Author Topic: Why doesn't communism work?  (Read 148662 times)

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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #150 on: July 24, 2010, 10:10:13 PM »
Elizabeth
         if  you think that I think that the problem with communism started with Stalin, you read me incorrectly.  Without Lenin there would be no Stalin, no mass exocutions, no civil war, no lack of democracy, no purges etc.  Lenin was as ruthless as Stalin but had not refined the weapons in his arsenal or had as much of a complete hold on power to facilitate such evil.

Constantinople, I certainly didn't mean to include you in my last comment. I merely noted that "most" (not all!) of the people here seem to think the evil in the Soviet system really started with Stalin. Maybe I'm misreading things, but somehow I don't think so. Even Alixz is qualifying Lenin's legacy, saying (I'm paraphrasing her) that we can't be sure how things would have turned out because Lenin died prematurely. I, on the contrary, believe that things would have turned out pretty much the same no matter who took over after Lenin - that's the whole point.

First of all, we should remember that there was a very limited number of possible successors to Lenin - in fact Trotsky was really the only other serious contender for leadership of the Soviet state aside from Stalin. (A "moderate" Bolshevik like Bukharin - who had nevertheless signed off on innumerable atrocities during the Revolution and Civil War - would never have prevailed, no matter what Professor Cohen believes.) Keep in mind that Trotsky was a radical leftist even by Bolshevik standards - he believed in perpetual revolution, so no doubt he would have been as big a disaster for the country as Stalin. The forced collectivization of agriculture would probably have happened under Trotsky's rule, and that was by far the worst crime, in terms of human deaths and number of lives permanently ruined, that Stalin and his Bolsheviks ever committed.

I can see how a cult of personality would have developed around Trotsky in charge, too. Like Hitler, he was an intensely charismatic leader, far more charismatic than Stalin. He loved his image, he loved the sound of his own voice, he loved himself. And even now, how many decades later, you still come across the occasional committed "Trotskyite," such is the lingering power of that charisma.

Lenin established the principle of one-party rule and the principle of terror as a legitimate means of government. He set all the precedents for Stalin. In my view Constantinople is absolutely right that without Lenin, there would have been no Stalin.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2010, 10:24:50 PM by Elisabeth »
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Constantinople

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #151 on: July 24, 2010, 11:39:57 PM »
Elizabeth
        On the whole I agree with you  and I am not sure how moderate Trotsky would have been actually if he had taken over the reigns of the communist machine.  He had been head of the army during the civil war and there was no shortage of attrocities there.   My one exception is your statement that Lenin brought a one party system into Russia. What is an autocracy but a one party system.  Lenin just continued Russia's long history of authoritarianism.

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #152 on: July 25, 2010, 12:14:28 AM »
Elizabeth
        On the whole I agree with you  and I am not sure how moderate Trotsky would have been actually if he had taken over the reigns of the communist machine.  He had been head of the army during the civil war and there was no shortage of attrocities there.   My one exception is your statement that Lenin brought a one party system into Russia. What is an autocracy but a one party system.  Lenin just continued Russia's long history of authoritarianism.

I guess I was referring to Lenin's rule of "democratic centralism," which became the law of the Bolsheviks during the last years of his life, that there could be no factionalism in the Soviet Communist Party. Of course at the time this did not end differences of opinion in the party leadership, not by a long stretch, but it did set a precedent for Stalin to purge any dissenters from his party line in the future.

I agree with you that the Bolsheviks on some level were merely continuing "Russia's long history of authoritarianism," but as you would probably also agree, they took it to a whole new, hitherto unimaginable level.
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Constantinople

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #153 on: July 25, 2010, 02:06:34 AM »
Elizabeth
           Yes i agree with that.  Or maybe they just reverted to the time of the Mongols and Ivan the Terrible.

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #154 on: July 25, 2010, 08:05:58 AM »
Elizabeth
           Yes i agree with that.  Or maybe they just reverted to the time of the Mongols and Ivan the Terrible.

The Mongols actually weren't as bad as they're made out to be, and as for Ivan IV, he was pathological in a way that Stalin definitely wasn't. If Ivan the Terrible were alive today, with the same psychological profile, I have no doubt he'd be diagnosed as a serial killer. Whereas Stalin was quite "normal" in many respects and certainly doesn't fit our conventional notions of sociopaths and psychopaths, any more than Hitler or Lenin do.

