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Why is communism a bad word?


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#1
PkSanTi

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Before I say anything, I would like to state the terms under which I plan to direct these topic. I'll do so as clearly and briefly as I can.

 

a) Even though is hard and probably pointless to discuss politics in an abstract way, I would like to refer that I am not speaking about communist governments in particular; this is not a debate about the Soviet Union, neither North Korea (even though I have reasons to doubt those were truly communist governments). So please, let's not fall under arguments such as "the Soviet Union repressed and killed the opposition", or "Cuba had multiple crisis". All of this facts are true, but can rely on subtleties such as the world financial and economic situation, the current wars of the time or any other material circumstance. So I'd like us to speak here about marxism as a political, economical and even philosophic structure and project: no Fidel Castro, no Stalin, no anybody, but the ideas, critics and theories that marxism encompasses, and which only aims were, for Marx, freedom and equality among man.

 

b) Marxism is a complex matter: let's not reduce it to simplifications and chatter. I say this because I've heard arguments such as 'Marx was crazy and was talking non-sense", or "he is an evil man who wanted to banish private property", AND EVEN "if there's no private property, that means that this computer and this socks you are wearing would belong to the state". None of this are true, and are silly things to say; to say this things only proves either that you've never read Marx's works or that you've never made the effort of thinking about them seriously. Marx was a clever and quite human man, who intended to describe and analyse the economic system, and to transform it into a better, more including and fair one. (And no, communism doesn't imply that the socks you wear and the computer you use would belong to the state!!)

 

c) The reasons why I wanted to open this topic is one of understanding, so please, no fighting! I'll explain myself better: where I am from, fascism killed and tortured thousands of people only to repress communism. Here, marxism is not necessarily a bad word, even when it has its detractors. But I have got a friend that lived in the USA and says that over there to be communist is... she told people looked at you nearly as if you were an alien, haha. Now, I don't know if that's true!! But I do notice in every forum I participate in, that communism is very hated or misunderstood. And, even when I am not saying one should be a communist (I am not a communist myself), hatred to communism is a different thing, and has to respond to something. Because one thing is to say: "I don't agree with this for such and such reason", and another is to say "bloody communists!!, stupid communists!!", "Marx was a crazy assassin!!" or anything such as that. So... why is communism a bad word over there?

 

d) I truly insist on the point a). Thanks. 


Edited by PkSanTi, 16 January 2018 - 11:40 AM.


#2
JimmyRJump

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Communism became a bad word because of the deliberate confusing with Leninism and Stalinism, which had little to do with what Engels and Marx wrote about.  The reason for the demonisation was because capitalism (i.e. big corporations) saw Communism as a threat to their business model, or the way of big corporations to accumulate wealth through legalised slavery, aka labour.  The idea that Communism could and would actually work had to be avoided at -literally- all costs.

 

This is also why Socialism has become sort of a synonym to Communism, for the same reasons.  Socialist ideas sit completely opposed to the ideas of big corporations.

 

In whatever election in Belgium, I vote Socialist, though I'm not really one.  I am a Humanist.  That leaves me no other choise than to opt for the lesser evil.



#3
PkSanTi

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Hello, friend.

 

Yes, that's a viable thesis. Specially explains why the greater the industrial development of a nation, the stronger the reject to communism becomes in it. And yet, I'd like to go deeper, since what you just wrote -and I stand for it- still is a superficial explanation. I wonder what is it that makes man so afraid of marxism's ideas; what is it they think when they think of communism that terrifies or disgusts them in such a way. What do we feel or think of Marx's theory that makes us absolutely reject them, or, in the opposite cases, to embrace them? I suppose the title of the topic was not right, since your post answers it quite sufficiently. But I wonder about this other things, which are perhaps subjective, in the sense that they are emotional reactions or intellectual considerations towards marxism.



#4
Harbringe

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Communism , Marxism , Stalinism and even socialism are all varying systems of state control and the reason they have such bad name is 100+ million dead between 1917 - 1980. Not exactly a reason to be celebratory of its accomplishment. And that is not a result of war , but self inflicted , even facism (nazism) doesn't measure up to that , their somewhere at 25 - 30 million dead.

 

And there is a psychological basis for it.And a meeting held in Nazi Germany about the Jewish Question best exemplifies it.

