Terrorism, tyrany and communism

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Terrorism refers to the use of violence for the purpose of achieving a political goal. The targets of terrorist acts can be government officials, military personnel, people serving the interests of governments, or random civilians. Examples of terrorist acts against government officials are the various assassinations carried out byRussian revolutionaries at the end of the nineteenth century, or the assassinations of American presidents. Acts of terror against military targets tend to blend into guerrilla warfare. Such acts -- depending on your perspective --could be praised or condemned. A terrorist from one perspective could be considered a freedom fighter from another. Random violence against civilians (noncombatants) is the type of action that is normally the most widely condemned as "terrorism."

Acts of terrorism can be perpetrated by individuals, groups, or states, as an alternative to an open declaration of war. They are often carried out by states, and less often by those who otherwise feel powerless. States that sponsor or engage in the use of violence against civilians use neutral or positive terms to describe their own combatants, – such as freedom fighters, patriots, or paramilitaries.

On the surface, the popular definition of 'terrorism' represents a shift from previous means of defining an enemy from territorial or cultural disputes over ideology orreligion, to the acts of violence against the public. Many people dispute this definition however as ideological and simplistic, arguing instead that 'terrorism' is simply another in a long lists of enemy terms —that underneath any current conflict lies the same materialistic and ethnocentric reasons of which most past wars were based and now freely explained. The use of the terms terrorism andterrorist are politically weighted, and are often used to polarizing effect, where 'terrorism' is simply a relativist term for the violence committed by an enemy, from the point of view of the attacked. As political violence can be generally categorized as either 'violence in support of an establishment' or 'violence in opposition to an establishment,' 'terrorism' can be simply defined as the common euphemism for the latter.

The violence, i.e., terrorism, committed by state combatants is also considered more acceptable than that of the 'terrorist,' who by definition does not follow the self- serving laws of war, and hence cannot share in the acceptance given to establishment violence. Thus the term is impossible to apply by its rational definition —states who engage in warfare often do so outside of the laws of warand often carry out violence against civilian populations, yet rarely receive the label of 'terrorist.' The common public distinction between state violence and terrorism is based on a perception that terrorism is random, and therefore more irrational than state violence, which is assumed to be more considerate of human life. History does not always bear this out however, and language reflects this: few would question that deliberate attacks on civilian refugee columns and camps is an attempt to induce terror in the enemy population and is therefore a terrorist act. As such the most accurate definition of "terrorism" must be based in its abstract nature as a term for characterising the violence of an enemy as conforming to an immoral code of conduct.

A terrorist' is, strictly speaking, one who is personally involved in an act of terrorism. The term "terrorism" comes from the French 18th century word terrorisme (under the Terror), based on the Latin languageverbs terrere (to tremble) and deterrere (to frighten from). The use of the term "terrorist" has had broader applications however, ranging in application from disgruntled citizens to common political dissidents. The term "eco-terrorist" for example was coined to apply to those who damage or destroy property as a symbolic act of resisting envionmental impactful economic trends and policy.

-- chien si (Chiensidietcong@yahoo.de), January 30, 2005


Definitions of terrorism

Many definitions of terrorism exist, from various locations within the political spectrum. Most definitions of terrorism recognize and explain four primary criteria, these being the target, the objective, the motive, and the legitimacy of the action.

In November, 2004, a UN panel defined terrorism as: "Any action intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians, non-combatants when the purpose of such act, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population or compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act."

History and causes

In the 1st century, Zealots conducted a fierce and unrelenting terror campaign against the Romanoccupiers of the eastern Mediterranean. The Zealots enlisted sicarii to strike down rich Jewish collaborators and others who were friendly to the Romans.

In the 11th century, the radical Islamic sect known as the Assassins employed systematic murder for a cause they believed to be righteous. For two centuries, they resisted efforts to suppress their religious beliefs and developed ritualized murder into a fine art taught through generations. Political aims were achieved through the power of intimidation.

During the French Revolution (1789 - 1799), the most severe period of the rule of the Committee of Public Safety (1793 - 1795) was labelled "The Terror" (1793 - 1794) and described Jacobin extensive use of death penalty by guillotine. Some argue that this period is an example of state terrorism. Certainly, it induced fear and outrage not only in the domestic population of France, but also throughout the European aristocracy. This period is the first known use of the term "terrorism".

By the mid-19th century, Russian intelligentsia grew impatient with the slow pace of Tsarist reforms, and sought instead to transform peasant discontent into open revolution. Anarchists like Mikhail Bakuninmaintained that progress was impossible without destruction. Their objective was nothing less than complete destruction of the state. Anything that contributed to this goal was regarded as moral. With the development of sufficiently powerful, stable, and affordable explosives, the gap closed between the firepower of the state and the means available to dissidents. Organized into secret societies like thePeople's Will, Russian terrorists launched a campaign of terror against the state that climaxed in 1881when Tsar Alexander II of Russia was assassinated. Also, a revolutionary Irish-American group called the Fenian Brotherhood planted explosive devices around the city of London in particular and the British mainland in general in the mid 1800's, in protest to the British occupation of Ireland. This is often seen as the first act of 'republican Terrorism'

Today, modern weapons technology has made it possible for a "super-empowered angry man" (Thomas Friedman) to cause a large amount of destruction by himself or with only a few conspirators. It can be, and has been, conducted by small as well as large organizations.

Some believe that individuals or groups resort to terrorism when other avenues for change, including economics, protest, public appeal, and organized warfare, hold no hope of success (also see rioting). Therefore some argue that one approach to reduce terrorism is to ensure that where there is a population feeling oppressed, some avenue of problem resolution is kept open, even if the population in question is in the minority.

Others, for example the American intellectual Noam Chomsky, believe that terrorism is typically sponsored by governments through the organisation, funding or training of death squads and similar paramilitary groups, often under the banner of counter- terrorism. In his view the causes of terrorism include attempts to gain or consolidate power either by instilling fear in the population to be controlled, or by stimulating another group into becoming a hardened foe, thereby setting up a polarizing us- versus-them paradigm (also see nationalism and fascism). (Nicaragua v. United States is often cited by Chomsky as an example.)

In the absence of state funding, terrorists often rely on organized crime to fund their activities. This can include kidnapping, drug trafficking, or robbery. But terrorists have also found many more legitimate sources of revenue. Osama bin Laden, for example, invested millions in terrorism that his family made in the construction industry building luxury castles for those making their money from selling the country'soil. The diamond industry emerged early in the twenty-first century as an important new source of funding for terrorism, and Islamist terrorist groups in particular have been very effective at procuring funding through a system of charitable contributions. Recent activity by Islamic terrorists has resulted in the unfortunate sarcastic label of Islam as the Religion of Peace, by pundits.

Terrorists often seek to demoralize and paralyze their enemy with fear. This sometimes works, but it can also stiffen the enemy's resolve.

In general, retribution against terrorists can result in escalating tit-for-tat violence. It is often felt that if the consequences of engaging in terrorism are not swift and punitive, the deterrent to other terrorist groupsis diminished.

Terrorism relies heavily on surprise. Terrorist attacks can trigger sudden transitions into conflict or war. Frequently, after a terrorist attack, a number of unassociated groups may claim responsibility for the action; this may be considered "free publicity" for the organization's aims or plans. Because of its anonymous and sometimes self- sacrificial nature, it is not uncommon for the reasons behind the terrorist action to remain unknown or murky for a considerable period.

The existing order within countries or internationally depends on compromises and agreements between various groups and interests that were made to resolve past conflicts. Over time, these arrangements become less relevant to the current situation. Some terrorist acts seem calculated to disrupt the existing order and provoke conflicts in the expectation that it will lead to a new order more favorable to their interests. Some people considered to be terrorists, or supporters of terrorist actions, at some point in their lives have gone on to become dedicated peace activists (Uri Avnery), respected statesmen (Yitzhak Shamir) and even Nobel Peace Prize laureates (Nelson Mandela, Yasser Arafat, Menachem Begin). This illustrates the plasticity of the term.

-- chien si (Chiensidietcong@yahoo.de), January 30, 2005.

Examples of terrorism

The following incidents have been described as domestic and international terrorism: the Oklahoma City bombing in the USA (April 19, 1995); the Omagh bombing in Northern Ireland (August 15, 1998); theSeptember 11, 2001 attacks in New York, USA; the Munich Massacre of Israeli Olympic athletes in 1972; the Bali bombing in October 2002 and the destruction of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland on December 21, 1988. See List of terrorist incidents for more examples.

The deadliest attack ever committed, not known to have been sponsored by a state and described as terrorism was the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. So far as is known, the deadliest attack planned but not executed was Operation Bojinka, which aimed to murderPope John Paul II and blow up 11 airliners. The plot was aborted after an apartment fire in Manila,Philippines on January 5, 1995 exposed the operation to police. The militants who were planning it were just over two weeks away from implementing their plot.

Since 1968, the U.S. State Department has tallied deaths due to terrorism. In 1985, it counted 816 deaths, the highest annual toll until then. The deaths decreased over the years, then rose to 3,295 in 2001, most as a result of the September 11, 2001 attacks. In 2003, more than 1,000 people died as a result of terrorist acts. Many of these deaths resulted from suicide bombings in Chechnya, Iraq, India andIsrael. It does not tally victims of state terrorism.

-- chien si (Chiensidietcong@yahoo.de), January 30, 2005.