If Ivan was an aberration of Russian history, maybe Stalin was its culmination.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2010, 08:18:06 AM by Elisabeth »
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Alixz

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #155 on: July 25, 2010, 08:45:41 AM »
Elizabeth
         if  you think that I think that the problem with communism started with Stalin, you read me incorrectly.  Without Lenin there would be no Stalin, no mass executions, no civil war, no lack of democracy, no purges etc.  Lenin was as ruthless as Stalin but had not refined the weapons in his arsenal or had as much of a complete hold on power to facilitate such evil.

Constantinople, I certainly didn't mean to include you in my last comment. I merely noted that "most" (not all!) of the people here seem to think the evil in the Soviet system really started with Stalin. Maybe I'm misreading things, but somehow I don't think so. Even Alixz is qualifying Lenin's legacy, saying (I'm paraphrasing her) that we can't be sure how things would have turned out because Lenin died prematurely. I, on the contrary, believe that things would have turned out pretty much the same no matter who took over after Lenin - that's the whole point.


Lenin established the principle of one-party rule and the principle of terror as a legitimate means of government. He set all the precedents for Stalin. In my view Constantinople is absolutely right that without Lenin, there would have been no Stalin.

Elizabeth, that is what I meant by saying that because Lenin died after ruling for short a time, that we might have seen the same party line and the same type of purges as Stalin ordered, but only from Lenin.

Offline Nicolá De Valerón

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #156 on: July 25, 2010, 09:04:07 AM »
The Mongols actually weren't as bad as they're made out to be, and as for Ivan IV, he was pathological in a way that Stalin definitely wasn't. If Ivan the Terrible were alive today, with the same psychological profile, I have no doubt he'd be diagnosed as a serial killer. Whereas Stalin was quite "normal" in many respects and certainly doesn't fit our conventional notions of sociopaths and psychopaths, any more than Hitler or Lenin do.

If Ivan was an aberration of Russian history, maybe Stalin was its culmination.

Elizabeth,

Absolutely agree that Ivan IV was on of the most important factors/points in the case of Russian historical wrong way and slowly degradation, but I think it (degradation and choice of wrong way) is started very long before Mr Ivan IV. He was probably the most bright point in this thing, but not the first and not the most important. On my opinion mandatory Orthodox baptism in Kiev Rus (Orthodox church is an example of absolute brutality and total orthodoxy to itself) among Russians by Vladimir in 988 and defeat of the last democratic/free and independent from Moscow rulership republics, Novgorod and Pskov in 15th century by Ivan III are the first and most important factors here. Ivan IV and Stalin here are only continuation of this irreversible line.

After this tragic actions, even the man with Napoleon skills could not help Russia during it's short liberalizations. Even Alexander II and Yeltsin (not bad as a leaders) are far from these people;(.

Sorry for off-topic.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2010, 09:07:31 AM by Nicolá De Valerón »
"I think that if Shakespeare lived in our times he would not be able to write. Many of his works are not welcome on stage nowadays: The Merchant of Venice – anti-Semitism, Othello – racism, The Taming of the Shrew – sexism, Romeo and Juliet - hideous heterosexual show..." - Vladimir Bukovsky.

Lady Nikolaievna

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #157 on: July 25, 2010, 09:32:25 AM »
I'm sorry, but I'd like to ask something to you guys:
We all know North Corea is a country with a sad history, and with a governor who isn't flexible at all... But the people from North Corea, at least most of them, don't really care, and we all know how cruel the government could be. I wonder howpeople can agree with such things, eventough their own relatives are harmed. They have a great respect for the governor, of course they are scared, but they do like him. If they wanted, they could easily take him of the power, instead they agree. Do you think a governor have such power, to get people to trully agree with atrocities? I mean, we had in German Hitler, but it wasn't everyine who accepted his as their ruler. What do you guys think of that?

I know it's out of topic, but I started to think about it.
LadyN.

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #158 on: July 25, 2010, 09:37:00 AM »
The Mongols actually weren't as bad as they're made out to be, and as for Ivan IV, he was pathological in a way that Stalin definitely wasn't. If Ivan the Terrible were alive today, with the same psychological profile, I have no doubt he'd be diagnosed as a serial killer. Whereas Stalin was quite "normal" in many respects and certainly doesn't fit our conventional notions of sociopaths and psychopaths, any more than Hitler or Lenin do.

If Ivan was an aberration of Russian history, maybe Stalin was its culmination.

