Idea for a sci-fi story. Maybe it’s already been done.

There’s a race of sentient birds (or birdlike creatures). And these birds have proceeded roughly along the same track as humans did, developing agriculture, domesticating animals, then metallurgy, class society, and then the industrial revolution and capitalism. And they’ve invented telescopes and the radio. And a decade or two after that, one of them discovers a signal that couldn’t possibly be natural. It’s very clearly some kind of foreign communication, and in fact it’s coming from orbit, or maybe from the planet’s moon.

They can’t decode it for a long time, but the same signal plays every let’s say five or ten or twenty years. And eventually they have like television and that sort of technology. And finally someone cracks it, and it turns out it’s like a data stream, and it plays this sequence that helps the viewer/listener decipher the language using images and diagrams associated with the symbols and sounds, and then it tells a story.

This stream tells the story of human history in terms of industry, the development of various energy technologies, from wood to coal and so on. And it explains the laws of electromagnetism, which we know they must relatively recently have discovered and applied, and also other stuff they probably haven’t discovered yet. And it also discusses the development of class society. It tells the story of feudalism and then capitalism, and also the struggles to achieve socialism.

And in the last part of the story, it explains the greenhouse effect and the economics of capitalist resource depletion. It explains how capitalism set us on track to destroy the planet’s ecosystem and the ecological basis for human existence. And it explains that, in fact, in the end, once the ecological and resource crises consumed so much of the planet and so many hundreds of millions of lives, eventually, socialism did win globally, but it was too late–the damage was done. We could see that the global temperature was going somewhere totally unliveable, a 10 or 12 degree increase, and that it was going to totally wipe out not just us but virtually all existing ecosystems. Nonetheless, we had a few decades or maybe even a century or two before it would all be over, so we created these devices that would orbit the earth or hang out on the moon for million of years to try to tell our story and help caution whichever species came after us avoid our mistake, and give serious argumentative firepower to that species’s socialists.

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What is freedom?

I used to want to be a poet until I realized that striving to become great when I had nothing to say was a supreme act of vanity–was useless, was like swallowing plastic, was tearing up my insides.

I think in another world that would still be something like what I would want to do, but we do not live in another world.

I am not free to be the poet I would otherwise be, because there is no world full of the people whom I would love and for whom I would create art, or create whatever it is that I would want to create for them because I loved them.

Instead there is a world full of people who eat plastic and do not realize it, and they are all torn up inside, and they have a thick film of plastic over their eyes. And so do I, because I have eaten so much plastic, and I am still so addicted to so much of it that I nibble on it every day, all day long.[1]

If I am free to eat all the plastic I want, am I free? If I am free to have sex with all the plastic-eaters I want, am I free? If I can listen to all the plastic music I want, watch all the plastic films I want, if I can go anywhere in a Lego world, am I free?

No, I am not free because the world–especially the world that made me–is almost empty of humans. These humans think they are Legos. They have been threatened with violence if they acted like anything but Legos–and so has everyone else around them. They have no reason to suspect they are not Legos, except that they are deeply sad, and often frightened, and often have anger they don’t know what to do with.

So what liberty do I have, what can I become in a world without people? What can I become in an enormous and empty spaceship library, full of texts and films and empty of people?

It’s not that there are not other communists out there, and other people who have not yet realized they are communists. Among them I am more free. But no, this is not actually a world that I am living in. I live in a dimly lit hallway crammed in with a few other people, most of whom I barely see, and when I see them, I barely see any of them. And we in the hallway all have death sentences hanging over us that we do not know when they will be carried out.

No, I’m not saying I’m oppressed, nor that I am like a prisoner. But I am saying that my freedom is a formality, because freedom for a human being is only meaningful inasmuch as we are around other free human beings, and who among us is really free?

1. “I got hunger pain that grow insane / Tell me do that sound familiar?”

If it do then you’re like me, making excuse that your relief
Is an upvoted comment on reddit and a much-retweeted tweet.

See also:

Marx’s theory of alienation | Wikipedia

And this seems right, too: Character mask | Wikipedia

The Right To Be Greedy: Theses On The Practical Necessity Of Demanding Everything (I haven’t read most of this, but I think it’s sort of related to what I’m talking about):

The perspective of communist egoism is the perspective of that selfishness which desires nothing so much as other selves, of that egoism which wants nothing so much as other egos; of that greed which is greedy to love – love being the “total appropriation” of [humyn] by [humyn].

I was talking with a friend about the post and managed to say that I think that the emotional significance of different options is what creates freedom, not just a proliferation of options. And I think that’s right.

I just encountered someone who had grasped that the problem was wealth inequality combined with the fact that wealth is power but who had not reached the conclusion that socialism was necessary, so I wrote this, which is a pretty succinct summary of my own current political views. Lots of links to elaborate on each part.

The problem is capitalism, which invariably concentrates wealth.

We cannot correct this problem under capitalism because as you noted, wealth is power, and there will always be concentrated wealth under capitalism, so capitalism is inevitably a plutocracy, a class society.

Capitalism is any mode of private ownership of the means of production where production is primarily driven by profit, which will inevitably be a chaos of production. The only alternative is a democratically controlled planned economy, socialism.

Many countries have tried to peacefully arrive at socialism with unarmed movements, including Guatemala from 1944-1954, Chile from 1970-73, Jamaica in the 70s, and Grenada from 1979-1983. These explicitly socialist movements, and all unarmed anti-imperialist movements that attempted to secure gains for a Third World country’s workers and peasants even when not attempting to overthrow capitalism, have been destroyed and subverted by the CIA and its allies.

The only solution is socialist revolution, country after country, from the bottom of the world to the top. Right now there are armed movements to bring about socialism in various places, most notably India and the Philippines.

Because it has been observed that high food prices (and high costs for other necessities) spark revolutions, and because much of the world is soon to be short on oil (and many other resources) and water, and therefore food as well as most other things (because oil is used to ship things), we should expect revolutions all over the world in the near future.

If we want to bring about a just, free, and ecologically sound world, we must support those movements and prepare for our opportunity to bring socialism to the imperialist countries such as the United States.

It is tragic that it should have to happen that way, but the world right now is a tragic place, where 7 million starve to death every year, tens of millions more die of easily treated diseases, and 2 billion live on less than a PPP-adjusted $2 a day (that is, on what you or I could buy with $2), and the wealthy, whom you have correctly identified as the ruling class, profit off of this and will do everything in their power to perpetuate it. And what’s more, humanity itself is doomed without a solution to global warming and other ecological problems, which can be solved only with global socialism.

If you have questions, concerns, or doubts about socialism, I recommend both the Debunking Anti-Communism Masterpost and communism101’s FAQ.