 

During the time the Nazis were deciding what to do with the Jews and coming up with the final solution a question was raised about what this would do to the minds of those who were tasked with carrying this out. And it was agreed that these men would basically be damaged goods (mentally) and the reason was not that they were doing horrific things , but that they were doing it for selfish reasons ie for the purity of German blood , the German people. And that is a selfish reason and guilt would forever eat away at them.

 

After the war researchers who got a hold of these plans noted this psychological analysis and asked the question well what about all the horrible things that had happened under communism , did the same apply and to their surprise it didn't. And here is the reason why. In those cases like the Kulaks in the Ukraine during Soviet times or Mao and the cultural revolution in China or the killing fields of Cambodia during Pol Pots Khmer Rouge and many others , the narrative that is created is that your doing it for the good of others , that these people your killing stand in the way of whats good for all , so there is no guilt. This narrative of reason has been used to commit crimes against humanity to even a greater degree than what the Nazis did. Just ask yourself if you were convinced that by killing you could save humanity how many would you kill , history shows that usually it continues until exhaustion and those left are completely spent.

 

Killing for the sake of percieved virtue is one of the most pernicious evils ever conceived.

 

And thats why Communism has such a bad reputation. And only fools who have never experienced its true nature would argue its merits.



#5
PkSanTi

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See, this is precisely why I wrote the a) base, and insisted on it. There was no point made about marxism as a political theory, but only the disasters of some or other governments. Why did I bother to specify the terms under which the debate should be made in the purpose of not falling on common arguments known to everybody, such as that Stalinism killed a bunch of people? Of course it did, we all know that. But why do we reject marxism considered only as a theory and a political critic to the capitalist system?

 

Perhaps politics its too much of a hot topic to discuss following determined lines of argument, but why is it so hard for us to discuss the theory itself, in all its deepness and richness, and not only the theory as it was used for some greedy politicians in order to justify murder and death? Because Marx loathed the state and its institutions (army, repression, etc.) too, for that matter. But we seem to be stuck thinking of the mistakes and horrors some people did in the name of communism and not paying enough attention to Marx's words. 

 

EDIT: Just to be ridiculously emphatic: Marx did not want mass murder, repression or death; and the grow of the state was, in his view of communism, just a momentary phase: communism's ideals is to build a society with no state at all. So pleaaase, let's stick with Marx's words and not of Stalin's fist: to talk about the last one is fair too easy.


Edited by PkSanTi, 16 January 2018 - 01:36 PM.


#6
JimmyRJump

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Hello, friend.

 

Yes, that's a viable thesis. Specially explains why the greater the industrial development of a nation, the stronger the reject to communism becomes in it. And yet, I'd like to go deeper, since what you just wrote -and I stand for it- still is a superficial explanation. I wonder what is it that makes man so afraid of marxism's ideas; what is it they think when they think of communism that terrifies or disgusts them in such a way. What do we feel or think of Marx's theory that makes us absolutely reject them, or, in the opposite cases, to embrace them? I suppose the title of the topic was not right, since your post answers it quite sufficiently. But I wonder about this other things, which are perhaps subjective, in the sense that they are emotional reactions or intellectual considerations towards marxism.

The biggest fear of the elite is equality, because that makes 'em obsolete.  Individual wealth has always been a means to have power over others.  Be it from small things like having servants/workers that do the things for you you don't like to do yourself, to larger issues like controlling complete work forces and even nations to do one's bidding.

 

The people in control think, no, are convinced, they are better than the rest and the only way to show their station in life is of a much higher level is to make sure they have access to things commoners don't have access to, like high-valued goods and proper schooling.  This can only be achieved through the control of the wealth, i.e. the currency.

 

Engels and Marx' ideas are dangerous to those that control the wealth/money, because the former's ideas of equality would mean that the elite's status would be done away with and luxury goods could be accessed by everybody.  The Communist Manifest was a de-facto protest against the ever increasing grip big money got over the common people and was a plea to distribute the wealth more evenly by letting the work force profit from the gains that went to the owners of the factories and banks.

 

Ever since the Industrial Revolution it has been the purpose of the elite to maintain its status of power through control of the currency by keeping wages as low as possible and prices as high as possible.  Prices of goods have always been fixed, either by agreements behind closed doors or by artificially inflating them.

