What is the #communist hypothesis? In its generic sense, given in its
canonic Manifesto, ‘communist’ means, first, that the logic of #class—the
fundamental #subordination of #labour to a dominant class, the arrangement
that has persisted since Antiquity—is not inevitable; it can be
overcome. The communist hypothesis is that a different #collective
organization is practicable, one that will eliminate the #inequality of
#wealth and even the division of labour. The #private appropriation of
massive fortunes and their transmission by inheritance will disappear.
The existence of a #coercive #state, separate from #civil #society, will no
longer appear a necessity: a long process of reorganization based on a
#free #association of #producers will see it withering away.
‘#Communism’ as such denotes only this very general set of intellectual
representations. It is what Kant called an Idea, with a regulatory
function, rather than a programme. It is foolish to call such communist
principles #utopian; in the sense that I have defined them here they are
intellectual patterns, always actualized in a different fashion. As a
pure Idea of #equality, the communist hypothesis has no doubt existed
since the beginnings of the state. As soon as mass action opposes #state
#coercion in the name of #egalitarian #justice, rudiments or fragments of
the hypothesis start to appear. Popular #revolts—the #slaves led by
#Spartacus, the #peasants led by #Müntzer—might be identified as practical
examples of this ‘communist invariant’. With the French Revolution, the
communist hypothesis then inaugurates the epoch of political modernity.
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