Every single time it has been implemented it has been a success; drastically improving the conditions of the vast majority of the lives of the people in those countries, establishing the world’s most proven successful education system, offering the only avenue for nations to escape imperialism, overthrow occupation, and develop up and out of poverty from under conditions of exploitation, eliminating unemployment, progressing science and culture more than ever before in their nation’s timeline of existence, and providing the most value-efficient and successful healthcare systems the world has ever seen. Continuing to this day, Marxist-Leninist governments remain, in nearly every case, the absolute best government in their respective nation’s entire histories — especially for the poor and minorities — and are deeply missed by the majority of people that lived under communism (and no longer do), who also overwhelmingly regret it’s end. Communists saved the world from Hitler and fascism, took humans to space; they united and advanced China from a backwards, subservient nation to the position of the next world superpower. Communism made Cuba an international leader in medicine, who recently saved the much richer Italy during COVID-19, developed the DPRK into a cutting edge nuclear power, and liberated more of the planet from the most powerful empires in the world — more often and more successfully — than any other ideology or system, ever before and ever since. Capitalism has violently forced its way into nearly every facet of every corner of the world, and socialist states are the only projects that have ever threatened to resist, repel, and overturn that domination, and it is only Marxist-Leninist projects that have ever neared the completion of that objective, thus far, in history. Communism works, and it works so effectively, all the time, so much so that the only way to get it to stop working is to have the most powerful empires in existence intervene in opposition to it, and even they can only boast mixed success. Communism has always worked, it will always work, and it continues to work right now, even as you continue to deny it.
Author’s Note: in this essay, the terms ‘socialism’ and ‘communism’ will be used (more or less) interchangeably, in this discussion of actually existing socialist states, who often labelled themselves ‘communist,’ and were actively engaged in attempting to establish socialism, and ultimately communism, in the world.
I. In defense of the actually existing socialist systems of the world…
The notion of communism’s ‘failure’ is largely one defined by western propaganda. It is a deliberate attempt to qualify the context of the rivalry between capitalism and socialism as a sort of evenly matched contest, in which the best competitor won — specifically leaning on the Cold War, and thus with that win, the larger argument. The general notion this American mythmaking attempts to put into your head is that Russia was on par with Britain or America as of one hundred years ago, went communist and then fell behind. That Russia and America entered a race together, and America crossed the finish line first and fastest, forever proving the success of capitalism and failure of communism, and that’s about as much investigation as most Westerners ever do into this topic, coupled with random talking points they pick up through osmosis from their fascist-sympathizing neighbors, friends, and colleagues.
But this is, of course, an inversion of events, and a mischaracterization of the contest. Russia was well behind the West, occupied and exploited by it, until it went communist, and then liberated itself, and rapidly caught up to near parity. The “evenly matched race” began with the West having an enormous multi-lap head start, in resources, military, population, economic development, technology, industry, gender equality, racial equality, social programming and development, and then were shocked to see the surging communists coming from behind, and even surpassing them in many of these categories. But even this contest analogy fails to accurately describe the conflict between socialism and capitalism. A more accurate contest-metaphor would be to compare communism versus capitalism to King-of-the-Hill, where a dominant faction control the hill from an entrenched and advantageous position, and the rival factions, emerging from the masses below, attempt to overturn the old order by toppling the reigning kings from their positions of power and advantage— and at this Marxism-Leninism has no equal.
And this is even where the whole etymology of first world, second world, third world comes from — this closing of the gap. Russia in the 1910s was not among the first world; it was not a nation like England or the United States or Germany. They were not an advanced, developed, industrialized economy, they were barely beyond feudalism (and not at all beyond it in many respects). They were, qualitatively, the third world — an impoverished and undeveloped resourcing nation to be extracted, plundered, and consumed by Western powers and domestic overseers. But then the communist revolution happened, and the conditions in Russia improved so much, so fast, that you could no longer call Russia the third world — they had to invent a new status and these new terms — the second world — for these socialist countries who had closed the gap so significantly. This is how the USSR was able to become the second fastest growing economy of the 20th Century. And when the Soviet Union finally fell, Russia too fell behind again, and much of the country (outside, perhaps, the wealthier parts of Moscow or St. Petersburg) went right back to being the third world, where many of the communities remain to this day.
II. Socialism is a Process
What do you want socialism to look like?
This is a common question, especially among emerging leftists and radicalized liberals still asking sincere, but also non-Marxist, liberal-mindset questions about communism. In still trying to distance themselves from (and, too often, ignore) actual existing attempts to establish material, real-world footholds for socialism on Earth, they try to envision a ‘city upon a hill’ of communism — a best of all worlds outcome, and then seek to establish that. They offer little material way or method to bring it about, and all of their effort into this project can be understood as, ultimately, wishful thinking, as it produces no (or disastrous) material results. Pure idealism! Marxist-Leninists take a reversed view of this. We can only look at the material — at the world as it actually exists, and draw our conclusions from how we see things working and operating and interacting there. And this has produced a great many successes, and successful results that we can draw upon, learn from, and use ideas from again to advance the larger global revolution forward.
Marxist-Leninists work from a different point of view. We have to understand and analyze the material conditions around us, to take in the accounting of the present state of things, and what immediate changes to the material we can manifest to create change upon the world. We don’t toy with high minded wishes about what a perfect revolution should look like, we have to concern ourselves with getting things to work and continuing necessary societal operations in the present. As discussed elsewhere, Marxists are specifically not utopians, and reject utopian notions of envisioning a perfect world and trying to build that. Marxist alterations to the world must be more direct, more immediate, and based on the material conditions, as they actually exist in front of them. Socialism is the project of establishing communism, transforming the present material conditions into a different mode of production; including the overthrow of the existing, dominating capitalist order (really the primary obstacle and principle antagonistic force in this). It is a process. It is not some special state or category that you enter into by ticking off checkboxes of desirable socialist features or wish-fulfillment that you had hoped to see from your idealized communist society.
