Maximum income strength

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Tagore2
Maximum income strength
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Communists must adopt the maximum income claim. This demand makes it possible to directly gather the mass of the proletariat and the poor peasantry on the basis of a clear and understandable economic datum, and to reject people who will never be communists or revolutionaries in any way.

No gross income should be greater than 2 times the world GDP per capita, ie ~ $ 36,000 per year in purchasing power parity (price: USA, 2019).

2 times the world GDP per capita PPP is an arbitrary figure: the key is to have an interesting figure to bring together the mass of the proletariat and the poor peasantry. In the revolution, more resolute measures can be implemented to impose more fully equality (a maximum level of consumption, in particular).

The surplus must systematically be collectivized.

Note that such measures were taken by the Soviet government from 1920 to 1932.

d-man
concrete examples

The example of pay limits of soviet/government employees is not relevant as regards the ICC (and ICT) as party, because if I correctly understand the ICC's position rejects party members from taking positions in soviets/government in the first place. Of course pay limits to soviet/government employees in general (ie non-party members) is a popular demand, now also voiced by the yellow vest prostesters.

So let's focus just on your question of pay to party-members (who are not in soviet/government). What examples can you bring from the historical workers' movement? If there were some individuals who earned/had a great income/wealth above the average population, then of course it would be nice to distribute their money to the party. You can find a few such wealthy individuals in history (for example Karl Höchberg), but mostly I think they do not join the party as members themselves, but rather anonymously fund from outside. In the first place the money can go for its proper party functions, and in a second place even to set up a philantropic fund for its poorest members.

The idea that members should be paid according to their party functions/tasks is not a novel principle I would imagine. Those who dedicate their full time (and so have no regular job) are paid by the rest of the party members already in plenty of leftist organisations.

Tagore's proposal is more radical though, equalising any wage differences (from ordinary jobs in society). A further variation is moreover also decoupling pay from the quantity of functions/tasks performed. But that would mean that any below average income-earner could join the party, and (for some reason) prove unable to do much, but still get paid the same as someone who does a lot more. But perhaps that's not what Tagore's proposal is.

What about just the wage equalisation/distribution then? I do not find it "clear and understandable" yet, just to name a few random thoughts: What if somebody has children and others do not? What if somebody has a car (needed for their work) and others do not? What if somebody has great healthcare expenses and others do not? How would the party be able to control even the veracity of its members' claimed real income and expenses, without spending a lot of resources/bureacracy on this control task?

 

Tagore2
All these questions are

All these questions are extremely relevant because they are as much for the communist party as for the future communist society. But if it is not possible to solve them at least partially in the Communist Party, it is illusory to solve them completely in communist society. The Communist Party is, in a limited way, an unfinished prototype of communist society.

Competence of party members. In order to avoid the exhaustion of party resources by the recruitment of unskilled militants, the revolutionary organization must be divided into two parts:

1) the party itself, very selective,
2) Peripheral, non-selective organizations.

The party is thus at the center of a set of workers' organizations, the most diverse and the broadest possible, and selects the most competent elements for tasks requiring an excellent level of commitment, organization and competence.

The party should be very small compared to the workers' organizations that surround it, in a ratio of 1/10 for example. The absolute size of the party depends primarily on the resources it can muster to maintain its members.

Family: members should not have children unless they have the means to care for them separately and this does not interfere with their militantism.

Car: this should concern a minority of the party, the majority of proletarians can not afford to buy a car. In any case, if the activist is a member of the party and not just militant in a peripheral organization, the car must be collectivized and used in a planned manner.

Check the veracity of statements: if a militant lies to the party, there is already a serious problem in the recruitment. But the real problem is that some militants want to maintain a higher standard of living than the world average. These militants simply can not be party members, but can be useful in peripheral organizations, or contribute to the party from the outside. On the party's members, the control is absolutely total: the party has access to the payslips and bank statements of the militants. In any case, the party also organizes training, recruitment, housing, and in general all the resources of the militants. It also provides compensation in case of separation from the party (the "viaticum"), for any reason, so that the association in the party is always voluntary, and the separation does not result in a economic disaster for the militant. The viaticum can simply be placed on the militant's bank account, which allows him to leave the party at any time, if he wishes.

This compensation can not be greater than what the militant actually brought to the party.

