Someone, I think it as the Capitalist Pig, recently brought up the old canard about "socialism / communism being murderous". I think that this is dubious, for a number of different reasons, and that the crimes of communism and socialism are certyainly outweighed by the crimes due to capitalism.
1. Socialism and communism have a number of different meanings to different people, with 4 major variants:
a) stateless democratic socialism (never existed)
b) socialism within a parliamentary democracy, (Kerala, Nicaragua)
c) tribal communes (like in Tanzania)
d) participatory-democratic party-states with a single party (Cuba, Vietnam)
The major offenders in the death-toll category, such as Stalin's Soviet Union, Maoist China, and democratic kampuchea, did not fall into any of these categories, because they were one-man dictatorships and not genuine party-states in which teh workers had a say. ergo, they were not communist or genuinely socialist. Even better example, what cxommunism is supposed to be about is separating the reward you get from the work you do. In cambodia, they actually executed old people and malingereres- they carried the capitalist "performance-based" reward system to its most extreme suystem! How can such an anti-comnmunist regime, and its flaws, be expected to tell us anything about the merits of communism?
2. please compare the death toll due to capitalism with that due to communism. 40 million children apparanetly die every year due to capitalism. since tehre is food to feed them, and since capitalism allots resources according to ability to pay rather than according to need, we can hold capitalism directly responsible for teh fact that food is not going to those who need it. If you blame socialism for the famines in "socialist" countries, you must blam ecapitalism for these famines. 40 million a year beats teh death toll of socialism hands down.
3. When it comes to deliberate murder,m let's not forget that out of teh 3 bloodiest genocides of teh century (measured as a % of national population), 3 were carried out in the name of spreading capitalism. (Germany against namibia, Belgium agaoinst the Congolese, Indonesia against teh Timorese), and the 4th (Pol Pot) can hardly be called socialist, as discussed above.
4. let us not forget that communsim and democracy have often been closely associated, and that to fight against one is to fight agianst teh other. True freedom and democracy is possible only in a socialist society, ruled by teh people and not by moneyed interests.
5. communism and socialism are demonstrably better at raising standard of living for the average person and the poor. witness Communist Kerala, with the highest standard of living of any Indian state, or Cuba (highest life expecxtancy and education in the Americas), or Nicaragua, or Zimbabwe.
6. finally every society which has gone from capitlism to socialism has seen an improvement in the stndard of living, while every country that has gone fropm socialism to capitalism saw teh standard of living decrease. How do you explain this undisputed fact?