Marxism Does Not Work!


Karl Marx Unmasked

Consider the psychological difference between the action-oriented philosophy of someone like Karl Marx, and the typical, bourgeois, static sense-of-self, with little or no philosophy. Like Popeye the Sailor Man, working-people say, "I yam what I yam, and that's all what I yam." They can't tell you much more than that. That lack of a forward-moving viewpoint leaves a void in the bourgeois character that makes it more vulnerable to moral huckstering by an angry but focused man like Marx.

Marx accuses the Bourgeoisie of exploitation, hypocrisy, and greed. His words hit home because the Bourgeoisie lacks the personal resources to counter the accusations. Children of well-to-do families are especially hard-hit. With a point-of-view only an inch deep, they have few resources to fall back on.

Bernie Sanders, the kinder, gentler Marxist, looks so wise, evangelical, and philosophical. The pose makes his admirers blind to all that is dictatorial in Marxism—that brooks no dissent. You have go back to Marx to find Marxism unmasked—back to the source. The Soviet Union and East Germany also reveal the Marx in Marxism, the unbridled anger and inflexible intolerance: "Do it my way, or Goodbye, baby! See you in Siberia!" But modern Marxists distance themselves from the bumbling policies of the Soviet system.

For April, 2021, I have written mostly about the former East Germany, created after World War II, through the insistence of the Soviet Union on a divided Germany, to deter it from starting another war. Unfortunately, the Soviets could not imagine a model for the new East German nation, other than their own Marxist model. It condemned East Germany to the same autocratic central-planning and stagnant economy that plagued the Soviets and led to their demise.

I am bothered that the Soviets preferred defining their nation as "socialist" rather than "Marxist" or "Communist." The Soviets named their country the "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics." The East Germans chose "German Democratic Republic," and named their only political party the "Socialist Union Parrty." The Soviets and East Germans use the terms interchangably, which does little more than camouflage the definition and intentions of the system.

Because Left-wing Democrat voters in this country, who support Bernie Sanders, have opted for a similar socialist model for the United States, over its historic free-market economy, a study of East Germany and the Soviet Union helps define the intentions and limitations of Sanders—and offers an important contrast to America's historical identity. However, since we cannot persuade the Left to adopt a friendlier stance toward capitalism, the most we can do is pull away from the Left, like the fifteen nations of the former Soviet Union did.

Why did the Soviet nations fail? Bad luck? Or because of factors inherent in the Marxist political organization? Unquestionably the latter. East Germany failed because Marxism does not work. It may appeal to Americans with a thirst for payback, but for a people opting for wealth and strength in a nation, it does not work, except as a mass movement with a unifying faith and a focused hatred toward the wealthy.

My reader does not need a rocket-scientist to figure this out. All he has to do is read a few chapters of Karl Marx's so-called classic, Communist Manifesto. Marx's hatred of the Bourgeoisie dooms a nation that embraces his political plan. He demonizes and alienates an entire class of people, who will not want to stay around any longer than they have to. He does not want to change their minds, he wants to crush them.

Just a cursory reading of Communist Manifesto leaves a reader wondering "What next?" Now that we have wrecked the bourgeois society and confiscated private wealth, what do we do with all of it?

Many East German citizens picked up on Soviet Socialism's vindictive tendencies and its lack of an ongoing plan, and fled to the West. East Germany lost between three and four million people, from 1949 to 1961, when the government erected the East German Wall and sealed off the border.

Can my reader see that Marx advocates the same sort of demonization that the Nazis implemented against the bourgeois Jews, who owned businesses, had wealth, and built nice homes, taking a page from Marx, and talking about the Jews riding on the backs of exploited German workers?

After the Nazis took power in Germany, they confiscated the wealth of the Jews and evicted them from their nice homes—the flip-side of the Marxist coin. So a lot of them fled West, to America. Even in my provincial hometown, I remember Jews speaking with German accents.

In Chapter II: "Proletarians and Communists," Marx states that the Proletariat has to win "the struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie." He can only accomplish that with "the overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat." The lasting result will be the "abolition of private property."

Let Marx explain his intentions in his own words:

   Our intentions are described by the Bourgeoisie as the "abolition of individuality and freedom."
   And they are correct! We seek the abolition of bourgeois personality, independence, and freedom.
   And "freedom," as the Bourgeoisie understand it, refers to relationships that allow a free-market
   to buy and sell consumer-goods.

That the vindictive intentions and the dictatorial means evolved into a dictatorship in East Germany and the Soviet Union should surprise no one. We are not talking about the misuse of Marx's plan but its fulfillment. Marx's own words should convey that there is no practical benefit to any of it—only payback.

In another section, Marx deals wtih the "Abolition of the Family." Why in the world would anyone subject the people of a nation to this kind of ordeal? Well, the Nazis for one. Pulling children from their families allows a dictator to inculcate them with propaganda in a cotrolled setting. How could Marx justify this? Here are his own hateful words:

   What is the foundation for the bourgeois family? Capital and private gain. On that basis, only the
   Bourgeoisie can enjoy tradtional family values. For the Proletariat, the increase for the bourgeois-
   family leads to the decrease in proletarian family values.

Marx's inability to consider the many moving parts of a free-society impresses me. He can see only poor people, and the wealthy people who exploit them, a static, predatory relationship defined by a moral absolute. He cannot see how free-trade allows money to circulate. Few people simply hoard money, or take it out of circulation. They invest it to make more money, or buy stuff in a motorboat showroom, a car dealership, clothing shop, or a restaurant. They spread their wealth around—show it off! The real absolute of a free-market economy is that a man can become wealthy if he offers a product or a service that everyone wants. In that light, Marx's plan is almost insensible:

   The revolt of the Proletariat will reverse that and cause the destruction of the Bourgeoisie.

