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    Although the topic isn’t too novel, I’m submitting this since I thought people might be interested in the fact that Eli started blogging about Rust. I always found his blog posts to be well-written and insightful, and this one is no exception.

    1. 1

      Is Eli Bendersky someone of note?

      1. 4

        Probably not if you’d use Wikipedia’s definition of “notable”, but he’s a prolific blogger and (in my non-authoritative opinion) an excellent writer.

    1. 1

      Too bad this has been “reprinted” as a wall of text. The original blog post by Carmack has been archived in a much more readable format.

      For what it’s worth, Bartosz Milewski wrote a lot and gave some talks on this topic, too.

      1. 3

        I use LXC containers in my home lab, with automated backups (local and remote). Before any major changes I just create a new backup (takes a few seconds) and do whatever. When things blow up and I can’t find a quick fix, I just roll back and deal with it later when I have more time. To me this is a good mix of getting to control of what I run (not a container image that I have to trust was done right) while still getting some of the benefits of containers. Obviously this is a home lab setting so it won’t scale too well.

        1. 2

          Big fan of LXC here, too.

          How do you back them up exactly? I found that creating & exporting snapshots of my containers takes much more than a few seconds.

          1. 2

            I use Proxmox! It has a web UI and console utilities to manage LXC containers. You can run VMs also the same way. The backups take a few seconds for small containers, but can take a lot more depending on the container/vm disk size and the underlying storage (hdd vs flash, etc).

        1. 1

          Motivated by re-reading Gabriel’s Patterns of Software, I have recently been reading the 2.x branch of clap. It has a reasonably small number of dependencies (especially if you don’t count the optional ones), it’s a useful non-trivial library so it might pay up to be more deeply familiar with it, and I found it to be fairly straightforward to follow.

          I can’t really say it’s been life-changing so far, but I’m still exploring it and I’ve picked up a few interesting tidbits I’ve used in my day-to-day work. It’s very useful to see how other people structure their code and approach readability.

          1. 1

            GMail has this somewhat built-in: username+anytextABC123@gmail.com.

            It’s not that I’m advocating using GMail as a solution for privacy concerns :D, but if one day you’ll get a spam message containing the text username+servicename@gmail.com, you’ll know which service leaked the address ;).

            1. 1

              FastMail supports this as well. Additionally, they support (free) aliases on hundreds of very generic domains like “eml.cc”, which allows you to have a similar setup on those websites where a “+” in an email address is deemed to be an illegal character.

              Mozilla’s new service covers more ground, though, and it’s far more automated than any of these approaches. I’m looking forward to it!

              1. 1

                Well, that will hold until the spammers start filtering out the +thing part of the email address before sending their stuff :(

                1. 1

                  GMail has had + aliases for at least a decade or more. Spammers know about them but it doesn’t matter since Google’s spam filtering is quite aggressive anyway.

                  The more annoying thing is that either through ignorance or malice (I’ve encountered both), many mainstream services and websites will not let you use a + in an email address. They claim it’s not a valid character even though it most certainly is.

                  This was actually one of the main reasons I decided to host my own email, I can tell Postfix to use . as the alias separator, which all companies and web forms accept.

                  1. 2

                    I know of sites that discard / disallow the plus sign because of abuse when they offer fremium services. So with user+one@example.com you get one month free, user+two@example.com a second one, etc.

                2. 1

                  If you use your own domain, service@your.domain is always a thing..

                1. 9

                  Something that I’ve been thinking about a lot is that the way that most software is distributed is really hostile to modifications - this post touches on that, but doesn’t go very deep into it. A question I’ve been asking recently is - what would a package manger that’s designed with end-users patching software as a first-class concern look like? And a somewhat more challenging version for some systems - what would it look like to allow end-users to patch their kernels as a first-class concern?

                  NixOS has the start to an answer for this (fork the nixpkgs repo, make whatever changes you like), but it still doesn’t seem ideal. I guess maybe gentoo is a sort of answer to this as well, but it doesn’t seem like gentoo answers the question of “how do you keep track of the changes that you’ve made”, which is I think a really important part of systems like this (and the thing that’s missing in most current package managers support for patching)

                  1. 13

                    Note you don’t need to fork nixpkgs to edit individual packages, you can just add them to an overlay with an override eg I was trying to debug sway recently so I have:

                    (sway.overrideDerivation (oldAttrs: {
                          src = fetchFromGitHub {
                            owner = "swaywm";
                            repo = "sway";
                            rev = "master";
                            sha256 = "00sf8fnbj8x2fwgfby6kcrxjxsc3m6w1yr63kpq6hv94k3p510nz";
                          };
                        }))
                    

                    One of the guix devs gave a talk called Practical Software Freedom (slides) where the core point was that it’s not enough to have foss licensing if editing code is so much of a pain that noone does it. It looks like guix has a pretty nice workflow for editing installed packages, and since the tooling is all scriptable I bet you could streamline it even more - eg add a command for “download the source, fork it to my personal repo, add the fork to my packages list”.

