Community, Demography

Karl Marx Condensed

I notice a bunch of folks claiming to know the difference between socialism, communism, and fascism – and some of the explanations suggest they never read the manifesto.  So ride along with me for a condensed version of the manifesto.

First of all, Karl Marx studied capitalism – and saw that more and more capital wound up owned by very few people.  Glance online, and see the cheerful pictures of Bezos, Gates, Zuckerberg, etc.  It’s hard to argue with that observation.  For sociologists, Marx came up with the basis of social conflict theory – he based it on economic class.

The ten points of the manifesto are:

  1. Abolish private ownership of land and apply all land rent to public purposes.
  2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
  3. Abolish all rights of inheritance.
  4. Confiscate the property of all emigrants and rebels.
  5. Centralize credit with a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
  6. Centralize State controlled means of communication and transport.
  7. Extend factories and means of production (State owned);  bring wastelands into cultivation, and improve the soil in accord with a common plan.
  8. Equal liability of all to work. Establish industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
  9. Combine agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradually abolish the distinction between town and country by a more equitable distribution of the population.
  10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolish child factory labor.

It’s important to remember that Karl Marx studied early capitalism and examined its flaws.  He theorized that communism would eliminate those flaws.  The contemporary socialism of the time was French Utopian Socialism – far different than today’s versions of socialism, and, with the relatively recent French Revolution, recognizing the concept of social conflict.

We could go farther – graduate seminars go into a lot more detail – but this is a condensed version, just to provide enough background to be able to call BS on the ignorant ideologues.

Community, Recipes

Prairie Communists and Rhubarb Pie

The communism you encounter in Montana and the Dakotas is generally based on Acts 2:44 “And all that believed were together, and had all things in common.”  On the prairies of Montana and the Dakotas, communal ownership and living is not Godless communism, it is based on that verse from the New Testament.

They’re Hutterites – and not all Hutterites are the same.  Historically, they aren’t even all communal – when the Hutterites came to America, the 1880 Census showed 443 Hutterites living on four colonies, while 825 (called the Prairieleut) lived non-communally.  By 1952, all the non-communal Hutterite churches became Mennonite.  It appears that the faith requires communal living to survive.

In the Ukraine,  communal living was abandoned in 1819, and reinstituted under the leadership of Schmide (blacksmith) Michael Waldner.  Darius Walter led a second group’s return to communal living in 1860.  Janzen summarized the differences between the communal and non-communal Hutterites: “In Ukrainian Russia, communal and non-communal Hutterite groups had been virtually indistinguishable except for the differences in economic arrangements.  In America, a vibrant spirit of assimilation had caused the two groups to become radically different from one another” . . . (1999:177).  One of my colleagues at SDSU confidently stated that his family was never Hutterite – despite a surname (Tschetter) that shows up only among Hutterites.  He might have more accurately said that his family was never communal Hutterite, at least in North America.

A couple of recipes for rhubarb pie might show the differences:

Jeeta Kant’s Hutterite Community Cookbook:

            4 cups fresh cut-up rhubarb (½ inch pieces)|
            2 cups sugar
            3 Tbsp cornstarch
            1 double unbaked 9-inch pie crust

  1.  Mix all filling ingredients together and let stand overnight.
  2. Place in an unbaked pie shell and cover with a top crust and seal.
  3. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, then at 325 for 30 more minutes.

Opposed to the recipe from Pots of Gold from Hutterian Kitchens:

About 5 pails cut up rhubarb               72 egg yolks

            1 ½ c. flour                                          72 egg whites

            24 c. sugar                                           5 ½ c. sugar

            12 c. sweet cream                              72 egg whites

Place 3 cups cut up rhubarb in unbaked pie shells.  Beat egg yolks.  Stir in 24 cups of sugar, flour and cream; mix well.  Pour over cut up rhubarb.  Bake at 350 until done; cool.

Beat egg whites with a little salt.  Add 5 ½ cups sugar, put on top of pies and brown in oven.