So if none of this worked, what the ^&*% are we going to do on Mars?

Clearly the capitalist system is insidious and while we admire the New Left, we believe that the migration to Mars offers an opportunity to create the kind of social welfare society that  humanity has been waiting for -- a society that applies Marxist principles with integrity. We recognize the limitations of constructing a society from Earth, but as an organization, we have agreed on some general political, economic, and social guidelines that we believe could be useful to the Red Planetariat. In the spirit of non-hierarchical thinking, we invite feedback on whether or not our practical Marsism works for you and commentary on what YOUR Marsist utopia looks like via Twitter #marxonmars, or on our comment thread below. Comment on, Comreds!

Communication with Earth

Capitalism has poisoned the minds of all earthlings.

Before we get into guidelines, however, we cannot emphasize enough how much we do not recommend communicating with Earth. Capitalism has poisoned the minds of of all people, infiltrating their subjectivities; the process of unshackling ourselves will not be easy. Avoid the news. Don’t talk to your loved and hated ones. Let’s face it, if you actually wanted to interact with them or capitalist structures, you would not have moved to Mars. Religion, race, gender, sexual orientation and all other identities will necessarily be redefined and recreated in a non-capitalist context - an overwhelming task that we cannot even begin to comprehend from here on Earth. For questions about how to handle the baggage of your identities, see the following section.

Coming to Terms with Capitalism and Adjusting to Marsism

Recognition, support, and restorative justice.

Although a planetary break from Earth is necessary to defeat capitalism, the trauma of capitalism will live on in the previously earthbound planetariat. In order to to create a new, just society on Mars, we believe that it will be essential for Marsists to come to terms with what they endured under the thumb of capitalism. Therefore, we recognize the need for reconciliation, support groups, and restorative justice mechanisms in order for Marsists to live peacefully with one another and begin a new, social order together post-migration.

In that spirit, we suggest that Marsists look at several successful projects that our Earth-bound allies have pioneered to resolve conflicts peacefully for ideas...

Reconciliation Processes

Dialogue is the first step to healing capitalism's wounds.

Following the abolition of apartheid in South Africa, the government passed the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act 34 of 1995. The Act created three legal bodies aimed at reconciling the nation to the horrors of apartheid: the Human Rights Violations Committee, the Reparations and Rehabilitation Committee, and the Amnesty Committee. Jointly, they formed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), a structure of restorative justice, whose commissioners were publically elected and reviewed, that held public hearings on the experiences of victims, witnesses, and perpetrators of the racist and oppressive system of apartheid. The Commission, charged with finding ways to help the nation rehabilitate and restoring human dignity to the victims of apartheid, investigated three-decades of human rights abuses. By hosting hearings and open sessions where perpetrators and victims could engage in honest dialogue, the Commission opened doors for citizens on both sides of the apartheid to begin the painful process of healing. Amnesty was given to both perpetrators and freedom fighters, given that they fully disclosed the nature and motivation for their crimes. Its focus was on uncovering information from all parties and revealing the truth of what happened, rather than prosecuting individuals for their actions - a mission that made it radically different from the Nuremberg trials after WWII. Although the Commission was not perfect or considered legitimate by all members of South African society, it is internationally recognized as a progressive and largely successful model for pursuing peace and justice.

As a Marsist colony, we believe that establishing a similar commission - dedicated to seeking the truth of oppression and jointly finding a way to heal and build a better society - will be essential to avert the replication of power structures on Earth. The commission will seek the input of all Marsists, with the end goal of being a representative body that can address the concerns of all our Comreds.

Restorative vs Retributive Justice

The South African TRC remains a prime example of restorative justice playing out on a national stage. Most, if not all, Western nations currently practice retributive justice, a legal system that treats punishment for crime as the primary method of stopping it. The difference between the two can largely be summed up as the following: retributive justice focuses on punishing the offender, in the belief that punishment and pain for committing a transgression is adequate to prevent further offenses, while restorative justice focuses on making the victim, perpetrator, and community whole through rehabilitation. Retributive justice singles out offenders as individuals with individual responsibility; restorative believes that offenders have a social as well as individual responsibility. Retributive justice places power in the hands of the state and sidelines victims; restorative justice centers the victim as essential to the process of reconciliation.

The prison-industrial complex that currently disenfranchises millions of people of color in the United States is an example of how retributive justice, by focusing on transgression and marginalizing the social and economic components of crime, can easily become an unjust system that works to the benefit of the dominant group in power. The Red Planetariat will commit to a system of restorative justice, in which the community will focus on the needs of the victim and moving forward to a more just future. We believe this is the only way to build a strong society united in solidarity, and the only way to achieve a society free of the oppression that now plagues Earth.

Economic and Governmental Guidelines

Governing Marsists

How do we create a government that does not reinscribe the ills of capitalist European nation state imperialism, when we ourselves come from Earth and these oppressive systems? What are the power dynamics of representative government? Can they be non-oppressive? Should there even be a government at all? If anarchy reigns, will the straight white males take over again and send us all into capitalist oblivion?? Marsists will be confronting these questions every day and for the most part will just have to figure it out as they try to create and live a new system.

Social Organization

    We suggest that as a starting point, Marsists live together in a small community that is further divided into “cooperatives.” All people will have individual rooms and the freedom to spend time in others’ rooms without policing. All cooperatives will have  communal cooking spaces, social spaces, and bathrooms. All cooperatives will have the communal responsibility of creating systems that facilitate conflict resolution for their community members, ideally modelled off systems of restorative justice. All cooperatives are responsible for making sure their members are fed, clothed, and respected by all members of the coop. All members of the cooperative have the freedom to move between cooperatives. There are no nation-states on Mars; we reject the concept of a citizen.

