communism is a weak form of government that will always fail. in communism the leader is supposed to remove himself/herself from power but a country always needs a leader because without one it would just be a really large group of people.it's military would fall apart without a Hierarchy of ranks and authority and most importantly while communism spreads a message of extreme equality, the truth is that some people do deserve more then others, if communism were to happen, peoples greed, desire, jealousy and so on would just cause voilance and tear the "really large group of people" apart, which is a natural thing to happen. every living thing on this planet has a Hierarchy of wealth, authority and power for example the alpha male in a group of monkeys, the queen of an ant colony and the classes in it too(worker ant, soldier ant and so on)even packs of dogs have a leader but the best example is OUR society with government officials, representitives and leaders. communism is just a bleeding heart's fantasy.
Who is a communist? -- Someone who read and believed Marx and Lenin.
Who is an anticommunist? -- The one who read and understood them.
We often hear that "the two Cold War superpowers were very similar", "when a person says that he is a `communist' he is just declaring his opposition to the injustices of the social system", "Stalin perverted the communist teaching, one cannot judge the beautiful communist idea by the abomination Stalin created" etc.
Well, I can answer to that, in short, with one of the handful of jokes that conveniently sum up my political views:
An angel from the Lord appeared before a Fascist, a Communist and a Jew (it is beyond the point how these three happened to be at the same place; suppose they were on a bus and asked them:
-- Each of you is granted one wish; what do you wish for?
The Fascist asked for the Communists to be eliminated for ever and ever. The Communist asked for the Fascists to disappear from the Universe. Both of them vanish.
The Jew looks puzzled. He asks the Angel whether the wishes of the first two fellows were granted in their entirety. The Angel confirms. Then, after a heavy deliberation, the Jew says:
-- In that case, all I can ask for is a cup of coffee.
The longer answer is: the last statement in the first paragraph is true. It is true, that Lenin/Trotsky's communism of 1917-1921, as well as the state Stalin built in the thirties were a perversion of the ideas of Marx and Engels. The horrible nightmare that Stalin had implemented was mild compared to the Lenin/Trotsky's version, which, in turn, was somewhat milder than what Marx/Engels proposed. Stalinism can be rightfully called Communism with a humane face, it was very gentle compared to what Marx/Engels wanted.
The upshot is that the Communist ideology requires a total surrender of personal freedom and privacy to the will of the state/class/party/whatever. Please read the previous sentence again. This is NOT an exaggeration. This is what they (Marx/Engels/...) wanted and this is what is totally and completely unacceptable in their ideology.
Let us read the famed (or is it "infamous"?) Manifesto of the Communist Party:
Family: Marx/Engels are quite vague on the issue, though they clearly imply abolition of the family and introduction of community of women.
Implementation: Lenin's words that to have sex should be as easy as to drink a glass of water, Alexandra Kollontay's (she was a People's Comissar, i.e., a member of the national government) saying that a (female) member of the Communist party has no right to deny (sex) to a (male) member of the Communist party. In the twenties there were public organized (voluntary? I don't know, probably yes) deflorations of young girls by the Red Army soldiers. Stalin returned to the women certain rights, e.g., to say "no" (well, when she was talking to her social peer, at least). Nevertheless, the family was continuously assaulted: the children were encouraged to report their parents to the VChK-KGB, individual's private family matters were discussed on Party meetings etc etc.
But, you say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations, when we replace home education by social.
And your education! Is not that also social, and determined by the social conditions under which you educate, by the intervention direct or indirect, of society, by means of schools, etc.? The Communists have not intended the intervention of society in education; they do but seek to alter the character of that intervention, and to rescue education from the influence of the ruling class.
The bourgeois claptrap about the family and education, about the hallowed correlation of parents and child, becomes all the more disgusting, the more, by the action of Modern Industry, all the family ties among the proletarians are torn asunder, and their children transformed into simple articles of commerce and instruments of labor.
What they propose is
free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc.
Implementation: Well, here they (Lenin/Stalin/Brezhnev) were as good as their (Marx/Engels) word. Public education was mandatory, educating children at home was a felony, organized religious education was outlawed. I would conjecture that Marx/Engels would take all children from mothers (remember, there are no families, promiscuity is enforced, so, in the absence of genetic testing, there cannot be a concept of a "father") for public upbringing (this is not purposeful cruelty, just a question of pure efficiency in both input - resources spent on children and output - their indoctrination). You may dispute the validity of my conjecture, but then you will have to tell me how they intended to feed all these single mothers. Well, Lenin/Stalin/Brezhnev did not do that. Almost. When a family member was arrested (i.e., "drafted into the industrial army of GULAG", see below, or just murdered by the "People's Court" - note that the institution was named identically in Nazi Germany and Soviet Union), the spouse was arrested too (until the fifties; the crime was "ChSIR" - "member of the family of the traitor of the motherland"), while the children were sent to orphanages.
Note: public education might not be necessarily evil and mandatory education might even look like a good idea for the modern technological society, but mandatory AND public means brainwashing, and thus is clearly the opposite of freedom. You might find Separation of School and State a more appropriate policy.
Labor: Equal obligation of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
Implementation: GULAG was one huge labor army, of course, and people were drafted there - you can hardly call the procedure "legal" - by millions. But GULAG probably never accounted for more than 10-20% of the GDP (although most of the military research was done there - people like Tupolev and Korolev were imprisoned and had their "KB" - Design Bureaus - in the prison camps - the celebrated "Sharagas"). This GDP estimate is based on the estimates of the GULAG's population together with the fact the productivity of slave labor is usually smaller than that of the "free" agents outside of the prison camps. On the other hand, the peasants did not have passports until the 1970-ies, and without the passport they could not move in a city, so they were tied to their "kolhoz". During certain periods, city workers could not change jobs either. Being 5 minutes late was a felony.
Patriotism: proletarians have no motherland
Implementation: a VChK/GPU/NKVD spy/subversion network called "Comintern" and "brotherly help" to foreign Communist parties (like bank-rolling the American, British and all other communist parties which could not support themselves), etc etc. By the way, a legitimate question arises - who bank-rolled Lenin before 1917? The Imperial Germany did: with Lenin's official program that "the military defeat of our own national government will lead to a revolution" his success was in the best interests of Germany. Their investment in Lenin proved quite wise: the communists surrendered Russia in February 1918, 4 months after grabbing the power, and paid enormous reparations until Germany was defeated by the Western Allies (US and Entente Cordiale) in November 1918. What about before 1914? They robbed banks. It was called "Expropriation of expropriators" and was organized by Stalin et al.
The word communist is totally discredited. People who call themselves communists are usually misguided. If they read the sources and know the history, and did not turn away from the Communist ideas in disgust, they are political gangsters or opportunists who liked living on the dole from the CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union) - before the USSR collapsed. But this is rare. Usually these self-proclaimed communists are just socialists, or social-democrats, who believe that these words - socialist, social-democrat - are discredited (what can be more discredited than communist?!) or misleading (what can be more confusing than calling someone a communist?!)
So, do not call yourself a communist. It is a bad word, invented by bad people to identify themselves. Even if you add all the communists persecuted, tortured and murdered, all over the world, including by the Nazis, you will never even approach a quarter of the number of innocent victims of communists. Remember, that includes (but not limited to) Collectivization in Russia, Cultural Revolution in China and Cambodian Killing Fields. The balance is against them. They are not victims but perpetrators.
