Rhetoric:Communists Are Just As Bad As Nazis

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We have already discussed the death tolls and economic factors that antisocialists tiresomely mention in their half‐baked comparisons, but there are more reasons why this equivalence is not only false, but extremely offensive.

False equivalences[edit]

Long‐time Jewish antifascist Efraim Zuroff stated that “There are two major components of Holocaust distortion. One is to hide or minimize the role of local collaborators. The other one is to claim that Communism is just as bad as [Fascism], and that Communism should be categorized as genocide.” He argues that this is anti‐Semitic, “because if Communism is categorized as genocide, it means that Jews committed genocide. Jewish communists were among those who committed the crimes of the [people’s republics]. If Jews committed genocide, how can we complain about their committing genocide,[1]” he said. Holocaust scholar Dovid Katz likewise condemned the comparison (even in spite of his own disdain for Bolshevism[2]), and stated:

It is fair to say that nearly all the local killers in Eastern Europe were, at the time of their crimes, reliably anti‐Soviet. From the [Axis] invasion of June 22, 1941 onward, when the actual genocidal phase of the Holocaust got underway, each and every murderer was anti‐Soviet and yearned for a [Fascist] victory. By contrast, every victim of the [Third Reich], and all the Righteous among the Nations who risked all to just do the right thing and save a neighbor, prayed for a Soviet victory — not because they were all Communists, but because the Soviet Union was the only force seriously fighting the [Axis] on ground zero of the Holocaust from the onset of the genocide and right through to liberation.


The Holocaust cannot, must not, be subsumed — but that is precisely what the Double Genocide theory seeks to do. It is the primary new mainstream form of Holocaust Denial, and should be treated with at least as much outrage as […] Trump’s invocation of supposed moral equivalence between people who came to Charlottesville, Virginia in [neofascist] torch-lit processions […] and those who came to protest them.

—Dovid Katz, [3]

Katz has noted that Lithuanian antisocialists have been actively prosecuting some Holocaust survivors (and, along with other Baltic antisocialists, honoring Axis collaborators meanwhile) as a result of this popular false equivalence.[4] Associate Professor Daniel Ben‐Moshe likewise agreed: ‘Jewish organizations have for the most part failed to act in response to the emergence of double genocide in Lithuania. If they don’t want Hungary to be part of a spreading of this form of Holocaust denial they must act now. It is now time for all individuals and organizations to add their names to the declaration, which they can do at www.seventyyearsdeclation.org.[5] With two exceptions, ‘most Ukrainian Jewish leaders do not support recognizing the Holodomor as genocide. Jewish leaders say [that] it is unfair to link the Holodomor and the Holocaust[.] “We regret the tragedy of the Ukrainian people, but [Ukraine’s head of state] can’t equate the Holocaust and the tragedy […] in Ukraine,” said Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich, one of Ukraine’s chief rabbis.[6] President of the World Zionist Organization, Nahum Goldmann, acknowledged that to ‘compare in any way the policy of the Soviet government with the [Fascists] is not only a hideous distortion, but highly unfair to Soviet Russia, which has saved hundred of thousands of Jews when they escaped from the [Axis] at the beginning of the Second World War.[7] More recently, the (otherwise centrist) historian, Edna Friedberg, issued on behalf of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum an advisory against Holocaust analogies in general.[8]

Even a single comparison should suffice to complicate antisocialists’ false equivalence. For example, see how the Fascists treated Poland:

Rural losses were spectacular, but were to take even longer to replace. Forest destruction was estimated at 28%; cattle at 60%. Moreover, 350,000 farm buildings about a quarter of the country’s total, were destroyed or seriously damaged, thus leaving many stretches of land incapable of cultivation. Taking country and city dwellings, industrial establishments and public buildings together, total losses in building properties were estimated at 35%. […] Fascist biologic policy, ‘to break down the biological strength of the Polish nation by all means leading to this end’, operated in a number of ways. Towards the intelligentsia […] the policy was, where possible, annihilation. Towards the Jews it was strictly annihilation. Towards the population at large it was whatever would cause the greatest excess of deaths over births, plus some sporadic annihilation. […] Or if a German had been found murdered or had been struck by a Pole, a lapanka would round up and kill great numbers of Poles on the street. Then they would put up a notice, a red one with black letters on it, saying ‘100 × 1’, signed by an S.S. leader.

