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Are Communist Parties still relevant in today's World?

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Dec 2010, 15:55
Pioneer
Post 26 Dec 2010, 13:59
Comrades, I do not know if this question was already put forward and tackled in this forum before, but this is something which I have been asking myself for many years (this question was also directed to me many times by friends or other people which do not agree with Communist principles ---- and sometimes I found it difficult to answer them)

First of all, I would like to tell you the political situation in the country where I live in. I live in Malta and for the benefit of those who does not know where Malta is, it is a small island nation in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, halfway between Sicily/Italy and Libya.

In our Maltese parliament, we are represented by the usual 2 big parties : the Nationalist Party and the Labour Party. We have other five or six very small parties but they are never successful in elections and never manage to elect at least one candidate in parliament. After 16 years of Labour government from 1971 to 1987, we have been represented by a Nationalist one since (bar 2 years : from 1996-1998)

The Maltese Communist Party is a very small party and participated in Maltese elections only once (1987). It got a disastrous 150 votes (0.05% of total votes). Keep in mind that until 1970, the Catholic Church in Malta had a powerful grip on the Maltese population and influenced the majority of the population to ignore the Labour party and vote Nationalist only. Voting for Labour and taking part actively in Labour or Communist activities was considered a deadly sin. The Catholic Church those days (1960s and before) feared that if Labour won the elections, Malta would become Communist. Since many Maltese were uneducated and afraid of the Church, the Nationalist Party won the elections at those times easily.

Believe it or not, this was the political situation in Malta in the 1960s and before. Voting for Labour was considered a deadly sin ..... let alone voting for the Communist Party!!!

Today, FORTUNATELY, the situation is different..... the Catholic Church has changed a lot and does not interefere with politics as it used to do in the past.
The way Maltese people see politics has changed as well BUT when it comes to mention Communism or the Communist Party, most people will :-

1) Laugh at you
2) Tell you it is a waste of time
3) That you are living in the past
4) That you have become an old man dissatisfied with current life
5) That you are a loser and jealous of successfull people
6) That the ideology I sympathise with killed millions of people around the world
7) That the ideology I sympathise with represents everything that is BAD
8-) Communism means poor living conditions for the middle and lower classes, etc ..


The above is mainly the general idea how the majority of the Maltese people look at Communism. There are people (at least that I know of) that adhere Communism and are also members of the Communist Party but they are very very few and the Communist Party itslef is almost unheard of and no one can see that the party will try taking part in elections in the future ..... the prospect of having at least one Communist member in Maltese parliament looks very very bleak.

Really, it is not easy in my country to declare to everyone that you are a Communist. People will either laugh at you or ignore you.

Now, I assume that the situation in most Western European countries (like Malta) nowadays, is the same.
Each Western European country has its own Communist Party but it looks like that everywhere thay lack support.

Any views please? What is your opinion about all this? How do you feel or act when people judge you or laugh at you when they hear that you are a communist? Is/Are the communist parties in your respective countries successfull?

Sometimes, the idea of giving up crosses my mind, but I hate this horrible idea and thought! I ask myself, why am I afraid to declare my beliefs?

Any thoughts from anyone on this will help me a lot ... please.

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ReubenX
"Democratic People's Republic of Malta"
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 Nov 2010, 13:37
Komsomol
Post 26 Dec 2010, 17:05
Well comrade Reuben, actually, the situation in your country is as same with in Indonesia. Even, the condition is worse than in your country. I can't express my leftist views openly. Government decree prohibited any Marxism-Leninism and leftist ideas. For those who suspected as a communist will be interrogated, or caught by the police.

Quote:
Is/Are the communist parties in your respective countries successfull?

It progress slowly now. They managed many of labor demonstration and agitation in universities. Communist party named "Partai Rakyat Demokratik" (People's Democratic Party) are dying in political arena, now they spread Marxism illegally, with underground tactics . They participated in national election only once in 1999.
Another communist movement named "Partai Persatuan Pembebasan Nasional" (better known as Papernas or National Liberation Party of Unity) was crushed brutally by religious fundamentalist organization in 2007. After the purge, Papernas affiliate themselves with People's Democratic Party.

Quote:
How do you feel or act when people judge you or laugh at you when they hear that you are a communist?

I don't care with'em. Some of my teachers and friends (I studied in religious school) were worried with my idealism. But I don't mind.
You know, comrade, some of my friends who antipathy with communism firstly, now, are interested with communism. We usually held some political discussion about Marxism at break.

Quote:
I ask myself, why am I afraid to declare my beliefs?

