Soviet Socialism in the 21st Century Part II: Is Marxism Utopianism, a Fraud or Both?

Marxist ideology has an inextricable connection to the recent events going on throughout the globe. Do you know the fate of Iraq and Afghanistan or who is behind Benghazi, al-Qaeda and the entire terrorist movement? Maybe you know why Obama, with Putin’s help, betrayed Western values and saved Assad. Or maybe you know who is Snowden a hero or a traitor. Knowledge of Marxism and history of Stalinism will answer all these and many other questions, as “the cancer is in a human brain.”  So, let’s return to the discussion we have started on December 17, 2013…

Many social philosophers of the past were inspired by the idea of a ‘brave new world” governed by a just, peaceful and unified government. Such ideal societies were envisioned by Sir Thomas More in Utopia in the 16th Century and Tommaso Campanella in The City of the Sun in the 17th century. During the Industrial Age (18th-19th centuries) a constellation of social philosophers such as Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier, and Robert Owen continued the search for a better form of social organization.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were greatly influenced by these men and they coined the term “Utopian Socialists” to describe their teachers’ hyper-idealistic theory. But were they, too, Utopian Socialists? Engels himself sneeringly dismissed the idea.  He asserted that the “undeveloped state of the class struggle, as well as their own surroundings cause Socialists of this kind to consider themselves far superior to all class antagonism.”

I give you this statement for a reason. Engels’ view of his teachers was quite arrogant, but it offers insight into the importance to its creators of key concepts of Marxism—the class struggle and class antagonism. Marx and Engels were militants and differed distinctly in their approach to social engineering from the peaceful ways envisioned by the Utopian Socialists. However, Marxism’s militancy does not answer the question of whether we can consider Marxism utopian or fraud. To answer the question we should go to the heart of Marxist Theory—Socialism. The answer lies in Marx’s legitimization of socialism and eventually in the legitimacy (or lack of legitimacy) of his theory itself.

To grasp the concept of Marxist Socialism, we must first analyze the Marxist claim that the theory is based on science — scientific Socialism. “Scientific” means the theory is based on verifiable facts. In reality Marx did not provide any verifiable facts. Based on history, we can state that socialist society had never previously existed anywhere in the world. And that allows me right away to conclude that the second part of Marxist theory — Communism – must be a completely utopian theory, as it is not based on any human experience and is just an opinion about or idea of a future model of social organization. Moreover, both can be considered a fraud if it is based on a questionable concept of Socialism–those two are inextricably connected…

Whether we can call Marxism “scientific Socialism” or utopianism continues to be an open question.  I have lived half of my life under the system called Soviet Socialism, where everything belonged to the government, from the factories to the goods they produced, from the land to everything produced from the land. I didn’t know anything about capitalism when I started studying Marxism-Leninism at Law School. I wanted reading books written by Marx and Engels, the only information from the West. One of them, Das Kapital, impressed me enormously. The book weighed four or five pounds. Even translated into Russian, it was still difficult to read. But I had to read it.

The book gave me my first glance at capitalism. I have to admit that economics and the concept of money were studied and presented in details…I was astonished by the significance of money within the capitalist system. How was it possible that the creator of socialism couldn’t describe the situation that was the opposite of his own theoretical creation? Under our socialism, money meant very little. Of course, you had to have some money to buy bread or milk, but that was probably it. To buy meat or butter, having money was not enough: you had to have Blat. All soviet citizens knew the term…

This term is not familiar to you, as it is a Russian word that applies only to the socialist society. You live under capitalism and the laws of supply and demand, which responds to reality. Soviet Socialism did not function in response to real conditions, and because of constant shortages and empty shelves, people relied on Blat–“connections with the reciprocal favors” – specifically, knowing someone who had access to goods. As a defense attorney, I regularly got meat and other products from my clients who worked in various stores, which all belonged to the state—it was a system of universal corruption from the top to bottom. You can read the details in my book Baltic Winds: Testimony of A Soviet Attorney, Xlibris, 2002.

