Originally Published: June 26th, 2016
Communism, while not truly emphasizing the brand of economic individualism as perpetuated under capitalism, suggests an alternative to this idea. Individualism is held in high regard under the communist economy, in fact, Marxists see capitalism as a direct impediment upon the individualism of the worker and the mentality of the common man.
Worker alienation plays the largest part in stripping the common proletarian man or woman from their sense of personal identity. On one hand, the worker is alienated from the substance of their work, as the menial nature of production under capitalist bosses, those who rip from the hands of the worker the fruits of their labour, pushes them from taking pride in the commodities they create. In handing the means of production to those who produce, the means of taking individual pride in one’s own work is also handed to the proletariat. In allowing the individual to take pride in their contribution to society unclouded by the results of class friction, the overall morale of the workplace and sense of identity can be restored to the labourer. On the other hand, the worker is stripped from their position in society as a functioning component of a larger whole. Proletarian nationalism is openly discouraged by the capitalist system through the division of the working class. This division is created through the spirit of competition so revered through the market systems. Communism, on the other hand, through giving state power to the representatives of the proletariat, gears all of society towards a cooperation between all working men and women, destroying the notion of society based upon competitive and cutthroat character which scorns the spirit of the individual into the thought that they exist not to be a useful component of society, but rather a small and unimportant piece of a society that has no regard for them.
Class antagonisms also expand upon the worker’s loss of individualism under the capitalist system. Naturally, when people are all-encompassed by a tyrannizing body of people, they will feel oppressed. When any person feels that the system under which they live is acting in opposition to them, they will feel as if they do not fit, and when that system flaunts itself as unchangeable, that sense of being an outsider expands to a feeling of overwhelming hopelessness. Through demolishing class antagonisms and establishing a democratic state truly geared towards the interests of the proletariat, the communist system can introduce a setting in which the worker can truly feel they belong.
To summarize, the alienation of the worker relative to his society and the fruits of his production alongside antagonistic class relations result in a society devoid of truly individual means of expression for members of the proletarian class under the capitalist system. The alternative provided to this by communism is a society based around cooperation devoid of all class distinctions in which the working people possess the full means of harnessing their individual identities.