International Human Rights Day
Communism and Human Rights
On December 10, 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. December 10 is observed as International Human Rights Day to mark this occasion.
Today, one of the most important arenas in which ideological struggle has broken out is that of human rights.
The modern definition of human rights stipulates that all human beings have rights by virtue of their being. Besides this, there are human beings who also have rights by virtue of their conditions, e.g., women by virtue of their womanhood or those with disabilities by virtue of their concrete objective condition or the national, linguistic, religious and other minorities on account of their own concrete objective reality.
The bourgeoisie of all countries is screaming itself hoarse that it is the defender of human rights and that countries that affirm their independence and uphold their right to be are authoritarian and violators of human rights. It is even suggested that communism, as a result of a quality inherent to it, is the enemy of human rights. Communism and human rights, according to these critics, are like oil and water. The two do not mix.
Is it really true that communism is the violator of human rights and that communism and human rights do not mix? This, of course, is not true. Communism is the condition for the complete emancipation of the working class, a condition for the emancipation of entire humanity. How can it be that communism which is the condition for the complete emancipation of the working class can violate human rights?
Communism, in its modern rendering, presents the Collectivity of Rights as the basic condition for the defence of all rights, whether they are inviolable and belong to all people by dint of their being human or whether they belong to them because of their concrete objective conditions. If people as a collective nation or country do not enjoy the collectivity of their rights, how can they enjoy any other rights? The U.S. is attacking Cuba’s collectivity of rights while screaming about the absence of human rights there. The Democratic Republic of Korea and many other countries such as Iran are also being threatened on similar grounds.
Collectivity, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, means:
“1. Collective state or quality; collectiveness … Every unsocial act or sentiment tends to overthrow that collectivity of effort to which we owe all.
“b. … The whole taken collectively; the aggregate, sum, mass…The collectivity of living existence becomes a self-improving machine.
“2. Collective ownership, collectivism in practice…I vote for the collectivity of the soil…and of all social wealth.
“3. The collective body of people forming a community or state.
“… The State is the real collectivity … the State is everybody, it is the country. 1884, Rae Contemporary socialism — 149. An omnipotent and centralized political authority — call it the State, call it the collectivity; call it what you like — which should have the final disposal of everything.”
Collectivity of rights, like “collectivity of soil” or “collectivity of social wealth” or an “omnipotent and centralized political authority” is something which exists and must belong to all. What quality should a person have before that person can partake of the collectivity of rights? The person just has to be a human being. This is the broadest definition which can be given as it includes all people without exception by dint of their being human. Not only does communism provide these rights to all as a matter of course, but it agitates for this definition at all times and under all conditions. This being the case, can it be said that communism and human rights do not mix?
The bourgeoisie provides an extremely narrow definition of what is a human right. According to the founding fathers of the U.S., such a right only belongs to the “natural aristocracy,” to those who excel in the capitalist market. To eliminate the capitalist market through the socialization of the means of production is considered by the bourgeoisie to be a violation of “human rights.” This is why it is preaching and demanding, including by force of arms, that every country in the world must have a capitalist system with an “open door policy” through which the big powers can enter and do whatever they wish.
Communists put the Collectivity of Rights on a pedestal for the simple reason that what is needed is to harmonize the rights of the individual with the general interests of the collective and the rights of all individuals and collectives with the general well-being of society. Individual or collective rights or the general well-being of society make no sense if the Collectivity of Rights is not put in the first place. How can the bourgeoisie support human rights when it demands that the collectivity of rights must be negated? Communists fight for a polity based on the collectivity of rights as a principle. They consider the collectivity of rights to be the guarantee of the rights of the individual and their collective and of all individuals and collectives and the general interests of society. Only the collectivity of rights has the power to coordinate and subordinate all rights to the opening of the door to the progress of society.
CPC(M-L) invites all concerned to participate and develop the discussion on Communism and Human Rights.