—Dorothy W. Douglas, [9]

Now compare this with how the socialists treated it:[10] [11]

The writer in 1948 saw the salvaged farm and industrial equipment in use once more, restored with great patience and ingenuity, the buildings going up with enormous use of hand labour, new heavy machinery of Polish manufacture beginning to fill the half‐reconstructed factories, and industrial products emerging at the other end. […] The dominant political patter of the 1945–7 period was undoubtedly formed by the Communists quite as much as the Socialists. […] In order to accelerate agricultural rehabilitation of the country and to satisfy the Polish peasants’ age‐old hunger for land, the Polish Committee of National Liberation will immediately proceed to carry into effect, in the liberated territories, agrarian reforms on a large scale. […] In handicraft and small industry production, the co‐operative sector had the advantage of a post‐war start: ownerless small enterprises were sometimes turned over to co‐operative groups, among them often the remnants of the surviving Jewish population.

—Dorothy W. Douglas, [12]

We can also examine how they usually handled labor disputes. First, here is how an anticommunist dictatorship handled them:

During the years 1927–36, some 954 conflicts over terms of collective contracts were submitted to the Ministry of Corporations for mediation. Most of these were settled through the offices of the Ministry. During the same period, only 14 such disputes were settled by sentence of the labor courts. The tribunals also play a minor role with respect to complaints made by individual workers or employers. Generally, workers suffer contractual violations to take place without protest, and complain only when they are dismissed. Most of the individual controversies are settled by the syndical officials, and usually their decisions favor the complaintants. But punishment of employers who violate contracts appears to be rare. Moreover, the whole machinery of mediation and arbitration moves at a painfully slow and tortuous pace.

—Carl T. Schmidt, [13]

Now compare this with how the Soviets handled them:

The Commissariat of Justice also heard and responded to workers’ appeals. In August 1935 the Saratov city prosecutor reported that of 118 cases regarding pay recently handled by his office, 90 or 76.3 per cent had been resolved in favour of workers. Representatives of the Commissariat occasionally went to factories to solicit or respond to complaints, as happened in Khabarovsk in July 1936. […] Workers continued to make serious criticisms of their supervisors and environment through the next few years. For example, in the twenty‐four months following September 1937 the Central Committee of the communication workers union received 2,007 complaints from workers about ‘incorrect’ actions of managers. 432 were resolves in favour of the workers, 837 were rejected, and the rest were ‘in process’.

—Robert Thurston, [14]

Another exhibit is to see how the prisoners of Auschwitz greeted the Soviets:[15]

I realized that they were prisoners and not workers so I called out, ‘You are free, come out!’ […] They began rushing towards us, in a big crowd. They were weeping, embracing us, and kissing us. I felt a grievance on behalf of mankind that these fascists had made such a mockery of us. It roused me and all the soldiers to go and quickly destroy them and send them to hell.

—Vasily Gromadsky, [16]

When I entered the barrack, I saw living skeletons lying on the three tiered bunks. As in fog, I hear my soldiers saying: ‘You are free, comrades!’ I sense that they do not understand [us] and begin speaking to them in Russian, Polish, German, Ukrainian dialects; unbuttoning my leather jacket, I show them my medals […] Then I use Yiddish. Their reaction is unpredictable. They think that I am provoking them. They begin to hide. And only when I said to them: ‘Do not be afraid, I am a colonel of Soviet Army and a Jew. We have come to liberate you’ […] Finally, as if the barrier collapsed […] they rushed towards us shouting, fell on their knees, kissed the flaps of our overcoats, and threw their arms around our legs. And we could not move, stood motionless while unexpected tears ran down our cheeks.

—Georgii Elisavetskii, [16]


Armed communists in North America protesting against white supremacy.

Unlike Fascism, neither white supremacy, nor misogyny,[17] [18] nor heterosexism,[19] [20] nor cissexism,[21] nor any other form of discrimination is central to the establishment of socialism. Most socialists (but not all—more on that later) reject such discriminations, in fact recognising them as obstacles to world revolution.[22] Certainly there are few socialists, especially today, who make such nuisances primary components of their politics. Nonetheless, many socialists[23]—it is true—have argued that it can be acceptable to use violence or even lethal force against their small but powerful minority of oppressors:[24] [25] the upper classes and their loyalest henchmen, but it is also possible (if improbable) to have a bloodless revolution:[26] [27] the upper classes could surrender or allow their wealth to be seized, since class is merely a societal trait into which one is born, rather than a trait that is biologically inherited. Indeed, this reflects the October Revolution, which had surprisingly little violence,[28] and so did the February events in Czechoslovakia.[29]

