Changing Definitions of “Communism” in Our Era

Repost from the old site:

As a member of the Left, I am used to purges and being told that, in general, I am not leftwing enough. I’ve been purged from quite a few leftwing groups for insufficient political correctness or not being leftwing enough.

I was made to feel quite unwelcome at a Green Party meeting for daring to suggest that being invaded by millions of immigrants might be bad for US workers and the environment. I was given the cold shoulder by Greens for daring to suggest that their gleeful plot to defeat every Democrat running for office in 2000 was both offensive and stupid.

I was thrown out of the local cell of the CPUSA for “not being a Communist” and “supporting capitalism”.

Never mind that the noun “Communist” doesn’t have a whole lot of meaning anymore. The Communists in China are supporting capitalism in spades, in the very worst varieties of it yet, and still call themselves Communists. The Communists in Vietnam have introduced a lot of capitalism to their system.

Salvador Allende was a Communist who ruled Chile under a completely democratic system.

The Sandinistas had one of the most democratic systems in Latin America in the midst of an armed rebellion against the state.

Imagine if armed terrorists were running around the US, killing 1.8 million Americans over a 10-yr period, and being supported by the US’ worst enemies, say North Korea and Iran.

They have invaded farms and lined up the farmers and their families and farmworkers and tortured all of them to death. They specialize in raiding schools and hospitals where they murder teachers in front of their students and murder doctors, nurses and patients after lining them up against the wall. This is what America was supporting in the Contras.

Imagine that in the face of this provocation, a large US newspaper, a wildly rabid and yellow journalist sheet of the type we do not see anymore, regularly cheered the terrorists on with screaming boldface headlines, and every day urged the killing of the President, all members of Congress and everyone working for the US government. Do you think the FBI would shut down that paper or what?

This is what the Sandinistas had to put up with, and they didn’t even put the traitors in jail. They merely censored some of the more outrageous articles. Far from being a dictatorship, the Sandinistas were one of the most democratic states that ever existed.

Euro-Communists have run very European state governments for decades and have been present in Parliament and Cabinet level positions. Euro-style Communists have been running Indian state governments for decades also and have been present in the Parliaments of Japan and Nepal in large numbers.

In Europe, India, Nepal and Japan, the Euro-Comm types have all supported as much democracy as anyone else in their states supported, and they have all supported high levels of capitalism.

In the most recent issue of the CPUSA’s theoretical journal, the CPUSA fully supported the economic project of the Chinese Communist Party, and stated, “the transition from capitalism to socialism may be more on the order of decades than years”. Regarding democracy, the CPUSA said, “It seems probable that there can be no true socialism without complete democracy”.

Since 1979 and surely since 1989, there has been a Hell of a lot of rethinking going on in the Communist movements of the world. The dictatorship of the proletariat, democratic centralism, bans on private party – all of that is up for grabs. Many Communists nowadays support full democracy and a mixed economy.

There are now many religious Communists, especially Liberation Theology Catholics in Latin America and the Philippines. There have always been Muslim and Christian Communists in the Arab World. Cuba now allows Christians into the party. There are organizations of Christian Marxists in Cuba holding meetings and publishing documents.

Camilo Torres, a Catholic priest, led an armed guerrilla movement in Colombia in 1965. Another Catholic priest, an American, led an armed guerrilla movement in Honduras in 1983. There are Catholic priests who are very active in the Maoist NPA guerrillas in the Philippines. There were even Catholic priests, nuns and lay workers who supported the Shining Path in Peru, to the point of helping them carry out military operations.

If all this news violates your cherished ideas about what it means to be a Communist, you need to quit reading this blog right now and go somewhere where your lower intelligence can be better accommodated – such as this website.

Marx and Lenin were not Gods. Communism is a scientific movement. Marx and Lenin, being materialist beings (humans), were surely capable of error about many things. The Communist Manifesto is not a religious text. If you run your life by a cookbook, dogmatically define words only with a Webster’s, think definitions are as hard as rocks and pigeonhole people in various pegs on a pegboard, you are just flat-out on the wrong blog.

There are plenty on the Right who think that anyone who does not fit the Websters definition of Communist must be a liar or an idiot. There are plenty on the Left who think that anyone who does not fit their definition of a Communist is a “revisionist” or a “fake Communist”.

Npwadays, who is a Communist? To tell the truth, anyone who says he is! What is the definition of Communism? It’s in flux, and it means all sorts of things depending on all of the competing versions of the philosophy out there.

In the Linguistics branch called Semantics, we learned that the dictionary does not necessarily give you the correct or complete definition of a word. A word means whatever people who are using it say it means – it’s that simple. Communism means whatever Communists say it means, in all of their competing visions.

If you can’t your head around that, like I said, maybe you came to the wrong blog – go here instead. If this post stimulates your thinking, that’s the general idea. If you agree with most of the above, bookmark me.


Filed under Americas, Asia, Capitalism, Catholicism, Central America, Chile, China, Christianity, Colombia, Cuba, Economics, Europe, History, India, Japan, Latin America, Left, Marxism, Middle East, Modern, NE Asia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Peru, Philippines, Political Science, Politics, Regional, Religion, Reposts From The Old Site, South America, South Asia, The Americas, US Politics

13 responses to “Changing Definitions of “Communism” in Our Era

  1. Jason Y

    Communist nations with a real “non-communist threat” are not going to hold free elections, mainly cause a truly democratic government might bring into power groups that would sabatoge the government. Likewise, a government with a real “communist threat” isn’t going to allow a truly free election with Communists on the ballot.