And to understand socialism as a process is to understand it dialectically. There is not any one obvious or correct pathway to communism, and when we consider something to be socialist, we have to understand these considerations about the world, and their material realities, when analyzing and understanding the existing movements on the planet that have attempted to engage in this socialist transformation. What are they doing, what are they trying to do, and why? These are material questions, and need answers that treat the people engaging in these decisions as human beings.
Proletariat movements that are able to succeed at seizing control (or even partial control) of a nation-state through revolution or other means are not automatically in desirable positions where they have carte-blanche to create any society or do anything they wish. They are still, in many ways, tethered to the system that existed before them, and have to retain and maintain much of the functioning of those actually existing systems (which may have also been disrupted or damaged during the revolution). Socialism is not an on-off lights-witch that needs to merely be flicked into the correct position, nor is it even a dimmer that needs to be slowly ratcheted up, but rather it is the whole damn light, including replacing the filament, the manufacturing of the bulb, the putting of the wiring into the walls, and so on — all the production and material, as well as all the time and labour required to do it. You don’t get to simply focus on the end destination without a map and travel route from your current position that can physically, plausibly get you there, and all of the socialists states of the world are not understood at all if they are analyzed with the omission of this important dialectical context.
III. Socialism isn’t given the opportunity to be a Peaceful Process
And here’s the rub. Socialism has never been allowed to succeed (or fail) on its own merits, but only under the unending siege from hostile imperialists, who will stop at nothing to see any and every socialist movement (with any real momentum behind it) in the world crushed. Even going back to the Russian Civil War, in which the Bolsheviks had accomplished a seizure of power and elimination of the ruling monarchy with only modest bloodshed, every last capitalist empire on the planet responded by joining forces to crush the emerging socialist state. During the formation of the Soviet Union, the very possibility of workers seizing the means of production and overthrowing their oppressors as seen in Russia was a gravely pearl clutching moment for the other Western nations. So much so, that they all joined the Russian Civil War and attacked Lenin. Even though they had been at war and in conflict against one another only months earlier, Germany, England, the United States, Japan, Canada, China, France, and others, all dropped what they were doing and found common cause to unite together in a fresh war against the fledgling Soviet Union, because a proletariat state even existing, is a very real challenge to their claims on power. They all joined in on the global attack on the workers to prevent the Russian masses from liberating themselves — all long before any accusations of Soviet repression or tyranny could be made manifest. The even more remarkable part is that Lenin proceeds to kick all of their asses anyway, winning the “civil” war decisively. The end of the civil war did not stop the incursions or threat from the West.
We see this before and later, with every single attempt to establish socialism. There exist zero examples in which there was a socialist movement with no external capitalist opposition and interference organizing and acting against them. Whether it be through direct invasions, assassinations, military coups, blockades, embargoes, sabotage, extortion, contras, election-rigging, terrorism, kidnappings, subversion, and whatever other means are available to attempt to ruin, damage, discredit, or destroy any and every effort to establish socialism anywhere on the planet. So socialists are forced to not only build socialism, but simultaneously fend off the most powerful empires in the world, endlessly, while trying to build socialism. If you neglect the armed and active resisting of the empires, you end up quickly and easily deposed by their external interventions, or worse. This creates a rather nasty contradiction, where the only successful socialist projects capable of holding actual material and territory, and maintaining their existence for more than a few months, are (forced to be) highly militarized and built to withstand attacks — both material and ideological. Socialism has never been given the opportunity to be left to be at peace. It will never have the opportunity to prove itself unmolested. For socialism is to succeed, it must succeed under fire.
Peaceful, fully (bourgeois-) democratic attempts to establish socialism (or even moderate progressive projects designed to alleviate poverty or reduce dependency without even challenging capitalism) are met with the same imperialist reaction that seeks to quash and snuff out the very beginnings of the movement through whichever aforementioned means is most readily available and likely to succeed and crushing the blossoming socialists. The only leftist projects that are able to prevent this forced reactionary rollback are those that organize, mobilize, and actively defend themselves from the empires. It’s deeply ironic that historical socialist states are often condemned for their militarization, organization, and mobilization; because those lacking such militarization are the ones whose existences are most easily overturned, suppressed, and forgotten.
IV. Socialism Works
Perhaps the greatest deception ever sold is the brief, but often terminal, phrase “Communism does not work.” Western media has endlessly filled its citizens heads with propaganda and messaging, a historical narrative that communism is evil and has never worked and can only do bad (after all, the owners of said media have a rather significant investment in maintaining the capitalist status quo), and as such, will go to great lengths to suppress, downplay, or outright ignore the many achievements of communism — many of which are among the greatest achievements in all of human history. But when a sincere and authentic investigation is conducted, it becomes clear that communism has an unimaginably stronger track record that it has ever, and will ever be given credit for from bourgeois media. The problem is not that socialism fails; the problem for capitalism is that socialism succeeds. So strong are these successes that it threatens capitalism, and the capitalists are obliged to use their mouthpieces and resources to suppress, repress, and demonize communists and communism.
