Dear Mr. Bergoglio, Pope of the Catholic Church, I read in the news that you complained about the communists (??)—Those meddlesome, very bad guys with the vice of eating kids and priests—would be guilty of stealing the flag of poverty from the hands of Christianity.
Besides some media sources—but I don’t know if this is true, and I don’t easily believe journalists and commentators, nor do I really listen to your sermons, wherever your use to holding them—you always stated that Jesus long before Marx had the poor at heart, thus, all the starving people in this world must identify Jesus as their supporter and not Marx. I absolutely agree! Marx would never say he had the poor at heart, as he would never think to console the underprivileged with beatitudes that would defer the end of their pains in the afterlife.
The wise German would simply investigate our societies only to find that peculiar relationship of dominion which divides people between blissful and damned, being the first eligible to pay for the service of the latter, insomuch that those who command have the impudence to dictate terms and ethics rules to the others. Oh yeah, woe to the vanquished!! He was sharp sighted enough to see that the chain of production ruthlessly exploited individuals and resources, forcing people into the hell of capitalist accumulation where all as much as each and every one became an article of trade; yet, that could have been its limit and breakpoint too, to the extent the consciousness-raising by the working class would emancipate not only the workers but all Humankind by overthrowing the bourgeois creation system of social wealth.
There is no love for the poor, no Christian pity, no empathy for such unsustainable conditions like poverty in Marx’s viewpoint, there is love for Man as such, instead. He only wanted men to get rid of the inhuman system of production and control, in which not even the capitalists could satisfy their human needs, as Capital is a cruel master, and an absolute sovereign, who doesn’t know men and women but only profit, and there are no laws or provisions humans can make to escape its inhuman dominion. This was Marx’s warning, delivered to Humankind. He marked out a course so that individuals may finally reach for the Kingdom of Man, the only possibility for being actually human and really free, because, nothing will ever change as long as dominants and dominated are the paradigm of the human, pardon, inhuman cohabitation.
Therefore, be happy with yourself Pope Francis, and keep tight that flag of poverty, nobody wants to steal it from your holy hands, let alone from the divine hands of the Catholic Church. However, no matter how hard I try, I can’t fail to observe that your complaint starts from a background error, Pope Francis; you mistake the innocent for the guilty. Yes, it is true that the Bolsheviks drew on the same St. Paul’s admonition from II Thessalonians letter “Those who do not work shall not eat”, that was Lenin’s intention in his work The State and Revolution, 1917, when he and his comrades dreamt about leading their society to socialism, and then from a socialist organization to communism.
Nonetheless, in Lenin’s usage, the meaning was that the bourgeoisie would quit buying labor-power, as everybody would have been engaged in the production process. Marx himself recognized this necessity in the transition from Capitalism to Communism, although he thought it was a blemish, inevitable yes, yet a blemish. He admonished that unless we want to indulge in utopianism, we must not think that having overthrown capitalism people will at once learn to work for society without any rules of law (see Critique of the Gotha Programme, letter to Bracke, Section 3, “The First Phase of Communist Society”, 1875). As you can see, there is no empathy for poverty conditions as such, on the contrary—like it or not—Marx showed a way to abolish poverty, until the time Humanity will enter the communist society, and then will rise above the communist society itself, when State and Law are gone forever, and all of the social structures that limit individual liberties with them. Notwithstanding, a superficial reading of Marx’s letter to Bracke, as happened many times with Marx’s intellectual production, may drive to consider Marx meant to acknowledge the need for the State even in a communist society, whereas Engels insisted to remove the word State to be substituted by Community.
Yet, although Marx used the expression “Dictatorship of the Proletariat”, which sounds so dreadful to democratic ears—namely to those who naively believe that our democracies assure freedom and peace—that meant the most advanced form of democracy we can’t ever dream of, and was meant only to be a passage in the course to the State extinction. As a matter of fact, both Marx and Engels agreed the State should wither away; thus, all the phases in between are preordained to start a process of the State withering away. Marx didn’t stop at the phenomenology, he went back up to the cause, that’s why his vision couldn’t but foresee the total disappearance of money, market, social classes, the profit-based production system and, consequently, the bourgeois law and State itself, which he considered the cornerstone of the capitalist system. On the other hand, if communism is not the end of slavery, salaried labor, capital, values of trade, and social dominion, as in Marx’s vision, it would make no sense at all.
Unfortunately, history has assimilated and then regurgitated the mediocre bourgeois thinking of Stalin’s way to communism. Nonetheless, not a single drip of economy has ever been produced on this planet differently than under the iron law of capitalism, as socialism, even less communism, have never seen the light. All the so-called countries of real socialism, past and present, with their planned economy, have simply put in place a form of state capitalism, unable to change social conditions, yet enough proficient to increase the level of oppression and destroy any effort for freedom. And in the name of what? Of capital accumulation and imperialistic hegemony, of course, what else?
