An interesting post regarding the death tolls of communism and capitalism. (Usually the counts of the former assume the count of the latter is 0. So any lives cut short by (the implementation of) communism count, but any lives saved are not subtracted.)
I remain convinced the word “communism” should be thrown out, except perhaps in technical contexts. In popular contexts people associate it with state capitalism, which I’ve yet to meet more than perhaps one person who actually advocates for. (In its place I suggest “classless-stateless-society-ism” which, while a mouthful, will immediately create strong dissonance for anyone saying it was implemented by some state or involves creating a ruling class. Because, well, if you have a state or classes, obviously you don’t have CSSism.)
I say with some regularity a lot of words need to be abandoned because they’re always contorted and the discussion goes off the rails pursuing the One True Definition of a word. But perhaps more imagination needs to be developed before the lexical space can be sorted out.
Take “communism” and “leftism” for example. The former many people associate with the stuff Stalin did rather than, say, classless-stateless-society-ism. And then just focus all arguments on Stalinism without any regard for what the CSSist is actually advocating. And the latter people will say “But in *America* “left” means Clintonian center-rightism.” And then refuse to pay any attention to what the leftist is advocating.
But in discussions on either, a large part of the problem seems to just be CSSism/leftism being beyond the scope of imagination. Immediately when the abolition of private property is endorsed, the assumption is the endorser is in favor of the state owning everything. The only conceivable alternative to private entities owning things is the state owning things. Getting rid of the abstract notion of ownership altogether just doesn’t even register as an option. So of course “Communism” isn’t taken to mean what pretty much every Communist endorses because that isn’t even imagined as an option in the first place.
(My initial attempt at a solution is making the terms even clunkier but imagination-provoking. “Classless-stateless-nobody-owns-anything-besides-in-the-sense-of-use-society-ism” barely fits in a tweet. (But then I suppose compressing everything into meaningless soundbites is part of the problem in the first place. So bring on the excruciatingly long names that are thoroughly disambiguated!))