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Communists In Multi-party Political Systems  
User currently offlineDuke From Canada, joined Sep 1999, 1155 posts, RR: 2
Posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 1143 times:

The Communist regime was overthrown in Czechoslovakia during the November 1989 "velvet revolution", at just about the same time it fell in East Germany, Poland, Romania, and maybe a few other countries. However, the party was not banned, and a lot of the old people still support it. In fact, 41 out of 200 seats in the House of Representatives are members op the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia, and it may be only a matter of time before someone forms a coalition government with them.

Some of my English students said they would be worried in such a situation, others didn´t. One of them told me that in Italy, there have been governments involving the Communist party and that there wasn´t any disaster. So I would ask:

1) What does the record show happens in countries where the Communist Party has been in government, but not in a regime, only as a coalition (or majority/minority government)? Is there typically trouble?

2) Does Italy have a leaning toward Communism? I have noticed that the topic of Communism comes up from time to time in relation to this country, and that the country´s crest looks VERY communist (it´s a 5-pointed star in a sprocket, not very imaginative).

3) Has the Communist Party of Canada ever held a seat?

4) Is Communism and being a Communist technically illegal in the USA? I often hear about Joseph Macarthy hunting them down, but don´t know what the implications of this were and are. It would interest me.

9 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 1, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 1118 times:
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For starters you should understand that the parties that call themselves communist are not really communist, but rather hardline socialist. They would like to see a government similar in setup to the old USSR, but they think that they can "correct" the failings of that system.

Quoting Duke (Thread starter):
2) Does Italy have a leaning toward Communism? I have noticed that the topic of Communism comes up from time to time in relation to this country, and that the country´s crest looks VERY communist (it´s a 5-pointed star in a sprocket, not very imaginative).

Yes. Italy has had a tradition of socialist and communist bases, even having towns near Roma where streets are named for Marx, Engels and even Gagarin. The Communist Party in Italy was suppressed in the 20's by Mussolini, and in the late 40's by popular vote. SInce then they have often gained some seats in parliament, but never anything close to a majority. However Italy is very socialist in some of it's labor laws and welfare programs, even though they have often voted conservative by European standards.

Quoting Duke (Thread starter):
1) What does the record show happens in countries where the Communist Party has been in government, but not in a regime, only as a coalition (or majority/minority government)? Is there typically trouble?

When they are simply a part of the ruling coalition (as in France not too long ago) they are merely the far left of that group. They are terrific propenents of work stoppages and other labor actions, and encourage impossible to pay for worker benefits and are willing to strike early and often to get them, no matter what it does to the businesses they affect.

When they have been ascendant in power they have proven themselves to be anti-democratic and somewhat murderous.

Quoting Duke (Thread starter):
4) Is Communism and being a Communist technically illegal in the USA? I often hear about Joseph Macarthy hunting them down, but don´t know what the implications of this were and are. It would interest me.

No....McCarthy was sent into obscurity by the very people that elected him when they realized he was hysterical at worst and extremely overreactive at best. There is a US Communist Party here http://www.cpusa.org/ and they operate openly and legally. They aren't very popular and are considered a fringe group.

Hope that helps.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineB744F From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 1115 times:

Quoting Duke (Thread starter):
4) Is Communism and being a Communist technically illegal in the USA? I often hear about Joseph Macarthy hunting them down, but don´t know what the implications of this were and are. It would interest me.

"technically" you have the freedom to support whoever and whatever you want. But the government has found ways around that many times.

McCarthy was a drunk failing politician who clung to the red scare as his only glory and once people realized how ridiculous he was (the claim that the "reds" invaded the Pentagon was the last straw), he was voted out and drank himself to death


User currently offlineAirbuzz From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 1110 times:

Quoting DL021 (Reply 1):
Yes. Italy has had a tradition of socialist and communist bases, even having towns near Roma where streets are named for Marx, Engels and even Gagarin. The Communist Party in Italy was suppressed in the 20's by Mussolini, and in the late 40's by popular vote. SInce then they have often gained some seats in parliament, but never anything close to a majority. However Italy is very socialist in some of it's labor laws and welfare programs, even though they have often voted conservative by European standards.

Extactly. The so called "Italian Communist Party" is 99% of the time dedicated to promoting workers rights against companies rights. 1% to promote environment "rights".