 

Tagore2
Moreover, the question is not

Moreover, the question is not so much how the party controls the militants as it is to know how the militants control the party. Given the level of organic interdependence among members, the issue of democratic control becomes very essential.

d-man
accoutancy

As to "how the militants control the party", a precondition for this is that the party's finances would have to be public, or at least to the members. Possibly also to outisiders (to let donators know where there money goes). That is; how much money is spent on travel costs (which for an international organisation can be significant), how much on printing material, how much on booking conference halls, etc (I don't know if eg the SPGB reports its financial expenses, but could very well be).

Your conception about a core professional party with peripheral organisations around it is also what Lenin proposed I think. Concretely such peripheral organisations were unions, cooperatives, libraries, cultural groups, even sport groups, etc. Apparently you think that these organisations can be run, if not without expenses, at least without pay to their staff.

If in order to exclude the problem of slackers you propose a party of only the most dedicated full-timers, then it seems to imply that all party-members will be jobless (since they dedicate all their time to the party). But then there is no problem of equalising their wage differences.

Tagore2
"Slackers"?

"Slackers"?

The only thing that matters is that the militants do not cost to the party; other than that, the workload can be adapted to everyone. Also, no: militants can be wage earners, or liberal profession, or anything else: they work for the party and raise money for the party, even in this situation. A balanced solution would be that the majority of activists work part-time, and a minority work full-time either for the party or for the money. Work remains the only solution to ensure the financial security of the organization: it is unrealistic to rely solely on donations.

Here is another proposal: activists' resources remain private up to the average standard of living in the world. The excess, in money or labor, is collectivized. Depending on the money or political work requirements of the organization, the party may change the ratio "work for money" or political work among members.

Note that the party must nevertheless leave a certain margin of maneuver to members: if the activist should not be a burden for the party, it can contribute to the height of its means. The bottom line is that the economic surplus of the militants is used for the party, and not for anything else.

If we calculate the growth of the average individual consumption of the World Bank, this gives us, in dollars and in parity of purchasing power, per year (price: United States):

2006    5651
2007    6038
2008    6334
2009    6309
2010    6641
2011    7153
2012    7452
2013    7705
2014    7963
2015    8110
2016    8356
2017    8689 (proj.)
2018    9036 (proj.)
2019    9396 (proj.)

For calculate: "Households and NPISHs Final consumption expenditure, PPP (current international $)" and "Population, total"

$9396 PPP for the 2019 year, with US price, is the mean consumption per capita, so this is the maximum for commmunist individuals, all the rest is the surplus that must be collectivized.

d-man
Tagore2 wrote:

Tagore2 wrote:

Also, no: militants can be wage earners, or liberal profession, or anything else: they work for the party and raise money for the party, even in this situation. A balanced solution would be that the majority of activists work part-time, and a minority work full-time either for the party or for the money. Work remains the only solution to ensure the financial security of the organization: it is unrealistic to rely solely on donations.

... Depending on the money or political work requirements of the organization, the party may change the ratio "work for money" or political work among members.

It's questionable how professional/dedicated a militant can be when his tasks have to be combined with a full-time or even part-time job (this is just my understanding of Lenin's point). Leaving that aside, suppose it's possible to be a weekend-militant. Then if every party-member has an income, with some earning more than average, others below or no income at all, then of course their financial contributions to the party will differ, which is already the existing principle as regards dues I think. If the above-average earners after paying their extra-large dues still have money remaining, then it is possible to ask for that money to go towards equalisation of everyone's income, but that's a separate question of the party's own required funding. The income inequalties that exists will not be abolished by mutual philantropy, but by struggle against capital (as you well know).

A poor member who gets money from richer members not for his fulfilment of party-tasks, not for emergency situations, but just to raise him to the average world standard of living (and you're supposing the average party earner equals that of the world) – and supposing it is somehow possible to really let him reach the average standard by this aid alone (otherwise it is just a symbolic gesture, a drop of water on a hot plate) – will feel either implicit disgust for this patronising treatment/situation of dependency, or face hatred/jealousy, as being privileged, by his surrounding workers (in the third world) who are not party militants and remain living in the same squalor. They will not regard this philantropy as a convincing example/possibility/argument for communism in action, but as a bribe: why spend this money on the living standard of one militant for some abstract justice, instead of using it for actual party tasks (that is help surrounding workers organise)?