Emergency preparedness

Acts of terrorism typically cause a significant number of civilian casualties. To protect against such attacks, there is a need for increased vigilance on the part of governments. Examples include more thorough inspection of baggage in airports.

Preparing for terrorism includes the construction of hospitals with a large surge capacity, as well as ofalternative care facilities to handle a huge influx of patients and displaced persons. In order to reduce the spread of infection, decontamination during a release of chemical or biological agents is an important element of emergency planning.

Global Trends

Data from the US Department of State shows that, since the late 1980s, there has been a decline in the number of international terrorist attacks. Data from the Terrorism Knowledge base show a similar decline since the early 1980s.

The major decline in international terrorist attacks was in Western Europe. On the other hand, Asia experienced an increase in international terrorist attacks. Other regions experienced less consistent patterns over time

From 1991 to 2003, there was a consistent increase in the number of casualties from international terrorist attacks in Asia, but few other consistent trends in casualties from international terrorist attacks. Three different regions had, in three different years, a few attacks with a large number of casualties.

On the other hand, data from the MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base show that since the mid to late 1990's there has been a large increase in the number of total terrorist incidences, injuries and fatalities. Most of this increase is due to an increase in domestic terrorism.

-- chien si (Chiensidietcong@yahoo.de), January 30, 2005.

The BBC's Allan Little - Analysis of Terrorism

Christian Science Monitor : Exactly what is terrorism? High Bandwidth | Low Bandwidth

Beinin, Joel, Is Terrorism a Useful Term in Understanding the Middle East and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict?, Radical History Review, Issue 85 (Winter 2003): 12-23. [PDF]

INA's Objection to BBC policy

Netanyahu, Benjamin, "On Terrorism"

Boaz Ganor Defining Terrorism: Is One Man's Terrorist Another Man's Freedom Fighter?

Gerald A. Juhnke, When Terrorists Strike: What School Counselors Can Do

Leon Trotsky (1909), Why Marxists oppose Individual Terrorism

Galak, Michael and Vaknin, Sam Terrorism as a Psychodynamic Phenomenon - A Dialog

Terrorists and Freedom Fighters in the Balkans


Benjamin Netanyahu on the definition of terror. (BBC) (5 min.)

Mullah Krekar, Ansar al-Islam

Further reading

International Terrorism: A New Mode of Conflict by Brian Jenkins, Crescent Publications, 1975, ISBN 0891440003

The Terrorism Reader by Walter Laqueur and Yonah Alexander, New American Library, 1987, ISBN 0452008433

Responding to the Terrorist Threat by Richard Schultz and Stephen Sloan, Pergamon Press, 1981,ISBN 0080251064

Spetsnaz: The Inside Story of the Soviet Special Forces by Viktor Suvorov, W.W. Norton, 1988, ISBN 0393026140 online English translation

Inside Soviet Military Intelligence by Viktor Suvorov, Macmillan, 1984, ISBN 0026155109 online English translation

-- chien si (Chiensidietcong@yahoo.de), January 30, 2005.

The concept of Totalitarianism is a typology or ideal-type used by some political scientists to encapsulate the characteristics of a number of twentieth century regimes that mobilized entire populations in support of the state or an ideology. According to these historical approximations, totalitarian regimes are more repressive of pluralism and political rights than authoritarian ones. Under a totalitarian regime, the state controls nearly every aspect of the individual's life. Totalitarian governments do not tolerate activities by individuals or groups such as labor unions that are not directed by the state's goals. Totalitarian regimes maintain themselves in power through secret police, propaganda disseminated through the media, the elimination of open criticism of the regime, and use of terror tactics. Internal and external threats are created to foster unity through fear.

Benito Mussolini originally applied the term to his own regime (1922-1943) in Italy. Leon Trotsky applied the term to both fascism and Stalinism as "symmetrical phenomena" in his 1936 book Revolution Betrayed. Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) popularized the use of the term totalitarianism (notably in her 1951 book The Origins of Totalitarianism) in order to illustrate the commonalities between Nazi Germanyand the Stalinist Soviet Union.

During the Cold War, the term became popularized by many anticommunist commentators, and fell into common usage in the United States. Thus, some have used the term to describe just about anynationalist, imperialist, fascist and Communist regime as "totalitarian." However, some fascist regimes, such as Franco's Spain and Mussolini's Italy before World War II; some Communist regimes, such asYugoslavia under Tito, the People's Republic of China under Deng Xiaoping, and Cuba under Fidel Castro; and single-party regimes, such as Taiwan under Chiang Kai- shek and Indonesia under Suhartohave authoritarian rather than totalitarian characteristics.

Some scholars, such as Juan Linz and Alfred Stepan, have moved beyond the tripartite typology of totalitarian, authoritarian, and democratic regimes without rejecting it entirely. Instead, they expand that typology by explicating "post-totalitarianism" as a distinctive regime-type characterizing regimes such as the post-Stalinist Soviet Union.

-- chien si (Chiensidietcong@yahoo.de), January 30, 2005.

Der idealtypisch gedachte Ablauf der Entstehung einer Tyrannis

Ausgangspunkt ist demnach eine innere Krise in einer Polis, die es einzelnen Adeligen ermöglicht, sich zum Fürsprecher des (sozial benachteiligten) Volkes zu machen. Während der volksverbundenen Regierung werden die Interessen breiterer Volksgruppen aufgegriffen, Zugeständnisse gemacht und Wohltaten vollbracht. Gerichtet ist die Herrschaft vor allem gegen die adeligen Konkurrenten innerhalb der Polis. Verliert der Alleinherrscher dann aber bei dem (in seiner Bedeutung) erstarkenden Volk die Basis, weil er sich außerhalb des Rahmens und der Normen der Polis stellt, und geht das Volk mit anderen Aristokraten zusammen, entwickelt sich aus dem Kampf um den Machterhalt der Tyrann: Er greift zu Willkürakten und Brutalität. Ein Angriff von außen oder eine Revolution innerhalb der Polisführen schließlich zum Tyrannensturz.

Betrachtet man Auftreten und Häufigkeit der Tyrannis im 6. und 5. Jahrhundert v.Chr., wird – im Gegensatz zur Jüngeren Tyrannis - allerdings kein allgemein griechisches Phänomen erkennbar. In den insgesamt etwa 700 Poleis lassen sich lediglich 27 Tyrannenherrschaften nachweisen, die zudem über 150 Jahre verteilt sind. Die Tyrannenherrschaften sind eher ein Phänomen der größeren Poleis mit einer größeren Bürgerschaft und einer breiteren Oberschicht. Aus dieser Perspektive kann die Ältere Tyrannis als Kampf von Adelsfraktionen in ihrer Konkurrenz um die begrenzten Führungspositionen in der Polis bewertet werden, bei dem es einzelnen herausragenden Persönlichkeiten gelang, sich längerfristig an die Spitze ihrer Bürgerschaft zu bringen. Dabei muss jeder einzelne Fall im Rahmen seiner Poliswelt separat betrachtet werden.

-- chien si (Chiensidietcong@yahoo.de), January 30, 2005.

Communism is a term that can refer to one of several things: a certain social system, an ideology which supports that system, or a political movement that wishes to implement that system.

As a social system, communism would be a type of egalitarian society with no state, no private property and no social classes. In communism, allproperty is owned by the community as a whole, and all people enjoy equal social and economic status. Perhaps the best known principle of a communist society is "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

As an ideology, the word communism is a synonym for Marxism and its various derivatives (most notably Marxism-Leninism). Among other things, Marxism proposes the materialist conception of history; there are four stages of economic development: slavery, feudalism, capitalism, and communism. These stages are advanced through a dialectical process, refining society as history progresses. This refinement is driven by class struggle. Communism is the final refinement as it will result in one class.

As a political movement, communism is a branch of the broader socialistmovement. The communist movement differentiates itself from other branches of the socialist movement through various things - such as, for example, the communists' desire to establish a communist system after the socialist one, and their commitment to revolutionary strategies for overthrowing capitalism.

-- chien si (Chiensidietcong@yahoo.de), January 30, 2005.

History of use of the word "communism"

The words "communism" and "communist" first came into use in France after the Revolution of 1830. They began to enter common speech in the 1840s. In particular, in1840, the first "communist banquet" was held in Paris. The term was also used to refer to supporters of Étienne Cabet, a utopian socialist. In French, the root of the word "communism" could be interpreted to refer both to a commune, a self- governing village or community, and tocommunauté, common ownership. The later Marxist use of the word "communism" contains elements from both interpretations. "Communism" came into usage in England through the Frenchexile community and had a connotation of militancy, as opposed to the milder connotation of "socialism". This is why Marx and Engels chose to use "communism" in the title of the Communist Manifesto.

"Communism" and "socialism"

Much confusion surrounds the words "communism" and "socialism", particularly in the United States. In terms of ideology and politics, communism is a sub-category of socialism. Communist ideology is a specific branch of socialist ideology and the communist movement is a specific branch of the larger socialist movement. A person who calls himself or herself a "communist" is a certain kind of socialist; in other words, all communists are socialists but not all socialists are communists. In terms ofsocio-economic systems, communism and socialism are two different things. For example, socialism involves the existence of a state, while communism does not. Socialism involves public ownership of themeans of production and private ownership of everything else, while communism abolishes private ownership altogether.

Communism and "communist states"

As noted several times above, a communist system does not involve the existence of a state. Thus, the term "communist state" is an oxymoron. No country ever called itself a "communist state" and nogovernment ever claimed to have established a communist system (in fact, no government can ever claim to have established a communist system, since the very existence of that government shows that the system is not communist).

