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Why communism doesn't work from someone who actually grew up under communism

Submitted by GODFREY in Communism

1.) There was no such thing as private property. If you owned land, a farm or farm animals, those became the property of "the people"...or rather the state. To add insult to injury, they forced you to work those fields and feed the animals they took away from you. Also, practicing religion was forbidden although many older people did it anyway in their homes.

2.) Communism robbed people of ambition and therefore the drive to work harder. Everyone was required to work. You either worked or went to jail. Sounds fair...even nice until you realize your job is never going to earn you any great luxuries, and it's not like you can become anything you want to be. The lazy bums at your job earned the same amount as you and no matter how badly they slacked off, they knew they weren't going to be fired. You begin to wonder why you're killing yourself when there's nothing special to achieve....unless you kiss the ass of Communist party members and become one of them. They got rich by stealing, through bribes, etc.

Many, many people worked for the Government and their job was to create a bureaucratic nightmare. If you came in to get anything done, it took months and they treated you as if they were doing you a favor you didn't deserve. Pretty soon even store clerks adopted this attitude because the store was owned by the state so there was no private business owner to answer to.

3.) Corruption was so high that you couldn't even achieve some of the most simple things without a bribe. Many parents bribed teachers for their children's passing grades all the time. If you wanted to get into a good College, grades made little difference. It was all about who you knew and who you could bribe. People wouldn't show up at a doctor's office without gifts....at least a bottle of vodka.

4.) Borders were closed and you were no longer allowed to travel to the west. If you absolutely had to go, you were forced to leave one of your children behind to motivate you to come back. If you decided to leave your family behind and escape, they would cease your property and interrogate your family. If you decided to return, you would go to jail for however long they wanted you there. No due process.

5.) When they closed the borders to the West, a lot of intellectuals and professional people immigrated out of the country while they could. This left a miserable selection of professional doctors for example. Since socialized medicine took effect, anyone could go to the doctor for any little thing. Unfortunately there were not enough doctors or specialists left behind, so hospitals were short-staffed and overcrowded. Money was running out fast and often there was not enough medicine and supplies to go around. A visit to the dentist many times meant no pain killers.

6.) Watching western movies, music or reading western books was not allowed. People smuggled videotapes of western movies, but technically this was against the law.

7.) Schools brainwashed kids into believing that Russia was the best country on earth. They would say that people to the west were starving and dying, but of course that was not true in the same way they tried to make it out to be.

8.) Groceries were very hard to come by. People had to stand in line for hours to get a loaf of bread, oranges, bannannas, toilet paper, etc. Oranges were a special treat around Christmas. Jeans were hard to come by and most people were careful to wear them on more special occasions.

9.) Students were often required to work the fields when they didn't have to be at school.

10.) Big housing complexes arose around the country and they literally all looked the same. They were ugly as sin.....plain cement rectangles. People joked that they often walked into the wrong building thinking that's where they lived. These buildings started falling apart and there was no money to fix anything. The lifts inside them were breaking all the time.

11.) Most people had to raise animals and plant their own gardens to supplement their food to survive. Many couldn't afford to buy coal or wood to heat their houses in the winter so they would go steal it by either bribing a wood worker or go chop it at night. Owning dogs was a luxury. Few could afford to feed them not to mention pay taxes for owning them.

12.) Historic monuments were destroyed, gutted, valuables stolen and sold to foreign collectors. Castles and mansions were a symbol of capitalist evil, so when they kicked the owners out of them, they then used them to house livestock.

13.) People were being spied on openly. If you spoke up against the government, you were as good as gone. If your neighbor didn't like you, all he had to do is accuse you of expressing your anti-government beliefs. The secret police could show up at your door at any time. If they wanted to audit you, they would do it at their own convenience for whatever reason they wanted.

14.) Athletes were forced to be the best to represent the greatness and superiority of Communism. When they screwed up they were punished.

