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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.

SOCK IT TO ME BABY!!!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Communism and Barack Obama for "dummies" part two.

So last time I talked about what the "concept" and the "reality" of communism was/is.  In the wake of WWII, a plethora of nations- willingly or otherwise- became what we would call "one-party communist states."  Let's take a look at how that worked out for them.

First off, there were around 25 nations who took on this "communist status".  First of all, you had what you might call the two "evangelizing" nations- Soviet Russia and Red China.  Then you had the Russian puppet governments behind the iron curtain.  These seemed to fall into two general categories.  The first, and most identifiable to us in the west, were those who not only were drug tooth and nail into the Soviet system, but fought revolutions to try to free themselves.  Those would be Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and East Germany.  In Poland and East Germany, workers revolts as the communists tried to shoehorn Soviet-style reforms in (and loot as much useful equipment as they could), resulting in deteriorating conditions amongst those whom the communist movement was supposed to be working- the workers.  Workers and various others were placated in Germany in 1953 and Poland in 1956 by replacement of hard-line Stalinists with leaders a little more willing to try and fit the policy to the condition.  In fact, Poland got a leader in Wladyslaw Gomulka who made it clear that he would be willing to fight Russia militarily.  In the end, both got some reforms that changed the fate of the workforce from near starvation to merely bleak- and that, for a time, was enough.

Hungary and Czechoslovakia had their difficulties in trying to enact a more humane communism.  Students fueled the resistance to hard line Stalinists, and in Hungary 1956 they took heart from the Polish situation, cut the communist symbol from the center of the national flag, and pelted Soviet tanks with Molotov cocktails until reformer Imre Nagy was put into power.  A statue of beloved Uncle Joe was pulled down and drug through the streets.  Nagy did his best to slow the demands of the people, but soon the rebels overreached, and Soviet tanks returned, knocked out the Hungarian army.  A familiar pattern started:  200,000 people fled into neutral Austria, Nagy "disappeared", and hard-liners who bent the knee to Moscow were re-installed.  12 years later, it was a virtual replay in Czechoslovakia:  Just change "Imre Nagy" to "Alexander Dubcek" and "non-violent protest" for "Molotov cocktails."  One of my most formative images of my youth was a picture I saw in Life magazine:  a student sitting crossed-legged in the public square with a sign-

 
 
Ivan
You are just
like Hitler
Get Out!!
 
 
 
In the other iron curtain countries- Yugoslavia, Albania, Romania, and Bulgaria- you had less revolt because of a charismatic leader who was able to win a measure of independence from Moscow- Tito in Yugoslavia, Hoxha in Albania, Ceausescu in Romania, and to a lesser extent, Todor Zhivkov in Bulgaria.  Since these were personality cult-style leaders rather than populists, the Soviets, I assume, figured it would just be easier to wait them out than deal with them, and despite their "independence" of Moscow, nothing but economic retaliation was ever used on them.
 
China preferred a more organic insinuation, and they were well-suited to spread their gospel to Korea and Vietnam, nations for whom the cult of nationality had a very strong appeal.  By incorporating Chinese style communism into "what we are as Vietnamese/ Lao/Koreans", they built a ground up structure that makes China, Vietnam, and Laos three of the remaining five communist nations. By "what we are as..." I mean that each of these nations have an image of being superior, of being a world unto themselves.  North Korea turns away help from other countries because they believe in the Juche, which in essence is Stalinism gone wild;  complete independence, total self reliance,; a cult of personality permanently grounded in the hereditary line of Kim Il-Sung.  They'd destroy the world, starve themselves out, before relying on anyone's help.

 The only communist nation in the region that is not still communist is Cambodia.  And for Cambodia, the story was much different.  There, the party was known as the Khmer Rouge, and they took Mao-ish agrarianism and nationalism to the extreme.  They emptied the cities of people, exterminated non-Khmer ethnic groups, and embarked on a slaughter so vicious that in 1979, Vietnam invaded, overthrew the KR, and instituted a government more amenable to them.  This caused a war with China in which the Chinese learned the same lesson the USA did in a much shorter time.  So now, you have a very independent Vietnam, a Laos which is basically a placid rural Vietnamese puppet, and a Cambodia which finally rid itself of one-party rule in 1989 as it became en vogue to let individual nations decide on their own what they want to be.
 
And elsewhere?  You still have a communist Cuba, which is mainly the cult of Castro personality, but that's it for one party Marxist states.  So, what happened to all the rest?
 
It starts with Soviet Russia being the welfare chest for all its satellites.  Whether happily sucking the Muscovite teat like Mongolia and East Germany or fighting tooth and nail against it like Afghanistan, it all became too expensive for the Soviets;  add to that that since Stalin, the progress from socialism to true communism had completely stagnated (and in some cases, reversed ), and top it off when Reagan's Star Wars plan forced even more military spending, and the whole house of cards began to fall apart.  First came Lech Walesa and Solidarity in Poland; then Mikhail Gorbachev and perestroika, which split Russia into the old guard who hated reform and the Yeltsinites ready to kick reform into hyperdrive.  The Soviet system hadn't the will to gather itself together, the resources to do anything but wave when the Berlin Wall came down, or the strength to even cope with goatherders armed with SAMs.
 
 
And other nations under the banner of "communism", like Mozambique, Benin, Ethiopia, Somalia, Angola, South Yemen, and even Mongolia, quickly showed that the only real interest they ever had in Soviet communism was Soviet aid.  Every one of these nations willingly and (for the most part) peacefully, stepped away from Soviet communism between 1989-91.
 
 
I said in the last paragraph that it started with the Russian attempt to be the bankroll for nations who were bankrupted by the Soviet way of doing business.  In the end, the Soviets had lost sight of Marx, of Lenin, of the goal, of what progress meant for them.  It became that which it was designed to tear down- an endless, monolithic bureaucracy intended to keep the people in check.
 
In the end, mankind has two things that keep him above the animals around him and make his life worthwhile.  One is his faith in something beyond himself, a loving Creator who promises more than what there is in this life.  The other was his "nationhood", his kinship with other men on the basis of common blood.  Both of these things make a man more than just himself, the shirt on his back and the tool in his hand.  Once Marx decided that the only way to achieve brotherhood, and his disciples acted on this, they had removed the soul of man;  he was now just a worker ant, and all that was left was to build anthills out of dirt.
 
 
In part three, what this all has to do with American socialism and Obama.

4 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, ma'am. I finally get to the point next time.

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  2. CWM:
    THat's a very good history lesson here regarding the Eastern Block nations...and I just saw a show on the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia...fits nicely.
    Had to backtrack becasue I somehow missed this part, but it's a good segue between parts 1 and 2.
    This is a tough (and complex) subject to tackle, but you are doing a bang-up job of it.
    Keep it going!

    Stay safe up there.

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    Replies
    1. Actually it was my curiousity about this facet that launched the whole thing. I never set out to teach, only to learn...

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