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What is Communism?

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Soviet cogitations: 7
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 May 2012, 23:37
Ideology: None
New Comrade (Say hi & be nice to me!)
Post 28 May 2012, 15:06
I know very little about it. Please explain it to me like I'm a 10-year old.
I am going to throw out some stuff here and I'd like for you folks to please tell me what the Communist belief is. i.e. What a Communist country would be like or what the Soviet Union would be like today - I am going to be putting a lot of stuff on here, and I realize this may be asking quite a lot, so if you prefer not to give a long answer, a simple "For" or "Against" will due.

Abortion

Affirmative Action - Granted, I think this is an American issue, but what if the U.S.A. had become Communists? What would their stance be on this matter?

The Death Penalty

Economy - Should there be a market system in which government regulates the economy? Should the government protect citizens from the greed of big business? Is the government motivated by public interest? Is government regulation in all areas of the economy is needed to level the playing field? Or is the free market system, competitive capitalism, and private enterprise create the greatest opportunity and the highest standard of living for all? Should free markets produce more economic growth, more jobs and higher standards of living than those systems burdened by excessive government regulation? Do free markets produce more economic growth, more jobs and higher standards of living than those systems burdened by excessive government regulation?

Education - school vouchers and charter schools

Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Energy - i.e. Should something like Oil drilling be increased both on land and at sea?

Euthanasia & Physician-assisted suicide

Global Warming/Climate Change

Gun Control

Free Health Care

Homeland Security such as Airport security and passenger profiling.

Illegal Immigration

Private Property - Should the Government have the right to use eminent domain (seizure of private property by the government–with compensation to the owner) to accomplish a public end?

Religion and Government - I already know the answer to this one, so I'll ask instead - Should a Communist country show open hostility towards religion?

Same-sex Marriage

Social Security

Taxes

Welfare

United Nations - Would/Should a Communist country be apart of it?

War on Terror/Terrorism
Loz
[+-]
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Soviet cogitations: 11879
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 28 May 2012, 17:14
Communism is stateless and classless.
Other that that, it's kinda pointless to talk about "how Communism will look like". We can't know that for sure.
Who knows what will happen to embryonic cell research and global warming in a hundred years?
I reccomend you read the Wiki page on "Communism" for basic info.

Quote:
Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence.

Marx
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Soviet cogitations: 4415
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 28 May 2012, 19:00
The questions you're asking are more about what a socialist country might be like (or what the USSR was like) than a 'communist country', since communism is a stage of development that humanity has not yet reached, and it is probable that it is impossible to reach while countries, especially capitalist and imperialist ones, exist.

Abortion: Legal, based on a woman's right to control her body.

Affirmative Action: Each republic, ethnic subregion and autonomous oblast in the USSR attempted to promote national language, culture, and leadership. Hence there was a form of affirmative action, but it was based on the fact that the people on the ground had long-lasting historical connections to the territories they inhabited. Gorbachev's insensitivity to national issues and his appointment of a Russian to the head of the Kazakh party was the first ethnically based tremor against Soviet power.

Death Penalty: Legal and carried out in the worst instances of criminal activity (again, in the Soviet case).

Economy: In a socialist economy, there is no government protection or regulation against big business. The latter simply do not exist. No market system existed in the USSR, central and regional planning and local adjustments making the economy work. With the aid of supercomputers available today, it is highly probable that even a huge country like the USSR could have seen planning nearly entirely computerized. Your question about which system works better is a whole can of worms in itself, but suffice it to say that the 'market' economies of the West have long benefited from colonialism and financial imperialism to create high standards of living, whereas the USSR did not. Even so, the USSR was the second economic power in the world, and by some indicators even exceeded the United States. This divide may have been even smaller today, given the demolition of the American industrial base, its massive debt and reliance on the dollar as the world reserve currency to maintain its economic system.

Education: Free, public education (to high school, then the possibility of technical schools and universities) and student assistance during studies. After high school grades would determine eligibility for entrance and funding.

Embryonic Stem Cell Research: The Eastern Bloc never lived to see the possibility for this, but I can't think of any reason that they wouldn't become heavily involved with it, given its benefits and that the only serious objections are based on religious beliefs.

