Communism Bad!
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Communism Bad!
@k_o_t
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42Y

Are there any communism supporters here? Or just people who think that it’s a better political and economic ideology?

Could you elaborate why do you support it? (genuine question)

@nutomic
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72Y

Yes I’m a communist. I cant put that into good words right now, but I suggest you read this article by Albert Einstein.

https://monthlyreview.org/2009/05/01/why-socialism/

@pickleprick
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Dessalines
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52Y

I’m also a communist, and have been for many years. It took many years of being employed by soulless companies, doing the grind and feeling alienated and exploited, and self-education to de-program the pervasive anti-communist brainwashing I got from growing up in a western country.

Here’s some good places to start, if you’re interested:

@appa
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32Y

Thanks for the resources. /u/nutomic too, for the Einstein essay. Going to give them a read.

@k_o_t
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I’ve read the links that you provided and I’m a little bewildered. Please clarify me if I’m wrong, but the whole write-up is a little weird.

First of all, why would you want to choose US as an example to prove that Capitalism doesn’t work? You mention that:

the most developed Capitalist country, the richest country in the history of the world.

While that’s probably true, being rich is not an indication that it’s a good example of Capitalism. Like Saudi Arabia is very rich, but all this money came from oil drilling companies (in fairness, they’re trying to diversify their economy, but that doesn’t matter here).

So while it’s true that US doesn’t care about it’s people (I didn’t click on all the links, but on most of them), and most of them are living poor lives, this doesn’t mean that this is Capitalism’s fault. Rather, poor education, bad healthcare, complete lack of any monopolistic regulations, corrupt politicians etc.

There’s plenty of capitalism countries which are a waay better place to live than the US, not sure why there isn’t mention of any of them.

Then there’s mention about USSR which is supposedly evidence as to how “Communism works extremely well”. Also a weird example. And weird arguments to choose.

USSR had a more nutritious diet than the US, according to the CIA.

This very nutritious diet unfortunately didn’t stop mass famine of the 1930s and 1940-1950s.

Had the 2nd fastest growing economy of the 20th century after Japan. The USSR started out at the same level of economic development and population as Brazil in 1920, which makes comparisons to the US, an already industrialized country by the 1920s, even more spectacular.

This “growth” was achieved by merely restructuring incredibly inefficient workforce into slightly less inefficient workforce. Workers lacked any incentive to work more or with better quality, and any punishments that USSR tried to introduce didn’t help the situation at all. Also, take Kolhoz(s), they were so bad and inefficient that they later became a meme to represent something very poorly organized and very inefficient (not to mention lead to mass starvation in rural areas).

Saved the world from Fascism, Taking on the majority of Nazi divisions, and killing 90% of Nazi soldiers. Bore the enormous cost of blood and pain in WW2 (25M dead), with the bloodiest battles in the history of warfare… An estimated 70% of Soviet housing was destroyed by Nazi invasion. Nazis were in retreat after the battle of Stalingrad in 1942, a full 2 years before the US landed troops in normandy.

I don’t see how that credits Communism. Indeed USSR bore an enormous role in the course of WW2, but it fails to mention the other side of things. For example how millions died because of poor commanders, who had practically no experience and were appointed by Stalin merely as friend, which could’ve been avoided. Or how Stalin forced specific battles to be won earlier that planned, to be attributed to some specific date, which also resulted in millions of unnecessary deaths. Or how when millions of captive soldiers came back, like half of them were sent to Gulags when they failed to prove to the KGB that they weren’t supposedly “spies” that took the side of the enemy. Or the order #227, which essentially ordered soldiers to kill any of their comrades if they were to retreat without command. Moreover, there were specific troops whose whole purpose was to kill such people.

End Racial inequality.

Probably. There wasn’t that much racial inequality in the imperial Russia to begin with. But if you are going to mention discrimination, please don’t forget the jews. All of them were buried with incredibly difficult to solve tasks while entering universities with so called coffin problems (have a look, they’re interesting tasks on their own), so that none of them were to be admitted. Or how jews were fired from major positions in the government, how their possessions, homes were confiscated…

Feudalism to space travel in 40 years. First satellite, rocket, space walk, woman, man, animal, space station, moon and mars probes.

