- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Not this old junk again

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( DSA, MA, USA ) on November 01, 1999 at 10:26:35:

In Reply to: Final scores! Read all about it! posted by Frenchy on October 31, 1999 at 18:24:59:

In case you weren't paying attention, Stuart Gort brought up this inane book months ago and it was torn to shreds by thsoe of us who are interested in evidence. But I'm going to address soem of its lies specifically, since you may not remmeber.

1) Some of the regimes cited are not communist by any stretch of the imagination. Example: Pol Pot in cambodia.

a) He said he was not a communist on achieveing power. HE said he was a nationalist revolutionary. And for once in his life, he was right.
B) Communists in general do not accept race as a defining characteristic. Pol Pot was a racist nationalist, witness hsi percsecution of teh vietnamese and the Cham.
c) He punished people for not working hard enough. Actually, that was one of his trademarks. He murdered those who were old, feeble, malingerers, etcetera. in other words, anyone who didn't produce up to expectations was executed.

Now where have I heard this before? Let's see.....hint, it's not communism. If communism is about anything, it is about SEPARATING rewards from work or productive capacity. Read the Marxist saying, "from each accodring to his abilities, to each according to his needs". This means that in a communist society people don't CARE how much you produce. In fact, teh whole idea of reducing peopel to tehir productoive capacity is a very Capitalist phenomenon. Ask any of the numerous comapneis which use performance based incentives.

So if a faction applies goals and methods taht are completely contradictory to what communism is, in what way are they communist?

2) The figures below baldly lie. Cuba, Guyana, Nicaragua, Grenada, and briefly Guatemala and Chile are the only countries in Latin America that were ever communits. Of those, Cuba is the only one that killed people in peacetime (in Nicaragua,m teh atrocities were to a fault committed by teh US-backed terrorists, yes teh same one who disembowled babies in front of tehir families, raped women in front of their children, castrated men in front of their wives, and killed random civilians to spread a message of terror). Cuba is believed to have caused teh death of about 12,000 people over 40 years, a mere 1/10 of the murder rate of Batista. So your favorite bunch of liars is off in their estimates by over 1,000 percent. I'm sorry, but I can't respect people who have no respect for teh truth. (The same was said by Salman Rushdie, a man I deeply respect though I disagree iwth him on many things, about that nasty aristocrat Lady Chamorro).

3) Most of the deaths, particularly in China and the SU, were due to famines caused by the governmen'ts callousness towards human life. I agree that human-induced famines and malnutrition are not natural happenings, but rather should be attributed to humans and their systems. By all means, let's blame maoist China for the famine deaths they caused. Likewise, let's blame the capitalist system for the 40 million deaths from hunger that occur yearly, or a treats fro some significant portion tehreof. The logic goes like this:

There is enough food to feed these people. The reason they do not eat is because they haven't the money to buy food. The system of capitalism allots people food according to their ability to pay, not according to tehri need. (If an egalitarian system allotted food accroding to a fixed amount for everyone, not vbased on need, I would fault that system also.) Therefore, since the capitalist system decrees that tehse peopel will not have a portion fo teh food taht exists and taht they need, it is responsible for theie death. QED.

4) Even if we ignore famine deaths, capitalism still coems out as more murderous. To figure out how genocidal a regime has been, it makes more sense to calibrate according to population. The most bloody episodes of genocide in the 20th century, measured by % of population killed, are:

a) King Leopold of the Belgians and his Congo Free State, 1900-1912. (50%)
b) the colonial capitalist Germans in Namibia, 1901. (40%)
c) the Indonesians in East Timor, 1975-1999. (33%)
d) Fascist Italy in Libya, pre-WWII. (17%)
e) Pol Pot in Cambodia. (17%)

Of these, the top 3 are capitalist; Mussolini was right-wing, and Pol Pot was right-wing in many significant ways (see above). he certainly wasn't communist. Just because China called themselves communist, doesn't make it so. The Congo Free State, was that free? Was the fascist Liberal party of Somoza 'liberal'?

That's not including the 84% of teh Brazilian Amerindians slaughtered by capitalists, or the entire Tasmanian population who were hunted like animals and driven extinct. There is simply no comparison.

5) Finally, even if what you said was true, it is totally irrelevant. Teh question is, how do you react to teh existence of democratic communist regimes such as those in Nicaragua, Kerala, Bengal, Zimbabwe, Guyana, etcetera. They didn't commit genocide, so how are they responsible for what other 'communists' may have done?

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