The future history of communism

18 04 2007


In the past few columns I have tried to argue that democracy, and the universalisation of the democracy idea, demands a rethink from Marxists and communists about their political practice. Today, I will try to conclude this series of articles by attempting to show that it is not merely the question of democracy, but the very development of capitalism which demands such a rethink. Read the rest of this entry »

Failure as an orphan of success

11 04 2007


If my column last week had spoken about the importance Marx gave to freedom of thought and expression, it is also necessary to answer why he supported the idea of “Dictatorship of the Proletariat” (proletariat = working class). Does not this idea of “dictatorship” of the working class negate individual freedom? In fact, most critics of Marxism identify this concept of “Dictatorship of the Proletariat” as the root of the authoritarianism and totalitarianism of communist societies. Read the rest of this entry »

That Faustian bargain with the characterless monster of unfreedom

4 04 2007


In his famous book, The Gulag Archipelago, Alexander Solzhenitsyn speaks of a function to praise Stalin where everyone got up and started clapping after the tribute was read out. The clapping went on, as no one wanted to be the first to stop. No one dared, as the secret police was watching to see who would quit first. This was their way of identifying who the independent-minded people were. Finally, after more than 10 minutes of unceasing applause, the director of the factory where the function was being organised stopped clapping and sat down. As if on cue, the entire congregation stopped clapping and sat down. Solzhenitsyn goes on to say that the director was arrested that same night.

While Solzhenitsyn has been dismissed by supporters of the Soviet Union as a Western agent, this account seems believable because there are so many other, more objective, records of the lack of freedom of thought and expression in the Soviet Union and other communist states. Read the rest of this entry »