How would you feel if you lived in a country where both cars and bread were luxury goods? Not good, right? If we had to teach a brief class in Communism 101, here is how the first lesson would go: Basically, communism is the total opposite of the present relationship between capital and labor. It is a social system where the means of production and living are owned by the community and to which everybody is provided free access. But check this out – in practice, the whole concept is far from sharing your caviar and champagne with your cleaning lady!
No matter how alluring and inspiring the whole idea behind communism is, for decades it brought only disaster to the people in the countries it ruled. Under the communist regime, the absolute power is placed in the hands of a few individuals, and that inevitably results in oppression and economic misery for the majority of the population. There are many reasons why communism sucks – from forced redistribution of land to enforced sex norms established by government officials.
So, without further ado, here are 15 brutal facts that provide evidence why the communist regime is anything but fun or ideal.
15. Some Communist States Still Imprison Political Opponents
If you think communism is already in the past and what’s left of it is just a scary story in the history books, you’ll be completely wrong. The truth is that in the 21st century, more people live in countries with a communist or near-communist regime than at any point in history. What is even more alarming is the fact that in these countries, people continue to be persecuted and arrested for speaking up or acting against the government.
Currently, there are 51 political prisoners in Cuba, and about 10 – 12,000 such in North Korean labor camps. Despite its prosperous present and promising future, China is not falling behind. As of 2015, there are over 6,000 recorded cases of prisoners who either died in prison, or have escaped. And in Vietnam, they are not kidding at all – they still arrest political rebels at gunpoint.
14. Communism’s Little Black Book Of Mass Murders
Truth be said, communism per se hasn’t killed anyone as it is just an economic theory, which was supposed to be harmless and beneficial to society. However, some people claiming to be communists have killed millions. The historical figures are terrifying. The highest death tolls documented in communist states occurred in the Soviet Union under Stalin – 20 million non-combatants were killed during his totalitarian regime. Other communist leaders, however, were not less fierce than Stalin. 65 million civilians were murdered in China under Mao Zedong, 2 million in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, 1 million in the Eastern Bloc, and 1 million in Vietnam. In summary, there has been recorded a death toll between 85 and 100 million people in the Communism’s Black Book of Mass Murders.
13. Being Gay Is Criminal
Our old friend Marx commented rarely on sexuality in general, so we won’t be hearing much of him on the gay issue. However, in 1933, Joseph Stalin added an article to the Soviet Union criminal code, making homosexuality a crime punishable by up to five years in prison. Similar laws were passed in many countries of the Eastern Bloc, and the consequences for the “offenders” were no less severe. For example, in Bulgaria, people who were engaged in same-sex sexual intercourse would get a penalty of up to three years imprisonment. In Yugoslavia, gay people were labeled by communists as “enemies of the system” and were prohibited from joining the Communist party. It seems, though, that it was worst to be gay in Romania – if you were caught or even suspected of having sexual relations with a person of the same sex, you’d risk spending up to five years in jail! And keep in mind that it wasn’t the 1930s, but the 70s!
12. There Is An Active Effort To Eliminate Job Incentives
Yes, communism is a fun enterprise, which, however, has always failed to work for one fundamental reason: it contradicts human nature. Here is a very lucid example: In a communist country, there is a deliberate lack of incentives. All citizens get equal share of what a few people have worked hard to provide. Since the extra incentives are hugely reduced (let’s say, no higher pay is available for the best doctors, architects, etc.), the industrious and more diligent workers eventually lose their motivation. The logical result is a society of lousy workers, which brings serious damage to all spheres of life. What is more, the poorly motivated professionals are likely to rebel against the government for refusing to recognize their efforts. Actually, the communist regime in many states has fallen exactly because of the population growing bitter on their governments for not getting what they think they deserve by right.
11. Creativity Is Discouraged
Unfortunately for the communist elite, not all the citizens are happy wiping floors or working on the assembly line. Now and then, a person is born with a rare artistic talent, which they yearn to give an expression to. However, communism considers the jobs of painters and poets useless and even ridiculous. All that matters is building super-power factories and forming a nation of uniform-thinking voters. In order for that ultimate goal to be achieved, all attempts of pursuing artistic fulfillment need to be crushed. The communist policy towards art is a policy of no compromise. Art has only one aim and that is to be didactic and critical of capitalism. In the Soviet Union, artists who dared to disobey the Word of the Party were imprisoned, killed, or died of starvation in the Siberian camps.
10. Censorship Is The Main Tool For Keeping The Country Isolated
No two opinions about that – North Korea is currently the most censored country in the world. If you want to set your foot on another planet, it wouldn’t take that much, really. You just visit North Korea and you will find yourself in the deepest information void there is. Travellers to capital Pyongyang claim it almost feels as if you were on another planet! There are no independent journalists in communist North Korea, and all TV sets sold on the territory of the country are locked to frequencies specified by the government.
And here is another striking example of the nearest past. For over 40 years – until 1991 – Albania was completely shut out from the rest of the world and a person’s life was controlled by the regime of Enver Hoxha. He ruled the country with an iron fist in a way very similar to North Korea today. Needless to say, during that period, Albania was the poorest country in Europe and the third poorest in the world.
9. The Worst Despots Are Seen As Cool Guys
Only in a communist country is it possible for someone who killed 45 million of his own people to be admired and even proclaimed a national hero and martyr. Numerous totalitarian dictators, especially in the Eastern Bloc following World War II, promoted their own cult of personality. Stalin, Enver Hoxha, Nicolae Ceauşescu, Josip Broz Tito and others were idolized as flawless, godlike creatures. Their portraits adorned every public building and private homes, and the country’s artists had as their supreme duty to produce works of art idolizing the cool leader. In fact, the term “cult of personality” is coined by Karl Marx, the Prussian philosopher and revolutionary socialist, who is considered the ideological father of communism and socialism. He talked about the “superstitious worship of authority”, which he deliberately developed around his own personality in the late 19th century.
