Michael Parenti on communism and the Eastern Block

many people don’t realize that in most of Eastern Europe before World War two and certainly after World War two given the additional destruction most of Eastern Europe was a third world region thousands of villages were reduced to rubble illiteracy poverty disease coal hunger was the common lot among the peasantry and much of the working-class as it was before the war capital formation was almost non-existent the same was true of pre-revolutionary Russia the same was true of pre-revolutionary China Henry Rosemont he notes that when the Communists liberated Shanghai from the us-sponsored Kuomintang reactionary government in 1949 about the Communists found that about 20% of the population in Shanghai 1.2 million people were drug addicts and every morning special crews of street cleaners quote would gather up the corpses of children and adults who had been murdered during the night or died of disease coal and starvation communism ladies and gentlemen I say it without flinching communism in Eastern Europe Russia China Mongolia North Korea and Cuba brought land reform and human services a dramatic bettering of the living conditions of hundreds of millions of people on a scale never before or never since witnessed in human history and that’s something to appreciate communism transformed desperately poor countries into societies in which everyone had adequate food shelter medical care and education and some of us who come from poor families who carry around the hidden injuries of class are very impressed are very very impressed by these achievements and are not willing to dismiss them as economistic to say that socialism doesn’t work is to overlook the fact that it did work and it works for hundreds of millions of people but what about the democratic rights that they lost we hear us leaders talking about restoring democracy to the communist countries but these countries with the exception of Czechoslovakia were not democracies before communism Russia was a Czarist autocracy Poland was a right-wing fascist dictatorship under pazsitzky with concentration camps of its own Albania was an Italian fascist Protectorate as early as 1927 Cuba was a u.s. sponsored dictatorship under that butcher Batista Lithuania Hungary Romania and Bulgaria were outright fascist regimes openly allied with Nazi Germany in World War two so what exactly what democracy are we talking about restoring the socialist countries did not take away any rights that didn’t exist there in the first place now all of this is not to deny that communist countries suffered internal deficiencies and contradictions that were real factors in their own demise I’m not trying to blame it I don’t want to blame it all on capitalist encirclement goal for wasn’t capitalist in sir

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