May Day 2007: A Day of Remembrance

Welcome to our annual Day of Remembrance. In past years, it has been held at our previous blog Catallarchy. This year, we were able to have our new project The Distributed Republic up and running just in time to host it here. Our goal is remember the plight of those lost lives to an ideology which promised to free the workers of the world but did the opposite.

The Cheka by Randall McElroy

Free Cuba by Rainbough Phillips

Sergey Prokofiev by Scott Scheule

Grinding People Down With Stupidity by Jonathan Wilde

The Great Kim Jong Il by Rainbough Phillips

Hoeryong: Peering Inside A Death Camp by Rainbough Phillips

Ecocide: The Murder Of The Aral Sea by Brian W. Doss

Remembrance by Jonathan Wilde

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The wages of fear

I have recently had the good fortune to stumble across several books -- notably the memoirs of George Kennan and the recent revisionist Cold War histories (can one be revisionist if the old theory one revises was one's own?) of John Lewis Gaddis -- that shed tremendous light on the motivations of the totalitarian evils of the USSR, China, and their satellites.

The single thing that stands out is that their evil was not an abstract incomprehensible thing but a real human response to a real human failing: Fear. The Communists were terrified beyond words of fascism, which accordingly they found lurking under every rock; of invasion and humiliation by a new installment in their countries' histories of invasion by nearby empires; of slow decay and decadence under some containing external fence. And these were not phantom fears -- Russia and China had each suffered under fascism, had each been invaded again and again and again, had each seen decay and collapse when dynamic frontiers became static.

It is tempting to write off evil as a supernatural or irrational and insane force beyond our reckoning. It is easy because in understanding unforgivable acts we must risk a chance, however slight, of forgiving them, of becoming the monsters we fight. "When you gaze into the abyss" etc. But we must be clear-eyed in this matter: Totalitarian evil was not inexplicable, or insane, or created for the purpose of mad and mindless destruction. No: It was created out of the simplest of human failings, which is fear.

Communism was crafted by idealists and, let us not mince words, optimists. It is no surprise that Marx was horrified by the "marxists" he saw peddling pessimistic resentment with his name-brand on the box. To dream of a new economic order requires that almost religious belief that this is not all that we can be. But while optimists can, on occasion, spark revolutions, they cannot rule. Rulers must find power outside of merely those able to be inspired by pretty visions; such power is most easily found in fear. And when the hopes of Marxist economics proved impractical, Communism lost its optimistic vision and became purely a creature of fear. And there is no limit to the evil that unleavened fear can do.

We remember 50 million dead. But we do so in steady, fearless hope: That there is, and always will be, better ways forward.

Marx was an optimist.. But

Marx was an optimist.. But Lenin.. or Stalin?

Lets not give too much credit where it is not due. The far left drifted into hate and resentment before attaining power. The moderate / sane left had already broken off and became the Social Democrats.

Also, Stalin, if anything seemed to have an irrational TRUST of Hitler...

New Site Sux

It's been less than 24 hours and I'm already prepared to deblogroll you guys. This is a total disaster!

At the very least, can you PLEASE break up the RSS feed into the bona fide Catallarchy members versus the "community" detritus? I do not want the latter clogging my aggregator.

Kip, Kip, Kip- Constructive

Kip, Kip, Kip-

Constructive criticism is fine, but you can do better than "the site sux," as you showed with the "at the very least" addendum. I've sent notice to our developer about the RSS feed and hopefully we can get that taken care of.

Anything in particular you'd like to add?

Brian, can you explain an

Brian, can you explain an aspect of how the individual user blogs are combined? When I look at your own blog here, there are entries in it which I can't find in either the main blog or the community blog. However, as far as I can see there is no way for me to write a blog entry without it getting into the community blog. Is this simply a difference between host (you) and guest (me), or am I missing something?

Thus far, and we're still

Thus far, and we're still WELL into the "shakedown cruise" phase of deployment, we have the community folks' entries all appear in the aggregator, as that was our first approximation of where we wanted to be. After May Day, we're going to be doing a lot of changes (to the aesthetics, the mechanics, etc), including doing something about the aggregation.

I noticed as well that for Catallarchists our non-front page posts stay in our own archive sections vs. popping into the community, and I believe that is a (current) side effect of how the aggregator works (its lookign for non-Catallarchists). We are still exploring the full potential of what we can do so it may turn out that we can put another level in for Community folk so they can have things flowing through the aggregator and some not. More likely we'll have some sort of compromise for Catallarchist backpage material to show up somewhere.

My understanding of a

My understanding of a blogroll is that it's a set of links to other blogs. You can still blogroll the "Catallarchy" section of the blog at your blog.

IMO, though, with the exception of that idiot Constant with his one stupid navel-gazing post, the non-official contributions have been pretty good.

Memorial Day

The memorial to the first major battle against communism is Holdomor Day - in memory of 10 million Ukrainians that perished in the genocide famines of 1921, 1932, and 1947.

Fascism, Socialism, Communism - All the same to me

Could someone please explain to me the difference between say, "socialism" and "fascism"?

I really can't tell the difference - both seem to me universalist ideologies with collectivist dogma. Is it that fascism is meant to be "contained" within an individual state, whilst socialism is meant to encompass all mankind?

But yet...Socialism, or "Communism" (socialists in a hurry) seems to me to have been pretty nationalistic, with all the talk of "Mother Russia" and all...