                    1. 6

                      I only very briefly used guix, but its kernel configuration system is also just scheme. It’s so much nicer than using any of the kernel configurators that come with the kernel, and I actually played around with different configurations rather than opting to play it safe which is what I normally do since it’s such a faff if I accidentally compile out support for something important.

                      1. 2

                        How often do you find your overlays breaking something in strange ways? My impression is that most packages don’t come with tests or other guardrails to give early warning if I break something. Is that accurate?

                        1. 3

                          I haven’t had any problems so far. I guess if you upgrade a package and it changes the api then you might be in trouble, but for the most part it seems to just work.

                      2. 6

                        One thing this brought to mind was @akkartik’s “layers” script: http://akkartik.name/post/wart-layers

                        The post is short, but the money quote is here:

                        We aren’t just reordering bits here. There’s a new constraint that has no counterpart in current programming practice — remove a feature, and everything before it should build and pass its tests

                        If we then built software such that reordering commits was less likely to cause merge conflicts, you could imagine users having a much easier time checking out a simpler version of the system and adding their functionality to that if the final version of the system was too complex to modify.

                        1. 4

                          I’ve gotten close with rpm and COPRs. I can fairly quickly download a source RPM, use rpmbuild -bp to get a prepped source tree where I can build a patch, track it, and add it back to the spec, then push it to a COPR which will build it for me and give me a yum repository I can add to any machines I want. Those pick up my changed version of the package instead of the upstream with minimal config fiddling.

                          It’s not quite “end users patching as a first class concern” but it is really nice and in that ballpark.

                          1. 3

                            At that point the package system would just be a distributed version control system, right?

                            1. 1

                              Interesting point! And I guess that’s kinda the approach that Go took from the start, with imports directly from GitHub. Except, ideally, you’d have a mutable layer on top. So something like IPFS, where you have the mutable IPNS namespace that points to the immutable IPFS content-addressed distributed filesystem.

                              Still, unlike direct links to someone elses GitHub repo, you would want to be able to pin versions. So you would want to point to your own namespace, and then you could choose how and when to sync your namespace with another person’s.

                              1. 3

                                This is how https://www.unisonweb.org/ works. Functions are content-addressed ie defined by the hash of their contents, with the name as useful metadata for the programmer. The compiler has a bunch of builtin refactoring tools to help you splice changes into an existing graph of functions.

                                1. 2

                                  Just watched the 2019 strangeloop talk. Absolutely brilliant. Only drawback I see is that it doesn’t help with code written in other languages. So dependency hell is still a thing. But at least you’re not adding levels to that hell as you write more code (unless you add more outside dependencies).

                            2. 2

                              what would a package manger that’s designed with end-users patching software as a first-class concern look like?

                              If you just want to patch your instance of the software and run it locally, it is very straightforward in Debian and related distributions, using apt-src. I do it often, for minor things and pet peeves. Never tried to package these changes and share them with others, though.

                              1. 1

                                All the stuff package managers do doesn’t seem to help (and mostly introduces new obstacles for) the #1 issue in modifying software: “where are the sources?” It should be dead easy to figure out where the sources are for any program on my system, then to edit them, then to run their tests, then to install them. Maybe src as the analogue to which?

                                I appreciate npm and OpenBSD to a lesser extent for this. Does Gentoo also have a standard place for sources?

                                1. 1

                                  I believe Debian is trying to streamline this with Salsa. That’s the first place I look when I’m looking for source code of any package on my system.

                                2. 1

                                  what would a package manger that’s designed with end-users patching software as a first-class concern look like?

                                  A DVCS. (It’s Christmas, “Away in a package manger, no .dpkg for a bed…”)

                                  We drop in vendor branches of 3rd party libraries into our code as needed.

                                  We hack and slash’em as needed.

                                  We upstream patches that we believe upstream might want.

                                  We upgrade when we want, merging upstream into our branch, and the DVCS (in our case mercurial) tells us what changed up stream vs what changed locally. Some of the stuff that changed upstream is our patches of improvements on them, so 99% of the time we take the upstream changes, and 0.9% of time take our changes and 0.1% of the time have to think hard. (ps: 99% of stats including this one are made up (from gut feel) on the spot. What makes these stats special is I admit it.)

                                  A related topic is the plague of configuration knobs.

                                  Every time any programming asks, “What should these configuration value be? He says, dunno, make it an item (at best) in the .conf file or at worst, in the UI.”