Also, very poor example to attribute to communism I think. The whole purpose of communism is to benefit the people. But the spacerace cost the soviet people a lot. Like how shops lacked any sort of diversity of food. Or how you had to wait hours to buy very basic items. Or how it was impossible to buy any basic clothes, gear, personal items, and most of it people just engineered and created themselves. Or how you had to wait half a decade to buy a car or get a flat. And this happened because all of the resourced were thrown into the space/arms race.

Soviet power production per capita in 1990 was more than the EU, Great Britain, or China’s in 2014.

Very cool, except that people literally couldn’t buy anything, because there was a severe lack of any of the basic things that a regular person might need.

Housing was socialized by localized community organizations, and there was virtually no homelessness. Houses were often shared by two families throughout the 20s and 30s – so unlike capitalism, there were no empty houses, but the houses were very full. In the 40s there was the war, and in the 50s there were a number of orphans from the war. The mass housing projects began in the 60s, they were completed in the 70s, and by the 70s, there were homeless people, but they often had genuine issues with mental health.

There was virtually no homelessness, but at what cost? Virtually nobody had their own private flats, most families occupied a single tiny room. A lot of people lived in the hallways, kitchens etc.

And this write-up doesn’t mention all the rest of the hell soviet citizens had to live through. Like the repressions of the 1920s and 1930s where millions were killed for virtually no reason, with the simple suspicion enough to prosecute someone. Or the Gulags, to which people were sent for mere suspicion, where hundreds of thousands died due to incredibly poor living conditions.

And while there were definitely some good things about the USSR, overall it was, as you can see, not cool to say the least. I’m really confused as to why you would use USSR as proof that communism worked…

Dessalines
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12Y

I was gonna write up some long thing, but I realized you have no sources for any of your points; all of it is your typical western propaganda from a life-long indoctrination of anti-communism. I used to think these things until I started learning about the USSR too.

Things like “nobody had their own private flats”, and “most families occupied a single tiny room”, and “the hell that soviet citizens had to live through” tells me the extent of your learning about the USSR stops at robert conquest, the black book of communism, and western movies about the USSR.

I suggest starting with this article:

https://gowans.blog/2012/12/21/do-publicly-owned-planned-economies-work/

@Rumblestiltskin
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22Y

Do you see any value in cryptocurrencies providing an environment that could help communism work? I know the cryptocurrency space is dominated by extreme capitalists, but in my opinion an open financial system could provide open and transparent rules for co-op businesses and other organisations to exchange goods without having to depend on nation states to play power politics to get the best deal.

Dessalines
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12Y

Maybe, digital labor vouchers might take some inspiration from cryptos, but overall since in a labor-time based economy, you should only be able to exchange labor vouchers for consumer goods anyway, its nothing that age-old credit card tech can’t handle.

@Rumblestiltskin
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12Y

Doesn’t credit card tech suffer from the same centralisation issues that I assume you are working on Lemmy to avoid?

Dessalines
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12Y

Centralization of money-related things IMO should be focused more on how that value is distributed, not how transactions are done.

For example bitcoin is a “decentralized system”, yet I think <10 addresses hold like 70% of all bitcoin. Transactions can technically be done by any computer, and ironically value is even more concentrated than most currencies.

@Rumblestiltskin
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22Y

So more like a system like Steem where tokens are constantly given to the users (workers) in the system providing value. Although Steem still has many issues I see still needing resolved. My point in mentioning is just that I see a lot of people disregarding the technology simply because Bitcoin was a capitalists wet dream when some current blockchains and potential future blockchains could create a system where there is a lot of balanced distribution while reducing the ability of someone to corrupt the system and take the value from it.

@k_o_t
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eem, what kind of sources do you need? Most of the stuff I mentioned is very well documented and a simple search on the internet will yield plenty of evidence…

Which exactly of those are you denying?

