Communism in all but name

Political issues are more than a battle of words, but words do come into it, particularly when the political elite have the means to frame the debate. gives this definition of communism.


[kom-yuh-niz-uh m]


1. A theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.

2.(often initial capital letter) a system of social organization in which all economic and social activity is controlled by a totalitarian state dominated by a single and self-perpetuating political party.

3. (initial capital letter ) the principles and practices of the Communist party.


1835–45; < French communisme.

As most of us know, Karl Marx saw socialism as an intermediate state on the road to communism. For non-communist countries inclined towards socialism, one of the few advantages of communist states such as the Soviet Union was the cautionary lesson it provided of a modern totalitarian state. Those stone-faced Soviet leaders and goose-stepping military were a powerful reminder of where we absolutely did not want to go, political trends of which we had to be very wary.

Since the collapse of the old Soviet Union, the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and Chinese communism having evolved into a blend of communist and a pseudo-market economy, a useful word has lost some of its edge. The word communism is not as toxic as it was, no longer quite satisfactory as a label for extreme left-wing ideology and trends – particularly trends. We have a problem with our political language.

  • Communism is dated.
  • Red is tainted by punditry.
  • Socialist is too fashionable.
  • Left-wing is almost chic.
  • Communitarian is okay but not mainstream.
  • Nanny state is okay but tainted by punditry.

Yet in the UK, EU and globally there are a whole series of authoritarian and undemocratic political trends headed firmly in the direction of what we used to call communism, only now we don’t give it enough mainstream attention because a good word has lost its sting.

As an illustration of the wider problem with political language, we could also consider the BBC. By any rational criteria, the BBC has adopted the role of UK state television. It represents mainstream centralising political trends, ignores alternative viewpoints and even resorts to outright lying – on climate change for example.

Even so and regardless of how obvious these things are, referring to the BBC as state television isn’t particularly effective. The BBC has insinuated itself into our lives and is too familiar and comfortable to be seen as a serious political problem. Pre-BBC days are now almost beyond living memory.

Yet it is entirely reasonable to be concerned that we seem to be on the road towards a version of something we once described accurately as communism. Consider the trends:-

  • State regulation covers all aspects of daily life.
  • State education is dominant and increasingly ideological.
  • State-sponsored health issues are invading daily life.
  • State-sponsored politically-correct censorship is now commonplace.
  • The three major political parties collude on all major issues.
  • Environmental propaganda is used to manage expectations downwards.

The key point about all this is the absence of an acknowledged end-game. Where are we supposed to bring current trends to a halt because some kind of social and political objective has been achieved? How do we stop ourselves trending towards something that is communism in all but name? In particular, how do we tackle this trend without a name if we can’t call it communism or find a more suitable word?

13 comments for “Communism in all but name

  1. Sackerson
    January 8, 2012 at 7:42 am

    Family, and small independent businesses. Big Brother and Big MD/CEO have joined hands against them. Great piece on what the supermarkets have done on the Slog:

    A small businessman – like our former greengrocer – has something to leave to the next generation, and the latter then have an incentive to work hard and get on with people in the community. Where then would we need police and social workers?

    Corporate capitalism and the overbearing, over-caring State are the result of this reification of individual powers and initiative. New Labour and New Conservative are merely contenders for places on the Central Committee.

  2. January 8, 2012 at 8:45 am

    I have been grappling with what to label the destination to which we are underway within the EU for a long time. It is totalitarianism, but given the power assigned to corporations it will probably end up as more akin to National Socialism, but let’s not mince words – fascism, although in which of its various guises is not yet clear.

    In the UK with the examples you provide, but led of course by the collapsing NHS, given the huge influence of the left, communism appears a better name for this “State running everything of significance” but as we capitulate more and more to German wealth and power we will eventually be subject to what is the rule of order there.

    The HS2 approval will only be controversial while the track is being laid, the only portion where local unskilled labour will be required. In the decades thereafter the trains will come most probably from Siemens (OK Alstom may get an initial order, depending how far the subjugation of France has by then proceeded).

    Horrendous is it not, as I commented on Thyssen Krupp when it opened its huge steel mill in Alabama, that companies that openly employed slave labour in WW2 and appear to know no shame as they boast the terrible statistics on their corporate websites, seem to feel no necessity to change their name as they bestride the world on the back of the repression delivered by the EU? Is this the maker Cameron wishes for the trains that he plans to despoil England’s countryside, a company that ran 400 slave labour barrack factories:

    Can we see one costed justification for the HS2 when it is approved by Parliament this week? Will any MP or member of the House of Lords dare propose an amendment to any enabling legislation include a requirement that all the trains be built in England?

    • Furor Teutonicus
      January 8, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      XX Thyssen Krupp when it opened its huge steel mill in Alabama, that companies that openly employed slave labour in WW2XX

      And recieved millions of dollars from the U.S.A to help them do it.

      Or is that point a little too close to the bone for you to contemplete?

      • January 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm

        Not at all, I have no trouble accepting that is so whatsoever.

  3. witteringwitney
    January 8, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Good post AKH which is why I and others are trying to formulate an alternative form of democracy – an attempt which has been ridiculed by some.

    • January 8, 2012 at 9:26 am

      Absolutely, AKH – clear as day.

    • January 8, 2012 at 4:20 pm

      Thanks – we need an alternative and it needs a good name.

  4. P H Ball
    January 8, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    I am not happy either, BUT BUT what is the alternative?? Will all these big city Demonstrations (including the St Pauls camp) really ever change things?? I think not. Where do we go from here?? 😯

  5. nemesis
    January 8, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    Perhaps there is a case that the left have infact hijacked the words of the right wing and twisted them to their own cause (inorder to sound less alarming).
    A nicely illustrated (if dated) example appears here:

    • January 11, 2012 at 4:33 pm

      That’s a good link – thanks. Now bookmarked.

  6. John Blake
    January 10, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    Best think of contemporary communo-fascist jerks as “coprophagic proctocranials” acting ever with ill-will, in bad faith under false pretenses. As for their collectivist Statist pretensions, in stark fact a kakistocratic oligarchy that blights everything it touches out of sheer self-serving stupidity, the generic term is not Cicero’s “Optimates” vs. “Populares” but the all-embracing term “proctocracy.”

    He that has eyes, let him see.

    • January 11, 2012 at 4:28 pm

      I like “proctocracy”.

  7. 6079SmithW
    January 11, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Faginism – the new communism: picking the pockets of producers for pleasure and profit.

    Winston Smith

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