   Does the Bourgeoisie want to charge us with ending the exploitation of children by their parents?

   We plead guilty.
   We replace this most hallowed bourgeois institution—home education—with social education.
   
Rather than to allow citizens to utilize a variety of  "home" educations, Marx wants to force them to use just to one "social" education, controlled by the government. An informed reader should pick up on the ideas of Jean-Jacques Rousseau in Marx's warning about the exploitation of children by their parents, but in the days before public welfare, parents needed their children to work and bring home their wages. They needed their children to help plow the land and harvest the crops. Rousseau did not do a good job as a child's-rights advocate anyway, since he abandoned his children—left them in the care of an orphanage.

Right after the War, the Soviet Army occupied eastern Germany, created the German Democratic Republic, and started implementing Marx's insane plan. In my great-great-grandfather's hometown Erfurt, the citizens boldly held a free election to maintain some freedom. 41% of the voters voted LDPD (Liberal Democrat Party, a free-market party), while 24% voted CDU, (Christian Democrat Union, the traditional Conservative party, who counts the current Chancellor Angela Merkel as a member). Only a third of voters voted for SED, the Communist Party.
The boldness of the election-results irritated the Soviets so much, they deported the party-leaders to Siberia. After several years, the Soviets let them leave Siberia, and they subsequently fled to West Germany. The Soviets exiled so many East Germans to Siberia, informed people decided to leave and start a new life in the West. Between 1946 and 1961, three and four million East Germans fled to West. Then the Soviets erected the East German Wall and sealed the border.

Erfurt Architecture

Germany has several preserved cities. They have almost no reason for existing, except for tourism. During the summer, Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber, Schwäbisch Hall, and Dinkelsbühl get crowds of tourists. They want to stroll through quaint, picturesque villages. Dressed in stylish summer clothes, straw hats, and sneakers, they make a curious sight among the half-timbered peasants' homes.

Erfurt also gets its share of tourists who want to see the picturesque buildings, but its buildings have an urban, cosmopolitan character—town-houses and palaces, rather than cottages—and commercial dynamism, private industry, and wealth, rather than an agrarian economy.
West-German investment started flowing into Erfurt soon after the Wall came down. They brought back the dignity and style of the Erfurter Altstadt, which looks especially fantastic, now.

Krämerbrücke (Merchants' bridge) 2011, south side

Krämerbrücke (Merchants' bridge) 2011, north side

Marktstraße 18-21, 2015

Allerheiligenstraße 6-8, Erfurt, 2015

Michaelisstraße 45, Erfurt, 2011: Hemingway Bar & Grill, at the sign of the sailfish
 
 
 

Michaelisstraße 45, Erfurt:: interior with 13th century window

Michaelisstraße 10, 2015: Das Haus zum Güldenen Krönbacken

I visited Erfurt four times in 1998 and '99 and thought it was the most fantastic place I'd ever seen. I  took my camera everywhere I went and photographed everything. Sometimes I took several photos of buildings that appealed to me. The sheer number of photos overwhelmed me, and I never took enough time to record the location of buildings. I have never had much talent for organization, so I could not remember their locations on the city map.


Supper in my hotel room, 2015: Watching the Tour de France

Somebody at my hotel suggested I get help at the City Archive of Erfurt (Stadtarchiv). There, I met Dr. Antje Bauer, the Archive's director, and we became friends. One evening over supper, I asked Antje and her husband Jens-Uwe if they had ever visited the former Soviet Union. They said "Yes," then paused and added meaningfully, "But as tourists."

I regret laughing. Chalk it up to the power of understated or ironic humor! A mere gurgled chuckle would have sufficed. Memories of deportations to Siberia would not make the average East German laugh. Americans have so little experience with that sort of thing. Laughter can appear out-of-place or insensitive.

Antje became Director of the Archive in 2013, but her first article in the Stadt und Geschichte, the Archive's monthly publication, dates from March, 1999, and concerns die Erfurter Ressource, the most important of Erfurt's private clubs. It closed during the Third Reich and remained closed after the occupation of Erfurt by the Soviets. German-speakers can find a Wikipedia article on it, under the heading "Schauspielhaus (Erfurt)".

Dr. Antje Bauer, 2019, at the Stadtarchiv

My reader can see a photograph of the Ressource (at least 16 inches wide!) on the table in front of Antje. She would like to renovate it and re-open it at an art-center. My own preference would be to re-open it as a private club. Antje's article explains the Ressource's early-20th-century amenities in detail:

    The club allowed decent, well-behaved, and literate men to socialize with others like themselves,
   after a hard day at work. Members could read newspapers and magazines, enjoy refreshments, and
   dine at the club with their families. The club could also host parties, celebrations, and dances, as
   well as city-wide civic events.

   Applicants had to apply for membership, then wait until the club's the existing members voted to
   accept or reject them. In general, applicants who did not possess the right traits—educated high-
   mindedness and trained, polite manners—did not become members.

As I read Antje's article, I sense that the people of the former East Germany must cultivate again a sense of the utility and opportunity available in private spaces like clubs and organizations—hence the name "Ressource," a private space as a source of energy and initiative—lost during the years of the Third Reich and the Soviet-era. The people of the former East Germany must throw off Marx's hatred of bourgeois personality and freedom, and relearn respect for those things.

As for Americans, the lesson we must learn is to not go there in the first place—not allow idealists like Bernie Sanders or vindictive types like Michael Moore, Chris Hedges, and Robert Stiglitz turn our thoughts away from the resources of a free-society and the tools of wealth-creation. The Soviet Union and East Germany prove that a nation cannot survive without both of them.