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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 11/11/17

Refuting the Biggest Lies About Communism, Lie #2. It Resorts to State Violence and Mass Killing to Enforce Its Ideals

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[Previously published by Revolution Newspaper,]

LIE #2. Because Socialism-Communism Goes Against Human Nature, It Resorts to State Violence and Mass Killing to Enforce Its Ideals

A major line of attack against communism--and one of the biggest lies about communism--is that millions and millions of people have been persecuted and killed by communist states, notably in the former Soviet Union and Maoist China (1949-1976). A whole industry of anticommunist books and articles pumps out staggering and horrifying death tolls. These claims are repeated endlessly... and then presented as established, un-debatable fact. All this is for the purpose of convincing people that communism may have noble ideals... but leads to nightmare.

Why They Lie About Communism... and Who Is Lying

There is a basic reason that the capitalist-imperialist system churns out all kinds of lies and misrepresentations of communism. Because communism is completely opposed to the savage exploitation, oppression, and inequalities that the capitalist system is rooted in, thrives on, and extends and deepens all over the world.

Further: this memo on the "horrors of communism" is coming from the most barbaric economic-social system in human history. A system whose mother's milk was the transatlantic slave trade, with millions upon millions torn from Africa and enslaved in the "New World" of the Americas to produce the wealth vital to the development of world capitalism--suffering constant, unspeakable terror and brutality for generations. This narrative about "communism as unrestrained state violence" is coming from a system that has functioned through systematic and grisly state violence--including two world wars in the 20th century that led to more than 100 million deaths.

The Lie About Stalin and the Ukraine Famine of 1932-1933

A big line of attack on the socialist revolution in the Soviet Union of 1917-56 concerns the famine that took place in Ukraine in 1932-1933. Anti-communist historians, Ukrainian nationalists, and the Western media in general charge that Joseph Stalin, who led the Soviet Union from 1927 to 1953, deliberately starved the people of Ukraine.

The charge that Stalin wanted to punish and wipe out large numbers of Ukrainian peasants by denying them grain is a lie. There was a terrible famine in Ukraine and other regions of the Soviet Union. And many died. But this famine was mainly caused by a decline in grain production, which was mainly caused by weather and other natural factors. The food shortages, however, became worse because of errors in government policy.

The actual facts of the situation, and analysis of Soviet agricultural policy under Stalin, are set out on the Set the Record Straight website, in the research paper: "The Famine of 1933 in the Soviet Union: What Really Happened, Why it was NOT an 'Intentional Famine.'"

Point 1: Communist Revolutions Saved and Enriched Lives... and Imperialism Set Out to Strangle These Revolutions

As to the charge of mass loss of life under communism, the truth is that these revolutions saved lives.

The victorious 1917 October Revolution in Russia immediately withdrew Russia from World War 1--in which millions of ordinary people engaged in mutual slaughter in the interests of the imperialists, including Russia's tsar (autocratic royal ruler), who ruled using secret police, jails, and surveillance. Under its program of "land, bread, and peace," the Bolshevik revolution (the revolutionary communists in Russia were known as "the Bolsheviks") led people to change the dire condition of society--the brutal poverty and persecution of workers in the cities, the crushing traditions, enforced ignorance and superstition weighing down the majority peasantry. The humanity and liberation of bitterly oppressed women and minority nationalities were put front and center in society--through measures such as access to safe and legal abortion and full social-political rights, through outlawing and campaigning against patriarchal violence, like wife beatings; and an end to vigilante violence (e.g., pogroms--persecution and massacres common against Jewish people in the old Russia).

But revolution does not take place in a vacuum. No sooner had the Russian revolution come to power than the imperialists moved against it--arming and assisting counter-revolutionary forces in Russia, leading to the brutal civil war of 1918-20 that resulted in massive deaths, disease, and near economic collapse. And the imperialists never let up, with Germany invading the Soviet Union in 1941, leading to the loss of over 25 million Soviet lives.

China before the 1949 revolution was a society wracked by famines in the countryside, with desperate poverty and deprivation in the cities too; in Shanghai, 25,000 bodies were picked up off the streets each year--a country of 500 million with only 12,000 doctors trained in modern medicine. The killing of girl babies was widespread, as was the practice of women being forced into arranged marriages. The communist revolution led by Mao Zedong ended these and countless other nightmares. "Women hold up half the sky" became society's orientation and their full participation in society was fought for.

From 1949 to 1976, when China was socialist, life expectancy rose from 32 to 65 years. Resources were developed and channeled to serve the great majority. A universal health care system, the world's most egalitarian, was created with the active participation of masses of people. Amartya Sen, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, calculated that if capitalist India had the same health care system as China did under Mao, then four million fewer people would have died in India in a given year. That works out to some 100 million needless deaths in India from 1947 to 1979.

Point 2: Slaves Have a Right to Rebel

Bob Avakian provides a basic point of orientation in his essay "A Question Sharply Posed: NAT TURNER OR THOMAS JEFFERSON?":

Slave rebellion or slave master? Do you support the oppressed rising up against the oppressive system and seeking a radically different way, even with certain errors and excesses--or do you support the oppressors, and the leaders and guardians of an outmoded oppressive order, who may talk about "inalienable rights" but bring down wanton brutality and very real terror, on masses of people, to enforce and perpetuate their system of oppression?

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