The Death Tolls of Socialism And Capitalism

Discussion in 'History' started by RedStar, Jul 22, 2012.

  1. RedStar The Comrade! Registered Senior Member

    For clarification, I say socialism and not communism because states such as the Soviet Union and Maoist China were socialist implementations - this is really just a semantics thing, but actual communism obviously has never existed since it must be international. You can call them communist if you want. The following is obviously my interpretation and I'm interested and open to your thoughts.

    Now, moving on.

    For this analysis I will be focusing A) on the development of modern capitalism B) On the various socialist states that have come about, especially the Soviet Union and Maoist China


    The Death Toll of Capitalism

    The mode of production wherein there exists a class of people who own the very means to livelihood and a class of property-less workers leads to class antagonism. Workers and owners have mutually exclusive interests. Furthermore, the capitalist mode of production actively creates situations that enable profit-making from human misery. Indeed, entire industries are predicated on the continued existence of war, illness, poverty, and paranoia. The arms industry; big pharma and big medicine; the financial industry, and more, would all be economically diminished and devastated by a decrease in warfare or illness. It is literally against the interests of these industries to solve some social problems. When you have a mode of production where warfare actually stimulates the economy, you know your mode of production is not geared toward the fulfillment of human life. This is a flaw inherent in the for-profit private mode of production known as capitalism. Capitalism is predicated on class divide and the expropriation of wealth from laborers. This is obviously true because otherwise, there would be no point in hiring employees - employees generate more wealth than they earn. This is essentially true. Class divide and misanthropic interests are the products of capitalism.

    Modern capitalism and the improved standard of living of the First World is the result of brutal policies of colonization and imperialism in the Third World, as well as domestic exploitation. While libertarians may adhere to this fantasy notion that "what we have now isn't real capitalism", the material and historical reality is that modern capitalist production developed only because of brutal exploitation. Libertarianism is the epitome of idealism, which in this case does not mean naive (although it is), but evoking principles and beliefs which reside in the realm of the "ideal" rather than examining material conditions. Libertarians believe in protecting ideals even at the expense of human life - hence the contradictions where a market allows empty houses to sit around while there are homeless people obviously in need of housing.

    Never mind that. Libertarian policies have never existed and likely never will. Even during the Gilded Age, a period of rampant free capitalism, there was imperialistic exploitation of the Third World by Americans and other colonial powers. Imperialism is, therefore, an expression of capitalist interest: nations invade other nations for sources of materials, markets, and labor. I should be more precise and say specific classes within nations invade other nations for sources of materials, markets, and labor. There is no such thing as "we won a war" - material gains have never been distributed equally to the troops or the people of the mother nation, but to the capitalist class of that nation (e.g. Hawaii, the Philippines, World War I). The capitalist mode of production is very much responsible for the deaths due to imperialist wars and policies - deaths that resulted from wars and massacres over privatized wealth. Whereas some have this skewed and irrational notion that only libertarian fantasy capitalism is "real" capitalism and you can't attribute death counts from imperialism to capitalism, the reality is imperialism is a system propagated by privatized wealth: the fundamental notion of capitalism. The great tragedy is so many of these deaths were avoidable.

    This includes, but is not limited to:

    United States:

    US intervention in Latin America: 6.3 million dead
    Invasion of Philippines: 650,000 dead + 1898 war 3 million dead
    Afghanistan: 1.2 million dead
    Vietnam War: 10 million dead
    Korean War: 10 million dead
    Yugoslavia: 300,000 dead
    Iran-Iraq War (US funding both sides): 1 million dead
    US intervention in Congo: 5 million dead
    US Civil War (financial vs land capitalists) 650,000 dead
    Native American genocide: 95 million dead
    African slave trade: 150 million dead
    Indonesian purges against communists: 1 million dead (underestimate)
    US Bombing of Laos and Cambodia: at least 1 million dead
    US backed Batista, Pinochet, Metaxas, Saddam, Suharto, and various dictators supported by the United States: at least a few million


    Bengal Famine: 10 million dead
    British Occupation of India: 20 million dead
    Famine in Held British India: 30 million
    Irish potato famine (British farmers could have helped): 1.5 million

    Japanese imperialism in China and Asia: 12 million
    South African apartheid: 3.5 million
    Spanish Civil War: 350,000
    French colonies: 1 million dead

    Note that this does not include the number of children and adults alike in the First World who have died from hunger and lack of access to basic needs of life.

