I personally have never lived during communist rule in my home country of Bulgaria, however my father was 20 years old when the communism system finally failed and the regime was taken down. This was in 1989 almost 30 years ago. Most of the Bulgarians from my father’s generation absolutely hate communism. The only people that talk fondly of the system are considered losers and degenerates.
That’s why I find it astonishing how millennials from Western Europe and the U.S. consider communism to be an alternative to capitalism. The idea of Karl Marx of a strong country with an authoritarian leader, who will resign after the system has been put in place, has remained this- only an idea, an illusion. Communism has always brought with itself dictatorship and misery – never prosperity.
In the early 1920s no one really looked at communism seriously. A system that would make everyone equal? In the end it did just that – it made everyone equally poor. Through populism the communist leaders of the world caught the wave of discontent of the people. If we don’t learn from our mistakes, there will never be progress. The noble idea of equality lead to exactly the opposite – massive social inequality. The members of the ruling party controlled all the wealth, while the poor had to make do with what was left, which often was very little. Using their propaganda machine, the elite maintain the masses happy, telling them how fortunate they were that they didn’t share the values of the evil West. There was no free speech either. You think the NSA is spying on you now? You have no idea. If you said the wrong thing about the party you were quickly sentenced as a traitor and sent to a concentration camp.
As an economic system communism has failed as well. Almost every communist country went bankrupt. Except maybe for China, but that is only the case because of the massive changes that China implemented. In the beginning the Soviet Union relied on contributions from the West to rebuild its broken economy. In the 1920s the USSR was an agricultural country. With the U.S.’s help, however it became a modern industrialized country. Nevertheless, they still managed to fuck up their economy and in the 1990’s the USSR became a failed state.
Stalin, the most famous of the USSR’s leaders is responsible for more than 25,000,000 people. Forced collectivisation moved millions of people from the countryside to the cities. This move alone caused massive famine in which at least five million Ukrainians died. He also sentenced 750,000 member of the military or the Communist Party to death, simply because he thought they might oppose him. In my home country of Bulgaria with a population of just over 5 million back in 1945, the Communist Party sentenced almost 2730 people to death, because they had different views. In the Nurnberg trials for comparison were sentenced only 19. Almost every business owner lost his equity – in favor of the new Communist regime.
One of the Millennials biggest argument is that this wasn’t really communism and it deserves another shot. Well a quick google search shows that 45 countries declared themselves to be socialist states under the Marxist-Leninist or Maoist definition – that is to say, “Communist states” – between 1979 and 1983. This period marked the greatest territorial extent of Communist states. Of these 45 countries only 4 remain communist – China (the system has since evolved massively and private enterprises draw 50% of the economy), Laos (which in 2011 was declared by the Obama administration as a “no longer Marxist-Leninist state), Vietnam and Cuba (where they still drive cars from the 1950s). This fraudulent system already had its chance, it’s time to move on now, Millennials.
The only thing that communism has to offer is dreams, that if followed or fallen for quickly turn into nightmares.