The Two Superpowers
Comparing the witch hunt against the communists in the USA with GULAG is so ridiculous and insulting toward the victims of the communists, that the issue should not even have been raised. But it was, and is, repeated by various political speakers, that "there was no difference between McCarthy and Beria", "the human rights situation in the US and the SU were quite similar in the 60ies, 70ies and 80ies" etc. Suffice it to say that nobody was sent to jail just for being a communist in the USA. People who were sent to prison camps in the USSR in the 50ies, 60ies, 70ies and 80ies, for "anti-soviet propaganda" (article 70 of the criminal code) and "slandering of the Soviet System" (article 190-1 of the criminal code) number tens of thousands. Losing a job can be very unpleasant, but compare it with what the communists would have done to the rest of us (and what they actually did in every single country where they took power), and you would agree that it was quite mild.
No, I do not condone a witch hunt. I just want to put things into a proper perspective. Personal Freedom and the Free Speech are sacred, and it is good that the communist (and fascist, for that matter, even though my gripes with latter are even bigger than with the former) literature is freely available on the Internet.
When Reagan called the Soviet Union the evil empire, he was wrong. The Soviet propagandists corrected him, when they translated his words into Russian as The Empire of Evil (Имп& #1077;рия Зл& #1072. The Soviet Union was a monster, bent on the world domination, with the ultimate goal of total elimination of individual freedom. Yes, this includes you, even if you think that since you call yourself a communist, you would have ended up at the top.
Read Orwell's "1984". He summed things up pretty clearly and without exaggerations. When you read it here in the US, you probably think "how ridiculous! this is impossible! this just cannot happen, ever!" When I read the book in the mid-eighties, I saw everything I was reading about right in front of me in the Moscow streets. In my not-so-humble opinion, this is the conclusive proof that the Cold War was not between "moral equals", but between Good (The Free World) and Evil (The Totalitarian Abyss of Communism).
How many nations did the USSR "liberate" and simply take control of their government, police and policy remove all forms of election and have direct control come from Moscow...
East Germany, Poland, Georgia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Croatia, Slovenia, Monternegro, Bosnia/ Herzegovina, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Armenia, Azerbaija, Chechnya,and lets not forget that little attempt on Afghanistan. All of these nations lived under the iron fist of Moscow, and their sadistic Gulag Archipelago, where over 300 million died. (300 million if you throw in China and all those Communist crazies in Latin America)
Now lets name the Countries where the United States rolled in and took over, sent its upper class to death camps and put the people into slave labor.
Lets rule out some of the basics.... Vietnam, was a French colony and became a fuck up because of France, United States attempted to assist, and failed in saving the South Vietnamese from the slaughter of the Communists.
Oh, I know Iraq... And shit, we are as agreed with the Iraqi Government pulling out, as of Nov 24th 2008 under the Bush Administration, we had signed the agreed terms set by a free Iraqi people to pull out by 2012, and Obama looks to be doing it even faster.
Lets see.... What other Nation has the United States taken over and claimed as their own? Hmmmm.... Hmmmmm Lets see, how many Reeducation camps do we have? Hmmm any Gulags set up in some satellite nation?
Sigh... Silly silly human don't bother me with your stupidity. Read a book, I suggest you start with "Animal Farm" and move up from there.
The Monarchy of Hawaii was overthrown by American and some European Businessmen, and was a Independent Republic from 1894 to 1898 when it was annexed by the United States becoming a territory in 1900.
The Philippines was first a Colony for Spain than came the Spanish-American War the Philippines declared independence from Spain on June 12th 1989 and became the Primera Republica Filipina. However in the Treaty of Paris, Spain losing the War Ceded the Philippines, together with Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam to the United States.
From 1901 to 1935, America wanted the Philippines as a Colony for its key trade routs and overall location. But in 1935 they made it the Commonwealth of the Philippines, after it was obvious the idea was simply not going to work out. Things were a bit nasty and there was untold death to Colonist and native Filipino, not at all one of our finer moments but corrected by the transition to a independent state. However Japan had other ideas and took the Philippines in WWII. This united the Americans and Philippines, who had nothing but mistrust and disdain for each other. America kept to their word of granting them independence and after the war on July 4th 1946 the Philippines were a new nation. The Philippines and the United States are strong Allies and friends in all aspects.
Little old Guam Again this was a Spanish colony founded in March of 1521. It was Spanish through decades of colonization and bringing all those fancy European disease and the occasional mass murder of the Chamorro locals to put down rebellions.
On June 21st 1898 Guam was captured by the United States in a Bloodless landing during the Spanish-American War. Spain losing the war officially ceded Guam to the United States. The United States though ruled the Island were fair to the Chamorro. In WWII, the Chamorro people were loyal to the United States to the bitter end, even helping hide US servicemen from the Japanese.
After WWII, the United States went back to business as Usual on Guam for about 5 years. The Chamorro seemed to have earned the US respect and this brought about the Guam Organic Act of 1950. The United States have given them a non-vote representation in Congress, they have pretty much self rule and vote regularly for statehood or Commonwealth Status or simply Status Quo which is (Unincorporated Territory).
Guam and the United States have a great relationship, and I am sure someday you will see 2 more states enter the Union, 1 will be Puerto Rico, the other is Guam-Virgin Islands.
So what were you referring to again? That's right your out right ignorance of History blinded you with stupidity and made you say something retarded. Nice try, but you failed... again.
Oh my am I supposed to consed the point because you called me a nerd, or used something I knew you would use to double check what I said?
Attacking the person instead of the facts, how straw man of you. It doesn't change the facts, you are wrong, I am right. Seeing how you are reduced to name calling without facts to back up your... "smugness" Only shows who won the argument, and that would be me.
Honestly Everything you say, has no affect on me, and what I say should have no effect on you. But you let it get to you; and you feel the need explain yourself to everyone who feels differently than you. You have a mindset that says "I have to be right, no matter what!"
Everyone like you is so thick headed that they refuse to acknowledge the simple idea of communism, I'm not talking about overthrowing nations and committing genocide. Because that's not what communism is about. Just read this, and you will see what it's all about. The first two paragraphs especially. But I'm sure you'll just copy and paste something about genocide and tell me I'm an uneducated moron.
Like all political systems and any scientific or philosophical ideas there are slow evolutions of these systems. (Well besides religion which for thousands of years stays constant) Just because the original idea is not perfect, does not set it in stone. This progress is very true for democracy as well. When and if men will become truly civilized and not a just a bunch of gorillas fresh out of the jungle with machine guns, cell phones and a cigarette in there mouth, wagging there cocks at each other. Only then can there even be true democracy or/and communism. Even, democracy as we know it today is an infant compared to the human experience. Our own democracy has drastically changed from the time it was created, from violent and oppressive regime to a reasonably well of nation with a trunk misgivings and change that’s still needs to be executed. Just like you could not implement modern democracy in the Feudal Europe in couple of decades. The same is true for communism; the world mindset has to ripen to bear the fruit that is true democracy and/or communism.
What are you talking about “good” versus “evil,” there is no such things. Both sides committed atrocities and genocides, the point is not pointing out who fucked up when. The point is to learn and understand that because something was tried and failed at one time, it can evolve change or be implemented correctly with the right circumstances. With proper condition communism or a good portion of the ideas can flourish.
