A favorite passage ponders at length a tiny note, smuggled out of a Moscow prison, where Chambers' now-purged controller awaited execution. From memory: "'You will meet a man. You will think of him as your friend.' What could it mean but that he would not be my friend?"
Hampstead Heath to Tian An Men - The autobiography of David Crook
The person I last talked to was a teacher in China who lived a decent middle class childhood in the 1960s and was forced to move to a rural area into poverty and made to work on a farm for a few years. Eating dinner communally with large groups of people. She often talks about her regret of not leaving to Taiwan like some of her family.
Which is the story of Gladys Aylward, a missionary in China mostly in the first half of the century.
It was made into a film "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness" featuring Ingrid Bergman. It of course took liberties with the story but I remember it being a good movie.
I highly recommend the Spanish Civil War tour in Barcelona by Nick Lloyd (https://twitter.com/Civil_War_Spain). Unfortunately, the war is still a touchy subject in Spain, so his tour is the best you'll get until Spain builds a proper museum.
I find this quite concerning and rather paternalistic, especially when far-right/fascists keep winning elections and the PP still exists.
I'm not ignorant of the attrocities but Spain needs to be able to discuss current issues linked to or reminiscent of that era despite it upsetting a lot people.
It's suppressing free speech, and Spain has a disgraceful recent history of anti free-spech legislastion passed by the PP in the years following their win in 2011. Spain passed a gag law in 2013, the same year Vox was created. Perhaps it seems you have to create a far-right party to enjoy free speech. /s
The problem with talking about this era is that half the country believes that the republicans were blameless and the nationalists were the devil. Both sides freely executed suspected political enemies, but the left is unwilling to recognize this. If the republicans had won there would have been as many or more executions than under Franco's regime. There would have even been a chance that Spain became communist, which would have resulted in even more deaths.
Now, I agree with you on the lack of freedom of speech in Spain. But it censors the left as much as the right is censored in England or Germany. That is to say, the censorship is shameful but on the same level as the rest of Europe.
Vox is a far-right party but it isn't a fascist one because they play under the Spanish Constitution rules.
Describing PP in that same political spectrum is a bad joke, the same kind you make when saying 'Spain has a disgraceful recent history of anti free-spech legislastion' (sic). Can you please give us any example? Any sentence? Any ource? Can you honestly say that you can't speak freely in Spain?
In the caricature you've drawn, it looks like the 'fascists' have all the power, keeping everyone with their mouths shut, but you need to take the whole picture, from far-right to far-left, and don't forget the disproportionate power of the regional nationalist parties.
The main point you forget is the interest of many parties to re-write History, being the Spanish Civil War one of their favorite subjects because, at the end, most of them were supporting a dictatorship, not a democracy. Or a Franco dictatorship, or a Stalin dictatorship, but none of them fighting for democracy or for the original spirit of the II Spanish Republic.
Yes, I believe you can. Where to start? The disgusting re-appearance of political prisoners in Spain, for Catalan leaders expressing the idea that Catalunya should determine its own destiny, while Spanish politicos laughably and hypocritically complain about the same in Venezuela (but to the twisted fascist mind, their political prisoners are just 'criminals' - I'm sure Maduro would use the same justification).
The destruction of an edition of the Jueves comic drawing that showed the (then) prince earning a childrearing grant having sex with his wife.
A rapper in exile to avoid being remanded for singing about the king. Plenty of other examples.
No, free speech is not protected in Spain, quite the reverse.
Their imprisonment without bail follows the Spanish Law, based on democratic principles, and it's quite dishonourable to compare Spain and Venezuela political situations.
On the other hand, nobody destroyed any edition of 'El Jueves', please see https://www.eldiario.es/sociedad/Jueves-retira-ejemplares-po...
Every cover is available even online, even the controversial ones https://twitter.com/eljueves/status/834078228541165568
They make fun of the Catalonian nationalists too by the way https://twitter.com/eljueves/status/1171369631786917888
About Valtonyc, the rapper you're talking about 'in exile to avoid being remanded for singing about the king' that's not true. He was judged and sentenced to 3 and a half years of prison for 'crimes of threats, insults to the Crown, and glorification of terrorism'. To avoid going to prison, he fled.
Yes, free speech is well protected in Spain.
