I was in China when the Occupy Wall Street Protests were going on and although I wasn’t involved I was sympathetic to the causes of the protestors. Who wouldn’t be? After all they were advocates against economic inequality, greed and corruption.
Let me present two definitions for you and I invite you to read them over in your head a few times and tell me what you think.
1. Communism is the doctrine of the conditions for the emancipation of the proletariat.
2. The proletariat is that class of society which procures its means of livelihood entirely and solely from the sale of its labor.
Ok, let’s explore a little further. Communist doctrine discusses:
– getting rid of class division
– no private ownership of property
– revolution against the bourgeoisie(capitalists;owners of the means of productions;providers of wages to laborers)
Now, to get back to the Occupy Wall Street Movement, and correct me if I’m wrong but with the exception of ‘no private ownership of property’, doesn’t it seem as if the protestors were indirectly advocating communist principles?
A week ago I read the Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. A great read, I will admit, but a lot of unanswered questions.
History provides a lot of lessons that make us wary about adopting communist principles due to the disastrous effects of them in practice by Lenin, Stalin, Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il and Mao Ze Dong, who all used Marx’s and Engels’ ideas as a platform to take and abuse power.
But does that make Communist theory evil?
Growing up in the West we were ‘taught’ that Capitalism was good and Communism was bad. If I take the base definition of Catholicism to mean something good but due to the purportedly negative acts of numerous Catholic leaders, such as covering up sexual child abuse, then I can be lead to believe that Catholicism in practice may be evil. What Western leaders have done is make us believe that Communism in theory is evil due to the practices of historical Communist leaders.
Here are some notes by an English editor of the Communist Manifesto, David Boyle:
“We might take with a grain of salt the Manifesto’s claim that the working class is the instrument that will liberate humanity from its power but we still have to take seriously the other claim: that the power of capital has alienated human beings from each other and from themselves.”
“The bourgeoisie, according to the Manifesto, “has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible (not able to be overturned) chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable (not right or reasonable) freedom – Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct brutal exploitation. ”
“…150 years later we are all very suspicious of their vague revolutionary solution, with its fatal hint of violence.”
And some of my notes after reading the Manifesto:
“It seems as if leading up to the Cold War and even today the United States was/is willing to do almost anything to make sure that Communism did/does not spread. Since the theory of communism lies in the working class removing the capitalists from power, the elimination of private ownership and the formation of a class-less society; it would be in the United States’ best interest to make sure that Communism was eliminated, as a way of controlling capital interests in non-communist countries and to ensure that the American ruling-class (made up of and controlled by capitalists) did not lose their means of production and power.”
“The goal wasn’t to destroy or prevent the spread of communism for the greater good of the U.S or society as a whole but rather to protect the interests of the ruling-class capitalists.”
“The messages of religious and political freedom, human rights and freedom of speech were all political strategies used to increase public support in the fight against communism, but the truth behind the movement had very little to do with morality.”
Lastly, I invite you to read this excerpt from Wikipedia about Salvador Allende, ex-Chilean President 1970-73.
“The possibility of Allende winning Chile’s 1970 election was deemed a disaster by a US administration which wanted to protect US business interests and prevent any spread of Communism during the Cold War. In September 1970, President Nixon informed the CIA that an Allende government in Chile would not be acceptable and authorized $10 million to stop Allende from coming to power or unseat him. Henry Kissinger’s 40 Committee and the CIA planned to impede Allende’s investiture as President of Chile with covert efforts known as “Track I” and “Track II”; Track I sought to prevent Allende from assuming power via so-called “parliamentary trickery”, while under the Track II initiative, the CIA tried to convince key Chilean military officers to carry out a coup.
During Nixon’s presidency, U.S. officials attempted to prevent Allende’s election by financing political parties aligned with opposition candidate Jorge Alessandri and supporting strikes in the mining and transportation sectors.
After the 1970 election, the Track I operation attempted to incite Chile’s outgoing president, Eduardo Frei Montalva, to persuade his party (PDC) to vote in Congress for Alessandri. Under the plan, Alessandri would resign his office immediately after assuming it and call new elections. Eduardo Frei would then be constitutionally able to run again (since the Chilean Constitution did not allow a president to hold two consecutive terms, but allowed multiple non-consecutive ones), and presumably easily defeat Allende. The Chilean Congress instead chose Allende as President, on the condition that he would sign a “Statute of Constitutional Guarantees” affirming that he would respect and obey the Chilean Constitution, and that his reforms would not undermine any of its elements.
Track II was aborted, as parallel initiatives already underway within the Chilean military rendered it moot.
During the second term of office of Democratic President Bill Clinton, the CIA acknowledged having played a role in Chilean politics prior to the coup, but its degree of involvement is debated. The CIA was notified by its Chilean contacts of the impending coup two days in advance, but contends it “played no direct role in” the coup.
Much of the internal opposition to Allende’s policies came from business sector, and recently-released U.S. government documents confirm that the U.S. indirectly funded the truck drivers’ strike, which exacerbated the already chaotic economic situation prior to the coup.
The most prominent U.S. corporations in Chile prior to Allende’s presidency were the Anaconda and Kennecott copper companies, and ITT Corporation, International Telephone and Telegraph. Both the copper corporations aimed to expand privatized copper production in the city of El Teniente in the Chilean Andes, the world’s largest underground copper mine. At the end of 1968, according to US Department of Commerce data, U.S. corporate holdings in Chile amounted to $964 million. Anaconda and Kennecott accounted for 28% of U.S. holdings, but ITT had by far the largest holding of any single corporation, with an investment of $200 million in Chile. In 1970, before Allende was elected, ITT owned 70% of Chitelco, the Chilean Telephone Company and funded El Mercurio, a Chilean right-wing newspaper. Documents released in 2000 by the CIA confirmed that before the elections of 1970, ITT gave $700,000 to Allende’s conservative opponent, Jorge Alessandri, with help from the CIA on how to channel the money safely. ITT president Harold Geneen also offered $1 million to the CIA to help defeat Allende in the elections.
After General Pinochet assumed power, United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told President Richard Nixon that the U.S. “didn’t do it,” but “we helped them…created the conditions as great as possible.” (referring to the coup itself). Recent documents declassified under the Clinton administration‘s Chile Declassification Project show that the United States government and the CIA sought the overthrow of Allende in 1970 immediately before he took office (“Project FUBELT“). Many documents regarding the 1973 coup remain classified.”
Communist you say? Hmmmm, maybe.