One simple question. Why does communism even appeal to anyone?

It is interesting how in America, the most wealthy nation on Earth, built on the principles of freedom and democracy for the past 200 years, can have many people who believe in communism. To make it worse, many of them are smart, intelligent people, well-educated. Heck, my supervisor at my job, a Cornell student, wears a hammer and sickle earring. Are these people insane?

America has made plenty of mistakes that blatantly spat on "We, the people". For example, women's suffrage, Jim Crow laws, abuse of workers (Homestead Strike), etc. Of course, back in those days the entire concept of Marxism was untested. I can understand its appeal to the lower social-economic classes back then. Regimes that held Marxist ideologies seized control in a significant number of countries, including the Soviet Union and all satellite nations, China, parts of Southeast Asia and South America, and Cuba.

The popular revolt of the Soviet Union was not against capitalism. In the former Soviet Union, it was a backlash against the the Tsar Nicolas II's attempt to suppress the increased freedoms that resulted after their humiliating defeat in the Sino-Russian War against Japan in the 1900's. That was only the catalyst however, it was also the pent up frustration of centuries of imperial oppression, the misery during World War I, among other things. In that case, the popularity of a Marxist government is well-justified.

Just like the Soviet Union, the common Chinese people had suffered 200 years of bad Qing Dynasty rulers, as well as humiliation at the hands of foreign imperialists, official corruption, drought and famine, and the new Nationalist government, which turned out to be even more corrupt than the imperials. Add the Japanese occupation, World War II, warlords feuding over land, yeah I'd be pretty frustrated too if I was in China at the time. Mao Zedong was the most sane choice at the time.

All these Marxist governments were naturally idealist at the beginning. The morale of the USSR and the PRC increased greatly after the deposing of the imperialist rulers. But they all fucked up in the end. At this point my knowledge of Russian history fades out (I think I will catch up on my reading this summer). In the 1920's, the Bolsheviks admitted that capitalism was needed to develop the nation and implemented several measures to encourage self-enterprise. The New Economic Policy was stopped short by Stalin and his collective farms. In China, the original Five Year Plan during the Korean War worked quite well because, again, they used capitalism, They fucked up when Mao began an idiotic policy to boost steel production to match world levels and return to the "ideological roots of the revolution". That failed and killed 35 million people. Nice going Mr. Ideologue.

Even in the times when the government relaxed a bit and let tinges of capitalism leak through, to a kind of strict socialism, it was still fucked up. People in China just didn't go to work and ate at the communal dining hall. Factory supervisors dare not tell them to work, because they will be denounced as bourgeois and sent to prison camps. Rule of the worker indeed. Fear and intimidation still ruled. Forced redistribution of wealth meant that everyone was dirt poor, material-wise. Of course, the cadres think that their extra efforts in "leading" the revolution should get them extra reward. So they got rich. All people are equal, but some people are more equal than others.

Communism, be it pure, Marxist, Leninst, Stalinist, Maoist, or whatever, is impossible and will fuck up in the end. It has been proven by experience. How many more lives must be lost to communist regimes before you people realize that? Pol Pot was a Marxist. Look what happened to Cambodia. North Korea is in shambles, due to Stalinism. Mao Zedong made Hitler look like a sissy (estimates say he was responsible for around 50 million deaths). So did Stalin.

Karl Marx's mistake of lacking human emotion in his theories spawned a generation of tyrants and murderers. And yet, some people still believe in communism Why? Because it's trendy to be disillusioned with capitalism? Life is unfair? It's cool to be a leftist?!? I don't know, maybe that's the reason.

General_Wesc: You cannot possibly compare a national government structure with the activities in a single household. It's two completely different scenarios, and your analogy doesn't apply. You made the same mistake Marx made. You may be a generous soul, but many other people out there aren't. If everyone was as generous as General_Wesc...... Hey I can write a song out of this!

Why do you assume people will cool your node anyways? Because you argue the liberal viewpoint? Not only does your analogy of the argument not make any sense, you fail to provide evidence. I don't think your writeup is cool. I think it sucks. Don't take it offensively. I'm just talking about your node. People here have insulted me much more directly than that, usually by referencing to my preference of pigs over women and my association with the Nazi Party.

*sigh* Must I, once again, warn against the perils of false dichotomy? Today I encountered a college-level economics textbook from the Eisenhower era. It took the same viewpoint that you did -- that capitalism implies less government and socialism implies increased power of government. It lavished praise upon Samuel Gompers, a reformist trade-unionist, while dismissing radical unionism as an anachronism. Still, in small print it gave mention to the IWW as a "surviving radical left-wing union." Seems ambiguous, no? What is a radical leftist? An extreme statist? Undoubtedly this book, and others like it, gave many the wrong impression. I find this node linked to Preamble to the IWW Constitution. The IWW is not Communist. The IWW is Anarcho-Syndicalist. Extreme statism is not the only form of leftism.

Basically, there are four major forms of property relations:
Proponents of the latter three all claim to be socialists. Adding to the confusion, pro-capitalists usually think only two-dimensionally; that is, they think only of the second as socialism (a myth readily accepted by state socialists.) Of the four, there are examples of the first three in practice.

So you see that a defense of capitalism based upon the failures of nationalization (or state socialism) is rather unpersuasive to those of us who are more familiar with socialistic theory.
BTW, even so-called "anarcho-capitalism" is authoritarian; reasons for which I shall not go into great detail in this node. Suffice it to say that whether or not an oligarchy holds state power, it is still an oligarchy.

Part of the appeal is the human tendency to believe that the grass on the other side of the fence is greener. I mean, America is the prototype of a non-Communist country, so Communism is the other side of the fence.

Another part is the mere size of the country. Among 250,000,000 people some are bound to be pro-Communist. I don't really see a huge and serious movement toward Communism in the US, so the extreme of the bell curve may just account for it.

Last but not least, every advertising professional knows that if you overadvertise a product, the advertising will work against you. Now, America has gone long ways since Joe McCarthy, thank goodness, but some of it still exists in subtle ways. For example, I am an immigrant. In fact, I am an immigrant here because I escaped from Communist Czechoslovakia. But one of the questions on the application for permanent residency status was: Are you, or have you ever been a member of Communist Party? The answer was easy: Noooooooo!

But five years later, when applying for citizenship, I found the very same question on that application. Then, when I had my citizenship exam, I was asked the same question.

Finally, the great day arrived: I was sitting in the court room, ready to be declared a US citizen. Just before the judge came in, we were all asked to come and sign a paper. Guess what the paper was about: I certify that I am not nor have ever been a member of Communist Party. Now come on, do you really think that in the few days between my exam and the formal citizenship ceremony I had nothing better to do that join the Communist Party?

After being formally declared the citizen of the United States of America a weird thought popped into my mind: I can finally join the Communist Party! Now, I am the last person in the world who would want to do that, I spent the first 29 years of my life under Communism, I was involved in underground activities against it, and I escaped from it. But I keep wondering how the immigrants from countries that did not experience Communism felt about it.

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