But for hundreds of millions of people, especially those that have actually lived under it — socialism has worked — remarkably. For hundreds of millions of actually existing humans, the actually existing socialist states have taken people whose material conditions were inadequate (lacking food, lacking shelter, lacking clean water, lacking (real) freedom, lacking medicine, lacking political power, lacking any sort of life with dignity) and elevated them to a place in which their conditions were adequate (where they had those things). That’s an enormous achievement — among the most significant in human history — and it is endlessly downplayed or ignored, especially in the west, because our conditions have been abundant for as long as we’ve known (which is largely a result of plundering the third world to the bone), so to wealthy westerners, adequate seems like quite a step down — but for billions of people on the planet, adequate would be an enormous improvement. These are the meaningful changes in condition that actually happen under actually existing socialism. These are real, demonstrable, repeatable, provable, actually existing improvements in condition that have altered and bettered the destination of humanity for their having had existed; something nearly all other leftists and tendencies have virtually no claim upon.
If we were to compare Russia in 1910 to any of the capitalist cores at the same time, you would see a stark contrast. If you were to do a “Global Power Rankings,” 1910 Russia would not even make the Top 5; they has just lost a disastrous war to Japan, had been a frequent conquest of neighboring powers, and were a brutally backward and repressive nightmare. Compare the 1910 Russian economy to 1910 Britain or the 1910 United States — it wasn’t industrialized, very little rail, ~20% literacy, an economy totally dependent on agriculture, deeply indebted to England, terrible wealth inequality, with massive institutions from feudalism still in place. While many American blue collar workers were attending baseball games and buying cars, the typical Russian was an illiterate, impoverished, exploited farmer and serf, living in a shed. You could easily say they were 75–80 years behind Britain or America, if not further. Then compare that to 1960's Russia. Unambiguously 2nd in any global power ranking, fully literate, fully industrialized, rail connecting most of the country, putting humans in space, one of the world leaders in science, full education, healthcare for all its citizens, elimination of homelessness, and some of the most impressive economic output in human history. The typical Russian lifestyle now looked quite a lot like the typical American’s. Compared to 1960’s Britain or England, they were now only a couple decades behind. Even compare 1990 Russia — they were inventing cell phones and Tetris, boasted the highest literacy rates in the world, and impressive GDP per capita that Russia wouldn’t see again until the 2010s — they were only a decade or so behind America or Britain. They had almost completely caught up.
Under Marxist-Leninist regimes, unique phenomena that never seem to happen in other, similarly poor and exploited countries begin to happen. Countries that have never been able to industrialize before — guess what happens under socialism? They industrialize. Countries that have never been able free themselves of foreign influence and occupation — guess what happens under socialism? They free themselves from foreign influence, invasion, and occupation. Countries who have seen little to no improvement to the lives of their poorest citizens? Guess what? Their living conditions skyrocket. These all might seem like small, unimportant, curious things to the rich English-speaking readers in the few countries that are already long since industrialized and developed, and who, themselves, do the influencing and invading and occupying, but for the vast majority of countries and vast majority of people in this world, these changes are radical improvements to their existence and their lives. To the people who lack in these basic things, communism has an incredible record at delivering real results — even in very small, isolated, poor countries like Cuba — while capitalism’s record in most of the planet’s poorest countries has been abysmal, those few who have dared to defy and overthrow their capitalist overlords have, ultimately, been better off for having done so. Of the modest sampling of countries that have flirted with Marxist-Leninist socialism in existence, almost no system or government in those nations histories has performed better than the communists. In taking a list of every government and system in those nations’ histories, you will rarely if ever point to a better, more progressive, more human-focused government than the Marxist-Leninists, when they were in power. Indeed, is seems for almost all of the past and present ‘red states’ of the world, Marxism-Leninism was the peak of their political development. Everything that has come since has been worse.
V. Communism offers the world’s best Educational System
There is a particularly shallow argument from capitalists, blaming the poor for their own poverty by criticizing their economic literacy. But for a great many of the planet’s poor, economic literacy is impossible because literacy has not yet been achieved. The existing systems in many of the world’s poor, exploited capitalist controlled nations are inadequate to raise literacy rates to a higher level at a significant pace. So a great many humans living under capitalism are left unable to read and with no institutions to help. And literacy is a requisite for all higher education as well has higher measures of education — it’s the most fundamental metric for measuring education on a global scale. And the system that has proven, time and again, most successful at delivering the world’s highest literacy rates in the shortest amount of time is . . . (drumroll) . . . communism!
Literacy is an absolutely fundamental measurement for the progress and development of any society. There can be no internet learning, no library visit, and no economic literacy if there is no literacy. Having a high literacy score carries with it additional implications of course (it’s a rather potent and loaded statistic), as it also implies at least some level of gender equality (women get to learn to read as well), infrastructure development (in order to raise literacy, you are required to have schools and methods for bringing children to and from school), and progress (literacy can be thought to measure a societal capacity to learn new things, in the aggregate). But it is not the wealth of Western capitalism that produces the best results with regards to literacy. Indeed, communism remains the all time global high-scorer, with a legacy that has persisted even a generation since the fall of the USSR.
Communism has an unrivalled track record at delivering 90% or higher literacy rates within a full generation. It doesn’t matter whether you are a large nation like China or Russia, a wealthier nation like East Germany, or among the poorest in the world — communism delivers the good in education across the board. The largest climb in literacy in Burkina Faso’s history occurred under Marxist-Leninist Thomas Sankara’s (tragically) short-lived government. Even landlocked, isolated, rural nations like Mongolia, where over one third of the population was nomadic at the time, were able to breach the 90th percentile for literacy under their socialist administrations. This proven track record for providing humanity with this most useful of human tools is itself a tremendous achievement. And the system was free. There is no better system available — especially to the poorer and more exploited nations on the planet — for improving literacy and education of their nation more quickly and completely than socialism. But of course, literacy is only the tip of the iceberg. The Soviet education system produced many of the world’s greatest scientists, doctors, writers, engineers, and thinkers.