Nevertheless, there have been a number of countries ruled by Communist Parties, and those countries were often called "communist states" by people living in other parts of the world. They called themselvessocialist countries, and their ruling Communist Parties claimed to have established a socialist, democraticsystem, with the aim of eventually reaching communism. However, these countries were generally not seen as democratic by anyone except their leadership, and were not seen as socialistic by any (non-communist) socialists living outside their borders. In fact, most socialists strongly opposed them. Due to these reasons (as well as a number of others), the term "communist states" was invented to refer to those countries.

However, the term "communist state" is itself quite inappropriate. Besides the problem noted above (the fact that "communist state" is technically an oxymoron), there is one further issue with this term: there were (and are) many communists who opposed the governments of those countries and who argued that their ruling parties were communist in name only. The best known of these dissenting communists are probably the Trotskyists.

A better term for "communist states" would be "states ruled by communist parties". But that name is generally considered too long to be practical. Another term could be "Stalinist states", since all of them were governed by communist parties that were either clearly Stalinist themselves or could trace their roots back to Stalinism.

Communism and Marxism

Today, the term "communism" is almost universally identified with its specifically Marxist meaning(s). However, the idea of a stateless, propertyless and classless society is not exclusively Marxist. In fact, the idea is considered by some to be much older (see for example religious communism). It is therefore possible to support communism (or more exactly a communist/anarchist society) without being a Marxist. Nevertheless, most people who support revolutionary communism today are Marxists.

Communism and anarchism

A communist system is essentially identical to the kind of society that is advocated by anarchism. However, unlike communists, the anarchists do not believe that any other stage is needed between capitalism and the society they wish to establish. In other words, the anarchists wish to implement communism right away, without going through socialism first. This, as well as fundamental disagreements over how capitalism should be overthrown, has resulted in a very deep rift between communists and anarchists. Their ultimate goal is the same, but their proposed methods for reaching it are extremely different.

Writing "Communism" or "communism"

According to the 1996 third edition of Fowler's Modern English Usage, communism and derived words are written with the lowercase "c" except when they refer to a political party of that name, a member of that party, or a government led by such a party, in which case the word "Communist" is written with theuppercase "C".

-- chien si (Chiensidietcong@yahoo.de), January 30, 2005.

Marxism and Leninism

Although many small communist societies have existed throughout human history, Karl Marx andFriedrich Engels were the first to write down a theoretical (and, according to them, scientific) basis for communism. The political ideology they created, namely Marxism, became the chief advocate of communism in the modern world.

Marxism seeks to explain historical phenomena in terms of class struggle. According to Marxists, human society consists of a number of social classes, which are differentiated by their relationship to the means of production. For example, capitalist society consists of the bourgeoisie (the capitalists; those who own the means of production) and the proletariat (the workers; those who must work for wages in order to make a living, because they do not possess any means of production of their own). One social class is the ruling class, and it uses its wealth and power to exploit the other class(es). For example, in capitalism, the bourgeoisie exploits the proletariat by drawing a profit from the proletariat's work. According to the theory, a business owner's profit equals what the workers produce minus what the workers get paid - thus, in order for the owner to make a profit, the workers must get paid less than what they produce; see surplus value. Eventually, one of the exploited classes rises up to overthrow the ruling class and the existing system, establishing itself as the new ruling class of a new system (for example, capitalism was established when the bourgeoisie overthrew feudalism and the feudal ruling class - thearistocracy).

According to the theory, class struggle is the engine of a cycle in which socio- economic systems are created, destroyed and replaced. Marxism identifies several systems that have been created and destroyed by it since the beginning of human history. However, social classes - and therefore class struggle - have not always existed. They were created at the dawn of human civilization, when nomadictribes first settled down and started practicing agriculture. Before that, human beings lived in a kind of classless society that can be described as primitive communism. Primitive communism ended when agriculture created the conditions for private ownership of the means of production (which, at that time, simply meant private ownership of cultivated land). This differentiated people into land owners and those who needed to work other people's land for a living, and this in turn resulted in the slave-based system of the ancient world. That system eventually gave way to feudalism, which eventually gave way tocapitalism.

According to Marxism, the class struggle within capitalism will eventually lead to the proletariat overthrowing the bourgeoisie and establishing socialism. Socialism, in turn, will result in the gradual fading of social classes (as the means of production are made public property), which will lead to the final stage of human society - communism.

And that is the Marxist foundation for communism. Communism cannot change into another system because class struggle - the mechanism that drives such changes - no longer exists.

Within Marxism, there are several different trends. The largest of these trends is Leninism, which was based on the writings and actions of Vladimir Lenin. According to Lenin, capitalism can only be overthrown by a proletarian revolution, not by parliamentary means. Furthermore, in opposition to Marx, Lenin argued that the revolution would occur first in the less developed nations, and that it would require a "vanguard of the proletariat" composed of a relatively small, tightly organized Communist Party of workers de-classed intellectuals (see the article on Leninism for an explanation of the differences between Lenin and Marx, and their basis).

Most (but by no means all) present-day communists are of the Leninist variety.

-- chien si (Chiensidietcong@yahoo.de), January 30, 2005.

Leninism versus Democratic Socialism

As explained above, according to Marxism, the laws of class struggle would drive capitalism to evolve into socialism and then, eventually, into communism. However, Marx never claimed to know exactly how long this process would take, and Marxists have often made very different speculations on the subject. Some of the more optimistic ones believed that capitalism would begin to fall apart by the beginning of the 20th century. But as the years around 1900 came and went, with capitalist society showing no signs of collapse, these Marxists began to search for an explanation.

Some eventually concluded that a socialist society could be created without revolution, and could be brought about through the process of reforming existing capitalist institutions. This ideology became known as democratic socialism (not to be confused with social democracy) and formed the basis on which a number of political parties were founded, including the Social Democratic Party of Germany and the British Labour Party.

Others, however - including people such as Vladimir Lenin and Rosa Luxembourg - argued that Marx had failed to analyze capitalism as a global system (since he had concentrated on the issue of how capitalism works and develops inside a single country). They looked at the larger picture, and concluded that capitalism was entering a new stage (called "imperialism" by Lenin), in which rich countries colonizedand exploited poorer ones (in much the same way as the rich exploited the poor within a single country). Therefore, a revolution in the poor countries - or a world revolution - was needed in order to begin the process of overthrowing capitalism and moving towards socialism (with the final aim of reaching communism). This ideology became known as Leninism, and formed the basis on which the political parties of the Communist International were founded.

Thus, by the 1920s, Marxism had split into three distinct branches: The "classical" Marxists (those who held the original 19th century Marxist views), the Democratic Socialists and the Leninists.

It was the Leninist branch of Marxism that used the terms "communism" and "communist" most extensively. All political parties calling themselves "The Communist Party of [country]" were/are Leninist parties.


Stalinism versus Trotskyism

In the early 1930's, Leninism itself fractured in two distinct branches: Stalinism and Trotskyism. The reasons for this split revolved around the controversial policies of Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union. Previous to Stalin's rise to power, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union functioned on a democratic system (known as democratic centralism) and members were encouraged to form their own opinions. It was believed that freedom of speech and diversity helped strengthen the Party (and Soviet society in general). As such, a number of different currents of opinion formed within the Communist Party. The two most prominent of these were headed by Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky, respectively. Stalin argued for the consolidation of socialism in one country (even one as underdeveloped as Russia was at that time) and claimed that, due to the aggravation of class struggle along with the development of socialism, it was necessary to enforce strict Party discipline and eliminate all political dissent. Trotsky argued that the fate of socialism in the Soviet Union depended on the fate of socialist and communist revolutions around the world (therefore supporting the thesis of permanent revolution), and claimed that Stalin's authoritarianpractices were harmful and dangerous (therefore calling for more democracy, both inside the Party and throughout the Soviet Union in general).

Stalin eventually succeeded in gaining full control of the Party and the Soviet government. He went ahead with his policies, which became known as Stalinism. Trotsky and his supporters organized into the so-called Left Opposition, and their platform became known as Trotskyism. However, their attempts to remove Stalin from power failed. Stalin imprisoned, executed or exiled all dissenters - especially the Trotskyists. Trotsky himself was exiled, and eventually assassinated in Mexico in 1940 by a Stalinistagent.

After World War II and during the Cold War, Stalinism spread to a number of new countries, and gave rise to a few different branches of its own. No country was ever ruled by Trotskyists.

-- chien si (Chiensidietcong@yahoo.de), January 30, 2005.

Other forms of communism

Many communist societies (communes) have existed throughout history, and many non-Marxist (or pre-Marxist) Western intellectuals advocated ideas quite similar to what is today known as communism.

The first Christians, as well as many later groups of monks and nuns, lived in communities organized according to communist-like principles. These early groups shared some elements in common with communism but were not completely identical. The individuals of these groups held no property of their own, thereby allowing the community as a whole to hold all property in common; in this way, a classless community was possible. Along with this similarity, there also exist several key elements that differentiate many of these groups from communism. Primarily their free will was considered priceless and any attempt to marginalize it would have quickly been thwarted; and secondly, they did in fact possess a form of a state, or ruling authority with varying degrees of hierarchy. See religious communism for more information.

Thomas More's 16th-century work Utopia depicted a society organised along communist lines.

