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Black Book of Communism


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#1 Panjandrum

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 07:48 AM

Has anyone else read this book? It is a catalogue of the crimes of the communists in russia, chronicalling in considerable detail the terrible evil of that regime. It demonstrates the moral turpitude of the communist movement, and in detailing the crimes of its leaders, shows that they compare quite unfavourably with the 'most eveil man in history', Adolph Hitler. Stalin not only killed far more people than Hitler, he did so with less reason and with greater savagery.

It also counters the lie that the Reds were 'driven' to barbarity by the savagery of the counter-revolutionary White and Green forces during the Russian civil war, by demonstrating that not only was the Red Terror far far worse, but it began before the civil war and continued long after it had ended.

I would urge anyone who holds positive views on the Soviets or on communism to read this book and be enlightened.

#2 Chacmool

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 10:25 AM

I haven't read the book, but the Wikipedia article does provide an interesting overview. It seems that there has been praise for as well as criticism of the book, and that it is quite controversial. I would be interested to know exactly how broad the range of interpretation of Communism is among the various states mentioned in the book.

It is interesting to note the claim - particularly in the Black Book of Capitalism - that Capitalism has also been responsible for vast numbers of deaths.

#3 Buffy

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 02:26 AM

Both are excellent examples of the depths to which intelligent discourse has degraded. Both sides demonize the other.

While communism in practice suffers from a complete lack of checks and balances that sometimes leads to control by megalomaniac schizophrenic sociopaths, the increasing concentration of wealth in the US over the last few years points at exactly why there is a desire by the "masses" to forcibly redistribute it.

I'd doubt that either book would do anything to influence the opinions of the holders of the opposite positions any more than making Dick Cheney listen to NPR or making Howard Dean listen to Fox News would change theirs.

Extremism in pursuit of anything is a vice, :hihi:
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#4 Panjandrum

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 03:31 PM

[...] leads to control by megalomaniac schizophrenic sociopaths, [...]


I suspect a schizophrenic socio would be of limited effectiveness. Stalin was more a classic sociopath, marked by strong narcissistic elements, a not unusual combination.

#5 Eclogite

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 03:57 PM

Stalin was only incidentally and nominally a communist. (Please recall the Soviet Union was never communist. It was stuck on the intermediate stage of Socialism.) It would be more accurate to say that he was, at the time, the latest in a long line of despots who had ruled Russia with an iron-fist for centuries.

None of the Russians I have spoken with believe that Russia is the kind of country where democracy can work. They favour strong, firm leadership. It is interesting that there even seems to be a move to rehabilitate Stalin by ascribing the excesses of control to Beria.

#6 Panjandrum

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 08:05 PM

Yes, Ive also heard Russians express such views. I tend to think they are correct, tho I think a strong dictator or oligarchy is the idea governmental solution for any country. Democracy leads to weakness.

#7 Chacmool

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 09:07 AM

Democracy leads to weakness.

This is a very harsh and generalised assertion. On what evidence do you base your claim?

#8 Panjandrum

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 12:19 PM

This is a very harsh and generalised assertion. On what evidence do you base your claim?


Democracy makes it impossible for a strong leader to impose her will on a society for an extended period of time. Removing the potential for strength is effectively the same as promoting weakness.

#9 Buffy

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 12:36 PM

Democracy makes it impossible for a strong leader to impose her will on a society for an extended period of time. Removing the potential for strength is effectively the same as promoting weakness.

Counter examples: Franklin Roosevelt, Tony Blair. Examples of why democracies tendency to throw out louts is good: Nixon, Carter, Stalin.

So you're implying you'd much rather have Stalin than Roosevelt. Why? Stalin killed millions and starved the rest. Roosevelt took a second rate power and turned it into the world leader, enriching and bettering the lives of hundreds of millions.

Theory is not practice,
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#10 Panjandrum

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 12:52 PM

All governmental systems have the occasional lunatic. One the pro side of authoritarianism, I would cite Frederick the Great, Chinas First Emperor or Suleiyman the Magnificent. On the con side of democracy, I would cite the countless nameless nobodies who achieve nothing but the feathering of thier own nests, including Nixon (whom you seem rather bizzarely to have categorised as anti-democratic).

The problem I have with democracy is not that it is prone to producing 'evil' leaders (it clearly is not) but that it tends to produce 'nothing' leaders, it drags politics down to the lowest common denominator.

