Basic Income Economics (Parts 1 and 2)

Part 1

1) The material universe is collectively owned by all humans. All non–democratically-distributed property is theft from the collective. Universal direct democracy (where all adult organisms advanced enough to comprise soul consciousness get to vote) has highest say. These stipulations are important otherwise a small faction of people will declare they own all wealth and resources and leave everybody else destitute.

It is a position not to be controverted that the earth, in its natural uncultivated state was, and ever would have continued to be, the common property of the human race. In that state every man would have been born to property. He would have been a joint life proprietor with the rest in the property of the soil, and in all its natural productions, vegetable and animal.1

-Thomas Paine, Agrarian Justice (1795)

2) The people can vote for different economic models. (People could also democratically decide that property does not exist. However, this still implies that people have control over the natural environment which more closely resembles collective ownership rather than true dissolution of property.)

Part 2

1) Marxism is democratically-approved worker-ownership over the means of production.

a) “Dictatorship” of the proletariat refers to an intermediate system between capitalism and full communism where workers democratically control the means of production.

We have seen above, that the first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class to win the battle of democracy.

The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organised as the ruling class; and to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as possible.2

-Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto (1848)

Between capitalist and communist society there lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.3

-Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme (1875)

When Marx talks about centralizing the means of production in the hands of the state, he is referring to a democratic, worker-controlled state. Only a democratic, worker-controlled state would qualify as a 'dictatorship of the proletariat.' The authoritarian state of the USSR does not meet this criteria.

b) Socialism/communism describes a final phase of classless, stateless, egalitarian, democratic worker-ownership.

Finally, when all capital, all production, all exchange have been brought together in the hands of the nation, private property will disappear of its own accord, money will become superfluous, and production will so expand and man so change that society will be able to slough off whatever of its old economic habits may remain.4

-Friedrich Engels, The Principles of Communism (1847)

2) There was no communism/socialism or equality in the Soviet Union. Furthermore, there was no attempt at communism/socialism or equality in the Soviet Union. The photo evidence is unequivocal on this issue:

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3) The Soviet Union was inverse-communist.

Imagine a scenario where an authoritarian regime holds an election and, unsurprisingly, wins 99% of the vote. Does anybody refer to this as 'democracy' or even 'Democracy' (with a capital D)? Of course not. Does anybody use Democratic Kampuchea or The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as examples of democracy? Of course not. Every single human being is intelligent enough to figure out that authoritarian regimes lie about being democratic. Everybody is smart enough to know that dictators will stage phoney elections to create the illusion of democracy while having absolutely no intent of implementing democracy.

Now imagine a scenario where an authoritarian regime says they will implement socialism and redistribute wealth equally. Does that instantly mean they are telling the truth? Of course not. It’s very clear there was no wealth equality in the USSR. Some people were three hundred pounds while others starved to death. It’s also very clear that workers did not own the means of production. Thus, there was no socialism in the USSR. The same is true for Democratic Kampuchea where the elites were fed, but many common people died of starvation. People were forced to move from urban centres to the countryside where they were forced to work on farms they did not own and where the output of their labour was controlled by an authoritarian regime rather than the workers.

Just because an authoritarian regime forces people to work on farms does not mean there is socialism or collectivism the same way an authoritarian regime holding an election does not mean there is democracy. People were forced to work on those farms to create the illusion of socialism the way phoney elections are used to create the illusion of democracy. Thus, new terminology must be introduced. Referring to Democratic Kampuchea as socialist is as ridiculous as referring to it as democratic. However, one could use the terms inverse-socialism and inverse-democracy to describe Democratic Kampuchea.

'Inverse-democracy' describes a situation where an authoritarian regime poses as democratic and tries to create the illusion of democracy (by holding phoney elections or putting the word 'Democracy' in the official title). (Note: The term 'inverse-democracy' would not apply to authoritarian regimes that outright declare they are authoritarian such as Nazi Germany. The term 'inverse-democracy' only applies to authoritarian regimes that go out of their way to create the illusion of democracy while maintaining authoritarian rule.) Likewise, 'inverse-socialism' describes a scenario where the exact opposite of socialism exists, but where those in power work to create the illusion of socialism (by forcing people to work on non–worker-controlled farms, for example.)

