Victims of Communism

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Will
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Victims of Communism

Post by Will » Sun Jun 19, 2016 2:07 pm

Just a reminder that not only Eastern Europe was under the boot, but much of Asia was, and still is.

http://victimsofcommunism.org
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Re: Victims of Communism

Post by dhammacoustic » Sun Jun 19, 2016 11:33 pm

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation has established a long-term action plan designed to memorialize, educate and document the grim legacy of communism around the world.
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Re: Victims of Communism

Post by chownah » Mon Jun 20, 2016 4:31 am

Don't be a victim....don't be anything at all.
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Re: Victims of Communism

Post by Dhamma_Basti » Mon Jun 20, 2016 5:54 am

I feel Mccarthy around the corner. ^^
To be honest I am quite glad that the days of the great communist empires have gone. China is in a transient state and the Soviet Union is history, But I do have some russian friends and some of them are hardcore communists till now, even stating that Gorbachev was the greatest criminal of the younger russian history. I personally do not agree, as I am quite glad that Germany was reunited and that we finally have a longer period of peace and stability in Europe. But that too is shaking at the moment and I hope that people do not turn stupid again.
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Re: Victims of Communism

Post by Ben » Mon Jun 20, 2016 6:32 am

And neoliberal capitalism doesn't have blood on its hands?
I think not.
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Re: Victims of Communism

Post by Lazy_eye » Mon Jun 20, 2016 2:53 pm

Ben wrote:And neoliberal capitalism doesn't have blood on its hands?
I think not.
Of course it does. All the major political systems and ideologies do. But that doesn't mean we can't make meaningful distinctions among them.

For instance, I hope you would agree that a liberal society is preferable to a fascist one, even though liberalism and fascism both have "blood on their hands" to various degrees. We can still make a distinction because their are additional criteria that come into the discussion -- for instance, degree of state coercion, presence/absence of civil liberties, tolerance/intolerance of cultural heterogeneity, and so on.

Likewise, to compare the West and the Soviet bloc we'd need to agree on some criteria for comparison.
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Re: Victims of Communism

Post by Zom » Mon Jun 20, 2016 3:30 pm

The problem is not in the political system, but in the leader(s). Please remember that the happiest times for humanity (according to the Buddha) happen during the reign of the universal monarch (not during democracy, communism, fascism, whatever).

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Re: Victims of Communism

Post by Lazy_eye » Mon Jun 20, 2016 3:42 pm

Zom wrote:The problem is not in the political system, but in the leader(s). Please remember that the happiest times for humanity (according to the Buddha) happen during the reign of the universal monarch (not during democracy, communism, fascism, whatever).
Wouldn't that be a type of political system too, called universal monarchy?

A universal monarch would be impossible within the contexts of either democratic socialism or liberalism, for instance, since the tenets of these systems are explicitly opposed to concentrating power in this way.

Cakkavattinism seems to mean a kind of benevolent dictatorship.

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Re: Victims of Communism

Post by Modus.Ponens » Mon Jun 20, 2016 7:45 pm

Hello.

Lazy Eye gave an excelent reply. I wish I had your diplomatic skills.

The USSR killed between 5 and 6 Million Ukrainians in the Holodomor. It had forced labor camps that enslaved something like 25 Million people. The critics would be killed. The inconvenient would be enslaved. They did experiments in humans like the nazis did.

In China there was the genocide of Tibetans. 1 Million. The Great Leap Forward agrary revolution claimed the lives of 18 Million people. 18 Million.

The Khmer Rouge killed between 20% and 25% of its own population.

The horrors were/are part of Angola, Jugoslavia, Cuba, North Korea, etc.

Two conclusions can be drawed from this, one clear, the other not so clear.

(1) The communist regimes were as destructive, genocidal and psychopatic as the fascist regimes. (2) Western communists who have the decency of not being in favour of these genocidal regimes say that the problem was that it wasn't correctly implemented by honest people. But the real problem is the following: to install a communist regime, there cannot be private property and no private sector. But there will always be people who disagree with this. So ultimately, if a communist regime is to be installed the dissidents have to be killed. And any person willing to kill millions of people who disagree with collective property has to be a monster. This is the real reason there never was a humane communist regime and never will be.

