119. Communism has never been practiced, rather like
Christianity. Stalinism was never "from each according to his (or her) abilities, to each according to his (or her) needs." Stalin killed far more people than Hitler every dreamed of (likewise Mao), but their systems were never Marxist communism.
A communist system can be democratic. In fact, done properly, it would be.
53. Well if you get down to it there has never truly been a communist state.
Not even the USSR at it reddest was ever truly Communist. The conditions have never been right. The two largest communist countries: the USSR, and China both tried to push agrarian based societies into a revolution they weren't ready for.
Stalin, Mao, etc., were more authoritarian than communist. I bet if you add up all the people that have been killed by capitalists is would probably over take that of communists you would have to get more creative where you look though (ie: conquest of the Americas, wars that are really based on economics, murderous governments we have supported because it benefited business, etc.).
Communism is an impossible system to implement. Millions of people have been killed trying to implement it. And, as the fall of the Soviet Union, and the pathetic economic state of Cuba, among many other examples show, it just doesn't work as advertised.
Killing people to install a utopian vision leads only to the dystopias of Communism, Nazism, and, well I could give ou at least one other example, but I'll let you think about it.
Friend, we have seen REAL communism. And it is evil.
... REAL communism would entail every nation, and all resources to fall under the control of a very small group of capitalists and then having them overthrown in a violent revolution. I don't think that has happened yet, unless I was sleeping. That is the way it has to happen. No group of people can artificially implement it until the conditions are right for it.
That is one of the structural reasons that the USSR failed. Russia was no where near advanced enough industrially for communist to truly take root. Also since it was largely agrarian the society hadn't developed the necessary class consciousness. That is why Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin had to use so much propaganda.
A REAL communist society would have little use for government because everything is controlled by the workers and not a ruler.
What the world has seen does not even resemble Marxism.
to be 'scientific'. That was part of its appeal in an era in which science and technology was breaking new ground in human existence every day. But science MUST be rooted in reality: testable, verifiable, repeatable.
Every time Marxism has been tried, it has failed. Most such societies have collapsed. The few hanging on are economic basket cases. In no case has Marxism delivered the goods that were promised.
The whole world is NEVER going to fall into the hands of just a few capitalists, so your vision of true Marxism is never going to happen. So, it is an dystopic land of OZ.
But even if it did happen, and government "fell away", well who was going to run the police? There are other reasons for crime besides the economic, you know.
Further, assuming that true Marxism would work if installed under the conditions you claim are necessary, does that mean we should be working to install the necessary complete capitalist system in place, first? Kinda like the "fundies" are said to be working to bring Armageddon to the world so that the "Kingdom of God" can be established? I'd really like to read your answer to that one.
115. What do you not understand? TRUE Marxism has NEVER been tried.
Leninism, Stalism, Maoism, etc. have been tried and failed not because the idea is flawed but because the situation has NEVER been right for it to occur, and because of the human nature nature of the leaders. They became corrupted by power, and the people in their country were not in total ready for the change.
If you want to really get down to brass tacks there has never been a truly capitalistic state that has been completely based on the competition of a free market. Even this bastion of capitalism that we live in is no where near a true capitalist state. We have socialized post offices, police depts., schools, etc. We have protective tariffs, organized labor, etc. True capitalism would be an absolutely barbaric state based on ruthless competition.
There is still government is a communist society but only in a minimal sense. They run the judiciary, build roads, and other VERY basic functions that are necessary. Crime is theorized by many other theorists besides Marx (Merton, Durkheim, etc.) to shrink drastically in states resembling Marxism because access to societally accepted goals is dramatically opened with a classless state. Those who do commit crimes would likely be because of some social maladjustment which would be treated far more easily because access to psychological, and medical treatment would be extremely easy.
Are you kidding about the whole world never falling into the hands of a few capitalists? Take a look around, business is being deregulated as quickly as congress can pass the bills. Globalization among companies is spreading faster than ever. Outsourcing is causing a race to the bottom in wages with no end in sight. Just look at Clear Channel if you want to see a company that is using its vast wealth to crush small companies access to markets. We are burning a trail towards a global Gilded Age.
As for your last question, no we should not be moving towards a complete capitalistic system. According to Marx it is inevitable. His theory is that humanity over times has made inevitable economic steps that cannot be avoided for society to exist. It moved from a system of bartering, which inevitably moved towards a form of rudimentary capitalism, which in turn will turn to advanced capitalism, which in turn will change to communism. We cannot change it, we can only slow it. We cannot bring it on if the circumstances are not right. If the masses haven't formed a class consciousness, and still are reaping some of the fruits of capitalism it would be IMPOSSIBLE for the revolution of communism to take place.