The bourgeois revolutions from which those regimes rose, adopted the same capitalist pattern to perpetuate once again power and control. And I’d better digress about the unashamed and brazen communist representatives of the western world, particularly in Italy and France, with their respectable socialist tradition, and huge and notable communist parties, which took part in the plunder and parted the loot as all the other brigands of politics. A remarkable bunch of bourgeois, all made-up to show themselves smiling at the best living rooms of high society. Definitely sickening!! In a clearer and easier way, consider the following distinctive categories of capitalism: salaried labor, surplus value, production of articles with value of trade, monetary system and use of capital, profit, class division.
Now, Pope Francis, you tell me where in this world have you ever known a country the social structure and the production system were differently ordered and controlled? State capitalism, in fact, has nothing to do with socialism, let alone communism! Whether centrally planned or let to the whims of private entrepreneurs, capitalism still maintains its habit, its peculiar liaison of dominion through which the capital pays salaried labor and fleeces surplus value from the workers accumulating all the social wealth produced through exploitation. There is no other way to pay toll to profit, and money, Pope Francis, can’t help but become capital, and doing so, it gives birth to that typical correlation of abuse and oppression from which all violence is originated, starting from the violence committed by the capitalist who extorts the surplus to the worker, as there is no way to humanize a system based upon the values of trade; its only goal, indeed, remains profit.
Yes, the evil we witnessed is generated by class warfare, it doesn’t come out of the blue, it is not rooted in the heart of people, and the Evil One does not want it. It is the perennial fight between the hangmen and the subjugated that try to reach for the same condition as the first ones. It’s no use of getting shocked because profit turns men into greedy and harsh individuals.
Well then, in a system conceived through class division, capital, and production of values of trade, to speak about morality, honest politics, fair trade, ethical business, not only denotes a scarce knowledge of economics and social dynamics, it even denounces a certain mental narrowness, which I am certain, it’s a kind of pathology you don’t suffer from, like many other intellectuals, petty bourgeois, and politicians do. State and Church have much in common, both have their liturgies, their mystics, their holy myths, they are both religion with a major mission, the Katechon, tò katéchon, “that what withholds”, or ò katéchon, “the one who withholds”, once again Paul the Apostle, or Saul of Tarsus, and his Thessalonians letter. And what is to be withheld if not the achievement of total Liberty by the individuals, which implies no government, no ruling classes, no politics, no leaders; quite a dangerous notion for those who are used to walking the halls of power. Ergo, the Power must exert all of its force and violence to dissuade from the intention of freedom, starting from that vision of the world that considers the human beings slaves to their passions, weak to temptations, prey of evil, incapable of dominating their ardor and craze, ergo, they need to be ruled. Well then, what’s a human society for, if individuals ought to live under inhuman conditions? As a representative of the Catholic faith, you, Pope Francis, would retort, «What is the instant of this life as against eternity?»
Well then, see, admitting we’re expected eternal life after this earthly experience, I would rather live this life in complete human meaning, not forced to the inhuman condition we are all crammed into like pawns of the game of dominion. What the human experience lacks is Man, not God, because it is in the absence of Man that every atrocity is possible. Under the logic of fallible and inconsistent men, the logic of dominion takes over, and so the poor become fertile soil to the seeds of social control and conscience control, and since the weight of their miserable condition sustains the lightness of the ruling classes, the weapons of dominion build them the path through which they can go beyond the horizon of their endurance, for if they are convinced that their sacrifice is not in vain, they can be rewarded by the eternal bliss, or awarded with the gratitude of the State through the lie of common good.
Notion, this latter, quite sickening to my dear stomach, as that of merit, another bourgeois champion silliness of which its supporters themselves are incapable of seeing the disastrous consequences under human and economic aspect either.
No, decisively no, Pope Francis, there is nothing similar in Marx’s thought. The State, and its legal system, are the watchdogs of the economic and hegemonic national system, they cannot ensure any liberty at all, not even through balancing justice and freedom in society, because justice and freedom, in a bourgeois organization, are enclosed within the same shell of dominion that informs them and makes them exercisable.
Yet, the dominion is able to explain any of its heinous injustice resorting to its primary function of serving and protecting society; because, to shelter people and their rights from wicked individuals legitimates its monopoly of violence, and for those who stop themselves to observe the effect, instead of going up to the cause, this principle becomes sacred and inviolable. People are willing to accept the social contract and suffer restrictions just to stem the tide of evil. But what if this mysterious evil were much more apparent, so much obvious that it ends up being even banal and inane? Is it actually that hard to see that it is the social structure to influence the individual conscience?
No man’s consciousness is ever able to determine what people really are, in contrast, it is their social being to decide their sense of right and wrong, and consciousness. The problem is not internal to human beings, it is not because of greed, egotism, or other spiritual epithets you may name, the problem is political, or, the way the social configuration is organized to satisfy certain needs of production and class interests. Nobody is ever born wicked, yet many become wicked because of ready-made social conditions they find. Of course, the ruling classes have big interests to defend, and that’s why they ask for social peace through law and order, but the bourgeois law shows all its weakness by the time those doomed to hell want to gain a piece of glory among the hangmen, or the upper classes, if you prefer.
