Talk:Communism/Archive 1

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Please, someone that has read Marx and Hegel correct me if I'm wrong.

Hegel (or someone else) believed in dialectic processes, where each idea (the thesis) generated it's antithesis, and together they merged into a sysnthesis, which again generated it's own antithesis, and so on.

Marx based on that created a "materialistic dialectics" where each historical institution has created its antithesis, and a systhesis has been made. That until the last systhesis, comunism.

Does it sound familiar to any philosopher that has read marx and/or hegel??


Frankly, I haven't read much of either.  :-) --LMS


"materialistic dialectics" has little to do with heglan dialectics. But I only really know Marx, not Hegel.--Taw


My exposure to Hegel is basically limited to having read part of Popper's 'The Open Society' (or whatever he calls it). Popper claims that all Hegel's philosophy boils down to is that "19th century Prussian absolutism is the highest development of the universe." I know Hegel was very interested in tracing the dialectic through history. However, I think Popper's work is pretty extreme -- his incessant Plato-bashing makes me feel unwell -- give poor Plato a break! -- SJK


Much better than my version, Dmerrill. --Ed Poor


No Marxist government actually claimed to have instituted a communist society; instead, the official doctrines of these regimes held that their governments were only transitional socialist regimes.

IIRC during Stalin's rule Soviet Union claimed they already have communism. --Taw

Do you have a source for that? -- Egern
Unfortunatelly I don't remember what the source was. --Taw
There's an old Russian joke about a man who found the most secure job in the Soviet Union. He was to sit on the top of a tall building and watch for the arrival of 'true communism'. --Ed Poor
It would surprise me if the Soviet Union ever claimed to have established communism, since there is no state in communism according Marxist theory, so the Soviet state would have a hard time explaining its existence if they had "communism" in place. Everything I recall about the Soviet-bloc nations was that they claimed to be laying the groundwork for a future stateless communist utopia, although of course their governments never even came close to withering away. But I am willing to concede that maybe Stalin made such a claim, since Stalin wasn't always the most logical man anyway, but I would want to see some source for that.
Soviets never really cared about what Marx said. They completely changed interpretation of what Communism is many times. --Taw
Oh, I fully realize that. But they still claimed to be the inheritors of Marxism, and it would seem like claiming that they had established a communist state would be really difficult to justify under any circumstances, but I suppose anything is possible. -- Egern

There has been much debate over whether these countries were truly communist. Although they promoted collective ownership of the means of production, they were also characterized by strong state apparatuses. Many have characterized these regimes as "state socialism" rather than "communism."

In two dozen years of participating in and observing discussions about communism with its adherents and opponents, never once have I encountered debate over whether the Soviet Union or China or any other Communist country was "truly communist". Anyone familiar with Marxism knows that the stage of society in Communist countries is socialism. The countries are called Communist in the West because of their political systems, not because of any confusion over what stage in Marxist theory their society has reached.

Perhaps it would be clearer if the article said that some observers or theorists object to calling Communist countries "Communist" because feel that the term communism should be reserved for the sense in which Marx intended it.

Nonetheless, in political discussion especially when contrasting freedom with repression, it is useful to refer to the Free World, the Communist World, and the Third World. We don't have to like these usages, but to be a useful encyclopedia the Wikipedia should observe these usages.

Okay -- then I think the article should be clear and describe the USSR and PRC as socialist countries ruled by communist parties, and THEN say that during the cold war these countries were collectively identified as communist. It is important to be clear about the different contexts in which these terms are used, and to distinguish between how the countries identified themselves and how others identified them. I will try to do this, tweak it if more if you like but the basic distinction has to be clear... SR
Sorry, Ed, but "Free World" isn't acceptable in an NPOV encyclopedia: was Franco's Spain part of the "Free World"? Or Salazar's Portugal? Apartheid South Africa certainly liked to see itself as such, while you seem to imply that perfectly liberal developing countries (part of the "Third World") aren't really free. If we're talking about developed market, centrally planned and developing economies then we should say so: otherwise, "the West" is perfectly acceptable shorthand, even if we sometimes have to add "and Japan". David Parker
Agreeing with David Parker: I have no objection to omitting the term "Free World" from the article. The more neutral term "The West" is preferable. Ed Poor
Disagreeing slightly with SR: we should call the USSR and China "Communist" (big C) countries and (1) take pains to point out that they have socialist economies and (2) that there is universal agreement that despite their designation as "Communist" none of these countries has progressed beyond socialism to Marx's predicted stage of "communism" (small c). Ed Poor