                                  The ‘net effect is the probability of the exact configuration ever having been tested by anyone else on the planet is very very very low and a UI that you’d either need a Phd to drive (or more likely is full of wild arsed guesses)

                                  A good habit is, unless there is a screaming need, by default put config items in a hidden (to the user) file and that is not part of the user documentation.

                                  If anybody starts howling that they need to alter that knob, you might let them into the secret for that knob, and consider moving it into a more public place.

                                1. 1

                                  This is great: I love the presentation and the spaced repetition features. For those interested, Michael Nielsen has a lot of the same material covered in video format.

                                  1. 1

                                    Unfortunately, this website has so many custom animations and fonts that it brings my 2.6GHz i7 16 GB RAM MacBook Pro to a grinding halt. It’s a shame to put such barriers in front of great information, especially when that information is fundamentally just text.

                                    1. 1

                                      Interesting. I’ve read the bulk of the text in Firefox on my phone, a fairly standard cheapo Android, with no issues. This includes using the spaced repetition sections, too.

                                      1. 1

                                        Just checked on my iPhone XR: works fine there too. 🤷🏻

                                    1. 2

                                      I wrote mjuziq using Clojure, and have been maintaining it for a few years now. It boils down to a slightly more opinionated RSS/Atom feed reader, but there’s a lot of (fairly simple) text extraction & parsing happening in there, and I have a primitive “plugin” system which allows me to quickly add new sources of data which was trivial to write in Clojure.

                                      This is highly subjective, but I found one thing most interesting: I work on mjuziq very sporadically with commits that are sometimes separated by more than a year(!), and I don’t use Clojure too much outside of this project anymore. Yet even when I return to it after a very long time, things look obvious and familiar: it’s like returning home after a long trip. The development environment is stable and rock-solid (I use Emacs + CIDER), the language moves at a fairly slow and steady pace that’s easy to follow, and the whole thing somehow puts my “business logic” front-and-center in a way that other languages don’t.

                                      That said, I know some people aren’t too happy with how Cognitect runs Clojure as an open source project. I’ve never tried contributing so I’ve missed a lot of the “drama”, but it’s probably important to keep in mind that Clojure is a product that’s, for better or for worse, made in large part by a single highly opinionated company.

                                      1. 2

                                        This is really interesting and useful, thanks! I’ll definitely be perusing some of the resources from your “Further reading” section.

                                        After going through the chapters on nonlocality and Bell’s theorem in my QM course last year, I had a hard time understanding how all the world’s physicists aren’t just confusedly running around and screaming about entanglement. It’s an interesting universe we’re living in. :)

                                        1. 3

                                          It would be interesting to further compare this with Firejail and bubblewrap – both allow you to isolate any piece of software running on your system, i.e. they don’t necessarily tie you to a single distribution mechanism. I’ve used Firejail for Firefox with great success.

                                          1. 2

                                            Yeah, heads up with firejail. Use a SELinux sandbox(1) instead ;-) I’ve tried it and the result is really worth it, in my opinion. I’m using it often, for lots of sites I don’t trust (which is close to anything, these days)

                                            1. 1

                                              heads up with firejail. Use a SELinux sandbox(1) instead

                                              Why?

                                          1. 2

                                            I’ve heard good things about Exercism, and I’ve recently spent some time very slowly working my way through one of their tracks. They seem fairly well thought-out, and taking a look at other people’s solutions after submitting my own tends to be enlightening. The exercises also range from fairly trivial (fizzbuzz) to fairly complex (implementing a parser/interpreter).

                                            1. 5

                                              Having my sister visit, going for Turkish food, hopefully being somehow physically active (climbing or hiking), and overall enjoying quality time together.

                                              If I have some time left over, I want to show some friends the travel planner I’ve been working on, and gather some feedback. I’ve been making good progress on the backend, and I’ve mostly finished the basic UI features. It even has a final name and a URL now: https://gllvr.com

                                              1. 1

                                                This look great! I am planning a trip to japan and I found the travel planner software super lacking. Will try to use this and see what I miss/what I like.

                                                1. 1

                                                  Gulliver looks really neat! Thanks for not forcing users to register and for having a pretty useful example plan in a prominent location. I’ll be coming back to this. :)

                                                  1. 1

                                                    Thank you, that makes me really happy to hear :)

                                                1. 11

                                                  Mobile Firefox has plugins.

                                                  1. 6

                                                    Yes, for example, https://darkreader.org/ on mobile Firefox works like a charm for most pages, not only lobste.rs

                                                    1. 0

                                                      iOS/iPadOS Safari doesn’t have plugins that can do that. Saying the user should be able to modify the website to view it as they want is a nice buzzword, but doesn’t actually pan out in reality. iOS/iPadOS LITERALLY DOES NOT ALLOW YOU TO DO THAT. That is not a solution. Let’s focus on actual solutions instead of elitist buzzwords please.

