The Communists Won

This post has been loosely in the works for a while and was created to prove empirical claim #1 of neoreaction from Anissimov. Scott at Slate Star Codex used a computer program to analyze the results, but the graph is prima facie ludicrous. It is simply logically impossible that the US has ideologically stayed the same while the welfare state has grown as much as it has.

Recently Handle has done a little history of communism in the US for us, which prompted me to dust the post off and finish.

****

The United States, and most of the rest of the West, are communist. Not in a pejorative sense, but in a simple ideological sense. The majority of people in the west accept communist politics and most western countries are communist in practice if not form.

Note, when I say communist, I do not mean Stalinist, Leninist, Maoist, etc. Just as communism took different forms in Cuba, the USSR, China, et al., North American communism took its own form.

I know the immediate objection: “But the US is run by the Democrats and Republicans, both right-wing parties of capitalists. The socialist party is a joke, and the communist party almost non-existent. How can you call the US a communist country?

Again, America is communist in ideology and function, not necessarily in form. To prove that I am going to go back about 85 years ago to 1928. The Communist Party USA released a platform (Google Books version) for the election of William Z. Foster to president. He ran against Herbert Hoover and Al Smith getting 0.13% of the vote.

Let’s look at their demands (summarized) and compare them to our modern world:

****

II*: The Curse of Unemployment

  1. Unemployment insurance.
  2. 40-hour, 5-day workweek forbidding overtime.
  3. Unemployment insurance of 8 weeks wages.
  4. Public kitchens providing free meals to the unemployed.
  5. Free medical care of the unemployed.
  6. Public works to create employment.
  7. Abolition of vagrancy laws.

The US currently has EI, a 40-hour workweek (with optional, paid overtime), SNAP, Medicaid, and numerous public works.

The federal government no longer has vagrancy laws, although states and municipalities do. Vagrancy laws have been narrowed considerably.

The US has adopted 5 and a half out of 6 Communist demands related to unemployment. (I counted #1 & 3 as a single demand).

****

III: The Offensive of the Bosses

  1. 40-hour, 5-day workweek with 48 hours consecutive rest.
  2. High wages.
  3. Fight against capitalist rationalization and mass production.
  4. Organize the unorganized.
  5. Destroy company unions.
  6. Amalgamate craft unions into industrial unions; democratize trade unions.
  7. Political struggle in addition to union struggle.

These points aren’t as clear-cut, many being calls to struggle rather than specific demands.

Of these demands, they’ve achieved a 40-hour week, high wages, and destroying company unions. The democratization of unions and amalgamation of unions has mostly been accomplished (minus one or two industries). Given that the unions control huge swaths of the Democratic Party, the last point has been achieved as well.

The communists failed to stem mass production and rationalization and unionization rates peaked at almost 35% in 1954.

The US has adopted 5 of the 7 points related to fighting the bosses.

****

IV: The Heroic Struggle of the Miners

  1. Build a new militant union in the industry, eliminate Lewis.
  2. Organize unorganized.
  3. Support two local strikes.
  4. Organize relief for struggling miners.
  5. Railroad workers don’t haul scab coal.

The third is a local problem and fifth an outdated problem, not national political problems, so I won’t count those.

In the 1970’s most miners were unionized, but unionization rates have fallen to only about 42% since and relief has been organized through more general government programs for struggling miners.

On the other hand, Lewis was not eliminated and the UMW is still the dominant mine union today.

So, the Communists obtained 2 out of 3 of their long-term, national demands related to the coal industry, although, one of them since slipped away.

****

V: Colonies and Imperialist War

  1. Abolish the imperialist army and navy.
  2. Stop fighting against the revolutions in China and Nicaraugua.
  3. Withdraw from Latin America and the Pacific.
  4. Independence for American colonies.
  5. Hands off Mexico.
  6. Withdraw from puppet government in Latin America.
  7. Abandon extra-territoriality privileges in the Third World.
  8. End current military, set up democratic military.
  9. Withdraw from the imperialist peace treaties, the world court, the League of Nations, and cancel war debt.

Here the communists did not get their desires. The army still exists and isn’t democratic. The US is in the UN and world court and still has imperialist peace treaties. The US still has extraterritorial jurisdiction throughout the world. The war debts have not been cancelled.

