Trotter says Capitalism kills but it has nothing on Communism/Socialism

Skulls of the victims of the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot

Skulls of the victims of the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot

Chris Trotter has gone nuts again…but his friends at The Standard think he is on fire…this is why:

Capitalism kills. It has done so from its earliest beginnings, and it does so still. The only distinction between the history of capitalism and the history of the Mexican drug cartels, is that the cartels have never pretended to be advancing the progress of humankind.

He even tried to lay the blame of deaths in Russia at capitalists feet.

Notwithstanding its logical absurdity, it is the condemnation one hears most often from the Right: that the Left, in the shape of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, or the Communist Party of China, is responsible for upwards of 100 million deaths.

They forget, of course, that the vast majority of those killed were individuals who refused to accept the right of either of these parties to impose their will on the people in whose name they had accomplished the overthrow of the old oppressors. Whether it be the rebellious Russian sailors at Kronstadt in 1921, or workers and peasants across the whole of China from 1949 to the present day, whoever, in the name of justice and equity, takes a stand against an oppressive system of domination, coercion and exploitation is, by definition, a leftist.

Once again Trotter blurs and mangles his history.

Let’s help him out then with a little history lesson about the left and how many they’ve killed or condemned to misery.

Let’s start with what Karl Marx had to say about communism…the founding father essentially…the reason leftists are called Marxists.

Marx states in the Manifesto of the Communist Party:

You must, therefore, confess that by “individual” you mean no other person than the bourgeois, than the middle-class owner of property. This person must indeed, be swept out of the way, and made impossible. (Published by Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1973 edition, page 66)

Of course his adherents took that literally, and killed millions to sweep them out of the way. Lenin, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Guevara, Chavez…all killers.

Now we can start looking at the numbers. Helpfully there is some research into this and a handy infographic of the major causes of death for humanity.

According to a disturbingly pleasant graphic from Information is Beautiful entitled simply 20th Century Death, communism was the leading ideological cause of death between 1900 and 2000. The 94 million that perished in China, the Soviet Union, North Korea, Afghanistan, and Eastern Europe easily (and tragically) trump the 28 million that died under fascist regimes during the same period.

During the century measured, more people died as a result of communism than from homicide (58 million) and genocide (30 million) put together. The combined death tolls of WWI (37 million) and WWII (66 million) exceed communism’s total by only 9 million.

It gets worse when you look at the lower right of the chart—The Natural World—which includes animals (7 million), natural disasters (24 million), and famine (101 million). Curiously, all of the world’s worst famines during the 20th century were in communist countries: China (twice!), the Soviet Union, and North Korea.

Communism is a killer.

communism-kills

Nazism was also a socialist dogma. Millions killed in wars instigated and promulgated by Communist or Socialist countries number millions more. Most deaths under communism come not from guns, bombs and bullets, but from starvation as the systems fail.

Communism and Socialism is built on scarcity, capitalism is built on abundance. Communist systems destroy and never build, Capitalism creates.

Now let’s look at the Communist or Socialist leaders who have killed millions.

Robert Mugabe, Vladimir Lenin, Kim Dynasty (North Korea), Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot, Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler and Mao Zedong…killers all and in the millions.

There is even a book written by academics about the deaths caused by communism, called The Black Book of Communism it outlines the millions upon millions of deaths caused by communists.

In the introduction, editor Stéphane Courtois states that “…Communist regimes… turned mass crime into a full-blown system of government.” He claims that a death toll totals 94 million. The breakdown of the number of deaths given by Courtois is as follows:

  • 65 million in the People’s Republic of China
  • 20 million in the Soviet Union
  • 2 million in Cambodia
  • 2 million in North Korea
  • 1.7 million in Ethiopia
  • 1.5 million in Afghanistan
  • 1 million in the Communist states of Eastern Europe
  • 1 million in Vietnam
  • 150,000 in Latin America, mainly Cuba
  • 10,000 deaths “resulting from actions of the international Communist movement and Communist parties not in power.”

Courtois claims that Communist regimes are responsible for a greater number of deaths than any other political ideal or movement, including Nazism. The statistics of victims includes executions, famine, deaths resulting from deportations, physical confinement, or through forced labor.

And the Communists taught the Nazis.

Courtois considers Communism and Nazism to be distinct but comparable totalitarian systems. He claims that Communist regimes have killed “approximately 100 million people in contrast to the approximately 25 million victims of Nazis”. Courtois claims that Nazi Germany’s methods of mass extermination were adopted from Soviet methods. As an example, he cites Nazi state official Rudolf Höss who organized the infamous death camp in Auschwitz. According to Höss,

The Reich Security Head Office issued to the commandants a full collection of reports concerning the Russian concentration camps. These described in great detail the conditions in, and organization of, the Russian camps, as supplied by former prisoners who had managed to escape. Great emphasis was placed on the fact that the Russians, by their massive employment of forced labor, had destroyed whole peoples.