To SR and David: There's a slogan that goes, "The Communist world ain't communist, and the Free World ain't free." The communism article should clearly distinguish between Marx's theoretical stage (communism with a small c) and the political system of the socialist countries ruled by self-designated Communist parties (Communism with a big C). -- [[Ed ---- I think my latest tweak addresses the Communism vs. communism and Communism vs. socialism distinctions adequately and concisely. Next task to address is eliminating the rambling and redundancy. Also, we need to describe historical examples of Communism in more detail, as in Eastern Europe, USSR, PRC, and so on. I'm not sure how to deal with the overlap between the communism and Marxism articles. -- Ed Poor Poor]]

I think there will necessarily be overlap between the communism and marxism articles that is unavoidalbe -- but the two topics are not isomorphic and should be kept separate. here is how I see the relationship:
Communism is an ideal way of life. Many communists have not been Marxists (e.g. early Christians, Israeli Kibbutzim, many anarchists and other utopianisms), although many communists have embraced Marx's theory of communism and how to achieve it.
Marxism is a critique of capitalism that promotes communism as an alternative. But much ofmarxism is not concerned with describing communism or figuring out how to achieve it; much of marxism is more abstract theories about how to study history and human society, and more specific studies of the rise and functioning of capitalism.
In other words, some (probably many, certainly now) communists are marxists, but communism existed before and independent of Marx. And much of marxism concerns communism, but much of marxism does not. SR

I removed a small allusion that Stalin's strategy was "not Marxist:" he thought it was and the best he could do. To enlarge on the point: it will not in the end do to disclaim communists' ownership of totalitarianism and mass murder; it comes with the territory. User:Fredbauder

No political philosophy "owns" either totalitarianism or mass murder. Plenty of non-communists are guilty of both. Vicki Rosenzweig

There is an extended discussion of the "Socialism in One Country" dispute in Isaac Deutscher's political biography of Stalin. What we have now and had in the article is a very simplistic shorthand for the actual dispute which involved many factors. An extended discussion probably belongs somewhere else like in History of the Soviet Union.


Large block of text that was deleted at leftism that should probably be integrated here:

The first communist book was Plato's Republic, which took much of its inspiration from Sparta. The ruling classes of Sparta were organized as a military commune, as a way of keeping the helots down. Communism was born as military rule over a class of serfs. It was also born together with Republicanism; Sparta was the first republic in the world, ruled by five ephors, the assembly of all Spartan citizens, and the council containing the two kings and 28 men over the age of sixty. Sparta, odd as it seems to Americans, was the first popular government. The next popular government, Athens, was much more like what Americans would recognize as a precursor of our government (although only vaguely so). Communism and popular government have turned out to be combined only rarely, perhaps even only in the singular case of Sparta. Plato junked the popular aspect in favor of rule by the philosophical elite, and was followed in practice by all later communist governments, although they tend to retain popular government as a slogan (and only a slogan).
As an aside on Plato, he also founded radical feminism, since the Republic advocated not only equality for women but the abolition of the family (communism of women and children, not just property). This was extremely radical, since Greek women (except, interestingly, Spartan ones) wore veils like Muslim women today and were rarely allowed outside the house. (Prostitutes were also an exception. The high-class Athenian prostitutes, or hetairai, were very cultured. Renaissance courtesans were a revival of the hetairai.) Plato also advocated that women join the gymnasium, which would mean excercising nude in the company of men, just as men excercised nude in the company of each other. There were to be no marriages. Instead, Plato extended the Spartan practice of killing infants deemed unfit into outright eugenics, although he based it on an indecipherable mathematical formula (the nuptual number) rather than genetics, which weren't discovered yet.
Communism has been a recurring theme in the West. In 1534 John of Leyden turn the city of Munster into a commune called "New Jerusalem" in expectation of the Second Coming and introduced polygamy (going partway towards Plato's ideal) before the city was taken by a Catholic army, leading to a massacre. Thomas More's Utopia was organized on communistic lines. (Incidentally, "a man for all seasons" was meant, in his lifetime, as an insult; it labelled him an opportunist.) Jusuits [Jesuits?] in what is now Puru [Peru?] tried to organize the Indians there into a commune; it didn't work, although fawning reports were spread throughout Europe in much the same way they later were of Soviet Communism. (IIRC, Frederic Bastiat discusses this somewhere in the Selected Essays in Political Economy.)
Communism, then, goes back to the origin of Western civilization and has been a perennial Western ideal, practical results be damned. (Keep this in mind if anyone rejects the West in favor of "non-Western" types like Che Guevara or Mao; even there Plato, Mr. Western Civ himself, stares back at you.) The idea was certainly already floating around during the Enlightenment, exerting varying amounts of influence on the philosophes. The greatest amount was on Rousseau, who was to have the greatest influence on the French Revolution. (But Rousseau also thought man's true bliss was to live a solitary life in the woods, meeting other humans only to copulate briefly and so perpetuate the species.)
But communism was only one of the ideas forming the French Revolution, coming to the fore in the radical phase under Robespierre and with radicals like Babeuf. The revolutions of 1848 were when communism came into the form we recognize today; it was this event that was the main influence on Karl Marx. In that year, he wrote the Communist Manifesto and was exiled to England after the failure of the revolutions. While in England, he wrote Das Kapital and helped found the First International. His main fight within the Left was against a different set of heirs to the French Revolution, ones were to be far less historically important, the anarchists such as Mikhail Bakunin, precursors of the libertarian socialists. This fight led to the breakup of the First International. Marx himself endorsed anarchy, but only after the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat", when the class enemies have been smashed. In practice, this never happens, as Marx's anarchist critics saw clearly. Partly because of Marx's writings, but mainly because of the Russian Revolution, Marxist Communism came to be a sort of ur-Leftism, the point which defined Leftism. Communism was (and to an extent still is) Leftism pure and unmixed, with socialism a little to the right, social democracy further still to the right, ect. Indeed, by pinning the definition of Leftism to one place, it defined the whole political spectrum as the reactionaries had earlier. The "Right" came to mean anything opposed to communism, so that in common usage it included both Nazism (which bears no small resemblance to communism) and libertarianism (which has as little to do with Nazism as it does with communism and was once considered a leftist ideology). Such a classification, with almost no regard to the inherent contents of the ideologies themselves, only makes sense as what it is, a classification of how they relate to Communism.
Communists did not start the Russian Revolution. It began as a kind of liberal revolution. The Communists took power in a second revolution, led by the returned exile Lenin. Lenin, it should be noted, was as much a totalitarian as Stalin. The Communists were almost defeated by the Whites (as opposed to Reds, the Communists themselves) in the Russian Civil War following the Revolution. (Most Americans don't know this, but a large American expeditionary force was sent to help the Whites. The Russian leadership during the Cold War most certainly did know it.) After WWII, competing ambitions between two of the victors, the United States and the Soviet Union, led to the Cold War, which lasted until the fall of the Soviet Union.
Although the Left (and, for that matter, the Right) has been defined by relation to Communism, the American left has never been mainly Communist. Its mainstay has always been the labor movement, although that was challenged by the New Left during the 1960s (which was much more like the Communists than the labor unions had been). After the end of the Vietnam War, the New Left splintered into several factions, such as feminists, environmentalists, ect, which mainly survive to this day. Leftism as traditionally defined has lost its mooring after the fall of the Soviet Union. One of the movements trying to take the place of Marxism is post-modernism, which is leading to the gradual Nietzcheanization of the left.

Describing the practices of utopian communities and Native American tribes as primitive communism is simply the language that is used to contrast them with communism as a sophisticated successor to capitalism. Fredbauder 12:02 Oct 21, 2002 (UTC)


A small point, but an important one, I think. The addition of the word "ostensibly" to the sentence Communism .. refers to rule by "the dictatorship of the proletariat"... changes the meaning quite considerably, and for the worse. Communisim, even communisim as a system of government, is an ideal construct - this is to use "ideal" in its true sense, to mean "made of ideas" or "conceptual" - and a fair article on communisim must reflect this (as well as reflect the imperfections of in-practice implementations, of course). Ideal constructs - idea-al, not desired - are a centuries-old tool of analysis, and critically important in many fields, not just politics. Consider, for example, geometry: an ideal line has infinite length and zero width, just as ideal communisim consists of a dictatorship of the proletariat. The fact that neither ideal construct can be demonstrated in the material world does not mean that they are without utility. Consider the sentence:

  • A line is ostensibly an infinite series of points.