Elizabeth,

Absolutely agree that Ivan IV was on of the most important factors/points in the case of Russian historical wrong way and slowly degradation, but I think it (degradation and choice of wrong way) is started very long before Mr Ivan IV. He was probably the most bright point in this thing, but not the first and not the most important. On my opinion mandatory Orthodox baptism in Kiev Rus (Orthodox church is an example of absolute brutality and total orthodoxy to itself) among Russians by Vladimir in 988 and defeat of the last democratic/free and independent from Moscow rulership republics, Novgorod and Pskov in 15th century by Ivan III are the first and most important factors here. Ivan IV and Stalin here are only continuation of this irreversible line.

After this tragic actions, even the man with Napoleon skills could not help Russia during it's short liberalizations. Even Alexander II and Yeltsin (not bad as a leaders) are far from these people;(.

Sorry for off-topic.

Hi, Nicola! Ivan did indeed constitute a terrible event in Russian history, perhaps his reign was even the decisive turning point, I simply don't know. It's a matter of much debate. I do, however, tend to believe that Russia was not doomed to authoritarian government as early as the ninth century! Even Charlemagne forcibly converted some of his subjects to Christianity, around the same time, and is France or Germany a tyranny? It seems to me that even long after Ivan IV, Russia could have reversed its course and gone down the path toward democracy. If Alexander II had lived, for example, and not been assassinated by that horrendous bunch of criminals, the People's Will, it seems to me that Russia's history in the twentieth century might have been very different. Because even if AII was only prepared to offer a very limited restriction of his powers as tsar, it was still a restriction... and the way was paved for a true constitutional government. But of course the worst thing happened, as it always seems to do in Russian history, and Alexander II was murdered and his reactionary retrograde son Alexander III came to the throne... that was the real moment of doom, I think.
... I love my poor earth
because I have seen no other

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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #159 on: July 25, 2010, 09:41:47 AM »
I'm sorry, but I'd like to ask something to you guys:
We all know North Corea is a country with a sad history, and with a governor who isn't flexible at all... But the people from North Corea, at least most of them, don't really care, and we all know how cruel the government could be. I wonder howpeople can agree with such things, eventough their own relatives are harmed. They have a great respect for the governor, of course they are scared, but they do like him. If they wanted, they could easily take him of the power, instead they agree. Do you think a governor have such power, to get people to trully agree with atrocities? I mean, we had in German Hitler, but it wasn't everyine who accepted his as their ruler. What do you guys think of that?

I know it's out of topic, but I started to think about it.
LadyN.

The people of North Korea are starving, their children suffer from such horrible malnutrition that it affects their brain development - I honestly don't think people living in such terrible conditions, where survival itself is a daily struggle, are in any position at all to revolt against a tyrannical government. Did you watch the World Cup? The North Korean team looked stunted and undernourished. The only person with a potbelly in North Korea is the leader himself.
... I love my poor earth
because I have seen no other

-- Osip Mandelshtam

Offline Sergei Witte

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #160 on: July 25, 2010, 09:42:23 AM »
I'm sorry, but I'd like to ask something to you guys:
We all know North Corea is a country with a sad history, and with a governor who isn't flexible at all... But the people from North Corea, at least most of them, don't really care, and we all know how cruel the government could be. I wonder howpeople can agree with such things, eventough their own relatives are harmed. They have a great respect for the governor, of course they are scared, but they do like him. If they wanted, they could easily take him of the power, instead they agree. Do you think a governor have such power, to get people to trully agree with atrocities? I mean, we had in German Hitler, but it wasn't everyine who accepted his as their ruler. What do you guys think of that?

I know it's out of topic, but I started to think about it.
LadyN.

Lady Nikolaievna,

I try to say something about North Korea which I believe are important facts.

1) Millions of Korean civilians were killed during the Korean War by American troups. This made the Americans a natural enemy in the eyes of the Koreans.

2) More than 50 years of brain-washig and propaganda did their additional job.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2010, 09:50:41 AM by Sergei Witte »

Offline Nicolá De Valerón

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #161 on: July 25, 2010, 09:58:52 AM »
The Mongols actually weren't as bad as they're made out to be, and as for Ivan IV, he was pathological in a way that Stalin definitely wasn't. If Ivan the Terrible were alive today, with the same psychological profile, I have no doubt he'd be diagnosed as a serial killer. Whereas Stalin was quite "normal" in many respects and certainly doesn't fit our conventional notions of sociopaths and psychopaths, any more than Hitler or Lenin do.

