You’d think today’s socialists would be a little more cautious when it comes to preaching about the merits of centralized planning, a bit more wary about putting the state in charge of every nook and cranny of daily life, given the way things have turned out over the past century.
It wasn’t just the bad economics, the sight of people queuing up in the Soviet Union each morning to stand in line for hours for bread before the shelves went bare, or the decade-long waits for drab apartments. Worse was the price of pounding every doubter and straggler into line, the slaughter by the bodyguards of collectivism of the millions who failed to proclaim the nonexistent virtue of a failed system, the elimination of millions who failed to buy the idea that a man’s mind was nothing compared to the collective wisdom of the state.
The final tally, the grand total of those killed in the Marxist-Leninist war of class genocide against private property, individuality, profit and the market, is variously estimated at between 80 million and 110 million, with as many as 65 million in China, 25 million in the former Soviet Union, 1.7 million in Cambodia, and on and on.
It was the world’s most full-scale totalitarianism, an ideology that had come to rule a third of mankind, a revolutionary vision of egalitarianism and virtue that turned into, in the words of Martin Malia, professor of history emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, who died last month, the “most colossal case of political carnage in history.”
As I said, with a grand total of millions of victims, one would suppose that the remaining true believers in the socialist camp might be a little shy or unsure in calling for yet another round of centralized planning and great leaps forward.
Such, however, is not the case, as evidenced by the call for grandiose state intrusion in the most private of matters in the November-December 2004 issue of the Internationalist Socialist Review. The crisis described in America is that of an escalating “class attack” by the bourgeoisie in which “more and more responsibility for children’s welfare has been placed on individual families.”
Not only isn’t the state being given “more and more responsibility for children’s welfare,” but back home at the stove and washing machines we’re seeing exactly no progress toward the unionization of wives and mothers. In a system that thrives on capitalism, hierarchy and sexism, it’s still “primarily women who are expected to perform the unpaid domestic labor of raising children, cooking, housework, and primary health care.”
Things could be swell, in short, if only our kids were raised in state dogma centers and the AFL-CIO was put in charge of any work-related grievances in our home kitchens. Simply stated, it would have been capitalism rather than communism that ended up on the ash heap of history if it weren’t for all those clothes that are rolling around in America’s washers and dryers and all those quickie meals that are popped into our microwaves each night without a dime of compensation. Or as it’s summarized in the International Socialist Review, “Capitalism now relies on the unpaid labor of women within the home.”
In this God-awful “privatized nature of the family,” female homemakers are said to be now raising the next generation of proletarian workers for nothing. And while the “prevailing media image of women today is that of a white suburban mom in a minivan whose top concern is ‘national security,'” we’re told that the real picture is much closer to what Frederick Engels called the “proletarian wife,” a “head servant” who slaves away in an unpaid “second shift,” fully “excluded from public protection.”
Pulling out all the big stars from the communist galaxy, the authors underline their point with a quote from Karl Marx, explaining that capitalism stays alive only through “privatized reproduction,” i.e., privatized children. And from Lenin comes the quote on the “domestic slave” in a capitalist home, where “petty housework crushes, strangles, stultifies and degrades her, chains her to the nursery, and she wastes her labor on barbarously unproductive, petty, nerve-racking, stultifying and crushing drudgery.”
In time, of course, those who refused the warm embrace of the state as a solution to all this were declared to be morally depraved, and killed, 100 million or so in all, give or take a few gulags or forced famines.