VI. Communists are behind much of the world’s best Material Science
A frequent, and woefully inaccurate, criticism of communism usually involves a direct reference to the iphone, and whether it could exist without capitalism. But, as with nearly all liberal criticisms of communism, it is in reality the complete opposite that is true — without communism there would be no iphone. It was Soviet Engineer Leonid Kupriyanovich who invented the cell phone, and Soviet Scientists behind the LED, personal computer, satellites, and more that have made iphones possible.
The notion that innovation and invention stagnate under socialism is demonstrably backwards. For nearly all of the past and present socialist states of the world, their socialist period was the stretch of those nations histories where they experienced the most rapid advancement and development in fields such as science and medicine. Nations like Vietnam and China, which had previously been underdeveloped agrarian societies, have advanced to become world leaders in technology only one and a half generations removed from their socialist liberation against occupying imperial powers and influences. Indeed, if communism is “holding China back” as their technology surpasses the United States, then one must wonder why all the non-communist nations haven’t slingshotted past China in recent years? The Soviets were, and remain, leaders in space travel, from Sputnik to Yuri Gagarin, continuing to the Soviet Soyuz spacecraft, which remains the primary method of off-world transit for humans to this day. And the enormous catalog of Soviet inventions and achievements speaks for itself:
Many of these remain among the most important and pertinent discoveries that define our modern technological existence, yet in the minds of a great many oblivious liberals, these are not perceived as communist contributions to humanity. Despite having a smaller population compared to either the United States or NATO-aligned Europe, the Soviet Union was able to go toe-to-toe with both in science, technology, and military advancements — catching up rapidly to near-parity despite starting from a technological deficit by comparison. And in many areas, the Soviets even surpassed the West, including eliminating sexism and bringing women into STEM fields, something the West still struggles with today (and the more reactionary elements try to demonize the USSR for this achievement). There was no “lack of innovation” in the Soviet Union, indeed, there was an all time abundance of it during the USSR; technological growth and progress never seen before and never again in those parts of the world.
VII. Communism produces the world’s best Social Science
Of course, Marxists do not draw arbitrary lines of separation between sciences and social sciences — they are one and the same, and here too, Marxist-Leninists can proudly boast one of the greatest track records in human history for standing against racism, sexism, poverty, unemployment, and homelessness. Contrary to the deceit filled narrative that Westerners have preferred to adopt, the Soviet Union had a lifetime track record of fighting against racism, promoting a significant degree of gender equality, and managed to do a better job than almost any other civilization in history at resolving poverty, unemployment, and homelessness.
The gains for women under communism are among the most significant gains for women ever on the planet. Nations in which women were previously considered to be second class citizens or in some cases, literal property, became communist and enshrined new, never before seen gender equality laws in the constitution. Women who were previously bartered, bought, and sold by capitalists and feudal lords could flee to the communists, where they would find protection and allies, offering the opportunity for liberation through the revolution. Many would go on to serve their nation’s communist parties — and while these transitions to full gender equality were often imperfect or incomplete, the material conditions for women permanently improve when the communists are in power.
Indeed, it’s rather telling that almost all of the Soviet ‘propaganda’ (can you really call it propaganda when it tells exact truths?) about the United States has held up incredibly well over the years, and time and again proven to be not only accurate, but precise, poignant, and specific to boot. There is a 1980’s CIA video about the USSR’s take on the American way of life, that has aged very poorly for the CIA and USA, but like a fine wine for the USSR and communists worldwide. There isn’t a single false statement from the Soviets contained within. The final scene of the video, showing a Soviet movie in which American policemen repress and beat the shit out of peaceful protestors, is like looking into a crystal ball and seeing 2020 with perfect clarity. It is not a profound coincidence, or a cherry-picking of data — rather the expected result of a scientifically correct Marxist analysis of America. Hence the accuracy.
VIII. Communism offers the world’s best Healthcare System
One of the defining characteristics across most of the “developed world,” is that their citizens have access to healthcare. The USA is frequently framed as the strange exception to this, and the argument that all the other developed countries have it is often used in support of universal healthcare in America. Of course, the conceit of this line of reasoning is that the rest of the world, where the vast majority of humanity live, do not have universal access to adequate healthcare (nor are they expected to among the wealthy citizens of the “developed world” — healthcare systems are complicated and expensive). However for the nations that become socialist, this often changes dramatically.
Among the most successful healthcare systems ever created was that belonging, once again, to the Soviet Union, which had the most doctors per capita in the world. More than double the United States, and significantly more than any capitalist country — even the very wealthy ones. After the October revolution, the life expectancy skyrocketed for citizens of the USSR. A newborn child in 1926–27 had a life expectancy of 44.4 years, up from 32.3 years, only thirty years before. In 1958–59 the life expectancy for newborns went up to 68.6 years. This improvement was seen in itself by some as immediate proof that the socialist system was superior to the capitalist system. Why aren’t all of the non-communist nations of the world seeing their life expectancy double in the same way the Soviets did? It’s also worth remembering the massive role played by the Soviet Union in helping to eradicate Smallpox.
Of course, the USSR is not alone in this category of medical achievement from socialism. Cuba is among the world leaders in medical science — having made one of the most significant medical breakthroughs of the century. A tiny resource depleted island, under one of the largest and longest economic embargoes in all of history, somehow achieves higher life expectancy and lower infant mortality than the United States. That’s rather odd for such a failure of a system, no? If socialism is such a failure, it’s worth wondering why the vast majority of the world’s capitalist systems cannot achieve this level of healthcare for its citizens. Indeed, the United States is hard pressed to keep up with that small, poor, resource depleted, surrounded and embargoed Caribbean Island that has thwarted so much of America’s global cruelty.