I know what you feel comrade. At the first time I was very scare to declare it. But, I remembered that to be a revolutionary isn't easy, we must face any risks. So, at the age of 14, I embolden myself to told my parents, teachers and friends about my idealism.
I'm sure you can express your beliefs comrade


Quote:
Are Communist Parties still relevant in today's World?

Well, as an ideology, I'm very sure that communism still relevant, but as a political party, honestly, I'm rather in doubt...Especially in here
Inggris Kita Linggis, Amerika Kita Setrika ! -Sukarno-
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 11 Dec 2010, 00:06
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Pioneer
Post 26 Dec 2010, 18:40
Really good question. The answer is from my point of view. In times of stability, no one pays any attention to our logical arguments. people think its ok now and will be for ever. Then some american bankers give out some really bad credit and the world goes into free fall. People radicalise right and left and its up to us to catch the mood. So yes we are relevant but we must make our voices head!
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 Nov 2010, 13:37
Komsomol
Post 27 Dec 2010, 11:26
Iron Felix wrote:
Then some american bankers give out some really bad credit and the world goes into free fall

Your analysis above is very possible for the rise of communism in third world countries, but how about the superpower countries comrade? I think it will not take serious effect if they have some bad credit with the US government.
Inggris Kita Linggis, Amerika Kita Setrika ! -Sukarno-
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 22 Oct 2004, 15:15
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Politburo
Post 27 Dec 2010, 20:56
Of course they're relevant in today's world, but consciousness is different in every country. It can differ strongly even within certain countries. For instance, Portugal has a very strong communist party, but from what I've been told, a communist on the Azores is pretty lonely. It's probably the same with Malta.

On the other hand, Cyprus has a strong communist party that's even in power at the moment. People question their "communist" credentials, but it's kind of hard to build "socialism on one ethnically-divided tourist island"... So in some circumstances, it is possible for communist parties to be extremely relevant. And of course, evidence of communists' relevance can be found all around Malta, from Spain and Italy to Greece.

Other countries with very little support for communists include the US, UK, Netherlands, Scandinavia, etc. It's not always easy, but communism is an international movement, and massive revolutionary events in other countries can influence even the most conservative ones. We can't suddenly become enormously popular, but we can firmly entrench ourselves in labour and student mass movements, or push for their creation if none exist yet, and lay a foundation for the future. It's easier said than done though.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Dec 2010, 15:55
Pioneer
Post 27 Dec 2010, 23:02
Comrades Volkspolizei, Iron Felix and Matthijs .... many thanks for your feedbacks.

I hope other Comrades comment as well on this subject.

Yes, I agree that Communist popularity varies significantly from country to another. Malta is a very small island and historically, the communist party never stood a chance and most likely never will have a chance to elect at least one member in the 65 member-parliament. Cyprus is another small island, although much bigger than Malta, but the Communist Party their was and is still strong and historicaly, it always had support and it is the only nation in Europe that elected a Communist Government democratically ...... and this brings into my mind another thought ....

In the past, Communist parties / governments were dictatorial. Every communist nation was a dictatorship.
Now the only 2 nations that have democratically elected Communist governemnts are Cyprus (Europe) and Nepal (Asia), and from what I can see, they govern thier nation in a democratic way.

Have you ever thought, about, if today's Communist parties are given mandate to govern their respective countries, how will they govern ?

- Will they turn their nation into a dictatorship?

- Will they ban opposition parties?

- Or will they govern by Communist princples BUT still be democratic and accept to step down if defeated in elections?



What are your views about this?
ReubenX
"Democratic People's Republic of Malta"
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 Nov 2010, 13:37
Komsomol
Post 28 Dec 2010, 06:15
In my opinion, comrade ReubenX, it's all depends on the political, economical and social condition in the country.

Quote:
- Will they turn their nation into a dictatorship?

Dictatorship is needed if the communist government threatened by the capitalist-imperialist aggressor. Such as Soviet Union in 1918. And I think, this method will be used by most of communist party if they have opportunity to govern their respective country.

Quote:
- Will they ban opposition parties?

Maybe.

Quote:
- Or will they govern by Communist principles BUT still be democratic and accept to step down if defeated in elections?

This option is possible in a country with strong democratic culture.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 22 Oct 2004, 15:15
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Politburo
Post 28 Dec 2010, 12:28
ReubenX wrote:
In the past, Communist parties / governments were dictatorial. Every communist nation was a dictatorship.
Now the only 2 nations that have democratically elected Communist governemnts are Cyprus (Europe) and Nepal (Asia), and from what I can see, they govern thier nation in a democratic way.