Marx strongly opposed both slavery and the Southern Confederacy[30] just like Peter Kropotkin did,[31] and he told us that labor ‘cannot emancipate itself in the white skin where in the black it is branded.[32] (Marx hisself may have used a racial slur several times,[33] but the correspondence was in German and thus lacks the same connotations as English’s racial slurs.[34]) The Soviets theirselves were frequently outspoken against both colonialism and white supremacy,[35] and also against child abuse[36] and sexual harassment.[37] Leon Trotsky opposed both misogyny[38] and white supremacy[39] and stated that we ‘do not compel [black folks] to separate from the States, but they have the full right to self‐determination when they so desire and we will support and defend them with all the means at our disposal in the [conquest] of this right, the same as we defend all oppressed peoples.[40] On June 15, 1940, he observed that the ‘white slaveholders accustom [black folks] not to speak first. But on the picket line they show more courage. That is true of all oppressed nationalities’, and boldly suggested that we ‘must approach them everywhere by advocating that for every lynching they should lynch ten or twenty lynchers.’ He also wisely recommended that we ‘should pay more attention to the Latin American workers in relation to [Yankee] imperialism. We should turn in the direction of Latin America.[41] He was likewise fiercely opposed to violence against the lower‐class Cossacks.[42]

Similarly, the Soviet Union critic Amadeo Bordiga recognised racism as ‘the petit bourgeois reaction to the pressures of big capital[43] and was an advocate ‘not only for the mobilisation of the world proletariat for the defence of soviet power and to direct the assault on the western, bourgeois powers, but for the extension of the revolutionary struggle to continents inhabited by [humans of colour], in short the mobilisation of all forces able to carry on an armed fight against white capitalist metropoles.[44] The democialist Salvador Allende condemned anti‐Semitism and the Third Reich in particular.[45] In 1989, Kim Jong‐Il correctly stated that we ‘do not assert that the Koreans’ biological constitution is more developed than those of other races. Defining the superiority of a nation according to biological or ethnic characteristics is the practice of reactionary, bourgeois ethnology.[46] (In many cases, the accusations of racial chauvinism in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea are based on mistranslations.[47])

Marx never defended the extermination of peoples; he merely said that Slavs were fragmented because of their large geographical location. During the Spring of Peoples, the Austro‐Hungarian Empire faced a lot of revolts from Slavic minorities, and many said that the Slavic question would only be solved by either an unification of Slavs under the same nation or either by Russian assistance, being the largest and only Slavic nation at the time. Pan‐Slavism was born alongside other pan‐ethnic nationalist movements; the Serbian Black Hand murdered Archduke Ferdinand for this very reason, starting a series of events that would culminate in a war that reshaped the entirety of Europe, including the dissolution of Austria‐Hungary and the formation of Yugoslavia.

The Magyars are not yet defeated. But if they fall, they will fall gloriously, as the last heroes of the 1848 revolution, and only for a short time.

—Karl Marx, [48]

Marx considered the Magyars glorious. He referred to ‘a step forward’ towards the unification of South Slavs after the ethno‐revolutionaries slay the supporters of the Hapsburg dynasty and establish their own kingdom. According to Engels:

Since Russia enjoys a virtually impregnable strategic position, Russian Tsarism forms the nub of that alliance, great repository of all European reaction. To topple Tsarism, to destroy that incubus which lies heavy on the whole of Europe, such, in my eyes, is the first condition for the emancipation of the nationalities of central and eastern Europe. Once Tsarism has been crushed, the nefarious power represented today by Bismarck will in turn crumble. Austria will fall to pieces, having lost its only raison d’être, that of preventing by its very existence the annexation by conquering Tsarism of the scattered nations in the Carpathians and the Balkans. Poland will be reborn, Little Russia will be free to choose its political position, the Romanians, the Magyars and the South Slavs will be able to settle their own affairs and their new boundaries amongst themselves, unhampered by any foreign meddling and, finally, the noble nation of Great Russia, no longer engaged in pursuing chimerical conquest for the benefit of Tsarism, will be free to carry out its true civilising mission in Asia and to develop its vast intellectual resources in exchanges with the West, instead of squandering the best of its blood on the scaffold or in the katorga.

—Letter to Ion Nadejde, 1888, [49]


Socialists, unlike Fascists[a] and neofascists, have tirelessly struggled for racial and gender equity. Many notable and influential socialists were women, humans of colour,[52] or both, and they frequently spoke out and struggled against both white supremacy and misogyny. The Soviets created a national intelligentsia in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, and in the mid‐1930s Leningrad directed the K.S.S.R. and trained thousands of cadres for the republic’s economy.[53] Friedrich Engels explicitly opposed anti‐Semitism,[54] Vladimir Lenin openly spoke out against anti‐Semitism,[55] and perhaps to the surprise of some, Joseph Stalin did as well and acted accordingly![56] [57] As early as 1917, the Bolshevists issued a decree making the mere possession of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion punishable by death.[58] Five years later, the R.S.F.S.R.’s Criminal Code prohibited other agitation and propaganda arousing national enmities and dissensions, specifying a minimum sentence of one year’s solitary confinement as the penalty, and five years after that, it passed legislation outlawing the dissemination, manufacture or possession of literature calculated to sir national and religious hostility. During the Civil War and throughout the 1920s, the Bolshevists committed an active, official campaign against anti‐Semitism; incidents involving, and actions taken against, were frequently reported in the Soviet press, and during this time the CPSU published over a hundred books and brochures opposing anti‐Semitism. Large numbers of (non‐communist) Jews rallied to the Bolshevists since they were the only major organized force opposing anti‐Semitism, intermarriage became quite common,[59] and the Soviets would help save over one million Jews from the Axis,[60] [61] the largest effort in WWII.[62] Similarly, the Communist partisans in Yugoslavia saved approximately 12,000 Jews, many of whom gladly joined them.[63]