8. Forced Collectivization
In a country, where everyone shares everything and nothing is owned, it can get very ugly at some point. The idea behind the land reforms carried out in the Soviet Union and its satellite countries was to maximize the use of the countryside production for the industrial needs of the urban areas. The industry was just taking off, and huge quantities of food were needed to feed the laborers. In the Soviets, between 1928 and 1933, many landowners would refuse to let go of their farms, livestock and land. This led to unthinkable acts of atrocity – many farmers were executed and their families were destined to starvation. The same happened also in communist China twenty years later, when 33 million people starved to death because of the state’s requisitions of family-owned farmland and crops.
7. It Is A Punishable Crime To Believe In God
Of all the restrictions communism imposes upon the citizens, this one is among the most ridiculous and is deeply offensive. All enigmatic communist ideologists and leaders, with Marx and Lenin being the most outstanding ones, view religion as negative to human development. The truth is that communist regimes consider religion a threat to the established totalitarian authority, as religion has the power to organize people. Therefore, all the countries that follow the Marxist-Leninist dogma are atheistic by default and everyone who dares to think otherwise is subject to persecution. Actually, Catholic Cuba never banned religion, BUT you could not join the Communist party if you declared yourself religious. Vietnam’s Constitution allows freedom of worship, BUT not organized religion. In other words, God, in all His forms, is pretty much banned from entering the communist temple.
6. Gender Equality Is A Fallacy
In the glorious days of communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, every aspect of life was saturated with images of robust looking women standing on a scaffolding and holding hammers, or reaping grain with a sickle. The communist propaganda enforced the image of the economically and socially active woman in order to emphasize her mission to sacrifice herself for the common good and for the “bright future” of the system. Formally, gender equality ruled. But, in fact, there were huge gender disproportions, such as gap in payment between men and women. The inspiring image of the communist virile female worker turned out to be a total flop. Women’s identities served the priorities of the totalitarian state at the expense of their self-realization. Put in simpler words, it pretty much sucked to be a girl in those years.
5. The Rich People Get Richer, The Poor Stay Poor
Remember the postulate that under the communist regime the goods are equally distributed among all members of society? It may be so on paper, but in reality the situation pretty much resembles George Orwell’s Animal Farm where “some animals are more equal than others.” In the second part of the 20th century, the poverty of the people in the Soviet Union and its satellite countries in Eastern Europe shattered the myth of the prosperous working class. In the 21st century, the People’s Republic of China is, in fact, the biggest exploiter of the working class in history. What is more, China has the second largest number of billionaires, being topped only by USA. The reason why this has been possible is that China, Vietnam, etc. aren’t actually communist in economic matters. Since the 1980s, most communist countries have been creating a form of state capitalism, which has enabled them to give way to global capitalism while still maintaining the one-party political system.
4. Marxist Economics Flushed Down The Toilet
With this one we are going into deep waters. But you don’t need to be a top-notch economist or a university professor to see where Karl Marx went totally wrong. Despite his monstrous intellect and broad philosophical thinking, his whole analysis was grounded on a conceptual fallacy, and that is: Value is an attribute of the object/thing itself. But nothing in this world, and we mean NOTHING at all has an intrinsic value. Value exists only in human minds. Now, picture over seven billion people living today – some of them will value diamonds the highest, while others – drinkable water. So, if we have to capture in one single sentence why communism is destined to fail, here it is: Marx was simply trying to analyze something that didn’t exist – true value.
3. The Missing Middle Class Paradox
OK, here is how modern society functions (in case you haven’t noticed yourself). There are three major classes – upper, middle, and lower. Those on the top are the wealthiest ones. The lower class, on the other hand, is constantly trying to make the two ends meet. The middle class is the pacifier between the other two. And if it happens to be missing, blood is shed. Although communist propagandists loudly proclaim that class struggle has been eliminated, what they really do is keep it going. Which, of course, is understandable because every group of people that is in charge enjoys its power and would hardly let go of it. By holding fast to their power, the communist leaders intentionally separate the population into two classes only – they, themselves represent the elite, and everyone else falls into the group of the disadvantaged lower class.
2. Devastating Natural Environments
As things don’t usually look very bright for any communist country’s economy, the ruling elite try everything to compensate for the deficiency in the economic sector. And we mean, EVERYTHING, no matter the cost. In the 1960s, two major rivers were diverted for irrigation purpose on the territory of USSR. As a result, the Aral Sea, the former fourth largest lake in the world, which these rivers used to feed, has shrunk to ten percent of its normal size.
Just ten years ago, China became the largest source of carbon emissions. Daily, we use hundreds of cheap items produced in China. We may not care about the conditions they were produced in, but China’s quest for high production levels above all poisons the people of the republic. And the whole process is also highly toxic for the rest of the world. Literally!
1. You Have Almost Zero Civil Rights
Most of the above entries are related by the premise that basic human freedoms and rights are more or less violated under communist regime. This one, however, is particularly about the drastic violation of civil rights. To start with, the idea of individual freedom is incompatible with the communist ideology. Speech rights, as well as the rights to freely access information and to protest, are as a rule refused by the ruling class to the civilians. Besides, citizens were given no other option but to vote for the only political party there is, which is the Communist party. The paradox here is that they have to fake voluntary voting, which, you have to agree, kind of kills the fun of the whole idea of abusing civil rights.