In the past six years, we have seen President Obama called everything from being a socialist, communist, fascist, and lawless. The opposing side has continuously said they are only trying to pass legislation that the American People want. Although they refuse to pass Universal Background Checks for Gun Purchases, Raise the Minimum Wage, or Immigration Reform which are all supported by over 70 percent of the American People.
The favorite name calling of the right-wing is communist. I have been called a communist more times than I care to count. If I had a dollar for every time I was called a communist, my retirement would be a lot more comfortable than it is. So, I thought I might take a look at who are the real communists in America today.
The first thing you must consider is what is the definition of a communist. Everyone, especially those of us who lived through the cold war look at communism as the form of government in the Soviet Union and China. That is what we were taught was communism. But is that really communism?
Karl Marx wrote the book on communism. However, in his view of a communist world, there are no governments. He wrote about a utopian society where governments were no longer needed. He based his view on the concept that people are naturally good and therefore society would naturally look after the less fortunate, the sick, the disabled, and the elderly. No government was necessary for these actions, people would just embrace that it was the right thing to do.
I know that is an oversimplification of his writings, but I do believe that is the gist of his book. What Marx failed to take into account is the opposite of good, which is evil. For, you cannot have good without evil. Natural law says there is an opposite to every trait. That is what makes us human. As a result, the communism espoused by Marx is a fantasy with no real possibility of actually coming true. Still, that doesn’t mean that any steps we take in that direction is not a good step.
But, now we get the heart of the matter. The Soviet Union was the first country to embrace communism. But, in realty, the use of the word was just as much a fantasy as Marx’s world view. Basically, communism was hijacked by Lenin who had no intention of creating a utopian society. He only used the term to gain support for his own version of a dictatorship.
If it hadn’t been for WWI the Leninist form of communism may not have happened. The Germans sent Lenin to Russia from exile, and gave him millions to start a revolution so they could get Russia out of the war and fight on just one front. It worked, and Lenin soon pulled Russia out of the war.
Lenin’s form of communism was no better than any other form of dictatorial government. Yes, he took property away from some of the rich but he didn’t give it to the peasants, he formed collective farms that the peasants were forced to work. He also maintained the industrialists and their positions to run his now government seized industries. As a result, the average Russian did not gain significantly in economic status. There was never an intention to let the average Russian people grow economically.
After WWII, Mao followed Lenin’s philosophy and was able to overthrow the government of China. There too, a dictatorship under the guise of communism was formed. It was no more communist than Lenin’s Russia, but what the hell, it worked in Russia so it would work in China. The funny thing is that the Chinese and the Russians never really liked each other. Dictators never really do like each other. At some point one of them will try to take over the other.
The government set wages that were a bit higher than before the revolution, but not significantly higher. Yet, the bureaucrats and industry leaders lived in luxury. If you want to talk about income inequality at its worse, you just need to look at Russia under Lenin’s communist regime.
Under Lenin and then Stalin, the dictatorial regime masquerading as communism became even stronger. Purges of political opponents made sure these people stayed in power. All the while they were consolidating their power, they were dictating policy that affected the people of Russia.
There was a lot of talk about redistributing wealth in these communist countries. But what really happened was that the wealth was redistributed to the government bureaucrats and industrialists not the people. Right after the fall of the Soviet Union, there sure were a lot of suddenly rich multi-millionaires in Russia. Where did they suddenly get their wealth?
So, what does all of this have to do with America? Since the right-wing does not want to let go of the cold war, we continuously hear about communists trying to bring down our country. And, there are a lot of similarities going on in our country right now.
Under Leninist communism, industries received large government subsidies to maintain productivity. Yes, they were supposedly “government-owned”, but the money still came from the government. In our country today, many companies receive large government subsidies as well. Companies like oil and gas companies and chemical companies receive large government subsidies at taxpayer expense.
Other companies like Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, Burger King, and other minimum wage employers receive billions of dollars in government subsidies in the form of government safety nets for their employees. Things like food stamps and WIC and health care subsidies for their employees so they don’t have to pay a livable wage.
In Lenin’s Russia, industrialists and government bureaucrats paid little or no taxes. Today, politicians are still trying to keep taxes very low for the rich and corporations. One in four corporations in America today do not pay any corporate taxes. Yet, many of them still receive government subsidies on top of not paying taxes.
Lenin’s Russia forced the people to practice a religion known as the state. The state was the only thing that mattered. Although they did not directly outlaw people from practicing their religion, it was very strongly discouraged. Today we have people who are attempting to force everyone to believe in one form of religion. If you disagree with them, they complain that you are waging war on their beliefs.
In these communist regimes, the state dictated every aspect of a normal life. They forced people to follow a strict living style whether they believed in it or not. Today, we have similar people trying to force a particular living style on everyone else. They even have introduced legislation in some states that would make it legal to discriminate against anyone who doesn’t believe what they believe.
As in all dictatorships, the number one goal of women was to have babies. It is necessary to keep the population growing so more “workers” or “soldiers” are available to help the state. We have similar beliefs running rampant today in our country. Everything from denying equal pay for equal work to outlawing abortion and birth control are all aimed at keeping women in their place and having babies.
Non-Russian minorities were hugely discriminated against in the Soviet Union. These minorities did not enjoy the same “rights” as Russians. The Soviet Union was Russia’s empire after all. Today we see civil rights under attack again in America. Voter Suppression Laws and attempts to codify discrimination are just a couple of examples.
So, when you look at the name calling, especially the communist tagline, who are the real communists in American politics? Is it the people who want to ensure equal treatment for our citizens or people who want to suppress the vote to minorities?
Is it the people who want to ensure equal protection under the law for everyone regardless of beliefs, or those who want to dictate which lifestyles are acceptable and be able to discriminate against anyone who doesn’t agree with their dictates?
Is it the people who want fair and equal pay for their labors, or those who fight against a livable wage and equal pay for equal work regardless of the sex of the worker? Is it those who want to see everyone with health care, or those who believe that if you are poor you don’t deserve any health care and if you die, you die?
Is it the people who want to decrease the huge income inequality to help grow our economy, or those who want to make that inequality even bigger so the rich get richer at the expense of the labor force? Is it the people who think that the poor, disabled and elderly should be protected by social safety nets, or those who believe they should be cut loose while increasing subsidies to large corporations?
If you want to see who could reasonably be called a communist based on the cold war definition of communism, you just have to look at the platforms of the two political parties. I know whom I believe are the communists, you will have to make up your own mind.