The Western democracies are far from perfect, but in the 20th century we were't genociding millions and millions of our own people. Especially after WWII. We had the civil rights movement, the emancipation of women and the sexual revolution. So our democracies cannot be comparable to communist regimes. That would be moral blindness.

And finally, our crimes cannot be understood in isolation from the psychopatic regimes we were fighting. Just like our bombing of Dresden cannot be criticised fairly without having into account that our enemies were the nazis. But the stakes in the Cold War were even higher: the world was on the brink of anihilation.

The world is imperfect and politics is dirty. But if you want to know on what side you really are, ask yourself this: would you rather live in the US or in the USSR?

Anjali
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

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Re: Victims of Communism

Post by DNS » Mon Jun 20, 2016 11:35 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote: The world is imperfect and politics is dirty. But if you want to know on what side you really are, ask yourself this: would you rather live in the US or in the USSR?
My wife lived in both the USSR and the US. She said the U.S. is better. :tongue:

My wife had the unique opportunity of living under communism in 2 different continents (Africa & Europe). The Red reign of terror in Ethiopia (1977-1980) killed nearly 500,000 murdering any and all opposition to communism. Dead bodies were left on the streets to scare the rest of the populace. It led to the famine of 1983-1985 which killed another 500,000 for a total of one million.

Then she went to the USSR to attend uni/medical school. Food and other resources were scarce and she left for the U.S. When she came to the U.S. she had no money and no degree, waited tables for a living and said that was better than living in a communist nation.

I know some of you might say that isn't real communism; but then the same could be said about today's cronyism capitalism, giving no bid contracts to certain companies, bail outs of Wall Street, etc., which is not real Adam Smith capitalism either. The best system seems to be some sort of mixed economy (centrist economics) without the corruption and cronyism.

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Re: Victims of Communism

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:00 am

Greetings Lazy Eye,
Lazy_eye wrote:For instance, I hope you would agree that a liberal society is preferable to a fascist one...
Well I would... and for me, that distinction cuts to the heart of the matter.

Whether extreme left-wing or extreme right-wing, the root problem that leads to corruption, cronyism, moral bankruptcy, atrocities and manipulation of the populace is unfettered power in the form of authoritarianism and fascism.

First authoritarian regimes control your actions, then they control your speech, and then they seek to control and manipulate your thoughts... demonstrating a complete disregard for personal and spiritual autonomy that should be abhorrent to us as Buddhists with an understanding that actions, speech and thoughts are the roots of action (kamma).

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Paul. :)
Last edited by retrofuturist on Tue Jun 21, 2016 4:43 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Victims of Communism

Post by Will » Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:21 am

One must suppose that any well-educated posters here, who can find excuses for the horrors of Communism have all read this snappy little tome?

http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php? ... 80674076082
Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!
Nietzsche

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Re: Victims of Communism

Post by Modus.Ponens » Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:39 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
Modus.Ponens wrote: The world is imperfect and politics is dirty. But if you want to know on what side you really are, ask yourself this: would you rather live in the US or in the USSR?
My wife lived in both the USSR and the US. She said the U.S. is better. :tongue:

My wife had the unique opportunity of living under communism in 2 different continents (Africa & Europe). The Red reign of terror in Ethiopia (1977-1980) killed nearly 500,000 murdering any and all opposition to communism. Dead bodies were left on the streets to scare the rest of the populace. It led to the famine of 1983-1985 which killed another 500,000 for a total of one million.

Then she went to the USSR to attend uni/medical school. Food and other resources were scarce and she left for the U.S. When she came to the U.S. she had no money and no degree, waited tables for a living and said that was better than living in a communist nation.

I know some of you might say that isn't real communism; but then the same could be said about today's cronyism capitalism, giving no bid contracts to certain companies, bail outs of Wall Street, etc., which is not real Adam Smith capitalism either. The best system seems to be some sort of mixed economy (centrist economics) without the corruption and cronyism.
Thank you for sharing that. It must have been terrible.