Unless they are in prison because e.g. they were driving under influence, or stealing money, or hit someone, or some other such crime, then it's not different at all...
>About Valtonyc, the rapper you're talking about 'in exile to avoid being remanded for singing about the king' that's not true. He was judged and sentenced to 3 and a half years of prison for 'crimes of threats, insults to the Crown, and glorification of terrorism'. To avoid going to prison, he fled.
That is supposed to be a refutation of what the parent wrote?
The whole trial has been live streamed.
About your second question, making threats, insulting the Crown, and glorification of terrorism is not just 'singing about the king'.
That's not free speech.
Well, rebellion and sedition _are_ political ideas. Political ideas are not just "more taxes/less taxes", or "healthcare for all/private healthcare" and other regular everyday party differences.
And of course, the kind of political ideas political prisoners all over the world get in jail for in regimes that stifle political expression are more often than not branded "rebellion", "sedition", by those putting them there...
>The whole trial has been live streamed.
Well, the Moscow trials of Stalin were well reported to the masses as well. That's neither here, nor there.
>About your second question, making threats, insulting the Crown, and glorification of terrorism is not just 'singing about the king'.
Sure. But wanting the king dethroned (if not beheaded, for effect) is a totally legit political idea, that was part of most countries progressing to real civic democracy, and people and politicians should be able to express it. In a modern democracy, if it must have some relic of feudal times in the form of a decorative king, said king shouldn't still be anything sacred.
"and glorification of terrorism" there's no shortage of regimes that labeled anything they didn't like "terrorism".
Heck, the British would also be offended by Americans in the colonies "insulting and threatening the King" and called their fighting terrorism, so there's that.
Just because a regime exists, doesn't mean protecting it is just or should continue to exist.
Those politicians are not in prison for 'having an idea', they're in there for actively acting against the current Spanish Constitution, against the Spanish Law, and against the regional Catalonian Law as well.
All of that using Public Funds.
About free speech, it's a Right with some limits, as any Right. For example, tell me whether in your opinion, thanks to that Right, anyone can 'sing' promoting hate against transsexuals, or promoting to kill Afro-Americans, or to torture children.
Well, wasn't Mandela in prison for similar things? Acting against the "current law" is not enough in itself to make one's imprisonment just.
Especially if they didn't hurt/kill anyone, but acted politically (spoke, organized, etc), even if the established laws forbids it.
>About free speech, it's a Right with some limits, as any Right. For example, tell me whether in your opinion, thanks to that Right, anyone can 'sing' promoting hate against transsexuals, or promoting to kill Afro-Americans, or to torture children.
It wouldn't be nice, but they should be able to sing those things. For example there are all kinds of e.g. death metal songs that speak of killing people in satanic rituals, torturing virgins, heck even torturing children should be there. Should metal be banned?
More importantly, when there are "some limits" (as opposed to no), it's not just the blatantly clear cases (e.g. don't talk against killing afro-americans) that are problematic, but the gray ones.
One man's freedom fighter's are another man's terrorists for example, so e.g. the Clash singing about Sandinista could be said to "promote terrorism".
Or e.g. "promoting hate towards the Crown". Well, "God save the Queen, she's not a human being, it's a fascist regime" by Sex Pistols, is a mighty fine song.
Or how about interpretation? Someone might write a song about e.g. black crime in their neighborhood, and it could be interpreted as "racism against blacks" if they're not black themselves.
Or they could consider some "democracy bringing war" celebrated in the media and government, as "resource grabbing" attempt. Should they be able to sing about it?
And tons of other things besides.
>> to the twisted fascist mind, their political prisoners are just 'criminals'
Maybe you should think about why you can't prove your point of view, and why you need to resort to name-calling.
Except when it isn't.
Articles 490 and 491 of the criminal code govern lèse-majesté. Any person who defames or insults the king, the queen, their ancestors or their descendants can be imprisoned for up to two years
I don't know. Let's ask the imprisoned Catalonian ministers?
How can ya have any pudding if ya don't eat ya meat?"
I wish I could share your optimism. It's hard for me to believe there will be any future that doesn't include environmental collapse.
Despite the label, USSR/PRC can hardly be called communism. They are various forms of State-capitalism: all the institutions (wage slavery, prisons, secret police, industry, propaganda) remain that of any capitalist society.