We do not recommend the creation of formal policing mechanisms for the colony as a whole.

Because there is no dominant Marsist identity, allocating power to individuals regarding security and maintaining the wellbeing of the community risks the reinscription of capitalist (i.e. racist, classist, homophobic, ableist) practices. We also demand the total demilitarization of Marsist society. War: what is it good for? NOTHING.

    The Marsist colony will be responsible for creating a charter that can be edited from any technological device on Mars about the principles that they wish to live by. They can choose to elect representatives from their cooperative; they can create an occupy-esque town meeting where all are present; they can fight it out over the internet. However, they must create a charter that lays out clear moral non-negotiables of Marsist society that respects the humanity and dignity of all Marsist beings.

Working Life

The question of accountability for an extraterrestrial utopian society is also important to consider. How will jobs that no one likes doing be completed? For example, most people don’t enjoy taking out the trash on Earth. They will probably enjoy it even less on Mars, where spacesuits and radiation poisoning are the status quo for going outside (however, we view this as a positive - more incentive to recycle!) Marsist cooperatives must then institute a chore or job rotation for each member, where the load of unpleasant and uncreative tasks of keeping society functioning are shared by the collective community. There will be no opportunity to “pay” others to complete these tasks: this shared labor is essential for building community bonds and freeing up time for each cooperative member to pursue their own interests outside of their chores. It will also prevent stigma from being attached to jobs that are treated derogatorily on Earth.

Private Life, Private Property

There should be no "Mother tongue" on mars.

 As a MarxWon mission, we believe that continuous dialogue over private property is crucial. We are not confident that all private property -- sentimental possessions, artistic creations, books, etc -- needs to be eliminated. After we want to decenter work from our lives so that we can pursue our passions for their own sake, and that may imply having something to own and work with. But the slope is slippery, and we urge Marsists to collectively negotiate what kind of role they want private property to play in their society. We suggest that all cooperatives have creative spaces where people can produce art and express themselves. We also believe all cooperatives should engage in educating each other, creating communal libraries, and teaching one another to read, write, and speak in multiple languages. There should be no mother tongue on Mars or a homogenous Marsist identity; the mother tongue is, after all, a capitalist, Western European nation-state ideology and therefore must be rejected on Mars. We encourage the expression and cultivation of individuality; however, this individuality must not be imposed on others or come at their expense.     

The Red Planetariat’s Economic Policy Guidelines

Initially, the small colony will have little option but to work communally. A small group of people with the requisite skills of growing food, repairing electronics, carrying out medical procedures and setting up communications with Earth -- while they are the only people on the planet -- can hardly afford to be truly independent from each other.

However, once the settlement grows, how should the society further develop? How should exchange of goods and services be coordinated on Mars? How can a just and equitable economic system be created?

One way to answer the central question of production—what to produce, how to produce it and how to distribute goods—is to adopt a participatory economy approach. In this model, resources would be allocated by negotiations between producers, consumers and other stakeholders. Local and regional assemblies would make broad decisions about what levels of a broad ‘budget’ should be accorded to. For instance, broad guideline education, scientific research, and agriculture could be issues, which would then be worked out in more detail in local contexts. Participatory budget proposals on Earth are instructive: once broad categories of the budget are created, specific elected committees research and propose ways to best spend the budget to meet community needs. For this model to work, good access to data is crucial. Talking to the people who will be affected and looking at statistics to pinpoint any larger structural issues will allow committees to distribute and use resources in the most equitable manner.

We believe that a just economic system provides an unconditional universal basic income (UBI) for all Martians.

This would be administered by the Red Planetariat government, “at the highest level that is economically and ecologically sustainable, and on the highest scale that is politically imaginable.”* Universal income would not be tied to resources or the desire and ability to work. Instead, the Martian livelihood would originate from tax contributions levied on working-income and -- to a much lesser extent -- the sale of commodities. Each family would be compensated based on the number of people in the family - each Marsist receives an equal amount of UBI.

We will not punish the poor with expensive, punitive policies that further impoverish them.

A UBI will ensure that no one is truly left on the margins. We will not force people to contort themselves to fit the criteria for means tested income, or create a complicated bureaucratic thicket of rules. We will not punish the poor with expensive, punitive policies that further impoverish them. We reject the idea of the freeloader - we believe that an individual motivated solely by narrow self-interest is a construction of the capitalist system. Those members of the red planetariat who are able to work and are willing to give up some of their time in exchange for a more materialistic lifestyle would be paid an amount that could incentivize them to work.

On the Importance of Community Creation
We recognize that we do not have all the answers. Seeking ways to escape our capitalist society and create a just social system will be an ongoing project. We charge the Marsist colony to concede any mistakes it makes; to hold itself accountable; to have the courage to keep trying and moving forward. And we also charge you, our Terran siblings, to contribute to the Marsist project. An equitable society is necessary; is a moral imperative; is above all possible. What does your Marsist utopia look like? Let us know and pass on your ideas to the colonists as they start out on their bold journey to where no phe has gone before! <3

We need input from the red planetariat –
What does your marsist utopia look like?

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Further Reading:

The Meaning of the Paris Commune : The legacy of the Paris Commune of 1871: what can it offer for present day struggles for emancipation.