There are 10 measures proposed by Marx and Engels in their Communist legislative platform that are applicable in an advanced capitalistic nation like America. Mainly beginning with Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive movement, America’s form of government as gradually become more and more centralized through the implementation of nearly all 10 measures that lead to the establishment of a communist state through democratic means. Ben Moreel, chairman of the Board of Jones and Laughlin Steel Cooperation, delivered a speech in Chicago nearly 25 years ago entitled, “To Communism: Via Majority Vote”. After reviewing the 10 points of the Manifesto he concluded this, “But the startling fact cannot be denied: since Marx enunciated his doctrine slightly more than one hundred years ago, we Americans have adopted in varying degrees…practically his entire program.”
The first measure of the Communist platform is “the abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes”. The American government has made manifest this measure in today’s society through the institution of a state property tax. This is not only a tax on one’s property in the form of real estate, but also a tax on the value of one’s home that is built on that real estate. Due to the annual property tax, Americans do not ever fully own their property because in order to “own” it they must continually pay the state its “fair share” of the property’s value. Continually having to pay for something with that payment never ceasing is not ownership. It is instead renting the right to use that property from the government. So, Americans are more accurately renting their property from the government with all tax revenue going to public purposes such as local education, police/fire protection, local governments, some free medical services, and most of other local infrastructure. America is doing exactly what the Manifesto proposed.
The second measure is “a heavy progressive or graduated income tax”. In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the Constitution made the income tax a permanent fixture in the U.S. tax system. The amendment gave Congress legal authority to tax income and resulted in a revenue law that taxed incomes of both individuals and corporations. Top marginal tax rates started at 6% and rose all the way above 90%, until 1964, when the top marginal tax rate was lowered to 70%. The top marginal tax rate has fluctuated throughout history but is now at 35%. No one can argue that the 17,000 page tax code is not progressive with its different marginal rates. If taxing the American peoples’ hard earned income at 35%, not including the state and local income taxes, Social Security and Medicaid, sales tax, and others, is not a violation of private property, then I do not know what is.
The third measure used to initiate a communist state is “the abolition to the rights of inheritance”. The United States enacted an estate tax in 1916. Since then, the rates have fluctuated and today estates are taxed at rates beginning at 37% and going as high as 55%. Unless one has a very good lawyer and financial advisor, about half of one’s hard earned estate will be going to the government upon one’s death. Proponents of the estate tax think it is a great way to tax the rich and “redistribute” some of their estates to the rest of the people. Making things more “equal” right? This is a very Marxist view that abolishes the right to inheritance, and therefore, proves my point.
Measure number five is the “centralization of credit in the hands of the state by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly”. The beginnings of this were already seen more than 100 years ago with the enactment of the National Bank Act of 1863, which established a federal monopoly, as well as, the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. As a result of the recent financial crisis, we have seen further centralization of credit in the hands of the federal government with the implementation of TARP (The Troubled Asset Relief Program) and more familiarly known as "the bank bailout''. It gave over 900 recipients more than $600 billion to keep them from going bankrupt (Source). These recipients were mostly banks, as well as, mortgage financiers, insurance companies, and investment funds. Thanks to TARP, the federal government owns a majority of shares in the largest banks in the country including AIG, Citigroup, and Bank of America. The federal government has also taken complete control over the government sponsored Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two of the largest mortgage financiers, which are now run by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. On top of all that, the U.S. government has taken over the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation and Federal National Mortgage Association as well as the student loan market. Now, not only do the Feds control the value of our currency and how easy is hard it is to get a loan, but it also controls and regulates the process of owning a home as well as paying for our college education. This is leading to a federal government that has complete control of our private property whether in the form of our bank accounts, investments, homes, or college degrees.
The sixth measure is “the centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state”. Power over post offices and post roads, as well as, the power to regulate commerce internationally and among the states were explicit powers given to the federal government in the U.S. Constitution. Since then, the government has gradually centralized the means of communication and transportation even more. In 1887, the Interstate Commerce Act was established. This placed railways under federal regulation and created the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC). This act was followed by the Federal Highway Act of 1916 and the Air Commerce Act of 1926, which put the federal and state governments in charge of all both ground and air transportation. The Federal Radio Commission and the Federal Communications Commission has given the federal government control to regulate all non-federal government use of the radio spectrum including television broadcasting and all interstate telecommunications such as wire, satellite, and cable, as well as, all international communications that originate or terminate in the United States. The bureaucracies created to regulate transportation and communication in the U.S. as only increased from there. In response to the September 11 attacks, the then-private airport security industry was nationalized and put under the authority of the Transportation Security Administration. So, now the federal government is now controlling who can travel, when we can travel, and the rules we must follow in order to travel. Along with 9/11 came the Patriot Act, which allowed the government to have further control and regulation by being able to tap and record telephone, email, and face to face conversations for security reasons. Now, the Obama Administration has pushed it even further by trying to grant the federal government power to regulate and control the internet even more than it already does through an act called Net Neutrality, which gives the FCC the right to control and regulation the internet under the pretense of greater equality and freedom.
