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However, there are differences between these terms. Marxism is the ideology created by Karl Marx. A Communist society is in Marxist theory a utopian, stateless society. Marxists advocate a revolution in order to overthrow the current society and after this a temporary "dictatorship of the proletariat" phase, before the utopian Communist society can be implemented. The Communist states described themselves as being this temporary "dictatorship of the proletariat" and did not describe themselves as having achieved the Communist society. Anarchists may also advocate a utopian, stateless society, but do not advocate an initial "dictatorship of the proletariat" phase.
The Bolsheviks were originally the faction of Russian Communists which was controlled by Vladimir Lenin and which was the first Communist group to gain power in the Russian Revolution (1917). The term Bolsheviks was often also used as a derogatory term for non-Russian Communists by opponents, such as German National Socialists, with an implication being that these non-Russian Communists and Communist parties were controlled by and took orders from the Soviet Union. Such views were very often correct, as proven by later research, see, for example, The Black Book of Communism, "Part II Word Revolution, Civil War, and Terror".
A notable characteristic is the large Jewish influence and the many Jewish Communists starting with Karl Marx. For example Kevin MacDonald has argued that one explanation for this is that the new societies created by the revolutions were seen as advantageous for Jews, such as by removing various restrictions on Jews existing in the previous societies. See also Jews and Communism.
Marxism is complex theoretical system consisting of a number of political, economical, and philosophical theories, which were often wholly or partially copied by Marx from others. Some examples of theories and concepts include dialectical and historical materialism, base and superstructure, the labor theory of value, class analysis, and reification.
Some of these theories and concepts have been argued to have made predictions that have been falsified (such as Marx's prediction of constantly increasing poverty inevitably causing Communist revolutions in industrial countries) and others have been generally seen as inadequate and abandoned by almost all non-Marxists (such as the labor theory of value). Some of the theories have been argued to be pseudosciences that make no testable predictions and produce no practically useful results.
Marxism in its various forms advocates a worldwide Communist revolution and the eventual disappearance of all other ideologies. As such, Communists and Communist states have supported violent revolutionary attempts and movements in their own and other countries. Communist parties stating that they do not currently support a revolution have generally explicitly or implicitly argued that this is because the situation is not right for this currently, but will be so in the future.
Vladimir Lenin created Marxism-Leninism which at least initially was the official ideology of all Communist states. Marxism-Leninism views large parts of the population as mislead and not ready for political participation. It instead emphasizes the importance of an elitist, authoritarian, and hierarchical Communist "vanguard" party, which will take power in the revolution (quite possibly against the wishes of the majority of the population) and then lead the Communist state(s) during the "dictatorship of the proletariat" phase. Lenin also argued that early leftist revolutionary attempts, such as the 1871 "Paris Commune", had failed in part because the repressions of opponents were insufficiently harsh. He immediately implemented the promised harsh repressions and a Red Terror against suspected opponents once he gained power in Russia, directed also against other far-left individuals and groups with views to some degree deviating from that of Lenin.
Marxism (and in particular Marxism-Leninism) views human nature as to a large degree being a "blank slate" shaped by the environment rather than genetic factors. A prominent goal of the "dictatorship of the proletariat" is to create a superior "New Man", by having a superior environment. This "New Man" will then be able to implement the utopian, stateless Communist society.
Initially, Marxism placed great emphasis on socioeconomic factors as the fundamental forces of human history and predicted that increased worldwide support for Communism and Communist revolutions were inevitable developments. As these developments failed to occur, and the failures of the Communist states became increasingly apparent, many Marxists modified their theories by placing more emphasis on cultural factors. See the Cultural Marxism article. The goal to create a superior "New Man" still remains, with the emphasis now being on controlling and changing culture.
Every Communist state has ended in misery and brutal oppression. Some of the most famous demagogues representing it were in power during the 20th century. For instance Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union, Mao Zedong in China, Pol Pot in Cambodia, and Fidel Castro in Cuba.
Current and past Communist states
The following is a list of countries that currently officially adhere to Marxism-Leninism (but many have implemented so far-reaching capitalist economic reforms that they likely no longer can be considered socialist):
North Korea is generally considered to be a Communist one-party state, but the official ideology is no longer Marxism–Leninism but the socialist "Juche" ideology.
Earlier various other countries adhered to Marxism-Leninism. Most notable was the Soviet Union which controlled many of the other countries, many in Eastern Europe.