The article you linked describes a perfect and utopian version of communism that has never been achieved. The author does not take into account (at all) any of the horrible stuff that happened to the USSR citizens. Also, his main point hinges on how great the public healthcare, housing, transportation, science were, food etc. Well, no such luck here. Here is a nice wikipedia article documenting all the basic things deficits of the Soviet Union (unfortunately only in Russian). But here are some interesting extracts from it:

Waiting anywhere from 2-3 to 10-12 years for the right to buy a car because of great deficit, because most of the cars were exported for whatever reason

Common household items like washing machines, fridges, televisions were in very short supply, and would result in feverish demand when they were in stock.

Other items like tape players, electrical tools were in less shortage, but were still outrageously expensive, with prices often being higher than the yearly pay of an average worker

Books stores lacked books because most of them were written by communist writers about communism, which were not too popular in the USSR and also lack of books because of censorship

To get an item that was in deficit you had to wait in a line, often in many lines for every particular item. Those live lines could get as 8 thousand people long in the 1940, something similar was present at the end of the Soviet Era. Lines could take days.

Unofficial trading was very popular, as this was the only chance for USSR citizens to get common and basic items, and often the only way to get something from outside USSR.

As you can see, the Soviet Union couldn’t supply its citizens with even basic items, any diversity of food, and often there was just no food at all. But healtchcare and transportation were nice, when there weren’t millions killed in wars, repressions and concentration camps. Housing was nice until you had to share a flat with subpar living conditions with multiple (how many depending on the period of time considered) other families. Food was nice, except there often was no food and you had to wait in huge lines to get it.

And by the way, what should I call it but horrible stuff? This is probably the word that western propaganda would use to discredit someone/something, but I honestly have no other expression to describe it…

And this by no means completes the list.

Things like “nobody had their own private flats”, and “most families occupied a single tiny room”

My point was that after the mass starvation triggered by forcefully gathering people in rural areas into Kolhoz(s) and taking most of the food they’ve gathered, many fled into urban areas which naturally created overpopulation crisis (or rather lack of housing crisis), so most people were housed in cramped Khrushchyovkas which were very hastily built with no longevity in mind. I wasn’t able to find any wikipedia articles or official documentation about the living conditions, but I was able to find a ton of photos and a many memoirs of people living there. Suffice to say, it was not a pleasant experience. Now yes, I was way off saying that nobody had private flats, but still, for example in the 1980 in Leningrad 40 % of flats were communal. And at any time you living alone in a private flat could get unexpected flatmate(s)… |sorry, only in Russian|.

tells me the extent of your learning about the USSR stops at robert conquest, the black book of communism, and western movies about the USSR.

I honestly have no idea what those things are and I’ve never read/seen them. My knowledge is based on the history books I’ve read about it, memoirs I’ve read and official reports that I came across.

And by the way, if you don’t trust wikipedia, like all of the links that I provided include links to helpful resources, including Russian, moreover, a lot of them were written in the Soviet Union, so I suppose you could trust that.

I hope you would agree that the main purpose of any country is to make the best living conditions for its people. And while USSR did a great job at space race, arms race, technological race (in times when scientists weren’t discriminated against, arrested, shot, sent to Gulags in the 1930-1940 Stalin repressions (sorry, only in Russian). Oh yes, and the supressed scientific research. And yes, that part when T. D. Lisenko called Russian genetics pseudo scientists and genetics pseudo science, connecting them to propaganda of racism. There’s a nice book called “White Clothes” by Vladimir Dydintsev describing the events.) USSR failed miserably to provide basic things to its citizens and ensure proper living conditions. Oh and also, if communism was so great, why would she Soviet government put in place the Iron Curtain, forbidding almost anyone from leaving the country. And if the Soviet Union was such a great place to live in, why did the Soviet people try at all to escape the country? If communism was so great, the Soviet Union should not have imposed any censorship of printing and press? (primarily talking about the mid to later period of Soviet Union) The Soviet people would’ve just looked at how bad people live in capitalist countries and would’ve happily stayed in the Soviet Union.

