Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Marx vs Stalin -- a Difference Lost on Most Americans

It's a very common refrain on the Right that anything that attempts to address the economic and social disparities in our nation is "Communism".  

Especially the President and his hallmark legislative program, the Affordable Care Act.  Since the days of Joe McCarthy's infamous attempt at National Stature by hunting down supposed Communists in all the public industries of American life, the label of "Communist" has been the default attack by Regressives in hopes of undercutting the legitimacy of everything their opponents say.

But what, exactly are they using as a weapon?  Do they even understand what Communism is or was supposed to be?  It's clear they absolutely don't.

Communism,  as conceived by Marx & Engles, is defined in its purest form as the final stage of society in Marxist theory in which the state has withered away and economic goods are distributed equitably.   John Lennon's classic Imagine describes what they were going for accurately in spirit and substance.

But this isn't what Regressives mean when they say "Communist"-- though they're also terrified of freedom-loving hippies, but that's a topic for a different post.

What they have in mind is what years and years of propaganda told them the USSR was like.  They envision a Totalitarian State where people wait every day for hours on breadlines and get paid little or nothing.  They envision Siberia in the dead of winter and death squads of Russian shock-troopers executing children.  

What they've done is, in point of fact, confused Stalism with what Marx & Engles had in mind.  In a typical Commune, the rule is that everybody works and everybody reaps the benefit.  A common consensus is that part of the reason that the Russian attempt ultimately failed -- remember, because this is an important distinction, Marx & Engles had envisioned Communism for the Industrial Powers of their day, Germany, Britain and the USA, NOT a feudal agrarian society like Russia! -- is due to the psychological truth that people don't work as hard if they're getting paid the same for a good job or a bad one.  Stalin, however, added fear of brutal force into the mix.  A person will almost always work ten times harder than told to when the alternative is watching their family's murder.

Stalinist tactics were never intended to be a part of Communism, but managed to co-opt the title anyway.  The master propagandist did his work well.  Perhaps too well.  Regressive fear, be it during the 1950's or 2010's, is ultimately based on the mis-taking of Stalin's propaganda for Gospel Truth.  

So for all you other Progressives out there -- when you encounter a Regressive attempting to label you as a "Communist", first remember that the Regressives have no idea what they're talking about and that, were the President a Stalinist, as our Regressive opponents would have us believe, those Regressives who so love to shoot their mouths off would already have been rounded up and shot.

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