Marxism was tried, and found wanting. If your car wouldn't run unless the outside temperature was 75 F, and the humidity comfortable, the sky was blue, and it was loaded with beautiful blondes, would you consider it a useful mechanism? Theories, such as Marxism, are fine, although I think the ideas of Marxism are evil in and of themselves, but that's something to discuss elsewhere. But theories MUST match the real world, or they are discarded. At least in the sciences. Which by the way is what Marx claimed his theory was: scientific.
Marxism has failed because the conditions that you consider necessary will never occur. People will always do what is best for them, not the community. Yes, acts of charity and compassion will occur, but people look out for themselves and their families first. This is human nature, and it cannot be changed. THE IDEA OF MARXISM IS FLAWED, INCORRECT, ERRONEOUS.
How many more millions of human lives are you personally willing to spend in the attempt to make this monstrous idea work? Because that is what it has taken in every case Marxism, of any stripe, has been tried.
Socialism is not a new idea. The early Christians tried it without much success (Acts 4:43 through Acts 5:11). If is was going to work at all, there would have been a successful Marxist state by now.
166. Real communism is a ruse to protect followers of Marx....
....does anyone say well there was never really a fascist country so we shouldn't judge fascism on those bastardized version in Spain, Germany & Italy?
The reason people fear communism is because some of its largest supporters/implementers turned out to be tyrants.
"Stalin, Mao, etc., were more authoritarian than communist."
So what? They seized power under the guise of doing so for the people. In order to change the system to communism, no?
"I bet if you add up all the people that have been killed by capitalists is would probably over take that of communists you would have to get more creative where you look though (ie: conquest of the Americas, wars that are really based on economics, murderous governments we have supported because it benefited business, etc.)."
Okay, the 80 year history of communism(and it never existed so we can't measure its effect) vs. 400 years of capitalism(which you broaden the definition to causing death), yeah that seems like a fair comparison.
All we are left with is that humans like to kill humans no matter whose flag or banner they march under.
You can't go by numbers alone, but at any rate, they were all commusnist, except Hitler, of course, and he was good buddies with Stalin until his reptilian, back-stabbing nature, a trait shared by the others, came to the fore. All Castro lacked was the peceived need to kill millions, and the fact that the USA was next door, along with a good portion of his pre-revolution population, the very ones he would have needed to kill.
Sorry, I just don't like communists, small letter or capital letter. They cannot install their regime withour killing many people who would resist the appropriation of their property. This makes it evil.
14. Communism was/is as evil as Fascism--it is as repressive. The difference
is that in a fascist state it is only a few corporatists who own the wealth, i.e. Bushco, the Neocons and the Media. In Communism it is THE STATE who owns the wealth. BOTH FASCISM AND COMMUNISM ARE REPRESSIVE. BOTH DEPEND ON A CULT TO THE LEADER. BOTH SUPPRESS INDEPENDENT THOUGHT. BOTH ARE BASED ON LIES AND PROPAGANDA. I know, i left a communist country to come here many years ago, and although i knew (from reading history) that fascism is bad... i, like all of us, am beginning to experience some of its unwanted/uncomfortable power grab over the people now, under the bush fascist state.
REAL communism. What we didn't see was the fantasy land that theorists thought would be created if only their ideas were put into practice. Their ideas were put int practice, and they didn't work. Instead they gave us most of the Hell that was the 20th century.
18. The problem with Communisim is the same problem with Capitalisim
The people at the top suck it all up for themselves. We almost have communisim in the US now, but instead of the government setting wages and prices and trying to run people's lives we have big corporatios that actually have more of a potential to affect peoples lives than gov't does.
Communits, from Stalin to Mao to Castro murdered well over 50 million people in the last century. They systematically killed anyone who might possibly be an opponent. They censored the media and music, and have universal conscription.
How in the hell can a board that complains (rightfully) every day of the deaths we are causing in Iraq, censorship, and the coming draft then turn around and say that communism is not evil?
Just on a smaller scale. Imagine if the shrub put all the AIDS patients in gulags and imprisoned all the journalists. What would you say? Well, Castro has done that. Why don't you care? How about all the political prisoners he has tortured and killed?