"Ostensibly" implies subtrefuge, the cynical intent to mislead. It is not appropriate in this context. The practical difficulty of achieving dictatorship of the proletariat is already clearly signaled by the ironic double quotes and the following parenthetical phrase "in practice, dictatorship by the ruling party". The addition of the single word "ostensibly" turns a balanced statement of what communisim is into an unbalanced and cynical critique. Tannin 01:39 Dec 31, 2002 (UTC)

Well, in my view there was subterfuge involved, because I don't believe that the "dictatorship of the proletariat" as it developed under Stalin, and which served to a great extent the model for all the other communist regimes, wasmuch other than all about acquiring power for Stalin himself, not for the proletariat. And Marx and Engels described what they considered the dictatorship of the proletariat to be in their tract "The Civil War in France"--they said that the Paris Commune was, in fact, an example the dictatorship of the proletariat, and it was essentially nothing like the "dictatorship of the proletariat" as defined by twentieth century regimes in the Soviet Union and elsewhere. That is why I have a problem with describing these regimes as anything but "ostensibly" a "dictatorship of the proletariat". But, that being said, I have to pick my battles in Wikipedia, and this just isn't a big enough deal to me, as it was worded the last time I looked, to worry about. soulpatch
Len - your subsequent Communism ... refers to rule by "the dictatorship of the proletariat"--though in practice Communist nations are dictatorships of the ruling party-- should not have been marked "minor", but is an improvement nevertheless. Tannin
Danke. I'm cantankarous, but I'm no vandal. (The "minor" box is checked by default, and I forgot to uncheck it.) --Len

"In practice and contrary to the utopian dreams of the founders and adherents of communism, modern societies attempting to reach communism are marked by environmental degradation, totalitarian rule, and a general unhappiness and dispair."

This is an irrelevant statement. The goal does not specify the process. Who said that in order to reach communist utopia that a society must move towards that end? The communist dictators argued that force would be needed (i.e., head in the opposite direction to reach the goal faster.) The process is socialism, which is not part of this article. --Jiang 22:44, 20 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Incorrect use of Lenin's name

I don't like the sloppy usage of the name "Vladimir Lenin" in this article. There is no such person! "Lenin" is nothing but a pen name used by Vladimir Ulyanov to avoid arrest by the czar's police. So this article should use the full and correct name for the leader of the Russian Revolution, Vladimir Ulyanov, rather than mixing his real first name with his pseudonymous last name.

Patrick

disagreement over assesment of communism

" For obvious reasons, such a circumstance has never occurred, and the Marxist ideal of communism is commonly viewed as propaganda only, with the actual circumstance being the totalitarian regimes listed below. "

The above is a statement I have written, and which is the source of some disagreement. Lets discuss it here. Jack 05:56, 2 Jan 2004 (UTC)

IMO it would be irresponsible to fail completely to provide the general concensus on communism, and only discuss it in the most motherly of sympathetic tones. For me, and almost everyone I know of, Communism is a word like Nazism, ripe with horror and tragedy, and not to be taken lightly, due to the extreme opinions and histories they have created. Jack 05:59, 2 Jan 2004 (UTC)
You have a point there. However, the issue of whether "communism is evil" or "people who pretend to be communists" are evil has never been settled. AFAIK, there is almost a general consensus that Communism "seems" to be a good philosophy, at least at the outset. It is the act of "enforcing communism" that has always been observed to be flawed (with minimal exceptions, I should say). This dilemma may or may not be persuasive, but what is evident is that there is a need for some complex analysis and a general consensus on "If the philosophy is asking to be taken out of hand" or if the "failures" are results of just faulty interpretations. And this discussion may not exactly fit in one article.
I would prefer this article only discuss the ideals, goals and beliefs of communism. The controversies and the "horrors/tragedies", IMO should be made into a separate article or to jump-start, at least as a separate section, isolated from the rest of the article. chance 06:35, Jan 2, 2004 (UTC)
That would be unencyclopedic. Can you imagine an article about Nazism w/o mention of the "horrors/tragedies"? The single most striking factor of communism is the way in which it leads to despotic regimes. Attepting to gloss over that in favor of "ideals, goals and beliefs" (propaganda) is a diservice to anyone. Of course there should be mention of the theory and even propaganda of the philosophy, but the results of it, signifigant and awe inspiring (the towers of skulls of the Khmer Rouge, the executions under stalin, the human rights abuses under castro, etc....) as they are, could not possibly be left out of any remotely balanced article on the subject. I am looking for some documentation of public opinion on communism, but until I find something solid, I should hope that all agree that the overwhelming public opinion is that "communism" (states with marxist politics, and the attepts to install them) are powerfully bad. While some refer to imaginings about theoretical utopias as "communism" the word has a much clearer application to the ugliness it has resulted in. Jack 10:14, 2 Jan 2004 (UTC)