See "There is no communism in Russia" or "Trotsky protests too much" by Emma Goldman for historical context about why USSR vs US or Trotsky vs Staline are false dilemmas between tyrannic ideologies.
> This is a humanity problem.
Indeed, all empires (or "civilizations") share the same problems. Only by actually changing the structures of power can we try to achieve a different outcome.
Although, it's arguably late to save our planet from capitalists / pretend-communists. These long-toothed vampires will NEVER stop until the last drop they can suck out of it.
Already a million species are facing extinction. Yet it's business as usual. These psychopaths couldn't care less about other people or the planet they stand on. We as humans could do so much better...
I don't think "fun" is the word for anarchism. I mean, maybe you had a very privileged/singular experience of approaching anarchism from a theoretical standpoint.
But the bloody repression faced by anarchists around the globe is not "fun". Don't get me wrong, i'm glad you had fun with rebellious ideas. There is fun to have in living in the moment and trying your best to fight injustice.
I'm just slightly upset that you would consider what is the only hope for actual liberation for millions of people a simple fun youth concern.
> I think capitalism works well so long as people can keep it honest.
Can you elaborate? How does institutionalized injustice/violence "work well"? Where i'm from in France is pretty fucked up: we're millions living in poverty and facing police/fascist killings and beatings while a tiny elite eats caviar and drinks champagne in the fancy restaurants of Paris. (without even mentioning white supremacy and islamophobia/antisemitism)
> Nations are the problem, not capitalism.
Don't you think they're the two sides of the same coin? How could capitalist inequalities maintain themselves without a central State to exert violence against those who refuse this rule? How could a tyrannical regime maintain itself without sharing some of the benefits of exploitation with a (capitalist) elite?
It could very well be that some institutionalized violence is necessary for society to work, and some injustice is inevitable in the process (humans being imperfect).
If in your perfect anarchist society I was hell bent on smacking you down (and I was quite larger than you), would the society just let it happen, or would it employ some sort of "violence"? And if said society had some rules and/or specific people to handle those situations, wouldn't the violence be "institutionalized"?
>How could capitalist inequalities maintain themselves without a central State to exert violence against those who refuse this rule? How could a tyrannical regime maintain itself without sharing some of the benefits of exploitation with a (capitalist) elite?
Quite easily? We've had tyrannical regimes before capitalism two (feudal, asiastic, and several other forms).
We even had tyrannical regimes promising the end of tyranny and capitalism (e.g. Stalinist USSR).
Nothing to say we couldn't have a tyrannical regime promising anarchism as well. People can use all ideas/ideologies/regimes to serve their own purposes.
And of course you don't need a central state to have inequalities or tyranny.
A number of powerful groups that prey on less powerful ones is enough. They don't even have to be permanent, groups could assemble at will and at different configurations to prey on those less powerful (like e.g. barbaric tribes used to do) and then stop existing after they've succeeded.
> One could not have a better example of the moral and emotional shallowness of our time, than the fact that we are now all more or less pro Stalin. This disgusting murderer is temporarily on our side, and so the purges, etc., are suddenly forgotten.
-- George Orwell, in his war-time diary, 3 July 1941
- The Communist Plot to Assassinate George Orwell
- When George Orwell returned to Barcelona for the third time, on June 20th, 1937, he discovered that the Spanish secret police were after him. He had been forced to return to the front in order to have his discharge papers countersigned and, in his absence, the Communists had initiated a purge of their perceived enemies. Orwell was on the list.
- David Crook, a young Englishman .... He was eager to join up with the International Brigades and fight the Fascists. He was descended from Russian-Jewish immigrants ... Like many young men who grew up after the First World War, he was attracted to left-wing causes. He moved to New York City, where he attended Columbia University and embraced radical politics, joining the Young Communist League.
- He (David Crook) .. Recovering in Madrid, he socialized with the literary set ... At this point he came to the attention of Soviet intelligence agents. After recruiting him, the NKVD sent him to a training camp in Albacete, where he was given a crash course in sabotage and surveillance techniques.
