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Are You A Communist ?!
by Leah Sellers
2015-05-01 10:27:34
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Today, I was taken aback.
Someone (who shall remain nameless), who had been wanting to have political discussions with me, as of late, for some reason, asked me what I thought about everything that was happening in Baltimore, Maryland.
I knew that she was a staunch Tea Party Republican, so I was surprised by her question.
balt01_400“Well, if you want the Voices and Issues of a Peaceful Protest to be Heard, to be Addressed, Expressed, Redressed, and Acted upon in Positive Ways by a whole Culture and Community, you cannot fall into the void of Criminal and Violent Acting out no matter how angry or upset you are.  Because then everyone’s Positive Energies, Attentions and Intentions are directed toward the Criminality and Violence being done instead of the Issues being Voiced by the Peaceful Protesters.” 
“In fact, in many instances the Criminality and Violence hurt, damage and destroy the very Communities needing the most help to begin with.  Criminality and Violence undermine movements for Positive Change and Individual, Social and Institutional Reformation.  Because when Folks get Frightened by Crime, Violence and Chaos, the so-called Help that puts everything back in order, so to speak, is normally punitive, and ultimately even more diminishing and repressive in nature.”
“Are you a Communist ?!”
“Excuse me ?”
“You sound like a Communist.”
Uh, no ma’am, I’m not a Communist.  I’m more of a Social Democrat.”
“What does that mean?”
“Well, I believe in the Rule of the Many, not the Few.  I believe in a government that is For, By and Of the People, not just the Few.  I believe in everybody’s basic Rights to Liberty, Justice and Opportunity, not just the Few.  I believe that every Citizen has the Right to Vote for the executives and legislators they want to represent them during periodic Free Elections.  And I believe in Social Equality and Benevolent Capitalism that Benefits Everybody, not just the Few….”
“Are you a Socialist ?”
“No ma’am.  I really do believe in an amalgamation of democracy and socialism.  A Social Democracy.  Where we have privately owned property by the Many, not just the Few.  And Entrepreneurship by the Many, not Oligarchic, Totalitarian Mega Corporate Empires that want to gobble everything and everyone up into their Feudalist Empires, and destroy democratic and socialistic governments in general so that they can get by with it…..”
“What’s about Communism ?  Don’t they want to gobble up Communism, too ?”
“Well, Communism, in it’s purest form has never really existed.  All the so-called Communistic countries have ever really known is a Totalitarian government.”
“What is that ?”
“A Totalitarian government is ruled by an Autocrat who has total, absolute authority over every Citizen of the State.  The Citizens are his Subjects.  The Autocrat has complete control of their Lives through the State, which is usually held together by a Military-Industrial-Corporate Complex.”
“No, no.  That’s Communism.”
“No ma’am.  That’s what I’ve been trying to explain to you.  Communism advocates the elimination of private property.  That all property belongs to the People through the State.  And that all Goods are owned in common by all of the People, and are available to all of the People equally.  That form of Communism has never had the opportunity to really exist.  The so-called Communistic countries are actually Totalitarian constructs with a few elements of Communistic threads interwoven here and there idealistically, but not in reality.”
“In fact, I’ve often wondered about Karl Marx’s being an agnostic or an atheist who was probably a Humanist that appreciated the Messages of Christ, but hated the Power of the Church.” 
“So, he created a language and a technocratic construct for a government that Christ would probably have appreciated, where everyone treats one another as Equals, and seeks to Share everything equally with Everyone else.  But Marx made it a State Religion so that he wouldn’t have to worry about it becoming a Theocracy.  Because he didn’t trust the stability and intentions of a government run by Men who would eventually attempt to make themselves Gods, as men in power are apt to do.  It‘s somewhat easier to oust State run godheads than Heavenly Earth bound deities.”
“Are you saying that Christ was a Communist ?”
“No ma’am, I’m just theorizing about how things came to be.”
“Well, I’m here to tell you right now, that Christ was not a Communist.”
“Yes ma’am, I totally agree with you.  Communism, per se, as far as anyone knows, definitely did not exist during Christ’s time on Earth.”
“Then what are we talking about ?”
“Well, origianally I thought that we were talking about the Protests that broke out into Criminal Activity and Violence over the death of Freddie Gray at the hands of the police when he was in their custody, but we wandered off into the weeds about some other things.”
“That’s right, I remember now.  Well, if you ask me, all of those rioters are Communists.”
“Well, they are definitely communing within a Community…..”
“See there, I told you so.  They’re stinkin’ Communist pinkos trying to destroy our country.  They need to put everyone of them on a plane out of here.  They don’t like it here, they can just leave.”
“Actually, ma’am, their Protesting is a very American thing to do.  They are practicing their Right to Free Speech.”
“Well, that Right to Free Speech they’re so proud of ended when they burned those cop cars and shops in Baltimore, and threw rocks at the cops and put them in the hospital with broken bones and concussions.”
“Yes ma’am, you do have a point there.”
“I’m so glad that we agree about all of this.  And I’m relieved to find out that you’re not a stinkin’ Communist.”
“Well, I’m glad that you feel better, ma’am….”
“I hope we can have more conversations like this in the future.”
“Me, too, ma’am.  It’s been very interesting speaking with you about all of these things.  I think that we both have a better understanding of one another.”
“Good, then, I’ll see you tomorrow sometime later in the day.”
“Yes ma’am, and we’ll get another opportunity to Commune with one another, but in a purely democratic way, of course. You have a good one !”
“Right back at ya’ darlin’.  I’m so glad to know that you’re not a Stinko Pinko….”

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Emanuel Paparella2015-05-01 13:24:53
The first Christian communities did in fact practice perfect communism. In the Acts of the Apostles we read that “they loved one another and held everything in common.” Even Marx never envisioned a perfect communism with a perfect distribution of wealth; he wrote “each according to his needs and each according to his needs” and since we all have different talents and different needs (to be distinguished from greedy wants), that means in practice that a perfect distribution of wealth is a logistic impossibility. Actually, had Marx wanted to see perfect communism, all he would have had to do is go and visit a Catholic Franciscan or Dominican monastery. There too they own everything in common.

Socialism as an aspiration of the human spirit has been with us since Plato's republic which advocates the common good. Ignazio Silone believed that one can reject totalitarianism (he resigned from the communist party in protest against the Kangaroo courts of Stalin) without at the same time giving up socialism as an aspiration of the human spirit for justice.

Emanuel Paparella2015-05-03 00:04:07
Errata: the dictum from Marx is incorrect. It should read "to each according to his talents..."

Leah Sellers2015-05-04 20:25:34
Indeed, Brother Emanuel. We are in perfectly nonperfectly distributed agreement, dear sir !

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