Courtois argues that the Soviet genocides of peoples living in the Caucasus and exterminations of large social groups in Russia were not very much different from similar policies by Nazis. Both Communist and Nazi systems deemed “a part of humanity unworthy of existence. The difference is that the Communist model is based on the class system, the Nazi model on race and territory.” Courtois stated that

The “genocide of a “class” may well be tantamount to the genocide of a “race”—the deliberate starvation of a child of a Ukrainian kulak as a result of the famine caused by Stalin’s regime “is equal to” the starvation of a Jewish child in the Warsaw ghetto as a result of the famine caused by the Nazi regime.

He added that

after 1945 the Jewish genocide became a byword for modern barbarism, the epitome of twentieth-century mass terror… more recently, a single-minded focus on the Jewish genocide in an attempt to characterize the Holocaust as a unique atrocity has also prevented the assessment of other episodes of comparable magnitude in the Communist world. After all, it seems scarcely plausible that the victors who had helped bring about the destruction of a genocidal apparatus might themselves have put the very same methods into practice. When faced with this paradox, people generally preferred to bury their heads in sand.

There is a whole Wikipedia section dedicated to Mass Killings by Communist Regimes.

But here is the thing that Chris Trotter misses in his angry rant against capitalism. Capitalism exists only under a democracy, of free peoples. Communism and to a lesser extent Socialism exists under totalitarian regimes…where all people are equally miserable. Horrific and systematic abuses of human rights occur more under socialist and communist regimes and we haven’t yet even begun to look at the destruction upon the environment by Communist nations.

A cemetery of radioactive vehicles is seen near Ukraine's Chernobyl nuclear power plant in this November 10, 2000 photo.

A cemetery of radioactive vehicles is seen near Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power plant in this November 10, 2000 photo.

Capitalist systems, which Chris Trotter despises are responsible for fines, and controls and systems that monitor and improve the environment, It was capitalist USA who implemented the Environmental Protection Agency, not communist Russia. The legacy of Trotter’s much vaunted communism and socialism is disgusting.

When the Berlin Wall came down and the Iron Curtain was finally lifted to expose the inner workings of communism to Western eyes, one of the more shocking discoveries was the nightmarish scale of environmental destruction. The statistics for East Germany alone tell a horrific tale: at the time of its reunification with West Germany an estimated 42 percent of moving water and 24 percent of still waters were so polluted that they could not be used to process drinking water, almost half of the country’s lakes were considered dead or dying and unable to sustain fish or other forms of life, and only one-third of industrial sewage along with half of domestic sewage received treatment.

An estimated 44 percent of East German forests were damaged by acid rain — little surprise given that the country produced proportionally more sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, and coal dust than any other in the world. In some areas of East Germany the level of air pollution was between eight and twelve times greater than that found in West Germany, and 40 percent of East Germany’s population lived in conditions that would have justified a smog warning across the border. Only one power station in East Germany had the necessary equipment to clean sulphur from emissions.

Sten Nilsson, a Swedish forest ecologist who was kicked out of East Germany in 1986 for his efforts at collecting data on the health of its forests, said in April 1990 that many forests were “dead, completely” and described the country as “on the verge of total ecological collapse.” The environmental policy of the communist government, according to then Environment Minister Karl-Hermann Steinberg in 1990, “was not only badly designed but didn’t exist.”

The Soviet Union wasn’t any better:

A similar story was found in the Soviet Union. Writing for the now-defunct (and Ralph Nader-founded) Multinational Monitor in September 1990, James Ridgeway noted widespread pollution of both the air and drinking water:

 40% of the Soviet people live in areas where air pollutants are three to four times the maximum allowable levels. Sanitation is primitive. Where it exists, for example in Moscow, it doesn’t work properly. Half of all industrial waste water in the capital city goes untreated. In Leningrad, nearly half of the children have intestinal disorders caused by drinking contaminated water from what was once Europe’s most pristine supply.

A 1996 Russia country study published by the Library of Congress’ Federal Research Division described the country’s air as “among the most polluted in the world,” and found that 75 percent of its surface water was polluted and 50 percent of all water not potable according to 1992 quality standards.

While the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor probably counts as the country’s best-known environmental disaster, it was but one of numerous episodes of serious environmental damage which plagued the Soviet nuclear sector. Wikipedia describes a 1957 explosion at the Mayak nuclear reactor as resulting in “long-term contamination of an area of more than 800 to 20,000 square kilometers” with 10,000 people forced to evacuate and an unknown number of deaths related to the accident. Unsurprisingly, it also notes during the plant’s construction that “[e]nvironmental concerns were not taken seriously.”