Some cliches are empty repetitions that started as wonderful events. The american dream is to me one such cliche. But the wonderful stories behind it are like those of your wife. It may not sound special to most of us, but I bet it is for her.

The point about bad communist regimes and crony capitalism is that to some point this is inevitable. Since ultimately dissidents must be killed in communist regimes, there will never be a communism that in reality is as good as it first sounds in your head. Crony capitalism is also innevitable to some degree. No nation is devoid of corruption. But we have ways of keeping it in ballance and we can change laws to do it better. Unfortunately that's the best we can do.

I'm off to practice contentment :P
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

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Re: Victims of Communism

Post by Will » Tue Jun 21, 2016 1:16 am

Here is the Introduction to another book of personal stories From the Gulag to the Killing Fields. The notes are missing in this pdf, you will have to get the book. The Intro is titled "Distinctive Features of Repression in Communist States"

http://www.isi.org/books/content/384intro.pdf
Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!
Nietzsche

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Re: Victims of Communism

Post by chownah » Tue Jun 21, 2016 2:42 am

I think the problem is not so much with communism as it is with the way people try to implement communism. Peaceful communism is often calle 'communalism'....like what many european monks do or did.
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Re: Victims of Communism

Post by chownah » Tue Jun 21, 2016 2:46 am

I know some of you might say that isn't real communism; but then the same could be said about today's cronyism capitalism
I guess then that your wife prefers pseudo capitalism over pseudo communism. For me this doesn't really say much about capitalism or communism but it does support my previous post which suggests that the problem is not so much with communism (or capitalism) but rather how people implement them.
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Re: Victims of Communism

Post by Dhamma_Basti » Tue Jun 21, 2016 4:42 am

Gemany is also a good example. Same people, two different systems for 45 years. Needless to say, yo won't find many people in eastern Germany today wishing to have the old days back (eventhough there are some). The problem wasn't just about economy. The eastern german people didn't have the 60s, the time of student revolution and couldn't participate in open discussion about the war crime history of Germany in the same way as people in western Germany. During military service, they had to protect the inner german border, which meant walking down the wall being ready to shoot at your neighbor, who want's to flee to the west. This wasn't something that only the faithful communists had to to, but every male citizen of the DDR sooner or later had to face his two years military service. Not to talk of the Stasi and all that sick stuff. I just can't imagine how horrible it must have been to grow up in a society where this was the norm and not the exception. And I assume that the DDR still was one of the better examples compared to the other communist regimes.
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Re: Victims of Communism

Post by chownah » Tue Jun 21, 2016 4:56 am

Indeed, germany is a good example to look at some differences in how communism and capitalism were implemented. Another example is russia....formerly the USSR. As the communist USSR they were expansionist and confrontational....as "democratic" russia they are expansionist and confrontational.

I think the implementation of the dogma is important and it is/was basically the same power structure which does/did this in russia. To take this a step further you could say that in the two germanies it was a russian implementation vs. a western european/american implementation. Clearly the western implementation is better at providing consumer goods as it is clear that communism is tragically deficient in stimulating productivity. This brings me to a good point I think which is that it seems that people are mostly judging communism by its inability to provide consumer goods.....
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Re: Victims of Communism

Post by Modus.Ponens » Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:58 am

Chownah,

That's not the main problem with communism, even though it's a big one. You are a decent person. If you were to install communism how would you do it without violence?
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

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Re: Victims of Communism

Post by chownah » Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:40 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:Chownah,

That's not the main problem with communism, even though it's a big one. You are a decent person. If you were to install communism how would you do it without violence?
I think the first thing is to define exactly what is meant by communism since there really are alot of different ideas about its meaning. I like to take the idea of collectivism as a good approximation of communism. I was a memeber of a worker's collective in the US. It worked like this: You had to be voted in to be a member which made you a full partner from the legalistic business aspect of things. You did not have to invest any money (capital) to be a member so as to avoid the tendency towards capitalism. Who ever was actually working at the business (a restaurant) at any particular time were the decision makers. That is pretty much how it worked.
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