Programme of the Worker-communist Party
Social and Intellectual Basis of Worker Communism
However, not only freedom and equality, but even the ideal of abolishing classes and exploitation are not unique to worker- communism. These goals have been the watchword of other movements and other oppressed classes in earlier societies too. What distinguishes worker-communism as a movement is the fact that it emerges in opposition to capitalism, i.e. the latest and most modern class system.
Worker-communism is the social movement of the proletariat, a class that is itself a product of capitalism and modern industrial production, and the main exploited class in this system. It is a class that lives by the sale of its labour power and has no other means of making a living but its labour power. The proletariat is not a slave, not a serf, not an artisan; it is neither owned by anyone, nor does it own its means of production. It is both free and forced to sell its labour power in the market to capital.
The principles and social ideals of worker-communism derive from a criticism of the economic, social and intellectual foundations of capitalism. This is a criticism from the standpoint of the wage-earning working class in this society, and thereby thorough and revolutionary. The working people's conception of freedom, equality and human happiness is, and has always been in previous societies, inevitably a reflection of the existing social relations and of their own position vis- a-vis production and property. The slave's conception of freedom did not go much beyond abolition of slavery, and the serf's and urban artisan's conception of equality could not be anything more than equality in property rights. But with the rise of the proletariat, as the great mass of producers free from any form of ownership of means of production, a class whose economic bondage and exploitation is precisely based on its legal freedom, the concept of freedom and equality changed fundamentally. The proletariat cannot set itself free, without society as such being set free from class divisions and private ownership of means of production. Equality is not just a juridical notion, but also, and fundamentally, an economic and social one.