    This is a good video:
    In total, the death toll of capitalism exceeds 1 billion. You may doubt the video because it is made by a communist, but history does corroborate these death tolls.


    The Death Toll of Socialism

    What is critically important in analyzing the number of people that "died under" the Soviet Union or Maoist China is that you examine post and pre revolutionary statistics. By and large, the number of people who died from preventable causes after the establishment of the USSR and PPC is well below the number of people who routinely died from famine and poverty before socialism. This is also evident in Cuba, where Cuban health and educational statistics are well above her non-socialist neighbors

    Keep in mind that in all the countries where socialism has been implemented, there was little to no advanced industrial capitalism. This naturally meant a material struggle which could not be fought overnight. Nobody supposes that socialism guaranteed overnight utopia or any utopia at all: only a fairer distribution of food, health care, and the like.

    Indeed, with statistics and sources I provided in the USSR thread, the USSR industrialized and provided superior health care only after socialism. This is all despite two major World Wars which resulted in 25 million casualties and leveled entire cities, and the routine threat of the Cold War. The same goes for the other socialist revolutions: there were numerous attempts to crush the PPC in China, and to undermine the Cuban revolution. The material accomplishments of socialism are especially impressive when it is understood just how hard the bourgeois West tried to undermine it.

    The White Army of the USSR, supported by foreign capitalist interests, engaged in the routine murder of the peasant classes of Russia. Chiang Kai-shek's reactionary forces murdered peasants in China and stole their land. Batista brutally suppressed Cuban dissent and arrested Cuban youth.

    Under the leadership of Mao Zedong, China's illiteracy rate was, in fact, significantly reduced and industrial development improved. While it is true that millions died during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, this was due to poor planning and insufficient industrial resources and not deliberate executive orders of murder. By far, the working and peasant classes of China enjoyed greater quality of life after the revolution than before it. Many Chinese regret the descent of the Chinese revolution into capitalism and one of the most misinformed myths of the West is that the Tienanmen Square incident was a protest of socialism: on the contrary, it was a protest of policies that diverged from the policies of the Gang of Four and Mao.

    The same can be said for the Soviet Union. The Ukraine famine, which did occur, did not occur because of any deliberate executive order, and the persecution of the Kulaks was rightfully done because of their collusion in allowing the grain to rot. Stalin sent strict orders to continue production because the working classes of the cities depended on the grain: to spite him, they hoarded the grain and allowed workers to die.

    According to, the gulag system was, in fact, not a death camp system and most inmates were released within 1-3 years. Never mind the fact that many of them were common criminals, it is an interesting point that there are more prisoners in America now than at any point in the Soviet Union.

    What is important to note about the death toll of socialism is that poor policy or insufficient industry does not constitute murder. Mao Zedong never gave executive orders that called for murder. While he did enable Chinese peasants to hold trials for the landlords, their actions are independent of his approval and the execution of some 800,000 landlords across China was an expression of local anger at the landlords who let the Chinese starve to death. The same can be said of the Soviet Union. What is important to understand is that fewer people suffered, by far, under the USSR or PPC than before revolution. There seems to be an intellectual trend where any death occurring in socialism is attributed to socialism, whereas the routine murders of people in capitalism is either "not real capitalism" or "just a few bad people.

    There were genuinely murderous regimes that justified their actions in the name of socialism. Pol Pot is one such man; but people forget that it was the Vietnamese communists who ultimately stopped (and thus laid judgement) upon Pol Pot. Korea DPR is another such regime, which has moved entirely away from Marxism on an ideological level (Juche, etc)
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  3. Xotica Everyday I’m Shufflin Registered Senior Member

    Mirroring religious fanatics, Nazi skinheads and communists always gum up the board with their incessant proselytizing.
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  5. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

    hey don't forget about libertarians
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  7. RedStar The Comrade! Registered Senior Member

    If you're not here to talk about history, get the fuck out. Personal attacks and mindless one-liners are not arguments and don't make your account of history true, no matter how much you wish they did.
  8. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

    this thread isn't about discussing history. its about fucking rewriting it.

    sorry but I'm going to treat as fucking joke it is.
  9. RedStar The Comrade! Registered Senior Member

    What am I rewriting?

    Millions have indeed perished in the name of profit, and most of what you learn about the history of socialism is complete propaganda, never presenting the full details. I even provided fucking sources. What do you want?

