The talking points mimicked by those who support neo-conservative politicians, pundits and their agenda (even if they most definitely do not understand the totality of that agenda), is annoying at the very least, and frightening in that it indicates both a lack of knowledge and empathy on the part of many of our nations citizens. The most disturbing of these, at least for me, is the repetition of the neo-con version of history, propagated by those without a background in the historical field, but only the wish to create and maintain a vision of history acceptable to their own narrow, egocentric worldview. Since I am myself a student of history I am compelled to offer these ‘lessons’ if you will in, clearing up willful misconceptions of history held by those on the extreme right. I will try and address such topics that are either a current talking point in the media or are just generalized misconceptions that have now become quite orthodox among the mass of ditto-head blog commenters.
For the first installment, my focus is on the confusion the right-wing masses when it comes to political systems. If you have called a liberal or progressive, both a fascist and a communist then you are guilty of this confusion, especially if you did so in the same sentence. I’m going to have to break this down into a few parts, so if you cannot be bothered to read the rest, and want a simpler and more humorous explanation, go here: http://hypocrisytoday.com/polit-2.htm.
First off, one cannot call the same person both a communist and a fascist since both have been historically opposed to each other. Fascists hate communists, communists hate fascists, the only time they got along was the non-aggression pact between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, and we all know how well that went. To make it simple, Fascism is a right-wing ideology, and communism left-wing. The only similarity between communism and fascism is totalitarian form of government, which for communism is not part of doctrine and for fascism is actually quite debatable, especially in the case of Nazi Germany.
Communism, I must also note, is more of an economic system than a political system. Communism is opposed to Capitalism, not to Democracy. Actually, if communism were to adhere to pure Marxist ideology, it would be a democratic system, maybe even a pure democracy. Fascism, on the other hand, is capitalism gone wild, allowing for the economic and social hegemony of corporations.
What happened to communism, how it was perverted or misused, can be broken down into those who influenced such parts:
Leninism: Upon overthrowing the revolutionary government in Russia, the Bolsheviks needed to consolidate power. A major hurdle was for the new communist government were the royalist forces, who were funded by the West which opposed the new communist government fearing it to be a threat to their own capitalist hegemony. In response, Lenin took steps to focus the government in fewer hands so as to maintain power and be able to respond to threats. He also gave the excuse that the people of Russia were not yet ready, so he would hold onto power until a time when the people were ready to exercise it themselves. This of course, is a crock of crap, but it was enough. In short, upon gaining power the revolutionaries went from revolutionary leftists to reactionary conservatives who wished to maintain power.
Stalinism: I do not know if there is any other ruler who was so thoroughly totalitarian in their rule. No one but Stalin held the reigns of power, the party couldn’t control him. Even if he suspected someone was against him, they were dead. Good example of a government masquerading as communist when it actually is not.
Maoist: Like Lenin, lost sight of the cause in the interest of maintaining power. Was good at helping the people and bringing them together in living the communist life, but became reactionary once power was attained. Not only that, he could not govern. All his policies were attempts to revive the glory and the ability Mao showed at overcoming adversity. However, the fact that the communist government in China has been able to adapt and incorporate capitalist systems shows a difference from the Russian system, if not the Russian people, since it is still in existence.
Ho Chi Minh: Vietnamese ‘communism’ was definitely the most pragmatic of all the systems. The fact that Vietnam became communist is the fault of the West since they refused, after WWI, to give up their colonies. Ho Chi Minh actually admired the United States, and even quoted from the Declaration of Independence during an address on the occasion of the forming of the North Vietnamese government. They were quite independent from other communist powers, defied both Russia and China, even while facing the US in war, and invading Cambodia and deposing Pol Pot causing retaliation from both the US and China. Ho Chi Minh did not mean Vietnam to embrace a totalitarian communist ideology, but one of democracy. Seventy years of war, including the final 10 years which included our support of the illegitimate government in South Vietnam, is what caused the establishment of a more totalitarian state rather than a democratic one.
So, what is the explanation for the right-wing throwing all these negative labels at liberals? My theory is that the right is incapable of dealing with any system of thought that is not binary. Good and Evil, white and black, male and female are all examples of binary thought. Binary thought lacks the complexity needed to explain everything that does not fit into their narrow categories. Conservatives, of course, think that are gods own gift and can see themselves as only good. Therefore their opposition must, logically confined to their system of thought, be evil. Also, they do not see Nazism, thus fascism, as good, so it must be evil and therefore a liberal ideology. The logic only works, of course, in this narrow worldview.
Now, I hope that this little history lesson has cleared things up (for those who are capable of more than binary thought, anyway). Remember, if we are going to start throwing negative political system labels at each other, liberals are communist and conservatives are fascists.