The beef that all the anti-communists have is that it failed in the past and therefore should be regarded as toxic. People forget that this were dictatorships, totalitarian states just like Nazis. In true communism one man will never wild power that oppresses millions. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupt absolutely. One also forgets how these regimes took power, the circumstance and pressures that helped the regimes fail. Let’s take the Soviet Union where most people were not only illiterate, poor but also starving. This people needed liberation from the Czarist regime dominating them. The idea of communism was a god send. What they didn’t realize is that all supposed “communism” regimes were really dictatorships. Communism cannot work in a country which is going through a civil war (sponsored by the west), two world wars, afflicted by horrible leadership and significantly technologically backwards compared to all the other countries. People were not ready to embrace and function in a proper society. Communism cannot be adopted overnight. The process is like evolution. Communism was never tried in a country which was stable and wealth and which could hand change gradually.
I have to agree, there is a lot of mislabeling of people and of regimes. But buddy, you too contribute to this mislabeling, saying communist this communist that. I also noticed that a lot people who brush of communism or are conviced that it is “evil.” Tend to be deeply influenced by U.S. propaganda during the Cold War. Your giving examples of the horrors of Stalinist regime as proof that communism are not achievable. You are partly right, since in that situation it was not. But to label the whole idea as “disgusting” or “corrupt” is pure blunt ignorance. As the mindset of the planet matures and if we actually approach close to true democracy, implementing true communism is not far away.
I really do not wish to get in to this political philological argument however; since you brought it up I might as well play along.
First off I would like to say is this…
You might be right, maybe we can’t judge Communism off of the actions of those who controlled it… So lets go to the source to find out what went wrong… The source may you ask is none other then every Communists favorite Book, “The Manifesto of the Communist Party.” Lets not forget, “Czarist” leave no stone unturned I say…
Be ready because I am about to drop a bomb on your lap…
Never again." The tyranny and atrocities of Nazi Germany have been justly condemned by world opinion for over 50 years. But it is only recently that Communist despotism has begun to receive remotely similar attention.
It would be a great tragedy if Communism disappeared from the earth without leaving behind an indelible memory of its horrors. Communism was not essentially about espionage, or power politics, or irreligion. Rather it was a grand theoretical synthesis of totalitarianism... a theory which millions of people experienced as the practice of murder and slavery.
The roots of Communism lie squarely in the works of the philosopher Karl Marx. But at the same time, as we shall see, the tradition of Czarist absolutism also became an important source of Communist inspiration.
Even the most cursory student of Communism is familiar with the seminal role of Karl Marx in the development of Communist ideology. The practical results of Communist revolutions have been so dreadful that Marx scholars have been at pains to point out the numerous doctrinal points on which Communist revolutionaries came to deviate from the teachings of Marx. Yet on an important collection of fundamental issues, the profound influence of Marx on Communist theory and practice is easy to detect.
· The Attack on "Bourgeois Freedom"
Marx was a German of Jewish origin who lived much of his life in exile in France and Great Britain. He found much to object to in the prevalent political philosophy of his host countries - a philosophy then known generally as liberalism, as elaborated by such thinkers as John Locke, Adam Smith, Voltaire, and Jean-Baptiste Say. Liberals saw themselves as advocates of liberty, and by liberty they meant the right of individuals to do as they pleased with their own lives and their own property. (Today, these "liberals" would probably be called "libertarians.")
While liberalism in the modern sense of the term tends to see the freedom to live as one pleases as quite distinct from the freedom to dispose of property as one pleases, the liberals of Marx's time usually saw these freedoms as closely connected. Personal freedom, as Locke for example saw it, was nothing else than self-ownership:
[E]very Man has a Property in his own Person. This No Body has any Right to but himself. The Labour of his Body, and the Work of his Hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever then he removes out of the State that Nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his Labour with, and joyned to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his Property...
Second Treatise of Government
Or as Robert Overton, one of Locke's predecessors explained it:
To every individual in nature is given an individual property by nature, not be to invaded or usurped by any: for everyone as he is himself, so he hath a self-propriety... No man hath power over my rights and liberties, and I over no man's; I may be but an individual, enjoy myself and my self-propriety, and may write myself no more than myself, or presume any further; if I do, I am an encroacher and an invader upon another man's right.
An Arrow Against All Tyrants
Marx did not deny the close connection between personal freedom and property rights. Rather, he accepted their connection, and denounced both as manifestations of what he called "bourgeois freedom." The doctrine of the rights of man was faulty, according to Marx, because:
None of the supposed rights of man, therefore, go beyond the egoistic man, man as he is, as a member of civil society; that is, an individual separated from the community, withdrawn into himself, wholly preoccupied with his private interest and acting in accordance with his private caprice... Thus man was not liberated from religion; he received religious liberty. He was not liberated from property; he received the liberty to own property. He was not liberated from the egoism of business; he received the liberty to engage in business.
On the Jewish Question
For Marx, freedom of religion or the freedom to own property are hollow freedoms, or at least grossly inadequate stepping stones to something better: "political emancipation itself is not human emancipation." "[B]ourgeois 'freedom of conscience' is nothing but the toleration of all possible kinds of religious freedom of conscience, and that for its part [socialism] endeavors rather to liberate the conscience from the witchery of religion." (Critique of the Gotha Program). Rather than advocating freedom for all people, liberals really value only the freedom of the ruling class of capitalist society, viz., the bourgeoisie:
But don't wrangle with us so long as you apply, to our intended abolition of bourgeois property, the standard of your bourgeois notions of freedom, culture, law, etc. Your very ideas are but the outgrowth of the conditions of your bourgeois production and bourgeois property, just as your jurisprudence is but the will of your class made into a law for all, a will, whose essential character and direction are determined by the economical conditions of existence of your class.
Manifesto of the Communist Party
Marx accuses the liberal tradition of slighting the social nature of man. "Liberty is, therefore, the right to do everything which does not harm others... It is a question of the liberty of man regarded as an isolated monad, withdrawn into himself." Marx elaborates: "The right of property, is, therefore, the right to enjoy one's fortunes and dispose of it as he will; without regard for other men and independently of society... It leads every man to see in other men, not the realization, but rather the limitation of his own liberty." (On the Jewish Question)
Marx's solution, the route to human emancipation, was Communism, which would give people the freedom that bourgeois society denies them. Communism is, he explains, "the positive transcendence of private property, or human self-estrangement, and therefore the real appropriation of the human essence by and for man... the complete return of man to himself as a social being..." (Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844)
Innumerable social thinkers disagree with much of Marx's thought, but praise his reflections upon human freedom, the depth of his insight in contrast to the shallowness of liberalism. Yet it is difficult to understand how Marx's concept of freedom is anything more than a defense of tyranny and oppression. No dissident or non-conformist can see society as the "realization of his own liberty." And what can the attack on "the right to do everything which does not harm others" amount to in practice, except a justification for coercing people who are not harming others? The problem with "broad" notions of freedom is that they necessarily wind up condoning the violation of "narrow" notions of freedom. Under "bourgeois" notions of religious liberty, people may practice any religion they wish ("a private whim or caprice" as Marx calls it); how could this liberty be broadened, without sanctioning the persecution of some religious views?
Earlier anti-liberals directly attacked liberty as an evil. Marx adopted a different stance - to attack liberty under the guise of expanding it. In so doing, he re-packaged despotism to please modern sensibilities - a feat of intellectual marketing which would have profound consequences for hundreds of millions of people in the next century.
