Who are the enemies of freedom?

 
BY: Scott Hiley| March 23, 2017
Who are the enemies of freedom?
QYou commies are enemies of freedom. --Al H.
AThanks for your comment, Al.  It gets to one of the biggest misconceptions people have about our party, and about socialism and communism in general.

In fact, we consider ourselves to be the great defenders of freedom.  We support, and fight for, every freedom that can be exercised equally by all people: freedom to embrace, or not embrace, a set of religious beliefs; freedom to speak your mind without government interference; freedom to love and marry the consenting adult of your choosing; freedom to determine your gender expression and how you live in your body; freedom to make your own decisions about reproduction; freedom to own and use firearms in ways that don't limit other people's right to safety... We also fight for a new freedom: the freedom for working people to control their own labor and the wealth it creates.

The only freedom we don't support is the freedom to use property to control and profit from the labor of others.  We don't support it because it can't shared equally.  If the employer is free to make profits from other people's work, then his employees are not free to control their own work and the value it produces. In this case, freedom for business owners means bondage for workers.

This inequality has big implications for democracy.  For example, the Supreme Court decided not long ago that unrestricted campaign donations are a form of protected political speech.  That means the more money you have, the greater your voice in the democratic process, and ultimately, the less voice people without money have.  Discrimination in housing, hiring, and lending also depend on the ability to use property to limit the freedoms of others.

Ultimately, you might say, we're for equality of freedom. Every person should enjoy the same freedoms and protections.  Capitalism, which protects the freedoms of billionaires and big shareholders by limiting the freedoms of working people, is the real enemy of liberty.  As Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote, we want a society "where the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all."

Photo: Creative Commons 3.0
Author
    Scott Hiley has taught French, literature, history, and philosophy at the high school, college, and post-graduate levels.  A member of CPUSA since 2010, he is active in struggles against austerity and for education justice and labor rights. His articles have appeared in the People's World (US), the Morning Star (UK), and l'Humanité (France). He lives in a rural town in upstate NY.

Comments (9)

Vladimir Ivashko | June 04, 2017 at 3:00 PM

Yes Comrade. They do not see how egalitarian and peaceful we are. That is what the capitalist pigs in America got wrong about Soviet Russia.

Tom W | April 12, 2017 at 6:05 PM

Identity Politics. It seems where ever I go (progressive group wise), a lot of time is spent discussing the politics of personal identity. We go around stating our personal gender identity and preferred pronouns. We seem to bring historic oppression dynamics into all our planning, leadership and our statements.
None of this seems as central as class struggle, class identity and class unity.
What is the current thinking of the CPUSA around how personal identity (culture, gender, language, etc) addresses ( or fails to address) class identity?

    Scott Hiley | April 13, 2017 at 3:38 PM

    The issues referred to, usually dismissively, as ‘identity politics’ are inseparable from class and class struggle. Most women are workers. Most people of color are workers. Most trans people, most non-binary people, most gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer people are workers. So if we’re serious about working class solidarity, how can we tell our sisters and brothers that the oppression they face is a distraction from class issues? If we’re serious about unity as the source of working class power, how can we expect to build that unity except on the basis of equality? An injury to one–even if that injury has nothing to do with wages or working conditions–is an injury to all. Our class identity has to be broad enough to include, and fight for, all members of our class.

      Andrew | April 28, 2017 at 4:26 PM

      Identity politics is false class consciousness. You’re simply wrong if you think rich women and poor women, or rich _______ and poor _______ have the same set of political concerns.

      I thought a wealthy woman like Hillary Clinton FOR EXAMPLE came off extremely inauthentic on women’s health, health care generally, childcare, and so on… she could just buy all these things.

      I voted for her anyway… but she highlights how ridiculous it is that gender identity somehow trumps economic class.

      Andrew | June 15, 2017 at 5:54 PM

      I disagree with you and I think ‘identity politics’ creates false class consciousness. ‘identity politics’ has done just as much to psychologically isolate the elements of the working class from each other and their common humanity and goals as racism has.

    Joe Sims | April 13, 2017 at 1:04 AM

    Since the founding of this great country the U.S. working class has been divided by race and gender. Racial and gender discrimination in addition to class is a foundation for inequality. There’s no getting around it. In fact you will never achieve class identity, which is admittedly an issue, unless you address this discrimination. Those who try to do so are playing into the hands of Trump.

      Gail McCollum | April 24, 2017 at 5:55 PM

      Isn’t the disregard for individual oppression for focus on class struggle commonly referred to as “Brocialism?”

Nelson Alvarez | April 10, 2017 at 10:50 AM

How do I join your organization?

    Joe Sims | April 11, 2017 at 12:16 PM

    http://www.cpusa.org/join/

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