The prefix inverse- is better than the prefix anti- because the prefix anti- sets up an ambiguity. 'Anti-democracy' could refer to inverse-democracy (an authoritarian regime pretending to be democratic) or open opposition to democracy. 'Anti-socialism' could refer to inverse-socialism (non-socialist regimes pretending to be socialist) or opposition to true socialist principles. Thus, inverse- is the best prefix, in my opinion.

Many people use the term 'democratic socialism' to refer to constitutional republics and constitutional monarchies with higher taxation and welfare (relative to other constitutional republics and constitutional monarchies). Firstly, constitutional republics and constitutional monarchies are not democratic. Democracy means majority rule has highest say—higher say than any despot or constitution. Additionally, socialism requires democratic worker-ownership over the means of production which is not the case in a non-democratic welfare-state. Capitalism with high relative taxation is not socialism. 'Welfare capitalism' would be the more accurate term.

Furthermore, it is more than possible to use evidence to determine whether an attempt is being made.

Furthermore, it is more than possible to use evidence to determine whether an attempt is being made. Courts use evidence to determine intent daily.

I think you tried to scam her and I think you’re trying to scam me.

-Judge Judy Sheindlin to defendant, Judge Judy6

Within international law, both apartheid and genocide require determination of intent on the part of the assessors.

A test of apartheid cannot be confined, methodologically, to identifying discrete policies and practices, such as those listed under the Apartheid Convention. Such policies and practices must be found to serve the purpose or intention of imposing racial domination and oppression on a subordinated racial group. In somewhat circular reasoning, international law provides that discrete “inhuman acts” acquire the status of a crime against humanity only if they intentionally serve that purpose, but establishes that such a purpose requires the identification of related inhuman acts. The solution is to examine the context in which acts and motives are configured: that is, whether the State itself is designed to ensure “the domination of a racial group or groups over any other racial group or groups”. (For example, in South Africa, State institutions were designed to ensure incontestable domination by whites and, particularly, Dutch-Afrikaners.)7

Much of the concern in the jury deliberations before and after the proceedings themselves was how to address the allegation of genocide, which has been described as “the crime of crimes.” The jury was sensitive to the differences between the popular and political uses of the word “genocide,” to describe various forms of collective violence directed at ethnic and religious minorities, and the more demanding legal definition of genocide, which requires compelling evidence of specific “intent to destroy.”

The testimony made this issue complex and sensitive. It produced a consensus on the jury that the evidence was sufficient to make it appropriate to give careful consideration as to whether the crime of genocide had actually been committed by Israel. This was itself an acknowledgment that there was a genocidal atmosphere in Israel, in which high-level officials made statements supporting the destruction or elimination of the Gazans as a people. Such inflammatory assertions were at no time repudiated by the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or subject to criminal investigation, let alone any other official proceedings. Furthermore, the sustained bombardment of Gaza, under circumstances where the population had no opportunity to leave or to seek sanctuary within the Gaza Strip, lent further credibility to the charge. The fact that Operation Protective Edge was the third large-scale, sustained military assault on this unlawfully blockaded, impoverished and endangered population also formed part of the larger genocidal context.8

As another example, one can use photo evidence to conclude that the gentleman in the image is not making an attempt to lose weight:

Thus, one can determine from photo evidence that there was no attempt at communism or equality in the Soviet Union. The photo evidence supports Noam Chomsky’s assertion that Lenin, Trotsky, the other Bolsheviks, and subsequent Soviet elites were trying to suppress real socialism while professing to support socialism. (This is an extremely common tactic amongst oligarchists.)

