People will lie about being democratic to gain power with no intention of implementing democracy. People will lie about being socialist to gain power with no intention of implementing socialism. People lie. Yes, it’s that simple.
Marx was very clear that socialism requires worker ownership over the means of production via democracy. Workers did not own or control the means of production in the USSR. There was no democracy in the USSR. Therefore, the USSR was not socialist.
It was also definitely not communist either. Communism is classless, stateless, democratic and worker-controlled. The Fujian tulou of China are an example of true communism: True Anarcho-Communism
Imagine a scenario where an authoritarian regime holds an election and unsurprisingly wins with 99% of the vote.  Does anybody refer to this as democracy or even Democracy?
Of course not.
Does anybody use Democratic Kampuchea or The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as examples of democracy?
Of course not.
Every single human being is intelligent enough to figure out that authoritarian regimes lie about being democratic. Everybody is smart enough to know that dictators will stage phoney elections to create the illusion of democracy while having absolutely no intent of implementing true democracy.
Now imagine a scenario where an authoritarian regime says they will implement socialism and says that they will redistribute wealth equally. Does that instantly mean they are telling the truth?
Of course not.
It’s very clear that there was no wealth equality in the USSR. Some people were 300 pounds while others starved to death. It’s also very clear that workers did not own the means of production. Thus, there was no socialism in the USSR.
The same is true for Democratic Kampuchea where the elites were fed, but many common people died of starvation. People were forced to move from urban centres to the countryside where they were forced to work on farms they did not own and where the output of their labour was controlled by an authoritarian regime rather than the workers themselves.
Just because an authoritarian regime forces people to work on farms does not mean there is socialism or collectivism the same way an authoritarian regime holding an election does not mean there is democracy. People were forced to work on those farms to create the illusion of socialism the way phoney-elections are used to create the illusion of democracy.
Thus, new terminology must be introduced. Referring to Democratic Kampuchea as socialist is as ridiculous as referring to it as democratic. However, one could use the terms inverse-socialism and inverse-democracy to describe it.
Inverse-democracy describes a situation where an authoritarian regime poses as democratic and tries to create the illusion of being democratic (by holding phoney elections or putting the word Democracy in the official title) but is actually the exact opposite of democracy.
(Note: The term inverse-democracy would not apply to authoritarian regimes that outright declare that they are authoritarian and not democratic. The term inverse-democracy applies to authoritarian regimes that go out of their way to create the appearance of democracy while maintaining authoritarian rule.)
Likewise, inverse-socialism describes a scenario where the exact opposite of socialism actually exists, but people in power work to create the illusion of socialism (by forcing people to work on farms, for example.)
The prefix inverse- is better than the prefix anti- because the prefix anti- sets up an ambiguity.
Anti-democracy could refer to inverse-democracy (a dictator pretending to be democratic) or it could refer to open opposition against democracy.
Anti-socialism could refer to inverse-socialism (non-socialist regimes pretending to be socialist) or it could refer to opposition to true socialist principles.
Thus, inverse- is the best prefix, in my opinion.
Additionally, many people refer to a parliamentary democracy with high taxation and welfare as democratic socialism. However, this is not true socialism either. It’s merely capitalism with high taxation and welfare. Welfare-capitalism would be more accurate.
Socialism does not necessarily mean there is perfect wealth equality either. It just means that the workers own the means of production.
In school, students learn about New Lanark as an experiment in utopianism. But that’s stupid because it implies that the only utopianism that can possibly exist must be under the hand of a “benevolent dictator” who chooses to be kind to his subjects.
I don’t consider socialism to be a mere redistribution of wealth. For me, that’s just welfare. I think socialism goes deeper than that to the point where the workers of a mill collectively decide how it operates or something along those lines.
True communism is probably similar to the Hakka communes where people engage in collective decision-making within a common self-sustained environment.
In a previous post, I discussed the phenomena of consensus which I felt was more common within the Eastern tradition. However, I don’t think it’s a good thing for people to sacrifice their actual opinion and thoughts and go along with the group because it destroys important dissenting and minority views that often are the greater truth.
It would be great if all people had good intentions and their natural stances were generally accurate, for the welfare of the group, and in agreement with everybody else, but that’s not always the case. The fairest thing is democracy where people vote in what they think. If by chance there is a consensus, then great, but if not, majority rule should prevail until people with a minority position make a compelling case to the general public long enough that it becomes the new majority stance.
Democracy is exhausting, but still the best way, in my opinion. I still disagree with the elitist set-up of the West which I barely even regard as democratic. Western states have destroyed true fledgling democracies in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Latin America etc. I support direct democracy (because it’s a natural right and) since technology makes it particularly feasible now. Those who think the public are dumb need to work hard to explain things in a way people can comprehend. Often if it can’t be explained to the average person, one may not understand it well enough themselves.
My greatest irritation is the extreme hypocrisy in society’s fussiness over perfect language, spelling, and grammar which always fails to include precision in terminology that opposes state dogma.
Do scholars ever write articles discussing “North-Korean variants of democracy” or “democracy with North-Korean characteristics”? Of course not. It’s obvious to anybody that democracy is merely being abused and exploited by a regime that cares nothing about its people to maintain power.
Sinister regimes will always use something positive to mask the fact they have no intention of actually implementing such things.
Everyone can agree on that.
So why do people imply that Stalin, Mao, or Pol Pot were genuinely interested in trying to implement real communism/socialism? Just like North Korea declaring itself democratic or the phoney elections held by authoritarian states, there is only the desire to pretend one is implementing socialism on the people’s behalf.
The abuse of the terms “communism”/”socialism” by the West (and the authoritarian regimes) are some of the worst forms of human mind-control. Educators who are using these terms to describe the USSR or Pol Pot’s Cambodia are genuinely brainwashing children, harming society, and engaging in Orwellian-style thought-control.
The first thing that pops up when I type “communism” into Google:
Communism is a socioeconomic system structured upon common ownership of the means of production and characterized by the absence of social classes, money, and the state; as well as a social, political and economic ideology and movement that aims to establish this social order.
Does that at all sound like the USSR, China, North Vietnam etc.?
But despite the extreme need for precision in language, no scholars, academics or educators bother bringing up the fact that these authoritarian regimes inherently could not be communist by definition. It’s like saying “authoritarian democracy” or “democracy with authoritarian elements.”
There are no excuses for abusing terminology in this fashion. How could Hitler’s Nazi Party and the USSR both be examples of socialism? Just looking at the basic definition of socialism, one can tell that neither are socialist. Every educated man and woman wants to pretend that abuse of language will lead to the destruction of society, yet none are willing to sacrifice their position within their academic circle by pointing out the simple, basic truth that these terms have been exploited by the West and the Eastern regimes to justify control.
Is everyone too lazy to put their heads together and come up with new terminology that is actually accurate? When it came to quantum mechanics, everybody was willing to get together to sort out how the entire physics community should interpret the new scientific research/data. But nobody can put their heads together to figure out that people will say whatever it takes to get themselves into power.
One could call it: “Stalinism,” “authoritarian exploitation,” “intentional impoverishment,” “Stalinist classism,” “Maoist elitism,” “Pol Pot’s exploitation of socialist ideology,” “lying,” etc.
At the end of the day, anybody who thinks the USSR was an example of communism or socialism is either:
a) not intelligent enough to be discussing the issue on an academic/political level, or
b) using their intelligence to purposefully lie to the public.
Either way, people like that should have no place in academia, education or the political arena.