San José State University
Thayer Watkins
Silicon Valley
& Tornado Alley

What, After All, Is a Communist?

The Nature of a Communist

A communist is a member of a quasi-militaristic organization that believes in gaining power by any means necessary in order to micromanage the economy and society. The program of central planning is not something all communists believe in and some that once believed in it abandoned that belief but not the belief that they can micromanage the economy and society. The defining characteristic of communists is their quest for power and their belief that they can and should use that power to totally manage the economy and society. They now generally do not call themselves communists but it is that label calls forth their historical characteristics.

What we are seeing in the America of the 21st century are politicians and organizations that deny that they are even socialist but pursue an agenda that is every bit as totalitarian as the dedicated communists. The leaders of the government employee unions such as Service Employees International Union (SEIU) seem every bit as bolshevik as Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin. The Russian bolsheviks wore red for identification; SEIU members wear purple. So-called community organizations such as ACORN also fit the pattern and overlap with SEIU.

Example of the Changing Banners of the Communists

The Communist Party of South Africa was founded in 1921 by Whites of a British background. In 1922 a labor dispute broke out in the gold mines near Johannesburg. The issue was White Supremacy. The mines traditionally filled the more skilled jobs and supervisory positions with Whites; Blacks were only hired for the unskilled work. Also traditionally there was a fixed ratio between the number of Black workers and the number of Whites, about 5 to 1. Roughly speaking one White worker supervised five Black workers.

The pay differential between White and Black workers was so large that the 21 thousand Whites took home total pay twice that of the 180 thousand Black workers. If a mine owner could place Black workers in jobs traditionally held by White workers there would be a tremendous savings in wage costs. In the early 1920's the price of gold fell and the gold mine owners wanted to reduce costs. In 1922 the gold mine owners started moving Black workers into jobs previously only filled by White workers. The ratio of Black workers to White workers was increased.

The White miner workers went out on strike and the strike quickly turned into a rebellion. The leaders were communists. The slogan chosen for the movement was


Present day communists and non-communists are shocked at this slogan. It is so at variance with the slogans and platforms of the present day. But historically this slogan is understandable.

Karl Marx argued that the revolution would arise with the workers in the most advanced industrial countries. The other workers of the world did not matter. They would later be pulled up by socialism administered by the advanced world workers.

The point is that the power-seeking communists will advocate whatever program they think will secure for them a following, but that program is just a banner that can be tossed into a trash can as that stage of their march to power is over. In most cases they do not use the labels of the power-seekers of the past. So the present day totalitarian power-seekers will call themselves anything but communists, but that term and bolshevik best capture their nature.

(To be continued.)

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