Ideas of communal ownership evolved during the Enlightenment, exerting varying amounts of influence on the philosophes. The greatest of these influences were on Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the abbé de Mably, Morelly (whose thoughts extensively influenced the French Revolution, in particular the Jacobins) and other revolutionary egalitarian clubs embodied in persons like Jean Paul Marat.

Many 19th-century idealists, disgusted by the ongoing oppression and mass poverty created by theIndustrial Revolution, broke away from society to form short-lived communal "utopias". An example wasRobert Owen's New Harmony community in Indiana. People who believe that communism can be implemented in such a way are called utopian socialists by Marxists.

The French philosopher Étienne Cabet, in his book "Voyage et aventures de lord William Carisdall en Icarie" ("Travel and adventures of lord William Carisdall in Icaria") (1840), depicted an ideal society in which an elected government controlled all economic activity and supervised social affairs, the family remaining the only other independent unit. In 1848 he attempted to organize Icarian communities in theUnited States. His efforts were mostly in vain, but small Icarian communities existed even after his death, until 1898.

The short-lived Paris Commune (1871) was arguably the main example followed by revolutionaries of the early 20th Century, and also the largest historical example of a communist society. The Communardsheld Paris for two months against Prussian/ German and French government soldiers. The Commune passed various laws reducing the power of property owners, such as canceling rents and debts, before being bloodily suppressed. Marx later criticized the Commune for being too timid to secure its own survival, but praised it as the first successful revolution of the working class.

Today, a small number of people, primarily from industrialized nations, have, like the Owenites, opted to "drop out" of the existing society, preferring to live on communes of their own design. This movement saw its zenith during the counter-culture phenomenon of the 1960s and 70s in the West, and such people have been characterized as new bohemians or hippies.

Also in the present day, the tradition of communism continues in the form of Israeli kibbutzim although these communes have moved away from the communistic ideal and now allow degrees of individual ownership and capitalist production. The first Christians, as well as many later groups of monks andnuns, Amish-like religious groups ang religious kibbutzim, lived in communities organized according to communist-like principles. See religious communism for more information.

-- chien si (Chiensidietcong@yahoo.de), January 30, 2005.

Economic development

Critics of communism say it would be impossible for a communist society to plan its own economy.

People who believe in the subjective theory of value (STV) think that theoretically, in a capitalist system, scarce skills and resources are rationed by prices that reflect relative scarcity of the resources and competing demands. In their view, in a Soviet-style planned economy prices can send the wrong signals to consumers and planners, resulting in decisions that don't reflect the choices they would make if they knew the actual costs and competing demands for those resources.

This is not how communists view the capitalist system. To communists, placing value in a commodityinstead of in the labor necessary to create that commodity is commodity fetishism. Values do not reflect scarcity but the necessary and homogenous labor time embedded in a commodity. Prices do not "send signals", since they simply reflect an exchange of commodities with an equal amount of homogeneous and necessary labor time congealed in them. Markets do not simplify planning or improve quality or efficiency because such decisions are made in the production of a commodity, not the exchange of it.

To understand the STV objection to communism, it is necessary to unravel the ambiguities of the word "plan". Of course, people and institutions plan very elaborate and far-sighted projects within a capitalist context. Nobody questions that human beings possess the rationality necessary to plan a skyscraper, for example.

But the critics of communism say that the planning of a skyscraper (the blueprints, sitting, delivery schedule for materials) all typically takes place within a capitalist/ contractual context. In their view,investors contract to buy stock or bonds in a development company. That company hiressub-contractors. The terms for the raw materials are haggled out with suppliers, etc. -- in the STV view, all subject to the rise or fall of prices and alternative investment possibilities for various parties.

Critics of communism contend that the implementation of communism in the sense described above would involve supplanting precisely these market and contract conditions that make planning possible. In the STV view it would be planning instead of haggling, rather than planning within the context of haggling. That is what they contend is not practicable.

Communists would respond that nothing mentioned here would constitute any kind of roadblock in a communist society. While communists do not "write recipes for the cookshops of future"[1] communist societies, they claim that projects such as Linux, Amish barn-raisings and societies of the sort Karl Marxcalled "primitive communist" are 'communist-like' examples of how communist planning might work, from a small to large scale. As far as the idea that prices rise and fall, communists would say that prices simply reflect necessary homogenous congealed labor time, and claim that absent innovations inproduction, prices generally remain stable relative to one another.

Critics of communism would respond that since communist prices do not reflect the scarcity of the raw materials or the consumer demand for the products, one could easily end up with a Stakhanovite drive to build as many skyscrapers as possible, with a consequent blotting out of the sky with empty buildings, and a shortage of steel and other resources that might have been very useful if market prices had allowed them to be redirected elsewhere.

"Human nature"

Objectivists, who see self-interested behavior as itself a moral ideal and identical to rationality, claim that communism removes incentives necessary for human productivity. They argue that communism ignores (or is wrong about) "human nature." Communists, however, take the view that self-interest is a function of the material conditions of society and if the material conditions change so that competition and greed is no longer necessary to survive, mass behavior will change accordingly.


If capitalism is to be overthrown in a revolution, then a socialist revolution could be costly in terms of human lives. Communist revolutionaries argue that the violent or non- violent character of a revolution is not determined solely by the revolutionaries, but also by the owners of the means of production who have a stake in capitalism, and the government tied to the ruling classes. They also argue that capitalism itself is violent, naming such events or eras as chattel slavery in the United States, Jim Crow, genocide directed at American Indians, the Vietnam War, and (although this time often with approval) referencing the bloody revolutions that established capitalism and broke down the feudal order.

Communist Parties in Russia and later China came to power in the course of bloody civil wars fought between the Communists and the remnants of collapsed imperial regimes (see Communist state). Because they were governed by monopolistic parties that consolidated power in the context of these conflicts, whose leaders lacked the consent of all elements of society, Russia and China developed strong security systems to protect Communist rule from internal and external threats, and witnessed periods of repressive rule resulting in tens of millions of deaths. [2] [3] [4] [5] In particular, the Stalinist USSR consolidated a system of internal exile known as the Gulags and presided over crippling famine related to collectivization of agriculture. The Soviet Union and China after Stalin and Mao, respectively, also maintained single- party rule and executions of opponents of the regime, though on a far smaller scale. Also in the second half of the twentieth century, political movements that threatened Communist Parties' monopoly on power, such Czechoslovakia's Prague Spring and China's Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, continued to be suppressed. Given such incidents and their often-violent histories, Communist Party-led regimes are often associated with human rights abuses, especially in the West.

Some communists who reject Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism point out that these states were in fact not communistic. However, they were Communist Party-led regimes that vowed to forge a communist society based on the common ownership of property.

-- chien si (Chiensidietcong@yahoo.de), January 30, 2005.

The Future of Communism

As with all attempts to foresee the future, it is difficult to tell with any degree of confidence what is in store for communism. And, of course, any prediction depends on which "communism" we are talking about (the social system, the ideology, or the political movement).

As a political movement, made up of parties and individuals that consider themselves communist, communism is tied up practically and ideologically with the labor movement and the anti-globalization movement. The tide of the communist movement can generally be gauged by the success of the labor and anti-globalization movements.

Outside of the industrialized core of developed nations, the communist movement takes on legal and extra-legal dimensions. There are several dozen guerrilla groups in the world which identify themselves as communist in one form or another. In places like Peru, the Philippines, Nepal, and Southeast Asia, the success of communism can be gauged by the success of guerrilla wars. In countries with strong Communist Parties, such as India and Russia, the success of communism can be gauged by the success of those political parties.

As far as "communist states" are concerned, there are five countries still ruled by Communist Parties belonging to the Marxist-Leninist tradition: the People's Republic of China, Cuba, North Korea, Laos andVietnam. However, the experiences of these five states have starkly diverged, especially since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. On the one hand, Cuba and North Korea were hit hard by the lack of Soviet economic assistance, trade and military support. On the other hand, the world's other three remaining communist states (all in East Asia) were far less dependent on Soviet subsidies (and in China's case, not at all, given the Sino-Soviet Split) at the time of the collapse of the Warsaw Pact.

Following the lead of China under Deng Xiaoping whose encouragement in rhetoric and policy of wealth creation was neatly summarized by his exhortation "poverty is not socialism, to get rich is glorious"[6], Vietnam and Laos have moved away from Soviet-style centralized planning, in favour of a private market economy that (at least in China's case) is very difficult to distinguish from outright capitalism. China has been particularly aggressive in its pursuit of "socialism with Chinese characteristics," even to the point of admitting entrepreneurs to the Communist Party. Therefore, China today is generally regarded as being capitalist de facto, with just a little higher degree of government control than is seen in conventional capitalist countries. Many Marxists also regard the other four remaining "communist states" as being state- capitalist rather than socialist.

-- chien si (Chiensidietcong@yahoo.de), January 30, 2005.

Rodney Carlisle and James H. Lide, Complete Idiot's Guide to Communism, Alpha Books, March, 2002, trade paperback, 362 pages, ISBN 0028643143

Francois and Deborah Furet, Passing of an Illusion: The Idea of Communism in the Twentieth Century, University of Chicago Press, 1999, hardcover, 506 pages, ISBN 0226273407

-- chien si (Chiensidietcong@yahoo.de), January 30, 2005.