On the other hand they have stopped interfering in China and Nicaragua. They mostly leave Mexico alone; puppet governments in Latin America is debatable.

Puerto Rico is still colonized, although most other colonies have been freed but still heavily influenced. So, maybe a half for this one.

So, the Communist got only 2.5 out of 10 here, and the two they did get were local ones were they started interfering in the ME instead. Replace Mexico, China, and Nicaragua with Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan and the Communists get 0.5 out of 10.

****

VI: Defence of the Soviet Union

The USSR collapsed; so we’ll just say the communists failed totally here. All four demands were not met, but this was related to the failings of the USSR, rather than the US, so we’ll just leave these out of the calculations.

****

VII: Capitalist Democracy and the Government Strike-Breaker

  1. Abrogation of government by injunction.
  2. Prohibition of federal troops in labour struggles.
  3. Unrestricted right to strike. Unrestricted right to free press, free assemblage, and free speech for the working class.
  4. Abolition of the Senate, the Supreme Court, and the President’s veto.
  5. Elected judges; free legal aid.
  6. Franchise for youths 18-21 and negroes.
  7. Abolish anti-syndicalist laws and the Espionage Act.
  8. Repeal industrial court laws.
  9. Abolition of secret anti-labour organizations.
  10. Abolition of media censorship.
  11. Immediate release of all political prisoners.

The government by injunction mostly ended and military and quasi-military organizations no longer intervene in labour struggles. The right to strike is generally unrestricted (except a few key industries), the working class retains free press, speech, and assemblage (at least if they’re left-wing), and the media is almost entirely uncensored these days.. 18-year-olds and negroes have the vote. This biased article from Wikipedia seems to indicate secret anti-labour organizations is mostly a thing of the past.

I can’t find much on industrial courts, other than the Kansas courts which are gone. I guess this is a win for the communist.

Anti-syndicalist laws still exist, but were neutered and are almost never used. The Espionage Act still exists but has been watered down in some areas. So we’ll say they got half of this one.

Union leaders don’t go to prison anymore, but Edward Snowden might be considered a political prisoner. Overall, we’ll ignore this as a product of its time.

On the other hand the Senate and Supreme Court remain and federal judges are still appointed (but there is free legal aid).

So, 7 and a half out of 10 demands were met relating to labour relations.

****

VIII: A Labour Party

  1. A labour party on all levels.
  2. Exclude businesses from the party and base it around unions.
  3. Join the workers party.

Hard to say. The Democratic Party and the unions are now so inseparable it can sometimes be hard to see where one begins and the other ends, but the Democrats play with big business a lot as well (as do the unions).

The third point is more a call to action than a demand.

Overall, let’s give the communists 1.5 out of 2 for this section.

****

IX: Social Legislation

  1. Old age and unemployment insurance.
  2. 40-hour, 5-day work-week forbidding overtime.
  3. Compulsory safety and sanitation rules.
  4. Effective labour inspection elected by the workers.
  5. Free health care for all.

The first three demands have all been met. There is labour inspection, but they are not elected, so that gets a half-point.

Free healthcare for all does not exist, but Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare go a long way to providing “free” care, so we’ll give that a half point as well.

So, a functional 4 out of 5 demands were met here.

****

X: Tariff and Taxation

  1. Abolition of indirect taxes.
  2. Exemption from taxes for wage earners.
  3. Exemption from taxes for farmers.
  4. Graduated income taxes with full confiscation of incomes above $25k.
  5. Abolish exemptions for bonds, stocks, and securities.
  6. Graduated inheretance taxes.
  7. Tariffs on working class necessities abolished.

Tariffs have almost entirely disappeared, so the last demand is met. The most hated indirect tax, the tariff, was mostly eliminated, but other forms of indirect taxation abound, so we’ll give the first a half-point. A graduated income tax exists, but there’s no full confiscation, so another half-point.

The bottom 2 quintiles have effective negative income tax rates, but pay payroll taxes so we’ll give that one a half-point. Farmers have a lot of tax benefits but not full exemption, so we’ll give that a half-point as well.

Capital gains are taxed,as are estates, so there’s two wins for the communists.

In tax policy, the communists had 5 out of 7 demands met.