In a very risky effort to win over troops to a common struggle against the belligerent imperialists, French permanent revolutionaries courageously turned to organizing among the anticommunist troops occupying France in 1943, producing German leaflets for them as well as a monthly German newspaper, Arbeiter und Soldat. They built links with these troops, calling on them to turn their firearms against their officers and the SS, and for this sin they paid with their lives.[64] There have also been many Ukrainian anarchists[65] (not all[66] of course but still many) who fought aggressively against anti‐Semitism, as likewise have Spanish Republicans.[67] [68] Concerning Marx’s own relation with other Jews, see here.[69] [70] Professor David McLellan in particular, one of the world’s foremost Marx scholars, analyses On the Jewish Question and refutes the claim that Marx was an anti‐Semitic.[71] Other respected scholars, such as Robert Fine, Philip Spencer,[72] and Shlomo Avineri,[73] have arrived at similar conclusions. In fact, Marx recognised the emancipation of Jews as necessary and he regarded anti‐Semitic states as backward.[74] Similarly, there is no evidence that President Chávez was anti‐Semitic.[75]

It is true that after 1945, the Soviets usually refused to emphasize the anti‐Semitic aspects of the Axis’s massacres, but this is simply because the Soviet government had a policy not to emphasize the sufferings of any nationality over others. For example, Vassily Grossman and some other Soviet writers composed a ‘Black Book of Soviet Jewry’ about the Axis targeting of Jews, but Soviet authorities refused to publish it since it singled out Jews as opposed to other Soviet peoples: the Soviets emphasized that the Axis massacred every group; all Soviet citizens. Soviet Jews were targets, but so were all Communist Party members. While this educational policy was arguably misguided, it was simply the inevitable product of Soviet internationalism, not ‘anti‐Semitism’.

The Soviets also set up the Jewish Anti‐Fascist Committee to raise awareness of the Fascist assaults specifically on Jews.[59] This was certainly acknowledging the specifically anti‐Semitic aspect of the Axis’s policies. The problem was that the JAFC mutated into a Zionist organization, and Zionism was hostile to the concept of Soviet citizenship and internationalism. For this reason, the Soviets had a problem with Zionism, particularly after the formation of the State of Israel in 1948.[76] A dozen leaders of the JAFC were arrested in 1948–9, and tried for treason as ‘American’ spies in 1952. All but one were executed. After 1953, somebody (possibly Lavrentii Beria) exonerated these people. (He evidently did not believe that Stalin had anything to do with this; Beria seems to have blamed an anti‐Semite who was a high-ranking MGB officer: Mikhail D. Riumin. It is naturally taken for granted that almost all the JAFC people executed were innocent of espionage on behalf of anticommunists, but we lack the investigative materials, and we cannot take it for granted that Beria’s statements are genuine either; so much else of Beria’s has been forged.) One famous Soviet Jewish writer (and one who did not like Stalin) published in Pravda an affirmation of the U.S.S.R. as the only real homeland for Jews and other national groups, and criticized Zionism.[77]

The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia valued diversity and unity, and attempted to suppress its unauthorized paramilitary forces, arresting the irregular, self‐appointed leaders (some of whom were tried and sentenced to two decades in prison).[78] Despite the repetitive accusations, the little evidence used against them does not support the conclusion that they were ethnonationalists (quite the contrary).[79] With regards to the ‘anti‐Christian’ activity in Iberia, it is inaccurate to imply that the anti-Church sentiment among the Iberian anarchists was strictly due to religion. Not only did the Protestant churches remain unattacked, but the Church itself was attacked in previous popular revolts; this was an unpopular institution that allied with the ruling class and capitalist despotism, exploitation and repression.[80] Similar to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics,[81] the People’s Republic of China is accepting towards most Muslims. (The Muslims that they are persecuting are a minority of violent antisocialists.[82]) Likewise, the United Nations did not report any ‘internment camps’ for Muslims.[83] The minority of them are simply undergoing rehabilitation,[84] [85] [86] [87] which may be annoying, but surely not anywhere nearly as miserable as the camps that anticommunists have established in North America[88] and elsewhere.[89]