Leninism is a political andeconomic theory which builds upon Marxism; it is a branch of Marxism (and it has been the dominant branch of Marxism in the world since the 1920's). Leninism was developed mainly by the Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin, and it was also put into practice by him after the Russian Revolution. Lenin's theories have been a source of controversy ever since their inception, having critics both on the Left (for example,social democrats, anarchists, and even other Marxists), from the center (for example, liberals), and on the Right (for example,conservatives, fascists, etc).

Lenin argued that the proletariat can only achieve revolutionaryconsciousness through the efforts of a communist party that assumes the role of "revolutionary vanguard". Lenin further believed that such a party could only achieve its aims through a form of disciplined organization known as democratic centralism. In addition, Leninism holds thatimperialism is the highest stage of capitalism, and that capitalism can only be overthrown by revolutionary means (i.e. that any attempt to reformcapitalism from within is doomed to fail). Lenin believed in the destruction of the capitalist state through a proletarian revolution, and in replacing that state with the dictatorship of the proletariat (a system of workers' democracy, in which workers would hold political power through councils known as soviets).

Lenin's theory of imperialism aimed to improve and correct Marx's work by explaining a phenomenon which Marx could not have predicted: the shift of capitalism towards becoming a global system (rather than the national system that Marx had described). At the core of this theory of imperialism lies the idea that advanced capitalist industrial nations are avoiding revolution by forcing their excess production into captive colonial markets and exploiting those colonies for their resources. This allowed the advanced capitalist industrial nations to keep their workers content, partly through the creation of a labor aristocracy. As a result, capitalism was able to be managed by the political expression of the labor aristocracy, the social democratic parties, to the point where the revolution would not occur in the most advanced nations (as Marx had predicted) but rather in the weakest imperialist state, that being Russia.

However, if the revolution can only happen in a poor underdeveloped country, this poses a serious problem: such an underdeveloped country would not be able to develop a socialist system (in Marxist theory, socialism is the stage of development that would come after capitalism and beforecommunism), because capitalism hasn't run its full course yet in such a country, and because foreign powers will try to crush the revolution at any cost. To solve this problem, Leninism proposes two possible solutions:

The revolution in the underdeveloped country sparks off a revolution in a developed capitalist country (for example, Lenin hoped the Russian Revolution would spark a revolution in Germany). The developed country establishes socialism and helps the underdeveloped country do the same.

The revolution happens in a large number of underdeveloped countries at the same time or in quick succession; the underdeveloped countries then join together into a federal state capable of fighting off the great capitalist powers and establishing socialism. This was the original idea behind the foundation of theSoviet Union.

Either way, socialism cannot survive in one poor underdeveloped country alone. Thus, Leninism calls forworld revolution in one form or another.

Present-day Leninists often see globalization as the modern form of imperialism.

Near the end of the 1920's, the Soviet Union began to move away from Lenin's policies and towards what is usually called "Stalinism", with many of Lenin's colleagues and followers (the "Old Bolsheviks") perishing in the Great Purge. In China, Leninist structure was the basis of organization for both theKuomintang and the Communist Party of China; later, the Chinese Communists developed the theory ofMaoism.

Today, the term "Leninism" (or, more often, "Marxism-Leninism") is used in self- description by three separate ideologies, all of which have historical roots in Leninism, but are otherwise very different from each other: Stalinism, Maoism, and Trotskyism. While Maoism can be regarded as a sub-category of Stalinism in many ways, Trotskyism and Stalinism are staunch enemies (Trotskyists have opposed what they saw as the undemocratic policies of the Soviet Union under Stalin's leadership, and the similar policies of all countries that followed the Stalinist model while Stalinists oppose what they see as the betrayal of Marxism by Trotskyists and often point to constant splitting of Trotskyist groups).

-- chien si (Chiensidietcong@yahoo.de), January 30, 2005.

Stalinism is a brand of political theory, and the political and economic system implemented by Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union. Leon Trotskydescribed the system as totalitarian, and this description has become widely used by critics of Stalinism.


Stalinism as political theory

The term "Stalinism" is sometimes used to denote a brand of communisttheory, dominating the Soviet Union and the countries who were the Soviet sphere of influence, during and after the leadership of Joseph Stalin. The term used in the Soviet Union, and by most who uphold its legacy, however, is "Marxism-Leninism". Reflecting that Stalin was not a theoretician, but a communicator who wrote several books in language easily understood, and, in contrast to Marx and Lenin, made few new theoretical contributions. Rather, Stalinism is more in the order of an interpretation of their ideas, and a certain political system claiming to apply those ideas in ways fitting the changing needs of society, as with the transition from "socialism at a snail's pace" in the mid-twenties to the forced industrialization of the Five-Year Plans. Sometimes, however, the compound terms Marxism-Leninism- Stalinism, or teachings ofMarx/Engels/Lenin/Stalin, are used to show the alleged heritage and succession. Simultaneously, however, many people professing Marxism orLeninism view Stalinism as a perversion of their ideas; Trotskyists, in particular, are virulently anti-Stalinist, considering Stalinism a counter-revolutionary policy using Marxism as an excuse.

Stalinists believed he was the highest authority on Leninism, after the death of Lenin, in 1924. Often emphasizing that Leon Trotsky did not join Lenin's Bolshevik party until 1917, and arguing that Trotsky did not believe Lenin's contributions regarding the need for a vanguard party. From 1917 to 1924, Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin often appeared united, but, in fact, their ideological differences never disappeared.

In his dispute with Trotsky, Stalin de-emphasized the role of workers in advanced capitalist countries (for example, he postulated theses considering the U.S. working class as bourgeoisified labor aristocracy). Also, Stalin polemicized against Trotsky on the role of peasants, as in China, where Trotsky wanted urban insurrection and not peasant-based guerrilla warfare.

The main contributions of Stalin to communist theory were:

Socialism in One Country,

The theory of aggravation of the class struggle along with the development of socialism, a theoretical base supporting the repression of political opponents as necessary.


Stalinist political economy

The term "Stalinism" was first used by Trotskyists opposed to the regime in the Soviet Union, particularly to attempt to separate the policies of the Soviet government from those they regard as more true to Marxism. Trotskyists argue that the Stalinist USSR was not socialist (and certainly not communist), but a bureaucratized degenerated workers state—that is, a non-capitalist state in which exploitation is controlled by a ruling caste which, while it did not own the means of production and was not a social class in its own right, accrued benefits and privileges at the expense of the working class. Stalinism could not have existed without the prior overturning of capitalism by the October revolution, but it is notable that Joseph Stalin, himself, was not active in the October revolution, advocating a policy of collaboration with the Provisional Government, rather than seizing power.

Building upon, and transforming Lenin's legacy, Stalin expanded the centralized administrative system of the Soviet Union during the 1920s and1930s. A series of two five-year plans massively expande the Soviet economy. Large increases occurred in many sectors, especially in coal and iron production. Society was brought from decades-long backwardness with West to one of near-economic and scientific equality within thirty years, according to some statistical measurements. Some economic historians now believe it to be the fastest economic growth ever achieved.

Because of the prestige and influence of the successful Russian revolution, many countries, throughout the 20th century, looked for an alternative to the market economy system, followed the politico-economic model developed in the USSR. This included both revolutionary regimes and post-colonial states in the developing world. After Stalin's death in 1953, his successor Nikita Khrushchev repudiated his policies, condemned Stalin's cult of personality in his Secret Speech to the Twentieth Party Congress in 1956, and instituted destalinization and liberalisation (within the same political framework). Consequently, most of the world's Communist parties, who previously adhered to Stalinism, abandoned it and, to a greater or lesser degree, adopted the moderately reformist positions of Khruschchev. The notable exception was the People's Republic of China, which under Mao Zedong grew antagonistic towards the new Soviet leadership's "revisionism", resulting in the Sino-Soviet Split in 1960. Subsequently China independently pursued the ideology of Maoism; Albania took the Chinese party's side in the Sino-Soviet Split and remained committed to Stalinism for decades thereafter under the leadership of Enver Hoxha.

Some historians draw parallels between Stalinism and the economic policy of Tsar Peter the Great. Both men desperately wanted Russia to catch up to the western European states. Both succeeded to an extent, turning Russia temporarily into Europe's leading power. Others compare Stalin with Ivan IV of Russia, with his policies of oprichnina and restriction of the liberties of common people.


-- (Chiensidietcong@yahoo.de), January 30, 2005.

Maoism or Mao Zedong Thought (Chinese: ?????, pinyin: Máo Zéd?ng S?xi?ng), (a big fukingdog) (edit)

also called Marxism-Leninism–Mao Zedong Thought or Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (MLM), is a variant of communism derived from the teachings of Mao Zedong (1893–1976). In the People's Republic of China (PRC) it is the official doctrine of the Communist Party of China. Since the reforms of Deng Xiaoping started in 1978, however, the definition and role of Mao Zedong's ideology in the PRC has radically changed.

It should be noted that the word "Maoism" has never been used by thePRC in its English-language publications: "Mao Zedong Thought" has always been the preferred term. Likewise, Maoist groups outside China have usually called themselves "Marxist- Leninist" rather than Maoist. This is a reflection of Mao's view that he did not change, but only developed, "Marxism-Leninism". The word "Maoist" has been used either as a pejorative term by other communists, or as a descriptive term by non-communist writers. However, some Maoist groups, believing that Mao's theories were substantial additions to the Marxist canon, call themselves "Marxist-Leninist-Maoist" or simply "Maoist"; for example, theCommunist Party of Nepal (Maoist), who distinguish themselves from the much more mainstream Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist).