Again, I disagre. It is not my contention that countries that practiced communism for decades WERE NOT responsible for human rights abuses. However, consider this - Communism (or Marxism - for clarity sake) was nothing more than an economic philosophy to begin with. As with any other economic philosophy, it is benign when it stands by itself. No such philosophy screams - Accept me or I will kill you.
Communism merely states (with what it believed were justifications), the defects in the prevalent system, and a theory - which would be a basis for an alternate system without these flaws. And as with any other modern "philosophy" (chip in globalization, free trade and the Cancun disaster for a few examples), the political enforcement is bound to meet with some disasters (It so happens that communism met with a lot of disasters). If you travel around my part of the world, you might be surprised at the response of where enforcement of globalization ranks with enforcement of communism in the sense of "evilness" :-) Referring to communism as a bad philosophy is IMO heavily biased and a strong POV. But, referring to communism as a probably flawed philosophy because its enforcements in the past have failed miserably is NPOV.
Nazism (Godwin's law - I win :-)) was a phenomenon with a short burst of political activity - with disastrous and horrific consequences. It was not a revolutionary concept - no way. Communism is the "opposite" of capitalism. What is Nazism the opposite of? Nothing. It is a pseudo-philosophy without a very strong definition (other than hatred.) It was just plain old nationalism, with a lot of sick people at the top twisting it here and there and making it seem like a new concept. In effect, there was nothing unique in Nazism as a philosophy other than the rubbish pseudo-scientific theories Hitler put into it. It was merely a means for him to achieve tyranny and propagate his senseless hatred towards the victims.
However, one cannot dismiss communism, the way we do Nazism - in the sense that, it is bigger than what most people think. One cannot deny that it provides some distinct economic answers to "real problems" - some never thought of before. The problem we perceive in the system is - The answers have been found to lead to other problems - indirectly. (as in Communism never dictated - Kill every intellectual in sight ..or prepare a mausoleum with "skull towers" in any of its diktats.) Sometimes, despotic rulers have twisted the theory to suit their own ends. (Stalinism and Maoism for examples.)The theory in strict enforcement, rather than by collaborative adaptation has been observed to go against human nature of individualism and a sense of liberation. We need to analyse that....separately...in much more detail.
IOW, I ask for separation and NOT GLOSSING OVER the "political aspects" (replete with a detailed description of flawed regimes, human rights abuses etc etc) of the communist philosophy from the economic aspects. All I ask for is an interesting discussion, where one can go forth and analyse, "Where is the catch in communism? Why does a seemingly good philosophy meet with disastrous consequences?" I still believe this discussion needs a bigger space. chance 12:50, Jan 2, 2004 (UTC)
LOL...there are so many things that I fundamentally disagree with in there (the above) that I am going to focus on just a couple, for brevity and utilities sake. I am not looking for the article to say "probably flawed philosophy because its enforcements in the past have failed miserably". IMO, that would be POV. What I AM looking to have it point out, is the overwhelmingly bad impression it has, and as soon as I can find a solid study on the public opinion of communism, I am going to include a reference/link to it, in the article. Until then, I do expect everyone to agree it is true. Communism (philosophy or otherwise) is deeply unpopular. In fact, it is neck and neck with Satanism, Nazism, and other such cheery "philosophies" in its popularity. Secondly "Where is the catch in communism? Why does a seemingly good philosophy meet with disastrous consequences?" Seemingly good? Where are you coming from with that? how about "What possible good can we find in this unscientific mess of a philosophy? How could anyone have ever suspected that this would lead to anything but horrific repression and economic malaise? Have you read Marx & Engels?". Jack 21:20, 2 Jan 2004 (UTC)
Oh, well. Fantastic. Since, you choose not to mention so many things that you fundamentally disagree with in there, and do not seem to deduce from my answer that I do not even disagree with you that communism is kinda unpopular nor that the fact needs to be mentioned., I guess I should retire at this point.
And when you say, Where are you coming from with that? how about "What possible good can we find in this unscientific mess of a philosophy? How could anyone have ever suspected that this would lead to anything but horrific repression and economic malaise? Have you read Marx & Engels?
If you had any faint idea of world after the Great Depression, you would know how popular communism was at that time, it even penetrated America. Roosevelt did stem the rot. Anyway, thats my POV. Maybe, people were less intelligent then and still are. Maybe Brian Aldiss wrote Hamlet.
So good luck finding "public consensus" on this topic. Here's waiting to see what you come up with. chance 17:17, Jan 3, 2004 (UTC)
