Morality and/or Hypocrisy? : SUNAND
Moral/Immoral binary has always existed in every realm, in every sphere and at every stage of human civilization. However, what really is ‘Morality’? Most of the moral philosophers see ‘Morality’ as something which is needed to keep human impulses and desires in control. They see the source of morality, not in the society, but outside of it. Kant was one of the most influential moral philosophers and he argued that all rational beings ought to behave in a certain moral way. So Kant held that lying was morally wrong, because if everyone lied when it was to their advantage to do so, trust and communication would be undermined and your own goals would be frustrated. It was Hegel who could see the façade that Kantian morality was. Hegel called it: “All form and no content- whatever content it has was smuggled from outside!”. For example, Kant believed that theft was wrong, because if everyone stole it would undermine the institution of private property. However, what is so sacrosanct about the private property that it shouldn’t be undermined? Kantian morality framework didn’t have any answer to this. Hegel saw the shaping of moral in the historical and social processes. This is true indeed at the surface level and in the descriptive; but it fails to give us any idea about the inner workings of the system.
Marx and Engels the teachers of the working class, who in the words of Lenin, “taught the working class to know itself and be conscious of itself, and they substituted science for dreams.” (Frederick Engels, V.I. Lenin, 1895), tear apart the façade of this morality. Marx recognized that human behavior is a function of the social and historical reality. As he put it : “the human essence is no abstraction inherent in each single individual. In its reality it is the ensemble of the social relations.” ( Theses on Feuerbach, K. Marx, 1845). Marx’s comrade and an extraordinary philosopher in his own right, Engels puts the entire question of morality in proper perspective :
“We therefore reject every attempt to impose on us any moral dogma whatsoever as an eternal, ultimate and forever immutable ethical law on the pretext that the moral world, too, has its permanent principles which stand above history and the differences between nations. We maintain on the contrary that all moral theories have been hitherto the product, in the last analysis, of the economic conditions of society obtaining at the time. And as society has hitherto moved in class antagonisms, morality has always been class morality; it has either justified the domination and the interests of the ruling class, or ever since the oppressed class became powerful enough, it has represented its indignation against this domination and the future interests of the oppressed. That in this process there has on the whole been progress in morality, as in all other branches of human knowledge, no one will doubt. But we have not yet passed beyond class morality. A really human morality which stands above class antagonisms and above any recollection of them becomes possible only at a stage of society which has not only overcome class antagonisms but has even forgotten them in practical life. And now one can gauge Herr Dühring’s presumption in advancing his claim, from the midst of the old class society and on the eve of a social revolution, to impose on the future classless society an eternal morality independent of time and changes in reality.”- ( Anti- Duhriing, F. Engels)
So, does this mean that Communists don’t have any morality? Does this mean that they can justify anything in the name of them being a product of the social relations of production? No, Not at all! Here, Lenin answers the entire question with brilliant clarity and insight :
“The entire purpose of training, educating and teaching the youth of today should be to imbue them with communist ethics.
But is there such a thing as communist ethics? Is there such a thing as communist morality? Of course, there is. It is often suggested that we have no ethics of our own; very often the bourgeoisie accuse us Communists of rejecting all morality. This is a method of confusing the issue, of throwing dust in the eyes of the workers and peasants.
In what sense do we reject ethics, reject morality?
In the sense given to it by the bourgeoisie, who based ethics on God’s commandments. On this point we, of course, say that we do not believe in God, and that we know perfectly well that the clergy, the landowners and the bourgeoisie invoked the name of God so as to further their own interests as exploiters. Or, instead of basing ethics on the commandments of morality, on the commandments of God, they based it on idealist or semi-idealist phrases, which always amounted to something very similar to God’s commandments.
We reject any morality based on extra-human and extra-class concepts. We say that this is deception, dupery, stultification of the workers and peasants in the interests of the landowners and capitalists.
We say that our morality is entirely subordinated to the interests of the proletariat’s class struggle. Our morality stems from the interests of the class struggle of the proletariat.
The old society was based on the oppression of all the workers and peasants by the landowners and capitalists. We had to destroy all that, and overthrow them but to do that we had to create unity. That is something that God cannot create.
This unity could be provided only by the factories, only by a proletariat trained and roused from its long slumber. Only when that class was formed did a mass movement arise which has led to what we have now — the victory of the proletarian revolution in one of the weakest of countries, which for three years has been repelling the onslaught of the bourgeoisie of the whole world. We can see how the proletarian revolution is developing all over the world. On the basis of experience, we now say that only the proletariat could have created the solid force which the disunited and scattered peasantry is following and which has withstood all onslaughts by the exploiters. Only this class can help the working masses unite, rally their ranks and conclusively defend, conclusively consolidate and conclusively build up a communist society.
That is why we say that to us there is no such thing as a morality that stands outside human society; that is a fraud. To us morality is subordinated to the interests of the proletariat’s class struggle.” (The Tasks of the Youth Leagues/ VI Lenin)
Hence, as long as class antagonisms exist, it would be a lie, a façade to speak of some sort of a universal human morality. All moralities are class moralities. Yet, in the process of the advance of the class struggle- the advancement of the process that seeks to eliminate classes altogether, there also arise the conception of what the world would be when classes wouldn’t exist and when society is “an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all” (Manifesto of the Communist Party, K. Marx and F. Engels).
In this conception also arises the conception of human morality- the morality which would exist when classes would not exist. Now, the organizations or the forces that seek to escalate the process of dissolution of the classes are themselves existing in the concrete reality that they seek to change- however, their own internal life is guided by two antagonistic ideologies- their own ideology on one hand and that of the ruling classes on the other. This contradiction, this dialectic can also be observed with regard to the ‘question of morality’.
The communists don’t say that there is no good or bad. “Socialist Morality is founded on appreciation of the real conditions and real requirements of the actual freedom struggle of mankind.” Further, “It is not dogmatic, but scientific and self-critical. It does not encourage self righteousness and moral spluttering and frothing, but is calm and reasonable. For it immoral behavior is simply anti-social behaviour due to weakness and lack of education, and its aim is not to punish, but to reform and educate. It is in all respects kind and humane, and values above everything else the free development and happiness of the human individual.” ( Theory of Knowledge, Maurice Cornforth)
Beware! Beware and expose all the willing/unwilling agents of the ruling classes who are working to stab knifes in the back of the working class ideology and its organization, as they camouflage idealist morality as the human morality. They are nothing else but hypocrites in the skin of the moral warriors and their hypocrisy stand exposed with every single step of theirs.