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post #49 of (permalink) Old 03-25-09, 09:50 AM
Red Orc
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I'm sorry too that my defence of my beliefs has led to a situation where you feel you have to apologise for what seems to be a genuine misunderstanding.

It's true that the governmental forms that existed in the USSR and its satelites, and still exist in China and Cuba and a few other places, are labelled as 'communism', mostly by lazy journalists. But, as I hope I've demonstrated, that label is untterly innaccurate. Incidently, it's not one that was ever used by the rulers of the USSR, or to my knowlege by the rulers of China or Cuba either, who claim they are 'working towards communism'.

Lenin did muddy the waters somewhat by defining "socialism" as the stage of transition to communism, but he was coining a new usage which has not generally been accepted by communists or socialists. In general, the split is between those who supported the Russian revolution ("communists") and those who didn't, for various reasons ("socialists"). But that split isn't hard and fast, and there are few in the socialist movement who would go along with Lenin's definition. It's certainly not one found in Marx and Engels, or any of the Anarchist writers, or really any others of the thinkers of the movement in the early 20th century (possibly Trotsky did, but he worked closely with Lenin). In general, it's politicians and journalists who refer to the Soviet Union as 'communism' or 'socialism', but as I say, it was niether.

The ruling party of the USSR was the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, but to claim that Russia was communist because of this is the same logic that would 'democracy is the same as whatever Barak Obama does (because he's a member of the Democratic Party)'. It's a false logic, I think we'd both agree.

So; when you said that you wanted to treat "communism" as equal to "what happened in the USSR" I (and I suppose the pun is intended) "saw red". Because it seemed to me that you set up the debate, then changed the meaning of the words to fit your own agenda.

Unfortunately, I don't think a debate about 'the west v the Soviet Union' would generate much actual debate; I certainly regard the Soviet Union as being a horrific and brutal prison-camp of a society, and I don't think there's many people, right or left, who'd disagree. But as you can see, the debate about capitalism v real communism has at least generated a lot of posts (a good half of them from me, to be sure... but then there's a lot of misconceptions I felt it necessary to correct).

Anyway; as a result of all this, I am quite willing to withdraw my accusation that you are a unicorn, I can only think that you must have been wearing some kind of pointed hat and bending to pick up something from the floor, and I got confused in the dim light; I can confidently state that I believe you are a biped, without a horn on your head.

Good debate, by the way, thanks for asking the question!

"Well it's Forty-one Thousand Nine Hundred Sixty-nine OK -
Gotta war across the Milky Way - "
Iggius Popiscus and the Stoogii, "41,969"

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