Marxist Origins of Communism, II
· The Evils of Capitalism
Marx was hardly the first thinker to denounce the evils of capitalism. Indeed, anti-capitalism is at least implicit in much of the Judeo-Christian tradition, with its attacks on greed, materialism, and selfishness.
Hear this, you who trample upon the needy,
And would bring the poor of the land to an end,
Saying, When will the new moon pass
That we may sell grain,
And the Sabbath that we may offer wheat for sale,
Making the ephah small and the price great,
And falsifying the scales;
Buying the poor for silver,
And the needy in exchange for a pair of sandals,
And selling the refuse of the grain.
...reads the book of Amos, pre-dating Marx by over 2000 years.
In medieval Christian thought, hatred of capitalism was closely mixed with anti-Semitism, due to Jews' involvement in banking, money-lending, and trade. The famous Protestant reformer Martin Luther, for example, wrote that: "[T]here is on earth no greater enemy of man, after the Devil, than a gripe-money and usurer, for he wants to be God over all men... Usury is a great, huge monster, like a werewolf... And since we break on the wheel and behead highwaymen, murderers, and housebreakers, how much more ought we to break on the wheel and kill... hunt down, curse, and behead all usurers!"
What Marx did was to update and reinvigorate the slumbering anti-capitalist impulse, combining it with Hegelian philosophy and a smattering of Classical economics. To an important and often overlooked extent, Marx merely repeatedly medieval Christian accusations:
What is the profane basis of Judaism? Practical need, self-interest.
What is the worldly cult of the Jew? Huckstering What is his worldly god? Money.
Very well: then in emancipating itself from huckstering and money, and thus from real and practical Judaism, our age would emancipate itself...
The god of the Jews has been secularized and has become the god of this world. The bill of exchange is the real god of the Jews. His god is only an illusory bill of exchange.
On the Jewish Question
Aside from invective laced with anti-Semitic undertones, Marx made several specific claims about the evils of capitalism.
o Capitalism drives workers' wages down to the subsistence level. "The average price of wage-labour is the minimum wage, i.e., that quantum of the means of subsistence, which is absolutely requisite to keep the labourer in bare existence as a labourer." (Manifesto of the Communist Party) While Marx lived and wrote during a era when the standard of living of workers was rising at unprecedented rates in the world's capitalist centers in Britain, the United States, France, and Germany. Instead of noting these remarkable advances and trying to figure out how to magnify them as much as possible, Marx simply denied that improvement was occurring. He was not so blind as to deny that capitalism brought vast economic progress; rather, he repeatedly denied that any of this economic progress improved the lot of anyone but a small minority of exploiting bourgeoisie.
o While capitalism brings enormous economic progress, it is fundamentally unstable. Marx thought that wealth would become constantly more concentrated in the hands of a small number of capitalists, which would make the antagonism between workers and bourgeoisie ever clearer and sharper. At the same time, he argued that depressions would inevitably grow more intense so long as capitalism endured. As Marx puts it, "Centralisation of the means of production and socialisation of labor at last reach a point where they become incompatible with their capitalist integument... The knell of capitalist private property sounds. The expropriators are expropriated." (Capital, Vol. 2)
o A society's economic system determines it culture, art, religion, philosophy, and so on. In consequence, almost all of the evils of capitalist civilization can be blamed upon the existence of the capitalist system. This is the of elastic clause in the Marxian system, which allows almost any patent evil - even evils which have existed in nearly every human society - to be blamed upon capitalism. After all, "What else does the history of ideas prove, than that intellectual production changes its character in proportion as material production is changed? The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class." Does religion delude the masses? It is due to capitalism. Prostitution? Due to capitalism. Envy, alienation, war... all due to capitalism. Indeed, every unforeseen social evil has an obvious scapegoat upon which it can be blamed.
Marxist Origins of Communism, III
· The Theory of Class Warfare
Many social thinkers throughout history have noted that different groups' interests conflict. Marx's distinctive contributions were, first, to paint class conflict as a life-and-death struggle impossible of peaceful resolution; second, to treat membership in a class as essentially permanent and hereditary. The combination of these principles led him to sanction and indeed to urge "total war" against hated social classes, a war in which all methods are permissible against anyone with the wrong class background. Passage after passage in the Marxian corpus hammers home this brutal message:
[T]he antagonism between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie is a struggle of class against class, a struggle carried to its highest expression in a total revolution. Indeed, is it at all surprising that a society founded on the opposition of classes should culminate in a brutal "contradiction," the shock of body against body, as its final denouement?
The Coming Upheaval
Marx makes it quite clear that the class war will not end merely because the proletariat has gained the upper hand.
[S]o long as other classes continue to exist, the capitalist class in particular, the proletariat fights it (for with the coming of the proletariat to power, its enemies will not yet have disappeared, the old organization of society will not yet have disappeared), it must still use a measure of force, hence governmental measures; if it itself still remains a class and the economic conditions on which the class struggle and the existence of classes have not yet disappeared, they must be forcibly removed or transformed, and the process of their transformation must be forcibly accelerated.
After the Revolution
It need not be said what will be done to people who do not want to be "transformed.
Marxist Origins of Communism, IV
· Hostility to the Peasantry
Marx's hatred of the bourgeoisie is legendary; less well known is his hostility to the peasantry. "The lower middle class, the small manufacturer, the shopkeeper, the artisan, the peasant, all these fight against the bourgeoisie, to save from extinction their existence as factions of the middle class. They are therefore not revolutionary, but conservative. Nay more, they are reactionary, for they try to roll back the wheel of history." (Manifesto of the Communist Party)
It is important to understand that at the time Marx wrote, peasants made up a large majority of the population of the world, and were still a significant element in even the most industrialized nations. Indeed, in virtually every country to come under Communist control, the peasantry was initially the most numerous social class. Marx's doctrine of class war thus ultimately implied not "total revolution" against a tiny bourgeois minority, but a war against the majority of the population.
Marxist Origins of Communism, V
· Amoralism and Moral Relativism
Marx's writings abound with moralistic condemnations. His villains are variously labeled human rubbish, hucksters, expropriators, and so on. Yet at root, Marx is an amoralist who denies the existence of any universal moral standards.
The selfish misconception that induces you to transform into eternal laws of nature and of reason, the social forms springing from your present mode of production and form of property - historical relations that rise and disappear in the progress of production - this misconception you share with every ruling class that has preceded you.
Manifesto of the Communist Party
One might assume that Marx is merely saying that other people's moral standards are baseless. His close associate Engels makes sure that the Marxist position will be misinterpreted by no one:
[T]he three classes of modern society, the feudal aristocracy, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, each have a morality of their own... [W]e can only draw the one conclusion: that men, consciously or unconsciously, derive their ethical ideas in the last resort from the practical relations on which their class position is based... 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.
But does this position have any practical consequences? Indeed it does. Marx wants to do away with any moral barriers, any restraints of conscience, that might inhibit would-be revolutionaries. In particular, he wants to disparage any theory of "the so-called rights of man" (as Marx puts it) because total class warfare and human rights will inevitably conflict
Czarist Origins of Communism, I
Not only the Communists but many of their critics (such as Solzhenitsyn) have swiftly dismissed the idea that czarism was an important influence upon Communist theory and practice. But the evidence is compelling.
