The decay of capitalism is making itself felt more sharply every day. This has led to a growing radicalization of workers and youth with millions rejecting the system. According to a recent poll, one million Canadian youth want communism. Fightback, the Canadian section of the International Marxist Tendency has launched a campaign titled “Are you a Communist” with the aim of organizing this growing layer of communists in Canada. As part of this campaign, we are opening the pages of our magazine to ask the question: why are you a communist?
If you are one of these hundreds of thousands of communists in Canada and would like to explain to our readers why you are a communist, you can make a submission of no longer than 500 words to our editorial board at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a child, I was always very optimistic about the future. I loved school, especially science, and spent my days devouring popular science books and magazines explaining how technology could solve all our most pressing problems, and create a better world for everyone. I could already see myself in the future, taking an active part in the great advances of humanity, a humanity that I believed would solve climate change, eliminate world hunger, explore space, push back the limits of the unknown…
This perception changed radically as I grew up and left idealistic books behind to face the real world. As an adult, I did not see a society moving collectively towards emancipation and progress, but instead a deeply divided, hostile society, blinded by profit, obliviously marching towards its own destruction. I realized that the capitalist institutions, such as schools and governments, were not stepping stones towards the realization of our individual and collective dreams, but were more like infernal factories whose primary function was to funnel the masses into the tight ranks of capital accumulation.
This led to me feeling apathetic about life and plunged me into a deep depression. All around me, I watched my classmates bury their dreams in favour of more “realistic” goals in tune with the needs of the capitalist market. And as they buried their dreams, they became more cynical about the world and the future, which, under capitalism, is often seen as “maturity”.
Because of this, the idea that capitalism is “meritocratic” has always been revolting to me. The workers I know are talented, honest and deeply good people who are full of ideas and initiative, but the vast majority are trapped working 40 hours a week at meaningless jobs. Meanwhile, those who own capital are destroying the planet with impunity and don’t seem to care in the least. Did the latter get there because they were “better” than the former?
Absolutely not. When I discovered Marxism, I came to understand that they got there because their class – the bourgeoisie – owns capital, and the workers don’t. Regardless of anything the workers do, no matter how “good” or energetic they are, they will always have to sell themselves to the bourgeoisie and therefore belong to them. The problem is not that people are morally evil or that humans are cowardly and treacherous; the problem is the capitalist system is entirely insufficient to meet our needs. But what the Communists have taught me is that by understanding how this system works, we can find its weak points and destroy it once and for all through revolution, and build a new system that is more humane and more suited to our true nature.
Since becoming a communist and fighting for a revolution, I’ve regained hope in the future. The vision I had of the future as a child is not “utopian”, just as the dreams of individual workers are not. They’re just made impossible by the rigid framework of capitalist property relations. When we put production back in the hands of the workers, we can all unleash our creativity, initiative and inventiveness.
Scientists who have been proposing solutions to the climate crisis for years will finally be able to put them into practice, without being told that doing so would harm the profits of the ruling class. The immense wealth already accumulated by capitalists, together with modern technological development, could be used to immediately reduce the working week for all workers, leaving them plenty of time to indulge their passions, sparking a veritable renaissance in art, culture and science.
In short, humanity will truly progress, and we’ll finally be able to achieve our dreams. It is this thought that motivates me to go on living, knowing that I’ll be leaving future generations a better world than the one I grew up in.