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Leninism Lives at Lehigh University By: Oliver Lewis
The Brown and White | Monday, March 28, 2005

This is a celebration of my right to free speech, press and petition the government. As a whole, the citizens of the United States consider their country to be a democracy. Roger Baldwin, who founded the American Civil Liberties Union in 1920, said, “So long as we have enough people in this country to fight for their rights, we’ll be called a democracy.”

And now, citizens, we must fight for a more egalitarian society in the United States.

It is my opinion that the greatest expression of democracy and equality is the communist system and that it is time for Americans to push for a social revolution where production is made “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs,” as Karl Marx said.

With such an egalitarian society there are no social classes. There is no private property or state. Communism would permit the complete expression of individual and commutative freedom.

This should be appealing for many reasons. A communist United States would allow property to be owned by the community as a whole. Means of production, such as factories, businesses and buildings, would belong to and serve everyone.

Communal property would terminate this struggle by eliminating the means by which capitalist powers use individuals as a factor of production. Workers would no longer be factors of production but human individuals. Instead of being alienated workers, they would have the opportunity to employ themselves according to their skills and interests.

More important than the elimination of private property, such as land or real estate, it is capital that should no longer be privately owned.

In a well-functioning communist America, profits would no longer go to the business owners but would result in an exchange of necessities. Benefits would be allocated to everyone. Money, the source of inequality, only allows the upper classes to gain capital at the expense of the workers who create the profits.

The United States is perfectly prepared for communism. According to Marx, the path to a perfect egalitarian state must pass through a series of stages, starting with feudalism, then capitalism, to result in the ideal communist state. This is why communist states, such as the U.S.S.R. and China, were bound to become ineffective: they never industrialized or went though the capitalistic phases that the United States is currently experiencing. This is why China and the former Soviet nations are now turning to market-based economies.

Capitalism is necessary to create the means of production, such as machines and services, which in turn satisfy the basic needs of all. Capitalism also edifies the population with ideals of personal and collective freedom and entrepreneurship. Critics of communism will say that, without financial remuneration, the opportunity to be rewarded for any surplus of hard work will no longer exist. They predict that progressive factors such as research, competitive spirit, laborer motivation and dedication will disappear.

I do not believe this is true. In the days following Sept. 11, 2001, Americans showed great patriotism and brotherly support. I have the firm belief that the citizens of the United States will see how their work and devotion will result in the amelioration of the state as a whole.

Besides my faith in the existence of a social consciousness of obligation toward state improvement, fellow comrades of mine and I believe that the human being is intrinsically inclined to be inquisitive, progressive and in a perpetual search for intellectual development. The developed modern man or woman does not need financial motivation to improve him- or herself.

This linguistic political correctness brings me to my next argument for a communist United States. Under communism, the elimination of financial hierarchy and networking will have the residual effect of removing all types of discrimination in all social groups such as employment, education and leisure activities.

Many citizens of the United States dislike the state interfering in their affairs. They do not believe the state can make better decisions for them than they could themselves. In a communist America, there would no longer be any state. Each individual would be free to take part in the commerce that suits him or her best.

You may ask yourself how this would affect you personally. Besides basic humanistic values, a communist United States would allow all residents to have access to an education of equal quality and value. Capital and racial discrimination would no longer exist.

With this new education and in the continuation of the current development of grades at Lehigh, with one-third of students obtaining a 3.5 GPA or higher every semester, a communistic approach to grading could be put into place. The current inflation and leveling out of grades could lead to, just as with capital, an elimination of grades.

Students would study for pure scholastic interest and would put in as much effort as they felt necessary. Instead of spending time learning what is sometimes considered futile, scholars would only learn what they felt useful to them. With this theory, we can now see an analogy with the prior suggestion of the elimination of the state and the promotion of personal freedom.

Why would those whom Marx would qualify as the “bourgeois” give up their political power and financial comfort? My answer relies on the existence of an appeal to the necessity for humans to live in relative comfort and equality. By equality I refer to a notion of social justice, where all humans are born equal and should not be deprived of basic needs or discriminated against by others. It seems irrational that 12 percent of U.S. residents live under the poverty line when the country is considered to have the “largest and most technologically powerful economy in the world,” according to the CIA’s World Factbook.

In the current economic state, if all national income were to be distributed equally, each individual would receive $37,800 annually. This would suggest that the United States is more than prepared for communism and that, once in place, the general standard of living would not be greatly modified on a whole. An annual salary of $37,800 would remain vastly superior to the income of the majority of world population, which lives in destitution and misery, oppressed and enslaved by the mechanism of the capitalist world system. I leave you with this rephrasing of one of Marx’s closing statements: Workers of the United States, unite, and long live the First Amendment, comrades.

Olivier Lewis is a sophomore French and international relations major. He is an assistant news editor for Lehigh University's student newspaper, The Brown and White.

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