Communism first took hold in Russia, a nation with a centuries-old reputation for despotism, servility, and brutality. The Marquis de Custine, whose Letters from Russia (1839) led many to dub him "the de Tocqueville of Russia" observed that "Government in Russia is military discipline in the place of civil order, a state of siege which has become the normal state of society." This authoritarian tradition strongly influenced the Russian Marxists, and through them much of the world socialist movement. Some of the important features of czarism that Communism drew upon and intensified included:
· Absolute Power
The histories of most of the nations of Europe are marked by multi-polar and limited centers of power. King, church, and nobles usually had to share power to a significant extent. As legal historian Harold Berman writes:
The pluralism of Western law, which has both reflected and reinforced the pluralism of Western political and economic life, has been, or once was, a source of development, or growth - legal growth as well as political and economic growth. It also has been, or once was, a source of freedom. A serf might run to the town court for protection against his master. A vassal might run to the king's court for protection against his lord. A cleric might run to the ecclesiastical court for protection against the king.
Law and Revolution
Russia, in contrast, was for centuries marked by the extraordinary concentration of power in the hand of a single man, the czar. Ivan III began the use of the term, a Russified version of "caesar." From the Byzantine Empire, the Russians acquired not only the Eastern Orthodox faith, but also a careful theoretical defense of absolute and undivided power.
When one of the czars went too far, dissidents normally had to submit or turn to violent rebellion. Before 1917, the last truly significant civil unrest ended in 1613, when the Romanov dynasty assumed the throne. The Romanovs carefully cemented their nation's tradition of total and autocratic power. Within a generation, the Romanovs cast off the oversight of the nobility; Czar Peter the Great, assuming power in 1696, tightened the monarchy's grip even further:
At the head of the state was the tsar or emperor, possessing absolute, unlimited powers. An ancient assembly, or Duma, of nobles, which had formerly exercised vague legislative rights, was practically abolished, its place taken by an advisory Council of State whose members, usually noblemen, were selected by the tsar. All traces of local self-government were similarly swept away, and the country was henceforth administered by the tsar's personal agents.
Carlton Hayes, A Political and Social History of Modern Europe
While the rest of Europe, under the influence of the Enlightenment, slowly moved to limit monarchical power and protect human rights, Russia's czars showed their determination to resist unwanted foreign influences. Catherine the Great, eager to improve her international reputation, postured as an "Enlightened monarch"; but as serfdom faded away in the rest of Europe, "...Catherine was extending the scope of serfdom. Her vast grants of crown estates to her officials and lovers clamped the fetters of bondage on a multitude of hitherto free crown peasants. Without opposition from Catherine, the nobility began to impose serfdom in newly annexed lands such as the Ukraine." (William Langer, Western Civilization)
When the French Revolution and its aftermath placed absolute monarchy at risk all over Europe, the czars doggedly suppressed dissent. As de Custine put it, "In Russia, despite their limitless power, the rulers have an extreme fear of criticism, or even of plain speaking." Opponents of the status quo risked banishment to the harsh prison camps of Siberia. Only defeat in the Russo-Japanese War in 1905 sufficed to pressure Czar Nicholas II to recognize civil liberties and create an elected assembly to limit his power. It appeared that Russia might finally be on the road toward modern limited government, but by 1907 the czar had reneged on many of his concessions. The czarist system overthrown in 1917 was not as autocratic as that of Czar Peter or Czarina Catherine, but it had resisted change like no other monarchy in Europe.
Czarist Origins of Communism, II
· The Union of Church and State
Only the western portion of the Roman Empire fell in 476 AD; the eastern half, known as Byzantium, endured for another millennium. This political division of Europe gave rise to a crucial religious difference. In the former western Roman Empire, the Catholic Church claimed and maintained some degree of independence from secular rulers.
But in Byzantium, the Orthodox Church was virtually a bureau of the central government. The Byzantines transmitted their religion and its tradition to the Russians - including the tradition of utter dependence of the church upon the state. Peter the Great re-organized the church to immortalize this dependent relationship:
[Peter] deprived the patriarch of Moscow of his privilege of controlling the ecclesiastical organization and vested all powers of church government in a body, called the Holy Synod, whose members were bishops and whose chief was a layman, all chosen by the tsar himself. No appointment to ecclesiastical office could henceforth be made without the approval of the Holy Synod; no sermon could be preached and no book could be published unless it had received the sanction of that august body.
Carlton Hayes, A Political and Social History of Modern Europe
The czarist state dominated the Orthodox Church, but by making its priests into government employees, it won their loyalty and obedience. With one swoop, the state cemented an alliance with Russia's intellectual class. The intelligentsia thus were not independent critics of the state, but its hired apologists; or as de Custine remarked, "This Byzantine religion, emerging from a palace to establish order in a military encampment, cannot fulfill the highest needs of the human soul, but merely assists the police in deceiving the people... Shephards who are slaves can only lead barren spirits: an Orthodox priest will never teach is flock anything except to bow to force."
The czarist alliance of Church and State foreshadowed the Communist system in two crucial respects. The Communist state, like the czarist state, created a kept class of intellectual apologists to inculcate its rigid dogma; instead of priests, these were the Party theoreticians, lecturers, professors, journalists, and writers. And while the Communists initially waged war against all forms of religion, it did not take them long before they restored the priests of the Orthodox Church to the government's payroll and the government's service.
Czarist Origins of Communism, III
· Servile Labor and Official Brutality
While the other nations of Europe were gradually abolishing serfdom, Catherine the Great was extending it in Russia. Serfdom and slavery still existed in Russia in 1839 when de Custine wrote his Letters, and was not officially abolished until 1861. Nor was this a marginal institution; servile labor was the norm, not the exception.
The living conditions of the slave and serf have varied enormously by place and time. In Russia, their treatment was especially harsh. "They were attached to the soil, that is, without their lord's consent they could not leave the estate on which they were born, and a transfer of an estate from one nobleman to another automatically transferred the peasants' allegiance. To their lord the peasants paid dues, for him they performed compulsory manual labor, to him they rendered obedience as to a personal master." (Carlton Hayes, A Political and Social History of Modern Europe) Catherine the Great permitted the owners of serfs to sell them to colonists in Siberia or equally harsh conditions.
The Third Census of the Russian Empire (1762-1766) provides us with the estimates of the extent of bondage; in all probability, fully seven-ninths of the Russia population was unfree at this time. Notably, at least 40% of these serfs and slaves were owned by the Russian state; (the percentage swelled after the state nationalized the land and serf holdings of the Orthodox Church). Serfdom and slavery did gradually decline in importance, but extremely slowly, as these additional censuses reveal:
How did this condition of servitude originate?
The large number were the children of bonded parents, some became bonded through marriage, some through inscription on the poll tax rolls, with or without their own consent, some were captives taken in war, some were arrested rioters, who had been granted in bondage by way of punishment, some were Asiatic tribesmen... and some were State peasants, who had been transferred to private ownership along with lands or factories granted by the state.
James Mavor, An Economic History of Russia
"A ruler can be popular in Russia without attaching great value to the lives of Russians" noted de Custine. And while landlords might at least take care of their serfs to avoid losing a valuable investment, the Czars were rich enough to freely spend the lives they owned. The Winter Palace was destroyed by fire in 1837, but when de Custine arrived in 1839, it had already been rebuilt. How was this seemingly impossible feat accomplished? With the lives of a great many slaves:
Labour in the mines of the Urals would be less threatening to life, yet the Petersburg workers were not criminals. I have been told that those poor wretches who painted the halls where the heat was greatest were obliged to cover their heads with a kind of ice-cap, so that they could preserve the use of their senses in the baking heat they were forced to endure as long as the work continued... Yet the sovereign was called "Father" by all these men, sacrificed before his eyes in the sole name of imperial vanity.