- ... He compiled reports on the Orwells, Kopp, and McNair and, at meetings in a local café, delivered them folded up in a newspaper to his handler, Hugh O’Donnell (code name “Sean O’Brien”). ... Crook reported that Kopp and Eileen were having an affair, the kind of information the NKVD valued for blackmail purposes.
- While on the run, Orwell persisted in the “ineradicable English belief that ‘they’ cannot arrest you unless you have broken the law,” even though “practically everyone we knew was in jail by this time.”
- The Orwells and their friends made it to France and safety (the first newspaper they read contained a premature report announcing McNair’s arrest for espionage). A secret police file, dated July 13th and prepared for the Tribunal for Espionage and High Treason in Valencia, denounced Orwell and Eileen as “confirmed Trotskyists.” The report was compiled with information from Wickes (and almost certainly Crook). Orwell had fled just in time.
- Orwell needed to tell the world, and most importantly his fellow left-wingers, the truth about what was going on in Spain.
Orwell left quite clear that after having seen both Nazism and Communism in action, he was staunchly against both forms of totalitarianism.
Indeed! But unlike capitalism, communism does not require totalitarian structures of power. They're actually quite incompatible.
Empires describing themselves as "communist" are more so "state capitalist". The USSR was not a classless society nor a free society so it cannot be called communism: some people had more rights/resources than others (the opposite of "communism").
In marxist views, dictatorship of the pretend-proletariat (red elites are usually not common people) is a capitalist stage of a society advancing towards communism but cannot be considered communism. No pretend-communist country ever outgrew this phase (because power structures do not dissolve by themselves, we have to destroy them).
Orwell was a trotskyist. If we forget just for a minute the lies and inconsistencies of Trotsky (who was a mass-murdering psychopath), trotskyists are libertarian communists. They advocate self-organized cooperation/sharing without central authority (no state). Orwell was therefore close to anarchist ideas. You can feel his admiration for anarchists in his book "Homage to Catalonia".
When the USSR started to overthrow the CNT-led anarchist revolution in Catalunya, anarchists allied with trotskyist militias to fight against fascism and authoritarian communism. They failed of course, because what can you do to survive against two power-hungry emperors (Franco/Staline) who agree to destroy you?
This is not true. The Soviet backed militias forced Anarchists to either fight for their militias or be part of their purge. The Soviets used force to squash the growing (and large) anti-authoritarian sentiment among the Spanish Civil War Republicans.
The USSR seized control over the revolution (murdering all the anarchists) because the French and UK parliaments refused to support the war against Franco. They were afraid it would start a war with Hitler and Mussolini who were big supporters (both material and ideological) of the Franco regime, and that anarchism would then spread to their home country (threatening their own privileges).
The year is 1936. To anyone with an understanding of how imperialism/fascism operates, it's very clear that fascism has to be annihilated by force because it's an ideology that aims to kill all that does not fit.
But the moderate liberals/conservatives of the western world refuted this, claiming inaction was the best of actions against fascism. THIS is what led to the second world war: abandoning any idea of social progress in the name of an illusion of peace.
The social revolution in Catalunya was led by millions of anarchists, many of which were organized in the CNT union. But as western capitalist "democracies" refused to provide weapons to the anarchists, the USSR filled the power vacuum and seized power by organizing/supplying the republican military, on the condition they adopt authoritarian hierarchies.
Before that, the revolution was defended by self-organized militias federated from the bottom-up: no uniform, no authority. Just cooperation between autonomous units who had common interests in fighting fascism. Notably, this transition of military power from the people to the communist party forbid women from the battlefield!
All this is partially explained in Orwell's Homage to Catalonia. With the new rise of fascism from the US to Turkey, from France to India... i think there's plenty of lessons to learn from this era.
He always used to tell me about how he had to bury some hand grenades at the base of a tree as he didn't know how to use them.
The policy is "Please use the original title, unless it is misleading or linkbait." (https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html).
I can imagine the twitter clock-splaining... "It's 13-hundred dontcha kno.", "I hate it when daylight savings ends" etc.
By the way your assumption about free comments is really arrogant I guess power corrupts but it could be that you've always believed that.
Anyway 1984 will enter the public domain in 2020, we could actually try and see this then; and I bet the average comment will be more thoughtful than your
average comment that seriously doesn't bring to the discussion anything but hate and frustration.
edit - I think I'm done here, bye Dang. You do a hard job, but this is utterly ridiculous. In the ongoing attempt to edit out anything contentious, this place has completely jumped the shark.
