Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Unrepentant....Because a Better World is Possible.

Its been over a year since I started this blog, as I stated at its inception I was always dubious about the value of the blogosphere, but since the blog seems to have attracted a fairly consisitent readership and at times provoked some interesting discussions I felt it was time to clarify what I now believe is the point of this modest addition to the vast outpourings of writing and opinions which deluge the internet minute by minute.

In some respects the title is probably misleading, although it has the advantage of being memorable. I am not however some kind of unrecontructed stalinist who takes pleasure late at night drooling over youtube clips of Stalin and the Red Army triumphantly entering Berlin. I am not a nostalgia freak.

Quite simply I am really just a person that believes, that for all its very many faults, and the totalitarian tendencies which caem to the fore , brought about to a very large extent by concerted efforts to strangle existing socialism at birth, that there was something very significant indeed in an attempt to break away from a system based on class exploitation. Socialism for all its many faults did attempt to establish a system whose founding principles were eqality and an attempt to see if it was at all possible to create an advanced society without some minority strata of the population who did very little to create the wealth of the world , but yet garnered the vast bulk of it.

For a variety of reasons, too numerous to discuss here, the socialist experiment that was commenced in the USSR failed. In the course of its existence many many crimes were committed and numerous atrocities were countenenanced all in the name of an ideology.Yet any fair observer would concede that this bold social experiment met unrelenting and violent opposition from the system which its very existence challenged, that is capitalism and its most extreme variant fascism . To what extent this hostility, sabotage, invasion, and economic isolation distorted the nature of socialism itself is again a subject that has been discussed ad nauseam, but I suspect that socialism was in many respects fatally damaged by the wars both economic, political, and ,military, that were visited upon it from its birth. Its birth after all did represent the most fundamental challenge that capitalism had ever faced, and the class who derive their wealth, power, and privilege were terrified at the prospect that their system would be superceded, and stopped at nothing to ensure that it failed.

So this blog, does not attempt to turn back time, it instead attempts in a very modest way to express some of the positive values that socialism bequeathed the world, an admiration for the concept of equality, a rational system of production where the products of work are shared fairly amongst those who create the wealth, an aspiration towards high and edifying art and literature which ennobles the human spirit and celelebrates the beauty of the world we are so fortunate to experience.

We can see the culture that capitalism is creating, the banality of shows like 'Big Brother', the commercialisation of all forms of sport, the endless incessant 24-7 drive to consume. A consumer culture that seeks to fill the spiritual void so many are experiencing with yet more and more things that we are persuaded by incessant advertising that we need, but in fact do not actually 'need' at all.

Capitalism , will not be able to reverse the damage being done to our environment, its raison d'etre is consumption. Capitalism driven by the need for consumption will destroy our planet, and all the evidence is , that despite much hand wringing the destruction of our environment under the auspices of the market system is is accelerating not slowing.

Communism, perhaps rightly has a bad name, its failings were huge and in many cases unforgiveable.However, the system we live under today, a system with an ideology and as strong a set of values as Communism, the sytem of 'capitalism', masquerades as the 'natural' way that things have to be.

But I remain unrepentant in my belief that a system that condemns two thirds of the worlds population to abject poverty and subsequent malnutrion , whilst one third struggle with the health problems of obesity is obscene. I am unrepentant in my belief that if the USA dedicated just one fifth of its expenditure on arms to aid and world development then global poverty would be eradicated.

Lastly I am unrepentant in my belief that a better world is possible because I refuse to accept that the soul-less mediocrity of the world we live in today, as its climate degenerates, as the bulk of its people live lives of grinding meaningless poverty and illiteracy is the best that we as human beings can achieve.

I remain a beiever in the ideals of communism, because I believe that what fundamentally prevents the world progressing is a system based on exploitation and injustice. As long as that fundamental barrier to progress remains, I will persist in continuing to describe myself as an 'Unrepentant Communist' since for me that is identical to persisting in describing myself as a human being who believes that we can create a better world than the one we are sadly destroying today.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have you got any clip of the Red Army entering Berlin?

Toaf said...

Very nicely said.

Anonymous said...

I agree, though I would like to say that many of the failures that are attributed to communism are still being exagerated not just by capitalism, but also by some discontented left-wingers who do not like to be connected with the communist movement. Some of these "left-wingers" and the message they carry are more harmful to communism than capitalism itself. We hear lies about the Stalin years but nothing is said about the Indonesian massacre in 1965 against the PKI. Many brave actions by communists have been deliberately eradicated from history. Communism is still an ideal worth fighting for. (miguelbotelho77@gmail.com)

Toaf said...

Miguel makes an important point in the comment above. I have just been reading Vijay Prashad's The Darker Nations: A Peoples' History of the Third World, which traces the "Third World project" enacted by nationalists and anti-colonialists during the twentieth century.

Time and time again, the communists within the nations of the South are betrayed and liquidated; betrayed by either the governments of other "communist" states or by the national bourgeoisie with whom they have allied themselves, and liquidated by either national reactionary forces or imperialist forces.

So often it was the communists who mobilised large layers of the population, made sacrifices on the road to national liberation, only to be betrayed and destroyed. This led, in many cases, to an adoption of the rhetoric of communism by those who had just attacked the real communists.

It's a tragic and bloody history, and one that I had not been told before now.

Nick said...

Amen to every word of that!

Anonymous said...

Of course communism is great. Only 250 million people murdered and communism brought equal poverty to everyone except of course the ruling class. Lenin and Stalin of course were corrupted by capitalism. If they, the founders, could not maintain pure communism who can? And lets make sure we point out the evils of capitalism. An economic system so bad that the well off to rich in third world countries would like to be poor in our country.

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