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Communism

Discussion in 'Post War 1945-1955' started by Admiral_Humaid, Dec 9, 2014.

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  1. Admiral_Humaid

    Admiral_Humaid New Member

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    I was wondering why Communism was portrayed in such a bad way in the West and their reasons for doing so. And Noob Q: What is Communism, I was looking it up and I was so confused because hate/over dramatized love for it.
     
  2. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Google Red Scare, 1920...And you will probably find plenty to satisfy your curiosity - at least pertaining to the United States.


    Wikipedia is probably a good place to start.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communism

    The there are about umpteen different variations on the basic tenets.
    Marxism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marxism
    Leninism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leninism
    Bolshevism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bolsheviks
    Menshevism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mensheviks
    Trotskyism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trotskyism
    Stalinism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalinism
    Maoism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maoism

    And those are just the more well-known ones.
     
  3. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Actually, during WWII the USSR and communism was portrayed fairly well due to them being allies and all. Even before the war, during the Great Depression, many people were wondering if it wouldn't be a good alternative to capitalism as practiced in the West. Some people went to Russia and came back singing its praises. Most leaders of France, Gr. Britain and the USA were against communism as a matter of course since most of them were rich and had extensive land and business holdings.
     
  4. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Stalin killed 20 million of his own people. Mao killed 45 million of his own people.

    The problem with communism is that it concentrates power into the hands of an individual or a small group of individuals. History proves that unlimited power brings the most ruthless people to the top and Communism is based on surrendering all power to the state.
     
  5. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    A failed 70-year theory. (In reality... I'd put aside assorted C17th schemes, Rousseau etc. until the distillation of the Marxist system; modern Communism as we know it.)
    Technically; read Das Kapital to get a base idea of the concentrated theory. Then mash it into a variety of different macro regimes or micro systems, and see that like any rigid 'pure' doctrine - it hasn't ever really worked.
    Interesting, like any grand plan, but human nature tends to intervene.

    Das Kapital
     
  6. Smiley 2.0

    Smiley 2.0 Smiles

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    Has anyone seen those propaganda shorts made by the US not long after World War II, where they name all these things that indicate that a person is communist such as speaking out against the US's foreign policies? I have not yet mastered the art of posting a video on this forum yet.

    There's also A Study of Communism by J. Edgar Hoover, which probably did not give the most positive image of communism especially during the Cuban Missile Crisis. (The one I have was printed in October of 1962)
     
  7. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Just copy and paste the Youtube link to your response, and the new board takes care of the rest.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_DaMKUP3Og
     
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  8. Smiley 2.0

    Smiley 2.0 Smiles

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  9. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    There's a vast difference between what Marx said and the practices of Lenin, Stalin and that ilk. Marx never envisioned his theories being put into practice in Russia because it was too backwards. If you read Marx (and I have) his ideas had more in common with the millenials of the period. Lenin and Stalin twisted and perverted Marx's ideas to fit their preconceived notions. They were dictators in the Czar's image. That was what the people of Russia understood. There is so much more to say, but space and time are limited.
     
  10. Smiley 2.0

    Smiley 2.0 Smiles

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    The way I I've learned, is that practically none of the countries who were formerly or currently communist followed the way Karl Marx envisioned it. Like you said LRusso, Lenin and Stalin basically really twisted it up. Especially Stalin who used those twists that probably gave communism the bad image that we have all learned about by allowing him to gain so much power.
     
  11. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

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    #7...wow. right on the button.
    tgf cartoons. What year was that produced?
     
  12. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    The question I chose is 'What is Communism?'.
    In the pure political sense of the word, Communism is what Marx (& Engels) defined.
    And as I said, without stating specifics; that has yet to work in any clear way in the real world. I would have thought that automatically implied that it's tenets were hardly applied to the nth degree.

    You can break it down into whatever Leninist-Anarcho-Syndicalist-Trotskyite-Maoist-Sinocapitalist variant you like, but by any base definition for someone working these concepts out; 'Communism' is that laid out in Das Kapital - you read it & the Marx & Engels manifesto first when dealing with Communism in post-1848 history/politics courses for a reason - they're the core text of that leftist ideology. Distilled from previous thinkers and ideas, adapted and re-interpreted later, but core nonetheless.

    Slim volume, quite well written, even though I may personally find it a rather naive text. Theoretical and rather arrogant utopianism with a wired in path to dystopia.
    One of the interesting things about it as a book is that it's actually pretty rare to have such a clear and widely referenced text behind any major political form of the period, particularly when combined with the aforementioned manifesto:
    The Communist Manifesto.

    Anyway...
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSIIjcgaZFM
     
  13. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    A direct response to OP's question: The Soviet Union incorporated Hungary, Rumania and Yugoslavia near its immediate borders, and then pushed forward to devour Poland, Czechoslovakia, and half of Germany, which directly threatened the territories of the Western allies. Moscow also revived its earlier strategy in the 20s and portrayed itself as an anti-colonial power, which destabilized Asia, Africa, the Middle East, etc. Those moves were interpreted as hostile to the interests of the US-UK coalition. After all, the Second World War was fought, at least from the US-UK perspective, to prevent the rise of an Eurasian imperium that would disrupt global trade and menace the peaceful coexistence of nations. An admittedly less noble motive is that communist guerrillas and rebel groups were busily seizing the day by clamoring for decolonization, which is damaging to the geopolitical systems the US-UK regime had created for itself.

