Hillary Clinton is not a communist.
That said, she is certainly running to the left.
That’s actually an interesting question. People throw around the terms “left” and “right” with an instinctive, imprecise, sense of their meanings. It’s good to get back to first principles.
I am rereading, after long neglect, the charter document of communism, The Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels. It is a fascinating document, an attack, above all, on the middle class (called by its authors the bourgeoisie). It didn’t, to understate the matter, end well.
Marx and Engels enumerate a number of core policy points. Their “ten commandments,” as it were, verbatim:
1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c, &c.
The Manifesto’s authors also address the methods by which these policies are to be implemented, calling these methods, explicitly, “despotic.”
The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organised as the ruling class; and to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as possible.
Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionising the mode of production.
There are many gradations of leftist sentiment, from outright communism to socialism to social democracy to progressivism. That said, they know their own. The Communist Party USA recently, to little notice by the mainstream media, expressed its enthusiasm for Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton (h/t to WorldNetDaily) in the CPUSA’s official propaganda organ, People’s World:
Clinton has to provide a vision for a new America, tying together the Democratic platform planks — called the most progressive ever — among them, $15 an hour minimum wage, debt-free and tuition-free college and universal health care, with a compelling narrative that inspires people to think big and do big-hearted things.
People need to vote FOR a candidate, otherwise voters are more likely to stay at home. Voting for the first woman president can also be a strong motivator.
The union movement, communities of color, students, women, progressives and the newborn “political revolution” can help generate voter enthusiasm by talking and tweeting about Clinton and the issues. Challenging sexism is a must as well as racism, which has been a coded (and overt) staple of presidential elections for decades.
However, there are many weeks until Election Day. “Clinton could easily lose to Trump, and she could also easily end up winning in a landslide,” Silver writes.
“Winning in a landslide” is needed now more than ever, and that landslide for Clinton could swing control of the Senate to Democrats, and other potential positive effects could be felt on the “down ballot” congressional and state races.
Hillary Clinton is not a communist. That said, she and the Democratic Party at large enthusiastically embrace several of the key planks of The Communist Manifesto. These include: a heavy progressive or graduated income tax, the prohibition of inheritance (of which the death tax is directed), and, of greatest interest to me (although not necessarily you), “Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.” Hello, Federal Reserve System!
This observation is not “red-baiting.”
It’s not even rude.
It’s just a whisper of Truth to Power.
There is something marvelous about progressives. We have all pledged to liberty and justice for all and while their commitment to liberty is often deficient their commitment to social justice can be admirable. Had their means brought about a Worker’s Paradise I just might be cheering them on.
They didn’t. Still, Democrats, progressives, and socialists really should not flinch from acknowledgement of the inspiration, or at least correlation, of their agenda with the Manifesto.
As for me, I’m an old anti-communist. It is “the god that failed.” Alas, upon implementation of their agenda in wholesale fashion their aspirations consistently were disappointed. Crushed, even, even though they, with the prescribed “despotic inroads,” crushed their adversaries. As Yergin and Stanislaw wrote in The Commanding Heights:
In his book Socialism, published in 1922, Mises presented a devastating analysis of the central economic failing of socialism. He called it the economic calculation. The problem was that under central planning, there was no economic calculation — no way to make a rational decision to put this resource here or buy that good there, because there was no price system to weigh the alternatives. Central planners could make technical decisions but not economic ones. Over the rest of the century, that criticism would prove to be extraordinarily prescient.
To give the devil his due, Karl Marx got it right sometimes. Marx was a solid supporter of the gold standard. I am too. As Marx wrote in his A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, Chapter 1, Part 1: “The truth of the proposition that, ‘although gold and silver are not by nature money, money is by nature gold and silver,’ is shown by the fitness of the physical properties of these metals for the functions of money.”
One wishes that the Communist Party USA, the Green Party, the Democratic Party, and its presidential nominee would delve a bit more deeply into the writings of Marx. There is nothing anti-worker about the gold standard, properly adopted. Here is something around the left and the right could unite.
Getting the gold standard wrong could be catastrophic. In getting the gold standard back in place the right way — a way that will be at least as, and preferably slightly more, beneficial to labor than to capital — it would be invaluable for the left to begin to come to terms with the crucial role the gold standard played, and again can play, in restoring a climate of equitable prosperity.
Therefore, I respectfully ask that progressives open their hearts to exploring the possibility, just the possibility, that the gold standard would go a long way toward restoring both economic prosperity and economic justice for all — the American Dream. America, and the world, greatly would benefit from participation from the Donks in making sure that the Pachyderms don’t do a wrongheaded pro-Ebenezer Scrooge version of the gold standard.
Help us write a wonderful pro-Bob Cratchit version that will restore justice as well as prosperity. God bless us every one! (Including you, atheists!)
Hillary Clinton has been freighted by her party with economic policies such as the steeply graduated income tax, the death tax, and an “independent” (a nice euphemism, as used, for state-controlled) central bank. Remarkably, all three (and maybe more) reflect central planks in The Communist Manifesto.
Onerous taxation of the rich, confiscation of capital (which is what the death tax does), and state control of credit allocation have proved, and proved again, and again, to be a recipe for strangling job creation, wage growth, and equitable prosperity.
Hillary Clinton is no communist. Yet championing policies extolled by The Communist Manifesto represents advancing an agenda which has been proven, in practice, to diminish, not support, justice for all.