(Edit - not a downvoter however)
It can make some discussions seem rather futile. :)
Could you elaborate on that statement? I've heard this same notion twice now in the past couple months, and I have no idea what it's based upon.
It seems far easier to argue that the Internet is an invention of the military-industrial complex. I would enjoy hearing your rationale!
There was a lot of discussion of what the emerging net was, and what it was going to be. A society, a state, governable or ungovernable, above or separate from such things, etc. Which led to the Declaration.
That piece may have been an important contribution to thought that shaped the future development of how people approached the internet, but it wasn't responsible for the invention of the internet, which was not, in fact, a product of the anarchist movement, but rather something the anarchist movement attempted to grab onto and use to reshape the world to fit the movement's ideals.
I probably should have added more detail anyway, but the net prior to 1990 was a gently regulated, and self-regulating sort of place almost entirely consisting of scientists, geeks and techies. Adopt netiquette before posting to newsgroup, read the FAQ - and people actually did, etc. Even arguments could often stay mainly civilised. Bix, Compuserve, AOL were (partially) walled non-free and moderated venues of speech.
The early nineties changed everything. TBL gave us the web, the NSF ended the ban on any commercial activity, AOL let its hordes out onto the wider net in Eternal September, ISPs started including web space with every connection. VR was having its last hype phase, people were talking about virtual communities, and writing books about it. Suddenly this net thing was an uncontrolled space where anyone could have a free space to say anything...
Which led to the discussions of the net's anarchy, what it is, and the declaration I mentioned above.
"We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace." Gosh, I had forgotten what heady times the Nineties were!
Ah, majoritarianism with violent wars against outsiders.
> The scientific community is an anarchy.
The scientific community is an organism that eats government grants and excretes pay-walled research papers. I wouldn't call that an anarchy!
No? It's a meritocracy, with elite gatekeepers. How is it an anarchy?
If anyone wants to downvote me, I ask that you choose one of two alternatives. First, tell me why you want to downvote. Or, read this article by Albert Einstein talking about the necessity of socialism:
That's my hope anyway. In the short-term, I'd like to see free markets begin erasing more borders and reducing the number of nations. Hopefully, the recent nationalist fad is just that and we can get to more EU style setups, more globalism, and more cooperation. A disgusting amount of resources is spent on the military. Capitalism has the ability to solve our problems. Borders are in the way.
Edit: Is it the socialists, anarchists, or capitalists downvoting me? Hard to say. My ideas definitely don't have many friends.
But anyway, you are both saying Marxist and pro-capitalist things, so I would guess you're just being downvoted by everyone.
Maybe that's exactly what things like UBI point to: life as an adventure rather than a slave camp. The paranoid part of me then wants to find a bigger and more evil capital to criticise in the Marxian manner.
This is honestly one of the most absurd things I've ever heard. I gotta admit, I do envy your optimism.
I recently bought a flat-screen TV for half the price of a McDonald's meal. That's as good as free.
Actually I think that right now, when we are facing the potential reality of AGI not many decades away, is when we have to collectively make the choice to become the society we truly want to become.
Maybe AI can remove the mismanagers from the problem one day. Or maybe, even with our woeful mismanagement, if two hundred governments weren't pitted against one another and we had a single world government, there would be plenty to go around even with humans mismanaging everything.
Why do so many people seem to act like some form of socialism is required (or even useful) to avoid environmental issues? It really doesn't help fight the right's narrative of "all this global warming stuff is just the economic left seeking more control over the economy" - in fact it plays directly to it. Are people just trying to attach their particular goals to a crisis they think might propel them forward?
Perhaps it is easier to assume I am arguing in bad faith, but I think you ought to consider that I know what I’m talking about.
Regarding 'good faith' - I think you might be arguing in good faith, but I don't see how you'd think that argument is the best path to take to convince people to either support the environment or to abandon our current economic systems for yours.