    Please highlight exactly what I am rewriting. I'd like to see.

    Quit being a tool. I like you, but don't swallow all the bullshit you are fed in school. If you want to dispute something I said, please do that. Please propose an argument rather than dismissing everything I wrote because it doesn't conform to your view of history.
  10. Grumpy Curmudgeon of Lucidity Valued Senior Member

    Comrade, go f___ yourself. Communism is dead and buried somewhere under the rubble of the USSR.


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  11. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

    This is pretty close to how it went for United For Communism too. To me, it's fascinating to see an example of a dogmatic true believer. The sort of person who made Cambodia's killing fields possible, and went around denouncing the slightest trifles as being counter revolutionary during the cultural revolution, thus sending hapless people off to work camps or worse.

    "Advocacy of Communism by those who believe in Bolshevik methods rests upon the assumption that there is no slavery except economic slavery, and that when all goods are held in common there must be perfect liberty. I fear this is a delusion." - Bertrand Russell
    The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism
  12. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Throughout history, people in small and large numbers have been fighting other people in small and large numbers for various reasons - mostly one batch wants to take something away from the other batch. A whole lot of people end up dead, ground is scorched, homes are wrecked, girls are raped, dogs are eaten, disease organisms are transmitted, and something gets taken away from somebody.
    Throughout history, people have followed lunatics, charlatans, zealots, powerfreaks and greedbuckets into very bad decisions with very bad outcomes.
    These facts can be interpreted in any number of partisan slants, proving nothing except that we're a species prone to various strains of madness.

    Socialism, to the extent that it's implemented by a reasonably sane, reasonably competent, reasonably honest leadership in a reasonably hospitable geographical region, works better than any form of feudalism, theocracy or unregulated capitalism so far practiced by civilized nations - if your definition of 'better' is similar to mine, which may be summarized as "that which yields the highest attainable incidence of present well-being and long-term health to the human community and its natural environment".
  13. RedStar The Comrade! Registered Senior Member

    Wow, this thread has already degenerated into bullshit. Why is it that any history which doesn't conform to the "America good, communism bad" philosophy is automatically wrong?

    Grumpy, you go f yourself. The USA has murdered more people than communism ever has. You know who is seriously rewriting history? People like you who omit all the worst crimes the US has ever committed, who never teach kids about the real extent of the slave trade, the Native American genocide (and the dishonesty of American military and political officials), the Vietnam War, the Spanish-American War and subsequent imperialism, the butchery of Latin America by American companies, and all the various CIA affairs (like the Contra affair) which you guys created.

    Bullshit. You are rewriting history by denying all of this, all the crimes. Your country is built on the blood of millions.

    Romanians prefer communism

    Russians prefer communism

    And if you actually knew anything about Cuba you'd know that Cuba has a National Assembly and open elections, definitely freer than her non-socialist neighbors.

    So you go fuck yourself. The Communist Party of France, Russia, and Spain are all alive and well and Marxist thought is alive and well throughout Europe and throughout the world. And yes, there are communists and socialists in your beloved Israel too.

    You Americans live in a bubble of black-and-white. Get real.
  14. Xotica Everyday I’m Shufflin Registered Senior Member

    This is the Internet and the membership here is international. I suspect that quite a few SF members and/or their families, possess real-life experience living under a communist regime. Your "history lessons" and "ideological seminars" may impress the uninitiated, but no matter how you sugar-coat things there are indeed people here with either a first-hand experience of communism or an oral history of it bequeathed by their families. In addition, the equivalency argument - your system killed more than mine - is arguable at best and furthermore, does nothing to extricate your beloved communism from the odorous bowels of history.
  15. Grumpy Curmudgeon of Lucidity Valued Senior Member


    Really? I don't think you are a good source of information on this point.

    Yes, you. That is all you have done here.

