Right from Wrong
“How we live, what kind of society we are going to have, who has a right to live, who can eat and who can have a home and who can’t – these are real moral questions that we have to deal with. And even though we fight the attacks that are put upon us, we have to have a vision of what kind of world we want, what kind of world we see, and what kind of direction we can go in.”
— General Baker, Detroit, father, autoworker, proletarian intellectual, revolutionary, and a founding member of the League of Revolutionaries for a New America
In times of great change, morality – our conception of right and wrong – rises to the fore and helps to guide people’s thinking. Questions of who we are and what we must do begin with the practical questions of protecting our families and our communities, but inevitably become entangled with questions of vision and meaning, of how we will apply this morality to resolve the problems we face.
Webster’s dictionary says that morality is “a particular system of values and principles of conduct, especially one held by a specified person or society.” We should also add that the dominant morality under capitalism is the morality of the capitalist class. Their morality is defined by capitalist logic – if you do not work you do not eat. If you lose your family, your house, turn to self-medication or crime, or even die – well, that’s all on you. To a greater or lesser degree this capitalist “morality” is at the center of every dominant value the ruling class attempts to impose on us today, enforcing the priority of private property over the good and well-being of the majority.
Today we are in the midst of a vast social revolution brought on by the transfer of social production from electro-mechanical production to electronics. Every aspect of American life is being torn apart, and something new is fighting to be born.
The morality of the capitalist class cannot guide the path to this new world. Indeed, it stands in the way of this new world, and must be discarded.
For the first time in human history, society has the wherewithal to provide for everyone. Houses can be built in a day. Hospitals could open their doors for the best and most advanced medical treatment available. Schools could be filled to bursting with books, computers and teachers.
Lives of toil and poverty could be transformed into lives of meaningful work, individual contribution, and human development. Society can now be organized around the betterment of all of its people and the advancement of human progress.
Distribution according to need is the guiding principle of the morality of this new world. This is the morality upon which a cooperative, communist society is based. It is no surprise that the morality of communism is expressed in every demand for homes, for schools, for health care, for protection from violence, and for peace in the world. Communism is no alien proposition, no pie in the sky, no hare-brained scheme that can be dislodged by the scorn of politicians, or tanks in the street. It is the practical solution to every practical problem we face.
September/October 2018 Vol28.Ed5
This article originated in Rally, Comrades!
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The age-old vision of a world without scarcity, without exploitation, class domination, organized violence, and stultifying labor has been the dream of millenia. The new completely socialized labor-eliminating means of production ... sets the basis for its realization. Now human history can begin, the light of the individual shining in the full brightness of liberated life, that can only be realized within true equality and cooperation: communism, a cooperative society.'Without Vision, the People Perish'
Rally, Comrades ! May/June 2011