The seventh measure proposed by Marx and Engels to establish a communist state through democratic means is “the extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state”. Since 1849, there has been the Department of the Interior, which now includes the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Bureau of Mines, the National Park Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service. There was also the establishment of the Department of Agriculture in 1862. In addition, the federal government has control of all public utilities, electricity, gas, and water, but it also regulates the drilling of all oil and natural gases, which fuel many forms of production in the U.S. TARP also led to the federal government bailing out General Motors with $50 billion, taking 60% ownership, and replacing the CEO with a government approved CEO is recent example of nationalization. A similar story has taken place with the auto company, Chrysler. The Obama Administration has not stopped there. March of 2010, the Obama administration pushed through their health-care bill to start a universal and nationalized healthcare system in America. This is the most socialized act yet. Obama thinks that healthcare and health insurance should be a government run industry. We have seen how capable the federal government is at running our public education system, its own budget, which is tens of trillions of dollars in debt, or even the inefficiency of something as simple to run as the DMV. Not only is the government incapable of running a nationalized healthcare system, it has absolutely no constitutional authority to do so and therefore, puts at risk everything our constitution was laid out to protect; life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Obamacare forces us to buy health insurance from the federal government, which is the opposite of liberty, and exactly what Marx and Engels aim for in the Communist Manifesto.
The eighth measure of the Communist platform is “the establishment of industrial armies”. The first labor unions were created 1820, then called federations. The federations were then followed by the National Labor Union of 1866, the American Federation of Labor in 1886, and the International Workers of the World in 1905. When unions first gained power in the United States, they gave mistreated workers the right to collectively bargain with the oppressive robber barons and monopolies. These days, unions have become powerful political machines that work against individual rights in favor of special interests. They look down on fundamental American ideals like competition, capitalism, and freedom of choice and instead embrace monopolies and bureaucracy, the very things they once fought against. Unions now work to enact changes in laws that will help them claim more power and influence. They are closer to being the “industrial armies” of Marx and Engels, pushing for a world where the workers, or more accurately, the leaders and compliant politicians of the labor unions, have all the power which is the exact aim of the communist state.
The last measure of the Communist Manifesto that America has come to fully adopt is “ the free education for all children in public schools”. This began as a gradual shift from private education to state funded education in the New England States in the early 1800s. Much later, Jimmy Carter came along, and by the slimmest of margins (four votes in the House), won approval to create the Department of Education. The Department of Education took the power away from local and state governments to run public schools and put all control in the hands of the federal government. Having the federal government plugged into the compulsory education of our children is a bad idea because it opens the door for them to promote an agenda. It also gives a single entity, not states, parents, or even teachers, the power to determine what our children learn and by what methods they learn it. What better way to indoctrinate a generation than by starting when they’re young and vulnerable? This is exactly why this measure is proposed by Marx and Engels. If the government can gradually indoctrinate the children, generation by generation the people will come to not only accept a communist state, but end up initiating themselves through democratic means.
The only measures that have not been adopted in one degree or another are measures four and nine, which are “the confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels” and “the 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”, which we have seen adopted at much lesser degrees. All measures have to do with the abolition of private property besides measure number 10. According to Marxist doctrine, a human being is primarily an economic creature. This means his material well being is all important, while his privacy and his freedom are strictly secondary. Marx and Engels freely admitted their purpose by stating, “In this sense the theory of communists may be summed up in the single sentence: ‘Abolition of Private Property.’” The communists place so much importance upon the abolition of the right of private property in order to initiate their communist state, while the founding fathers regarded it with equal importance in preserving freedom by including a provision in the constitution that no person should be deprived of his life, liberty, or property. The right to private property is so important to both because in order to achieve any noteworthy goal people must of the right to own and/or control property. The right to private property is the means to all of our ends. Without it, the individual is harmless, helpless, and hopeless.
Some may ask, “What is wrong with a ‘little’ Socialism or Communism?” This is equivalent to saying that a little bit of theft or cancer is all right too! History proves that the growth of the welfare state is difficult to check before it comes to its full flower of dictatorship. But let us hope that this time around, the trend can be reversed. If not, then we will see the inevitability of complete socialism, probably within our lifetime.
How can the present trend toward the socialization of our country be reversed? Obviously, not all welfare-state programs currently in force can be dropped simultaneously without causing tremendous economic and social upheaval. The first step toward restoring the limited concept of government should be to freeze all welfare-state programs at their present level, making sure that no new ones are added. The next step would be to allow all present programs to run out their term with absolutely no renewal. The third step would involve the gradual phasing out of those programs which are indefinite in their term. It is realistic to say that this transition could be accomplished within a ten-year period and completed within twenty years.
There is nothing that can stop America from becoming a completely socialized or communized nation if the majority of the people desire this to happen. If it is brought about it will be because the majority do not want the responsibility of caring for their own economic needs, while the politicians readily and willingly accept this responsibility and the power which goes with it.