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Thread: I am a communist, very much on the left, but he's still a favourite composer of mine

  1. #166
    Senior Member AbsolutelyBaching's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enthusiast View Post
    But, anyway, I always understood that the Holocaust was the worst atrocity of all - so your option as stated above seems to be wrong.
    Depends how you measure 'worst', doesn't it? If it's just a head-count, then I think the Holocaust is just behind (i.e., "better than") the Holodomor (at around 7+ million Ukrainians in around 2 years); and Mao's body-count is bigger again. The Great Leap Forward is said to have killed 45 million, for example, over four years.

    Or you could look to Rwanda, where the Hutus managed to slaughter around a million Rwandans in just 4 months using nothing much more than machetes. For body-count per day, that would probably take some beating, as it were.

    But if you measure it by the degree of planning and cold-blooded state organisation involved, the Holocaust is right up there.

    I guess it's like Kelvin, Celsius and Fahrenheit: there are many scales on which to measure mankind's ability to do the inhuman.

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  3. #167
    Senior Member Enthusiast's Avatar
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    ^ And we can all agree to damn them all rather than to pick our "favourites"!

  4. #168
    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AbsolutelyBaching View Post
    Depends how you measure 'worst', doesn't it? If it's just a head-count, then I think the Holocaust is just behind (i.e., "better than") the Holodomor (at around 7+ million Ukrainians in around 2 years); and Mao's body-count is bigger again. The Great Leap Forward is said to have killed 45 million, for example, over four years.

    Or you could look to Rwanda, where the Hutus managed to slaughter around a million Rwandans in just 4 months using nothing much more than machetes. For body-count per day, that would probably take some beating, as it were.

    But if you measure it by the degree of planning and cold-blooded state organisation involved, the Holocaust is right up there.

    I guess it's like Kelvin, Celsius and Fahrenheit: there are many scales on which to measure mankind's ability to do the inhuman.
    The Holodomor was about 3-4M, not 7+

    https://education.holodomor.ca/under...-loss-numbers/

    The 6M number for the Holocaust is only Jews, if others, most notably non-Jewish Soviet and Polish civilians and POWs are included the total exceeds 11M

    Also worth noting that Hitler was stopped far short of reaching his genocidal ambitions whereas Stalin and Mao killed just about everyone they intended to kill over a much longer career.

  5. #169
    Senior Member AbsolutelyBaching's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bwv 1080 View Post
    The Holodomor was about 3-4M, not 7+
    https://education.holodomor.ca/under...-loss-numbers/
    The estimates have varied at different times, as the first sentence of the article you link to suggests. The UN said in 2003 that between 7 and 10 million died. Subsequent research takes it to between 3.3 and 7.5 million. A court in Kiev in 2010 put the death toll at 10 million (though "only" 3.9 million of those were direct famine-induced deaths). I don't think you can get that precise about it at this distance. I plumped for a number slightly and vaguely above the half-way point of most estimates over the years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bwv 1080 View Post
    The 6M number for the Holocaust is only Jews, if others, most notably non-Jewish Soviet and Polish civilians and POWs are included the total exceeds 11M
    Sorry to be picky, but the term 'Holocaust' specifically refers to the genocide of European Jews. So you don't get to include all the other numerous murders in that total and call it the Holocaust, I'm afraid. See, for example, this or this. Don't get me wrong: I'm not trying to minimise the consequences of those 12 years. I'm just using terms as precisely as I can.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bwv 1080 View Post
    Also worth noting that Hitler was stopped far short of reaching his genocidal ambitions whereas Stalin and Mao killed just about everyone they intended to kill over a much longer career.
    Indeed. I doubt there would have been much population left at all in Eastern Europe if Hitler had been given a free hand, Jewish or not...
    Last edited by AbsolutelyBaching; Sep-16-2020 at 13:47.

  6. #170
    Senior Member TwoFlutesOneTrumpet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AbsolutelyBaching View Post
    I was always taught to call Soviet Russia 'Marxist-Leninist', not "communist". Communism predicted the revolution of the proletariat, not the revenge of the peasantry! Russia was always the wrong place for a "communist" revolution, since it lacked a capitalist system that the proletariat could overthrow. Marx would have spun in his grave in 1917!