****

XI: Plight of the Farmers

  1. Five-year moratorium on farm debt.
  2. Protection from monopoly prices on farming supplies.
  3. Protection from special explotation by various farming related industries (like railroads).
  4. $1 Billion farm relief fund.
  5. Federal law against enforced farm foreclosures.
  6. Abolition of taxes on farmers.
  7. The land belongs to its users.
  8. Freedom for agricultural workers to strike and various benefits.

The first will be ignored as it was a temporary demand, as will the land belongs to users as is not really a demand.

The trusts have been beaten. Some people think Monsanto is a monopoly, but they aren’t really a monopoly in the traditional sense. We’ll say the communists got that one, but with the Monsanto caveat.

Other than the occasional, half-hearted, ritualized complaint about the railroads (Joke: A Saskatchewan farmer walks outside on the first day of harvest to see that it hailed overnight, destroying half his crops. He looks towards the heavens, raises his fist, and yells aloud, “Damn you, CN), I haven’t seen any complaints about the special exploitation, so we’ll say the demand was met.

The US farm bill totals $500 Billion, although, most of that is food stamps, so I guess the farmers for their relief.

Banks can still foreclose on farms and farmers still pay taxes, so those are two demands not met.

Agricultural workers do have the right to strike.

So, the communists had 4 out of 6 demands met (with the Monsanto caveat).

****

XII: Oppression of the Negroes

  1. Full racial, social, and political equality for Negroes.
  2. Abolition of segregation.
  3. Abolition of disenfranchisement laws.
  4. Abolition of laws preventing negro schooling.
  5. Allow Negroes full access to restaurants and related facilities.
  6. Ban lynching.
  7. End discrimination of Negroes in the courts.
  8. Abolish convict lease system and chain gang.
  9. Abolish Jim Crow in federal employment.
  10. Remove Trade Union restrictions on Negroes.
  11. Equal opportunity and equal pay for equal work for Negroes.

Obviously, all of these have been met, with the minor exception of chain gangs which were revived in Arizona.

So, all 11 demands related to Negroes were met.

****

XIII: Foreign-born Workers

  1. Abolish all laws discriminating against foreign-born workers.
  2. Workers must unite with foreign-born workers.
  3. Immediate repeal of immigration laws.
  4. Equal pay for equal work for the foreign born.

The second demand is more a call to action than an actual policy demand.

The first and third demand were all met for foreign-born workers that are naturalized, but not for illegal immigrants.

The third was not met, but with the quasi-official acceptance of illegal Mexican immigrants, they might as well have.

We’ll say that the communist got 1.5 out of 3 demands met.

****

XIV: Working Women

  1. Eliminate night, overtime, and job work for women.
  2. Paid maternity leave during pregnancy.
  3. Paid maternity leave during nursing.
  4. Organize women into unions and eliminate discrimination against women in unions.
  5. Equal pay for equal work.

Night, overtime, and job work haven’t been eliminated, but there are restrictions and they are optional, so  we’ll say that demand was half met.

Mothers have 12 weeks unpaid maternity leave, so maybe 0.5 out of 2 for the two demands.

Women are not free to join unions and aren’t discriminated against, so that’s another demand met.

Despite the false claims of feminists, women do get equal pay for equal work (equal work is key here). So that’s another demand met.

So, the equivalent of 3 out of 5 demands met.

****

XV: Youth, Child Labour, and Education

  1. Abolish child labour.
  2. $20 minimum wage for young workers.
  3. Establish work-schools in factories.
  4. Use schools as feeding centres for the unemployed.
  5. Right to vote for everyone over 18.
  6. Schools must be free, more schools built, free of religious or jingoistic instruction, free of Jim Crow, and allow teachers to organize.

Child labour was abolished, 18-year-olds can vote, and there are nutrition programs in schools, so that’s 3 demands.

Out of the five demands in one, schooling is free (except university, more schools have been built (but probably not as many as they’d like as people still complain of over-crowding), there is no religious instruction and jingoistic instruction is almost gone, there is no Jim Crow, and teachers can unionize.

So, the first two get a half point, while the others get a full one.

I don’t think work-schools have been established, but there are apprenticeship programs, so we’ll say that’s half-met.

