Dark Side of Communism 10/05/2011 23:34:29 Book Review
by Pradeep Krishnan
K.P.Joseph, a former Civil servant and consultant to the United Nations has served in India and abroad in many positons. He has authored a number of books including “Gospel of Guru Sree Narayana and has published his articles on religion, spirituality, politics, development etc in Malayala Manorama, Times of India, Indian Express, Patriot, Gulf News, The Hindu, etc.
He says he was a great admirer of Communism in his heyday. Even through the bitterness of disillusionment that plagued many a heart when the wave of Communist revolution that swept over the sate fell short of expectations, Joseph believed that 50 percent of the promises fulfilled would still create a better world. But when he discovered the true color and philosophy of Communism, the cornerstones of faith were fatally jolted. And he realised that the reason why the cult of Communism failed to deliver is because “it is a collapsed ideology”.
In his book ‘Marxisathinte Kanappurangal’ (Unknown faces of Marxistm) Joseph writes, “the electoral debacle that the party faced recently in the state was not merely a result of the mistakes it made. It is, in fact, a part of the collapse of the ideology the world over. But the party is fumbling in the dark trying to figure out the cause of the setback and so is the opposition which has failed in grasping the relevance of the recession. It is all because what we retain here in Kerala is a failed ideology”,
The book is divided in to two parts, part 1 containing 15 illuminating essays on “Marxism and Kerala’, fully exposing the duplicity of Marxist leaders and their core ideology. In these essays, citing facts and figures Sri Joseph has successfully exploded the myth that Communists were responsible for Kerala’s development. He rather cites several examples to prove that Communists, particularly the Marxists with their out dated and myopic ideological moorings were responsible for retarding the States progress. All the 15 articles make interesting reading in the light of CPM’s tall claim of marching the State ‘forward’. He concludes this part by raising 25 pertinent questions to CPM leadership, fully ridiculing the Marxist leaders and their outdated pet ideology.
In the second part, in 12 excellent essays, Joseph analyses in detail the global aspects of Marxism. He brilliantly depicts the genocide perpetrated in the name of Marxism by Communist countries of China, erstwhile USSR, North Korea, etc.
The book is sure to enrage our comrades and ‘leftist intellectuals’. The book chronicles the history of political and civilian repression unleashed by Communist regimes all over the world. Trotsky had called the promising fables that surrounded the Communist coup d’etat, “the ash heap of history”. The book offers a pioneering attempt to yield a truer understanding of the Soviet social process that – claimed victims on a scale that has never aroused a scholarly curiosity proportionate to the magnitude of the disaster. It proposes to do so by detailing Leninism’s crimes, terror and repression – from Russia in 1917 to Afghanistan in 1989.
Writes Joseph, “the revolution that Marx predicted was to come when the workers had only chains to lose and a world to gain. But that was not the situation that prevailed in Soviet Russia when Lenin engineered the October Revolution. Neo-feudal lords were nomenclatured as party chiefs. And the new feudal system ruled by doing away with anybody who had a different opinion.”
The book details how Communist regimes turned mass crime into a full-blown system of government. He cites a death toll which totals 94 million including executions, intentional destruction of population by starvation and deaths resulting from deportations, physical confinement or through forced labour. In the foreword, it is said – each major episode of the tragedy – Stalin’s Gulag, Mao Zedong’s Leap Forward and his Cultural Revolution, Pol Pot’s KhmerRouge – had its moment of notoriety. But these horrors soon faded away into history; nor did anyone trouble to add up the total and set it before the public. The surprising size of this total, then, partly explains the shock the volume provoked. The breakdown of the number of deaths given 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 Africa
1.5 million in Afghanistan
1 million in the Communist states of Eastern Europe
1 million in Vietnam
150,000 in Latin America
10,000 deaths (resulting from actions of the international Communist movement and Communist parties not in power).
The full power of the shock, is however delivered by the unavoidable comparison of this sum with that of Nazism, which at an estimated 25 million turns out to be less murderous than Communism. “The coup in Soviet Russia, effected when Kerensky, a socialist democrat was in power, was not in accordance with the Marxist theory,” writes Joseph. So does he, or rather the book, make a distinction between the Marxist theory and the Communist rule, placing the blame on the later? “Marxist theory has never been put into practice in its true spirit and nor can it be,” he clarifies. “Marxism made complex human psyche too simple – believing that brotherhood between human beings will create a better world.
But human beings are not that simple,” he clarifies. “The ‘new man’ that Marx dreamed of, who was to change the world for good, was never born.” Joseph underscores that communism should be evaluated by what it produced, like any other school of thought. And not by what it says in theory. “It is too good a theory to be translated into reality, it should not have been attempted in the first place.