23. No, the ideals of communism are noble. It hasn't been implemented
Edited on Fri Dec-10-04 09:23 PM by bobweaver
effectively, because it never got to the point Marx wanted where the state "withers away." It always got stuck at the state. So it never worked and it might never, but the whole reasoning behind it is good and just and noble - equality and fairness for everyone, including economic equality. The conditions that produce a communist or socialist revolution in a nation are extreme inequality of wealth and power - sound like any place we know of?
26. It was fine in theory, but unfortunately, people used it as an excuse to
set up dictatorships that went against Marx's principles. For example, Marx believed that workers should own the means of production, but the Soviet and Chinese governments banned small farms and owner-operated businesses. What they really had was state capitalism. And central planning of their economies right down to the last toothbrush was a stupid idea.
However, when Communism collapsed in the Soviet Union, the transition was too sudden, especially in a country where no one had run a business for 70 years. People were literally selling their furniture to survive. It's not a coincidence that the Baltic states, which weren't absorbed into the Soviet Union until 1944, adjusted the best.
I talked to enough Russian emigres to know that the Soviet system had some real problems, and its social benefits were not necessarily all they were cracked up to be. You got free health care, but it was rudimentary if you were an ordinary person and state-of-the-art if you were a top Party member or a celebrity (We have a caste system, too, but the Soviets preached absolute equality, so the inequities were more disturbing). You got a free, high-quality education through university, if you qualified, but you couldn't choose your school, and in some cases, you couldn't choose your major.
China's transition was smoother, and in fact, it is no longer Communist, even though the ruling party calls itself Communist. It's actually more fascist. Millions of people have become fabulously wealthy, and the cities are modernizing at an amazing rate, but life is worse for the poor. They've lost their free education and healthcare, and there is NO social safety net.
Neither China nor the USSR actually implemented Communism, and I'm not sure that any country could. They both went for a centrally planned economy with a repressive political system. That's not what Marx had in mind.
The political development of a country is a function of the wealth and education of its people.
China in 1949 could no more be a democracy than we could be communist today.
In agrarian socieies, communism is an effective organizing principle. I'd further postulate that China would not have been able to make the trmendous strides into the 21st century without a system that provided free education and health services.
True, the China model started to rot in the 60's....but it did set the table for China to become the country it is today. Warts and all.
It's kind of ironic, thinking back to the Korean/Vietnam Wars and our paranoia of communism. Many American lives, blood, and money was shed to stop "godless communism". So now, we've pretty well killed it. And what is really threatening our society today? Outsourcing of our jobs to these countries who have embraced our model of "godless capitalism".
America probably could donminate the world alot easier if all other countries were still practicing communism.
Teaching people capitalism is essentially teaching people how to commpete with youself for everything - oil, materials, and natural resources. The dumbest thing Americans had ever done was exporting democracy!
You think capitalistic Iraqis will thank you 10 years from now?
The writing was on the wall for China when satellite signals began broadcasting western culture into the mainland in the late seventies/early 80s. (Thank CNN/Ted Turner for that). The communists could no longer control the message.
I can't fault people for wanting a better life. And truth be known, Chinese capitalists are world class with a long history of trade predating our existance by thousands of years. These people hunger for personal enrichment, both financial and intellectual. Communism addresses the social needs quite nicely....it didn't do much for the individual's needs. Not everyone wants to be an ordered cog in the social machine. They have no interest in returning to the "good old days". People my age still remember of the famines and anti-intellectual purges that destroyed many of the brightest people in the 60's....no way will they return to that social system.
That said, Lydia is absolutely right about the problems in China today. The coastal provinces have made amazing leaps...but the interior provinces are in real trouble. They have neither the jobs nor the social safety net. Rising expectations and civil unrest are growing problems for the Chinese government. The economic miracle is not penetrating the interior quick enough.
It wasn't about Communism. It was about a center of power, or an empire, trying to expand its base of power. And the other center of power after WW2 was trying to do the same thing.
It doesn't seem like any "ism" works. They break down, then get built back up, then break down again. We're just flying by the seat of our collective pants on this planet. No matter how many "laws", or "rules", are put in place, someone or something always tries to break them. Sometimes they get away with it, sometimes they don't.
If a center of power wants to do something, they'll do it. We can have all these international agreements, but they don't matter. If the US wants to go to war, the UN cannot stop it. If China wants to go to war one day, nobody will stop them from doing it. Somebody will fight them, but they won't stop them from doing it.