Have you ever thought, about, if today's Communist parties are given mandate to govern their respective countries, how will they govern ?

- Will they turn their nation into a dictatorship?

- Will they ban opposition parties?

- Or will they govern by Communist princples BUT still be democratic and accept to step down if defeated in elections?



What are your views about this?


I agree with VP that this depends on the situation, and it's also a matter of definition. When communists talk about the "dictatorship of the proletariat", the word of is of significance. It's not a dictatorship over, but of, a democratic "dictatorship". It is the workers who govern directly and collectively, as a class, through democratic organs. That is the kind of class "dictatorship" that communists want. Likewise, as it stands in capitalist society, the bourgeoisie are exercising their class dictatorship at this moment.

This is of more urgency than the amount of parties that exist in a socialist society, or how authoritarian the society is at different points in time. Socialism will always be "authoritarian" against the bosses, because they are expropriated without their consent. But this does not mean that a revolution needs to be bloody, usually it is the reaction that determines this. In Russia, the October Revolution itself was almost entirely without killings, but millions were killed when the overthrown rulers tried to take back their property militarily, with a civil war and 20 invading foreign armies.

Socialist societies so far have been one-party states, or at least the Communist Party is in charge of some kind of popular front with some other parties that don't function as an opposition. The idea is that in a socialist society, the workers are in control and the CP acts as their vanguard. Whether this is true in all of them is a constant matter of discussion on these forums, of course. It works well for some, and less well for some others.

So I don't think that a one-party system is some kind of blueprint that all socialist states should adopt at all times. In western countries with a liberal parliamentary tradition, it may work better if the representatives of the defeated ruling-class can be identified as such, and work out in the open; if socialism provides the best, why should anyone take them seriously? I think this depends on the nature of their reaction to socialism. I don't think the Whites back in the Russian Civil War or the US-funded mercenaries in Cuba have/had some kind of inalienable human right to democratic participation, when they have proven their willingness to kill thousands or support foreign invasions.

So what matters most in my opinion is 1) Whether the Communist Party fulfils its vanguard role, is implanted in society and 2) What form the reaction to socialism will take.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Dec 2010, 15:55
Pioneer
Post 31 Dec 2010, 00:28
So, I might be correct in saying that since European countries are historically democratic, modern European Communist Parties should take a democratic stance (like in Cyprus) and step down if defeated in its country's elections.

I think this stance would be the best (and wisest) option.

If a communist party in Europe takes a dictatorial stance, it would not stand a chance.

I am saying this because the majority of people in Europe thinks that Communist Parties believe in dictatorial rule. They think that if a European Communist Party wins government democratically, they would turn the country into a dictatorship ..... and this is why they hate and 'are afraid' of communism.

But they seems to forget (or try to ignore) that Cyprus, a European democratic country is governed by a Communist Party ..... for me this is a good example for anti-communists out there that a Communist government in a democratic environment can work!


I hope you understand what I mean with all the above but I am really annoyed and pissed off when people say that Communism can never work and that it is something of the long ago past and for losers! Some one mentioned on this forum that "communists are the most misunderstood people in the world" ... I agree and it pisses me off.
ReubenX
"Democratic People's Republic of Malta"
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 Nov 2010, 13:37
Komsomol
Post 31 Dec 2010, 06:56
Quote:
If a communist party in Europe takes a dictatorial stance, it would not stand a chance.

We need dictatorship of proletariat, but no authoritarianism
. And I agree with you, this stance is would be the wisest (for Europe countries). But, this democratic stance has risk, too.The opportunist and bourgeois can crush communist party if they can seize the power.

Quote:
"communists are the most misunderstood people in the world"