Vladimir Lenin, while he did approve the arrests of several hundred drunken Soviet officials, never ordered any massacre against sex workers, as some have suggested.[90] Largely as planned,[91] the status of women improved greatly[92] (even if imperfectly[93]); the proportion of Soviet women engineers in 1980 was 58%,[94] they achieved suffrage before the U.S. did,[95] they could retire five years earlier than men,[96] they were more present in STEM than their U.S. equivalents,[97] and they could serve in the frontlines as well,[98] for instance. The People’s Republic of China made similar progress.[99] In 2011 they liberated twenty‐four thousand abducted women and children.[100]

The psycho‐endocrinologist Aron Belkin, a pioneer of Soviet research into sexual reassignment, carried out operations without conducting any psychological testing or employing any other type of psychological expertise (not because he didn’t will it; the republic simply lacked literate psychologists or approved tests to assist him at that time).[101] Similarly, today the Republic of Cuba offers genital reconstructions gratis,[102] and in 2017 the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela officially recognised people’s right to change their names and correct their genders.[103] Earlier during the same year, the Bolivarian Republic also legally recognised a youth with two mothers.[104]

The Eastern Bloc and its allies were the forerunners in opposing African colonisation and specifically the South African Apartheid[105] (again, unlike the Axis). A significant number of Africans came to the Soviet Union[106] and they were generally well treated there,[107] especially in comparison to the pre‐Soviet era, the post‐Soviet one,[108] and North America (as even the obnoxiously antisocialist Radio Free Europe admits,[109] and as the anti‐Bolshevik Russia Beyond has confirmed[110] repeatedly[111]). That is certainly not to say that things couldn’t have been better though; in particular depictions of Africans theirselves could sometimes be rather exotified or primitive (sometimes thanks to naïvely using the West for research);[112] representation needed improvement, and sometimes the locals behaved in ways that came across as condescending or paternalistic as well rather than acting natural.[107] But overall, they still treated Africans much better in comparison to other industrialised countries. For an adequate response to accusations of Soviet ‘self‐colonization’, ‘neocolonialism’, ‘Russification’, and so forth… read Human Rights in the Soviet Union.[113]

The Red Army liberated the Roma from Axis concentration camps,[114] and in many people’s democracies (such as the Hungarian P. Rep.,[115] the P. Rep. of Bulgaria,[116] the Soc. Rep. of Romania) living conditions for the Roma improved; they gained housing, welfare, healthcare, employment, and gradually certain social rights.[117] Nonetheless, things still could have been much better: the nomadic lifestyles were (still) not tolerated and sometimes the Roma and their culture were overlooked or neglected. The locals’ prejudices against them most likely never fully faded away either; Czechoslovakian doctors unconsensually sterilised hundreds of Roma women in the 1970s and later.[118] Yet in spite of all this, one could argue that this era was still the least unpleasant one for the Roma (since the introduction of neoliberalism didn’t exactly help with their problems;[119] the xenophobic doctors continued their sterilisations after the short twentieth century and remain unpunished today, and in Kosovo it was the anticommunist reinvasion and reoccupation, not the Serbian presence, that destroyed over twelve thousand Romani homes and reduced Kosovo’s Romani population by over 75%[120]).

Unlike the Axis,[121] planned economies, such as those of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and the Polish People’s Republic, endeavored to establish a system of social insurance benefits on a very broad base (far beyond what would ordinarily be considered corresponding to its level of economic development generally). They provided a closely integrated and complete single system for the provision of succour for all disabilities.[122] The cost of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic’s system in particular were to be high, nearly 18% of payroll, contribution rates being 10% for old age and disability, 1% for accidents and 6.8% for illness (Ibid., page 241). The Soviet Union acknowledged deaf‐blind humans and provided them with education.[123] While some market economies equalled or even exceeded the Soviet Union in certain social security rights, as medical care and disability and retirement benefits, none matched them overall.[124] In fact, the Soviet retirement and disability system (especially for disabilities unrelated to employment) was generous by U.S. standards, especially taking taking into consideration the heavily subsidised basics of life.[125] Similarly today, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea accommodates people with mobility impairments.[126]

Aside from our interest in equity, some of us (such as Mandela) have also campaigned for prison reform, and some of us have been fixing up streets,[127] giving away food[128] [129] [130] and medicine[131] to people,[132] making the streets safer for the homeless,[133] healing people gratis,[134] providing[135] abortions gratis,[136] [137] establishing housing cooperatives,[138] organizing thousands of landless peasants,[139] struggling for the eight‐hour workday,[140] empowering agriculturalists,[141] supporting miners,[142] creating entertainment and luxuries for others, constructing shelters for others,[143] and more. There is an Argentinian factory called FaSinPat[144] which is managed and operated by the proletariat, subsequently improving conditions there. They have provided a tile floor for a café in Hotel Bauen,[145] likewise proletarian‐controlled. Bordiga helped push for the establishment of a trade union front with the unions and other various proletarian groups associated to the Communist Party of Italy, standing against the Fascist police, military and of course the Blackshirts.[146] In the 1980s, 784 Cubans travelled to Grenada, some being construction workers, medical personnel, diplomatic personnel, teachers, and a little military personnel. They constructed a new, all‐weather, 24‐hour aeroport with a 10,000 foot runway for jumbo jets carrying tourists; they constructed new port facilities for banana boats; and they opened many free health clinics. Castro said this in 1995:

The [Cuban] revolution has sent teachers, doctors, and workers to dozens of Third World countries without charging a penny. It shed its own blood fighting colonialism, fighting apartheid, and fascism. […] At one point we had 25,000 Third World students studying on scholarships. We still have many scholarship students from Africa and other countries. In addition, our [republic] has treated[147] more children [13,000] who were victims[148] of the Chernobyl tragedy[149] than all other countries put together. […] [We are] the country with the most teachers per capita of all countries in the world, including developed countries. The country with the most doctors per capita of all countries [one for every 214 inhabitants]. The country with the most art instructors per capita of all countries in the world. The country with the most sports instructors in the world. That gives you an idea of the effort involved. A country where life expectancy is more than 75 years.

—Fidel Castro (paraphrased), The Monthly Review, June 1995

Similarly over a decade later, they would become the most important supporter to the Haitians after the 2010 earthquake,[150] assisted Mozambicans after they suffered a hurricane,[151] and provided the most important medical support to western Africa during the Ebola outbreak.[152]


Similar to the incorrect accusation that we started WWII, a relatively infrequent but serious accusation that antisocialists make is that we’re responsible for triggering the Cold War, but there are several problems with this claim. First of all, nonsocialist sources (e.g. the Kiplinger Washington Letter,[153] the U.S. News & World Report,[153] Look,[153] the New York Times[154]) have confirmed, probably unconsciously, that it was not the Soviets who first broke the Potsdam agreements:

In my effort to get back to first and underlying causes for our critical present, I note only that it was the United States and Great Britain who first shook the mailed fist, who first abrogated the collective decisions.

—Elliott Roosevelt, [155]

Before the Cold War (perhaps even as early as the late 1930s), capitalists were interested in possessing nuclear weapons for anticommunist purposes, and by late 1945 they devised their first formal plans for committing nuclear strikes against the U.S.S.R.[156] After four decades, the only scientist to leave the Manhattan Project finally admitted this in 1985:

During one such conversation Groves said that, of course, the real purpose in making the bomb was to subdue the Soviets. (Whatever his exact words, his real meaning was clear.) […] Until then I had thought that our work was to prevent [an Axis] victory, and now I was told that the weapon [that] we were preparing was intended for use against the people who were making extreme sacrifices for that very aim. […] When it became evident, toward the end of 1944, that the [Axis] had abandoned their bomb project, […] I asked for permission to leave and return to Britain.

—Joseph Rotblat, [157]

A former military analyst and the U.S.’s highest‐ranking civilian with a military equivalency rank, somebody who had more access to war plans than even the head of state, confirmed this in the 2010s:

  • The basic elements of American readiness for nuclear war remain today what they were almost sixty years ago: Thousands of nuclear weapons remain on hair-trigger alert, aimed mainly at Russian military targets including command and control, many in or near cities. The declared official rationale for such a system has always been primarily the supposed need to deter—or if necessary respond to—an aggressive Russian nuclear first strike against the United States. That widely believed public rationale is a deliberate deception. Deterring a surprise Soviet nuclear attack—or responding to such an attack—has never been the only or even the primary purpose of our nuclear plans and preparations. The nature, scale, and posture of our strategic nuclear forces has always been shaped by the requirements of quite different purposes: to attempt to limit the damage to the United States from Soviet or Russian retaliation to a U.S. first strike against the USSR or Russia. This capability is, in particular, intended to strengthen the credibility of U.S. threats to initiate limited nuclear attacks, or escalate them—U.S. threats of “first use”—to prevail in regional, initially non-nuclear conflicts involving Soviet or Russian forces or their allies.
  • The required U.S. strategic capabilities have always been for a first-strike force: not, under any president, for a U.S. surprise attack, unprovoked or “a bolt out of the blue,” but not, either, with an aim of striking “second” under any circumstances, if that can be avoided by preemption. Though officially denied, preemptive “launch on warning” (LOW)—either on tactical warning of an incoming attack or strategic warning that nuclear escalation is probably impending—has always been at the heart of our strategic alert.