 

Through the central banking system big money also got a grip on whole nations by keeping those nations in a perpetual debt.  Perpetual because the debt can never be repaid.  The system is as crooked as can be by forcing nations to lend their capital from a central (read: private) bank and having to pay back that money with (at least) ten per cent interest.  From that moment onwards, a nation is faced with two enormous problems: one, the debt they have towards the private bank exceeds the amount of money brought into circulation, so, the debt can never be repaid, and two, interest is something that only exists in a bank's books.  The money is not real.  But the banks keep those ten per cent interest into account and adds it to the nations global monetary worth.  Since interest derives its worth from the existing money, i.e. the money that has actually been printed, you automatically devaluate your currency with the amount of interest.

 

Marxism/Communism wanted to erradicate the central banking system and thus taking all the wind out of the sails of the elite.  The real reason for the American revolution, for instance, was not political independency but a financial one: to get rid of the grip the Rothchild family and the Bank Of England had over the young American economy.

 

In the USA, the 1913 Federal Reserve Act did away with all hopes for a healthy economic system.  The people that are the owners of this system had/have to do everything possible to keep ideas of equality at bay.



#7
PkSanTi

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Yes, that is correct. In fact, I wont even comment on anything you said, because I could not say it better, and couldn't agree more. See, the only issue I found is the next: rich, powerful people; this is, those that would by badly affected by communism, are not the only ones who reject it. In fact, I met more poor or regular people anti-communist than rich anti-communist -but this is perhaps due to the simple fact that I've met more poor or regular people than rich people, simple statistics-. And of course one could think that the regular man thinks that way because governments and corporations have established the notion of communism as a terrible, threatening thing; and, even one in many cases this is true, not everybody is a puppet controlled by the strings of financial and economic power (at least I don't wont to deny every anti-communist they're intelligence and will, and just say that they're all responding to the established ideas of power, even when, as I said, many may do so). 

 

So, leaving rich, wealthy people aside, whose rejection to communism has a clear cause, why do we, the simple guys, the folks that wonder around a mod's forum, or simple not wealthy neo-liberal man, think of communism as a threat? And what should we really think of communism, understood as Marx's theoretical work rather than the selfish and cruel acts of some dictatorships (to whom one might fairly said it would've been the same to disguise they're massacres under the flags of any other ideal, as long as it worked)?



#8
JimmyRJump

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Can't remember who said it -Plato or Aristoteles or some such- that a democracy is a bad form of ruling, but, it's the best form we have.  We also musn't forget that power leads to corruption.  Certainly as long as there's money involved.  Also, as long as there's one single cop out there, we live in a police state.

 

Our democracy has long ago become a veiled dictatorship; the dictatorship of money.  Freedom of choice is an illusion when we are being presented with options chosen for us.  From the moment you need lawyers to help you through the jargon of/and labyrinth the Law is, then there's something wrong with that Law.

 

Laws are written for individuals that by nature are free.  Free individuals can never be restricted by laws written by their peers.  That's why we all have two separate identities under the same name.  Your free identity is your name written in normal letters.  The individual that has to obide the Law has his/her name written in capital letters, always.

 

The only thing that to me is wrong with the basis of Marxism is the principle of equality.  Because we are not equals.  We are all Human, yes, but we are absolutely not equal.  Because we are not we are forced to wear uniforms at certain schools, the army and certain work places.  The uniforms are a simplistic way of trying to eaqualise everybody, or at least large groups of people.  But, not being equal isn't the problem.  The problem is not acting on it.  Most people who think they are superior also act the part, while one should do just the contrary and when being confronted with someone we should try our best to treat that person as an equal.  So, in the end, as a basis for how we should treat one-another, Marxism isn't a bad way to start, or at least use it to build upon.

 

Most folk I personally know that are squarely against Communism speak and act out of mis-information and confuse an ideology with a political tool.  Communism isn't a political tool but a state of mind.  Being a Socialist or Communist is about caring for other people and their right for a decent life.  Political tools ar put in place to achieve just the contrary by giving you the illusion politcians mean well and are there for you, that their system is there for you.