Many years ago when I studied Marxism I found that Marx had researched capitalism pretty well. I did not know anything about the capitalist economy and got the primary idea that capitalism was comprised of capital and labor. If the material on capital was introduced by Marx in details, the part on labor was not. I was expecting him to identify and introduce a Unit of Labor. I did not see it. Had Marx been able to find a Unit of Labor, perhaps he wouldn’t need militancy and aggressiveness in his political theory—people could have solved their problems peacefully, without a revolution. I am not an economist, and I cannot give you a final judgment on whether “scientific Socialism” is utopian or not, maybe it is a pure fraud. I was surprised by the aggressive and arrogant social demands in Marx’s works, especially in his Manifesto. Now, living under capitalism, I find something dishonest and sloppy about Marxism as a whole.

And I am not alone. I’d like to introduce you to almost the same opinions from another author and a researcher of Marxism—Paul Phillips, who produced voluminous, works on both Marx and Engels. A couple of quotations will give you the big picture of Marxism and the author’s opinion: “Marx and Engels’ statements on law and laws are scattered throughout their writings, frequently embedded in discussions of much broader compass and sometimes puzzling in their inconsistency…” and another one, “Marx here seems to make an invalid transition from the empirical sphere to the normative… It is at this point that the invalid step takes place…” Marx and Engels on Law and Laws, by Paul Phillips, Martin Robertson, Oxford, 1980.

The only difference between us is that Mr. Phillips, although a gentleman, he had not exposed the negative consequences of Marx’s theory, he never lived under Socialism. I did, and yes, I have a definite antipathy to Marx and become resentful to his creation. Law is a moral cement of any society–Soviet Socialism, based on a questionable theory, was a lawless system, build on deception, lies and fraud to serve one party rules…

There is another big question about Marxism—whether Dialectical Materialism was correctly applied to Marxist theory. I am not a philosopher, but observing capitalism from within and having life experiences of socialism, I believe that Marxist theory was artificially connected to world-renowned German philosophers of the 19th century like Hegel, a Father of German  Idealism and Feuerbach to bring recognition to Marxism. They had two things in common with Marx–Hegelian idealism and Feuerbach’s atheism.  But what does that have to do with class struggle? Dialectical Materialism itself is still remains a controversial theory. Of course, the world is changes over time, but not necessarily through world revolution with millions killed. Engels himself had some doubts, expressed in the title, while admitting dialectical changes in the world:

“The whole world, natural, historical, intellectual, is represented as a process – i.e., as in constant motion, change, transformation, development; and the attempt is made to trace out the internal connection that makes a continuous whole of all this movement and development” [Socialism: Utopian & Scientific], Friedrich Engels,1880.  I agree—this is an evolutionally process. I can add that any nation or race needs years, if not centuries, to develop civility and knowledge of the economic system. By the way, this idea can be applied to contemporary conditions in the Muslim world—Islam has not been developed further since the 7th century.  Can you see the result?

However, the difference between Engels’ views and my positions is that of experience—Engels was a theorist, I lived through his theory made fact. I know the reality; he, like his friend Marx, was theorizing about the future of humanity. If alive, I would ask them two questions. Why did they give a leadership to a social underclass and how was it possible that America, a developing capitalist economy for two hundred years, earned super power status without class struggle? My answer would be very simple—the American highly educated and savvy leaders created a new civilization, underclass is unable to create. The result is obvious– America is an exceptional country, its government serves people and not infected by a very questionable ideology. There is division in America into “white colors” and “blue colors.” That’s it!  No class struggle, no killings, yet…! Being a correspondent of New-York Tribune for ten years, Marx was supposed to know that…

I regret that contemporary philosophers have avoided discussing the subject. The collapse of the Soviet Union was the appropriate time to do so—instead, the world’s euphoria prevented serious discussions and analyses. Alas!  People of the world are hungry for this particular knowledge to answer their questions. They are still waiting… Knowing the consequences of Marxian teaching, I would argue that Marxism with its “scientific” appearance was used by charlatans and criminals to acquire power, to fool, abuse, manipulate, and exploit people. So-called Marxism caused immense destruction of the land and death for tens of millions innocent people around the globe for the last three century…

To be continued…

I would recommend you reading the follow materials:

1. Socialism vs. Capitalism: Which is the Moral System? By C. Bradley Thompson, On Principle, October, 1993.

2. What is Happening to America? The Hidden Truth of Global Destruction, Xlibris, 2012.

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