Communist Eschatology: A Christian Philosophical Analysis of the Post-Capitalistic Views of Marx, Engels and Lenin – Part 2

has flourished with it and under it. The centralization of the means of production and the socialization of labor reach a point

where they prove incompatible with their capitalist husk. This bursts asunder. The knell of capitalist private property sounds.

The expropriators are expropriated."56

And with the expropriation of the exploiters, labor enters the era of post-capitalistic socialism.

4. Socialist Labor

Even though socialism represents a new period of human endeavor, it does, though at a higher level, preserve the

positive labor gains made by humanity under capitalism. For under socialism, wrote Marx,57 "the expropriators shall

themselves be expropriated on the basis of the attainments achieved during the capitalist era, namely, the co-operation of

independent workingmen and the common ownership in land and in the means of production acquired by their labor."

Indeed, Marx had already pointed out in the Preface to his A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy that "a

social system never perishes before all the productive forces have developed for which it is wide enough; and new, higher

productive relationships never come into being before the material conditions for their existence have been brought to

maturity within the womb of the old society. Therefore, mankind always sets itself only such problems as it can solve; for

when we look closer we will always find that the problem itself only arises when the material conditions for its solution are

already present or at least in process of coming into being."58 And eight years later in his Capital he declared: "Large-scale

industry, indeed, compels society, under penalty of death, to replace the miserable reserve army of labor which capital keeps

at its disposal for its varying needs in the way of exploitation, by the complete adaptability of individuals to the changing

demands for different kinds of work. In this way, the detail-worker of today, the limited individual, the mere bearer of a

particular social function, will be replaced by the fully developed individual, for whom the different social functions he

performs are but so many alternative modes of activity."59

Marx was frankly very realistic about the severe limitations of socialism (as opposed to full communism, which he

believed would inevitably follow it). Even his most eschatological writing, his 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program, exhibits

great sobriety when dealing with this initial period of socialism (which, however, he called "[the first phase of] communist

society," inasmuch as it bears only the embryo of full communism, just as capitalist society did of socialism. Wrote Marx, in a

rather lengthy though vitally important passage:

What we have to deal with here is a communist [read: “socialist”-N.L.] society, not as it has developed on its own

foundations, but, on the contrary, just as it emerges from capitalist society; which is thus in every respect, economically,

morally and intellectually, still stamped with the birthmarks of the old society from whose womb it emerges. Accordingly, the

individual producer receives back from society-after the deductions have been made-exactly what he contributes to it. What

he has contributed to it is his individual quantum of labor. For example, the social working day consists of the sum of the

individual hours of work, the individual labor-time of the individual producer is the part of the social working day contributed by

him, his share in it. He receives a certificate from society that he has furnished such and such an amount of labor (after

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