As of today, Communism as a political goal and system is predicted to have killed over 94 million men, women and children. If we include deaths under National Socialism, this rises to 105 million civilians. Mao’s “People’s Revolution” is predicted to have caused the deaths of 65 million people alone. These are only estimates based on available evidence. With a continent as large as Asia, and countries as spread out as the Communist bloc, the numbers can never truly be gauged. It is an undeniable fact that socialist states, striving for Communism, caused these deaths, yet we still see a large proportion of our society advocating for Socialism and even full blown Communism.
US Presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, seems to gain ground by the day, the Economic Freedom Fighters continue to fight economic freedom, students disregard individual liberty and embrace the hammer and sickle. But why? Why embrace an ideology that has proven time and time again that it only leads to oppression and death? The answer is simply: ignorance. Many are unfortunately ignorant that the ideologies of Marx all logically lead to mass murder.
This is the case for two reasons. Philosophically, Marxism denies private property and individualism, a “problem” that can only be remedied by elimination. Practically, Socialism can only be enforced through coercion, as it violates the fundamental drive of human beings.
Marxism, Socialism and Communism
All the varied strands of Marxism and its related ideologies can be grouped under one term: Collectivism. While Collectivism branches off into other theories, such as Racialism and Tribalism, Marxism and its descendants are, fundamentally, theories of how society should be run, focusing specifically on the economy as the structure of society.
Most people tend to use Socialism and Communism interchangeably, but this is inaccurate. To simplify Marx’s theory of history, Socialism is simply the stepping stone to Communism. In his theory, revolution will lead to a Dictatorship of the Proletariat (the state) that will be used to eliminate the last vestiges of Capitalism, giving way to Communism, where there is no state, no Capitalism and no problems. Communism has never been achieved, but not for lack of trying.
From the end of the First World War, countless movements have sprung up around the world to fight for this supposed utopia. Some did take root, such as the Bolsheviks in Russia and Mao in China. Some, like the fated Rand Rebellion, did not.
Communism is defined by a singular goal, said succinctly by Marx himself:
“In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.” – Communist Manifesto
Socialism exists only as a stepping stone to Communism. It doesn’t matter if it fails to ever reach that stage (as that would be an inherent failure in the theory itself), what matters is that both have the primary goal of abolishing private property, and all that it entails.
Individuals: The Private Property
Everyone wants. We want amenities. We want luxuries. We want success. Socialism doesn’t allow want. It promises utopia while taking away our own personal means to succeed. This article is not about the inability to achieve one’s own personal aspirations under Socialism, however, but how Socialism causes the deaths of those under it.
Socialism, through the force of arms, can and did take everything from people. It took freedom, land, goods, property, labour and their lives. Many see the last as an unfortunate but unintended result of the system, but this is inaccurate. For the complete abolition of private property, the custodian must be eliminated.
Joseph Stalin commented that:
“Death is the solution to all problems. No man – no problem.”
This may not have only been a symptom of his twisted personal ideals, but the logical ideal of Communism and Socialism. The most private of all properties, the most inalienable, is man. The individual is the only being capable of a semblance of free will; the only being within our society capable of owning. The individual owns itself and if Communists want to fulfil their mandate of eliminating all private property, it has to expropriate the individual from itself. This can only be done in two ways: Slavery or Death.
While slavery can mask our sovereignty, it isn’t enough. We still hold agency and that is unacceptable to the Communist who wants an end to property, metaphysical and otherwise.
There are more practical reasons for this use of death in this ideology; leading on…
We work for three reasons: fear, desire and necessity. Low level societies rely purely on necessity. The hunter-gatherer works to feed himself and his family. The subsistence farmer grows crops to survive. Civilisation is more than that. It is progress, and progress requires more. Capitalism harnesses human desire to achieve marvels. Socialism does not allow a fulfilment of desire for most of its underlings, and requires fear.
Every individual has a myriad of fears, but one trumps all – our own deaths. Vladamir Lenin knew how this worked when he proposed using terror to secure Russia for the Bolsheviks:
“One man with a gun can control 100 without one.”
Killing was the way that the Soviets enforced Socialism. Workers became slaves, either in state-owned factories or in the gulags. If they did not work, they were killed. To prove the severity of their threat, Soviet leaders made many examples, causing the deaths of an estimated 950,000 to 1.2 million people for political reasons between 1936 to 1938. This does not include purges throughout Soviet history, or the deaths caused by forced Collectivisation of agriculture.
Mao, a worse mass murderer than Stalin and Lenin, made his views on Communism clear:
As has been identified, private property and its defenders were this enemy, and Mao was willing to end the lives of over 65 million people to do it.
The simple reason for all this seemingly wanton murder was simply to replace the incentives inherent in Capitalism: to make them work. No longer could people want. They could quiver with fear. They could grow sick and die with paranoia. But as long as they worked, that was fine.
No system aiming for utopia should or can be achieved with mass slaughter. A goal is only as good as its means. Communism, Socialism, Marxism and all their strands have proven, over the course of a century, that they are ideals based on murder. The other principles of Communism aside, the very fact that it requires murder to achieve and maintain condemns it to the history books as a tool for the death of humankind. We can only hope it stays there.