December 10 was the UN’s International Human Rights’ Day. It commemorates the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Fine words but for most people, these rights are a dream.Under communism we won’t need rights because we won’t need protection against evils we’ve abolished. For example, people won’t need a right to unemployment insurance, because there won’t be any unemployment.
Many of these rights would be in workers’ interests if they were enforced. For example article 4 rejects slavery, article 14 guarantees asylum from persecution, article 16 the right to marry, article 24 the right to rest and leisure, article 26 the right to education.
Already we can see how capitalism fails to guarantee it’s own rights. Slavery still exists in many forms including prison labor in ‘advanced’ countries. Good luck with article 14 if you come from Syria, forget article 16 if your fiancé(e) is an undocumented immigrant, article 24 is null if you have to work three jobs to feed your family, and article 26 is useless if your school is moldy and collapsing.
Furthermore many of the other rights supposedly protect us against the bosses oppressive machinery: right to a fair trial, partisan elections, labor contracts, unjust imprisonment etc. Capitalism guarantees trials, imprisonment, wage slavery – without much real protection.
Article 25 is interesting because it asserts economic rights as opposed to political and legal rights that most of the articles deal with. Together with article 23 it guarantees the right to work and to decent food, clothing, housing and medical care. Nowhere in the capitalist world are these rights honoured, not even in ‘advanced’ ‘wealthy’ ‘democratic’ countries like those of western Europe.
What rights will communism guarantee? We don’t see it that way. The bosses oppress us with wage slavery, unemployment, killer cops, pollution, bad healthcare etc, then convince us that we have (or should fight for) individual rights (like the right to a fair trial) that protect us against this oppression. Communism will abolish wage slavery, unemployment and so on so we won’t need their individual rights.
In particular there will be no laws, police, courts or prisons. Bad people will still be detained but there won’t be jails as we know them. The abolition of money and private property will mean the end of crime. We’ll also suppress the drug trade. Finally, parents will be able to send their kids walking to school with confidence that they’ll get there.
Beyond guaranteeing basic needs communism ensures that workers will be part of collectives in work, the home, education, healthcare and so on, that supply these basic needs. That will be something to celebrate!