 

Tagore2
In France, the minimum wage

In France, the minimum wage is 1500 € gross per month, or 1725 $ per month.

It is thus possible to work part-time ($ 862.5), and to release an excess for the party (862.5-783 = $ 79.5).

The excess can be used to pay for militants abroad. Money is not given for free but to fulfill a specific task for the party.

Tagore2
Typical expenses abroad are:

Typical expenses abroad are:

_ Ensure that Marxist books are available in the local language in paper form or on the internet.

_ Have a local correspondent giving local news.

_ Send an observer or an agitator to the place of a strike.

But also:

_ to improve the professional situation of the militants to increase the resources of the party, any increase of the income beyond the average standard of living being for the benefit of the party.

_ create or participate in peripheral workers' organizations, for recruitment or to have a presence.

_ physical and intellectual training.

_ secure communication network.

_ emergency shelter network.

_ secure money transfer network.

d-man
If you take 783 euro per

If you take 783 euro per month as the maximum allowed income, then, as you say, when the minimum wage is 1500 in France, the income remaining to the French comrade (working full-time) will be less than half the minimum wage of the country. This sounds a bad idea. Of course the party assigns funds for tasks of comrades in poorer countries, to the extent that it can, but not at the cost of squeezing its "rich" members to live below half the minimum wage.

Tagore2
In France, I lived with

In France, I lived with social minima: 475 € per month! then they removed me this minimum and they asked me to refund 6500 €! I do not care, I'm insolvent. I still refund 48 € per month! I had to work for money!

The French are rich and 1500 € gross is a big sum. The French are spending all their money on shit! PPP $ 9396 per capita and per year is the average standard of living in the world in 2019, there is no reason for the French to be above average. It is perfectly possible to live with $ 783 per month in France, so we live like the average human beings, and even better than the majority of human beings on earth, because the average is above the median.

With how much money lived Lenin, Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg, or Karl Marx? Their standard of living was well below $ 783 a month. There is no reason for our standard of living to be higher than that of Lenin or Trotsky.

d-man
For a couple of years it is

For a couple of years it is possible in some places under some circumstances, but it is not viable if you want to live to old age. If you have no care for your health etc. and expect party members to die at age 40, then yes, but that is a proposal for self-martyrdom. There are individual examples of this in workers' organisation history, which are heroic, but it's not a principle for a political organisation.

Tagore2
The truth is that the

The truth is that the Communists of Europe and America want to be above average.

And I will not die at 40, thank you. Where do you think a person whose standard of living is 783 dollars or 679 euros per month will die at 40?

What is expensive is tobacco, alcohol and car; If you remove these wonderful products of civilization, it is perfectly possible to live with 783 dollars a month, and even with less than that.

With the same standard of living, the quality of life is very variable depending on your lifestyle. Although he had children, Trotsky almost always lived in community. After leaving the school system, he moved to Chvigovsky's home, in community. When he arrives in Great Britain, Lenin finds him a job and an apartment in a building entirely occupied by communists: still a community. The house in Mexico was a community of 20 or 30 people.

Obviously, when you want to maintain a nuclear family in a conventional apartment according to bourgeois criteria, it is not the same fees. But this way of life is unthinkable in communist society and in the proletariat in general. It is a luxury that does not improve the quality of life, although the standard of living necessary for this lifestyle is very high.

d-man
Without rent (and housing

Without rent (and housing costs), drugs and fuel, only food remains (in the UK 10-16% share of household spending, according to gov.uk). I suppose it is possible to do this until old age, on condition that the party consists of a tiny group of the most dedicated, willing to persevere for decades, without health problem, without parenthood (because in any case the burden would fall on the woman), probably no romantic couple stuff at all, no expensive "hobbies" like videogames, etc. It's possible, but let's be clear that the only advantage of Tagore's proposal would be more money for the party (if it can survive living so close together without conflict). It's not about some abstract justice to live on the world average, or philantropy to poorer countries.

The assumption here is that hitherto the party suffered a great shortage of money. But that assumes there is defined agenda about the great expenses. Let's hear from Tagore what party tasks require such great amount of money. Why can't we reduce the party expenses on "useless" things like international travel costs or paper press given that there is the internet (etc), in the same radical way that "useless" things are eliminated in the individual life. Let's be first convinced of the concrete positive benefits/purpose, afterwards we can judge whether the proposed means is viable.