Reds under beds

Given that capitalism defeated communism, that western communists had far more harm done to them than they did to others [1], and that people on the paranoid right now have brown-skinned types with funny religious ceremonies to worry about… it’s surprising how much vitriol still gets summoned up for harmless old communists like Peter Ustinov.

Sure, he was a commie. As far as I’m aware, he didn’t run any personal gulags, and (unlike the neo-Nazis to whom communists are sometimes compared) being a communist doesn’t commit you to supporting anything particularly wrong [2].

On the other hand, I guess it’s hard to shake off 50 years of crazy dogmatism about terrible Bolsheviks sapping our precious bodily fluids…

[1] Unless I slept through the Marxian genocides that decimated London, that is.

[2] I guess if you’re very libertarian in your views on redistribution of property you might disagree, but as long as you’re not armed then I’m entirely happy to dismiss your tin-helmeted ravings.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized by John B. Bookmark the permalink.

12 thoughts on “Reds under beds

  1. ‘Communist’ artists tend to be quite exceptional, for instance Robert Wyatt is in my opinion. SO what of it?
    The fact that Englanders don’t line up in cues holding food vouchers, doesn’t lessen the grave outcome of this bankrupt ideology that has cost so many lives and oppression elsewhere in the world.

  2. That relies on the view that communism inherently leads to mass murder, which is questionable. If you don’t accept that view, it’s bollocks to say that communism has cost lives.

    The two most significant countries in which communism prevailed (USSR and China, obviously) are ones where rulers of all political hues have a several-hundred year history of murder and oppression; I’d argue Stalin’s death toll is more related to his being dictator of Russia than his being a communist.

  3. I suppose that people easily associate people like Ustinov with a long tradition of artists from George Bernard Shaw onward who visited Russia and said that tales of barbarity were greatly exaggerated. Meantime millions were dying.

    Although now we look back and it’s as if people like Ustinov were playing with Monopoly money, in fact at the time their views really counted, and the issues were live ones.

    The problem you’re having is with what I’ve just done: lumped Ustinov together with notorious appeasers. I agree it’s easy to exaggerate, but that’s been induced by hearing uncritical praise from many corners. It’s not just the criticisms that have been unbalanced, it’s the praise too.

    Oh but I do strongly disgree with the last point you make (in comments). To say that would imply that the Tsars in, say, any given twenty-five year period, might have been responsible directly for the deaths of millions (as Stalin was); that’s just not true. Life was miserable for the peasants, but generally they lived.

  4. In my mind, the difference between Stalin (and Hitler, come to that) and previous generations of evil bastards is that they had the communications and logistics capacities to actually impose their evil plans on significant numbers of people – not that their plans were notably more evil.

    & Stalin was never really about communism in a sense that Marx would recognise – just about control, power and expansion, like his Tsarist predecessors.

    …so in short, if we’re going to blame the gulags on clever London-based 19th century European expats, Marconi is just as good a candidate as Marx.

  5. VINCE IS A FAGGET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!VINCE PIROTTA IS A PEDOFILE

Comments are closed.