Communism: 100 Years of dictatorship, gulags and mass murder in the tens of millions

IceAlisa

discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado
Messages
37,284
They need to evolved organically on their own, just like the west did. No one has a perfect history but some seem to think their path is the only path.
But the communist countries did not evolve on their own, genuis. The Soviet Union artificially spread it, by force or by proxy.

Who said anyone has a perfect history? But the communist countries’ history is particularly gruesome in sheer numbers and duration and systemic terror of the population. Also, in the inability to escape. Keeping the citizens inside the walls is key.
 

genegri

Active Member
Messages
942
But the communist countries did not evolve on their own, genuis. The Soviet Union artificially spread it, by force or by proxy.

Who said anyone has a perfect history? But the communist countries’ history is particularly gruesome in sheer numbers and duration and systemic terror of the population.

Like imperialism? But some sure act like their path is the only path.
 

IceAlisa

discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado
Messages
37,284
Do you realize you are espousing an imperialist philosophy brought to you by a couple of Germans and developed by a dozen Russians? Yet you act as if communism spontaneously occurred in Asia. You’ve been had.
 

genegri

Active Member
Messages
942
Yes, the communist imperialists sure do. Otherwise, off to the gulag.

Oh, so now that's the form that's is not acceptable.

Do you realize you are espousing an imperialist philosophy brought to you by a couple of Germans and developed by a dozen Russians? Yet you act as if communism spontaneously occurred in Asia. You’ve been had.

Some chose to adopt it, at least in name, and ended up developing out side its original frame. That's developing and that's evolving.
 

IceAlisa

discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado
Messages
37,284
Some chose to adopt it, at least in name, and ended up developing out side its original frame. That's developing and that's evolving.
You mean China? Yes, good for them for realizing what toxic murderous evil communism is, and stepping away, moving toward free market capitalism. Communist in name only. Why don’t YOU get it? The country is shedding its bloody communist skin and growing a new, fancy one.

But it doesn’t make communism good, only proves that it doesn’t work in yet one more instance.
 

IceAlisa

discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado
Messages
37,284
Oh, so now that's the form that's is not acceptable.
Do YOU think it’s acceptable to imprison, impose hard labor upon or execute people just for having more bread than the government allows? For reading a foreign book? Not for any actions, for ideas that may not be complimentary enough to the fearless leader?

OK to be carted off to labor camp based on an anonymous letter? X a million?
 

attyfan

Well-Known Member
Messages
8,903
First, aren't many of these problems (imprisoned or killed for reading foreign books, not being sufficiently complimentary to fearless leader, etc) as applicable to fascist regimes as to communist ones? Second, will a new economic system in China (free market capitalism) result in more political freedom or instead, a new form of dictatorship?
 

genegri

Active Member
Messages
942
You mean China? Yes, good for them for realizing what toxic murderous evil communism is, and stepping away, moving toward free market capitalism. Communist in name only. Why don’t YOU get it? The country is shedding its bloody communist skin and growing a new, fancy one.

But it doesn’t make communism good, only proves that it doesn’t work in yet one more instance.

First, aren't many of these problems (imprisoned or killed for reading foreign books, not being sufficiently complimentary to fearless leader, etc) as applicable to fascist regimes as to communist ones? Second, will a new economic system in China (free market capitalism) result in more political freedom or instead, a new form of dictatorship?

What is important is to be allowed self path finding, which may or may not be a pre set one. God knows no one method fits all. And to be allowed to make mistakes, through trial and error.

As I said earlier I don't necessarily favor one "Ism" over another myself, all are relative. But I think being forced to a preset path, no matter what it is, is likely to stifle growth and development.

Some of stuff I find unacceptable personally (like the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia and treatment of homosexuals in many parts of the world and treatment of minorities especially black people in the US) are things each culture and society has to work out among themselves. Being forced will only lead to backlash and the progress may not be solid. And to be honest, I don't currently see any perfect gender or race relations in the world. Who is to say none of them will come with something original and great? Same with governing approach, business model, etc.
 

BlueRidge

AYS's snark-sponge
Messages
60,450
I think the point of this thread is that the communist totalitarian systems that existed in the 20th Century were horrific and are not models in anyway for making things better going forward. The point of citing the millions who died under communism is to precisely warn against forgetting the outcome of organizing society in a totalitarian way.

Every society, every governing system needs to progress and improve. Those who would organize to push for progress need to realize that the changes they would like to see, more justice, more equality, more freedom, were not the results of the systems of totalitarian communism. The ideology that inspired those systems is not a way forward. There is no one way forward to a better world, for sure, but it is clear from history that communism is a system that does not lead to a better world.
 