By the way I don't see any problem to streets named for Marx and Engels. They were economists that did an elaborate research. You might not like their ideas (like you might prefer John Maynard Keynes over Adam Smith), but they have nothing to do with Stalin et al.


User currently offlineNUair From Malaysia, joined Jun 2000, 1181 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 1111 times:

Quoting Duke (Thread starter):
4) Is Communism and being a Communist technically illegal in the USA? I often hear about Joseph Macarthy hunting them down, but don´t know what the implications of this were and are. It would interest me.



Quoting DL021 (Reply 1):
There is a US Communist Party here http://www.cpusa.org/ and they operate openly and legally. They aren't very popular and are considered a fringe group.

We also have several divisions of the International Communist League (Spartacist League) located throughout the US who are somewhat popular with local unions.

http://www.icl-fi.org/directory/slus.html



"How Many Assholes we got on this ship?" - Lord Helmet
User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 14026 posts, RR: 62
Reply 5, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 1075 times:

The most commercial street in the West Berlin district of Neukölln is still named after Karl Marx (and was so since the 1950s).
There is still a Gagarin street in former East Berlin, as well as an "Allee der Kosmonauten".


Jan


User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 6, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 1055 times:
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Quoting Airbuzz (Reply 3):
By the way I don't see any problem to streets named for Marx and Engels. They were economists that did an elaborate research. You might not like their ideas (like you might prefer John Maynard Keynes over Adam Smith), but they have nothing to do with Stalin et al.

I was merely pointing out that in this town there are streets named after prominent communists, but none after prominent capitalists. There is a statue of a famous Italian socialist/communist and it is in the middle of the old town square. I'd have a problem if someone named a street after Stalin, just like I would if they named one after Hitler. Lenin is marginal based on his eventual record, but hey.

Anyway....I love that part of Italy, and Italy in general..beautiful and friendly....even when you run into a worker who knows he can't be fired and doesn't feel like helping you out. They usually respond to yelling and screaming, so it's all good.  Wink

DL021



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineIakobos From Belgium, joined Aug 2003, 3313 posts, RR: 34
Reply 7, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 1044 times:

Quoting DL021 (Reply 1):
For starters you should understand that the parties that call themselves communist are not really communist, but rather hardline socialist.

A hardline socialist in 2005 is still called a communist, eventhough 2005 communism has distantiated itself from Stalinism or Maoism.

Quoting DL021 (Reply 1):
They would like to see a government similar in setup to the old USSR, but they think that they can "correct" the failings of that system.

No, I think that present-day communism has shifted from the "class struggle" to a more pragmatic approach, whereby the party plays its role in a democratic system and fills in the left seats of a parliamentary assembly and/or provides the opinions of the more leftists in the public, and thereby balances the (growing) far right.
There are variations from country to country, but from those I know well, some are actually not even interested in being part of a government (eg Greece).
Todays' communist leaders were born in the 50s and 60s and reached adulthood in the 70s and 80s. There might be some grey-haired aparatchiks surviving in some corners and able to make their voice heard in one or another committee, but modern-day communists are a different breed than the surviving relics of the Reds....even my father-in-law, a hard among the hardests, now marvels at the qualities of his Nissan and the superior taste of Famous Grouse....he insists he could do without, but when the choice is left to him he can indulge.


User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 8, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 1031 times:
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Ok....well, I'll let that go for now, but be aware that the only way to achieve many of the stated goals of the Communist Party in the US would be to nationalize production and socialize everything. Free market economics would not be possible on a grand scale, and the communists would have to either acknowledge the failure of their system or do away with the democracy that would prevent them from seeing it through.

I don't trust them. They want something for nothing.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineIakobos From Belgium, joined Aug 2003, 3313 posts, RR: 34
Reply 9, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 1016 times:

Quoting DL021 (Reply 8):
Ok....well, I'll let that go for now, but be aware that the only way to achieve many of the stated goals of the Communist Party in the US

The US commie is actually "hard" compared to (most) Euro-commie parties and the US socialist party has little in common with Euro-socialists.
I do not think they can serve as a reference to label similarly named parties in the old continent.

Their once favourite hymn ("C'est la lutte finale.....l'internationale fera le genre humain...etc") is now part of the party folklore, no longer the motto.
They have reduced their duty to defend the workers, no longer to change the world. Fine with me.


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