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mazingerz88's avatar

Did Karl Marx espouse killing millions in the name of communism?

Asked by mazingerz88 (28586points) 2 months ago from iPhone

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16 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

No. And Marx never expected that underdeveloped countries would lead the way into Communism. It was thought that Communism would rise organically from the oppression of the workers by Capitalists.

However, when it was imposed by revolutionary leaders, Communism could only move forward by Totalitarian regimes, and Totalitarianism has a horrible history of killing its enemies.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

No. But he certainly missed a key fact. Communism leaves a vacuum and it’s usually filled with bad actors who exploit the situation.

gorillapaws's avatar

No. Marx was essentially advocating for co-ops as the natural evolution beyond an exploitative capitalist model whereby the workers would vote to control their workplaces. The Mondragon Corporation would be emblematic of the kind of economic structures Marx had in mind.

elbanditoroso's avatar

No, Marx was dealing with theoretical constructs of society. We had to read his stuff in college, in a political theory class.

Despotic leaders took what Marx had written and bastardized it for their own ends, which often included killing thousands or millions of people.

The thing is that, if it were well understood and carried out in a cooperative way, communism is not a bad thing. It has – in an ideal society – a lot going for it.

The problem is that people (a) do not act altruistically, and (b) are selfish, and© many use power and wealth for its own end. So you end up with the examples of bad communism that we have today.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@elbanditoroso also some of the countries that tried to adopt Communism already had strict social hierarchies. Communism promoted equality which was extremely at odd with the status quo of those countries. So when the rebels got the power they started going back to the hierarchies because that was all that they knew. It was just same rule, different ruler.

filmfann's avatar

No. Don’t confuse his thesis with the damage others caused representing it.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Mimishu1995 well said, I agree 100%

kevbo1's avatar

@elbanditoroso, i’ve been taking in a lot of Stephen Kotkin’s lectures on YouTube. Kotkin has written Volumes I and II of a three-volume biography on Stalin. Stalin started out as a revolutionary against the tsar, and Kotkin argues that Stalin’s despotism arose from the process of implementing a communist revolution in Russia and not the other way around. Citing newer evidence from party and state archives, he says the big secret is that behind closed doors, Stalin and his cadre were, in fact, dyed-in-the-wool communists.

Forever_Free's avatar

Communist regimes produced the greatest ideological carnage in human history, killing more than a hundred million people in the last century. While some people claim it is unfair to Marx to blame him, the seeds of tyranny were there from the start.

mazingerz88's avatar

^^So if Marx did not write down his ideas, no carnage?

Forever_Free's avatar

^^ kind of like Trump followers believing in his absurd comments.
Follow, follow follow follow.

gorillapaws's avatar


I suspect you’ve not read Marx. Blaming him for the actions of totalitarian regimes would be like blaming Christ for all of the heinous acts done in his name (wars, massacres, witch burnings, etc.)

Also let’s not let capitalism off the hook either. Between turning our oceans into a plastic wasteland, corrupting most of the world’s democracies into kleptocracies, and the incitement of wars for oil/profits, there’s plenty of death and suffering to go around. In fact, a huge portion of the misery in the world can be tied back to the CIA’s overthrowing of the democratically elected Mohammad Mossadegh in Iran, who promised to use the oil wealth in his country for the betterment of the Iranian people. This interference triggered a cascade of events that lead to the war between Iran and Iraq, Iran contra, Desert Storm, The bombing of the US barracks in Saudi Arabia, both World Trade Center bombings, The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq + Syria and is lingering on even now with Iranian drones being flown into civilian buildings by Russia.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@gorillapaws You think capitalism alone is responsible for all the plastic in the oceans? Incitement of wars? Corrupting democracies? All the world powers participate in this at a high level, regardless of their particular governing style.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Blackwater_Park I think capitalism has played the primary role—for certain. Marxism has barely left a dent by contrast. I would say the closets real-life examples to the kinds of post-capitalist organizations that a would arise out of the exploitation of capitalism would be kibbutzes, the Mondragon corporation, mutual companies, and credit unions, but I’m no expert.

Forever_Free's avatar

@gorillapaws read it and all other such manifesto’s

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

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