And the most important source: asking the people who lived there. People either hate the Soviet Union because they’re aware of all the horrible things (sorry, don’t know how to phrase it otherwise), or they really like the Soviet Union, but because they’re living Russia now, which in many cases has waaay worse living conditions than the USSR. At least during the Soviet Era they had good (can’t deny that) quality healthcare, acceptable housing conditions closer to the later period of the USSR, and now all this is gone, with horrible healthcare, very bad housing conditions, tiny salaries of 150-350 dollars, even smaller pensions…

Anyway, USSR was a horrible place to live in (throughout most of its period and for most people). It resulted in a cruel and bloody dictatorship with the state being built on fear, lies and threats I’m sorry, but that is not a country that I would be eager to live in.

Also, why do you automatically label any person who disagrees with you a product of western propaganda? Is it not possible for a person to develop an opposing opinion having considered all the arguments? I’m not against socialism and communism altogether, I think that it should be the strategy for healthcare, partly housing (as it’s already been done in many European countries) for example. I just think that there have been examples in the history of the humanity demonstrating that communism is unachievable and it almost always resulted in horrible outcomes.

Dessalines
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Food was nice, except there often was no food and you had to wait in huge lines to get it…As you can see, the Soviet Union couldn’t supply its citizens with even basic items, any diversity of food,

Nope. Even the CIA found that the Soviet food supply was near-identical to the American food supply in terms of calories and protein. Contemporary American reports indicated that, by some standards, the Soviet diet was healthier than the American one.

Calories per person eventually passed the US by the 1960s:

.

Since you seem to love wikipedia as a source, here’s one even they have to admit:

After the October revolution, the life expectancy for all age groups went up. A newborn child in 1926-27 had a life expectancy of 44.4 years, up from 32.3 years thirty years before. In 1958-59 the life expectancy for newborns went up to 68.6 years.

Also, the people loved the USSR, which is why recent polls have shown most of the generation that lived under it want it back. 66% of Russians polled in 2015 want the USSR back.

@k_o_t
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2Y

Nope. Even the CIA found that the Soviet food supply was near-identical to the American food supply in terms of calories and protein

Even if we assume that this report is true (which is probably is, given that CIA had not stimuli to praise the Soviet Union), as indicated by the report itself, it only covered data from 1965 to 1984, which completely misses all the major famines occurring in the Soviet Union and the late Imperial Russia.

Contemporary American reports indicated that, by some standards, the Soviet diet was healthier than the American one.

That is the case because fast food (which is one of the major, if not the most important, factor contributing to unhealthy diet in the availability of healthy food) was practically non-existent in the USSR or was very bad.

After the October revolution, the life expectancy for all age groups went up. A newborn child in 1926-27 had a life expectancy of 44.4 years, up from 32.3 years thirty years before. In 1958-59 the life expectancy for newborns went up to 68.6 years.

That is because peasants, which contributed over 80-90 % of the population even in the 1920s, were up until that moment practically slaves under Serfdom (even though it was lifted in 1861) receiving practically no healthcare, so naturally their life expectancy was pretty low, so even the smallest change to the availability of somewhat proper healthcare (which they kind of did get after in the Soviet Union) would result in great increase in life expectancy. So yes, you could argue that the early USSR had better life expectancy than a system with slavery. It got a lot better in the 1970s of course, when healthcare got a lot better, with a lot of sport propaganda and the average life expectancy got a lot higher, but it’s hard to estimate how much of that improvement was actually from improved healthcare and living conditions, and how much of that were ceased repressions, prisoners being released from Gulags and relative lack of wars.

Also, the people loved the USSR, which is why recent polls have shown most of the generation that lived under it want it back. 66% of Russians polled in 2015 want the USSR back.

Have you read what I wrote about Russian citizens about loving the Soviet Union (genuine question, I edited my comment later a few times with additional information)?

But aside from that, do you think these small improvements and positive sides in any way justify everything else?

