by Peter Cohen
This book is not a work of research. The information it contains is taken from readily available sources, with two exceptions – works that are cited in these sources, and several books that are out of print.
The book is based on two premises:
- For several thousand years the Western market economy has been a class society in which the majority is exploited by a tiny minority. As the latest manifestation of the market economy, capitalism has evolved into a massive machine of destruction that is literally waging war on humanity.
- Since 1917 the class struggle in Western society has taken the form of a global conflict between capitalism and Communism. This has been the determinant factor in world events both great and small, primarily because the Communist movement is the only organized alternative to capitalism. This conflict is still in progress.
The Western capitalist nations are referred to in this book repeatedly as “so-called democracies”. The word democracy is derived from two Greek words – demos, meaning “people” and kratia, meaning “control” or “power”. Only a mental defective would claim that capitalist societies such as Germany, the UK, France or the US are controlled by the people.
These and other capitalist countries are not democracies. They are plutocracies, i.e. they are controlled by a very small number of rich people, known as capitalists, who own and/or control the systems for production, distribution and exchange.
In a socialist society these systems are owned and controlled by the working class, i.e. the majority of citizens, either directly or through the state.
The word “Communist” is used throughout this book to denote countries in which a Communist party dominates or dominated the government, in order to underline the conflict between these countries and their capitalist antagonists, and to distinguish them from countries governed by social democrats, who call themselves socialists but are nothing of the sort.
However, the countries led by Communist movements are or were building socialist societies ruled by the working class, and had/have not reached the stage of Communist society. The latter will sooner or later evolve from socialist economies and will be the first in which there are no classes at all. But the immediate task is to build socialism. It will not be possible to establish Communist societies until the capitalist system disappears from the earth.
The words class, class conflict, class struggle and class war occur frequently in this book. I am well aware that many people believe that there are no social classes and therefore no class struggle. This means that they also believe that the interests of the owners of capitalist societies are identical with those of the people who are being exploited. They are wrong. These interests are inherently irreconcilable.
The conflict will continue until one of the classes is defeated. If it lasts long enough the capitalist system will destroy the conditions that are prerequisite for our existence, and human life will come an end.
First of all I must express by gratitude to my wife Margon Mattsson, without whose boundless patience, enthusiasm and continuous encouragement this book would never have been written
In many ways the book is the fruit of years of discussions with my comrade Dr. Thomas Knoll, who has shared his profound knowledge of German history and has also contributed with invaluable translations.
My comrade Lars Kroon has been an invaluable sounding board and commentator who has helped me clarify and improve much of the presentation of complex historical processes.
I must of course also acknowledge my debt to the sources that are quoted and referred to in this book, and since it is being made available at no cost under a free software agreement, I am sure that the copyright holders will appreciate my contribution to the wider dissemination of their works.
This book is dedicated to my grandchildren Gabriel and Edith Taillefer-Cohen, in the hope that the capital holocaust will come to an end during their lifetimes.