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Fascists and communists share a common objective; that is the desire for (and pursuit of) unlimited state power. In seeking popular support they promise voters utopia. Where ever these political systems succeeded in gaining power, they have wrought the most horrific human toll. Fascist leaders like Hitler, Mussolini, Franco and Pinochet stand condemned together with communist leaders such as Stalin, Lenin, Tito and Mao Tse Tung. In effect they all committed what is termed ‘democide’; their political adventures directly caused the deaths of many millions. Their utopian promises yielded no more than horrific dystopia. Their promise of heaven on earth yielded hell on earth.

As long as fascists and communists occupy the sidelines of political discourse they render some useful democratic value. In open democracies their radical ideologies allow for a more reasoned and balanced debate and, in this way, they help to create a less ideological, more practical political centre.

In South Africa, a radical right wing fascist ideology, proclaimed by an insignificant minority is viewed by the majority with a bemused indifference. Their presence does however serve as a warning and is socially important for that reason, although they represent only a tiny minority. They can operate openly and do not need to go underground. Proportional representation allows for this.

Why is it then, that we allow radical left wing communists with no tangible voter support to occupy positions of power? It is the only party that has parliamentary representation without having contested an election. The communists are carried into power on the coat-tails of the ANC. Members of the communist party occupy positions of power in cabinet (and elsewhere in state institutions) where they openly apply their utopian neo-Leninist, neo- Stalinist and neo-Maoist ideology, to the social and economic detriment of all South Africans. Our current trend towards dystopia is led by un-voted for communist cadres and commissars marching to the rhythm of the NDR.

Fascists and communists are only tolerable if they have no power. History has proved (and is currently proving) this, beyond doubt.

Bio:  Tim studied economics, political science and public administration at Wits where he also served two terms on the SRC. Tim is now retired after a successful career in advertising and marketing research.

  • Harald Sitta

    A good one and to the point. But: Pinochet fascist ???

  • Matthew Gaylard

    This is an old, boring and misleading trope. Communists and anarchists share very similar visions of the desireable society as being one in which the state has “withered away”. They have different strategies for achieving it. Tim Bester has studied political science, so he should be able to provide a more accurate picture of what communists believe. This article does not meet the standard of rational discourse. It propagates the distorted picture of communism that became mainstream in the western bloc during the cold war and served to further the political interests of a rather narrow elite that remains in power today. At the time, many communists and marxists were opposed to the governments of the Soviet Union, China and Yugoslavia and voiced their opposition on strategic, tactical, and theoretical grounds – and often paid a high personal price for doing so.
    In terms of the Rational Standard’s focus on individual liberty, it is worth noting that threats to individual freedom can be derived both from political institutions of government (the state), and privately owned business institutions (corporations). One way of thinking about fascism is as an alignment between political institutions and corporations around the interests of narrow elites. This is arguably a good description of much of the world today. Communists believe in breaking this alliance between the state and corporations, and view a “peoples/workers state” as a necessary step in this process that will ultimately be unnecessary once a fair distribution of resources and equitable social outcomes has been achieved. Communists therefore believe in government as a tool for social reform – although they may be revolutionaries, they are also reformists! Anarchists share a similar end vision of a largely or even entirely state-free society, but don’t think that this can be accomplished primarily through reforming government – in this sense they are radicals. I’m painting this in very broad brush strokes and simplifying a wide spectrum of thought, but it’s hopefully provides a useful corrective to Tim Bester.