It is, perhaps, in the most recent global crisis of COVID-19, that communism is again having its finest hours in the field of medicine. Initially, Coronavirus was sold to Westerners as bringing crisis and catastrophe upon China and the East, while Western capitalist nations assured themselves that COVID would be no match for their freedom and preparedness. Instead, the opposite would come to pass. While the most right wing capitalist (turning fascist) nations — Brazil, India, and the United States — had the worst and most incompetent handling of the disease, including the world’s worst and most disastrous outbreaks; it was the socialist states of the world fought COVID-19 more fully and successfully than every and any other nation on the planet. Communism fucking works, again.
When China suffered a rapid outbreak, President Xi oversaw the construction of not one but two full-sized (1200+ bed) modern hospitals — making them magically appear in a fortnight to contain the virus and provide healthcare for Chinese citizens in need. This is possibly the greatest engineering feat of the century so far, but goes largely undiscussed. Westerners love to point to New Zealand or South Korea for their COVID-19 response, but are forced to deliberately omit or ignore the success of Vietnam in containing the virus and preventing deaths, as it outshines them all. Indeed, most COVID-afflicted cruise ships have suffered similar levels of casualties as the entire nation of Vietnam, a hundred million strong. But perhaps the most heroic of the communist victories against COVID-19 comes from Italy, a wealthy capitalist demi-core, whose healthcare system neared total collapse during the worst of the pandemic. When Italy cried for aid, it was not the United States, nor the European Union who came to the rescue. No, it was the tiny island nation of Cuba, once again punching well above its weight, who deployed the doctor brigades to Italy and pulled the country back from the brink. These are the most amazing success stories in an incredibly bleak year and no capitalist outlet can reasonably discuss any of them, because all of the victories against COVID-19 belong to communism.
IX. Communism is the world’s best poverty reducer
The idea that capitalism is required to sell, both domestically and abroad, is that communism is a stunting of national growth. The idea that, those foolish, reckless, careless nations that dare to dip into the communism jar end up stuck in economic molasses, as the capitalist nations lap them by around the course — it’s an idea that does not map well upon reality. It was none other than the Soviet Union that proved to be the second fastest growing economy of the twentieth century, trailing only Japan. There is a reason a great many of the schools, libraries, hospitals, civic buildings, and infrastructure, in the former Soviet states all were built during the Soviet period, and why so few new developments in these categories have come since the fall of the USSR.
Indeed, two of the most rapid and complete periods in which poverty was ended for hundreds of millions of people in the world over the past one hundred years occur in the Soviet Union under Stalin and in China under Mao — among their greatest achievements for which Westerners will eternally deny them due praise. And to put both of them to shame, Xi Jinping is currently ending poverty at an unprecedented scale — poverty reduction in China right now is the most dramatic reduction of poverty for humanity in all of history. In fact, if China is removed from the equation, poverty is actually worsening for humanity — but China’s growth is so large as to offset the whole of the world’s deficit and then some. Hundreds of millions of people without homes, without clean water, without jobs, without education, without healthcare or medicine — they now have these things, and they have them because Marxist-Leninists govern China. Despite the guffawing of increasingly uncomfortable liberals about how “it’s really because of capitalism” that this is happening, one needs to ask why all the capitalist prosperity is currently concentrated in the communist countries of the world.
Indeed, as the fragility of the ‘hyper-efficient’ (but actually not at all efficient, just stripped down to maximize profits) Western capitalist system, brought low by COVID-19, is now clearly on display for all to see, so too is the depth and resiliency of the socialist systems on the world on display. While Western countries enter recession and depression, China, Vietnam, Laos, and North Korea are enjoying periods of triumphant economic growth. Indeed, Vietnam’s economy, once war-torn and stagnant, is developing rapidly. Cuba has clearly emerged as the crown jewel of the Caribbean islands (certainly the best one to be born into, especially if born into poverty, as most humans are), and other emerging socialist projects, as well as those that managed to slip by the neoliberal takeover of the world unnoticed are discovering their second wind, as a gassed global capitalist system struggles for air. The best days of prosperity for the capitalist world order may be long behind them, but the brightest days for socialism are only beginning to dawn.
X. Socialism actually means more food
“Communism means no food.” This is not a statement made with analysis or investigation or information or understanding. This is a statement made to block debate, to end discussion. To stop any further challenge from communist ideas, and to dismiss the notion without so much as a second thought, or a drop of insight. Because when investigation is applied, the statement not only shatters, it is, like most capitalist criticism, exactly backwards, and demonstrably so. The attempt, by the liberals, is to associate communism with famine, so as to make the former idea as unappealing as the latter. Of course, the vast majority of famines occur under capitalist systems, but the liberals have no interest in actual analysis — to them, famine only counts when it happens under communism (suggesting they care not at all for the victims of the famine, merely how they can use the event as a political cudgel).
The false accusation that the 1930’s Ukrainian famine was an act of genocide is its own entire topic for another essay, though the books Blood Lies by Grover Furr, or Fraud, Famine and Fascism by Doug Tottle are good starting points. Moreover, this was essentially the last famine that the Soviet Union would see (there was some food insecurity resulting from the Second World War as well). Indeed, it is communists that end famines, for when the communists come to power, nations that had previously experienced famines with frequency and consistency see that cycle ended forever. Quite famously, at this point, at least among communists, it’s now well know that the USSR actually had more calorie consumption per person than the US (according to the CIA, no less). The calories consumed actually surpassed the US. Turns out that socialism actually does mean more food. There were still food insecurity issues under Khrushchev, but there were no more famines after the USSR had industrialized. That’s a rather important point that is rarely brought into the discourse. We see a similar story with Mao’s China.