Mass killings under Communist regimes
- Main article: Mass killings under Communist regimes
According to Stéphane Courtois, writing in the introduction to The Black Book of Communism, approximately 100 million deaths have resulted from Communism over its 85 year history. He includes 20 million deaths in the Soviet Union, including executions of hostages and prisoners without trial and killing of hundreds of thousands of rebellious workers and peasants during the period of 1918 to 1922; the famine of 1922 five million deaths (chiefly in Ukraine); the extermination and deportation of the Don Cossacks 1920; killing of 100s of thousands in concentration camps, 1918 to 1930; liquidation of 690,00 during the Great Purge; deportation of 2 million kulaks 1930-1932; deaths of 4 million Ukrainians and 2 million others during the induced famine of 1932-1933 (the Holodomor); deportation of hundreds of thousands of Poles, Ukrainians, Balts, Moldovans and Bessarabians 1939-1941 and 1944-1945; deportation of the Volga Germans, 1941; deportation of the Crimean Tatars 1943; deportation of the Chechens 1944; and deportation of the Ingush 1944. He also includes 65 million deaths in the People’s Republic of China, many in the famine associated with the Great Leap Forward; 1 million in Vietnam; 2 million in Cambodia, one fourth of the population; 1.2 million in Tito’s Yugoslavia; 1 million elsewhere in Eastern Europe; 150,000 in Latin America; 1.7 million in Africa; 1.5 million in Afganistan; and 10,000 by Communist parties not in power and the international Communist movement (Page 4 to 10, Black Book of Communism ISBN 0674076087).
Conservatives, and even liberals, have also written many other criticisms on the Communist states and the atrocities committed there and other problems. However, these atrocities and problems are relatively rarely mentioned in leftist popular media.
Some examples of other problematic aspects of the Communist states include enormous environmental problems, censorship of information and lack of freedom of expression, lacking freedom of association (including lack of free labor unions), and low living standards, even when comparing the two parts of divided countries (such as North Korea vs. South Korea and East Germany vs. West Germany).
Another characteristic was the large scale censorship of the sciences, in order to make them fit with the ideology. This even included natural sciences, such as genetics (as in Lysenkoism). History was extensively rewritten and falsified. This occurred also after internal changes within the Communist states, such as when Trotsky and other leaders lost power and subsequently were removed from the official historiography and even edited out of photographs. Holocaust revisionists have argued for similarities between such fabrications and the argued fabrications regarding the Holocaust.
Attempted Communist explanations for the failures of the Communist states
Communists such as Trotskyists often argue that Stalin corrupted the Soviet Union and later Communist states originating from the Soviet Union. However, this ignores that many of the problems existed already during the time period when Lenin and Trotsky were in power (famines, mass executions, labor camps in Siberia, red terror, secret police, and so on).
Another point is that numerous different economic policies where tried in different Communist states and often in the same Communist state during different time periods without success. This points to there being some fundamental flaw(s) with Communism, rather than a specific policy being to blame.
The Bolshevik Revolution and some of its aftermath represented, from one perspective, Jewish revenge. During the heyday of the Cold War, American Jewish publicists spent a lot of time denying that — as 1930s anti-Semites claimed — Jews played a disproportionately important role in Soviet and world Communism. The truth is until the early 1950s Jews did play such a role, and there is nothing to be ashamed of. In time Jews will learn to take pride in the record of the Jewish Communists in the Soviet Union and elsewhere. It was a species of striking back.—Norman Cantor, The Jewish Experience, 1996.
Under the revolutionary regimes of Lenin and the early Stalin the former majority population of Eastern Slavs (Russians, Ukrainians, White Russians) in their own country were dispossessed and put under the jurisdiction of the prerevolutionary minority peoples (Jews, Georgians, Latvians, Poles, and Armenians). The October Revolution differed substantially from earlier Western revolutions as, for example, when Frenchmen were pitted against Frenchmen in the French Revolution or when Englishmen fought against fellow Englishmen in the American Revolution for the purpose of improving conditions for the less fortunate. In Russia in 1917, international misfits provided much of the leadership for that revolution as part of a world conspiracy to bring down all other governments that did not accept the dictatorial teaching of Karl Marx and his disciples.—Sergei Semanov, 2012, The Russian Club: Why the Jews Will Not Win.
- Mass killings under Communist regimes
- Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Joseph Stalin
- Jews and Communism
Regarding specific topics, such as "Jews and Communism", see the "External links" sections in these articles.
- Communist crimes
- Inside Wikipedia's leftist bias: socialism pages whitewashed, communist atrocities buried
- A Review of “Revolutionary Yiddishland: A History of Jewish Radicalism,” Part 1 of 3 https://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2018/01/27/a-review-of-revolutionary-yiddishland-a-history-of-jewish-radicalism-part-1-of-3/
- NKVD: Excerpt from Sergei Semanov, The Russian Club https://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2013/09/20/nkvd-excerpt-from-sergei-semanov-the-russian-club/