In total, 7.5 out of 10 demands have been met.

****

XVI: Housing

  1. Municipal fixing of low rents for workers.
  2.  Municipal housing for workers without profit.
  3. State laws against immediate eviction.
  4. Compulsory repair of working-class homes by landlords.
  5. Shelters for the unemployed.
  6. Municipal aid to workers’ building cooperatives.

These are all local, but most large municipalities have rent control, subsidized housing, tenant regulations. and homeless shelters.

I have no idea about the last point, but I have heard of no such thing, so we’ll say the demand wasn’t met.

So, 5 out of 6 demands met in housing.

****

XVII: Prohibition

  1. Repeal prohibition.
  2. End local and state prohibition.
  3. Energetic propaganda against alcoholism.

All 3 of these demands were met.

****

In conclusion, of the CPUSA’s 1928 platform, 66 out of 94 demands were met, or about 70% of demands. In relation to foreign relations through, 0/10 were met.

So, if we only look at domestic demands, that’s 65.5 out of 84 demands met, or 78% of demands.

Of those demands most desired by communists (ie. 40-hour, 5-day week and social programs), which were mentioned multiple times, they were all met.

Given that almost 80% of communist demands for the US were met and a number of those not met are on their way to being met (ex: paid maternity leave), we can say that the US is a communist country, in the vein of American communism.

I don’t have time to analyze the Democratic and Republican platform demands of the same year at this time, but I would bet significant sums that less than 80% of their demands were met and upheld by our present time.

Note that many European countries would have met even more of these demands, and would be even more communist than communist America.

The USA is a communist country, of that there can be no doubt.

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* There are no demands in sections I or XVIII.

****

A few pieces have been edited (20/10/2013): Thanks to Michael Anissismov for pointing out the errors for correction.

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34 responses to “The Communists Won

  • Robert in Arabia

    Thanks. Good job.

  • John

    Another simple way to evaluate this is to see how far we’ve gone down the road of the 10 Planks of the Communist Manifesto:

    http://laissez-fairerepublic.com/tenplanks.html

  • lozozlo

    The US currently has EI, a 40-hour workweek (with optional, paid overtime),

    A total lie – most people work ‘salaried’ positions where there is no overtime pay, and work hours are often very under reported.

    I have worked at, and know many corporate employers where 50-70 hour weeks for 40 hour pay are the norm.

    Most of communism is terrible, but limiting work hours so we have the time and energy to focus on what is important, and not to be forced by crony capitalists to spend all of our time making them money and pursuing the production of worldly wealth is one of the (few) good parts, actually.

  • lozozlo

    Of these demands, they’ve achieved a 40-hour week, high wages, and destroying company unions.

    Real wages have fallen massively since the 70’s. Vox has covered this several times – just check his site.

    This post is rife with lies – the american people are working longer and harder than ever for rapidly falling wages while the bankers and the executives are laughing all the way to the bank.

  • lozozlo

    We are not communist, we are corporate fascist/crony capitalist.

    Capitalism for the middle class, socialism for everyone else.

  • lozozlo

    Despite the false claims of feminists, women do get equal pay for equal work (equal work is key here)

    They actually get paid more per unit work than men actually.

  • lozozlo

    A little more about that

    Also check out the book “The Overworked American” by Juliet Schor.

    It was mentioned a while back on Patriactionary.

  • lozozlo

    Sorry for sending so many posts…this issue really gets to me since it is one area of the red pill that even many of the best red pill blogs get totally wrong.

    There is this inherent assumption that the american ‘capitalist’ model is

    a.) Actually capitalist
    b.) In line with Biblical principles.

    b.) is especially false since most people are forced to work far more than is spiritually, mentally, and physically healthy in pursuit of worldly wealth.

  • lozozlo

    And one more for the road Arbeit Macht Sie Frei

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  • Alan J. Perrick

    I had a sneaking suspicion this was true. Good job laying it out, “Free Northerner”.

    Best regards,

    A.J.P.

  • Laguna Beach Fogey

    So…what are you going to do about it?

  • Free Northerner

    @ John: Also a good one; maybe I’ll go through it.