Energy: Soviet policy was predicated in realism. Thus I would imagine use of a combination of oil and gas, nuclear, and serious investment into viable alternative forms of energy. When I say realism I mean that politically motivated decisions (like Germany's attempt to abandon nuclear entirely) would not be likely, and green energy would be researched and implemented seriously, rather than marketed as a feel good purchase for hippies and their children.

Euthanasia & Physician-assisted suicide: I don't know how historical socialist countries dealt with this, although I have read that passive doctor assisted euthanasia was possible, but in cases of severe illness (combined of course with patient desire) or vegetative state I can't see why not.

Global Warming/Climate Change: Soviet conceptions toward the environment did begin to change in the 1970s, and I'm sure that scientists would agree with the global consensus that climate change is real, and that humans have played a role (even if that role has been merely to tip the scales in one direction). Again, solutions would be based on a carefully calculated plan that would propose alternatives to the energy resources that create the problem.

Gun Control: In the USSR private citizens were limited to hunting rifles, former officers could keep their handguns, and virtually everyone was trained to use automatic rifles in civil defense courses at school. Personally I think that everything up to automatic rifles is fine, and that a law-abiding citizen should be allowed to defend oneself. In principal too the idea that the population itself defends the gains of the revolution might be an appealing one to some people (as it is in the US, even if many ordinary folk are really defending the gains of the bourgeois revolution).

Free Health Care: Absolutely.

Homeland Security such as Airport security and passenger profiling: Depends on the security status of the country. In the USSR there was only one serious case of violent terrorism, carried out by Armenian nationalists in the 1970s. This might have been due to the strong system of security already in place in the USSR. As for passenger profiling, that's an issue for countries with high numbers of tourists and immigrants, and I can't comment on how they should deal with it, except to say that a policy that may seem necessary and justified at the top may be morally compromised by the time it gets down to the people that actually have to carry it out, given peoples' varying attitudes toward different peoples, immigrants in general, etc.

Private Property - Should the Government have the right to use eminent domain (seizure of private property by the government–with compensation to the owner) to accomplish a public end? Yes. It's important to emphasize the need to fairly compensate the owner.

Religion and Government - I already know the answer to this one, so I'll ask instead - Should a Communist country show open hostility towards religion?: My opinion, and the opinion of most Russian communists today, is no. Communist hostility toward religion was probably one of the biggest mistakes of the Soviet project. It's important to recognize that much of this hostility was spontaneous and from below at the beginning, but the communists' institutionalization of it in Russia was a mistake.

Same-sex Marriage: The Soviet state did not recognize it after the mid-1920s, and homosexuality was actually illegal up until the country's collapse (though in certain circles -mainly artistic, it was overlooked). This was the result more than anything else of the conservative attitudes of the population and much of the leadership. Today, I can't see any reason for it to remain illegal, given that consenting adults should be allowed to love and be married to whomever they want, even if they happen to be the same sex.

Social Security: Comfortable old age pensions for all. Earlier retirement for women (perhaps age 55) and certain categories of difficult work, such as miners. Variance in the amounts can occur too, depending on the nature of the job.

Taxes: Calculating taxes in a Soviet-style socialist system is a bit difficult, given that virtually everyone worked for the state, and then received money back with which to buy certain goods and services, most of which were heavily subsidized.

Welfare: All able-bodied and able-minded people must work. Disabled people may be encouraged to work (in the USSR, the attitude was that work gave people a greater sense of meaning and personal pride, and special education was geared toward finding suitable work for the disabled).

United Nations - Would/Should a Communist country be apart of it?: Before the late 1980s, the USSR and its allies were able to use the UN to voice their interests and to point to global problems caused by imperialism. In future, for the sake of voicing its interests and maintaining its rights as a citizen in the international community, a socialist country should belong to the UN, and consistently vote against imperialism.

War on Terror/Terrorism: Communists have waged a war against radical Islamism longer than the United States and its allies (which have been traditionally tolerant and/or friendly toward Islamic radicals until recently). During the Cold War, the Soviet Union and its allies consistently supported secular Arab countries and forces against the Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, and against groups like the Muslim Brotherhood. As for war on 'terror' or 'terrorism' as concepts, this would be ridiculous, because you cannot defeat tactics of war. The best way to deal with these problems would be to try to create a world where the issues that cause terrorism (poverty, backwardness, religious fundamentalism) are gradually overcome. From an individual country's level, this can mean not supporting groups solely based on real-politik equations (ex. the USSR would never support radical Islamists, even if they were anti-Israeli or anti-American).
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
Soviet cogitations: 53
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 29 Jan 2012, 02:34
Pioneer
Post 05 Jun 2012, 00:35
Lets start with the basics, shall we?