VGThuy

Well-Known Member
Messages
38,219
This has been an interesting if superficial political philosophy/globalism and international human rights debate that you're trying to have genegri, but I think your attempts to start this discussion would have been received better if it started out better as opposed to one-line responses and then running quick to antagonize.

I think BR has really summarized the intent of this thread and I do think if one wanted to have a discussion about new world models of imperialism (some see Western-influenced international human rights as being a new form of imperialism and another way to exploit other countries to get them dependent on Western nations and economic systems which is a very isolationist model that some people in the U.S. love as we saw in the 2016 Election) then a new thread should be started. Yes, I know there's some overlap as I believe genegri started out trying to defend Communism because it was a system in which he/she grew up in and now lives in the West and probably sees how both systems operate to "indoctrinate" its citizens even though we don't see it that way. As an observer to both systems I can see genegri doesn't see automatically see Communism in the same way as many of us who were born and/or raised in the West see it and thinks our outlook is a result of being indoctrinated by Western education and how we don't recognize that our ideas are a product of Western propaganda because we think we have free thoughts and free choice and personal liberties and freedom, but that said, I think that discussion would be better off in a wholly separate thread.
 

IceAlisa

discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado
Messages
37,284
What is important is to be allowed self path finding, which may or may not be a pre set one. God knows no one method fits all. And to be allowed to make mistakes, through trial and error.

As I said earlier I don't necessarily favor one "Ism" over another myself, all are relative. But I think being forced to a preset path, no matter what it is, is likely to stifle growth and development.

Some of stuff I find unacceptable personally (like the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia and treatment of homosexuals in many parts of the world and treatment of minorities especially black people in the US) are things each culture and society has to work out among themselves. Being forced will only lead to backlash and the progress may not be solid. And to be honest, I don't currently see any perfect gender or race relations in the world. Who is to say none of them will come with something original and great? Same with governing approach, business model, etc.
But no one is saying that there is a perfect model. What people are saying is that are better models and there are horrific, unsustainable models. You keep talking about self finding, or self-determination. China did not get that chance when Soviet Russia interfered with China and imported communism into it, neither did Vietnam. Neither did Cuba, etc. There is nothing natural about communism and if you educate yourself how it came to be in Russia, there was nothing natural about that either. It was all due to the staggering and pervasive incompetence of the Russian government and its representatives, that the Bolsheviks came to power. People were quite literally drunk on the job. Or too busy re-arranging furniture in their office, like Kerensky.

Communism is a remnant of the Soviet imperialism and cannot be associated with any given country's self-determination.
 
Last edited:

IceAlisa

discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado
Messages
37,284
Oh and about the Russian communist coup? Germany had put Lenin on a sealed train to St. Petersburg and bankrolled him in hopes that a Bolshevik Russia would pull out of WWI. How's really how it came to happen. Talk about self-determination. Germany paid the price years later when the invading Soviet army installed a Kremlin-controlled communist government in East Germany.
 

VGThuy

Well-Known Member
Messages
38,219
I don't know if I totally agree with that. Often times, those revolutions that came about were wanted by the people (or enough people) to overthrow the government due to what was going on (or lack of attention to the plights of people) and they felt socialism was an attractive alternative. Sure there's like a leader or group of people to spark it, but they have to have a message that resonated to start a revolution. That can be argued to be a natural self-determining action because it was a reaction to what was going on in their country at the time.

Now, what happened AFTER the revolution with the way power was grabbed resulting in an extreme socially stratified system where many were exploited, murdered, persecuted in the millions for decades or still are being run by the same regimes is certainly something that was forced on the people and required a lot of indoctrination, intimidation, fear, propaganda, re-education, murder the "others" or "undesirables" including those who had supported the revolutoin, etc. was NOT a natural evolution of people deciding what they wanted but rather a power move by the elites to control the population. Regimes that are responsible for control, mass murder, and cleansing of the population just so a few at the top can keep a stranglehold and gain more power...and also the expansion of that stranglehold. That is also what this thread is about.

I'm sure genegri may respond that the way we're accusing communist regimes of spreading and interjecting their system to other countries is exactly the same as what the U.S. and western countries have done in trying to spread democracy to places artificially and thus creating a mess there for the population that didn't quite call for it yet. Some would argue the Cold War was just the two superpowers fighting with one another in collecting countries by trying to interfere and interject their systems of government and economy just so those powers can have allies and spread their influence for personal gain.