    I have neither ignored, nor have I denied the history of my country, as you do yours. I live about 5 miles from the Cherokee Indian Reservation and know the history of the Trail of Tears intimately. I live in the South and know the history of the slave trade as well. I was in the Vietnam war and know the history of Indochina well. In fact, I think I know more of the history of my country(and the World, for that matter)much better than you have shown a similar knowledge of Communism and it's atrocities. Neither side is better in this respect, and the Soviets are just as blood steeped as the US is. Throw all the religions in and this world is awash with blood shed and repression, I would put Communism among the more violent and blood thirsty of the religions as well as of the countries. A good bit of my knowledge of the history of the world was learned in school, so your complaint about that is bogus as well. You are an ideolog and I am not. You think "it will work this time if we are pure enough" and I know better, that we must balance ideologies and positions to reach the best outcome. Pure ideologies ALWAYS fail. Pure Capitalism fails, pure socialism fails(these are economic theories, not ideologies), pure Communism failed worldwide. Imperialism(international feudalism)failed many times, the only ideology that has had any lasting success is Democracy, governance of, by and for the people

    And marginalized and not allowed anywhere near the levers of power(by the people's will). Your Russian Communists are analogous to our bigots and racists, longing for the fallen paradigm of slavery(to individuals in the US, to the state in Russia)and inequality they grew up with. Southern slavery isn't coming back, neither is Communism. They are dead, the body is just still twitching.


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  16. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Don't become enamoured of, or for that matter, repulsed by, the labels. They range from inaccurate to outright fraudulent.
    So-called communist countries were never communal and are not anything like a commune: though the marginal parties may be pure in their ideology, once a party gains power, its purity and ideology are shot to hell (and the old, loyal members silenced, purged - or shot.)
    So-called democracies have ruling elites that do everything in their power to circumvent, undermine or subvert the democratic process; their success varies from moderate to blatant.
    Capital wears an array of labels, all incorrect; its apologists think wishfully; its opponents hurl invective; its experts just lie.
    Ideologies exist on paper and in slogans, not in political process.
    Labels don't kill people; people hang labels on the people they have killed or hope to kill.
  17. RedStar The Comrade! Registered Senior Member

    So now you're like a Holocaust denier, denying all the atrocities committed in the name of profit.
    Nope. You are the one who needs to provide evidence that millions were "murdered" under communism since that is your claim. That's not to say people weren't murdered: Pol Pot and Korea DPR are examples of complete and total brutality that produced no socialism whatsoever (and Pol Pot, I will remind you, was stopped by the Vietnamese).

    Millions died under communism but many of the deaths were from famines, and famines are not murder. They're not planned. They are due to either poor or insufficient policy or production.

    Hitler sending people to concentration camps is murder. People dying from famine because they can't magically produce food out of no where isn't murder, and guess what? They died from famine even more before communism. That's the point people like you always ignore.

    Nonsense. The well over 1 Billion murdered under capitalism dwarf any figure you could possibly cite for communism.
    No, I'm a materialist. I never said it didn't work in the first place. The Soviet Union worked. Stalin's period saw great economic growth and an improvement in the living standard. I'm not one of those "we haven't had real socialism yet" dreamers. I look at the USSR, Cuba, and China and point out all the things that did work, as I have been doing.
    You're saying something, and yet you aren't. This sounds like intellectual fluff. Care to elaborate on what the "balance" means, or provide evidence?

    No...I thought I made it clear. The Marxist movement in Europe is significantly large. It's mainstream in many countries (Russia, Spain, France, Greece, Germany, etc)
  18. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

    Are you actually trying to compare the mortality rates resulting from an economic theory?
  19. RedStar The Comrade! Registered Senior Member

    Of the historical implementations of these theories. Quit being dense.
  20. Xotica Everyday I’m Shufflin Registered Senior Member

    Holodomor denial is every bit as sickening as Holocaust denial...

    The History Place: Genicide in the 20th Century: Stalin's Forced Famine 1932-1933 - 7,000,000 Deaths
  21. RedStar The Comrade! Registered Senior Member

    No, it really isn't, because you can't compare the two. Next to nobody denies that the Holdomor tragedy actually happened. The question is whether or not it was deliberately caused by the Soviets, and there are differing historical opinions

    Mario Sousa

    At any rate, even if I did concede that incident to you, there are still a billion more deaths to blame on capitalism.
  22. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

    Seems to me that you're the one with a selective perspective. I like that. Selective perspective.

    So. In a nutshell, you're basically saying that you view the economies of the west as being true and representative of capitalism, while Soviet Russia was not representative of Marxism?
    Just to clarify. I mean, I'm giving you every chance under the sun here, sunshine.
  23. RedStar The Comrade! Registered Senior Member

    No, I'm not denying the USSR was an implementation of socialism...I never said it wasn't representative of Marxism. Why would I? It improved Russian quality of life and had great economic success. I have nothing to deny

    I would argue that after Stalin, it started to make market reforms which undermined the revolution, but from 1922-1953, that was a form of socialism in action.

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