Hey, I'm a good sport. If you want some more information on what I disagreed with in what you said, here goes: #1. "Communism a benign economics philosophy." Wrong. It is the ugliest thing to have happened to economics AND politics ever. The main reason why it is so horrifically bad is that there is some good in it, and the dream of a utopia with a milder income stratification and a just distribution of resources sounds great. Workers rights are important. But when you reccomend violent overthrow of the current system, installation of a dictator, and removal of the incentive to produce, how could anything possibly go right? #2. "Communism met with disasters" Communism caused disasters, see mao's "great leap forward". #3. "Communism is comparable to globalism in its unpopularity." Now way! Thats ridiculous. Maybe to your intellegencia left-winger friends, but I am looking for scientific polls here. #4 "Godwins Law, I win". I'll take this as joke, but I still dislike the tone. #5. "Nazism, nothing but nationalism." I suggest you read Nazism. Rather than simple nationalism, this was a philosophical leap in a new direction, which due to it's industrial approach to rascism (smearing Nazism as simply a racialist philosophy is a red herring. Practically EVERY nation was racialist until after WWII.) and spectacular military failure (IMO due to the complete mental breakdown Hitler IMO suffered) is profoundly unpopular today. Irregardless, you clearly have no concept of its equally spectacular economic sucesses. #6 "Communism is the opposite of Capitalism." Wrong. Communism is the opposite of democracy. Why do I say this? Because "Communism" is a lie, it is a doublespeak, with the hidden word being "totalitarianism" which is all it really is, once you clear away the propoganda which todays liberal youth are so sadly blinded by. #7 "Nazism was purely Pseudo-science" I reccomend you look into operation paperclip, and the dividing of Nazi scientists after WWII between east and west. W/o this "pseudo-science", we would have no space program, sex changes, skin grafting, etc... #8 "Why give communism a bad rap? It only accidentilly leads to horrors..." Communism is 100% successful in leading to brutal repression. It has never succeeded economically, always failed the workers, and has had numerous opportunities to butcher and mistreat the wretched victims of its falsehood. I hope that you feel a bit more satisfied in my thoroughness, and I seriously doubt you have reached retirement age, particulary since american style capitalism has nearly eliminated the state of retirement, in favor of part-time labor. Cheers, Jack 21:15, 3 Jan 2004 (UTC)
Thanks for elaborating. I still have problems with a few of your replies. I will try and again convey my side of the argument to you (hopefully in a better way). This chain is getting too long. Is there a place where we can discuss this better?
Your reply to #1 - Wrong. It is the ugliest thing to have happened to economics AND politics ever. The main reason why it is so horrifically bad is that there is some good in it, and the dream of a utopia with a milder income stratification and a just distribution of resources sounds great.
So, you finally seem to agree that Communism was "seemingly good". Can you ever deny that the philosophy appealed to so many people at different times? There is only one way revolutions happen - by mass popularity. The faults of communism were not immediately apparent at the time of the revolution. It took the Western world 30 years, and even a war in alliance with the Soviet Union to finally wake up to reality. If communism could have been dismissed by everybody as easily as you do, perhaps we wouldnt be having such a long thread here.
Your reply to #3. Now way! Thats ridiculous. Maybe to your intellegencia left-winger friends, but I am looking for scientific polls here.
Translated you mean - "if you say the poll were to be conducted in US, I would accept the poll is scientific." In my country (a successful democracy - the world's largest), we have had "democratically elected" communist governments in many states, which have bene elected over and over again (sometimes over thirty years) It seems the word "communism" has so many different flavors than what you seem to know. "What do they know of England, who only England know".
Your reply to #5 - Industrial approach to racism", "Spectacular gains" and all that...and your suggestion to me to read Nazism
I suggest in return that you read this a bit more thoroughly. The "successes" that you attribute to the Nazi "philosophy" have been adequately rubbished, as gains made through other factors - some pre-existent from the time of the Weimar republic. In effect, Nazism just rode the nationalist wave and the "success cult" it generated in Germany and successfully turned the tide to one espoucing racism and genocide to establish themselves. You call it "industrial racism". I call it "methodical opportunism". Both ways, there is no "Philosophy" involved. That is, if you dont call "racism", a philosophy.
Your reply to #7 I reccomend you look into operation paperclip, and the dividing of Nazi scientists
The fact that some Nazis were brilliant scientists doesnt mean Nazism was scientific. That's like saying "Science should accept that God exists, because some scientists are believers" My allegation that Nazism was pseudo-scientific pertains specifically to the racist "Aryan supremacy theory", which some renowned scientists and intellectuals stupidly believed.
Shall we try and analyse what problems we have here? You have a pre-defined notion of communism - the most popular, but not the most accurate. Communism is as much an economic thory - as much as it conveys a political "authoritarian regime". I do agree with you on all that you pointed out as negative with communism. However, acceptance of something as negative does not mean one should not strive to be as objective as possible in separating facts from "analysis of the facts". Here, that would mean "Theories of communism" and "Criticism of communism and its political failings." I am still waiting to be persuaded by you as to why one should not look into "Communism as a proposed thory" and "Communism in observed practice" separately. And for a change, will you stop seeing me as a "communist sympathiser", but rather as somebody who "only wants to see an encyclopedia discuss things methodically and thoroughly" ? Chancemill 06:17, Jan 6, 2004 (UTC)
Clearly we both mean to discuss things thoroghly, look to the length of this thread!. I never wanted the article to say "communism is bad", that would be POV. What I want is for it to go over, point by point, every failing of this failed system, every contridiction in its twisted and fundamentally flawed propaganda (egalitarianism/equality is impossible) and at least once mention that the general opinion of it is overwhelmingly negative, worldwide. You may claim not to be a communist sypathizer, but I am an anti-communist. I am also of course an objective and thoughtful encyclopedia editor, so as long as you are looking for accuracy, you will find no quarrel with me. Jack 06:29, 6 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Marxist ideal of communism viewed as propaganda