Democracy, if it's ever even existed in the form that it's supposed to take, won't last forever. It may be built back up at some point in the future, but it'll be broken down again too.
We are a nihilistic species. We may have rules and religion to try to keep us in line, but if power wants more power, nothing stops it until a different power tries to take the power the other power wants. Will that ever end? I doubt it, because it hasn't ended yet.
A center of power by any other name, would smell just as rotten. Give it any "ism", they're all just center's of power attempting to gain more power.
Tens and tens of millions died in gulags, re-education camps and plain out and out slaughter. There was no freedom of thought and the political system is still anathema to human rights and freedom.
We are not talking about the Paris Commune here or a Grateful Dead tour, but the old Soviet Union, Cuba, Albania, Romania, North Korea, Cambodia, and Red China; all nations in the gripe of leadership by cold-blooded murders who heaped high the skulls of their enemies, real and imagined.
We owe it to the ghosts of the victims of communist governments lying in their graves not to romanticize communism. How can anyone who has ever read Solzhenitsyn think communism was beneficial to humanity is beyond me.
Just as we in the West rightly recognize the bloody excesses found in Western style democracies when confronting Third World nations, we should not turn a blind eye to the murderous history of Communism.
139. only about 70K out of 11M, so castro was only a mid-mass murderer
so i do understand your point.
the fact that the communist regime in cuba killed only 70,000 from 1960 on by executions, camps, and the deaths of refugees from a population of 8-11 million (1960-2004) is cause for celebrating their success at dampening the excesses of totalitarian government.
and so, accordng to your point, we should recoil in horror at the murderous excesses of communism only when the mound of skulls reaches a certain height.
Sure the Old American Republic did some terrible shit, and it is very possible that in the end some decades from now Imperial Amerika might yet surpass the horrors, but NOTHING that even approaches the atrocities of the Soviets or Maoists.
Yes, the Busheviks and the others mislead people about the nature and certainly the military strength of the Soviets.
But history is history.
Communism devolves swiftly into Tyranny. Seemingly always.
Let us not forget, the Khmer Rouge were Communists, if I'm not mistaken, sort of the "cherry of evil on top", eh?
43. No, not evil. There's no such thing as real evil in the world.
However, communism doesn't work and anyone who pays attention knows that.
A complete working class state with equal distribution of wealth sounds great in theory. But there's no motivation for people to work, so the economy goes to shit.
Politically, obviously you can't be communist and pro-democracy at the same time. Communism is set up so it can become a totaletarian, oppressive state in no time. Look at the USSR. Look at China. Look at Cuba.
Someone earlier made the good point that absolute capitalism doesn't work either, and the Depression and FDR's remedy are good examples of that fact. To change Churchill's quote a bit, Capitalism is the worst of government- except for all the others.
Why isn't there 'real evil' in the world? Killing millions of people to take there possession isn't evil? Hitler wasn't evil? Don't you believe President Bush is evil? Almost everybody else on this board does.
133. There are a number of small communes in the US
that are democratic. I visited one once for a class, it was an eye-opening experience. There were almost 400 people living on 500 acres, where they had a farm. THey also had a couple of side businesses that netted over half a million a year, after paying for health insurance for all the members (everyone carried a blue cross/blue shield card). If you ever shop at Pier One imports, check out their hammocks from "Twin Oaks." Those were made at this place.
When people went to live there they got their own room, a married couple would get 2 rooms (to sleep), this was a way to promote equality. They had lots of buildings with common areas, tv's computers (way back in 92), female only dorms, gay dorms, lesbian dorms etc.
Every person had a primary job and a secondary job. For example one guy might work on the soybean/tofu production area as primary, and in the dairy section as secondary.
Being the caregiver of a child was considered a primary job. imagine that.
One thing that struck me was the wholesomeness of their farm-grown food (it was great - they also had freezers and reefers packed with bought foods, several hundred cases of beer!)
The CHILDREN seemed so well adapted it was incredible. I ran into a pack of 8 or 9 10-12 y/os who came in to eat, they were polite, smiling, having fun with all these other kids. They told me about extended youth camping trips (woods for miles around) and other outdoor activities. THere was a school on the premises.
All religions were allowed, and there were worship services for all the biggies - christian, jewish, buddhist and hindu. No ideoogy was pushed or required - athiests were welcome as well
From that day forward I knew that communism works. It has never been accomplished on a grand scale, I think largely because it has always been used as the tool of a totalitarian state. This is wrong. THe commune I visited voted on everything.