Lenin wrote that:

Quote:
The economic oppression of the workers inevitably calls forth and engenders every kind of political oppression and social humiliation, the coarsening and darkening of the spiritual and moral life of the masses. The workers may secure a greater or lesser degree of political liberty to fight for their economic emancipation, but no amount of liberty will rid them of poverty, unemployment, and oppression until the power of capital is overthrown


from "Socialism and Religion", in Novaya Zhizn, No. 28, on December 3, 1905 (http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1905/dec/03.htm)

This is more or less the basis of class struggle, which forms a core component in socialist theory. Class struggle is simply the fight between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie-one class versus another conflicting class.

Until capitalism is overthrown, political and economic liberties gained over time will only serve as temporary successes for the proletariat in this struggle between two classes.

Marx would write in The Communist Manifesto in 1848:

Quote:
In depicting the most general phases of the development of the proletariat, we traced the more or less veiled civil war, raging within existing society, up to the point where that war breaks out into open revolution, and where the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie lays the foundation for the sway of the proletariat.


According to Marx, a hidden civil war is being waged between these two competing classes. Ultimately, the bourgeoisie will be overthrown after this civil war breaks out "into open revolution." Such is the final outcome of class struggle.

He goes on to say that:

Quote:
It[the bourgeoisie] is unfit to rule because it is incompetent to assure an existence to its slave within his slavery, because it cannot help letting him sink into such a state, that it has to feed him, instead of being fed by him. Society can no longer live under this bourgeoisie, in other words, its existence is no longer compatible with society.


The bourgeoisie has more or less become outdated in society. Failing to provide for the proletariat, the bourgeoisie has effectively become a parasite, leeching off of the subjugated class of proletarians whom no longer benefit from bourgeois rule.


The ultimate goal of the communist, both back in 1848 and now in 2012, is:

Quote:
...the same as that of all other proletarian parties: formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat.


The modern communist thus seeks to end the rule of the bourgeoisie, and substitute it with proletarian rule.

Lenin also wrote that:

Quote:
In this struggle, we must count on the support of the revolutionary-democratic parties, and not of the opposition parties. Shoulder to shoulder with the socialist proletariat will march the democratic and revolutionary peasantry. It will be a great and arduous struggle, a struggle for the completion, for the complete victory, of the democratic revolution.


[from Partiiniye Izvestia, No. 1, February 7, 1906.] (http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1906/feb/07.htm)

Lenin was basically calling for all revolutionary parties, not just the party of the proletariat, to work together during times of revolution. Ultimately, the vanguard party, being as it was composed of dedicated communists, would and should work alongside the proletariat and the peasantry towards a democratic revolution in Russia, whom in turn would unite with each other as two distinct classes to overthrow Tsarist capitalism.

I could go on but I believe that a good point or two was already made.

Feel free to read Marx, Engels, Lenin, etc. on your own time. They can explain everything better then I can.
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Soviet cogitations: 280
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Oct 2007, 23:49
Ideology: Social Democracy
Komsomol
Post 07 Jun 2012, 04:50
Quote:
Religion and Government - I already know the answer to this one, so I'll ask instead - Should a Communist country show open hostility towards religion?: My opinion, and the opinion of most Russian communists today, is no. Communist hostility toward religion was probably one of the biggest mistakes of the Soviet project. It's important to recognize that much of this hostility was spontaneous and from below at the beginning, but the communists' institutionalization of it in Russia was a mistake.


I think the biggest reasoning behind the Soviet attitude toward the Russian Clergy was the perceived threat (real, or imagined) posed by the Russian Orthodox Church during the 1920's and the Civil War period. Many of the Bolsheviks saw the clergy merely as another tool of the Tsarist regime, enslaving the masses. Personally, a strong stance against religion is favorable, at least through the removal of tax breaks, donation exemptions, etc;

Religion is merely a tool used by the ruling class to set societal norms and behavioral standards.
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