    With regard to what's wrong with communism; In spite of deifying Marx and Engels, the practices of the communist regimes bear limited resemblance to Marxist theories. Instead, or at least it would occur to me, the real intellectual engine for communist states was Leninist, Stalinist and Maoist thought. They were in some sense nationalist leaders from backward states who ruthlessly concentrated capital, resources and manpower into the hands of the government in order to forge their nations into heavily armed garrison and security states that are capable of playing great power politics. The Utopian vision of communism gave their national and imperial projects ideological impetus, and a disciplinary instrument to mold the masses to their wills. They shot and imprisoned a lot of people in pursuit of national power, and also made themselves a grave threat to the Anglo-American ideal of global cooperation in trade and industry (which Washington and London would dominate).

    If you take ideology seriously, and you should, Mark Mazohower's Dark Continent: Europe in the 20th Century is a great book about how social democracies, state socialism and national socialism are differently formulated response to the question of modernity, i.e. how to put together a viable state and society in modern conditions against internal and external forces of dissolution. In this sense those ideologies are inimical to each other on a fundamental level.
     
  14. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    It hardly matters that Stalin and Mao and Pol Pot and Kim Jong-un (insert dictator here) "twisted up" the ideology, because the ideology is flawed in asserting that unlimited powers can be wielded by a central authority. Human nature says that is not possible. Anybody given that much power will abuse it. In practice, over and over again, we see a central overlord begin wielding terror as a weapon. "Enemies of the state" go to labor camps on the flimsiest pretext merely as an example to anyone else that dissent is not tolerated. Fear is necessary to maintain control.
     
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  15. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    One is focussing to much on fear for the secret police :in the last resort,the communist (and other ) dictatorships did survive as long as they had the support of the majority of the population,and the population was supporting Stalin,because live under Stalin was better than live before Stalin (as it was under Hitler);people always are willing to exchange liberty for material benefits .It is not :give me liberty or give me death,but : erst kommt das Fressen und dan die Moral .
     
  16. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Communism was what Stalin said it was,and a wise man would keep his mouth shut and not argue or ask questions.Most people were wise,besides ,most people didn't give a damn about communism
     
  17. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    7 million people perished of famine in the Ukraine alone in 1932/33. Anyone who had owned over 24 acres of land was designated as a Kulak, and deported to forced labor camps. By the end of 1933 about 25% of the people in the Ukraine were dead or deported. Similar scenes were going on across the Soviet Union. Life was not better except for those in protected showcase cities like Moscow, Stalingrad, Leningrad, etc.

    Perhaps the young did not know that life was better before communism, and the old, who did, learned to keep their mouth shut.
     
  18. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    Textual evidence for Marx's support for an all powerful state is shaky. One can only make the leap from an explicitly provisional revolutionary government that was supposed to dismantle itself asap to a permanent totalitarian state with considerable mental gymnastics. On the other hand, Marx did argue for drastic changes to state and society by violence if necessary.

    Probably more pertinent than doctrinal hair splitting is the fact that all Bolshevik regimes were created by coteries of professional conspirators who rose to power from brutal civil wars and international conflicts in failed states. They also have a coherent program: Self sufficiency in food production and natural resources, heavy industries, a powerful military-industrial complex, and joining a communist world order that would displace US-UK hegemony. The strategy to achieve all of this is sheer political will to expend lives. The growth achieved, and the offing of old elites, however, did provide a good deal of social mobility.

    One can see how that program would be a problem for western states. Until Adolf Hitler the Communists in Russia were probably viewed with far graver concern than any other domestic or international threat by western states.

    And I will partially agree with LJAD. For the most part, the communists didn't rely on sheer terror but rather the use of terror with positive reinforcement. Most Soviet citizens under Stalin could only compare their conditions to the famines and bloodshed during the Russian Civil War, substantially worse than most things happening in Stalinist Russia. Most economic historians record a boom in Russia by the late 30s. The same with Mao; the 50s was a period of economic boom and certainly better than anything that came before in China's 20th century. By Great Leap Forward the party was too entrenched for disagreements or opposition to be successful.
     
  19. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    7 million is much to high: 3 million for the whole of the SU is a better figure

    1.8 million Kulaks were deported(380000 died),but most returned after a few years,and the situation of the other peasants in the kolchozes was better than before .

    The figure of 25 % of the population of the Ukraine that was dead or deported is Ukrainian propaganda: Kulaks were not limited to the Ukraine,neither was the famine of 1932.

    Life was not better under the Czars: no electricity,no sanitary facilities,no education,no hospitals,etc.Life was better under (not because ) the communists,and people were crediting communists for the improvements .
     
  20. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    A dictatorship needs 3 things to survive

    1)A powerful secret police

    2) Propaganda to gloss over failures and to put the realizations in the limelight

    3) Realizations: without these ,secret police and propaganda would not save the regime :unemployment in Germany disappeared under the nazi regime,if in 1939,there were still 6 millions of jobless,it was the end of the Third Reich .
     

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