Outside the PRC, the term Maoism was used from the 1960s onwards, usually in a hostile sense, to describe parties or individuals who supported Mao Zedong and his form of Communism, as opposed to the form practised in the Soviet Union, which the parties supporting Mao denounced as "revisionist." These parties usually rejected the term Maoism, preferring to call themselves Marxist-Leninists. Since the death of Mao and the reforms of Deng, most of these parties have disappeared, but various small Communist groups in a number of countries continue to advance Maoist ideas.

-- chien si (Chiensidietcong@yahoo.de), January 30, 2005.

Maoist theory

Unlike the earlier forms of Marxism-Leninism in which the urban proletariat was seen as the main source of revolution, and the countryside was largely ignored, Maoism focused on the peasantry as a revolutionary force which, he said, could be mobilised by a Communist Party with "correct" ideas and leadership. The model for this was of course the Chinese Communist ruralinsurgency of the 1920s and 1930s, which eventually brought Mao to power. Furthermore, unlike other forms of Marxism- Leninism in which large-scale industrial development was seen as a positive force, Maoism made all-round rural development the priority. Mao felt that this strategy made sense during the early stages of socialism in a country most of whose people were peasants.

Unlike most other political ideologies, including other socialist and Marxist ones, Maoism contains an integral military doctrine and explicitly connects its political ideology with military strategy. In Maoist thought, power comes from the barrel of the gun, and the peasantry can be mobilized to undertake a "people's war." This involves guerilla warfare using three stages. The first stage involves mobilizing the peasantry and setting up organization. The second stage involves setting up rural base areas and increasing co-ordination among the guerilla organizations. The third stage involves a transition to conventional warfare. Maoist military doctrine likens guerilla fighters to fish swimming in a sea of peasants, who provide logistical support.

Maoism emphasizes revolutionary mass mobilization, village-level industries independent of the outside world (the Great Leap Forward urged each and every Chinese to melt down industrial pots and pans to smelt their own iron from scratch), deliberate organizing of mass military and economic power where necessary to defend from outside threat or where centralization keeps corruption under supervision, and strong control of the arts and sciences.

A key concept that distinguishes Maoism from other left-wing ideologies is the belief that the class struggle continues throughout the entire socialist period (between capitalism and communism). Even when the proletariat has seized state power through a socialist revolution, the potential remains for abourgeoisie to restore capitalism. Indeed, Mao famously stated that "the bourgeoisie [in a socialist country] is right inside the Communist Party itself", implying that corrupt Party officials would subvert socialism if not prevented. This was the main reason for the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, in which Mao exhorted the public to "Bombard the [Party] headquarters!" and wrest control of the government from bureaucrats (such as Liu Shaoqi) perceived to be on the capitalist road.

Mao's doctrine is best summarized in the Little Red Book of Mao Zedong, which was distributed to everyone in China as the basis of revolutionary education. This book consists of quotations from the earliest days of the revolution to the mid-1960s, just before the beginning of the Cultural Revolution.

Political background

Despite the role of Maoism in the Communist victory, from the advent of the PRC in 1949 until the late 1950s, the Chinese Communist regime practised the orthodox or Soviet model of Communist development. Mao first broke with Soviet practice during the Great Leap Forward of 1959. This proved an economic disaster and led to attempts to remove Mao from power.

A formal split with the Soviet Union developed when China alleged that capitalism had been restored in the Soviet Union by Nikita Khrushchev's regime and in a number of other countries, such as Yugoslavia. This split then spread to the international Communist movement, leading to a formal rupture in 1961-63. Only three Communist parties completely supported Mao's position: those in Albania, Indonesia and New Zealand. In most other Communist parties, groups of Mao supporters either resigned or were expelled, and were soon dubbed "Maoists." They formed small "Marxist-Leninist" parties, supported and often funded by China. The Indonesian party was destroyed in the 1965 military coup in Indonesia, and the Albanian party, China's only ally in the socialist camp, broke off relations with China after Mao's death.

In the anti-Vietnam War protest movement of the 1960s, Maoist student groups played a prominent role in several countries, mainly because of their willingness to resort to violence. These groups, despite their overwhelmingly middle-class student composition, were marked by strident rhetoric about thedictatorship of the proletariat, extreme sectarianism towards "revisionist" and Trotskyist Communists, and a cult of Stalin and of Stalin-era slogans (such as "social fascist" and "kulak") and figures such asLavrenty Beria.

French poster in support of Maoist groups in Peru and Nepal

In the developing world (then usually called the Third World), the termMaoist was often applied to the Khmer Rouge regime of Pol Pot inCambodia, which was, however, never recognized as Maoist by China. Some other Third World parties calling themselves Maoist are

the Communist Party of India (Maoist)

the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)

the Communist Party of the Philippines

the Shining Path (a terrorist organization that calls itself theCommunist Party of Peru)

the Communist Party of Turkey (Marxist-Leninist) Maoist Party Centre

The failure of Maoism to take root around the world leads some observers to suggest that Maoism is a doctrine specific to China and related to traditional Chinese social norms, such as the Confucianancestor cult. Others believe that severely repressive measures instituted against incipient Maoist movements inhibit the development of Maoism as an alternative political order.

-- chien si (Chiensidietcong@yahoo.de), January 30, 2005.

aloth Sar (May 19, 1925 - April 15, 1998), better known as Pol Pot, was the leader of the Khmer Rougeand the Prime Minister of Cambodia (officiallyDemocratic Kampuchea during his rule) from 1976 to1979. His government is widely blamed for the deaths of up to two million Cambodians, although estimates vary significantly.

Early life and Revolution

He was born in Prek Sbauv in what was then a part ofFrench Indochina but is now in the province ofKompong Thom, Cambodia. In 1949, he won a scholarship to study radio engineering in Paris. During his study, he became a communist, and joined the French Communist Party. In 1953, he returned to Cambodia.

At that time, a communist-led revolt was taking place against the French occupation of Indochina. The centre of this uprising was in Vietnam, but it also took place in Cambodia andLaos. Saloth Sar joined the Viet Minh, but found that they regarded only Vietnam of importance, not Laos and Cambodia. In 1954, the French left Indochina, but the Viet Minh also withdrew to North Vietnam, and King Norodom Sihanouk called elections. Sihanouk abdicated, and formed a political party. Using his popularity and some intimidation, he swept away the communist opposition and gained all of the government seats.

Pol Pot fled Sihanouk's secret police and spent twelve years in hiding, training recruits. In the late 1960s, Sihanouk's head of internal security, Lon Nol took action against the revolutionaries, known as the Communist Party of Kampuchea. Pol Pot started an armed uprising against the government, supported by the People's Republic of China (PRC).

Prior to 1970, the Communist Party of Kampuchea was an insignificant factor in Cambodian politics. However, in 1970 American-backed General Lon Nol deposed Sihanouk, because the latter was seen as supporting the Viet Cong.

In protest, Sihanouk threw his support to Pol Pot's side. That same year, Richard Nixonordered a military incursion into Cambodia in order to destroy Viet Cong sanctuaries bordering on South Vietnam. Sihanouk's popularity, along with the United States incursion into Cambodia, drove many to Pol Pot's side and soon Lon Nol's government controlled only the cities.

It has been argued that the Khmer Rouge may not have come to power without the destabilization of the Vietnam War, particularly of the American bombing campaigns to "clear out the Vietnamese sanctuaries" in Cambodia. William Shawcross argued this point in his1979 book Sideshow.

When the United States left Vietnam in 1973 the Viet Cong left Cambodia, but the Khmer Rouge continued to fight. Unable to maintain any sort of control over the country, Lon Nol's government soon collapsed. On April 17, 1975, the Communist Party of Kampuchea tookPhnom Penh and Lon Nol fled to the United States of America. Less than one month later, on May 12, 1975, Khmer Rouge naval forces operating in Cambodian territorial waters seized the U.S. merchant ship S.S. Mayaguez, the last American merchant ship to leave Vietnam, precipitating the Mayaguez Crisis.

Norodom Sihanouk was returned to power in 1975, but soon found himself side-lined by his more radical Communist colleagues, who had little interest in his plans of restoring themonarchy.

Democratic Kampuchea

Pol Pot

In early 1976 the Khmer Rouge placed Sihanouk underhouse arrest. The existing government was quickly dismantled and Prince Sihanouk was removed as the nation's head of state. Cambodia became a Communist republic, and Khieu Samphan became the firstpresident.

On May 13, 1976 Pol Pot had been appointed Prime Minister of Cambodia, and began implementing sweeping socialist reforms to the nation. The US bombing had caused parts of the countryside to be emptied, and the cities were overcrowded (Phnom Penh's population increased by over 1 million immediately prior to 1976).

When the Khmer Rouge gained power, they evacuated citizens from the cities to the countryside where they were forced into communal farms. Property became communalized, and education was done at communal schools. Pol Pot's regime was extremely harsh on political dissent and opposition. Thousands of politicians and bureaucrats were killed, while Phnom Penh was turned into a ghost city with many dying of starvation, illnesses, or execution. Landmines, which Pol Pot praised as his "perfect soldiers," were widely distributed around the countryside. The casualty list from the civil war, Pol Pot's consolidation of power, and the invasion by Vietnam is disputed. Dozens of credible Western and Eastern sources put the death toll of the Khmer Rouge at 1.6 million. A specific source, such as a figure of three million deaths between 1975 and 1979 was given by the Vietnamese-sponsored Phnom Penh regime, the PRK. Father Ponchaud suggested 2.3 million—although this includes hundreds of thousands who died prior to the CPK takeover; the Yale Cambodian Genocide Project estimates 1.7 million; Amnesty Internationalestimated 1.4 million; and the United States Department of State, 1.2 million. Khieu Samphan and Pol Pot, who could be expected to give underestimations, cited figures of 1 million and 800,000, respectively. The CIA estimated there were 50,000 to 100,000 executions.