  2. Jason Y

    Radical atheists can be troublesome among the left, as they are everywhere else. Radical atheism for some Communists holds such power that they generally equate religion with child abuse. My own take on radical atheists is that they’re preachy smart-asses. lol,

    • Jason Y

      Much as white supremacists believe race to be the “everything” about human existance, radical atheists think “a world without God” will solve all problems overnight.

  3. EPGAH

    Actually, we DO have a (piece of) sheet like that, it’s called “AlterNet”
    Note they have no similar titles like “The Future of Life Depends on Bringing the 1400-Year Rampage of the Moslem Cult to a Halt,” Or maybe
    “The Future of America Depends on Bringing the 150-Year Rampage of Blacks&Mexicans to a Halt”? I wonder if they know they’re not being fair and balanced?

    Note the revision of history that somehow America’s slavery is worse than all other forms. I’m sure the slaves who built the Pyramids, or the Mass Quantities that died in Brazil appreciate that.

    Note the description of the horrible torture of slaves, and that they “forget” to mention that happened in Cuba, not America.

    Note that for “Leftists” of this sort, Capitalism and to some degree, EVERYTHING white civilization built up, is the enemy.

    Note also the mention of “Another world is possible” at the end.
    The phrase “another world is possible” is a familiar dogwhistle to those that study the modern left. Unfortunately, most Democrats and mainstream liberals are clueless about the Left’s real goals and history. However, for those that pay attention, they know that the phrase shows up in book titles like “Another World Is Possible: Globalization and Anti-Capitalism” or articles in International Communist Current or even as the slogan of the anti-capitalist World Social Forum.

    Rules for anti-whites:

    Rule1. When dead white males did bad things, today’s whites are responsible because they cannot evade history.

    Rule 2. When dead white males did good things (such as inventing modern medicine and doubling lifespans worldwide), today’s whites cannot claim credit for something they did not do.

    • Jason Y

      Some people believe white civilization, even New World African Slavery, did vastly help millions of people. Nonetheless, these same people can’t ignore the massive abuse that came with it.

      Your putting people into two camps. In one, white people are the saviors of mankindm but are incapable of massive abuse at the same time, and in the other are “hate the white man” people who despise everything whites did, and think they should have stayed in Europe or killed themselves.

      • Jason Y

        Rule 2. When dead white males did good things (such as inventing modern medicine and doubling lifespans worldwide), today’s whites cannot claim credit for something they did not do.

        There was a high probability whites would do these things only cause blacks and Asians etc.. at the time did not have access to the same education and environmental perks.

        Of course, there may have been some genetic inferiority on the part of some non-whites, but whites never tried to help them ovecome it. Also, had northeast Asians made different decisions in history, they could have easily invented the same things the whites did.

        • EPGAH

          They didn’t “have access” to the same education, because THEY didn’t develop it! If one continent is in the Stone Age, and one continent is in the Iron Age, I would expect the Iron Age to invent a lot more–and we did!

      • Jason Y

        Of course I have seen the movie “apocrolypto” and many pre-white contact civilizations were indeed very savage. Nonetheless, due to bad human nature, the “white saviors” often mixed in abuse with their help. If you say otherwise, as WNs do, then your saying whites are incapable of an evil nature and abuse, in the name of helping people.

        It’s kind of like with kids. Many people are good parents, but a percentage are abusive.

        • Jason Y

          For instance, the Jim Crow south and Aparthied did help curb black crime etc.., but it lead to a “chuavanistic” response among many whites. Tons of abuse via lynching and whatnot, hurt many blacks whom took things personally, as is human nature do to so. A lot of blacks began to hold grudges. Also you have to factor in the income inequality among blacks vs the whites.

        • Jason Y

          Most places Iv’e ever been people take things very personally, even slight things. So imagine the anger at having a family member lyched by the KKK or killed by Aparthied police. Obviously, massive grudges, hate and whatnot would be the result. You can’t have a society like that. The oppressed group will NOT stay in their place, ep-gah would like.

        • Jason Y

          Look at all the hate, even to this day against Japanese, in South Korea, as one example I know personally. If people can hate that much for something that happened more than 50 years ago, then imagine the present hate blacks may have in South Africa or the United States. Imagine how much hate they would have while the abuse was actually happening (those living under white supremacist rule).

        • EPGAH

          If they “resented” it so much, leave the country!
          America had a CENTURY of Government-sponsored “free” trips back to Africa, PLUS land, tools, even livestock, for Blacks to make their own country. Only 13,000 made the trip.

          The ones who stayed here CHOSE America and OUR laws, over making their own country any way they wanted. So why the resentment? Why the riots in the street?

          If you’ve seen the movie “Apocalypto” then you know that any “abuse” the whites inflicted was a LOT less than the savages already had. AND of course, how do you get through to savages, other than violence? The reason we have so many riots NOW is because the savages know we will not return the violence, right?

  4. Johnny

    Communism has also rarely been instituted in the form of worker councils and DEMOCRACY other than social democrats in Western Europe. Gramsci and others went off on a very different course taken by the likes of Lenin and Stalin just in terms of totalitarianism. The problem in the US is that when groups call themselves something, people take it at face value rather than try to understand what they are hearing might just be a specific point of view. Thus, the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics must be about socialism etc. The labels are almost useless without context.

    Obviously, the reality of governmental systems is that they have to change and adapt to the times (thus expanding civil rights such as gay marriage and equal pay for women etc). In the modern era mechanization and the means to feed and house everyone is very attainable, but not when people live in the past and expect everyone to work themselves to death because it’s the “right” thing to do. A balanced view that corrects the excesses of market economies has worked better than deregulation, which has often had mixed results or even been detrimental. Public-private ventures and other cooperative measures have been pretty useful as well.

    A convergence of systems world-wide may be happening, but it remains to be seen which direction crony capitalism will take especially in response to state capitalism that China espouses.

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