Mao Zedong came to power in 1949. Between 1900–1948, China averaged about 800,000 people dying of famine per year. This was before Mao came to power. For some reason, capitalist critics expect Mao to literally be able to perform magic and transform a famine-ridden country into one with food security over night. That’s not how the real word works. Yes there was a famine but it occurred in 1958, only a decade after the revolution, and lasted for about three years. It was still very early on in the transformation of the country before it had fully established food security.
There are three things that should be noted.
First, this was the last famine in China’s history. Mao should not be viewed as the person who caused famine, but the person who abolished famine by industrializing the country. Second, one shouldn’t ignore the overall trend going on at the time. Even though by 1958 the country had not developed enough to move beyond famine, it was developing at an incredibly rapid pace. In fact, under Mao, life expectancy of the population nearly doubled. This does take into account the people who died in the famine, but the fact is, the country was developing so fast that it did not offset this trend. Thirdly, what percentage of human error over natural disasters contributed to this does not change the fact that there is no evidence of intentionality. Mao didn’t murder anyone. Mistakes are mistakes, and hindsight is 20/20. People who call Mao a “murderer” or a “butcher”, it seems to have the implication he intentionally killed millions, when in reality he was trying to develop the country as fast as possible so that people would not have to live in abject poverty any longer.
This is not to deny that failures in government policy may have worsened the famine, no doubt this is true. But it is impossible to know how much different it could’ve been with different policies. The numbers themselves are always exaggerated to get the death toll as high as possible, and then all the blame is put on Mao personally without any consideration for the large number of natural disasters going on at the time, and the country’s long history of famines, as well as the limited knowledge Mao himself had.
When capitalists point out the famine, the underlying implication is that capitalism would’ve somehow solved famine, which is incredibly dubious. People still struggle with hunger in developed capitalist countries. In 1950, China had a GDP per capita about 7% of Haiti’s today. Haiti is like a utopia compared to what China was. Has capitalism solved hunger in Haiti? Of course not.
XI. Socialism is the only economic model to allow development up and out from under capitalism
There is a fundamental (sometimes deliberate) misunderstanding about how capitalism, and especially imperialism work. The idea that imperialism is a one-time smash-and-grab, an invasion and a raid for quick loot — is a severely backwards and incorrect way to understand the world. The objective is not a single sack of treasure, but the whole national treasure production system — whatever treasure that may be (oil, usually). The wealthy nations are extracting the labour and resources from the Global South. We, Marxists, are materialists, and we examine the world by examining what the matter is doing and where the matter is going and the matter is all being siphoned out of some continents and into others. It takes an incredibly naïve and confused mind to truly believe that this is the result of some general innovation exclusively on one side or some gross mismanagement exclusively on the other. Imperialism is not a raider with a sack of loot, but rather an octopus with many straws, which grasps control of political and economic systems, lodges it’s straw deep into the national economy, and siphons out the valuable resources and material, which can go on to become profit for their Western business interests.
The capitalist economies are massive, devouring resources from across the globe to feed and empower a small few in America, Europe, and select parts of Asia. Socialist economies have been much more localized and had far less reach than the United States, and their development spread much more evenly. America does not produce all of its wealth through good old American ingenuity and hard work, despite what the cheerleaders for team capitalism tell you. American economic strength comes from Imperialism. The banks hold the debts of almost every third world country on the planet — debts that are dubious in nature and will never be repaid. Because these nations “owe the US or EU money,” the United States extracts their resources (or more specifically has private companies fill that role, with support from the IMF/World Bank/et al.) in exchange for basically nothing (like an insignificant chunk of the debt interest). The people of the third world are then left to live in squalor, unable to find meaningful work unless they are in that resourcing sector (and even then its low wages and low skill opportunities), and unable to build or develop the economy because the entire nation has already been stripped of its economic reproductive capacity to pay off the US/EU. The combined accumulation of these taken goods are then processed (usually in China) and distributed in American markets as the abundance of capitalism, rather than advertising honestly as the plunders of imperialism.
If any of those developing countries ever think to themselves, “Hey, we shouldn’t have to pay these debts,” or “Hey, they owe money to us — for the slavery/coup/exploitation/invasion/occupation/etc. not the other way around!” they quickly find themselves out of power or even assassinated, and a new Pro-American/European dictator (generally) takes power. If you have been watching Bolivia, we recently saw this happen, (only in a pleasant surprise, we saw what actual democracy looks like, as the people asserted themselves, and their commitment to socialism, and have — for the moment — retaken their country). Most nations have little-to-no mechanism to actively free themselves from this capitalist hegemony yoked upon them, save one proven avenue — the avenue of socialism. And in this avenue, Marxism-Leninism is the most demonstrated-effective engine.
XII. How about that time when Joseph Stalin and the Communists literally saved the world
The allied victory in World War 2 was a direct result of Marxist-Leninist philosophy, as applied to the USSR during the 1920’s and 1930’s, and it is not a stretch to properly credit, yes, Joseph Stalin as well as Marx, Engels, and Lenin with having saved the world from fascism. Following the Russian Revolution, it was clear that the destruction of the Soviet Union was going to be the long term project of the West. Russia was surrounded on all sides by hostile neighbors who had attacked it before and were planning to attack it again. With the country still recovering from the Civil War, and Lenin now gone, the famous split between Stalin and Trotsky occurs. The fledgling Soviet Union realized that it was surrounded by larger, hostile empires on all sides and needed a plan in order to survive the coming decades.