Personally I think we need major geoengineering to preserve the current temperature range, and that our current economic system tends towards a failure mode with extremely concentrated wealth. I don't think those are connected, though. In fact, an argument can be made that concentrating much of the world's wealth in one person would also be good for the environment, since the required changes would have a smaller impact on their wealth than on their personal wellbeing. Basically, the theory goes that $10T + nice environment to live in > $100T + dead environment, so the hypothetical multitrillionaire would spend $90T to improve things based purely on self interest. This isn't to suggest that giving Jeff Bezos absolutely everything would be a good idea, or that doing such is necessary - just that there might be other routes than 'some flavor of socialism'.
But the political theory question might be: Why have seemingly all communist movements and governments been authoritarian?
All communist governments (not all communist movements, and this is actually the source of many breaches between communist movements that aren't governments, particularly in the West, and communist governments and the movements aligned with them) are rooted in Leninist vanguardism, a specific and particularly authoritarian rewriting of Marxist theory to avoid the dependence on developed democratic capitalist society with broad proletarian class consciousness and grassroots leadership as prerequisite to communism.
But the French Revolution, which was ideologically far from authoritarian, had a lot of the same practical problems; trying to run a state with active counterrevolutionary forces tends to make people authoritarians for what they see as temporary and pragmatic necessity as a means to achieving a more free end-state (and defenders of Leninist vanguardism would probably see it as just that!)
Americans sometimes forget that what we call our “revolution” was not an anti-elite revolution but an elite-led regional separatist movement coordinated by the local governments acting in concert, and so avoided many of the challenges found in genuine revolutions.
That said, it's still a far cry from the scale and severity of violence seen in various later revolutions.
One nit: The American Revolution was led by elites, if by "elite" you mean "wealthy and influential". But it was not led by elites, if by "elite" you mean "nobility". In that sense, it was quite anti-elite.
To me that would qualify as elite. Not sure how much local nobility there was in the area, but certainly the folks leading were the local elites IMO.
It was led by the landed elites, which didn't happen to generally have titles of nobility in the colonies, because the evolution from a feudal to a capitalist property structure had progressed pretty far before the US was colonized.
OTOH, the difference between a slave estate and an English feudal estate is mainly that the master of the former has even greater power over and less obligation to the subjects, so the difference between the elites you are distinguishing may be even less substantive than it seems at first glance.
Stalin got there by being a violent thug, he would stay there by being a violent thug. Ditto Franco in Spain, for at least a decade or so after the end of the civil war.
Repression of scientists, and minorities of all kinds? Difference of any kind from the party/dictator's view is to be mistrusted, thus purged, or at the very least repressed. See Saudi Arabia - which Franco's Spain resembled in its later years, with extreme repression of women and religious dogma.
I don’t think it’s odd at all. The murderous revolutionaries I can think of (Bolsheviks, Mao, Mugabe...) were won against regimes just as bloodthirsty as they were. The peaceful revolutions I can think of eg South Africa happened because both sides were willing to negotiate fairly.
He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
> It seems to me that socialism has a 100% failure rate
Adopting socialist policies while keeping a market economy has worked out ok for most developed nations.
Communist USSR was able to educate its population and rapidly industrialize while fighting off two invasions by forces that, on paper, should have been able to beat them without much trouble, and emerge as one of the most powerful nations in the world. I’d consider that a success
Now imagine how much harder they would fight if the tax man wanted 100% of their income and wealth.
Now imagine what it takes for the tax man to overcome that resistance.
Purges, paranoia, and violence sounds like just the start.
Characteristic of the paranoia is that the worst purges after all were against party members and top party elites themselves.
Not because any of them resisted the "tax man" (heck, they had wealth and preferential treatment), but because they could threaten Stalin or limit his control.
Similar with Mao in China. The bloody cultural revolution wasn't some mass murder of people resisting the party rule or the "taxman", but party elites splitting the people into factions and using them as proxies to fight internal party power struggles.
When the rich and powerful unite against the tax man and the "proletariat", they always win.
So, when you say "people fight against taxes", we should clarify what people we are talking about. Plenty of people supported the collectivist movements of the era, and they are also people.
Compare and contrast with a parlimentary democracy running a heavily capitalist economic system. While it gives plenty of reason for dissent it also provides little opportunity to purge. This give and take leads to less extremes and more stability in general.
In other words, AFAIK (which isn't far), it's a trait of revolutions, not of communist movements.