@nutomic
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22Y

Wow this is some bullshit. Wikipedia is not a source, it has a very pro-capitalist bias. And the thing about people starving (outside of wartime) is nothing but propaganda, even the CIA admitted that Russians got more calories per day than Americans.

@k_o_t
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I don’t really know what else to add…

As I’ve written in my comment, there a bunch of sources at the bottom of the Wikipedia page (yes, even sources that were written by Soviet citizens in the Soviet union).

And the thing about people starving (outside of wartime) is nothing but propaganda, even the CIA admitted that Russians got more calories per day than Americans.

Have you read that report? It only includes data gathered from 1965 to 1984, which is a period specifically known as Khrushchev Thaw, in which the life expectancy got a lot higher, healthcare and the housing situation improved. So data gathered from that period is not at all representative of the situation as a whole in the Soviet Union. Plus, a lot of the improvements happened majorly due to almost complete halt of repressions, release of political prisoners and prisoners from the Gulag camps, which given that tens of millions of people have experienced them, constituted such a big role in the life improvement overall across all people and average life expectancy.

And I’m not sure that we can call ending of repressions and release of all Gulag labor camp prisoners as a positive attribute of the Socialist system…

@AgreeableLandscape
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@nutomic
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02Y

There can be no complete freedom as long as capitalists actively try to destroy the country. Did you know that the Soviet Union was invaded by the US during its first years? And how many countries got “regime changed” after they adopted socialism? Limiting so-called “free speech” is a necessary measure of self-defence.

@AgreeableLandscape
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@AgreeableLandscape
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@Rumblestiltskin
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22Y

Social democracies.

@pickleprick
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@k_o_t
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Would you say that communism does (or should I say would) in theory work? (genuine question) I’m not saying that capitalism does work, at least not in its current form, but to my knowledge all past attempts at communism have ended disastrously…

@dreamland
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02Y

How do you define communism?

If we take it to be the maximal distribution of power, I think we all here believe in that (distributed systems) to some extent.

Distributed systems do work. Communism is just another distributed system.

That said, we don’t really need to worry about communism. Things aren’t going to become hyper-distributed anytime soon.

Distributing the worldly power is not a bad thing. That’s all we need to know for now.

@nutomic
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12Y

communism: stateless, moneyless society (obviously never achieved yet)

socialism: a state where the workers control the means of production (like the soviet union or china)

Socialism is a transitionary stage between capitalism and communism, which means it has elements of both.

@dreamland
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socialism: a state where the workers control the means of production (like the soviet union or china)

Go back in time and ask any worker in the Soviet Union or China if they control the means of production. The sense of alienation in the USSR was even stronger than in any capitalist country, because your ultimate boss was even further removed from you.

Where you’d have less alienation as a worker is if you were in a worker coop. In a worker coop you vote on how to dispose of the means of production, you’re a worker and an owner at the same time, and you have a say in the company’s direction and the various administrative matters. The USSR was not a country of worker coops. Neither was China.

The USSR was an exceptionally hierarchical setup, and democracy there was a sham, so what control could the workers speak of? None. It was non-existent. At least if the democracy in the USSR were real, there’d be that very coarse level of control via your elected representatives.

There were historically a few rare exceptions, so in fact the USSR did have a few worker coops here and there, but those were the exceptions and not the rule.

Realistically a country like France, with very strong worker protections and a much more functional democracy and a culture of routinely speaking truth to power and active resistance, is much closer to a worker-enfranchising country than something like the Soviet Union. In the Soviet Union the culture was one of fear and non-resistance and with all the important elections being “unanimous” the Soviet “democracy” was a sham.

@nutomic
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-12Y

lmao france is more democratic than the societ union? is that what you are gonna tell the yellow vests?

@Rumblestiltskin
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12Y

It is absurd to think France is less democratic than the USSR or Russia.

@nutomic
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12Y

Whats even absurder is thinking the USSR and Russia are the same. You think everything stayed the same after the coup where tanks shot at the Kreml?

@Rumblestiltskin
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12Y

USSR and Russia were both mentioned, they were not assumed to be the same.

@dreamland
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I stand by what I said.

