Friday, January 27, 2006

Onslaught on the Ideology of Communism

Lately numerous institutional and political attacks are directed against Communist practices and ideology. Looking at these attacks on Communism it would seem that Communist idea is still alive and kicking in our liberal democratic societies and that people standing behind the critique of Communism are brave individuals who stand up against tyranny. This is, of course, not true, what these individuals are doing is simply beating the dead corpse and using their actions to achieve petty political gain.

Many Eastern European Countries (e.g. Hungary) introduced a legal ban on a public display of communist Insignia.Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) has adopted a resolution (Resolution 1481 (2006) falling short of directly condemning the Communist ideology, however, getting very close to such a direct accusation. In its paragraph 3, this Resolution affirms that Communist crimes “were justified in the name of the class struggle theory and the principle of dictatorship of the proletariat. The interpretation of both principles legitimised the ‘elimination’ of people who were considered harmful to the construction of a new society and, as such, enemies of the totalitarian communist regimes.”

Whether the dream of classless society is a useful political instrument or not, the PACE Resolution remains silent on. It can be said to an extent that the pressure of communist ideology and political activism did contribute to the construction of the post World War II welfare state in Europe (as by the way this resolution recognizes in its paragraph 4, “some European communist parties have made contributions to achieving democracy”).

Simultaneously to the PACE Resolution, Pope Benedict XVI, in its first encyclical also wrote about utopia of solidarity and political maximalism, “[w]hen we consider the immensity of others' needs, we can, on the one hand, be driven towards an ideology that would aim at doing what God's governance of the world apparently cannot: fully resolving every problem.” The Pope calls Marixst ideology inhumane and essentially impossible, he recalls that history has confirmed his position towards Marxism to be correct. The “illusion” of a classless society, Pope Benedict XVI says, “has vanished”. Instead of Communist political maximalism the Pope suggests patient charitable and spiritual activity to fight for more justice in the world.

Does this mean that any political ideology of the utopian character is wrong? It is really difficult to sustain such an argument. As far as Communism is concerned it is true that Communist regimes are to be blamed for some of the most atrocious crimes in the history of humanity. Such crimes were facilitate by the historical and social determinism inbuilt in the Marxist teaching. Nevertheless, it is wrong to negate the positive effects of the dream of classless society. This dream has prevented that the idea of social justice falls into oblivion, it has prevented, that our societies be plagued by “inertia” and a belief that “nothing can be accomplished” (Benedict XVI). The same can also be said for Christianity, Capitalism or any other world view. Condemning the worldview as such amounts to intellectual poverty. As dangerous as the real Bolshieviks, are the right-wing bolshieviks who today engage in the Communist-wich hunt. They politically instrumentalize Communism and its jusitifed critique to achieve their petty political aims.

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