The Marquis de Custine, Letters from Russia
Out of all of the barbarities of the Czarist state, the most horrific was its system of prison camps and "colonies" in Siberia. Some of the inhabitants were fur-trappers and government employees, who went more or less voluntarily but others were far less willing: "The third group consisted of war prisoners - Poles, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Baltic Germans, Swedes, among others - ordinary criminals, and political and religious dissenters. These deportees, in order to survive, had no choice but to defend, protect, and expand Muscovy's interests. The fourth group... was made up of farmers, craftsmen, artisans, and priests, whom the authorities sent to Siberia to assist the trailblazers." (James Mavor, An Economic History of Russia) Siberia was run like a vast military camp, or one vast prison.
"Siberia" is virtually a synonym for a dire threat hung over the heads of dissenters. In 1914, about 9 million people lived in Siberia, of whom around 1 million were prisoners or deportees. Siberia came to house many of Russia's greatest novelists. Revolutionary opponents of the Czar were also likely to have suffered years of imprisonment in Siberia. Lenin, Stalin, and Trotsky all spent time in Siberian exile. The lesson they learned was not that sentencing their political enemies to arctic prison camps was wrong, but that they should make sure that their enemies never Siberia alive.
Czarist Origins of Communism, IV
· Statist Economic Policy
Communism made the economic role of the Soviet state greater than ever before in history, but statist economic policy in Russia hardly began in 1917. Government in Russia always played a leading role in the economy, and in no European country were the ideas of laissez-faire less influential. Adam Smith found a few followers, such as Storch and Turgueniev, who advocated free trade and the abolition of serfdom; but they were outside the mainstream of Russian economic thought.
By far the most significant economic role of the Russian state stemmed from its actual ownership of millions of serfs and the land upon which they toiled. Until the abolition of serfdom in 1861, the Czar owned over one-third of the population (the map below indicates the level of serfdom one year prior to the 1861 decree).
Most of these serfs were agricultural workers; but the government also owned factories, mines, forests, and other industrial enterprises, and sent its serfs to toil in them. The government put its bondsmen to work in government-owned silk factories, lumber yards, ironworks, and so on.
In other cases, the Czars would subsidize industrialization by giving businessmen some slave laborers: "For trifling amounts large works with all their appurtenances, including villages of ascribed peasants, were handed over to these favourites of the Court." (James Mavor, An Economic History of Russia) The Czars carefully graded their followers by rank, giving each successive level power and authority over their inferiors. The Russia economy was thus a perfect example of mercantilism, the incestuous alliance between government and legally privileged business interests.
The czarist government's role in the Russian economy took many other forms. It's role in the labor market shrunk dramatically with the abolition of serfdom under Alexander II. But other areas of the economy found themselves coming under tighter government regulation and intervention.
Peter the Great set up a 75% tariff on imports to protect "infant industries" and raise additional revenue. While tariffs were cut back in the aftermath of the French Revolution, by the mid 19th-century protection was back in fashion. Serge de Witte, minister of finance from 1893-1903, led the war against foreign imports: "By 1894, under Witte's guidance, Russia had become a thoroughly protectionist country... Protection of manufacturers and great landlords, however, cost the poor peasant and the workingman very dearly: it was demonstrated in 1905 that the retail price of cotton and sugar was two and one-half times as great in Russia as in Germany, that of iron four and one-half times as great, and that of coal six times as great." (Carlton Hayes, A Political and Social History of Modern Europe)
· Industrial Policy.
· The Russia state owned and subsidized numerous industries from the time of Peter the Great onwards. The natural extension of this policy in the second half of the nineteenth century was for the Russian government to begin building government-owned railroads, such as the famous Trans-Siberian Railroad. The government also bought privately owned railroads when they proved unprofitable, ran a system of state banks, and much more.
· State Monopolies.
Peter the Great set up numerous government monopolies. Resin, potash, rhubarb, glue, salt, tobacco, vodka, chalk, tar, fish, cards, dice, and even coffins were made the exclusive province of government production. The monopolized commodities' prices were generally set at two to four times their prices under free competition. Witte continued this monopolistic tradition by making the entire liquor industry a state monopoly, and nationalizing private liquor shops.
· High taxes.
Peter the Great found building a "modern state," with modern armies and navies, to be an expensive proposition. Aside from monetary debasement (the "inflation tax"), excises were levied on stamps, rents, beehives, beards, mustaches, private bathhouses, and marriage licenses, and many other goods. Religious dissenters had to pay a special tax; so did the unbaptized. Worst of all was the "soul tax" levied upon every male person; this tax, which did not even exist in 1701, made up over 50% of the government budget by 1724. The profligate tendencies of the czarist state continued throughout its subsequent history.
· Factory and Social Legislation.
While modernizers like Witte tried to state-manage industrialization, agricultural interests struggled to stifle it. But in the end Witte had his way: in the late 1800's industrialization was taking off in Russia. This gave the Russian government a new area to regulate: the employee- capitalist relationship. Bismark-style factory laws regulating working conditions, hours, and child labor were passed. (Notably, the St. Petersburg capitalists were usually for stricter regulation, while the Moscow employers opposed it; the St. Petersburg capitalists probably foresaw that such laws would be a good check upon competition). Witte's administration made government regulation stricter. "Government officials were to mediate in all labor disputes. Mines regulations were instituted, and plans for insurance of all workmen against accidents were prepared." (Carlton Hayes, A Political and Social History of Modern Europe)
Czarist Origins of Communism, V
· Imperialism and Great Russian Nationalism
· Czarist Russia is often not even mentioned as one of the great imperialist powers of Europe. The difference is that British, French, and German imperialists founded overseas empires, while the Czars simply began annexing adjacent lands. Its wars in Europe with Sweden, the Ottoman Empire, and Poland gave the Czars relatively little - but densely populated - territory. The centuries-long war against bordering indigenous peoples gave the Czars few new subjects, but an enormous land area stretching all of the way to Alaska.
· Russia's conquest of the primitive peoples of Siberia and Asia was in many ways similar to the Indian wars of the United States. Siberian tribes of Ostiaks, Samoeds, Nenets, Tungus, Mongols, Iakuts, Iukagirs, Chukchis, Koriats, and Kamchadals all fell under Russian domination. Russian rule was frequently brutal, and deadly. To take but one example, out of about 30,000 native Aleuts who lived in Alaska prior to Russian conquest, a scant 3,000 remained when Alaska was sold to the United States in 1867.
· The Czar's earliest conquests passed almost unnoticed: the Ukrainians and so-called "White Russians" (not to be confused with the pro-czarist forces during the Russian Civil War), although under Russian domination for centuries, were distinct ethnicities who struggled fiercely to retain their culture and way of life. Further west, Poles, Balts, Finns, and numerous other peoples fell under Russian rule. Poland and Finland both enjoyed considerable autonomy, but even light-handed Russian administration seemed harsh to peoples unaccustomed to it. During the 1800's, other small nations were forced to submit: Georgians, Chechens, Armenians, and numerous others. Mongolia and northern areas of China were added to the Czars' impressive portfolio of conquests.