Also later on I started thinking that cooperative farms like this could be the answer to homelessness and poverty, if they were organized in the right way (by the right people) they could form a safety net for the poorer citizens of the US.
cooperation works, and is required in society, yet we have been bombarded with the Gordon Gecko message "greed is good" and the US worships the rich.
I took a class on this subject once and we visited several different communes, including a very small (15 or so ppl) anarchist commune, the now-defunct Farm, Twin Oaks, and a small Anabaptist community. They were all remarkable and--aside from the Anabaptists--used a consensus-based democracy for decision making.
I could see myself living on any of them--again, aside from the Mennonites, who aren't exactly queer friendly, lol--except for the whole 'middle of nowhere' thing. I'm a city mouse! I've thought about looking into the urban communes, tho'.
DUers and others looking seriously into detaching from the economic grid would be well served to get a copy of The Communities Directory. It lists almost all of the ICs in the US and details the rules, structures, male/female ratios, philosophical bases, queer-friendliness, and child-friendliness among other things. It even tell the diets of the communes! Inspiring stuff, even if it doesn't personally appeal to one.
How did they control cheaters? There are some people who are just plain lazy and don't want to work. Don't deny they don't exist because all of us have known people that are that way. That commune had to have some way to control human parasites that want the goodies without the work.
On a small scale it can be done by social pressure, because on that scale everybody knows everybody and it is difficult to blow smoke up peoples asses.
As the scale increases, personal contact is lost, and it becomes a system of rules that can be gamed. I have know numerous people who have rearranged their lives to qualify for some entitlement program benefits, or lied to obtain them.
45. "Communism devolves swiftly into Tyranny. Seemingly always."
that is the essential point to me. regardless of who, where, or when, the political processes under communism devolved to tyranny and totalitarianism. this fundamental political flaw can not be laid at the feet of the West.
i've read enough trotsky, bukunin, lenin, mao, and schactman to realize that the soviets were not following marxism but they called themselves Communists and their form of government communist. and they were bad juju; all of them.
It is an edenic society that provides enough to all and meets everyones needs. The human race is not advanced enough to understand, much less implement such a plan. The long and the short of it, is that communism, true communism has NEVER existed. Only different brands of socialism have been tried, and unfortunately for the most part has denigrated into horrible totalitarian governments that have defeated themselves in the quest for such a state. I'm not saying that it is not a noble goal, it's just that evolution hasn't graced us with the ability to handle it yet. Most of my life has been spent waiting for the time that this would emerge, after the last election results I am very pessimistic.
148. As long as you define success as overpowering other people,
yes, communism will never succeed.
I think the definition of success and what makes people powerful will be what drives our trading systems. People who are more aggressive and assertive would need to channel their motivation not to topple others but to topple one's own shortcomings and redefining their definition of success.
but communism purely as an economic system is not evil, no. Never has been. But people seem to have communism the economic system forever connected to the totalitarian regimes that tried to implement it (and failed, by the way).
In and of itself it is not evil. Only people can be evil.
Personally I prefer socialism. I was a big capitalist back in the day but I see now how even capitalism can harm people. Anything taken to extremes can. And I think we have a corporate controlled society. Which is never good for people.
Because my family had to send the basic things we take for granted to my Lithuanian relatives for them to have it. Things like aspirin. And even now, women's health issues are a mess. You get diagnosed for things like uterine cancer usually after it's too late. I don't believe in that system and I never could given the first hand experiences of my relatives. They have a very long way to go to dig out from under communism. Pfui.
62. It is a profoundly flawed and ill-conceived economic system
It's far too simplistic to say that communism is evil. It is a nice, naive social theory that has proven itself to be highly undesirable in practice and contrary to human nature.
Many of the people who represented it in the twentieth century were evil. The system has manifested itself almost exclusively in repressive totalitarian states that in some ways differ little from right-wing authoritarian nations, which is why it really should be actively condemned by any true liberal who believes in individual freedom.
And before anyone says it, yes, of course unregulated free market capitalism is fatally flawed too. Neither one is truly right, and rejection of communism should not be regarded as endorsement of the opposing extreme.
The struggle of the past century has been finding the appropriate balance between the two ideals.
64. the problem is when people speakes loosely, and people nods thoughtlessly
its when lies becomes accepted truth.