OT: I went to a panel discussion this weekend with author Masha Gessen who was talking about her book The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia and she and others on the panel spoke about life under the Soviet regime and Putin's Russia and it was interesting to hear about life during Soviet times and the propaganda and tools used to control the population, including having informants make reports about their family and having to answer "surveys" just so they can have records just in case they need to persecute certain "undesirable" people, etc. The other point was how a lot of that was either back or coming back to Russia now. But that's a different topic altogether.
 

Simone411

Crazy about Jason, Karen's Spiral & Michelle Kwan
Messages
17,611
I believe to be exact, there should be a description of what Communism is. Capitalized, a political doctrine based on revolutionary Marxist Socialism that was the official ideology of the U.S.S.R. and some other countries. It was a system of government in which one party controlled state-owned means of production.

There is a world of literature and information available even online about this very subject. One of the free places to find such literature is Project Gutenberg
 

BlueRidge

AYS's snark-sponge
Messages
60,450
Well this is a very complex subject, and I don't think "we" are all saying the same thing that genegri is then criticizing.

I'm not informed enough to really comment but China's revolution was not imposed on it from the outside from what I understand. Mao certainly did import ideology from Russia and have a relationship with the Soviets but there was a great deal more going on that resulted in the Communists defeating the Nationalists. With Vietnam, the same. Ho Chi Minh was not installed by an outside power however much he imported Communist ideology from Russia and accepted support from there.

I think this is important because if we are going to not repeat the history of communist societies, we need to know that many factors can come into play in communism becoming the system in a country.
 

VGThuy

Well-Known Member
Messages
38,219
With that definition, with one party controlling means of production (totally economic definition) one can really make the argument that one cannot have communism without the authoritarian control over its people and all that entails. In other words they have to go hand-in-hand since humans, even in the most collectivist, community-oriented societies, are not naturally programmed to naturally have no individuality or not to have different thoughts from one another on every subject and issue and no feelings of their own or to want to have some personal ambitions and goals outside of the collectivist machine. The only way to make humans act that way is through control through violence, intimidation, public shaming, propaganda, etc.
 

Simone411

Crazy about Jason, Karen's Spiral & Michelle Kwan
Messages
17,611
With that definition, with one party controlling means of production (totally economic definition) one can really make the argument that one cannot have communism without the authoritarian control over its people and all that entails. In other words they have to go hand-in-hand since humans, even in the most collectivist, community-oriented societies, are not naturally programmed to naturally have no individuality or not to have different thoughts from one another on every subject and issue and no feelings of their own or to want to have some personal ambitions and goals outside of the collectivist machine. The only way to make humans act that way is through control through violence, intimidation, public shaming, propaganda, etc.
But I'm afraid that's what it entailed and it's also why Communism didn't work in Russia.

8 Reasons Why Communism Didn't Work
 

IceAlisa

discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado
Messages
37,284
I don't know if I totally agree with that. Often times, those revolutions that came about were wanted by the people (or enough people) to overthrow the government due to what was going on (or lack of attention to the plights of people) and they felt socialism was an attractive alternative. Sure there's like a leader or group of people to spark it, but they have to have a message that resonated to start a revolution. That can be argued to be a natural self-determining action because it was a reaction to what was going on in their country at the time.
Actually reading the latest historical account of the 1917 coup, it is glaring how little the people's will was taken into account and how much was decided by a handful of people who were working towards their own power grab. It's really shocking. The coup was not a natural response to the poor conditions at the time. It was rather a series of unfortunate events. Of course, the fact that the tsarist and then the Provisional government were completely inept played into their hands.

While on a shallow level, the coup ideology claimed to represent the people, in reality, its leaders held the people in the deepest contempt. Their only purpose was seizure of power and elimination of any and all opposition. As an example, within days of the coup, any newspaper with a slightly divergent view was shut down. I highly recommend the new bio of Lenin by Victor Sebastyen. It's really eye opening, even for me. And truly horrifying.
 

IceAlisa

discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado
Messages
37,284
As to the history of Chinese communism, look up Grigori Voytinski's role in the shaping of the Chinese communist party.
 

IceAlisa

discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado
Messages
37,284
OT: I went to a panel discussion this weekend with author Masha Gessen who was talking about her book The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia and she and others on the panel spoke about life under the Soviet regime and Putin's Russia and it was interesting to hear about life during Soviet times and the propaganda and tools used to control the population, including having informants make reports about their family and having to answer "surveys" just so they can have records just in case they need to persecute certain "undesirable" people, etc. The other point was how a lot of that was either back or coming back to Russia now. But that's a different topic altogether.
Apologies for a triple post. This is really interesting. I would love to hear more of what you've heard there. It certainly deserves its own thread. It's really depressing after seeing a glimmer of hope towards democracy, to observe an about face and a slide back towards totalitarianism. :fragile:
 

Japanfan

Well-Known Member
Messages
25,177
What is important is to be allowed self path finding, which may or may not be a pre set one. God knows no one method fits all. And to be allowed to make mistakes, through trial and error.

