FILMS FOR ACTION
FILMS FOR ACTION NEEDS YOUR HELP
We don't run on ads. We run on donations. Please help us by committing $5 a month.

Abolition of Private Property?

Posted: JANUARY 4, 2018
By Scott Hiley / cpusa.org
Sep 7, 2021
0
Abolition of Private Property?
Image: a street sign in Berlin honors Marx and Engels, authors of the Communist Manifesto and founders of scientific socialism. Creative Commons.

 

Q:  The father of communism Karl Marx says in his Manifesto of the Communist Party "In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property." People are not going to be handing over their private property voluntarily to the communists. This will only happen at gun point once the communists are in power. So why do you say that communism is not violent ? “Political power grows out of the barrel of the gun...” ― A quote from Mao Zedong the father of communist China.

A:  Thanks for writing in.  The phrase from Marx that you cite has been twisted and misinterpreted to serve the ends of the ruling class. The private property that Marx is talking about is private ownership of things like factories, banks, and railroads, which allow their owners to make money from the work of other people.  He has (and we have) no problem with working people accumulating  the sort of stuff needed for a comfortable life.  In fact, making life better for working people is what we're all about.  As Marx says, under capitalism, "private property has already been abolished for nine-tenths of the population." In other words, as long as the economy is run by a few wealthy people in their own interest, the working class won't be able to achieve prosperity.

And he was right!  Look at the Great Recession: banks drove us into an economic crisis by peddling subprime mortgages so that they could repackage the debt as an investment product.  They got rescued by the government, while the working class faced unemployment, foreclosure, loss of retirement savings...  And now, the GOP has passed a tax bill that shifts the tax burden to working families, a form of confiscation.

So abolition of private property doesn't mean that someone comes to your house with a bag and a gun and collects your jewelry, or whatever.   Abolition of private property means stripping billionaire investors of the ability to get rich from our labor (and taking away their political power, as well)--just like the abolition of slavery was the abolition of private property in human beings.

As for the quote from Chairman Mao, it had some truth in his context.  The Chinese Revolution was an armed struggle to transfer power from one class to another.  Just like the French Revolution, the American Revolution, the Haitian Revolution, the Bolivarian independence struggle...  It does not describe our vision or our understanding of socialist revolution in the United States.  Violence is the weapon of the capitalist class. We counter it with solidarity, education, mass mobilization, and the struggle to advance democracy and collective participation.

Sorry for the long response.  Hope this helps clarify things a bit.

Solidarity,
Scott

Trending Videos
Carl Sagan
Permaculture
The New Story Revolution
Featured Documentaries

Films For Action is a library for people who want to change the world.

 

Our mission is to provide citizens with the knowledge and perspectives essential to creating a more beautiful, just, sustainable, and democratic society.

Films For Action was founded in 2006 by a few friends in Lawrence, Kansas, after realizing how essential healthy media is to a healthy democracy.

Over the last 15 years, we've reviewed and curated over 1,000 free documentaries and 4,000 short films, plus over 150 pay-per-view documentaries, spanning 34 topics related to changing the world.

During this time we've been able to reach tens of millions of people - not by owning a TV network or spending truckloads of cash on advertising, but because millions of awesome people keep sharing 'films for action' with their friends on social media - in particular, our 850,000 supporters on Facebook and 70,000 site members. 

One of the coolest things is, thanks to our patrons, our library is ad-free and 100% supported by member donations, while 99% of our library is free to access and always will be. The pay-per-view films on our site, of course, help support the filmmakers, and 90-100% of the revenue for PPV films hosted by us goes to the filmmakers. 

To thank our $5/mo patrons, we partner with filmmakers and distributors to provide free access to a growing number of films that are normally pay-per-view. With just 20 highly curated films at the moment, it's basically a very, very tiny Netflix for world changers, but its main function is to support the library as a whole.

If you'd like to know more, want to help out, or you're a filmmaker looking to collaborate, feel free to get in touch!

Cheers,  Tim Hjersted