The Leninist antagonism to the most essential features of socialism was evident from the very start. In revolutionary Russia, Soviets and factory committees developed as instruments of struggle and liberation, with many flaws, but with a rich potential. Lenin and Trotsky, upon assuming power, immediately devoted themselves to destroying the liberatory potential of these instruments, establishing the rule of the Party, in practice its Central Committee and its Maximal Leaders — exactly as Trotsky had predicted years earlier, as Rosa Luxembourg and other left Marxists warned at the time, and as the anarchists had always understood. Not only the masses, but even the Party must be subject to “vigilant control from above,” so Trotsky held as he made the transition from revolutionary intellectual to State priest. Before seizing State power, the Bolshevik leadership adopted much of the rhetoric of people who were engaged in the revolutionary struggle from below, but their true commitments were quite different. This was evident before and became crystal clear as they assumed State power in October 1917.9

Examples of Worker-Controlled Economies

1) Dictatorship of the Proletariat

a) The Paris Commune

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Marx and Engels used the Paris Commune as an example of dictatorship of the proletariat.

Well and good, gentlemen, do you want to know what this dictatorship looks like? Look at the Paris Commune. That was the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.11

Workers democratically controlled the Commune.

The Commune was formed of the municipal councillors, chosen by universal suffrage...

...From the members of the Commune downwards, the public service had to be done at workman’s wage.

...Not only municipal administration, but the whole initiative hitherto exercised by the state was laid into the hands of the Commune.

...Like the rest of public servants, magistrates and judges were to be elective, responsible, and revocable.12

Marx said that the Paris Commune was not an example of socialism.

Perhaps you will point to the Paris Commune; but apart from the fact that this was merely the rising of a town under exceptional conditions, the majority of the Commune was in no sense socialist, nor could it be.13

b) The Early Soviets

In revolutionary Russia, Soviets and factory committees developed as instruments of struggle and liberation, with many flaws, but with a rich potential. Lenin and Trotsky, upon assuming power, immediately devoted themselves to destroying the liberatory potential of these instruments... [9]

The soviet first appeared during the St. Petersburg disorders of 1905, when representatives of striking workers acting under socialist leadership formed the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies to coordinate revolutionary activities. It was suppressed by the government. Shortly before the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II in March 1917 and the creation of a Provisional Government, socialist leaders established the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, composed of one deputy for every 1,000 workers and one for each military company. A majority of the 2,500 deputies were Socialist Revolutionary Party members, claiming to represent peasant interests. This Petrograd Soviet stood as a “second government” opposite the Provisional Government and often challenged the latter’s authority. Soviets sprang up in cities and towns across the Russian Empire. Much of their authority and legitimacy in the public eye came from the soviets’ role as accurate reflectors of popular will: delegates had no set terms of office, and frequent by-elections gave ample opportunity for quick exertion of influence by the voters.

In June 1917 the first All-Russian Congress of Soviets, composed of delegations from local soviets, convened in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg). It elected a central executive committee to be in permanent session, with this committee’s presidium at the head of the congress. The second congress met right after the radical Bolshevik faction of the Petrograd Soviet, having gained a majority in this body, had engineered the overthrow of the Provisional Government by the Red Guards and some supporting troops. In protest of this coup (the Russian Revolution of October 1917), most of the non-Bolshevik members of the congress walked out, leaving the Bolsheviks in control...14

2) Agrarian Communism

a) Fujian tulou

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Fujian Tulou is a property of 46 buildings constructed between the 15th and 20th centuries over 120 km in south-west of Fujian province, inland from the Taiwan Strait. Set amongst rice, tea and tobacco fields the Tulou are earthen houses. Several storeys high, they are built along an inward-looking, circular or square floor plan as housing for up to 800 people each. They were built for defence purposes around a central open courtyard with only one entrance and windows to the outside only above the first floor. Housing a whole clan, the houses functioned as village units and were known as “a little kingdom for the family” or “bustling small city.” They feature tall fortified mud walls capped by tiled roofs with wide over-hanging eaves. The most elaborate structures date back to the 17th and 18th centuries. The buildings were divided vertically between families with each disposing of two or three rooms on each floor. In contrast with their plain exterior, the inside of the tulou were built for comfort and were often highly decorated. They are inscribed as exceptional examples of a building tradition and function exemplifying a particular type of communal living and defensive organization, and, in terms of their harmonious relationship with their environment, an outstanding example of human settlement. [15]

