Someone quoted the ‘black book of communism’ recently to me. Indeed, 20th century communism taking the form of Marxism-Leninism was an enormous tragedy, one which I do not ever wish to happen again. I do not side with these Marxist-Leninist (stalinists) who idealize Stalin and Mao looking only at their accomplishments and never their mistakes. Such historical revisionism is- to me disgusting and a hypocritical thing for a ‘materialist’ to do. The construction of a massive, bureaucratic, one-party state embodies everything Marx and socialism is against- namely the ideals of liberty, equality, fraternity and democracy. Having a socialist revolution in the 20th century before capitalism had begun to die would be like having the French revolution in the 16th century, it was destined to fail- many of the early Bolsheviks thought Lenin was mad for thinking it could succeed. It’s truly amazing that it managed to last until 1991, a testament to the genius of Lenin. For the book in particular, I think Noam Chomsky set the record straight. Chomsky is in most every regard a devout anarchist utterly and completely opposed to Leninism and state socialism, his criticisms of Stalinism are among the best I have seen. His political ideology is that of anarchism, the same as George Orwell. “Noam Chomsky has criticized the book and its reception as one-sided by outlining economist Amartya Sen’s research on hunger: while India’s democratic institutions prevented famines, its excess of mortality over the (Great Chinese Famine)—attributable to the latter’s more equal distribution of medical and other resources—was nonetheless close to 4 million per year, for non-famine years. Chomsky argued that, ‘supposing we now apply the methodology of the Black Book and its reviewers’ to India, ‘the democratic capitalist ‘experiment’ has caused more deaths than in the entire history of […] Communism everywhere since 1917: over 100 million deaths by 1979, and tens of millions more since, in India alone.'” Indeed using the same methods the black book of communism implores, capitalism has caused more deaths in India alone than in the entire history of Marxism-Leninist states (from 1917-1991).
Sources and actual sources:
Noam, Chomsky. “Counting the Bodies”. Spectrezine. Retrieved 2016-09-18.