    @ lolz: The commies were mostly concerned with the blue collar wage-class, not the white-collar salary-class, whose hours have gone down over time and are covered by the 40-hour week.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_time#Recent_History

    Wages have gone up since 1928, even if they have stagnated more recently.

    I do not believe the US to be capitalist; it is corporate socialism, corporate communism, or fascism; the actual differences are minor.

    @ LBF: No idea. Help propagate the truth and make sure I’m prepared when what can not last forever, doesn’t.

  • lozozlo

    Wages have gone up since 1928, even if they have stagnated more recently

    Stagnated more recently…understatement of the century right there…

    According to Vox at least, wages have fallen 87 percent since 1965

  • lozozlo

    whose hours have gone down over time and are covered by the 40-hour week.

    If you check the links I posted above, you will see that the exact opposite is true – hours have exploded (among the few employed) and wages have tanked enormously.

  • lozozlo

    I know of no white collar workers who actually work a 40 hours week…companies report 40 hours but actually work the employees much more.

    My previous employer made us report 35 hours…but the average workweek was between 60-75 for most (all white collar) employees.

  • lozozlo

    From your link:Many professional workers put in longer hours than the forty-hour standard

    Your own link refutes your position…but either way, the evidence is very clear, as per my links above – work hours have increased enormously, as has the pace and stress of work, while pay has dropped like a rock.

  • Ton

    Yep they one before any of us was born. Which is why I say loyalty to the government and patriotism is stupid. Our loyalty should be to God and kin and none else.

  • enjoy the decline

    USSA! USSA! USSA!

  • Free Northerner

    @ lolz: I think you mistook what I intended to say; I might not have wrote it clearly. The hours of the white collar class have increased, but the blue collar class hours have decreased and their pay has increased overtime (probably because there are fewer women entering that field and lowering wages). I don’t think the communists cared very much about petit bourgeoisie white collar types back then.

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  • Inane Rambler (@UnendImprov)

    ” I don’t think the communists cared very much about petit bourgeoisie white collar types back then.”

    Exactly. They still don’t today, as white collar workers do not have the class consciousness many blue collar workers still have even today. However the USSR near the end of its lifetime gave very generous bonuses to their managers, more than their actual workers got.

    Although in other ways the USSR was closer to its stated goals than the US was.

  • Michael.

    So ah, where’s the classless stateless society where property is held in common then?

    You’re arguing that based on some transitional demands (a technical term, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transitional_demands) from a party in 1928, that the USA is now communist. However, this claim has a number of issues.

    1. Communism actually has a clearly defined meaning, and it is not that “transitional goals from 85 years go are achieved”.
    2. Even if you don’t believe in 1., you surely should accept that communists believe in equality and liberty (or at least equality), something that is surely lacking in the USA today.
    3. Moreover, many of the issues mentioned in the document, are just as relevant today. “The wealth of the few, is the poverty of the many” – p9.
    4. The party had the aim, listed in the same text, “the overthrow of capitalism, the establishment of a workers’ and farmers’ government, the establishment of a Communist society in which the means of production will not be the private property of the few, a society which will not be based on profit but on labor, which will not be founded on class divisions, which will eradicate both imperialist wars and class wars, which will be able to eliminate poverty.” – p11. None of which have been achieved.
    5. The party put forward those demands in that presidential election. “But even the realization of all these demands would not liberate the working class…” – p62. Which means that the party full well knew that the realization of those demands would not bring about communism.

    In conclusion, I find your methodology and reasoning flawed, and your conclusion suspect (and more to the point, wrong).

    Cheers.

  • Free Northerner

    1) No it doesn’t.
    2) The USSR was neither equal nor free; neither has any other communist state been either.
    3) I went through that in the post.
    4) The government controls half the wealth of the country and heavily regulates what it does not own. None of the other communist states eliminated poverty either.
    5) Communism itself never liberated the working class.

  • Michael.