This casual approach to nuclear issues extended to the country’s military, where the Soviet fleet — the largest nuclear-powered navy in the world — opted to sometimes dispose of reactors by simply dumping them into the ocean:

 A Russian government report acknowledged in March 1993, that “during the period of 1965 to 1988 the Northern Fleet had dumped four reactor compartments with eight reactors (three containing damaged fuel) in the Abrosimov Gulf in 20 to 40 meters of water.” Six other compartments, containing nine reactors in all, had also been dumped into the water in the 1960s and 1970s.

Wikipedia also notes that the improper removal of control rods on board a Victor-class submarine outside Vladivostok in 1985 led to an explosion, the “release of large amounts of radioactivity,” and ten deaths, while a 1961 nuclear accident on board the K-19 submarine — later immortalized in a 2002 movie starring Harrison Ford — resulted in the contamination-related deaths of 22 crew members within two years of the incident and radiation poisoning of the environment. After the vessel’s nuclear reactors were removed and replaced, the Soviets predictably decided to dispose of the original compartment used to house them by dropping it into the Kara Sea.

No capitalism there to poison the oceans, just plain old communism. Then there are the whales and the destruction of an entire lake system.

When the Soviets weren’t dumping nuclear waste or reactors into the ocean they busied themselves by declaring war against the world’s whale population, killing at least 45,000 humpbacks alone between 1946-1986. Sickeningly, according to Charles Homans, the slaughter was performed simply to satisfy the demands of central planners:

[…]

The Japanese, motivated as they were by domestic demand for whale meat, were “at least understandable” in their actions, he wrote. “I should not say that as a scientist, but it is possible to understand the difference between a motivated and unmotivated crime.” Japanese whalers made use of 90 percent of the whales they hauled up the spillway; the Soviets, according to Berzin, used barely 30 percent. Crews would routinely return with whales that had been left to rot, “which could not be used for food. This was not regarded as a problem by anybody.”This absurdity stemmed from an oversight deep in the bowels of the Soviet bureaucracy. Whaling, like every other industry in the Soviet Union, was governed by the dictates of the State Planning Committee of the Council of Ministers, a government organ tasked with meting out production targets. In the grand calculus of the country’s planned economy, whaling was considered a satellite of the fishing industry. This meant that the progress of the whaling fleets was measured by the same metric as the fishing fleets: gross product, principally the sheer mass of whales killed.

The Aral Sea destruction was also a Soviet crime:

aral

Central economic planning is also largely responsible for the devastation of the Aral Sea. Once the world’s fourth-largest lake, its massive decline can be directly traced to directives issued by top economic officials in Moscow:

In the early 1960, the Soviet government decided the two rivers that fed the Aral Sea, the Amu Darya in the south and the Syr Darya in the northeast, would be diverted to irrigate the desert, in an attempt to grow rice, melons, cereals, and cotton. This was part of the Soviet plan for cotton, or “white gold”, to become a major export.

…From 1960 to 1998, the [Aral Sea]’s surface area shrank by approximately 60%, and its volume by 80%…The amount of water it had lost is the equivalent of completely draining Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

A desert, the Aralkum, now occupies a large section of what used to be seabed, resulting in the freakish spectacle of camels grazing amidst the rusting hulks of old ships.

The list goes on and on and on.

Further examples of Soviet carelessness and environmental destruction abound: The Guardian notes that nearly 250,000 tons of pesticides and farm chemicals from Soviet times have been “stored in ramshackle warehouses, land-filled or dumped” throughout the former USSR. Lake Karachay — a dumping ground for Soviet nuclear weapon facilities — was deemed the “most polluted spot on Earth” by the Worldwatch Institute, and a 1994 New York Times article noted that one of Russia’s most prized exports, caviar, had been placed at severe risk from “tens of thousands of tons of heavy metals, chemicals, raw waste and other pollutants” dumped annually into the Caspian Sea, as well as Stalin’s damming of the Volga River. Entire books are filled with accounts of the devastation wreaked by Soviet communism upon the environment.

There is nothing remotely like this in capitalist systems. Such outrages are quickly stopped by vocal locals and democracy removing those responsible.

[C]ommunism also simply cannot compete with capitalism in the production of wealth and technology, both of which greatly assist in addressing environmental problems. Why should anyone be surprised that only one East German power station had the necessary equipment to scrub sulphur from its emissions? This, after all, was a country whose answer to Western automobiles — the Trabant launched in the late 1950s — did not even include a fuel gauge in its early versions, something first introduced decades prior (unsurprisingly the Trabant was also bad for the environment, emitting nine times the hydrocarbons and five times the carbon monoxide emissions of the average European car of 2007).

There is no society, nor has one ever existed, which featured zero pollution or harm to the environment. The only question is how best to manage it, and which system is best positioned to accomplish this. On that question the answer is surely capitalism, home to the world’s richest countries and cleanest environments. It isn’t even close.

When Trotter says Capitalism kills, he really has no idea just how badly socialism and communism kills. Capitalism has got nothing on socialism and communism when it comes to deprivation and destruction.

– Bowalley Road, The Federalist, Wikipedia, Reason.com


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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