Why is it OK to be a communist?

Posted: 28th March 2011 by Get No Happy in Angry Rants
Tags: ,

*Scene*

Person 1: “Hi, you’re back a bit late aren’t you”

Person 2: “Yeah, I’ve just been to a meeting of the local fascist party”

Person 1:”Oh, was it fu… wait, what!?”

Person 2: “What? Our system of government is fucked. Politicians are just in it for themselves. I mean who are they? Not the best or most gifted leaders, but the ones surviving at the end of their Machiavellian games. And because they want to stay on the gravy train they just tell us what we want to hear, break their promises once we vote then eventually retire to a bank boardroom when they’re done. What’s needed is a leader who can think about the long term, who doesn’t have to worry about grabbing as much money in the shortest possible time. Someone who has spent their life learning statecraft, not how to pander to the party faithful”

Person 1:”Erm, even without mentioning a certain greasy-haired moustachioed Austrian, what about history? Kings, Emperors and dictators. Throughout history all-powerful rulers have exploited, oppressed and murdered their people. How can you say that’s a good thing?

Person 2: “Look, yes the Nazis were evil, no one’s denying that. And it hasn’t worked in the past. But that’s because the idea hasn’t been done properly, in theory it’s perfect. All we need is a completely noble and incorruptible person with absolute power surrounded by equally noble and incorruptible lieutenants who only thinks about what is best for their loyal subjects. With this in place there’s no need to vote; everyone realises the leader knows exactly what’s best and therefore obeys without question”

Person 1: “…”

Person 2:“You know, like the way royalty are portrayed in Disney films, or Aragorn at the end of Lord of the Rings”

*Scene*

 

If you heard the argument above you’d think the guy was either playing a whole supreme court of Devil’s Advocates or completely insane. Yet change the word fascist to communist and suddenly it becomes OK. Why? This has been bugging me for a few weeks now, ever since I attended a screening of “Persepolis” that was introduced by the president of the local Communist Party. Actually I tell a lie, it’s something that’s bugs me every time I walk past a socialist workers party stall (Capitalism pays your JSA! *ahem*). Seriously though, why is it not as detestable to be seen with a hammer and sickle as it would be with a swastika? Why indeed is it OK to say you’re a communist?

Though they do look a fun bunch

Lets review this glorious utopian ideology. Communism in Russia and China alone, with a giddy mixture of purges,  great leaps forwards and asking seeds nicely to grow in permafrost allowed between 100 and 150 million  people to give their lives for the cause. It ruled over two continents for six decades as a superior system of government under which there was such prosperity that people literally queued every day  to express their gratitude to purveyors of  bread, milk and razor blades for the bounty they were about to receive (I assume that why they were queuing for such basics).  It ruled with freedom and equality so unparalleled that vast amounts of resources were devoted to making sure all these lucky people never dared to question their good fortune, or if they did, were unlikely to question it twice.

If only the secret police would tell them how jealous we all are

You get my point, communism has a long enough list of heinous crimes to justify its very own internet rule, and came out significantly worse during the grand economic experiment that was the Cold War. Despite the suffering it caused, communism’s emblem is often proudly displayed, not by those with with a fondness historical graphic art (One must hand it to the soviets, they’re propaganda posters are fantastic)  but by individuals who actually believe it represents some sort of ideal end state. How little attention can a person be paying in history class to justify such support?

One  reason that is often given is “well they’re just not doing it properly. No one’s saying Stalin was a good man or that North Korea is a nice place to raise 2.4 children, but you can’t blame the theory, in theory communism is perfect”.

Anything can be perfect in theory. It’s a pitiful and desperate excuse to justify aligning oneself with an ideology that has brought nothing but pain and suffering to this planet. As my little sketch above demonstrated, you can really prove just about any form of government works as long as you’re willing to skip merrily off the cliff of reality into the sharp embrace of fantasy’s jagged rocks: Communism totally works, all you have to do is ignore all the evidence to the contrary.

Much like the existence of Atlantis and it's benevolent ruler King Triton

It’s not like the last century didn’t give communism a damn good go, and the result was always the same; oppression and death with, ironically enough, the latter coming rather quickly to the intellectuals who were the first to proclaim its virtues (Which incidentally is why I thought it odd Persepolis was fronted by a Party member). And yet go to any campus in this country, and now any protest, and you will see membership being proclaimed as if Lenin himself was marching them to the gates of the Winter Palace.  Yes there are problems with our current system, gaps between the have and have-nots that orphan kittens sometimes fall into, but these problems never have been, nor ever will be, solved by communism. If you really want someone or something to put on a banner because “a system that allows individual profit that appeals to rational self interest to foster a strong sense of social justice and obligation via the ever present Hobbsian Leviathan” isn’t easy to chant, then go for Keynes and his ‘Government exists to declaw the capitalist beast’ approach. Although he picture does lack the wizened beard of Marx and cigar chomping rakishness of Mr Guevara.

Or maybe use the Leviathan instead...

It’s about time this veneration of communism ended, it’s about time the blind spot to one of mankinds greatest mistakes was corrected and the whole horrible idea was consigned to the dustbin of history along with all the other ideologies we in the West pride ourselves on having rid ourselves of. Why is it OK to be a communist? It’s not!

  1. Rich says:

    “Why is it okay to be a communist?” or rather “why is it okay to call yourself a communist?”

    To answer: because you can be a fascist leader of a communist country. The terms aren’t mutually exclusive because they refer to two very different type of things.

    Fascism is a political ideology that takes power away from people: we reject it on that basis alone.

    Communism is a sociopolitical movement whose resultant political regimes have all failed. We can reject it on the basis of practicality (“they all failed and will continue to fail”) or ideology (“I disagree with the ideas”) but there is nothing inherant in communist ideas that is ahborrent to the majority (“enough for everybody decided purely on need”). In fact the majority of communist texts don’t inform you on statescraft and the majority of “communist” states now are not.

    Another aside: if a hundred people in, say, rural Ayrshire functioned as a theoretical communist collective (get amount to fulfil needs, distribute needs to everyone) we would think they were weird hippies but shrug and move on. Same hundred people in a fascist collective and we’d arrest the leader for a number of domestic legal offences.

    • Get No Happy says:

      I will grant you that tecninically you are correct (i.e. in theory), that the two things do not exactly sit on the same continuum. However the point stands; workable only under mythical conditions.

      In regards to people being communist; the use of soviet imagery clearly shows where they believe the future lies. It shows the blind spot I mentioned, that none of the crimes that occurred under these regimes seem to matter. They are calling for the overthrow of our evil capitalist ways with a system that has worked so well in other nations.

      Indeed communism is an ideology that inherently leads to totalitarianism. It may work in a small commune but this is because at this level the social network itself is the unit of oppression (Dunbar’s number and all that). Once you get beyond the ability to socially monitor and be monitored, the inherent human profit-motive means the system needs to be monitored by an authority to ensure “you each have accord to your need ONLY”. And thus oppression is born.

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