- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Case Studies in Communism, Part One

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( DSA, Massachusetts, USA ) on July 22, 1999 at 11:58:27:

Some people have been asking for statistics demonstrating the success of socialsit / communist experiments, so here goes a few:

1. the South Indian state of Kerala became in 1957 the first modern state to democratically elect a communist government. the Communist Party of India, Marxist has been in power on and off ever since (right now counts as 'on'. naturally Keralan Communism has suffered from teh constraints imposed on it by a national government that ahs historically combined moderate socialism and heavily regulated capitalism, the dominant sector traditionally being public. In spite of teh concessions to a non-communist system, however, teh Kerala model has had numerous successes.

Their first actions included large scale land reform. Their approach was peaceful; they managed to persuade many Brahmin landowners that the old system of feudal, private land ownership was outdated and that if they lent their support to the new system they too could benefit from socialism. The estate mode of production was successfully abolished in Kerala.

Over the next few decades, literacy increased to 90%, almost as high as America's. Admittedly, literacy is broadly defined, but it's teh same in America- tehre are plenty of "literates' in America and Kerala who cannot really read, in any case, Kerala does not suffer by comparison. Kerala's life expectancy is 70 years; America's is roughly 76. Kerala's birth rate, at under 2, is lower than America's and the lowest in India. Kerala's infant mortality is the lowest in India at 19, and is less than half taht of much richer counrties like Mexico. All thsi in one of India's poorer states. More over, Kerala has eliminated serious caste discrimination, has achieved remarkable gender equality, and near-complete religious tolerance. (The population is about 60% Hindu, 20% Muslim, 20% Syrian Catholic, with Jewish and Buddhist minorities.)The United Nations cites Kerala along with china, Costa Rica, and a couple of other examples as one of teh only regimes that has vcombined human development and progress with population stability. (This should impress teh environmentalists out tehre.)

2. Cuba. To begin with, to call Cuba a dictatorship is, as I have said, a misuse of words. Policy is determined largely by the input and discussions of representative bodiues; trade unions, youth groups, etc. Cuabns overwhelmingly support their system, as is evident from the tiny fraction of spoiled ballots. there has been a great liberalization and toleration of catholicism, Santeria as well as anti-Sovciet and otehr "subversive" tendencies, and homosexuality is declared by teh Cuban Constitution to be just as natural as heterosexuality. Point Number one.

Number two. Housing is available to all. Cubans live on average 76.5 years, equal to America's life expectancy and MUCH highesr than the life expectancy of black Americans. Castro has great support in the ghettoes of America, by the way. Cuba';s literacy rate tends toward 100%, higher than America's. Cuba's infant mortality rate is comparable to America's. many new drugs and pharmaceuticals have been invented in Cuba- quite an achievement for na agricultural republic. Cuba's nutritional levelks, until teh collapse of the Sovciet bloc, were the ebst in the Western Hemishpere. All this in spite of a crippling embargo, biological terrorism, and attempts at subversion by teh US.

I'm planning to talk about Burkina Faso, Nicaragua, Zimbabwe, Bengal, Sao Tome and East Germany, but I have to run- I'll get to tehm later.

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