Is communism an homicidal ideology? (Part 1)

Or, should I ask: are communists homicidal? I’ve been trying to find an answer to this question for a long time, but answering it in a completely fair way has proven more difficult than I thought. The difficulty does not lay on finding out how many people died, that’s easy. The difficulty lays on determining how many of those deaths can be attributed to cultural influences instead of communism, determining if the figures provided by historians are unbiased and even accurate, if the deaths happened during a period of war-time or a period of peace-time, if those figures are significative when compared to the total population (for which I'm using a census are near as possible to the year of the events), and, most important, determining if those self-proclaimed communist states actually follow a communist ideology or something else.

Obviously, I’m not going to analyse every single state that proclaimed itself as communist; that would take forever. So I’m going to pick the three most well known examples: The Soviet Union, The People’s Republic of China, and The Republic of Cuba. And then, I will try to analyse their death toll; taking into account the factors explained above.

I would like to clarify now that at the end of this essay I will not reach any conclusions; but hopefully, you will (please post them). I’m not here to judge communism; just to present the facts in a fair and impartial manner, whatever the result.

The Soviet Union: (1920 population estimate 137,727,000)
  • Previous regime (Tsar Nicholas II, 1900-17)

    Sources vary from 95,000 to 1,070,000 people killed by the Romanov regime. It is believed that between two thirds and half of the total deaths were Jews killed by the Tsar’s pogroms.

    This comes down to a media of ±582,500 deaths (±0.004229% of the population), or ±34,264 deaths (±0.000249%) per year, during a period of 17 years of peace-time.

  • The Russian Revolution (Lenin, 1917-22)

    Sources vary, but the media is between 8,800,000 and 9,000,000 deaths. However, western historians don’t tell you that these figures also include deaths by famine (±5,000,000) and deaths by diseases (±2,000,000). So, if we are to be fair, only ±1,900,000 deaths can be considered deliberate; of which ±1,000,000 deaths were actually communists (of which Lenin cannot be held accountable). It's also worth noting that Russia was involved in the Russo-Polish War at the same time as the revolution.

    This comes down to a media of ±900,000 deaths (±0.006535% of the population) and ±180,000 deaths (±0.001307%) per year; during a period of 5 years of war-time.

  • Stalin’s regime (1924-53)

    On this one the sources vary enormously, so much that they have been divided into two different schools: the big numbers school and the low numbers school; the first with a media of around 50,000,000 total deaths and the second with 8,500,000. For this reason, if we are to be fair, the only option is to go with the opinion of historians that are the middle of both; with a death toll of approximately 25,000,000. The three main causes during the 30 years of Stalin’s regime were: famine (±7,000,000), prison camps (±12,000,000), executions (±1,000,000), and the rest attributed to other causes. Let’s not forget that the Soviet Union was involved in WWII during Stalin’s regime, and that the Nazis wiped out the whole of Western Russia (Belorussia); all the way to the doors of Moscow. Therefore, it’s fair to only take prison camps and executions into account for Stalin’s total; even though prison camps could be also argued as non-deliberate deaths.

    This comes down to a media of ±13,000,000 deaths (±0.094390% of the population), or ±448,275 deaths (±0.003255%) per year; during a period of 29 years of peace-time.

People’s Republic of China: (1950 population estimate 552,000,000)
  • Previous regime (Nationalist Era, 1928-37)

    3,100,000 people were killed during this period.

    This comes down to a media of ±3,100,000 deaths (±0.005616% of the population), or ±344,444 deaths (±0.000624%) per year; during a period of 9 years of peace-time.


  • The Communist Revolution (Mao, 1945-49)

    Around 2,500,000 people were killed during the revolution.

    This comes down to a media of ±2,500,000 deaths (±0.004529% of the population), or ±625,000 deaths (±0.001132%) per year; during a period of 4 years of war-time.

  • Mao’s regime (1949-1975)

    Again, historians do not reach a consensus in regards to the death toll under Mao’s regime. The media seems to be around 40,000,000 deaths; which can be divided into: famines (±20,000,000), labour camps (±15,000,000), and purges/executions (±2,000,000). It’s worth noting that China was involved in various internal and external conflicts during Mao’s regime; including the Korean War. Therefore, it is only fair to include labour camps and executions in Mao’s total; even though, again, we could also argue that the labour camps are non-deliberate deaths.

    This comes down to a media of ±17,000,000 deaths (±0.030797% of the population), or ±653,846 deaths (±0.001185%) per year; during a period of 26 years of peace-time.

The Republic of Cuba: (1950 population estimate 5,516,000)
  • Previous regime (Batista, 1952-59)

    20,000 people were killed just in the 2 years previous to the Revolution.

    This comes down to a media of at least ±20,000 deaths (±0.003626% of the population), or ±10,000 deaths (±0.001813%) per year; during a period of 2 years of peace-time.

  • The Cuban Revolution (Castro, 1958-59)

    5,000 people were killed during the Cuban Revolution.

    This comes down to a media of ±5,000 deaths (±0.000906% of the population), or ±5,000 deaths (±0.000906%) per year; during a period of 1 year of war-time.

  • Castro’s Regime (1959-2008)

    Sources vary enormously, but the media ranges between 5,000 and 12,000 people killed in the last 50 years; so we'll settle the figure in approximately 8,500 people. The main causes seem to be: executions (±2,125), prison deaths (±1,062) and drowning in boats (±5,312). Obviously, I'm not going to blame Castro for those who drowned on a boat on their way to Miami. And again, it's also arguable whether or not the deaths in prison were deliberate; but I'll include them anyway.

    This comes down to a media of ±3,187 deaths (±0.000578% of the population), or ±65 deaths (±0.000012%) per year; during a period of 49 years of peace-time.

(To be continued...)


Note: the death tolls included in this essay are a media from the figures proposed by all foremost historians and renown encyclopaedias, with the purpose of guaranteeing an unbiased result (Source: Matthew White, “Historical Atlas of the Twentieth Century“, http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/20centry.htm).

2 comments:

  1. Genocidal? No they aren't set on the destruction of a particular race or ethnicity, Communism is far more egalitarian and equal opportunity in its killing. So while it is not genocidal it is surely homicidal.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Point taken... "genocial" has been changed for "homicidal"

    ReplyDelete