In this encyclopedia, we try to give accurate and neutral information. We do not take the part of communism or anti-communism. It can be an opportunity of political discussion of course but let us agree about facts. Facts are either undisputable historical events or theoretical approaches that can be found in the relative documents. In case of the definition of the word "communism", facts are the answers to questions such as "What really happened?" or "Who said what?". A good policy is to avoid personal opinions and evaluations. One can believe that communism is just a propaganda. Another, may be inspired by this ideal. A third may believe that it is an unrealistic though attractive plan. This is not the point. We cannot discuss in terms of "for obvious reasons (?) .......this is impossible" or "communism is bad/good because I say so" or "most people believe that Stalin is a criminal/hero" or "The prohibition of the religion is the reason for the Soviet Union's collapse". How do you know it? They do not make any sense. We will never find a solution.

In my point we should reread the article and find everythig that can be disputed in terms of historical sources or bibliography and correct it or complete it by mentioning the source when possible. The article about communism needs work. I tried to improve it in the way I described above. My effort is far from being perfect. I can accept with open mind everything based on documents. For instance, the point where I wrote about the capitalist profit is taken from a Marx's speech to a labour assembly. Unfortunately, I could not find "The Capital". If anybody can, please improve this point. Another example is the "proletariat dictatorship". According to Marx's and Lenin's works it is not actually a dictatorship. It was a term in contradiction to the "dictatorship of the capitalists" as Marx called the political structure of capitalism. To start a discussion claiming that the so called "communism" is a dictatorship because of this term is not serious.

Another point is what really happened in the Soviet Union or China. Did bolsheviks developed socialism "by the book"? Yes/No why? This is a subject for a PhD. There are no easy answers.


In terms of NPOV, I think if you want to slant something against people as much as possible, the icing on the cake is you refuse to even let them name themselves. Mohawks become "Indians", socialist countries become "communist countries" (which is an oxymoron), National Liberation Front becomes Viet Cong, Communist Party of Kampuchea becomes Khmer Rouge, Communist Party of Peru becomes Shining Path. And it's amazing to see the edit comments and discussions regarding this. I think it's common sense to use the word people describe themselves as, and as a final indignity, refusing a group the right to say what it's name is is just a full exposition that you are ignoring any sort of neutral point of view. How long is it until feminists becomes "feminazis" and we're all forced to use these ideological neologisms?

No country has ever called itself communist. Countries have called themselves socialist, like the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Why do people call these communist countries, when 1) communist country is an oxymoron since communism means no government and 2) they don't call themselves communist, they call themselves socialist? I don't know.

Then these people attempting obfuscation attempt to further obfuscate it and claim what I'm really trying to say is I do not believe these countries followed the philosophy perfectly and that is whay disclaims them from using the word. Which, of course, is not what I'm saying.