15.) The entire system collapsed when the government went bankrupt. People began to revolt, but at that point the Communist party had nothing to steal anymore. They essentially handed over the keys after they destroyed everything they could possibly destroy. I'm sure I could keep going, but I think I've given enough reasons already.

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radmenacer wrote

You seem to be talking about the USSR... Which was not communist in any way, shape or form.

Communism is a stateless, classless, and moneyless society.

Guess what the USSR had?

A totalitarian state, a brutally strong class system, and money.

It was, by definition, not communist.

At best, they were a society in the socialist stage of development, according to Marx's historical materialism.

At worst, and what most anarchists and pure Marxists would argue; they were state capitalist with the capitalist class and the ruling class being one in the same, as opposed to how it is in most free-market capitalist countries where they merely have a great deal of connections between them.

The only problem you listed that could really apply was the first, but the reason you considered it a problem wouldn't apply.

To understand what communists, and socialists in general, mean when they say they oppose private property, you need to keep in mind the distinction between personal property and private property.

Personal property is property used and/or occupied by the owner.

Private property is property that is neither used nor occupied by the owner.

Thus your living space is personal property, but a restaurant is private property.

When multiple people use/occupy something, then, under personal property, they would all own it collectively. So you and your roommates would own your home and you and your coworkers would own your workplace. We oppose private property, but not personal property. In communism, you would own the field you worked or your house. However, no one could ever own a field and have others work it for them.

Having others labor for you would be capitalism.

This, by the way, is why many consider the USSR to be state capitalist. The state owned what others labored for, just as the capitalists do in free-market capitalism.

tl;dr You critiqued state capitalism, not communism.

It's a common mistake thanks to the USSR's deafening propaganda.

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rot wrote (edited )

2.) Communism robbed people of ambition and therefore the drive to work harder. Everyone was required to work. You either worked or went to jail. Sounds fair...even nice until you realize your job is never going to earn you any great luxuries, and it's not like you can become anything you want to be. The lazy bums at your job earned the same amount as you and no matter how badly they slacked off, they knew they weren't going to be fired. You begin to wonder why you're killing yourself when there's nothing special to achieve....unless you kiss the ass of Communist party members and become one of them. They got rich by stealing, through bribes, etc.

same in capitalism

13.) People were being spied on openly. If you spoke up against the government, you were as good as gone. If your neighbor didn't like you, all he had to do is accuse you of expressing your anti-government beliefs. The secret police could show up at your door at any time. If they wanted to audit you, they would do it at their own convenience for whatever reason they wanted

yup

Schools brainwashed kids into believing that Russia was the best country on earth. They would say that people to the west were starving and dying, but of course that was not true in the same way they tried to make it out to be

mmm hmmm

Big housing complexes arose around the country and they literally all looked the same. They were ugly as sin.....plain cement rectangles. People joked that they often walked into the wrong building thinking that's where they lived. These buildings started falling apart and there was no money to fix anything. The lifts inside them were breaking all the time.

I see you've been to the US

Groceries were very hard to come by. People had to stand in line for hours to get a loaf of bread, oranges, bannannas, toilet paper, etc. Oranges were a special treat around Christmas. Jeans were hard to come by and most people were careful to wear them on more special occasions.

Most people had to raise animals and plant their own gardens to supplement their food to survive. Many couldn't afford to buy coal or wood to heat their houses in the winter so they would go steal it by either bribing a wood worker or go chop it at night. Owning dogs was a luxury. Few could afford to feed them not to mention pay taxes for owning them.

Literally any poor country, go to capitalist Dominican Republic

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[deleted] wrote

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F3nd0 wrote

You seem to have misinterpreted something; many of us are not communists.

Wouldn't posting this to /f/communism be a way to address specially those who are, rather than Raddle as a whole?

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ergdj5 wrote

That's a fair point, I got linked to this from elsewhere and didn't even realize the subraddle. Either way, my points still stand that the communists here are anti-authoritarian.