    Mind you, the communist revolution that theory said would befall the UK in the 19th Century was thwarted by such things as Disraeli's Factory Act 1874 and (largely Disraeli's) 1867 Second Reform Act. Boo-hiss to Disraeli, then; and Power to the People!
    'Marxist-Leninist' and "communist" are practically the same thing. Yes, communism never quite developed the way Marx envisaged but do we really think that it would have developed differently, in a way that does not bring banishment of freedom and oppression to the masses, had it overthrown the capitalist system of the West? I certainly would not want to try this experiment now in a democratic, capitalist country.

  7. #171
    Senior Member AbsolutelyBaching's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoFlutesOneTrumpet View Post
    'Marxist-Leninist' and "communist" are practically the same thing.
    Well, I don't want to get into a contradiction about it!

    Technically, they are quite different from each other. I mean, the fact that Marx invented communism and the word 'Marxist' is in the name of the later philosophy is a clue that we're talking tiger/lion differences, not amoeba/gorilla differences, but it's a difference nonetheless.

    Can we agree on 'distinct' rather than 'different', perhaps?

    Quote Originally Posted by TwoFlutesOneTrumpet View Post
    Yes, communism never quite developed the way Marx envisaged...
    Well, it never developed at all the way Marx foresaw it! He thought capitalism would implode through its own inherent contradictions. He never foresaw the welfare state, however, which kept the hungry hoardes at bay...

    Quote Originally Posted by TwoFlutesOneTrumpet View Post
    ...but do we really think that it would have developed differently, in a way that does not bring banishment of freedom and oppression to the masses, had it overthrown the capitalist system of the West? I certainly would not want to try this experiment now in a democratic, capitalist country.
    Which brings us back to the first point. If it was Marxism, it wouldn't be "overthrown", but would simply collapse. It's your Leninists that go around overthrowing things!

    Anyway: my view on capitalism is about the same as Churchill's on democracy.

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  9. #172
    Senior Member Enthusiast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoFlutesOneTrumpet View Post
    'Marxist-Leninist' and "communist" are practically the same thing. Yes, communism never quite developed the way Marx envisaged but do we really think that it would have developed differently, in a way that does not bring banishment of freedom and oppression to the masses, had it overthrown the capitalist system of the West? I certainly would not want to try this experiment now in a democratic, capitalist country.
    To be flippant ... I wonder if any of us live in a "democratic, capitalist country" now. I would certainly not call for a Communist revolution or that there ever was a time when such a programme might have been successful - Marxism was always better equipped to develop critiques of capitalism than to show how it could be improved upon - but the world has moved on and communism vs. capitalism seems more to be yesterday's debate than relevant today.

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  11. #173
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    There are variations on 'capitalism' and 'democracy' around the world too. None, including the USA and the UK, can claim to have resolved either national or international problems of poverty, unemployment, distribution of power, disenfranchised communities, business monopolies, state dependency, rule by oligarchies etc. Communism may not be the answer, but nor is the current version of capitalism.

    Of course, maybe I'm making the mistake of seeking utopia, but is it really utopian to seek to minimise the ills of society and promote the benetfits? I'm sure I don't need to list the countries where whatever label you might put to their 'system', at least a proportion of their people are oppressed and not 'free'.
    Last edited by MacLeod; Sep-16-2020 at 16:12.

  12. #174
    Senior Member Jacck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacLeod View Post
    There are variations on 'capitalism' and 'democracy' around the world too. None, including the USA and the UK, can claim to have resolved either national or international problems of poverty, unemployment, distribution of power, disenfranchised communities, business monopolies, state dependency, rule by oligarchies etc. Communism may not be the answer, but nor is the current version of capitalism.