Maybe it's that cultural revolutions are like this, and there's very, very few non-cultural revolutions - maybe only independence revolutions? I literally do not know so like if you know one, put forth the Wikipedia link?
> Americans sometimes forget that what we call our “revolution” was not an anti-elite revolution but an elite-led regional separatist movement coordinated by the local governments acting in concert, and so avoided many of the challenges found in genuine revolutions.
After the war, Americans ended up with a government and distribution of material wealth very similar to what they had before.
From 1789 to the first Empire was only 15 years; to the Thermidorean Reaction even shorter.
> The French revolution was attempting to terrorise a political ellite.
That's a very generous interpretation. It's certainly what Robespierre would say, sure, but it's just as much what Lenin would say.
I am not trying to defend the French revolution, which actions were the antithesis of the values it pretended to promote. But for all its horrors, the french revolution wasn’t in the business of mass slaughtering its own population.
The French Revolution was strangled in its crib while it's mass killing was still accelerating, and it's leaders themselves killed en massé by counterrevolutionaries; it wasn't in business very long for that reason, a fact that future revolutionaries were keenly aware of and eager to avoid.
The stated ideology of the 1790s Paris Commune might be more attractive to modern democratic capitalists than that of the Bolsheviks, et al.,, but the main reason that the former has less of a history of violence than the latter is that they lost very early on in their program of exterminating an ever-expanding list of perceived enemies of the revolution, not some greater humanitarianism.
The modern revolution in Czechoslovakia turned out fairly free of violence, at it was not communist.
Oh, that's neat about the Czech revolution. I know, oh hmm, literally nothing about it. <looks it up> - The "Velvet" revolution? This is super cool, had no idea something like this happened, thanks!
If you consider any wealth redistribution communism then you would have to consider most or all industrial states in part communist and the premise of the question itself becomes dubious.
If you consider any kind of far left redistributive movement communist then again the merit of the question is dubious because there have been many such movements that remained peaceful.
If you restrict the definition to only actors that call themselves communist even then the question is complicated by the fact that there have been many such actors that call themselves communist yet do not adhere to any communist doctrine. Just as there are many "Republics" which are not at all republics in reality.
Not only that, but he construed a framework in which anything opposing the proletariat, including "class antagonisms" that could be literally anything, should be opposed with force or the threat of force. Things like religion, private property, or anything that is not for the revolution is necessarily considered against the revolution.
When the foundation of a worldview is steeped in violence and using violence to get your political way, it's no surprise that the implementation of that worldview results in bloodshed and power vacuums.
Makes me think there’s something very lasting about his ideas, moral interpretations aside.
If you don't want to be banned, you're welcome to email email@example.com and give us reason to believe that you'll follow the rules in the future.
It's fairly easy to sense problems. Harder to identify and analyze the nature of a problem. Yet harder to come up with practical solutions that aren't worse.
But it was the Bolsheviks with their plan of communism immediately, not in 20 years, who won. They treated their political philosophy as a millenarian sect with "the dictatorship of the proletariat" substituting for the kingdom of God. When the eschaton fails to properly immanentize it can only be due to the opposition of sin and the Devil, by which we mean kulaks, wreckers, and traitors.
The problem isn't communism per say but a belief in having absolute truth and a vision of a perfect good that can justify any means.
> But it was the Bolsheviks with their plan of communism immediately, not in 20 years, who won.
The Bolsheviks won in no small part because they were a particularly violent, insular faction. Revolutionary situations don't really reward being accommodating and adverse to violence, even though that might be very desirable post-revolutionary condition.
It's something of a problem with revolutions that the people you want running the show afterwards aren't the kind of people that revolutions inherently favor.
It does stick with you.
Authoritarian communism (marxism) is a historically very tiny branch of socialism/communism, with anarchists being an overwhelming majority.
This tiny marxist/bolshevik minority killed its way to the top, and was used by capitalist empires as a strawman example of what would happen with "communism". Both sides find advantages in confusing communism with marxism, while in practice, dictatorship of the proletariat has nothing to do with communism at all.
Someone claiming one of the three labels without the two others, either has no clue about the history of communism, or just wants to avoid being assimilated with genocidal authoritarian communists.
But by doing so, they created a powerful enemy. I believe animal farm and 1984 are due to their popularity a very big reason, bolschewism went down in the end.