Thanks to the western-imperialist propaganda which give the people mislead information about communism.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 09 Apr 2011, 08:41
Komsomol
Post 18 Apr 2011, 05:31
I agree that the western interpretation of communism and socialism is usually associated with ideas like hippies and "better dead than red" due to the lack of education and government propaganda during the cold war that associates communism directly with Stalin, and Stalin is almost directly tied to inhumane acts of violence. This is really unfortunate. In the end, you cant associate Communism with examples of Stalins "genocide" or whatever you call it. It comes down to the people, the era, and the government in place. If you want in example, communist and socialist uprising in the US TODAY would be very different from the Russian uprising 100 years ago. Correct me if im wrong but at least that is how I view it. Dictatorship also depends on the three variable above in my perspective
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Nov 2011, 01:11
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Post 26 Nov 2011, 13:24
We should consider the grave moral burden which we have assumed in becoming Communists. If Communist parties all over the world had not been able to exert moral pressure on the
capitalist national governments all over the world, in the United States, virtually no civil rights advances would have occurred,Cuba would have continued to be run by mobsters, the advances in prosperity in Asia would never have occurred, and the status of the working man throughout the world would have remained that which is described by Dickens. Stay fast,
stay true, teach your children, as I have, that might is not right and that Communism is the only method to achieve world peace and prosperity. Above all, do not be silent.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 23 Dec 2011, 01:28
Pioneer
Post 23 Dec 2011, 02:03
I think you bring up one of the most pressing questions of our time, however I'm not sure that I agree that the so-called democratic system is the best means by which to achieve a victory. It is important to remember that democracy is more of an abstract term, when we consider bourgeois democracies they operate in a certain way with elections and parties and parliaments. There is no shortage of Communist literature critiquing this system, but I would like to point to the crucial criticism which hinges on the divide-and-rule politics of colonialism, which we see replayed in capitalist democracy. Competing interests deflect attention away from crucial issues, and I would argue it is systemic because the Communist parties which do take power in a capitalist democracy are constrained by many forces beyond their control. In this sense a Communist victory is worth less because they effectively do not have the control to usher in the changes which would enable them to continue their popularity. Frequently when left-wing governments come to power the capitalists do not cooperate and withhold capital and blame the resulting problems on the new government. Within a capitalist democracy it is not possible for a Communist party to hold its gains unless it makes significant concessions and compromises. Watching the right ward drift of social democrats should be enough evidence of this, but reviewing the Communist parties in Portugal, Italy, and Cyprus what we see is similar in that the status of these parties is always questionable. I agree that nothing is frozen in time, and strategies have to change, however I am reluctant to agree that the solution is to go the route of integration into the capitalist democratic system.

In recognizing errors of the past we can compare it to modern revolutionaries like Fidel Castro, and Hugo Chavez. Arguably both are populists and have achieved a great deal in promoting worker solidarity, cutting down poverty, and working toward social justice. The result of Fidel Castro maintaining a more orthodox Marxist-Leninist state is facing hostile actions from the main capitalist nations, which ultimately works to erode popular support. In the case of Hugo Chavez, his regime also faces hostility and nearly succeeded in overthrowing his government in a coup. Of course the fact that Cuba's revolution is more entrenched plays a role, but in comparing the two experiences we see the contemporary difficulties for Socialist of the 21st century.

I would also like to draw attention to many formerly Eastern Bloc countries and popular opinion about the old system. Recent polls conducted by a number of capitalist organizations have confirmed support for socialism ranging up of 50 to 70%, bearing in mind the source of this information we may conclude that support could be higher. While the authors of such reports stress people do not want to return to socialism they just miss the good things, what we are really seeing is a vindication of many of the successes of the socialist mode of government as well as proving the failures of capitalism. Inevitably there is a small population ranging between 15 and 30% who have regained lost holdings, like Vaclav Havel, and former dissidents who have returned, and others who have benefitted from shock therapy in the 1990s. The recent Russian elections not only showed a rise in the power of the KPRF but the contested results suggest the Communists would have had an even greater percent of the votes, perhaps enough to govern.

There is certaintly a crisis on the left, and I believe there is a certain panoptic quality about it. At least in the west it is necessary to prove your credibility by villifying the entire Eastern Bloc experience. The problem with this approach is it dismisses decades of experience, which includes the way the state functioned for better or for worse, but it also dismisses revolutionary organization. What Lenin, Castro, and others offer in experience in leading successful revolutions is invaluable. Zizek, Parenti, and other prominent academics are self-professed Communists, and Marxist thought itself it re emerging as a powerful force. I'm not a fan of Zeitgeist, but, what such a movement shows is many Marxist ideas, when using different language can become remarkably popular. The language of Marxism in many ways can throw people off, but it is a slippery slope, you need to be able to modify the language so it is appealing and applicable, without engaging in Revisionism to an extent that the ideology is weakened. The Right is enjoying its success from the result of a PR campaign. This is nothing new, but within the rise of new social technologies Marxism is becoming a part of that architecture, many of the Independent media movements, Free internet movements, these are all emerging groups which Marxists can participate in and shape. I don't think there is a deficit of opportunity, that would be misleading, however the hostility that capitalism is capable of in suppressing information does make it an all out war.

I think overall what we are seeing, especially in light of the latest economic crisis is a softening of the reaction of socialist rule, and this occurs both in the West and the East. I would argue one of the greatest problems facing the east was military spending and the arms race, it is very much a two-sided debate as had they not armed themselves would the revolution have prevailed? We really don't know, ultimately however we need to be able to honestly evaluate the past, and critique the shortcomings and acknowledge the successes.