Trotsky’s plan to protect the USSR was “Permanent Revolution” — the idea that the surest way for socialist Russia to survive the coming onslaught was to spread and bolster all of the revolutions emerging in countries around the world (as the globe had been a hotbed of revolutions leading up to and following World War I). Trotsky felt that by focusing on spreading and exporting revolution around the world, coupled with “light industrialization” (Trotsky’s own words), the new allies that successfully revolt would keep a cycle of never-ending revolution going, thus ensuring the security of the Russian Revolution through more and more countries of the world going socialist through these never ending, ever increasing revolutions.
Stalin’s plan, on the other hand, was “Socialism in one-country,” which is often misused, deceitfully, to imply some type of ultra-nationalism that did not actually exist. “Socialism in one country” is sometimes more accurately translated as “Siege-socialism” or “Socialism-under-siege” in other languages. Stalin saw the revolutions in the other parts of the world being violently crushed by trained professional armies, with tanks and planes and other products of heavy and super-heavy industry, and concluded that no/few new allies would emerge, and the only way for a socialist Russia to survive would be a plan of intense heavy industrialization and to militarize in a way that would allow the nation to defend itself from the expanding imperialist militaries. The idea was that Russia would have to be self-sufficient because help was not on the way and the imperialists would soon be returning for another wave of hostilities. All of that industry would need to be used to defend the USSR, said Stalin, to create, supply, outfit, and mobilize the greatest land army in history.
When Hitler commenced Operation Barbarossa, with the explicit and stated intent of exterminating the Slavic peoples, his notion for defeating the Soviet Union was that “You only have to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down.” Hitler had mustered 150–200 or so divisions to take the Soviet Union, amassed from the some 360 million people living in Nazi controlled Europe. From all of their top intelligence, knowledge of Russia (remember Weimar Germany had partnered closely with the Russian military up to 1933), looking at Russia’s performance in WW1 through the Winter War, they surmised that the Soviet Union and all of it’s 170 million people would be capable of fielding some 100 divisions, and perhaps later another 100 more that would be under-equipped.
Instead, Hitler’s invasion was met by no fewer than 400 (and by some accounts upwards of 800) fully armed, properly equipped, mobilized Soviet Divisions defending their homeland. Contrary to lies made up for Enemy at the Gates, the Soviets did not use human wave tactics, and did not send front line troops into battle with no gun. With absolutely vast industrial capacity (including engineering feats like re-building entire factories transported from trains in the Ural mountains) that are among the greatest, and yet least talked about, accomplishments in human history. The overwhelming Soviet force, backed by overwhelming Soviet industry, as laid out in deliberate material plans, specifically from both Lenin and Stalin, lead to the greatest land army ever assembled liberating Europe and crushing Nazi Germany, ending the fascist threat.
So, once again, because it will never be said often enough until capitalism is toppled, thank you to Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and to the millions and millions of communists who contributed to the defeat of Nazi Germany, and — yes — saved the world. The entire fucking planet owes the Soviets an eternal debt, but because of liberal brain conditioning, the Western world has trouble even conceding these most obvious truths about World War 2. They often even attempt to deride the Soviets for their leading role in this, the most important of all human victories. Liberals cannot even utter the words aloud, but ‘Stalin and the Communists saved the world and defeated Hitler’ is a historical, material fact that can never be undone or taken away from us. It was communism that defeated fascism, but credit has yet to be given where it is due, and the lessons of history are lost on liberals.
XIII. The Bad Guys won the Cold War, and they got to write down the history
Many of the ideas presented thus far in this essay want to present you, the reader, with a radically different outlook on the past hundred plus years — but one that maps more accurately onto reality and offers more explanatory power. More than the liberal narrative that you have been given. Perhaps most telling is the perspective of the Cold War. The Western narrative tells a (rather fictitious) story of an evil, insatiable Soviet Union that tried to force communism upon the world at gunpoint, and the heroic alliance of good — the forces of NATO — came together to hold back the Soviets and eventually outlasted them (of course, their system doesn’t work in this narrative) to the victory of the whole world and the end of history (or not).
Here’s a different perspective that you will never be allowed to get from “official” Western sources: the USSR was the revolution — the same one that began in 1917 — still in progress, still attempting to free itself and others from global capitalism. Following the heroic triumph over the Nazis, the damaged and bloodied USSR desperately sought a peace with the West — one that the West rejected — already eyeing up another imperialist war to destroy the world’s principle proletarian state.
In the immediate post war period, the Soviet Union proposed for Germany to be kept as a fully demilitarized state, and called immediate elections for all offices, the complete denazification of all public institutions and all the properties belonging to the German industrial families(and whom benefited greatly of the slave labor from the concentration camps) ought to be seized and democratized.
The US and Britain, being what they are, refused to this idea and began with the now very familiar Marshall Plan, rebuilding all the capitalist institutions, propping up the very industries(and families) responsible for the deaths of millions and keeping former Nazi party members in many key positions (by the 1960’s and 1970’s there were more (ex-?)Nazis in the German government than during the Reich), in an all-out-effort to rebuild capitalism in a war ravaged Europe and stop the spread of socialism.
So we start to see that NATO is an alliance formed to protect Nazis, has never failed to side with the Nazis, has helped to defend and rebuild fascist movements around the globe, and helped them to inject Nazi propaganda into the Western discourse as mainstream fact. NATO ranks are filled with Nazis and Nazi-sympathizers.