In those horribly blunt and simple terms that you put it, there is no such "communist" system, which is "contrary" to human nature. Clearly there are a lot of different societies that had different systems of what is public (ie: of communal property) and what is private (of individual property) and those societies experienced diverse levels of growth and stability. Even what we sillily call 'primitive tribes' have concepts of individual ownership. What you mention is a dystopian limit of 'nothing is owned by individuals, all is owned by the society', which is just as absurd as 'everything is owned by individuals, including other people'. Its in general, a very poor statement to say that any reconception of the concepts of individual and collective property is against 'human nature'.
103. You remember the *propaganda*, truth is more nuanced
No offense meant.
Not to argue the USSR was a great thing. But I have talked a lot with folks there (I have relatives in the former USSR) and a lot of what we were shown in the 80's was not really representative or completely truthful.
Think about like when we the last earthquake in Seattle. It looked like half the area was damaged terribly until you started noticing all the pictures were of different angles of the same buildings and then come to find out the damage was not widespread. That was our picture of the USSR.
no matter what economic system it exists under. Socialist, capitalist and fascist dictatorships have all done equally horrible things in the history of the world.
The most evil things that happened in the Soviet Union had nothing to do with the redistribution of wealth. The mass murders, the stifling of freedoms, the destruction of culture and heritage in conquered territories and so much more have happened in dictatorships of every type. It happened because the people allowed a small group of leaders to hold all power in government.
I think that is a very important point to remember. The enemy is allowing a small group of people to have too much power. The more we do to give power directly to the people instead of governmental or corporate leaders, the safer and more free we are.
76. The PR side of Communism isn't. But the practice of Communism is.
Communism only works on paper, because the power is too centralized for a country practicing Communism to stay a democracy for very long. A government needs private ownership as a check on it's power, just as private ownership needs government as a check on it's power.
78. Centralized power is not Communist, it is Socialist.
The called it the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics for a reason. They were Socialists not Communists. The Communist party may have believed in Communist ideals, but they never came close to implementing them.
that did not have centralized power? I've never heard of one. Maybe we have to admit that centralized power is a natural result of communist revolutions if that is how it has happened EVERY time. How it was *supposed* to happen is somewhat irrelevant.
89. Centralized power is a hallmark of revolutions in general
Right wing or left, it matters not.
Has there ever been a Communist government? The answer all but self defines as NO. Communism is about the withering away of the State.
Socialist revolutions have been brought on by Communist parties. They have generally imposed an authoritarian state and have amassed wealth and property to benefit the favored class in the name of that State.
Right wing revolutions have been brought on by other parties. They have imposed an authoritarian government and amassed wealth and property to benefit their corporate backers and close relatives.
"Union of Soviet Socialst Republics" If you *only* look at the name, and not the implementation, the name means that there were multiple "states" which were economically "socialist" and politically "republics".
That is decentralized power. MULTIPLE states = DEcentralized.
The Nazis (National socialists) used the term "socialist" becaue it was a popular term, and the USSR used the term "republic" because it was a popular term, not because they were a republic.
Note that in practice the USSR was socialist to a fault, while Nazi Germany was capitalist to a fault. Neither were republics or democracies. Both were totalitarian/authoritarian nations.
I agree they were "socialist" to a fault as opposed to "communist".
Communism implies the withering away of the state as no longer relevant. The Soviet Union never came remotely close to this. In economic terms or as a matter of governance, they do not qualify as a communist country.
If you wish to call them a hideously failed totalitarian regime that attempted to practice centralized control over economics, I am with you 100 percent.
91. Let's look instead at a nation that calls themself Communist: China.
Edited on Sat Dec-11-04 03:08 PM by w4rma
Their ruling Party is called the Communist Party (as was the one in the USSR, also). China is anything but democratic or a republic. That nation is pure fascist. It's no wonder that Nixon opened up relations with them and it's no wonder that Bush has allowed China free reign to topple America economically.
Communism falls too quickly into totalitarianism to work, whatever the books and theories say about it, Communism is too centralized.
171. The Nazis had a strong socialist element to their platform....
but it only applied to "Aryans". All the other people were to be purged.
Y'all are familiar with the term "Lebensraum", right? The idea was that every "pure" German would be given a certain amount of land, so that in the event of depression, they could raise enough food to feed their families. It was kind of like a twisted "40 acres and a mule" program for "pure" germans. That's why they had to keep invading....there was never enough land and resources.
As time went on, the socialist elements became less and less pronounced, but still would show up in the strangest ways. For example, they had homes for unwed pregnant women which apparently were very, very nice. Of course, the woman's and the father's genetic stock had to be known, and had to rate highly enough for the government largesse.