In late 1978, Vietnam invaded Cambodia. The Cambodian army was easily defeated, and Pol Pot fled to the Thai border. In January 1979, Vietnam installed a puppet government under Heng Samrin, composed of Khmer Rouge who had fled to Vietnam to avoid the purges. This was followed by widespread defections to the Vietnamese by Khmer Rouge officials in Eastern Cambodia, largely motivated by the fear that they would be accused of collaboration even if they did not defect. Pol Pot retained a sufficient following to keep fighting in a small area in the west of the country. At this point the PRC, which had earlier supported Pol Pot, attacked, creating a brief Sino- Vietnam War.

Pol Pot, an enemy of the Soviet Union, also gained support from Thailand and the US. In particular, the US and the PRC vetoed the allocation of Cambodia's United Nations General Assembly seat to a representative of Heng Samrin's government. The US directly and indirectly supported Pol Pot, including for example funneling aid raised for Cambodian relief to the Khmer Rouge. Pol Pot espoused a radically revised variant of Maoism adapted to Khmer nationalism. Envisaging a perfectly egalitarian agrarianism, the Khmer Rouge favored a completely agrarian society to the point that all modern technological contrivances were banned. An autonomist, Pol Pot was quite the opponent of Soviet orthodoxy. Because he was anti-Soviet, the United States, Thailand and People's Republic of China considered him preferable to the pro- Vietnamese government.


Pol Pot

At times, the United States directly and indirectly supported Pol Pot and his hostility against the Soviet Union. The US attempted to foster an anti-Vietnamese alliance between Pol Pot, Sihanouk and the nationalist, Son San. In pursuit of this end, Pol Pot officially resigned in 1985, but continued as de facto CPK leader and dominant force within the alliance. Opponents of the CPK claimed that the CPK were sometimes acting in an inhumane manner in areas controlled by the alliance.

In 1989, Vietnam withdrew from Cambodia. Pol Pot refused to cooperate with the peace process, and kept fighting the new coalition government. The Khmer Rouge kept the government forces at bay until 1996, when the demoralised troops started deserting. Several important Khmer Rouge leaders also defected.

Pol Pot ordered the execution of his life-long right hand Son Sen and 11 of his family on June 10, 1997 for wanting to make a settlement with the government (the news did not reach outside of Cambodia for three days). Pol Pot then fled his northern stronghold but was later arrested by Khmer Rouge military chief Ta Mok, and was sentenced to lifelong house arrest. In April of 1998, Ta Mok fled into the forest following a new government attack, and took Pol Pot with him. A few days later, on April 15, 1998, Pol Pot died, reportedly of a heart attack.



A meeting with Pol Pot Elizabeth Becker of The New York Times

Pol Pot's death confirmed CNN Report

-- chien si (Chiensidietcong@yahoo.de), January 30, 2005.

Marxism is the political practice and social theory based on the works of Karl Marx, a 19th century philosopher, economist, journalist, and revolutionary, along with Friedrich Engels. Marx drew on Hegel's philosophy, the political economy of Adam Smith, Ricardian economics, and 19th century French socialismto develop a critique of society which he claimed was both scientific and revolutionary. This critique achieved its most systematic (if unfinished) expression in his masterpiece,Capital: A Critique of Political Economy (Das Kapital).

Marxism is based on the works of nineteenth century philosopher,Karl Marx.

Since Marx's death in1883, various groups around the world have appealed to Marxism as the intellectual basis for their politics and policies, which can be dramatically different and conflicting. One of the first major splits occurred between the advocates of social democracy, who argued that the transition to socialism could occur within a democratic framework, andcommunists, who argued that the transition to a socialist society required a revolution. Social democracy resulted in the formation of theBritish Labour Party and the Social Democratic Party of Germany, while communism resulted in the formation of various communist parties.

Although there are still many Marxist revolutionary social movements and political parties around the world, since thecollapse of the Soviet Union and its satellite states, relatively few countries have governments which describe themselves as Marxist. Although social democratic parties are in power in a number of Western nations, they long ago distanced themselves from their historical connections to Marx and his ideas. As of 2004, Laos, Vietnam, Cuba, and the People's Republic of China have governments in power which describe themselves as Marxist. North Korea is inaccurately described as Marxist, as both Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il have rejected conventional Marxist views in favour of the Korean "communist" variant, juche.

Some members of the laissez-faire and "individualist" schools believe the principles of modern bourgeois states or big governments can be understood as "Marxist". Marx and Engels's Communist Manifesto include a number of steps that they believed a society would experience as workers emancipated themselves from the capitalist system such as "Free education for all children in public schools": some of these appear to have been implemented in the form ofKeynesianism, the welfare state, new liberalism, and other changes to the capitalist system in some capitalist states. Some individualists believe that reformers in the capitalist system are (or were) "secret Marxists" as they support policies that are similar to those steps Marx and Engels said a developed capitalist society would go through. Some other individualists in common with Marx's theory of historical materialism see the capitalist reforms as harbingers of the future coming of communism.

To Marxists, on the other hand, these reforms represent responses to political pressures from working-class political parties and unions, themselves responding to perceived abuses of the capitalist system. Further, in this view, many of these reforms reflect efforts to "save" or "improve" capitalism (without abolishing it) by dealing with market failures, i.e., inefficiencies of the system. Further, although Marxism does see a role for an enlightened (socialist) government to represent the proletariat through a revolutionary period of indeterminate length, it sees an eventually lightening of that burden, a "withering away of the state."

The Hegelian roots of Marxism

Hegel proposed a form of idealism in which the development of ideas into their contraries is the guiding theme of human history. This process, dialectic, sometimes involves gradualaccretion but at other times requires discontinuous leaps -- violent upheavals of previously existing status quo. World-historical figures such as Napoleon Bonaparte are, on the Hegelian reading, symptoms and tools of the underlying impersonal dialectical process rather than shapers of the same.

Marx, and the circle of Young Hegelians of whom he was one, retained much of Hegel's way of thinking. But Marx, "stood Hegel on his head," in his own view of his role, by turning the idealistic dialectic into a materialistic one, in proposing that material circumstances shape ideas, instead of the other way around. In this, Marx was following the lead of another Young Hegelian, Ludwig Feuerbach.

Marx summarized the materialistic aspect of his theory of history, otherwise known as historical materialism, in A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy:

In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness.

Marx emphasized that the development of material life will come into conflict with the superstructure. These contradictions, he thought, were the driving force of history. Primitive communism had developed into slave states. Slave states had developed into feudal societies. Those societies in turn became capitalist states, and those states would be overthrown by the self-conscious portion of their working-class, or proletariat, creating the conditions for socialism and, ultimately, a higher form of communism than that with which the whole process began. Marx illustrated his ideas most prominently by the development of capitalism from feudalism and by the prediction of the development of socialism fromcapitalism.

The political-economy roots of Marxism

Political economy is essential to this vision, and Marx built on and critiqued the most well-known political economists of his day, the British classical political economists. Political economy predates the 20th century division of the two disciplines, treating social relations and economic relations as interwoven. Marx claimed the source of profits under capitalism is value added by workers not paid out in wages—a claim he found implied in the works ofAdam Smith and especially in David Ricardo but never explicitly formulated. (Some of Marx's insights were seen in a rudimentary form by the "Ricardian socialist" school [1] [2].) He developed this theory of exploitation in Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, a "dialectical" investigation into the forms value relations take.

Capital is written over three volumes, of which only the first was complete at the time of Marx's death. The first volume, and especially the first chapter of that volume, contains the core of the analysis. Hegel's legacy is especially overpowering here, and the work is seldom read with the thoroughness Marx urges in his introduction. The method of presentation proceeds from the most abstract concepts, incorporating one new layer of determination at a time and tracing the effects of each such layer, in an effort to arrive eventually at a total account of the concrete relationships of everyday capitalist society. This investigation is commonly taken to commit Marx to a species of labor theory of value.

Marx critiqued Smith and Ricardo for not realizing that their economic concepts reflected specifically capitalist institutions, not innate natural properties of human society, and could not be applied unchanged to all societies. Marx's theory of business cycles; of economic growth and development, especially in two sector models; and of the declining rate of profit, or crisis theory, are other important elements of Marxist economics.

The liberal challenge

The Austrian School were the first liberal economists to systematically challenge the Marxist school. This was partly a reaction to the Methodenstreit when they attacked the Hegelian doctrines of the Historical School, though many Marxist authors have argued that the Austrian school was a bourgeois reaction to Marx. The Austrian economists were, however, the first to clash directly with Marxism, since both dealt with such subjects as money, capital, business cycles, and economic processes. Eugen von Boehm-Bawerk wrote extensive critiques of Marx in the 1880s and 1890s, and several prominent Marxists—including Rudolf Hilferding—attended his seminar in 1905-06.

