every adult must know about communism at least as much as he knows about venereal deceases, and for pretty much the same reason

Is It Okay To Be A Communist?

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

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.

Children/Education:

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 late (by 20 minutes once or by several minutes 3 times) to work 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? One conjecture was that 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. This conjecture remains hotly disputed by the communist apologists, and, indeed, there are not hard proofs of it. The plausibility of this conjecture is supported by the profitability of the investment in Lenin: 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, Kamo et al.

Conclusion

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 an evil empire, he was wrong. The Soviet propagandists corrected him, when they translated his words into Russian as The Empire of Evil (Империя Зла). The Soviet Union was a monster, bent on the world domination, with the ultimate goal of total elimination of individual liberty. 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).

Relevant Links

  1. National Security Archive
  2. George Orwell
  3. Victor Suvorov
  4. The worst genocides in the history of humankind were perpetrated by the communists.
  5. Investors of the World, Unite! [2001-04-17]
  6. A concise overview of Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism, and Maoism [2006-01-10]
  7. Think free ... a China where people have human rights and liberty. [2006-09-10]
  8. The Distributed Republic's 5th annual remembrance of the victims of communism [2008-05-02]
  9. The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression [2008-12-11]
  10. add to this list




Sam Steingold
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