A few articles in the
US mainstream press have dared to
venture into the questions "Why would anyone today want to be a
communist?" After all the cold war was just won and the capitalist class won
it. The capitalist forces fought with propaganda and arms to kill an idea they
never wanted in the first place. Their joy in defeating communism is easy
enough to see. The mainstream press is run
by successful journalists who like being wealthy and don't want anyone
to take that from them. In other words "it is OK to be wealthy." And
"It is good."
What we have is a theoretical situation similar to the guard dog (Soviet Union) at the hen house died and now the fox (
imperialism) has all the eggs and chickens he can handle. US
So this first part of this piece is from Time Magazine. I have to give them credit for publishing anything on this. I constantly come across friends and relative who say: "you mean there are still Marxist organizations in the world?" -As in how could this be- the communist world imploded, "why would anyone believe in communism?"
Before I go into the articles and the questions they ask, let me say that as a communist my main position is that the capitalist system simply doesn't work for all people. It works for the 1 percent and it sometimes works for the middle-class, but makes no effort to work for the working poor or the poor themselves. In fact, the system wants to kill off poor people here in Kansas.
"Who are these utopian idealist seekers? They’re not just aging has-beens whose moral vision is clouded by antiquated ways of seeing. (photographer, Jan)Banning was surprised to find that many young people in
Nepal and believed in communism.
“Within these communist parties, there are different styles or approaches or
atmospheres,” says Banning. “While those who were absolutely skeptical simply
didn’t allow me in, most were quite open about their ideology.” Italy
They also implied that this was not a simple question of "who wants this," but a phenomenon as to "what might be wrong with someone who would want this." So for the Time article:
Of course, there is a touch of irony in the Banning’s photographs, but he says it’s almost intentional. “If I want to stimulate people to think, some element of absurdity is necessary,” he says. “I’m not trying to make them look a certain way at all, but there is a bit of absurdity in every office. Whether it’s the office of a bureaucrat or of a communist, the whole idea of an office is a kind of theater stage. I’m using that to engender thought.”
Right off we see that believing in a system of fairness is "absurd." Imagine a system that believes in equality and taking care of those who might need assistance? We already realize the ruling class of the
US feels that
equality is absurd. Inequality is the norm. It is also seen by the ruling class
as desirable. To be rich is to be able to ignore those who live without their
needs met. To be wealthy is to be able to ignore the needs of the many to enjoy
the excesses of the privileged.
So to be fair, Jan Banning, "is traveling the world to document, as part of an ongoing project, the offices of people who still have faith in communism, an ideology that dominated the better half of the 20th century but, since 1989, has been slowly losing influence."
Also to be fair, the end of the cold war brought a downward spiral on those who believed in communism. But today, as a blogger who has been in contact with people all over the globe, I would say that the support of these ideals have returned. And most of that is both from the Trotskyite tendency as well as those of Stalin or Mao. The "pro-Soviet Union faction" is still reeling from a set back that such groups as Communist Party USA may never fully recover.
For an example of a Maoist international site, with groups from South America,
Asia and all over the
world, such as RED DE BLOGS COMUNISTAS, http://www.reddeblogscomunistas.blogspot.ro/.
Also there has been a growth of Trotskyite organizations and internationals in the world. They would include the International Marxist Tendency (http://www.marxist.com/) and also Freedom Socialist (http://www.socialism.com/drupal-6.8/articles/leon-trotsky-and-power-ideas).
One important point here is that the majority of US communists here in this
never supported the Soviet Union, nor did they
look up to that system as the best that communism had to offer. And yet most of the articles about
communists still focus on why they would be communist when the Soviet Union seemed so faulted. The answer is that most US communist,
as well as those in other countries, looked elsewhere for inspiration.
The second article I want to examine is from the Vice, "LA's Newest Communist-Themed Restaurant Made Me Realize I'd Be a Terrible Communist."
Of course the author, Megan Koester, isn't a good communist. She is part of the ruling class. She has wealth and privilege. She would never intentionally give those up. More acute lessons learned are:
" Now, some may find it gauche to base a restaurant's theme on a political regime that created a famine which contributed to the deaths of between 23 to 40 million people, but fret not — the owners of Private Party are actually from Northern China, so unlike Jurassic Restaurant—which, by the by, is not run by dinosaurs—they actually have tangible ties to the culture they're borrowing from."....
The famine was a mistake, but only a small part of the Chinese history under Mao. It is only the
US bourgeoisie that believe that this
is the only thing we should look for under Maoist communism. This person came
to this LA. Restaurant to see why anyone would say anything nice about Mao,
communism or China.
"Anyhow, Communist-themed restaurants are all the rage nowadays in China itself; numerous Mao-filled outlets in places like Chongqing and Gansu Province serve up dumplings and soups with a smile. (The existence of said smiles, not to mention the existence of food, are how you can tell modern
is has, at least somewhat,
entered the 21st century.) And for what it's worth, China Havana,
Cuba also has its own
Communism-themed restaurant, Nazdarovie, which, according to its website,
"celebrates the social and cultural bond that was born between the Cuban
people and the peoples of the former Soviet Union."
One would assume all the restaurants in North Korea
do the same, but for whatever reason I could find no reference to their
And then there are the posters. We would assume that such a restaurant had them:
"Dozens of faux propaganda posters, replete with smiling Maos and happy workers and beautiful women, hang on the otherwise painfully average walls of Private Party. The only one I could competently translate, located behind the cash register, boasted that the restaurant serves the "best hot pot in
As I have not consumed any other hot pot in Los Angeles , I cannot confirm or deny this
braggadocious claim. I can say, however, that when it comes to the People's
Republic of Los Angeles ,
braggadociousness is very on brand." China
"Many of the bright, engaging posters hung below surveillance cameras; the restaurant's presumably unintentional inclusion of said cameras served to push its "Big Brother is watching" vibe. Arguably, it is the only truly Big Brother-esque aspect of the entire, otherwise unexceptional, experience."
So what do these posters have to do with big brother? We have posters here in the
and no one every claims they are a product of big brother. Schools across the
country have had pictures of George Washington and Abe Lincoln in them without
anyone claiming this is big brother watching. -And all of this because there
are security cameras above or below the posters.
I have to praise these authors for their attempt at explaining those of us who refuse to give up the dream for a better tomorrow. We do seek a better future- and there are no examples of future visions of capitalists. For the status quo it is- "this is the best we can hope for. This is the way it has to be."
I am glad there are examples of our dream still with us in today's society.
We will always dream of a better tomorrow and we will die with that dream. There can be no other way. This is not the best we can hope for and we know it. I am thankful to these publications for even trying to explain why so many of us will never give up that dream....