Socialism v. Fascism

The differences between socialism as exercised through the state and fascism are minimal. However, libertarian fascism is impossible, whereas libertarian socialism is perfectly possible - either no state or a minimal state, where the means of production are primarily owned by workers instead of a separate owning class. People in the classic American libertarian heritage - Lysander Spooner and Benjamin Tucker - identified as socialists. No one in the libertarian line has ever identified as "fascist".

- Josh

Libertarian Socialism

I suspect that libertarian socialism, while possible in the sense that it's not inherently contradictory, is not realistically sustainable. People have different levels of ability and different rates of time preference. As long as people are free to trade, these differences will eventually lead to a distribution of shares in the means of production closer to what we have now than to the socialist model, no matter what the initial distribution looks like.

Fascism and syndicalism and libertarian fascism

In brief, fascism is nationalist syndicalism, in which case anarcho-fascism must eschew nationalism and therefore must be syndicalism pure and simple, or more precisely anarcho-syndicalism. Thus anarcho-syndicalism can reasonably be thought of as libertarian fascism.

Fascism in Italy grew out of two other movements: syndicalism and nationalism. The syndicalists believed that economic life should be governed by groups representing the workers in various industries and crafts. The nationalists, angered by Italy's treatment after World War I, combined the idea of class struggle with that of national struggle. Italy was a proletarian nation, they said, and to win a greater share of the world's wealth, all of Italy's classes must unite. Mussolini was a syndicalist who turned nationalist during World War I.


Mussolini's fascism took another step at this time with the advent of the Corporative State, a supposedly pragmatic arrangement under which economic decisions were made by councils composed of workers and employers who represented trades and industries. By this device the presumed economic rivalry between employers and employees was to be resolved, preventing the class struggle from undermining the national struggle. In the Corporative State, for example, strikes would be illegal and labor disputes would be mediated by a state agency.

Theoretically, the fascist economy was to be guided by a complex network of employer, worker, and jointly run organizations representing crafts and industries at the local, provincial, and national levels. At the summit of this network was the National Council of Corporations. But although syndicalism and corporativism had a place in fascist ideology and were critical to building a consensus in support of the regime, the council did little to steer the economy. The real decisions were made by state agencies such as the Institute for Industrial Reconstruction (Istituto per la Ricosstruzione Industriale, or IRI), mediating among interest groups.

Library of Economics and Liberty

The distinction made at the tail end of this excerpt is not between fascism and syndicalism, but between the theory of fascism and the practice of fascism. In order to be consistent and fair in our treatment of fascism and socialism, then since we have treated socialism as a theory, thereby allowing for the possibility of anarcho-socialism (libertarian socialism), we must also treat fascism as a theory, ignoring its practice for the duration of the discussion. Its theory of the organization of the economy is syndicalism, or if not exactly syndicalism then something very close. Compare the theory of the economy under fascism with the theory of syndicalism, described above and again below.

Syndicalism refers to a set of ideas, movements, and tendencies which share the avowed aim of transforming capitalist society through action by the working class on the industrial front. For syndicalists, labour unions are the potential means both of overcoming capitalism and of running society in the interests of the majority. Industry and government in a syndicalist society would be run by labour union federations.


Bad link

Doss's Ecocide link has 04/30 where it should have 05/01. I suspect his postscript changed the target address.



Socialism,Communism, Libertarianism

I don’t think fascism is an economic system though it is highly statist. It puts the economy at a low priority compared to national spiritual values.
Fascism promotes the rule of the elite, the superior race. By virtue of racial or national factors the superior people have the duty to throw off the corrupt, impure influences of inferior people and violently take control society. It has limited appeal, because not everybody can be part of the super race. It could be modifies so the super race would be defined as a believer in a certain religion, and thus achieve universality. For example –Islamofacism.

The basis of Communism and socialism is egalitarianism. Though complex in theory, the appeal ultimately derives from the child like belief all people have the categorical right to be equal. The basic human feeling they appeal to is fairness. If you have children you know what I mean. The first thing when they learn to talk they start saying things like, “ He got a bigger ice cream cone than me.” Thus socialism is thus based on the childlike idea that the world will be right when all persons are equal.
An inherent weakness of socialism can also be observed in children. You will never see two children arguing over the fact that it is their turn to mow the lawn and their brother wants to do it instead.
The socialist dream is based on the idea that egalitarianism of drudgery will be shared, because of the wonderfulness of living in a completely egalitarian society. Under Communism the state will wither away when all the revisionists and counterrevolutionaries are killed. Under socialism the state will remain in place and its skilled experts will govern and control all for the benefit of all.

Under Communism the equality can rightly be achieved by any means necessary, no matter how many people must be killed. Those who are repelled by this are guilty of bourgeoisie thinking. In most other forms of socialism the means necessary are usually more limited but necessarily involve organizes force against other persons, whether you call this government or not. Thus libertarian socialism is a contradiction in my view.

It is a contradiction because it does not take into account inherent human selfishness.
In libertarianism personal freedom trumps equality. The pursuit property and self interest result paradoxically result in a more beneficial society than the strictly egalitarian ideal and no overly intrusive government is necessary.
Of course I think the liberty/equality equation is an ever moving balancing act, not a categorical choice. I think some people around here don’t agree with this.