If then you think evil has reasons and roots that are different, and caused by imperceptible factors quite distant from social conditions, well, I am not interested in theological disputes as I find them completely barren!! Politics, that distinctive practice necessary to mediate interests among the social classes and make the machine of social destruction efficient, pushes this world into war. That’s why your request for centering labor instead of capital, cannot be more welcome by Capital itself, because it is just in the living labor that profit hails from!!
You can turn the story round and round, but the chain of profit cannot be different than Surplus labor-Surplus product-Surplus value-Profit. As long as money exists, it will never quit turning into capital, generating profit, sweating laborers, pushing countries into competition, and leading people to rivalry. This is the only process it knows to create social wealth. Pope Francis, the trouble is nested in the “ethical” real economy, as no financial economy can be born without a strong real economy.
Lacking the sacred production, offered by the slaves who are immolated on the altar of the fair real economy, there are no resources for financial market, and no financial market means less consumption, which leads to less production, which leads to unemployment and stagnation. All in all, the game of contesting social wealth, produced by the total sacrifice of the working class, which represents the real wealth on this planet, is not a gala evening, as someone put it. Are you, Pope Francis, actually convinced that crises and defaults are caused by man’s cupidity? Is it so difficult to understand they are the normal outcome of a production system based on profit? When the surplus value falls, earnings suffer reductions, and soon money lacks the ability to make investments and the engine starts coughing. Market dynamics, competition, big capital that eats small capital, globalization, the tendency of the rate of profit to fall, are internal dynamics of capitalism, sometimes they are governable through enormous sacrifice by the subjugated class, yet sometimes are completely unmanageable. Capital needs outlets, and nobody and nothing can stop it. I suppose, Pope Francis; you think that work will set us all free??
I saw that sign once, hanging over a gate proclaiming ‘’work will set you free’’ It is one of the worse lies ever perpetuated… No politically correct solution can save us from the abyss. Which change do we want to make, while the monster is alive and kicking, and rules? The Leviathan may well change its skin, but its substance, and in its materiality, and spirit too if you like, remain the same, it is a song that changes its lyrics but keeps being played by the same chords.
Yes, Pope Francis, the song remains the same! It creates the social organization which shapes the individual and makes them part of its macabre play from which there is no escape, until class consciousness knocks it down so that it will be confined to the dungeon of history, and a new brighter age of Liberty and emancipation will greet Humankind. Still, is there anyone of these champions of morals who sustains that work may ever be dignified under a capitalist regime? Ah, a charade you are! You don’t have the slightest idea of what the production process really is. Labor will cease to be measured of value of trade, only when social wealth can be produced and distributed according to human needs and without any monetary system in between. I have nothing to do with the notion of communism kneaded and thrown by the past century to the masses poisoned by the capitalist venom.
That was a war played on the imperialist, and of course on the capitalist chessboard, which was lost by the Soviet front because its economy, capitalistically ordained and planned, miserably failed. Neither do I want to be the defender of Karl Marx, whose work is quite neat and clear, obscure only to those who haven’t read it, or know him through his epigones, especially those enchanted by Stalin, and, by all the other criminals who, in the name of socialism, have slain millions of people and reduced as many others to slavery. Those dictatorships have stolen the working class its dream for emancipation.
That was a theft, certainly not the flag of the poor you moan to miss, Pope Francis, go searching in your own home, and maybe you will find the thief. Unfortunately, the poor don’t have enough class-consciousness, thus far, to revolt and give to all peoples the coveted emancipation from the slavery of dominion, that’s why they are easy prey of promises useless to change their unbearable condition.
They don’t know they can lead us to that place that does not exist yet, but that can be the Motherland of all Humans, the Free Human Community, where the primary reasons for man to be greedy and commit crime is abolished. No stashing of goods if there is no money to pay for them, no market to sell them, as human necessities will be guaranteed for everybody through a participated and humanized system of production.
It’s a long way home; yes it is, yet, not certainly a chimera. We don’t need cultural hegemony, no enlightened elite, no supernatural morals, no mystical ethics. We don’t need bourgeois education and control. Just like we don’t certainly need any label, particularly if borrowed by criminals or bourgeois politicians who got pleasure from being called communists. So then, although it is not a history necessity, nor is it written in any law of physics, my daily fight keeps me looking for liberation among the cruelty of dominion and finding the pathway to the Free Human Community.
I don’t mean this as an attack against religion as such, I have no petty bourgeois preoccupation about religion, it is not my fight. My fight is the liberation of individuals from their alienated condition and their denied humanity that degrade and make them inert as human beings and active as production tools. And, although I share the thought that religion is but the cry of the oppressed, in the universal brotherhood of the Free Human Community, no spiritual aspiration will ever be infringed, as no cult of personality, nor any other structure of power, will rule over people’s lives and consciences.
Previously published on Medium and more websites on July 2014 – You are welcome to re-post and share by mentioning the source (author Bob Mazzei, link to punkia.com)