Political systems do grow through trial and error.

However, countries or nation-states have structures, values and systems in place that guide their path. In the absence of that, you have anarchy, which is another subject altogether and not what you're talking about.

The freedom to challenge is highly valued in the west but the process is very costly, time consuming and its effectiveness can still be compromised by a few. Many people who have the right to challenge do not have the necessary knowledge and can be too easily influenced. Thus I see the process as more of a fine tuning process, best deployed after a society is mostly in place.

Then you effectively repress/oppress an entire population. Which I gather is okay with you?

Self determination and self directed development of a people is more valuable than following any preferable ideology or pattern. Sacrifices and compromises will happen but the final result will be more organic.

Self-determination and self-direction are arguably tenets or goals of democracy.
 

Spun Silver

Well-Known Member
Messages
12,126
Well this is a very complex subject, and I don't think "we" are all saying the same thing that genegri is then criticizing.

I'm not informed enough to really comment but China's revolution was not imposed on it from the outside from what I understand. Mao certainly did import ideology from Russia and have a relationship with the Soviets but there was a great deal more going on that resulted in the Communists defeating the Nationalists. ...I think this is important because if we are going to not repeat the history of communist societies, we need to know that many factors can come into play in communism becoming the system in a country.
I am not well informed about China's revolution either, but from reviews of a recent history of it, I gather that your narrative is the established one. It is being challenged by a Dutch historian at the U of Hong Kong who was able to utilize newly opened Chinese CP archives, who argues against the idea that the revolution was a popular movement. Some numbers from a Hong Kong (now "South China") paper's review (sheesh, these Hong Kong people are brave):

The tone is set by the first chapter on the five-month siege of Changchun in 1948 by a communist army under Lin Biao, in which at least 160,000 civilians starved to death...
After it had won the civil war, the new government used violence as a major weapon to consolidate its rule. People were divided into 60 classes, including "good", "middle" and "bad"; violence was used against the bad classes. During the period of land reform from 1947 to 1952, about 1.5 million to two million people were killed.
Mao Zedong insisted villagers themselves carry out the killings - not the security organs, as in the Soviet Union - so that they would be implicated and linked to the party.
Next came the Great Terror, to kill enemies, real or imaginary, between the start of 1950 and the end of 1951. For the provinces of Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guangxi and Guangdong, the death toll was 301,800, or 1.69 per 1,000 people....[and so forth]
http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/books/article/1324256/book-review-tragedy-liberation-frank-dikotter

A review in The Economist describes Dikotter's reversal of the old narrative:
THE first years of the People’s Republic under Mao Zedong were a golden age, according to Chinese Communists and many in the West. After all, “liberation” in 1949 brought to an end a period encompassing two brutal and overlapping wars: Japan’s invasion and occupation of China and the Chinese civil war with the Nationalists. A decade later, China was charging into the Mao-made Utopian catastrophe of the Great Leap Forward, in which tens of millions were worked or starved to death, and the horrors of the Cultural Revolution were still to come. According to this view, the years from the republic’s founding to, roughly, the so-called Hundred Flowers Campaign in 1956 were constructive, even benign in a paternalistic way. The party took a chaotic state in hand, and out of a shattered citizenry forged a “New China”.
Frank Dikotter, a Dutch-born historian at the University of Hong Kong, destroys this illusion in his new book, “The Tragedy of Liberation”. With a mixture of passion and ruthlessness, he marshals the facts, many of them recently unearthed in party archives. Out of these, Mr Dikotter constructs a devastating case for how extreme violence, not a moral mandate, was at the heart of how the party got to power, and of how it then governed.
https://www.economist.com/news/book...re-violent-heart-maos-revolution-road-serfdom
 

skatingguy

Well-Known Member
Messages
11,918
I don't see that this is a surprise. Similar orders were given to guards along the border between East and West Germany and also along the Berlin wall. North Korea is desperate to keep the citizenry loyal and giving them hope of a better life elsewhere doesn't serve that purpose.
 

Jun Y

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,776
Don't tell others what to do.

Just a suggestion. It's not meant to tell people what to do. I think the past several pages have made it pretty clear whether trying to respond to/educate/argue with a troll is successful.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top
Do Not Sell My Personal Information