Totalitarianism with Communist Characteristics

Contrary to the allegations of its founders and followers, communism is not primarily an economic system; it is fundamentally political. Its true character is evinced not in its “equitable” (whatever that means) distribution of wealth, but rather in its political arrangements.

And what are those political arrangements? Above and without all else, communism is totalitarianism, leftist totalitarianism, totalitarianism with communist characteristics.

For those unversed in marxology (you're lucky; be grateful), the previous sentence includes a joke; several decades ago, as China's capitalist economy could no longer be denied by the party, in an attempt to preserve the myth that China would eventually arrive at a non-profit-making, “classless” society, its leadership approved of the phrase “socialism with Chinese characteristics”—or communism with a capitalist economy—to describe a supposedly temporary phase. Communism itself is totalitarianism with communist characteristics. Likewise, China remains a communist nation, despite its “exploitation” of a capitalist economy—the allowance, nay encouragement, of profit-incentivized production.

Moreover, communism is leftist totalitarianism that masquerades as something very much like its precise opposite. The promises of de facto economic or mere abstract “equality”—or today, of “equity, diversity and inclusion,” and the rhetoric of its usually unwitting political dupes, like Sanders and Cortez—are facades, diversionary tactics, loss leaders, the ruses of a bait-and-switch strategy. Equality means nothing in communist society, unless it means that almost everyone has a boot on his, her, or zir throat, equally! Communism is a well-heeled equality, if you will. It is an equality of the vast majority, under the heels of those with resources and power—the well-heeled.

Totalitarianism begins with promises of equality and the protection of the weak, protection from the politically evil, a “benign” banning of “dangerous” people from “public” forums and civic life. This time around, if it comes to it, if enough useful idiots buy in again, it will end (and unfortunately, continue) in open-air prison camps as it were, in AI-monitored virtual, actual, total surveillance, compliments of Chinese AI. Those who buy in will be members along the One Belt, One Road totalitarian system, with everyone hanging from one belt as if from a noose.

Communism is leftist totalitarianism, it is ascendent today, and it is coming to a theater near you, unless, that is, you not only reject it, but work to destroy it.

Why and how could leftist totalitarianism attain dominance, you ask, especially in the U.S, the world's “most capitalist” country? How could leftism possibly be hegemonic in the U.S., of all places?

First of all, again, communism is primarily a political system, attained and maintained by a political ideology. Second, the received notion that capitalists have always favored rightwing political ideology because rightwing political ideology best represents the capitalists’ interests is simply wrong—not only ideologically false, but historically untrue. I document the history of leftist and even socialist capitalists in Google Archipelago.

Third, communism still has purchase (pardon the apparent lexical incongruity), because the left has not needed to apologize for or hide its communist underbelly. For several reasons, communism escaped the condemnation it deserved given its 20th-century score-card of mass murder. Although racking up 94 million dead, instead of receiving the opprobrium it more than deserved, instead of the mere mention of communism or its leaders inducing the reflex of rejection that Nazism rightly induces, communism eluded the reputation it deserved, and passed through the 20th and into the 21st century like a defeated yet somehow dignified old man.

Today, it parades around college campuses as if its adherents were donning professorial gowns—and they are! When a professor unabashedly declares, usually with a modicum of self-congratulatory jargon-laden descriptors, “I'm a Marxist,” rather than gasps of horror, the students gleam in unknowing and witless admiration. Imagine that: a political ideology whose legacy consists of four times the political murders of Nazism is one of the most respected in Western academia! Imagine the possibility that an open avowal of such a political ideology would not only not earn one shame, but, to the contrary, honor, respect, even reverence, on the vast majority of American campuses! This is the result in part of the scrubbing of leftist criminality from history.

You don't have to imagine, because, as you well know, it is reality. Yet unimaginably, not only has an ideology with such a history managed to elude the earned reputation as the most murderous, most unequal, most deplorable, most criminal political ideology in history, it has managed to declare itself superior, and those who avow it, to declare themselves morally superior to all others. That's the most successful failure of all time.

Dylan Rectenwald