Communism at "Peace"
A Brief Outline of Non-Wartime Communist Atrocities
    Few millennials know about the evils of communism.  

    I've taken survey after survey of students in my English classes,
    and very few students (about a third) say they've studied anything
    about communism in their high school classes. One student actually
    claimed she had studied communism, but all she had been taught
    was America's wickedness during the McCarthy hearings.  It's
    baffling.  It's as if the 80-100 million deaths never happened.

    Communism was and is evil...not just bad ...but evil: 80-to-
    100 million corpses bear that out. Some of these corpses
    form roadbeds in the Arctic Circle (Soviet Union  [56]).  Others
    have been ingested by starving relatives driven to canni-
    balism (Cambodia, China, North Korea, Soviet Union [57]). Some people
    have served as pig food (Bulgaria [58]), while others have served
    as fertilizer to nourish the crops (Cambodia, China [59]). The strange
    thing is that all this occurred within the last century--and still,
    few millennials know anything about it.

    It scares me to think that the evil behind yesterday's communism
    might be the same evil behind today's ignorance. So I am offering
    a brief statistical outline for anyone who would like to become
    more informed about a system that  purports to be run by "the
    people" but always winds up being run by a thousand Caligulas.

    I am no R.J. Rummel, and there is little in the data that
    advances argumentative discourse--but the goal isn't to
    advance the argument, it's to broaden the audience; and the
    target isn't the academic researcher; the target is the individual
    whom I refer to as the "unfairly uninformed."

    Atrocities are broken into the most accessible of demographics--
    "the villager"; "the religious"; "the homosexual"; etc.--and the
    breadth of persecution is made quickly real without relying on
    numbers that are too huge to comprehend.  The goal is for
    hell to become visible after 10 minutes of perusal.

    These statistics are excerpted from a forthcoming treatise,
    and these data have been posted in advance because of their
    potential value. Meticulous care has been given to ensure
    that these numbers do not include military or war-related
    deaths; therefore, we are seeing communism's brutality as
    it truly relates to its citizens apart from its expansionist ideals.
    The one exception concerns Peru. The communists (Luminosa)
    lost the civil war, so by definition, any communist atrocities in
    Peru were war-related. However, the numbers for Peru were
    relatively small, while Peru comprised an important part of
    communism's Latin American footprint. Since Peru is an impor-
    tant part of the overall narrative, it has been included here
    though it is made abundantly clear that their numbers are war-
    related and constitute an exception.

    Additionally, meticulous care has been given to categorize
    victims in each country without double-counting them. This
    is a daunting task since many victims fall into more than one
    category (e.g., most landowners fall into both the kulak and
    the villager categories). When such a situation arises, the victim
    is placed into one category or the other but not both.

    And while there is something cold and dehumanizing about
    reducing human beings to categories--through simple categories
    we see the raised imprint of a culture and a society. Ultimately,
    categories at least come closer to conjuring human faces than
    do sheer, abstract numbers.  

    Moreover, while these statistics do not shed a great deal of
    light on the question of whether Karl Marx,  Friedrich Engels
    and the Communist Manifesto bear ultimate responsibility for
    communism's savagery, the numbers do reveal insights into the
    argument.  Certainly, devotees of communism will always hide
    behind the cliché that "true Marxism has never been tried."
    But if this claim is true, then it follows that Marx and Engels are
    among the worst writers of all time; it’s no small thing when a
    writer botches his message so badly that it's misconstrued to the
    tune of 90 million dead bodies.  

    As far as the larger question "what is communism?",  a close
    reading of the Manifesto reveals that communism is the only
    true system of guaranteed liberties, a political and economic
    doctrine in which the right to own people is guaranteed to all
    property, control of the means of production is shared equally
    between gulag and executioner, and the right to worship the
    State is guaranteed to all who are forced to serve it.  

    James McCachren

James McCachren served in the Peace Corps in Uzbekistan  
in 1994-1995, three years after the Central Asian country
seceded from the USSR. He holds an M.F.A. from the
University of Florida and is currently an English instructor
at Halifax Community College in Weldon, NC.