If Ivan was an aberration of Russian history, maybe Stalin was its culmination.

Elizabeth,

Absolutely agree that Ivan IV was on of the most important factors/points in the case of Russian historical wrong way and slowly degradation, but I think it (degradation and choice of wrong way) is started very long before Mr Ivan IV. He was probably the most bright point in this thing, but not the first and not the most important. On my opinion mandatory Orthodox baptism in Kiev Rus (Orthodox church is an example of absolute brutality and total orthodoxy to itself) among Russians by Vladimir in 988 and defeat of the last democratic/free and independent from Moscow rulership republics, Novgorod and Pskov in 15th century by Ivan III are the first and most important factors here. Ivan IV and Stalin here are only continuation of this irreversible line.

After this tragic actions, even the man with Napoleon skills could not help Russia during it's short liberalizations. Even Alexander II and Yeltsin (not bad as a leaders) are far from these people;(.

Sorry for off-topic.

Hi, Nicola! Ivan did indeed constitute a terrible event in Russian history, perhaps his reign was even the decisive turning point, I simply don't know. It's a matter of much debate. I do, however, tend to believe that Russia was not doomed to authoritarian government as early as the ninth century! Even Charlemagne forcibly converted some of his subjects to Christianity, around the same time, and is France or Germany a tyranny? It seems to me that even long after Ivan IV, Russia could have reversed its course and gone down the path toward democracy. If Alexander II had lived, for example, and not been assassinated by that horrendous bunch of criminals, the People's Will, it seems to me that Russia's history in the twentieth century might have been very different. Because even if AII was only prepared to offer a very limited restriction of his powers as tsar, it was still a restriction... and the way was paved for a true constitutional government. But of course the worst thing happened, as it always seems to do in Russian history, and Alexander II was murdered and his reactionary retrograde son Alexander III came to the throne... that was the real moment of doom, I think.

Elisabeth, Hello!

But where is the dispute?;). I've only said that this "wrong way" was started before Ivan IV. He is only the most visible and bright point here. Sometimes even intelligent people with intellect, but with no understanding of specific Russian problems say - "Ivan IV was an evil, who started all the bad things". Of course he was an evil, but without Ivan III who killed thousands of Novgorod people (he rolled them under the ice) and without absolutely mandatory orthodox (in all meanings) Religion, there would not be Ivan IV. Just sober sequence. Ivan IV was a brutal and absolute continuator, but not the person who started these irreversible consequences...

Of course there were a lot of chances for Russia after this tragic start (from liberalisations of Godunov, A-I and C-II to A-II with Yeltsin), but if honestly I think that the first wrong actions were so catastrophic, that only God can help. Interesting that he (God) is still not going to help even now;).
« Last Edit: July 25, 2010, 10:04:27 AM by Nicolá De Valerón »
"I think that if Shakespeare lived in our times he would not be able to write. Many of his works are not welcome on stage nowadays: The Merchant of Venice – anti-Semitism, Othello – racism, The Taming of the Shrew – sexism, Romeo and Juliet - hideous heterosexual show..." - Vladimir Bukovsky.

Constantinople

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #162 on: July 25, 2010, 11:32:19 AM »
having dealth with diagnosed sociopaths and psychopaths as part of a job i had a long time ago,  I can tell you that Stalin and Hitler both fit the bill as either socio or psychopaths.  Basically both feel absolutely no remorse for the dreadful things they do.

Constantinople

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #163 on: July 25, 2010, 12:44:22 PM »
I am listening to an interview with Oscar Brand who had the honour of being one of the few people who was banned by both the American Communist party and the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #164 on: July 25, 2010, 01:25:45 PM »
 I did not know he- Oscar Brand was still alive, he must be approaching 100 by now!
 I knew of him as a  humorist folksinger and radio  broadcaster,  much like Garrison Keillor with a bite and his  Prairie Home Companion.
 ASFAIK, he was never a member of the CPUSA,  and he detested Stalin. Although he did support  Socialist causes and anti-war stances.
 HUAC notoriously banned [more  correctly- BLACKLISTED] many people, with no legal right to do so. It has NEVER been illegal to be a member or supporter of  the Communist Party.  Or any other party, for that mater.  The McCarthys and Birchers did more to undermine the US constitution than the CP ever even dreamed of.
 Could not resist posting on this, as he  is a great influence on social activism and folk,music, both  US and Canadian.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2010, 01:52:08 PM by Robert_Hall »
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