· Russian imperialism was already a difficult burden for subject peoples to bear, but it became worse whenever the urge to "Russify" them caught the Czar's ear. Particularly under the rule of Alexander III, minorities within the Russian Empire found that their native language and religion were under official attack. Poles, Jews, Finns, Muslims and other groups found their religions persecuted, their schools forced to teach solely in Russian, their marriages denied legal recognition, and worse. Jews in particular suffered from official economic discrimination and semi- official violence known as pogroms.
· Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of Great Russian nationalism was the ideology of Pan-Slavism. Russophile thinkers often argued that all of the Slavic peoples ought to live under the rule of the Czar, and become assimilated to Russian culture and religion. Pan-Slavism provided a recurring impetus for war with Turkey and Austria-Hungary, both of which contained large Slavic minorities. (It should give one pause to realize that in 1945, Stalin's conquests essentially completed the Pan-Slavists' programs).
· The great irony of history is that Russian imperialism was often overlooked simply because Russians did not have to board ships to conquer Asia. Russian imperialism was on par with, and often far worse than, British or French imperialism. Even the collapse of the Soviet Union has left a substantial portion of the Russian Empire intact, for while many subject peoples won their independence, others - such as the Chechens - still live under Russian domination.
Who is that Pol Pot Guy?
The passing of the former Communist dictator of Cambodia, Pol Pot, has been marked by a mixture of relief that he can no longer torment his countrymen by his loathsome presence and anger that he has escaped the bar of justice. As the head of the radical Maoist Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot was the architect of the "killing fields," a seemingly incomprehensible genocide where Cambodian cities were systematically depopulated and the entire Cambodian population enslaved on collective farms with a draconian equality imposed on all. Typically, the slightest dissent would be punished by the offender getting clubbed or starved to death, and so many Cambodians were dispatched by such methods (approximately 1.7 million between 1975 and 1979 according to one estimate) that fields filled with corpses became the macabre hallmark of the regime.
Mass death is certainly no stranger to Communism; even today a terrible famine stalks North Korea to remind us of the lethal nature of Marxism. However, Pol Pot has earned a special place in the history of Marxian Communism as his Khmer Rouge earned the special distinction of being the one Communist movement in history to actually attempt the full and consistent implementation of the ideals of Karl Marx.
Most Marxists would recoil at the suggestion that Pol Pot is the logical conclusion of their social philosophy, yet any honest assessment of Marx's theory cannot conceal the fact that the radical egalitarianism of the Khmer Rouge is precisely what Marx predicted would be the ultimate culmination of all human history. It must be clearly kept in mind that industrial socialism, as it was known in the former Soviet Union and other mainstream Marxist states, is not the endpoint of Marx's philosophy of history. In his view, the abolition of capitalist production relations is only the first stage of the worldwide proletarian revolution.
Marx anticipated that there would be a radical redistribution of wealth and a withering of the global socialist state (the "crude" stage of communism) followed by a fundamental transformation of human nature as all individual culture, personality, and economic uniqueness disappeared (the "higher" stage of communism). Marx looked forward to a time when individuals would be freed from an alleged alienation from their own humanity supposedly caused by the division of labor and money-based economic transactions. Individuality would be replaced by a new generic species-being personality, a personality that would specialize in nothing and be an expert at everything.
If the impossibility of accountability and economic calculation under pure socialism weren't absurd enough, the notion that a rational economy can survive an abolition of the division of labor and suppression of individuality is sheer lunacy. Most Communist movements, faced with the utter infeasibility of industrial production under socialist central planning (let alone an abolition of the division of labor), chose to reconcile themselves with capitalism in various ways and to defer the Marxist ideal of higher Communism to a remote future that would conveniently never come. Some Communists, notably the Soviets and especially the Yugoslavs, practically admitted that the species-being ideal would never be realized and were willing to settle for varying degrees of centralized socialistic control mixed with elements of capitalism.
Maoists were always more enamored of the pure Marxist ideal than their Soviet counterparts, and after the Sino-Soviet split of the late 1950's the Chinese Communists made a couple of attempts to radically communize China, the "Great Leap Forward" which attempted to decentralize industrial production and the "Cultural Revolution" which attempted to alter people's attitudes in line with the expected communist transformation of human nature. While radical Maoists had to back off their program in China itself after some spectacular failures fueled a backlash by pragmatists, Maoist-oriented revolutionary movements elsewhere had the luxury of cleaving to the pure ideology insulated from any pragmatic elements that might have a vested interest in preserving some semblance of an industrial economy. Fortunately, most of these unreconstructed radical Maoist movements have failed to take power (e.g. the Shining Path in Peru), but there was one horrible exception in the mid 1970's: Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge.
The Khmer Rouge leadership recognized that if the Communist ideal was incompatible with industrial civilization and an urban existence that a division of labor implies, then a principled Communism would have to thoroughly deurbanize society and eliminate all industry. When the Khmer Rouge seized power and took the shocking step of evacuating Phnom Penh in April of 1975, they were merely acting with the courage of their Marxist convictions. The worst that can be said of Pol Pot was that he was sincere; the Cambodian people were in fact freed of the "alienation" of a division of labor and individual personality, and were reduced to a perfectly uniform egalitarian existence on the collective farms.
If the cruel reality of the Khmer Rouge slave state didn't quite come up to the extravagant eschatological expectations of Marxist true believers, the fault lies exclusively with those who think of the Marxist pattern of historical development and its egalitarian outcome as a desirable state of affairs. It is not enough to say of Pol Pot, as Prince Sihanouk did: "Let him be dead. Now our nation will be very peaceful." We must also acknowledge that a Pol Pot-type passion for equality remains as a threat to the peace and well-being of every nation even if the former dictator himself is dead. Rather than retreating into amnesia about the crimes of the Khmer Rouge, we should never forget that the killing fields of Cambodia will stand forever as a grotesque monument to egalitarianism, and take heed that those who preach the egalitarian gospel of envy are, whether they know it or not, apostles of Pol Pot.
Some common objections answered:
Aren't you ignoring or defending American human rights violations?
Absolutely not, and I frankly find it extremely puzzling that anyone would make such an inference. Does a condemnation of Nazi genocide indicate an indifference to American atrocities? Surely not. History is not a race with a single victor, but a courtroom able to try each suspect for his own crime.
Unfair accusations of this kind have dogged the would-be exposers of Communist human rights violations at least since 1930's. Thus, Eugene Lyons, in his The Red Decade: The Stalinist Penetration of America, published in 1941, pointedly observed that:
Certain of my colleagues, having lived in Nazi Germany and learned to recognize Hitler's methods, have written books exposing the Nazi regime and its intrigues on American soil. As far as I am aware they have not been reprimanded for not saving the Southern share-croppers instead. No book reviewer or liberal commentator has sneered at them, "Why must you carry on about concentration camps and political murder in Germany? What about Sacco and Vanzetti and Negro lynchings?" It is assumed, sensibly, that they happen to know more about Germany.
But this gracious leeway is denied to writers hostile to Stalinist Russia and its foreign conspiratorial empire. When they mention millions of corpses in a Ukrainian famine, they are told off neatly with a scathing reference to the Okies in California. Should they allude to the Soviet purges, they are hit over the head with Mooney and Billings. Until the Soviet-Nazi Pact made the procedure a bit awkward, their indictment of terror in Soviet Russia was instantly canceled out by reference to Nazi terror in Germany.
