What a myth - this view amongst some that to be a communist is to support the violent overthrow of a government. This seems to be assumed to be one of the articles of faith amongst communists that leads to the demonisation of communists and communism, and socialism itself.
In reality, communists have been divided on this subject for quite a while. Some do believe in violent revolution, whilst others believe in bringing it about through the democratic process. Communist, in other words, is not synonymous with some shady individual in a Mao cap garnished with a singular red star lurking with violent intent behind some bush a stone’s throw from parliament. I, for one, have met quite a few communists here in the UK whom seem more inclined to sing Kumbaya around the campfire and would definitely shudder at the thought of brandishing a pistol to usher in a red dawn.
This demonisation, in some parts of the world, has led to the distancing between oppositional movements from the socialist tendency as a whole. Hence, they move on to being ‘bourgeois socialists’ who seem more prone to agitating for more feathers to soften one’s couch constructed from a bed of nails. There is no socialist check, so to speak, on the democratic impulse, and hence, quite a few ‘democratic’ movements can simultaneously be likened to fascist democrats who do nothing other than attempt to maintain the privilege of previously advantaged classes now seeing competition from foreigners for instance, or who seek to acquire just enough advantages from their rulers so as to give themselves enough reason to remain silent on that which affects ‘minority’ interests or those of foreigners. If the ‘left‘ does exist in significant proportions, they do so in a wholly ‘right‘ spectrum - a part of what I would term, the ‘relative left’.
Speaking to some communists in Trafalgar-turned-Red Square on May Day, I observed, ‘that whatever the political aspirations of the Communist Party of Britain (CPB), your role as the perspectival check on the left is indispensable. You serve as the benchmark against which socialist parties can still claim to be socialist. Without you, we lose our bearings on our impulses and might soon serve to redefine socialism along rightist lines and become left in a wholly right spectrum.’ In other words, if we take away black, we might soon mistake grey for black and perceive white as none too far or different from black.
As for myself, I could describe myself as socialist, communist, and anarchist. However, these identities are simply stages of evolution given particular historical conditions. If we live within a socialist state, i would aspire to be a communist. If we live within a communist state, I would aspire to be an anarchist. Each identity ought to come with an aspiration that transcends it lest a stepping stone becomes our headstone. The aspiration bit, such as being an anarchist within a communist state, is an attempt to transcend a particular state of being whilst using said state of being as a stepping stone to a higher state of being. This prevents myself from being a victim of any state of being and turning said state of being into ‘modern times requiring no change because it is modern, and hence, natural’. The human potential intrigues me no end. And hence, my interest in the best system required to bring out the best in all of us for the sake of all.
I’ll leave these thoughts here for now.