I see it a simple choice, between democracy and a bland mediocraty, or authoritarianism, and the highs and lows it brings. While it may be no fun to live under a tyrant, a society under the rule of a benign and competant dictator can achieve truely great things.

Incidentally, you seem to missed the fact that without democracy, Roosevelt and other great presidents could have ruled much longer and imposed thier benign vision on thier societies more completely.

#11 TheBigDog

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 01:00 PM

It would have been difficult for Roosevelt to have ruled a day longer than he did under any system.

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#12 Panjandrum

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 02:06 PM

It would have been difficult for Roosevelt to have ruled a day longer than he did under any system.

Bill


Are you saying it would have been impossible for him to have acsended to power ealier than he in fact did? Or are you refering to his sudden death?

#13 Qfwfq

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 04:05 AM

I see it a simple choice, between democracy and a bland mediocraty, or authoritarianism, and the highs and lows it brings. While it may be no fun to live under a tyrant, a society under the rule of a benign and competant dictator can achieve truely great things.

I think the point is that you are identifying Communism with tyranny. Much as there have been many regimes under the red label, do you think tyranny was really what was behind the philosophy of Karl Marx?

As for your dialectic juxtaposition of it with democracy, let's see the names of many of those regimes. The People's Republic of China, The Soviet Socialist Republics, and what did DDR stand for? We must peel the labels off and see underneath them.

#14 Chacmool

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 04:17 AM

As for your dialectic juxtaposition of it with democracy, let's see the names of many of those regimes. The People's Republic of China, The Soviet Socialist Republics, and what did DDR stand for? We must peel the labels of and see underneath them.

Indeed - the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is another case in point. This country is the perpetrator of some of the worst humanitarian attrocities in human history. As Q says: we must look beneath these labels to find the truth.

#15 Panjandrum

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 07:32 AM

I think the point is that you are identifying Communism with tyranny. Much as there have been many regimes under the red label, do you think tyranny was really what was behind the philosophy of Karl Marx?


No, Im sure it wasnt. The identification you speak of is made in the book about which this thread was made.

As for your dialectic juxtaposition of it with democracy, let's see the names of many of those regimes. The People's Republic of China, The Soviet Socialist Republics, and what did DDR stand for? We must peel the labels of and see underneath them.


I wasnt aware I had made such a juxtaposition. When I spoke of authoritarianism, I wasnt refering merely to 'communist' countries, and neither was I merely assuming that a countries self-identification was to be taken literally. That is a mistake I would never make, and in fact is the main reason I use the term 'authoritarian' to refer to the non-democratic state, since such a term can be applied to a wide range of regimes, from monarchies to soviet-style dictatorships to fascist one-party states.

#16 Qfwfq

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 06:09 AM

No, Im sure it wasnt. The identification you speak of is made in the book about which this thread was made.

...by you. And it wasn't from the book that I gathered the identification was being made.

I wasnt aware I had made such a juxtaposition. When I spoke of authoritarianism, I wasnt refering merely to 'communist' countries, and neither was I merely assuming that a countries self-identification was to be taken literally. That is a mistake I would never make, and in fact is the main reason I use the term 'authoritarian' to refer to the non-democratic state, since such a term can be applied to a wide range of regimes, from monarchies to soviet-style dictatorships to fascist one-party states.

Ooooh, the whole thing's gettin' complicated now. I think I maybe got confused and it's hard to follow your criticism of all systems of government except that of an enlightened despot.

In the confusion I chose the wrong word, I meant a contraposition of democracy with tyranny and Communism, while I also left out that the Nazi-Fascist regimes took hold in democratic countries and used the absolute majority to maintain rule forcefully, also that the great Communist regimes were so only by claim.

There was just so much confusion here that, after reading through it, my little effort was a waste of time.

#17 Panjandrum

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 12:30 PM

I remain unclear as to what exactly your point is. The Black Book of Communism, about which this thread was made, is quite specifically a documentation of the crimes of the Russian Communist Party from its (illegal) seizure of power to the final collapse of the Soviet Union. You seem to to implying that I am guilty of generalising this to cover all self-identified communist regimes, and to cover the very theroretical construct of 'communism' itself. This is not the case. Perhaps if you confined yourself to commenting on what people actually write, and not on the motivations you imagine behind thier words, you would find life a little less confusing.