—Daniel Ellsberg (emphasis original), [158]

Simply put, first the anticommunists launch, and then their missile defense mops up any retaliation from the few surviving launch sites. Missile defense could not stop a first strike from the U.S.S.R., therefore a highly capable missile defense system in the hands of the anticommunists was a first strike weapon. A common misconception is that the Soviets’ own work on atomic weapons would have been impossible had they not stolen from the Anglosphere. This is an exaggeration. When a couple of Berlin’s scientists discovered nuclear fission in December 1938, the Soviets were as quick to react as the liberal states were, but the Soviets were too busy catching up with modernity to prioritize their own nuclear research. When four million anticommunists reinvaded Soviet Eurasia, the Soviets had to temporarily suspend all of their atomic research until a Soviet physicist persuaded Moscow otherwise in 1942, having noticed the extreme secrecy of the Anglosphere’s own atomic research.[159] Then the Soviets witnessed what their Western allies did to Hiroshima:

[T]he news had an acutely depressing effect on everybody. It was clearly realized that this was a New Fact in the world’s power politics, that the bomb constituted a threat to [the Soviet Union], and some Russian pessimists I talked to that day dismally remarked that the [Soviet Union]’s desperately hard victory over the [Third Reich] was now “as good as wasted”.

—Alexander Werth, [160]

Ellsberg likewise conceded that the Soviets never had any intentions for conquering Western Europe.[161] [162] The Gehlen Organization, which some people have gone so far as to blame for the Cold War,[b] provided the bourgeoisie with its initial justification for terrorizing the Soviets.[164] Western sources likewise corroborate our contention that we did not start the Korean War.

When anticommunists unexpectedly fired on a Soviet submarine in 1962, Vasili Arkhipov wisely prevented a local consensus to strike back, thereby saving possibly hundreds of millions of lives.[165] On December 22, 1982, both the Supreme Soviet and the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party unanimously approved a nuclear arms freeze resolution[166] (almost identical to the version that had been passed by numerous municipalities and states throughout the United States). They also (unsuccessfully) plead to the U.S.A. for a prohibition on nuclear testing,[167] and for damn good reason too.[168] The Soviets did not ‘cheat’ on their nuclear weapons testing agreements (as some antisocialists have claimed),[169] and most of the time they still had less of a military arms buildup than the U.S.A.,[170] which antisocialists theirselves reconfirmed after the short twentieth century.[171]

See also §12 for our further contributions in people’s republics and territories.


Many important socialists both historically and presently[172] belong to a demographic minority. For example, nonheterosexual socialists[173] [174] [175] include Emma Goldman, Oscar Wilde, Magnus Hirschfeld, Harry Whyte, Bayard Rustin, James Baldwin, Harry Hay,[176] Judith Butler, TQILA,[177] and others.

Other notable socialists, many of whom were women or somebody of color, include but are not limited to: Abel Meeropol,[178] Aleksandr Kuprin, Aleksander Sulkiewicz, Albert Einstein, H.G. Wells, Alexandra Kollontai, Ana Maria Mozzoni, Angela Davis, Bela Lugosi,[179] Bill Haywood, Charlie Chaplin, Charlotte Wilson, Claudia Jones,[180] Daniel De Leon, David Rovics, E. M. S., Ernst Bloch, Fred Hampton, Frida Kahlo, Gene Roddenberry,[181] Georgi Plekhanov, Georgy Chicherin,[182] He-Yin Zhen,[183] Helen Keller, Howard Zinn, Hélder Câmara, Jean‐Paul Sartre, Leila Kahled, Leslie Feinberg, Louise Michel, Malala Yousafzai, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King,[184] Mary Wollstonecraft, Maurice Bishop, Mirsaid Sultan-Galiev, Moses Hess, Nelson Mandela, Pablo Picasso, Paul Robeson, Peggy Kornegger, Pete Seeger, Richard Hofstadter, Rosa Luxemburg, Rose Pesota, Selda Bağcan, Stephen William Bragg, Subcomandante Marcos, Thomas Sankara,[185] Víctor Jara, Virgilia D’Andrea, Voltairine de Cleyre, Walter Benjamin, Woody Guthrie, all of the Black Panther Party, the CNT[186]FAI,[187] the IWW,[188] the Mujeres Libres, and more. In addition, the labour & civil rights activist César Chávez, whilst he did deny being communist,[189] still advocated a movement that resembles perhaps most closely libertarian communism.[190] (It may also be worth mentioning that Chávez was influenced by the socialist Eugene V. Debs.[191])

According to antisocialists, all of these people were equal to, if not worse than, the Axis.