Firstly, I was talking about the USSR and not the modern day Russia.

But even with modern day Russia, which in some ways has become more politically liberalized, yea, there is no comparison and France is more democratic.

The fact that there is something like the Yellow Vest movement is in and of itself proof. Where is the Russian Yellow Vest movement? It’s nowhere. Why not? Because Russians are habitually more afraid of their government. They’re trained to be afraid from birth, like dogs, like caged animals.

What happens when Russians rise up? They quickly find themselves intimidated, in jail, or dead. How many journalists got shot in recent years in France for publishing things against the government’s interests? None that I know of.

What worker protections exist on the books in France vs Russia? Compare them. Which country is better? Which country is more likely to follow their own laws?

So yea, France is the winner here.

@nutomic
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-12Y

lmao i’m not even gonna read this drivel

@AgreeableLandscape
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@dreamland
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12Y

how do you feel about communist states that have highly centralized governments that may not be as democratic as they should be?

It’s like asking about water that’s not as wet as it should be. :)

Communism would maximally empower every individual (or it would distribute the power broadly instead of concentrating it in the elite). How would that empowerment happen if you don’t have a say in any important strucutural matter?

That some of these governments had the temerity to associate themselves with communism is upsetting.

Socialism and communism are great ideas, and the Soviet Union has damaged these ideas by their cynical weaponization of the ideas. I don’t believe the damage is permanent, it can heal, but we now have to take a step back and try to heal from all the anti-democratic nonsense that the Soviet Union has associated with the ideas of socialism and communism.

Socialism and communism cannot be forced. The people have to evolve organically toward better and better democracies, toward more and higher quality enfranchisement, and it’s not only a political thing. It’s a cultural and even a spiritual thing too. A person has to master their fear at least to some extent, because power is never given, it’s only taken. That means if we want to distribute the power more broadly, the various people who are looking to enfranchise themselves have to grab power, not ask for it, but grab it. But to avoid restarting a cycle of power concentration, they have to grab this power with the idea of also sharing it and not hoarding it. This requires wisdom in addition to courage. It’s a process and the process is going on right now.

@dreamland
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Just curious, how do you feel about communist states that have highly centralized governments that may not be as democratic as they should be?

Narratives are sometimes hijacked by the people in power. It also didn’t help when Marx talked about the idea of a “dictatorship of the proletariat.” So due to some unforced and some forced errors, the notion of communism got perverted from what it was originally meant to be.

Marx should have never included “dictatorship” of any kind as an intermediate step, imo.

At the same time, the Soviet and Chinese apparatchiks were corrupt and they used the rhetoric of “communism” in a completely cynical manner. In the USSR “communism” was a perpetually receding promise, like a carrot that was forever moving away from the donkey. They had a “communist party.” But they’ve never called their socioeconomic order “communism.” I think the situation is similar in China, where they have a communist party, but they probably wouldn’t call their socioeconomic order “communism.”

The “USSR” stood for “the United Soviet Socialist Republics.” So it’s in the name too. There was enough honesty there not to call their order “communist.” But, considering how rigged the elections were in the USSR, I guess they never gave any (or many) actual fucks about either socialism or communism. It was just a convenient label that the people believed in.

The USSR had nearly free public transportation, and all kinds of free sports and hobby clubs for the youths, and a much more relaxed culture around property so that you could fish or gather mushrooms in a forest without worrying about permissions and licensing. So there were some upsides even from their authoritarian and admittedly fucked up (not enough freedom of conscience, speech, etc.) way of doing things.

We shouldn’t fear the labels like “a communist” or “a socialist” but instead we should look at the concrete policies promoted by the people who either self-identify or are identified by the others as “a socialist,” etc… If you like a policy, you can support said policy.

For me democracy is non-negotiable (I’m pro-democracy), and I take the idea of distributed power pretty seriously. I don’t believe the power can ever become perfectly distributed, so I am not an anarchist myself, but to me, the more distributed, the better, and distribution of power (or its concentration) is a spectrum.

@AgreeableLandscape
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