about being unequal

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Fred
about being unequal
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On another thread proper_propaganda writes: "Also, about "equality" under communism. Could the comrades expand on this? I understand the point, it was a bit of an epiphany to me. But how do we go about telling other socialists/communists/anarchists we are not exactly "for equality"??

The bourgeoisie are fanatical about 'equality' but what do they mean by it. I think they equate it a bit with what they call 'freedom', something else they're crazy about. We are all free to sell our labour power - if you can find a job. Presumably the unemployed could be regarded as having achieved some equality, in the equality of the unemployment benefit, where everybody gets more or less the same. Wages don't have the same equality. Some people, like managers, get more, whereas useful folk like nurses and teachers get less, because their good will can be exploited, and dustmen, whose job is vital, can be screwed on the grounds of not requiring high educational qualifications to do it. And of course, we're all free and equal in the ballot box. (lol)

But when Marx said that in communism "from each according to their abilities: to each according to their needs" could be the new order and the way things will work, what does this mean? I suppose we do all have different abilities, skills and talents - they're largely hidden and repressed under capitalism, which has no regard for them unless they can quickly be put to profit making for a boss. But if we are at last to be allowed to contribute our abilities in a positive creative manner, for the good of us all, and for the betterment of a planned society planned by us all, is this what "the freedom to be unequal" means? Is it a new concept?

Similarly, with regard to everyone getting their individual needs satisfied...I used to think this meant that a married person wirh three kids would get more food and more in the way of housing, than a bachelor with only one kid. But the idea of "needs" doesn't have to be restricted in that very material way. In fact that's really a bourgeois view of "needs". A vital need under communism will be the discovery and development of peoples' abilities, skills and talents and the way in which these can be utilized for the development of human society newly released from prison. A society based on fully educated human but 'unequal' abilities will be mind-boggling, will it not?

So thanks to p_p for asking, and I hope other readers will tell us what they think, so that we can benefit from each other.

Pierre
Thanks for the clarification

Thanks for the clarification cde! This was a helpful intervention, for sure.

"From each according to ability..." has been something of a guiding principle for me since before I had even become interested in the class struggle. If capitalism had a similar mantra, I think it might just be "From each." Or "From each to the ruling class."

In the past I have heard things from people when debating communism, things like "But eventually, wouldn't everyone be like a Borg from Star Trek?" I would always respond... "in capitalism hasn't everyone already become pretty "Borg-ish?"

Most of us get up in the morning, go to work or school, have lunch break, work more, come home, sleep repeat. And resistance is futile! Unless you want to starve...

So how do we go about denouncing the injustices of capitalism outside the language of "equality"? It always helped in the past to talk about the inequality, which is so rampant in capitalism. But is there a better way of getting the point across? A better way of saying that communism would be a more "fair" society?