of totalitarian statism, it doesn’t mean that ideas of workers getting a larger chunk of the pie is a completely bunk idea that should be tossed aside. Looking at the massive inequities in society today, such as a few families owning an ungodly amount of the world assets, it is probably wise to take some of the teachings of communism and learn from them, such as worker run co-ops and utilizing public institutions to balance out greedy private interests. In reality, communism and capitalism have both been corrupted by statism, yet both offer different, but necessary solutions to the problem of statism such as free markets and free communes of activity. People need individual freedom, but people also need community and protection against out of control private interests.
Hopefully, this podcast can serve as a bridge between those who want to decentralize power through free markets and those who want to decentralize power through workers revolts. Both have noble goals and both have the same enemy… the buildup of a corrupt state. See the common bond and identify the common enemy and only then will society achieve any sustainable peace.