There is a certain tendency among Marxists even to diminish or ignore the contribution of Africans to Marxist thought. There were a number of regimes which professed to socialism and Marxism in Africa and achieved varying degrees of success. The situation in Africa is altogether different than in other parts of the world where governments do face internal and external threats, and the recent invasions of Cote D'Ivoire and Libya point to a reality which is less than optimistic. Gaddafi, Gbagbo, and Mugabe are arguably not Communists, but it is important to recognize that just because a revolution is not lead by a communist does not mean they cannot participate in it. In Venezuela the communists, at least initially supported Chavez. Establishing revolutionary conciousness needs to come about in a variety of ways. The shift of ZANU-PF in Zimbabwe is interesting here because we see a party that was ostensibly Marxist not really moving too quickly on issues of social welfare, and then it embraced the struggle for land and the peasants became a key constituent where they redressed land reform. Marxism still has a role here, and establishing a party to work with a populist government is not altogether bad. It does give the parties more power and legitimacy because it shows they can govern and cooperate with a government that is popular in the eyes of the people, whatever preconceptions people had about Communists will then be challenged and work to establishing an improved public image thus paving the way for increased power.

I live in Canada and there are a number of Communist parties with differing strategies, two participate in elections, and I believe once upon a time they did elect someone to office, but that was many years ago. Other parties, are operating outside electoral politics and engage in protest politics, solidarity movements and distributing information. The final part is key, educating people. If we can admit there is a war for information, then we need to be ready to take it to the next step. I do agree with the comments on this thread, do not remain silent!
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 09 Feb 2011, 12:58
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Post 28 Dec 2011, 18:41
From my point of view, Communism is slowly dying. Here in England, there is just about no Communist movements. Also, when you tell someone that you are a Communist, you become a freak.

As for Dictatorship in Communist states - pretty much a given. Without a dictatorship, Imperialist countries disrupt the society and spread the seeds of Capitalism.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Jun 2011, 08:37
Party Bureaucrat
Post 28 Dec 2011, 19:07
Comrade Whiggon wrote:
From my point of view, Communism is slowly dying. Here in England, there is just about no Communist movements. Also, when you tell someone that you are a Communist, you become a freak.

As for Dictatorship in Communist states - pretty much a given. Without a dictatorship, Imperialist countries disrupt the society and spread the seeds of Capitalism.


There's plenty of socialist movements, it's just that they tend to lean more towards eurocommunism and various forms of left socialism.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 09 Feb 2011, 12:58
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Post 30 Dec 2011, 15:33
runequester wrote:

There's plenty of socialist movements, it's just that they tend to lean more towards eurocommunism and various forms of left socialism.


Perhaps there are Socialist movements, but nothing of any significance. For example, the UK Stalin Society. The people who attend are mostly just there to talk about off-topic subjects and grumble about nothing. They don't intend to achieve anything, but for some reason they still exist.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Jun 2011, 08:37
Party Bureaucrat
Post 30 Dec 2011, 15:45
As a scandinavian I respectfully disagree. I know "social democrat" gets a bad rep but without socialist parties pushing for common goods, scandinavia would not enjoy the highest standards of living in the world.
They have also provided important anti-war and anti-globalisation impetus.

Does it presently lead to marxism? Slowly if at all right now, but thats a question of time and place, and there must be broad popular support for left movements to ensure that when upheaval occurs, its a left move and not a right move.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Sep 2006, 22:05
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Post 30 Dec 2011, 16:13
Basing your views of the ICM on the Stalin Society will obviously lead to skewed results.


On topic: as long as there is class struggle, communism will always be relevant.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 09 Feb 2011, 12:58
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Post 31 Dec 2011, 13:05
I'm not saying that the ICM is as reluctant as the Stalin Society. I just think that Communist parties in more developed countries like the UK, US and others should try to be more prominent. Here in the UK especially, Socialist parties barely have any impact upon society.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Sep 2006, 22:05
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Philosophized
Post 31 Dec 2011, 21:24
And what do you suggest? The only real options modern CPs have is to get re-involved with the real labour struggle and educate the post-Soviet kids on what communism is. We don't need to play around in parliament to do either of these (although such a play will be required in the larger political scheme). I guess what I'm trying to say is that CPs are only as relevant as they are connected to organized labor.

Also I laughed at the Stalin Society thing because they're an anachronistic cult not a communist party.
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