The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected]. 

In a nutshell and simplified form, numerous variations of communism have emerged over the past: Marxist-Leninism, Stalinism, Bolivarian Socialism, etc., to name few. The followers of “Christian communism” claim that the only ones who practiced true communism were Jesus, his disciples and early followers as they shared everything among themselves. Hence, the expression of the “Holy Communion”. All private possessions became common good, jointly owned and democratically managed. No one would be able to accumulate riches while others are suffering and remain poor.

In stark contrast to such idealistic approach, the reality in modern day communism happens to be quite different. What is promised in communist propaganda as a common good for all is in fact strictly organised as a hierarchical system of elite members and leadership while all members of the party are subjected to ultimate party discipline. The aim: not to allow any opposition, not outside but also not inside the party. Members who dare to criticise leadership may they be young upstarts or long-serving party members who had substantially contributed to the party’s growth and success to finally get into power, will be side-lined or punished. The goal: ultimate control of the state’s state of affairs.

Notwithstanding means such as corruption, bribe or even revolution, often power had been assumed through legitimate election. Once in power, the aim of communist leadership is to stay in power as long as possible by eliminating or sidestepping the instruments of democracy. Loopholes that exist in any constitution will be exploited, for instance, the right of leadership to appoint crucial positions such as governor general, members of the judiciary, commissioner of police, attorney general, speaker, naturally creates a climate of dependency since highly rewarded posts guarantee an upper-end life. In other words, while supporting the leadership one may not necessarily act in the interest of a country but one is certainly furthering one’s own personal interests.

Once in control of state organs and key positions, leadership can now dictate anything of importance, such as finance, investments, projects of all sorts — whether they make sense or not, and even media. Last, but not least, a communist leadership is then in a position to harass nonconformist citizens and private entrepreneurs, even confiscate or destroy their businesses.

For the above reasons, to rid a country of undemocratic leadership is difficult if not impossible. They’ll cling to power by all means, by whatever it takes. They don’t have the prosperous future of a country at heart, but rather their and their supporters’ prosperity, cushioned by high income, elaborate travels and most of all for whatever psychological reasons, the indulgence of holding the reins of power.

Very few communist countries have survived; many have wasted decades of precious time. The mighty Soviet Union has long collapsed. Communism in practice and theory is considered to have failed. Many countries have come to a standstill as basic human characteristics have been ignored such as to decide for oneself, to enjoy cultural and individual freedom or to own private property. Today, the once powerful communist movement is in tatters. The surviving ones, North Korea and Venezuela, cling to power by sheer terror, alas to the great suffering of their citizens. Others have opened their doors. For example, Cuba is now open to the

Western World; so is China, which since long is not a typical communist state; as they have managed to merge communism with capitalism into a party-led hybrid of sorts.

The bad news! Because of the good life enjoyed by cronies and supporters on one hand and on the other hand, the fear of the populace of being victimised, it may take long until a dictatorial leadership can be removed, especially if opposition is disunited and possesses few teeth. Poorly educated masses can be easily caught with unrealistic promises at pompous events, the sort of narcissistic, ruthless demagogues use whenever they open their mouth — see leaders such as Erdogan in Turkey or Trump in the United States. But wait a minute — these two guys are no communists. Are they? One is a speculating, showy capitalist, the other a fascistoid Islamist, both, surprise, surprise, under the disguise of democracy.

So what really is communism? It is a dictatorial system, where for the ultimate goal of holding on to power, leadership controls the masses by means of fear and manipulation. Political authority is being exercised over all aspects of life where nepotism is rife while intellectuals and opposing individuals are subordinated. Free speech, political and cultural expression is suppressed just as in all the other totalitarian regimes. The methods are exactly the same!

Independent

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

3 replies on “So what really is communism?”

  1. Looking at Feed it speaks of SVG, but to most outsider looking in, this is not a secret that SVG has gone communist, it’s only Vincentians who does not know they are living in a communist state, but then again we speaking about Vincy ppl, they are very aware but they love that socialist lifestyle….more to come

  2. C. ben-David says:

    As many before you have done, you confuse and conflate the economic system called communism with the political system called totalitarianism, an easy thing to do since, in practice, the former has been sustained by the latter, at least as far as state societies have been concerned.

    On the other hand, in many pre-state societies and in small enclaves in state societies (e.g., Hutterites) communism on a small scale is quite compatible with democratic decision making and economic egalitarianism.

    So, tell us what your essay has to do with SVG?

    1. C. ben-David I agree. As I read this I too realized that the author is conflating totalitarianism with communism.
      The trouble with communism is that the ideal of “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” is realizable only in a small community of like minded people. – and even then it is difficult. Didn’t the early Christians who we are told practiced holding all goods in common run into a couple who wanted to hold onto what they considered theirs? How do we get a whole nation to agree that if I contribute more I should not get more in return? And how do you convince me that when I invent some profitable gadget, I should permit it to be used by everyone equally and I should not expect to reap the financial benefits of it? You may find some people agreeing to those propositions; but everyone in a country? I think not. So we end up forcing people to share. But then the enforcers i.e. those in authority who are passing the laws and policing the state begin to think that they should have more than others. As George Orwell put it in his satire of communism, Animal Farm – “All animals are equal but some are more equal than others”. So then they have to exercise more control to stop protests at this inequality.
      But that control of the state by a few is not, as you point out, confined to communist states. Fascist states succumb to totalitarianism too, as “Independent” is perhaps beginning to realize in his last paragraph when he speaks of “fascistoid Islamist” – whatever that might be. The point is that any society can become totalitarian, including a society that is nominally democratic, unless the members of that society continuously hold their leaders accountable. And religious societies of all persuasions have in the past, and can continue in the future, to be totalitarian – the phenomenon is not restricted to Islam. It is the result of a very human characteristic – the belief that I am right and you are wrong, and I don’t have to listen to your reasons for thinking as you do. I must make you shut up. So if I have the power I imprison you, torture you or kill you, and thus terrify all others so that they keep quiet. Totalitarian leaders are all convinced that they are operating in the best interests of all concerned. They are “saving” the country/society/people from destruction by “evil”.
      One of the first steps towards totalitarianism is the suppressing of dissent in the interests of “security”. Which is why so many people are watching Turkey just now. Large numbers of Turks are currently in agreement that they do not want renewed army rule – so they are against the attempted coup; that sentiment does not in itself prevent the possibility of totalitarianism by a civilian government. Turkey is definitely NOT a communist society, but it could become a totalitarian society if those in authority begin to silent all dissent in the name of “national security”.
      And no janassy – SVG is not a communist society. Far from it. But it is beginning to show signs of totalitarianism.

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