Obviously not all socialists have spotless records.[192] For example, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels probably did have racially insensitive and pro‐imperialist leanings before 1848, especially in the context of the U.S. invasion of Mexico and the seizure of California and the East India Company, but seeing the development of the latter compelled them to self‐criticize with regards to the colonial question and denounce the joint invasion of France and Spain on Mexico during the U.S. Civil War a decade or so later. After anticommunists incited ethnic tensions in the East and manipulated the nations into collaboration,[193] the Kremlin was unfortunately forced to relocate[194] most of them (except for the veterans) elsewhere, and at least a thousand of them (unintentionally) perished[195] (it was either this or leaving them at the hands of the Axis), but even so these tragic actions would not fit the official criteria for genocide; documented evidence shows that Soviet authorities themselves at least allowed these people to return home[196] in the mid‐1950s.[197] Likewise, the Red Army’s men carnally abused thousands of people (Beria himself may have been a repeated rapist), but the other Soviets shot many of the abusers.[198] In 1945, a Soviet submarine destroyed an Axis ship that was carrying thousands of civilians, probably making it the worst maritime disaster in history, but even so the captain simply had no way of knowing that his victims were mostly refugees and soldiers who would never fight again; as military commander he was obliged to assume that the ship carried retreating troops.[199] Sometimes the Allies expelled the (privileged[200]) German families from Eastern Europe, but it was either this or leaving them with the thousands of disgruntled civilians,[201] who were theirselves responsible for many of the expulsions such as those in Sudetenland. When the Soviets exiled antisocialist terrorists (Operation Priboi), they had to send their wives and children along with them. (It was either this or forcibly separating the families, leaving them without somebody to help support them. The Soviets were not ‘imprisoning’ or ‘punishing’ these relatives for the fathers’ crimes.) NKVD Order № 00485 was (both in theory and practice) an operation that had far more to do with espionage rather than ‘nationality’.[202] Guevara[203] in his youth was a white supremacist,[204] but he became more antiracist in the later decades of his life.[205] [206] [207] Castro’s administration also discriminated against gay men and incarcerated them for a couple decades, but he later felt deep regret over his misdeeds[208] and tried to make reparations for them in later decades. (Contrary to popular belief, there is almost no evidence whatsoever for Guevara’s heterosexism, let alone that he was any more heterosexist than his contemporaries.[205]) Gay rights in the P.R.C. have always been lacklustre, but they are steadily making progress now.[209] Some, such as Stalin[210] and Durruti,[211] unfortunately never had such awakenings, and certain early socialist theorists in particular exhibited at least a few indisputable prejudices: Bakunin’s anti‐Semitism and Engels’s heterosexism for example. But many serious socialists still feel that they erred tremendously there[212] and would not force anybody to forgive them for those injustices.[213]

When antisocialists stress this point though, they commit the exact same mistake that evolution‐deniers do when they stress Darwin’s (supposed[214]) white supremacy: these prejudices would have absolutely no bearing on the validity of scientific socialism today (any more than the white supremacist and pro‐slavery views of John Locke and Adam Smith can be used to discredit liberalism). It is telling how little influence that their prejudices had: many Ukrainian anarchists and Spanish Republicans fought aggressively against antisemitism in spite of Bakunin’s and Proudhon’s own prejudices; gay communists[215] fought aggressively against heterosexism in spite of Engels’s prejudices; communist Africans, Mexicans, and Yugoslavians[216] fought aggressively against white supremacy and colonialism in spite of Marx’s or Engels’s (disputed) prejudices against them, & cetera. Were we to take the ‘theory, not practice’ cliché to its logical conclusion, then these criticisms would be utterly meaningless, by antisocialists’ own argumentation.

If you are a dialectical materialist, however, Marx’s racism does not matter. You do not believe in the conclusions of one person but in the validity of a mode of thought; and we […] recognize Karl Marx as one of the great contributors to that mode of thought. Whether or not Marx was a racist is irrelevant and immaterial to whether or not the system of thinking he helped to develop delivers truths about processes in the material world.

—Huey Newton, [217]

There is still a minority of socialists who play down the importance of inherited traits and characteristics, and tend to shrug off accusations of discrimination. Such individuals are formally called ‘class reductionists’ due to their frequent emphasis on class in defence of their misbehaviour. Less politely, they’re also called ‘brocialists’ or specifically ‘manarchists’. The extreme end of the spectrum contains so‐called third‐positionists, who explicitly attempt to connect their anticapitalism to their disgusting prejudices. Another camp is the trans‐exclusionists or so‐called ‘gender critics’ who sometimes appeal to anticapitalism in favour of their cissexism. These groups are normally despised by intersectionalists (that’s us!) and sometimes considered little better than the alt‐right.


  1. With the exception of Japanese men,[50] the Axis didn’t normally employ otherwise unprivileged people for any important or long‐term positions. (You had to be really, really useful to the Axis if you wanted any position above substitute cannon fodder.[51])
  2. “Bobby Inman, former CIA Director, admitted to me at a public talk that the Gehlen Organization spies were responsible for the Cold War being started.”[163]


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