The Fujian tulou exhibit high egalitarianism:

In particular, all the rooms inside the circular and square Tulou are equal in size. They are distributed equally to the clansmen who live under the same roof, regardless of their social status or age. The center of an enclosure is a courtyard for public activities; usually the ancestral hall is built there which can also be used as a study. Fully enclosed to defend against outside invaders, Tulou also features open communication inside, demonstrates a strong family awareness and a nearly primitive and plain lifestyle.16

The structural stability, defensive functions and the drainage system are fully taken into consideration when the buildings are designed. They meet the needs to have the whole clan live together, fend off enemies and educate the youngsters. In addition, it is warm in winter, cool in summer, and can protect the residents from strong winds and earthquakes.

In terms of structural stability, the outer wall of Tulou tapers in the upper part which is only two thirds or even one half of the thickness at the bottom. This fully ensures the overall stability of the building. Meanwhile, the base of the wall, 1-2 meters above the ground, is comprised of stone blocks, slab stones and cobblestones for the purpose of protecting the wall from soaking by the underground and surface water. The eave of the building projects further to protect the rammed earth wall from rain.

As for the defensive function, there are no windows on the first and second storeys, while the holes for shooting are placed on the external wall above the second storey. The watchtowers projecting from the wall on the highest storey are used to watch for enemies. The door leaves are mostly made of hard board, sometimes covered with iron sheet, and a water trough is set on the top of the door to protect the building from fire attacks by the enemy.

The drainage system of Tulou is complete and well arranged by taking into consideration the topographical factors and flow of streams. There are some main drainage ditches along the main gates of Tulou, which radiate to the outside. There are access holes to facilitate any repair on the ditches. The concept of Fengshui is also taken into consideration in the design of the main drainage ditch.17

b) Israeli Kibbutz

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I do not support Zionism, but the Israeli kibbutz are an example of agrarian communism. A collective community, traditionally based on agriculture, the first kibbutz was called Deganya and was founded in 1910. Today, there are over 270 kibbutzim in Israel and they have diversified greatly since their agricultural beginnings with many now privatized.19 For example, kibbutzim have branched out into industry and manufacture a wide variety of products from electronics, furniture, household appliances and plastics to farm machinery and irrigation systems.20

More then 90 years ago the first Kibbutz (from the Hebrew word kvutza, meaning group), was established. It was a revolutionary idea of a voluntary society in which people live in accordance with a specific social contract, based on egalitarian and communal principles in a social and economic framework. The main characteristics of Kibbutz life were established in adherence to collectivism in property alongside a cooperative character in the spheres of education, culture and social life. With this came the understanding that the Kibbutz member is part of a unit that is larger then just his own family.

The Kibbutz operates under the premise that all income generated by the Kibbutz and its members goes into a common pool. This income is used to run the Kibbutz, make investments, and guarantee mutual and reciprocal aid and responsibility between members. Kibbutz members receive the same budget (according to family size), regardless of their job or position. In terms of education, all children start equally and are given equal opportunity. The Kibbutz is governed by a system of direct participatory democracy, where the individual can directly influence issues and events in the community. In this mostly self sufficient community, the collective as well as the work ethic play a major role.

There are Kibbutzim where the members receive differential salaries and pay for services, but in all the Kibbutzim which have chosen the differentiation model, the members are "insured" regarding the minimum income level.21

Marx might have classified the Fujian tulou and Israeli kibbutz under primitive communism along with hunter-gatherer societies not based on agriculture. Because the advent of agriculture is so important, I classify the Fujian tulou and Israeli kibbutz under agrarian communism, reserving the term 'primitive communism' for the tribal societies of the hunter-gatherers.