They went as far as to give paramilitary medals (for example, the "Mother's Cross" for 7 kids, IIRC) to "racially pure" mothers who produced a certain number of children. That was women's duty to the State...to provide fodder for the mills.
77. The form of state socialism used by the Soviets was repressive
But it always was a misnomer to call it "Communism". Authoritarian Socialism is a more accurate term.
Do I believe that the Soviet's were the threat to the US that we were all sold? No. I believe the threat was exaggerated right on up to the end.
Do I think the Soviet Socialist Rebublic would have benefitted from a less authoritarian and more representative form of government? Absolutely.
Would the USSR still be here if they had not attempted to establish and maintain an expansive empire through military force? Probably.
Will people be asking the same sort of questions about the US 20 years from now? It is entirely possible.
Expanding and maintaining global influence through militarism is not sustainable, regardless of the form of the government that attempts it. The Romans, the Germans, the Ottoman Empire, and the Soviets all testify to this.
If you mean the old Soviet-style regimes, then I would say they were as bad as Western-style capitalism. These regimes were essentially capitalist -- there was still a privileged class that exploited the mass of working people. Their capitalism just took a different form.
If you mean small-"c" communism, as in the elimination of social classes, money, and property -- not only do I not think that's evil, I see it as a moral imperative.
102. It's not black and white. Some things they had in USSR
Not supporting communism of the USSR but having spent time in the former USSR studying and having relatives their society had may good things too..
*little greed, everyone had the same.
*Despite the propaganda everyone had the food and most necessities they needed, just not always everything they *wanted*
*Kindness, decency, very low common crime. (Schools taught children to be nice and take care of each other)
*Elderly all taken care of.
*Very good mass transportation system.
*In the USSR people had long vacations (1-2 months) and many holidays (of course within certain countries)
Not to idealize as there were negative as well, but most of the serious problems were not the system but the leadership. Peronally I think multiparty democracy tied with socialism of all things necessary would be good.
Has there ever been Democratic Communism? Why must there be a ruling class?
100. Totalitarian aspects of both communism and capitalism/corporatism/fascism
are both evil.
I personally would like a society with a healthy balance of free enterprise and social welfare programs and as much personal freedom as is practically feasible without losing a semblance of order.
So no, I don't thing Soviet communism was especially evil (though Stalinism clearly was, and Bush certainly likes to emulate Stalin). It was, however, extremely dysfunctional as it was practiced, and did not provide well for the needs of the people.
Our system, on the other hand, provides very well for the top 30%, pretty well for the next 30%, and horribly for the bottom 40%.
It was acceptable for the longest time, but Bushco seems intent on destroying what little security the bottom half have, and long term, that doesn't bode well for domestic order.
They heavily guarded their borders against people trying to leave it. It was the biggest prison in human history. There are lots of pictures of people who were shot trying to escape. You never saw anybody trying to break into the "workers paradise", they were trying to get out.
Just because the Republicans hated Communism does not automatically make it good. JFK hated it too, as did all Democrats of his time.
Of course most people don't know this, but Socialism has worked on many occasions very well. It does, however, take a number of pre-requisites for it to succeed. Small communities usually work best, and that community must possess of the natural resources it needs within itself. There are states in India which live under a Socialist philosophy, and it works exceptionally well. Anyone who thinks Communism is evil is ignorant. Oh yeah, the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and the PR of China are/were NOT (I REPEAT: NOT) Socialist in any way. They were bureaucracies and dictatorships.
Karl Marx is supposed to be scientific, but it is based on the science of the mid 19th century. How many of us would go to a doctor whose medical knowledge was from that time? Yet, so many place such faith in an economic system based on the science of then.
Economics is really the study of how humans act. We know a lot more now. We know now that much of our behavior is in our genes, placed there by evolution and we can't change it on a large scale. Individuals here and there might be able to, but the mass of humanity can't.
Marxist theory can easily be shown to be torpedoed by evolution.
And the Capitalist theory comes from Adam Smith, another long dead guy from England.
129. Communism has the same problem as Christianity.
It's never really been implemented.