I ask people who use the phrase "communist country" to explain to me why they describe the country as communist, especially since the country calls itself socialist, and especially since the philosophy of communism means there is no country, and they never give a coherent answer. -- Lancemurdoch 18:07, 8 Jan 2004 (UTC)

A very good point, but part of you last entry is based on a false premices: you seem to identify "government" and "state" and you seem to identify "country" and "state". It seems you didn't read Marx lately :-) Mikkalai 20:33, 8 Jan 2004 (UTC)
And by the way, did you happen to ask people to explain why they use the phrase "socialist country"? The catch phrase Socialism: From each according to his ability, to each according to his work eventually boils down to the question: WHO will decide what the word "according" means? So the roads from both communism and socialism to Gulag are basically of the same length. The only chance learned so far is democracy, with all its drawbacks.

Mikkalai 20:41, 8 Jan 2004 (UTC)

help! Im writing a paper on Utopias and i have to compare and contrast two of them. So i picked the views of Karl Marx and Robert Owen on communism. The only problem is is that i dont understand there views. does someone know where i can find an easy virsion on their views of communism?

I have a few questions about communism.

First of all, every single definition of communism I have seen is different. I was wondering if anyone could just give me a straight, simple answer in layman's terms. Also, everyone I know is shocked when I bring it up, as if communism itself is a bad thing. From what I've been researching, the communism isn't what is causing all of the problems, but rather bad leadership. Can anyone give me any points to argue with? One last question. Would communism be more restrictive in terms of freedoms and rights than democracy is?-The Asker.


That might be because of all the "sub-sorts" of Communism. Of course I could give you a "straight, simple" answer in "layman terms", but it will be overly simplistic, of course. Nevertheless, I'd give it a shot; First, you have to realize that what you have heard so far is Socialism. It's a "transparent state" claiming to be 'onwards' to Communism...and usually the stage were things REALLY slip up. Secondly, it claims to be classless.....

In Communism, Thus everyone will be in "the middle-class". Luxuries are very pointless in such a system. It is affordable by making the poor richer and the richer poorer. Then money is abolished (removed) and society is decantralized with local communes and no central power or state. This is to prove inviduality of places - making the system very unbeurocratic, fluid and formless. Of course there is councils of workers and etc., etc., controlling the industry togheter. Also, there will no longer be elections or a vanguard party but direct democracy on issues - in direct control by the whim of the people so it is impossible to just "corrupt some official". Resources will be distrubutied in ration senters. Jobs will "rotate" and be voluntarly, so you don't have to work but you get benefits if you do - so you can do it IF YOU WANT TO - but still get stuff, only slower. You will "move up the ration-list" and get what you want faster. You and the commune decides togheter what you need and want. No-one can "outsource your job" because you're having a say in the matters and are with on the "decision-making". Strikes, protests and labor unions will be obsolote. That's perhaps one of the shortest I can give meanwhile explaining it the most.

I can see why some are shocked when you bring it up because it is not a pleasent theme. It calls for a violent -revolution-, and the capitalistic system is -overthrown- and this is where some despot might slip in and claim to make a socialistic transparent system with a state and form a state-capitalistic (technically) rule "dictatorship of the proletar" with a vanguard party. It is easy in the chaos for some "convincing leader" to assume power. Therefore the people must have their eyes open and reject all legitimacy of a one-ruler "the state is me". That is why people combine it with evil....and I propose to skip that "socialistic" stage. Communism has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the "bad leadership", as you seem to call it. It has -NEVER- been practiced and was just because of someone's sincere wish to attempt it with some misguided totalarian thoughts, and that someone LESS sincere who pretended to be on that side overthrew power afterwards, it got pretty bad off. In both Russia and China they were feudalistic before the revolution so it were kind of impossible to make that transition. You have to go trough Capitalism first, and they did only under restraints. Bosses were kept around and paid and the transporting system were inefficent.

And as for the last question, No: Only for the burgeouise bosses, or, as we call it: "The freedom of the slave owners" will be taken away. No-one shall reap the goods of the worker who has to sell themselves each day and gets little in comparison to what the boss reaps in return. As for Religion - they will immediatly loose organized power, too. Reactionary groups might be supressed but only if a local militia decides to do so. We will also abolish borders, no need for such national bullshit. There is no "main culture" or anything. Communism is international and humanistic - The opposement of Nazism. Thanks for reading.--OleMurder 08:03, 13 May 2005 (UTC)