    Thanks for the response.
    1. You might not think it does, however, it does. Just because the media does not provide clear definitions, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. A state of communism (where state is being used like “a state of nature”, rather than the “nation-state” usage) would be classless, stateless (no countries or governments), and property (being defined as the means of production, rather than personal effects, so you don’t have to worry about sharing your toothbrush) being “owned” by the community as a whole. The maxim “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need” is implemented (“ability” is variously defined by different authors). Many authors actually believe that it will not be necessary for all to give to their full ability, due to various factors, including the elimination of useless jobs such as large chunks of the financial sector. Places which expand more on this, include * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communism * http://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/c/o.htm#communism * http://www.marxists.org/archive/bukharin/works/1920/abc/03.htm * http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/petr-kropotkin-communism-and-anarchy
    We can see that both Marxists (Bukharin and Marxists.org) and anarchists (Kropotikin) agree on the basic principles of an eventual “communist” society (even if they differ in how to reach that end goal). (I can provide quite a lot more references if required on this same topic. It’s a pity I don’t have access to my many political science and political philosophy books at this time, or else I could quote ad nauseam from them.)

    2. The USSR was never run along communist lines, and the government never claimed that the country was. At most they claimed that they were in transition to communism. They were meant to be implementing the stage of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Of course, they were lying. But that doesn’t change that the country wasn’t communist by any reasonable definition actually used by political scientists, political philosophers, and actual communists. The same applies to other “communist” countries. None of them actually claim to be in the end state. Marxist communists will mostly waffle about socialism and dictatorship of the proletariat. Anarcho-communists (and some Marxian communists) will simply point out the lack of equality and freedom, and the continued presence of classes to indicate that those countries are not and were not communist.

    3. Fine.

    4. Big government means not communist by the definition given in 1. Those “communist” states were and are not. Moreover, there is still massive amounts of wealth discrepancy, massive difference in power, etc.

    5. No it didn’t did it. The revolutions were hi-jacked. Of course, looking historically, the anarchists in the 1850s-1900s were saying exactly that the Marxist ideas would lead to “red dictatorships”. They were proven correct (though Marxists still deny it). That doesn’t change that the demands put forward the Workers (Communist) Party were not meant to be the end of it, but merely transitional demands.

    Again, using a definition of communism that is actually accepted by those who study politics (ignoring those who study “international relations” who tend to be a bit, ah…), and by those who actually claim the label of communist, there is no way that anywhere in the world today is actually communist.

    (Disclaimer: I’m not a communist as such. But I have studied various radical leftist movements, including various types of communism.)

    Cheers.

  • Free Northerner

    Hey Michael, your post got caught in the spam filter; I pulled it out.

    If by communist you mean the hypothetical future utopian state brought upon by a hypothetical proletariat revolution, then you are correct. The US is not communist, and no state has been. I am aware of this definition from my studies and various debates I’ve had with communists.

    I was not using the word “communist” in this sense though. I was using it in the sense of applying communist-derived and Marxist-derived theory to run the state and the actual application of communism states professing to be based upon communist theory and ideals, even if “communism” was not obtained.

  • Michael.

    (No worries about the spam filter, these things happen. I guess I had too many links for it.)

    If you’re not using the word communist in the way that it is used by actual communists, then how are you using the word? It seems to be meaningless if you are willing to use it to describe both the USSR at all points in its life, and the current USA. (And, presumably, the Cuban government since 1970s or whenever, Vietnam, North Korea, and all the other “communist” states.)

    I find it crazy enough when “communist” is used against just the actual “socialist” (whatever that means) countries, considering the various and myriad differences economically and politically between them.

    If you’re just using the word as a pejorative (terrorism, terrorism, terrorism, terrorist!), then I understand (though vehemently disagree with this usage, as it pollutes the language). Otherwise, …

  • Free Northerner

    The label communist is generally applied to the state socialism of the soviet, soviet-supported, and related regimes based upon the writings of Marx. Now, according to communists these weren’t “communism” per se, but according to everyone else they were.communist.

    The US, particularly the State Department and particularly under FDR, was run for a long period by progressivists sympathetic to the soviet cause, who often ran American affairs for the good of the communist (ie. soviet) cause.

    This ruling progressivist class was often Communist, or at the least, anti-anti-communiust. So, the theory goes, if the US was run by Communists and these communists achieved everything they worked towards, we might as well call the US a communist country.

    That is a very short and simplified version of the argument. Moldbug has written a lot more on that theory, two pieces of which are here:
    http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.ca/2012/01/kiss-stalin-was-feeling-extremely-gay.html
    http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.ca/2013/09/technology-communism-and-brown-scare.html

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