The media and government has portrayed anticommunist and anti-Soviet policies as understandable defensive responses to Soviet aggrandizement. According to the standard narrative, The Cold War started in 1947 when Russia proved itself to be an expansionist and menacing power. In response to that aggrandizement, the US alerted the public to the Soviet menace. We reacted to this threat with the NATO shield, armaments, interventions in various countries, and so on. The Truman Doctrine was established, which reoriented foreign policy to counter Soviet geopolitical expansion.
However, in the eighties, the American Historical Association published a set of documents that they got from the State department under the Freedom of Information Act. These documents reveal that the State department *never* believed that the Soviets had any intention, interest, or capability of invading Western Europe in the late 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s, or 80s. This is of course mind-blowing for those who were raised in that post-war era and heard constant reports about the Soviet menace in Europe. Just ask your parents. Their generation made to believe that what we needed, above all else, was a NATO shield.
“… the capitalists, although they clamour, for ‘propaganda’ purposes, about the aggressiveness of the Soviet Union, do not themselves believe that it is aggressive, because they are aware of the Soviet Union’s peaceful policy and know that it will not itself attack capitalist countries.” — Stalin, 1951
And in the end, the Soviets never ended up agitating to war. Movies were made about how the US fleeced the Soviets on trade deals. The Soviets constantly and consistently honoured their treaties are were most frequently the first to back down during international tensions and conflict. And when the Soviet Union ended, NATO did not end, or even so much as reduce military spending. No, despite promising exactly the opposite, NATO continuously expanded and creeped right up to the borders of Russia — the very thing is promised not to do at the end of the Cold War! At some point, Westerners need to see this Nazi-alliance for what it is, and start to wonder how much of their Cold War perspective has been infected.
XIV. Communism is more complicated than this
This is the inflection point of the essay, where I take a moment to concede — albeit only to the smallest degree — the point that many readers have likely made by now. This essay is presenting a very one-sided depiction of socialist states, with a great many of their shortcomings, mistakes, failures, and crimes (yes, a few) omitted or barely discussed. And that’s because communism is a more complicated topic than even a 10,000 word essay can explore, and there is a great deal more analysis and discussion that should go into any sincere investigation of the world’s Marxist-Leninist states. However, the narrative you are being given here is the one you cannot get from Western media, the perspectives that you have not heard, and where the world’s strong support for many of the socialist states of the world come from.
I mean, no one has to unambiguously glorify the socialist states of the past. This essay does just that to make a point — that there is an entirely missing perspective from existing discussion and analysis on these countries in Western discourse. While some parts will resonate more strongly than others with different readers, the fact is that all of these arguments map onto reality rather well, and offer considerable explanatory power — something the liberal explanations of the world are often bereft of. For the record, no socialist state was without their problems and criticisms. There were times when they were occasionally awful or repressive or misguided, but also states whose crimes have been frequently overblown and presented in a highly misleading fashion by their enemies that control the narrative. And in much the same way, the USSR successes have been ignored or even suppressed, despite being among the greatest accomplishments in human civilization.
To be literally unable to have a sincere and honest discussion about the USSR or socialism in our society, without dismissive anecdotes repeated from TV and media with absolutely no actual knowledge of events or history from that era — it’s frustrating to say the least. Even if you wish to take the communist projects of the past as a net bad (which I honestly think you cannot, but even if we were to), surely there must be some way to talk about avoiding the failings and extracting the successes. And these are not small potatoes we are talking about. Things like: universal literacy, full healthcare for all, full education, full employment, guaranteed housing, ending cycles of famine (har har, but yes actually), doubling life expectancy, destroying Nazis, and more — these are not minor accomplishments. These are some of the most incredible feats of any civilization ever, and these are all the places where our ‘Western’ civilizations are failing and breaking down today and experiencing crisis. We have possible solutions staring us in the face and we can’t even talk about them without the conversation immediately degenerating into “Stalin killed 100 million, no food.” There are a great many self proclaimed leftists, who have yet to even hear the most base accurate arguments in defense of actually existing socialism, and being taken aback at the scale of arguments now laid plain before them. Yes, your entire liberal understanding of the world is wrong, and harmfully so.
XV. The Vast Majority of People who lived under socialism want socialism back
One of the other remaining, unaddressed rebuttals of chauvinist Westerners when assaulted with a discussion about communism is to asset, “Why don’t you go ask someone who lived under communism?” Of course, they have done no such thing, and if they had they would not like the results. There is a joke that has become popular in the former Soviet states over the past three decades:
“What did capitalism accomplish in just one year that the Soviet Union failed to accomplish in seventy years?”
“Make communism look good.”
Polls consistently find that people feel life was better under socialism. In Russia, some polls show that over of two thirds (and in some polls over 90% of the population!) regret the fall of the USSR and feel that life was better under communism. Similarly, 72% of Hungarians Feel Life Was Better Under Communism, 57% of East Germans Feel Life Better Under Communism, 81% of Serbians Say Life Was Better “During the Time of Socialism,” 63% of Romanians Would Go Back to Communism If Given the Choice, 66% of Slovakians felt life was better under socialism, and more! We see this trend continue in the Czech Republic, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Moldavia, Albania, as well as Armenia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, and Tajikistan!
This is not young children who never experienced communism having naïve, ignorant misconceptions about an imagined utopia — the trend is shown to be the exact opposite. It is the oldest living folks, the ones who actually experienced socialism, who most strongly support it, and the liberal brainwashed youth being the ones most likely to reject it. . It’s true that not all states shared the same experience, and some do, in fact, have less favourable opinions of the USSR, but when aggregated as a whole, it’s clear that the vast majority of all the people who lived under socialism preferred it. This lasting popularity is not because of Western chauvinist accusations of longing over a lost status of superpower. This support, popularity, and yearning for communism is because communism always works.