Class analysis

Marxists believe that capitalist society is divided into two powerful social classes:

the working class or proletariat: Marx defined this class as "those individuals who sell their labor and do not own the means of production" whom he believed were responsible for creating the wealth of a society (buildings, bridges and furniture, for example, are physically built by members of this class).

the bourgeoisie : those who "own the means of production" and exploit the proletariat. The bourgeoisie may be further subdivided into the very wealthy bourgeoisie and thepetty bourgeoisie: those who employ labor, but may also work themselves. These may be small proprietors, land-holding peasants, or trade workers. Marx predicted that the petty bourgeoisie would eventually be destroyed by the constant reinvention of the means of production and the result of this would be the force movement of the vast majority of the petty bourgeoisie to the proletariat. An example of this would be many small business giving way to fewer larger ones.

At first the bourgeoisie, and now the proletariat, are considered to be the universal class, the section of society best equipped to take human progress forwards a further step.

Marx developed these ideas to support his advocacy of socialism and communism: "The philosophers have only interpreted the world differently; the point is, to change it." Communism would be a social form wherein this system would have been ended and the working classes would be the sole beneficiary of the "fruits of their labour".

Some of these ideas were shared by anarchists, though they differed in their beliefs on how to bring about an end to the class society. Socialist thinkers suggested that the working class should take over the existing capitalist state, turning it into a workers revolutionary state, which would put in place the democratic structures necessary, and then "wither away". On the anarchist side people such as Mikhail Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin argued that the stateper se was the problem, and that destroying it should be the aim of any revolutionary activity.

Many governments, political parties, social movements, and academic theorists have claimed to be founded on Marxist principles. Social democratic movements in 20th century Europe, the Soviet Union and other Eastern bloc countries, Mao and other revolutionaries in agrarian developing countries are particularly important examples. These struggles have added new ideas to Marx and otherwise transmuted Marxism so much that it is difficult to specify its core.

It is common to speak of Marxian rather than Marxist theory when referring to political study that draws from the work of Marx for the analysis and understanding of existing (usually capitalist) economies, but rejects the more speculative predictions that Marx and many of his followers made about post-capitalist societies.

Marxist revolutions and governments

Marx's views on the structure of communist society

Other than control by the working class, Marx laid out no plans for the structuring of a communist society or of the society which the working class would build on the way to communism. He assumed the working class could do that for themselves and that it would be a productive society able to meet the needs of the people and much more. Marx was followed in his optimistic approach by the political parties who adopted his theories and detailed plans for the structuring of socialist or communist society were not put forth or developed. With the success of the October Revolution in Russia a Marxist party took power, but without any blueprints for building the new society.

The October Revolution

The 1917 October Revolution, led by Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky, was the first large scale attempt to put Marxist ideas about a workers' state into practice. The new government faced counter-revolution, civil war and foreign intervention. Socialist revolution in Germanyand other western countries failed and the Soviet Union was on its own. An intense period of debate and stopgap solutions ensued, war communism and the New Economic Policy (NEP). Lenin died and Joseph Stalin gradually assumed control, eliminating rivals for power. He instituted a ruthless program of industrialisation which, while successful, was prosecuted at great cost in human suffering.

Modern followers of Trotsky maintain that as predicted by Lenin, Trotsky, and others already in the 1920s, Stalin's "socialism in one country" was unable to maintain itself, and according to some Marxist critics, the USSR ceased to show the characteristics of a socialist state long before its formal dissolution.

Following World War II, Marxist ideology, often with Soviet military backing, spawned a rise in revolutionary communist parties all over the world. Some of these parties were eventually able to gain power, and establish their own version of a Marxist state. Such nations included the People's Republic of China, Vietnam, Romania, East Germany, Albania, Poland,Cambodia, Ethiopia, South Yemen, Yugoslavia, and others. In some cases, these nations did not get along. The most notable examples ware rifts that occurred between the Soviet Union and China, as well as Soviet Union and Yugoslavia (in 1948), whose leaders disagreed on certain elements of Marxism and how it should be implemented into society.

Many of these self-proclaimed Marxist nations (often styled People's Republics) eventually became authoritarian states, with stagnating economies. This caused some debate about whether or not these nations were in fact led by "true Marxists". Critics of Marxism speculated that perhaps Marxist ideology itself was to blame for the nations' various problems. Followers of the currents within Marxism which opposed Stalin, principally cohered around Leon Trotsky, tended to locate the failure at the level of the failure of world revolution: for communism to have succeeded, they argue, it needed to encompass all the international trading relationships that capitalism had previously developed.

See also: Communist government and Communist state.

In 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed and the new Russian state ceased to identify itself with Marxism. Other nations around the world followed suit. Since then, radical Marxism or Communism has generally ceased to be a prominent political force in global politics, and has largely been replaced by more moderate versions of democratic socialism—or by capitalism, sometimes becoming more democratic but often retaining an authoritarian government.

-- chien si (Chiensidietcong@yahoo.de), January 30, 2005.

External links

History of Economic Thought: Marxian School

Modern Variants of Marxian political economy

Marxist.com In Defence of Marxism

Marxists Internet Archive

Marxism Page

Marxist.net Marxist Resources from the Committee for a Workers International

Marxism FAQ

Max Stirner, a durable dissident, How Marx and Nietzsche suppressed their colleague Max Stirner and why he has intellectually survived them.

-- chien si (Chiensidietcong@yahoo.de), January 30, 2005.

Democide in Vietnam 1.7 million people killed

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The Vietnamese communists had a simple plan for establishing themselves in power: kill anyone who opposed them. They implemented this plan in 1945 and have continued using it to this day.

Apart from the normal, workaday murder of fellow communists, the Viet Minh slaughtered non-communist politicians and sympathizers by the thousands, including in this class- and therefore murdering as well- the friends, family members, and children of their political enemies.

This killing continued with the establishment of communist North Vietnam in 1954, while the new power of state allowed for additional forms of murder as well.

The class of landlords was targeted. When it was discovered that this class did not exist in any meaningful sense, the communists redefined "landlord" to mean anyone with an above average income (say, an extra cow), or anyone who once upon a time had an above average income, or anyone whose ancestors had had an above average income. The lower class peasants were instructed to choose which of their fellow villagers fell into this category, and kill them. The central government laid down a death quota- 5 percent of the population of each village were to be killed. From 1953-1956, an estimated 150,000 people were killed in this manner. Peasant rebellions that followed these extermination campaigns were suppressed, at the cost of an additional 10,000 lives.

In 1957, the communists began to supplement the domestic death toll with an active campaign of murder in the South. This campaign was highly selective, being directed against those individuals who were capable of mobilizing opposition to the communists. This could include, not just the outspoken anti-communists, but anyone who exhibited skill or competence, whether a government official or a civilian. In the countryside, village leaders were murdered, disrupting the traditional social structure. Communist guerillas listened in on the classrooms, and when they found teachers who were not sufficiently sympathetic, killed them too.

In this way, from 1957 into the early 1960s, the communists denuded South Vietnam of those individuals who could provide effective leadership, who could forge resistance among the people, or who could inoculate the children against communist lies and propaganda. The number of people killed in this campaign has been estimated at around six to seven thousand. This is a comparatively small number, but it was precisely those few thousand who could cause the communists the most trouble. To the communist, egalitarianism does not mean everyone is equal. It means those who are superior can be rounded up and shot. The murder campaign put this theory into practice.

In America, President Kennedy was very clear about America's role in Vietnam - assist the South Vietnamese in their war, without fighting it for them. In 1964 President Johnson reversed this policy. Americans have been very creative in explaining this change, but the most compelling reason may have been the success of the North Vietnamese murder campaign. The South Vietnamese could not fight their own war- they no longer had the able officials and competent leaders to do so, this apart from the fact that their top level government was totally unstable. The South was heading towards collapse. Without direct American intervention, Vietnam would fall, and the communists, enthused by the success of their murder campaign, could very well have repeated it elsewhere. But instead, the murder campaign led to a massive American invasion.

This did not mean the campaign came to an end. On the contrary, it continued with greater force than before. In the years of direct American involvement in the war, the South Vietnamese singled out and murdered because of their anti-communism, their association with anti-communists (as friends or family), or simply because of their competence and ability, numbered in the tens of thousands.

Alongside this assassination campaign was a more general terror campaign. An entire village might be massacred, breeding fear in other villages. Roads used by the civilian population would be mined. Buses would be ambushed with machine guns and mortar fire, residential neighborhhods were shelled, for no other purpose than to kill innocent civilians. Refugee camps were attacked as a matter of policy.

All told, through assassination, terrorism, and massacre of civilians and prisoners of war, the communists killed an estimated 164,000 non-combatants in South Vietnam.

The killing did not end with the the surrender of the South in 1975. War and rebellion continued in Vietnam, costing an estimated 160,000 lives. Vietnam was invaded by both Cambodia and China, costing tens of thousands of lives. In turn, Vietnam invaded Cambodia and Laos. The total killed in battle is estimated at 149,000. A staggering 3 million people may have been killed in foreign democide.

Vietnamese concentration camps, called "re-education camps," left perhaps 95,000 people dead. Deportations to "new economic zones" left some 48,000 people dead. The number of people simply rounded up and shot for whatever reason has been estimated at 100,000, with much higher estimates coming from various sources.

Perhaps the best way to gauge the true nature of the murderous peace in Vietnam is the vast number of people who, having tolerated decades of war, risked their lives to flee the unmitigated brutality of communist rule. The "boat people," refugees who attempted to escape by sea, numbered in the millions. An estimated 500,000 of these people drowned trying to escape.

-- (tosu_cs@yahoo.com), February 01, 2005.

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