EDITED AND HOSTED BY THE GREANVILLE POST
I n On Authority, Engels pointed out the lack of substance behind the arguments about how involving the state in building socialism is wrong because this route would be “authoritarian.” As he observed, any kind of revolution is authoritarian in nature, since it involves the forcible transfer of power. So the anarchists, liberals, and reactionaries who attacked Marxism for endorsing the state as a means to achieve socialism didn’t really care about upholding “liberty.” All of these groups believed in authority as a means for advancing their political goals, after all. They only cared about vindicating their own ideological camps.
The same hypocrisy is present in today’s denunciations of socialist countries like China as “authoritarian,” which of course come from the same political groups that decried the revolutionary theory of Marx throughout the 19th century. Since the Russian revolution of 1917, when Marxism started to be applied to the functionings of a large government, anti-communists from both the right and the left have tried to claim that reality has vindicated the “anti-authoritarian” critiques of Marxism. But all of these pronouncements about how Marxism leads to tyranny have depended on two dishonest arguing strategies: distortions of the truth about what socialist states have done, and blanket portrayals of the exercising of authority among socialist states as unjust.
Disputing the false claims about what these countries have done is as easy as pointing to the numerous factual holes in anti-communist atrocity propaganda. The Nazi-created lie about how Stalin starved Ukraine in an event called the “Holodomor,” the fabricated claims about how many were held in the gulags and what their conditions were like, and the unscientific estimations of how many Uyghur Muslims are in China’s anti-terrorism educational facilities (as well as the blatantly false claims about the conditions of these facilities) are all easy to point out.
The anti-communist argument that’s harder to persuade people against pertains to a philosophical opposition towards the very idea of using the state to achieve socialism. For the “libertarians” of both the right and the left, there’s something innately evil about utilizing the state to try to empower the proletariat. State coercion is viewed as unjust, or as a slippery slope towards tyranny which should be avoided.
The fact that China utilizes censorship doesn’t prove that the Chinese government is an evil force which must be opposed; it shows that China has had to restrict the flow of all the bigoted propaganda that the imperialists put out.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License