SolarCross wrote:The US penal system is not beyond criticism. Too many laws and a well funded police system will result in a big prison population. Then there is the war on drugs which is overdue some reform. But US prisons are palaces of comfort and well regulated by basic moral decency for the most part and "political" prisoners practically do not exist. There is no comparison.
Since you have read the GA then the real curiosity is not why I "shrug" at the US law enforcement system (I am not a fan btw) but why you shrug at what the Soviets did.
That commies still give each other a free pass for atrocities just underscores that not one of you can be trusted with anything.
A few quick points.
I'm not a tankie, I don't defend Stalin. I'm a non-authoritarian leftist. I don't favor hierarchical systems of government. What I believe in is a distributed system of worker control, with elected leaders who have limited and temporary powers.
I condemn states that actively perform or encourage mass atrocities, whether internal or external. This includes all the classic historical examples like Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Israel, Pinochet, etc. It includes the US genocide of native Americans and African slavery. If you are a person that defends Pinochet's atrocities on the ground he prevented communism you are evil or stupid.
I condemn the mass death that has resulted from capitalism. The Black Book of Capitalism is as lengthy and filled with horror as the Black Book of Communism. This is not up for discussion. I note that both capitalism and communism have provided leverage to the usual nastiness of the human condition, and magnified suffering beyond belief. I cite just one example, although one could go on endlessly: in the US it is accepted practice that people that can't afford medical care will simply allowed to die. Patients are literally removed from hospitals and put on the street. Patients who can't afford insulin will beg online or just die.
I condemn states that engage in external oppression. The US is, and has been for decades, the worst offender, although many nations eagerly join in. The US has interfered militarily, through covert actions, supporting proxy armies, color revolutions, economic sanctions, etc in the constant undermining of other nations' right to run their own affairs. This interference has resulted in the documented deaths of thousands of innocent people. It has resulted in a dangerous state of chaos throughout the world - a deliberately planned and engineered chaos (as openly admitted by US defense planners like Ralph Peters).
I assert that as long as nations states exist, all nations have the right to be left alone by other nations - unless there is a direct, immediate, and unambiguous military threat to their neighbors. This right to be left alone gives them the unlimited right to choose whatever government they want: republican, fascist, socialist, communist etc - without the approval of @SolarCross or anyone else. Whatever consequences ensue from their bad choices are the exclusive problem of the people who make the choices. You get no say.
I don't believe in the right to exclusively and/or permanently own land, water, air, the ocean, or any of the other common inheritance of humankind. Any state that legally protects the right of individuals to engage in this practice is by definition evil and the enemy of the people it governs.
That's about all.
Potemkin wrote:You're in for a treat. Varlam Shalamov was a literary genius of the highest order, the true heir of Isaak Babel.
"I saw what a weighty argument for the intellectual is the most ordinary slap in the face."
I get a little kick out of the fact that most of the dissidents @SolarCross admires were leftists. Shalamov was convicted for Trotskyite sympathies,