Even pure capitalism, in the utopian sense Adam Smith saw it, has never been tried. Even though right-wingers might like invoking Smith, watch their heads spin when you mention the preconditions he placed - unlimited freedom of movement (goodbye, border control, passports and immigration quotas), restrictions on monopolies (bye bye most of the world's top companies), total freedom of information (whoops, there goes monopolistic control of the media and all Patriot-act style scumbaggery; cheerio, FCC), and organisation of labour (hello, trade unions! Who'd have thunk that the patron saint of capitalism and the patron saints of socialism and communism would agree on that?!).
Communism becomes evil not from the economic part of it but from the often totalitiranism that results is. People often think and wrongly that communism is a political system, its not, its an economic system just like socialism, capitalism, etc. The irony of the USSR and other communist states is that they become what they had their revolutions about, Lenin and the other revolutionaries were tired of the tyranny by the tzar yet later with Stalin and the massive system of gulags, they became more tyrannical.
The concept of communism never killed anybody. Neither did any other term. Its the people obsessed with power behind the terms that kill. They use such terms and ideology to divide, conquer and kill. (ie Machiavelli)
Those who use the word "communism", "terrorism", Christianity, Islam, supercallafragalistic, whatever label you want to use in order to shroud the power desired under the term, there the ones you need to focus on. They are the ones selling the masses a bill of goods for their own gain. In the end of course no one gains from it, certainly those who are not in the very immediate power circle. They are all servants of the power masters.
I just disagree with the premise that the state should control the means of production. Capitalism with regulations and protection for the consumer I believe is the best bet economically. I'm more along the lines of a Democratic Socialist.
151. I don't think the ideology is evil, necessarily...
I just think that most of those who practice it are evil hypocrites. Hitler once said that he could easily convert a communist to a nazi, but he couldn't convert a social democrat.
Communism, as an ideology, has been championed by the incompetent and vicious. Lenin, probably the most competent of them, started a revolution, and left it half-finished. He bewailed the fact that much of the rural "proletariat" refused to see the light, and admitted the only way that a communist russia could truly work was if they merged with a true, established industrial power--say, Germany.
Stalin was a monster every bit as bad as Hitler. Prove me wrong. Mao was a brilliant strategist and theorist, but he failed to change anything outside of Beijing. North Korea is a wasteland.
Now, most modern communists have come from universities, not farms or factories, and look upon most everyone else as hapless sheep--something Mao would have frowned upon. Nice if you're preaching to the choir, but hopeless if you're wanting to reach anything beyond the campus. Face it, have you ever seen a poor communist?
"--but he told the truth about capitalism" is a common saying in ex-Soviet countries.
Providing an effective critique really doesn't mean that you have the answers as to what to do about it. Top down centralized state ownership of the means of production isn't the solution.
I think most progressives these days are down with Noam Chomsky, who says that we just don't know enough to say what the best way to organize society is, or even how many 'best' ways there might be. He recommends trying things out to improve the public sphere and seeing how they work, and then making changes as necessary.
158. I haven't read all the answers, but having witnessed the cold war
personally, I can honestly say that the totalitarian brand of communism of the last century was evil, but that was because it wasn't true communism. It just labeled itself as such. This was like the Nazis calling themselves working class socialists when in truth they were anything but elitist fascists, many of who wished to bring back the Kaiser. Of course this would have been over Hitler's dead body.
161. never thought communism was evil...did and do think that because of
Edited on Mon Dec-13-04 12:51 PM by RUDUing2
human nature as a concept it is wonderful but also an unworkable philosophy...
Now do I still believe that Socialism as practiced in the Eastern Bloc and Asia was/is evil...yep....
*According to Marx, socialism is a stage on the way to communism, which is the more advanced stage of humyn organization not yet achieved in China or the Soviet Union, even according to Lenin, Stalin and Mao.
According to Marx, under socialism we have a dictatorship of the proletariat which is a government organized for the defense of survival "rights." Also, distribution goes by the principle "from each according to his/her ability, to each according to his/her work."
Under communism, according to Marx, the government disappears and there is economic cooperation as well. The principle of distribution becomes "from each according to his/her ability, to each according to his/her need." * http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/faq/commievssoc.html
162. I Don't Believe Ideas Have Inherent Evil or Good
So, no. I'm not a big fan of communism as a human construct, because i'm a believer in the concept of Maslow's theories and of the motivations of self-interest. (And Abe's self-actualization.)
But, it's always the implementation, not the idea that's the problem. There is nothing inherently evil or good about capitalism, either. But, unfettered, and unregulated, it has the potential to work out badly.
There is nothing intrinsically good or bad about either. They're just ideas. It's all in the execution. The Professor
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