 

When you look at the American constitution, for example, we see that it also says that all men are born equal.  Except that, the founding fathers didn't have people of colour in mind when they wrote this down, because half of them were slave owners.

 

We also should rememeber that during the second world war, the Russians under Stalin were our allies.  Just like Saddam Hussein was America's ally for as long as Iraq was at war with Iran.  We should remember that Russian Communism was able to become what it became through non-intervenience in 1917 (the so-called October Revolution, which actually never took place) and the forming of the Iron Curtain.  The latter was possible thanks to the Yalta Agreements where F.D. Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin divided Europe to the benefit of Stalinism.

 

Ideologies like Communism are from the people, for the people (where have we heard that before).  Political tools are from a small group of people, for themselves, by use of the population's trust.



#9
PkSanTi

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I think your analysis is precise, though I think marxism's idea of equality is different to yours. Of course giving uniforms and cutting our hairs the same way doesn't make us equals, because of course we are not the same (and neither should be). This is just something the Chinese people thought off, a culture that inherits a very, veeery long tradition of emperors and restrict imperial order, so perhaps it's more a cultural thing than a communist issue (one of Marx's mistakes was precisely that: to underestimate the power of culture and tradition, and to consider them only as dependent's of the economic system and order of property...).

 

I believe that the equality Marx wanted was merely social; this is, to build an order in which no one has to work (this is, no one has to sell it's labour force) for another private individual, but for the interest of all (and himself). This is: I doesn't even believe that marxism requires a society in which no-one posses's more than another, since everyone should get the reward of their work fairly, and those who work more should get more -Marx didn't have a problem with this-. I think it's more a manner of human needs satisfied for all -this is, a floor from which to start- and the recognition of one's work as it is: the fruit of one's creativity and persistence, and not some standarized product that has no relation with it's producer and which plus-value also goes into another one's hand. (This is why is so ironic that capitalism sells that it encourages creativity and personal ideas; it doesn't. It produces mass, unpersonal work, in which there's no true connection between the producer and the product (alienation). Marx is precisely the one who is telling us: I want you to be creative and connected with what you do! And precisely because he wants the individual to reach a full development and overcome alienation, it seeks not individual equality -that everyone would be the same, think the same and use and wear the same- but social equal bases from where to start. It's just a very, very sophisticated elaboration of the liberal principle (which fails under liberalism): no one should be reach enough to be able to buy somebody else, and no one should be poor enough to have to sell himself to others).

 

It's also a misconception the argument that consists on the false fact that under capitalism one get's what he deserves. It's the opposite of that, and anyone that understands the simple concept of surplus value would get why.


Edited by PkSanTi, 16 January 2018 - 06:00 PM.


#10
JimmyRJump

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Yes, that's what Marxism stood for: the equal distribution of wealth.  Not equal in the sense of everybody gets the same share, but equal in the sense that the individual would get a fair share in respect to their labour.  In our current system, such a thing is impossible because of the profits that need to be made.  Therefor, most Western labourers produce way too much in terms of production footprint calculated in joules, with consumption (average a single person needs to live comfortably, aka basic needs) weighed off against production .  In that equation, the average Western labourer produces eight to nine times more than his basic needs, meaning that for every person employed, at least eight are out of work.

 

Our economic system is going down the drain at an alarming speed while the top gets richer and the lower classes are getting pulled through the wringer more and more.  And all of that because of profit.  In 2012 the CEO of Ambev (largest brewery consortium in the world, aka Stella Artois) paid himself an end-of-year bonus of a hundred and twenty million Euro.  For my mum, this represents eleven-THOUSAND years of pension.  Early 2013, beer prices went up because ingredients to make beer had become pricier...

 

The American economy has a financial hole the size of Jupiter, a fact that can be more or less hidden because, one, they now represent how the economy is doing by showing us Stock Market results -which has naught to do with the state of an economy- and two, because the Dollar is used as international trading currency, which means all banks keep buying dollars so that its value stays more or less stable.

 

Meanwhile we are sailing straight towards the iceberg called war, because war is THE most profitable business in existence.  So, if there ever was a time for a new Marx to stand up and start a revolution, it is now. Or in a few months as I have still some gaming to do...

 

Marxism/Communism has in the past been used as a cloak under which they could assemble all "evil" beset on a free society, just like "terrorism" is being used today.






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