There is a grim irony in the mistaken inference that a person concerned with Communist atrocities somehow excuses U.S. human rights violation. The truth is that the most egregious crimes committed by the United States government in this century occurred while the United States was in alliance with the Soviet Union. Indiscriminate terror bombing of Germany and Japan during World War II probably cost several hundred thousand civilian lives. Arguably as a result of this alliance, much of Asia and eastern Europe came under Communist control. Thus, much of the history of Communism indirectly condemns the United States as well. A myopic focus on the Cold War era loses sight of the bulk of harm the American government has inflicted on the world.
What about the oppressive policies of the "White" regimes that were often the only alternative to Communism?
In the midst of civil wars, Red and White forces' level of indiscriminate killing tends to be roughly proportional to the number of people under their control. During the Chinese Civil War, Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists killed more people than the Communists, mainly because they had control of more of the country for a longer period. During the Russian Civil War, the Whites were outnumbered, so the Communists' killings were not surprisingly greater. (It is also worth pointing out that frequently Communists, including Lenin, began their revolution not against "rightist" Whites but against moderate democratic socialists).
When the serious killing starts, and where the important differences reveal themselves, is after one side is victorious. Communist regimes usually escalate the killing after victory, and typically keep it high for one or two generations. White forces usually execute and imprison many of their opponents after victory, but rarely set up massive slave labor empires or impose man-made famines. In consequence they normally murder far fewer people in total, as a glance at the list of leading mass murdering regimes confirms.
Weren't repressive policies forced upon Communist regimes by the hostility of the West?
It is difficult to see how this could be so. Did the West force Communists to collectivize agriculture, producing mass starvation? Or urge them to set up deadly slave labor camps? During the Russian Civil War, Allied powers did intervene in favor of the Whites, but on an extremely small scale - Britain, France, and the United States each lost a few hundred soldiers. It is hard to see any connection between this and subsequent Soviet policy. Western alliance with Stalin during World War II enabled Communism to greatly expand; thus, if anything, the West often assisted the spread of repressive policies by Communist regimes rather than forcing them to adopt them.
Americans have been raised on anti-Communist propaganda. Isn't there really a need to balance out this one-sided treatment, rather than reinforce it as your Museum does?
To the contrary, an overwhelming majority of Americans know nothing about the millions murdered by Communism. They may have heard of the 1956 invasion of Hungary, or of Czechoslovakia in 1968, or the Berlin Wall, or the Tiananmen Square massacre. They may have seen spy movies, or even the Rambo trilogy. But only a tiny minority know that Stalin and Mao both killed more people than Hitler did. Knowledge of the greatest crimes of the 20th-century ought to be universal, or at least a basic requirement of culturally literacy. The resurgence of Nazism has undoubtedly been curtailed by an energetic educational effort to tell the world about Hitler's crimes. It would be a tragedy if Communism passed away without burning a single message into conscience of the world: "Never again."
Communism is in serious decline today, but history has a way of repeating itself. For this reason alone, it is important for the future of the world that the basic facts about Communist regimes become common knowledge. While admirers of Hitler's Germany still exist, the public knows enough about the Holocaust to make a revival of Nazism far less likely than it otherwise would be. Greater awareness of the crimes of Lenin, Stalin, and Mao could similarly inoculate the world against any future Communist revival.
I would also suggest a stronger and more controversial set of practical implications:
o Government is at best a necessary evil and at worst an intolerable one. Nothing could better confirm the truth of Thomas Paine's dictum than the experience of Communism; it is virtually a controlled experiment. Remove the checks upon government power, and government quickly produces hell on earth. Not only did Communism kill millions of people. It created poverty rather than plenty, drove human creativity underground, and turned hypocrisy into a basic survival skill. This provides a powerful argument for viewing all government power with intense skepticism.
o Free markets lead to prosperity and socialism leads to poverty. In the real world, all societies have a mixture of free markets and socialism; this can make it difficult to figure out which institutions lead to prosperity. Communism again provided the world with a controlled experiment: Give the government total control over the economy, and see what happens. The results were typically mass starvation, followed by stagnation. The contrast was particularly stark when historical chance split Germany, Korea, and China into distinct politico- economic units. The culture and initial living standards of the fragments were initially the same. As the Communist countries' prosperity lagged ever further behind that of their more capitalist counterparts, even many skeptics concluded that the difference was not coincidental, but systemic.
The history of Communism provides one important argument for libertarianism. Communism deprived its people of both personal and economic freedom. It thereby provided a third controlled experiment - a moral experiment testing the value of freedom. Imagine a society with any conceivable properties, but utterly lacking in "bourgeois" freedom. It would remain a profoundly evil society. The experience of Communism makes it possible to conduct this thought experiment without taxing the imagination.
In American politics, liberals typically argue for more personal freedom and less economic freedom, while conservatives argue for less personal freedom and more economic freedom. The moral controlled experiment, which was Communism, suggests that both popular positions are confused. Each only appreciates half of what was wrong about Communism. A political philosophy recognizing the supreme value of both personal and economic freedom - in a word, libertarianism - provides the clearest insight into why Communism was wrong in principle as well as practice.
In the end what have we learned? If you were willing to read what was given to you, I am sure your mind isn’t changed, it might have but I don’t think so. However I did learn one thing. Communism will for ever by and always be Evil…
Last time I checked, the United States Constitutions doesn’t call fore mass killings or blood baths…
What can i say... Communism is an evil that should never be promoted... Communism is hatred, Slavery, and opression.... IT has never been anything but these three things. You and your group, need to read a history book ask those who survived the Killing Fields what Communism is to them...
communism, like any other political, social, or economic system makes the favored group hate, oppress, and slave the masses. but in the end greed wouldn't allow communism to work like the other systems
So no government should exist? You can't have no government, just one based on conservative principles of Limited Government. We need a government that soul job is to protect, and defend, handle infrastructure but leave, education, and personal responsibility in the hands of the people of a free market.
There will never be a 1 class world. There will always be rich, poor, and middle class. But we must give people the right to pursue happiness… NO ONE SHOULD BE GRANTED IT. You are not guaranteed anything at life but the chance. Do poor people have to work harder? Yes that is life. But making the rich poorer only makes the poor poorer. Class warfare does nothing but hurt all.
We must deal with the cards dealt to us, and when government starts stacking the deck we all lose. In the game of life, even those with the worst of hands can win big, and it should be up to them alone to do so. If they don’t they did so by their own choice. I am tired of hearing the Poor, which I was for a long time in my life cry about being poor and demand at the same time that someone else do something about it. If it’s hot get out of the kitchen.
but you see what you wrote is nothing more a utopia that cannot exist because of the flawed factor of existence, which is humanity (greed, selfishness, self righteousness)
that is way that fantasy that you wrote does not work for all. You lady luck smiled upon you and saved you from poverty, but that doesn't mean every has the chance to get out of tough situations. you see I know people who are better suited than me to live this comfortable life.
the reason why they cannot enjoy is because the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, the powerful become more ambitious, the enslaved are further oppressed
and the reason is because no matter the system the man can come up with they always cater to those principles.
sadly that is is a cycle that is non Escapable, for all systems create a balance of oppression that cannot be tipped