Q & A Ask the Communists

Q: I am a little confused here, isn’t communism anti-capitalism? I see something wrong with this capitalistic anarchy, but capitalism in general isn’t a bad thing. It is great to be able to start your own business. Plus isn’t communism where the government owns and runs everything?

A: We are indeed opposed to monopoly capitalism, to the huge corporations and multinational businesses that control much of our government and work lives. We are not opposed to small business, and, in fact, see small business as one of the many sectors of society negatively affected by monopoly capitalism — squeezed out of the market by giant behemoths of business. We foresee a socialism in which small business plays a role. However, we also see the need for restrictions on how large small businesses can become — that point being when the profits of a business come more from the exploitation of workers than from the innovation and personal hard work of the small business owner. Our view of communism (a stage following socialism) is not one of a massive government that runs everything, but rather of government reduced to purely administrative functions, with “ownership” being vested in society as a whole — so that improvements and progress for each individual rely on improvements and progress for all, so no one can get ahead by exploiting others. Once we develop a society and economy that is not based on profit and exploitation, ownership will not have the same importance or role, and private ownership will be much less important. On a related issue, we are opposed to private property of large-scale businesses, not to individual private property — we aren’t interested in “nationalizing” houses, cars, or other personal property. We do think that society would benefit by nationalizing the commanding heights of the economy — so that such essentials as energy are run in the interests of the public as a whole, not exploited for the profit of a few, as Enron did.

We invite readers to submit questions about the Communist Party USA, its basic policies, and a Marxist viewpoint on current social issues. The answers are provided by Marc Brodine, chair of the Washington State Communist Party. Questions can be sent to cpusa@cpusa.org.