    Of course, maybe I'm making the mistake of seeking utopia, but is it really utopian to seek to minimise the ills of society and promote the benetfits? I'm sure I don't need to list the countries where whatever label you might put to their 'system', at least a proportion of their people are oppressed and not 'free'.
    the western european system of liberal democracy, and combining capitalism with welfare system is as perfect as you are going to get. The English and American system was subverted by decades of corrosive neoliberal ideology (privatization über Alles, which in practice meant privatizing the profits, nationalizing the losses). You have lived in a neoliberal capitalist system and witnessed the capitalist greed, so maybe you have some fantasies about communism. I have experienced communism (though only a couple of years of my life) and I know that the right way is somewhere in the middle.

  13. #175
    Senior Member TwoFlutesOneTrumpet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacck View Post
    the western european system of liberal democracy, and combining capitalism with welfare system is as perfect as you are going to get. The English and American system was subverted by decades of corrosive neoliberal ideology (privatization über Alles, which in practice meant privatizing the profits, nationalizing the losses). You have lived in a neoliberal capitalist system and witnessed the capitalist greed, so maybe you have some fantasies about communism. I have experienced communism (though only a couple of years of my life) and I know that the right way is somewhere in the middle.
    add Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

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  15. #176
    Senior Member Jacck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoFlutesOneTrumpet View Post
    add Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
    yes, of course. I hope more and more countries in the world are going to arrive at this model. If capitalism is not mitigated by the welfare system (some form of redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor in form of taxes), the wealth differences will grow and create social instability. This unmitigated capitalism led to the communist revolutions in the first place.

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    Senior Member TwoFlutesOneTrumpet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AbsolutelyBaching View Post
    Well, I don't want to get into a contradiction about it!

    Technically, they are quite different from each other. I mean, the fact that Marx invented communism and the word 'Marxist' is in the name of the later philosophy is a clue that we're talking tiger/lion differences, not amoeba/gorilla differences, but it's a difference nonetheless.

    Can we agree on 'distinct' rather than 'different', perhaps?



    Well, it never developed at all the way Marx foresaw it! He thought capitalism would implode through its own inherent contradictions. He never foresaw the welfare state, however, which kept the hungry hoardes at bay...



    Which brings us back to the first point. If it was Marxism, it wouldn't be "overthrown", but would simply collapse. It's your Leninists that go around overthrowing things!

    Anyway: my view on capitalism is about the same as Churchill's on democracy.
    I say Communism and Marxism are practically the same because isn't Marxism just an instance, a form, of Communism, just like Maoism?

    Capitalism is not perfect but is significantly better in practice than any form of Communism, history is clear about this. The tenets of Communism just don't fit well with human nature, it seems. Every Communist state has developed a dictatorship, where instead of an egalitarian society, we have a society where a very small portion of the people enjoy wealth while the rest is suppressed economically, socially and politically. Modern China is a notable exception economically because the CCP realized that centrally-governed economy is a doomed economy but they are still a dictatorship that have little regard for human rights.
    Last edited by TwoFlutesOneTrumpet; Sep-16-2020 at 17:53.

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  18. #178
    Senior Member JAS's Avatar
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    The problem with both Communism and Capitalism is basically the same; they rely on benign implementation. People being people, that is a fairly universal problem.

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    Senior Member Jacck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoFlutesOneTrumpet View Post
    Modern China is a notable exception economically because the CCP realized that centrally-governed economy is a doomed economy but they are still a dictatorship that have little regard for human rights.
    Deng Xiaoping realized this, Xi Jinping appears to be a much less enlightened leader that decided to take the Great Leap Backwards. This is not going to end up well for China.

  20. #180
    Senior Member TwoFlutesOneTrumpet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAS View Post
    The problem with both Communism and Capitalism is basically the same; they rely on benign implementation. People being people, that is a fairly universal problem.
    I think Communism has a bigger and more fundamental problem than Capitalism.
    According to the Communist manifesto, production and consumption would reach an equilibrium: "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.". Unfortunately, this statement is completely incompatible with basic human nature. If need assessment is left to the individual, we can see how it can escalate very quickly; today's luxuries quickly become tomorrow's needs. Who defines who needs a big mansion and who needs a one-room apartment in the slums? Society will not find common ground for cooperation in such a framework. Or do we raze all mansions and build identical accommodations for everyone? In the lack of mutual cooperation, there needs to be something in place to settle disputes.

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