                                                      1. 9

                                                        Responding with an honest-to-machine-code option to the statement

                                                        However, it leaves mobile browsers without any options.

                                                        is neither elitist nor particularly buzzwordy, but a very legitimate addition to the discussion.

                                                        1. 3

                                                          Honestly if it was a more broader discussion of dark mode, for sure, but when it’s a proposal to add code that supports dark mode to the website, it’s not really useful. People use iOS, others might prefer Chrome, Safari, etc. I get where you’re coming from, but there’s nothing reasonably actionable emerging from the statement, which itself is pretty hit and run - “Mobile Firefox has plugins” is pretty glib, all told.

                                                        2. 4

                                                          You can’t use Firefox on iOS?

                                                          1. 11

                                                            Apple doesn’t let third party browsers use their own engines.

                                                            1. 10

                                                              That’s crazy

                                                          2. 3

                                                            iOS has a feature called “Smart Invert Colors.” On my iPhone 8, I configured triple clicking the home button to enable/disable it. Works great in Mobile Safari, and Lobste.rs looks fantastic in that mode.

                                                            1. 1

                                                              Presumably it just inverts the colors of everything except for images?

                                                              1. 1

                                                                That is correct.

                                                            2. 1

                                                              With very few exceptions, most people chose to get an iPhone. This seems like a “them” problem, and isn’t elitist to push back on at all.

                                                          1. 4

                                                            This seems neat.

                                                            If I understand the release notes and the design document, running the self-contained executable for the first time will extract the contents of the archive (200+ files) to the disk. Not a terrible thing, but it’s something to keep in mind.

                                                            1. 1

                                                              Very interesting. I do not see any additional files in the folder of the executable on either the Windows or Linux systems, but I’m sure they go into an appdev type temp folder. So maybe not a truly self contained exe, but pretty close.

                                                            1. 4

                                                              by the way, on debian you can just install the user-mode-linux package instead of compiling a kernel yourself

                                                              I had also uploaded the slirp code that debian ships, with the patches separate commits, to github: https://github.com/ailin-nemui/slirp however, it still needs to be compiled with gcc4 to produce working binaries

                                                              1. 3

                                                                How do you install GCC 4 on modern systems?

                                                                1. 4

                                                                  Nix has packages for both GCC 4.8 and 4.9.

                                                              1. 23

                                                                I like dunking on Agile as much as the next guy, but this really doesn’t do it for me. It seems more oriented toward PMs and C-suits than programmers. Also it’s completely incoherent.

                                                                Here’s a quiz for you. How does the first line of the Agile Manifesto begin? No peeking. Don’t know? That’s fine. It doesn’t matter. It says, “We are uncovering better ways of developing software….” … But the thing is, when people say that Agile pertains to the whole org, it’s revisionist history. It’s dishonest.

                                                                Good thing we don’t just projects by just their first line! There’s also 12 principles and everything.

                                                                Notice too it begins, “We are uncovering….” It does not say, “We have received from on high….” Don’t you think we’ve learned a thing or two since 2001?

                                                                So if things can change, why can’t the scope of Agile change too? Maybe we uncovered that it can go beyond software!

                                                                So find a good booklist. Follow some good blogs. Here’s a start: If you haven’t read Sense & Respond, Lean Enterprise, A Seat at the Table, and Everyone Is a Change Agent, I suggest you do so pronto. Your leaders too.

                                                                This isn’t an argument, this is just throwing some names out there! Why should I care about these books? Why should I trust you? Why read these and not The New Economy, Out of the Crisis, Making Software, and Data and Reality? I can list books, too.

                                                                Start reading posts by John Cutler, Melissa Perri, Bob Marshall, Allen Holub, Laura Klein, Erika Hall, Neil Killick, and branch out from there.

                                                                Any posts in particular you’re gonna link? No? Guess I have to look myself. Just some random names I picked out:

                                                                • Bob Marshall: Thinks software development is a solved problem.

                                                                • Melissa Perri: Agile coach.

                                                                • Neil Killick: Agile coach.

                                                                • Allen Holub: Agile coach. Also part of the #NoEstimates crowd. (disclaimer I’ve clashed with him a bunch on Twitter)

                                                                You give me four people for “beyond agile”, and three of them are heavy Agile fans.

                                                                Fast Company says the average CEO reads 60 books a year. How many books do your leaders read? And what are they reading? (HBR articles, Gartner reports, and Maeve Binchy novels don’t count.) Because, let’s face it, if your leaders are still trying to grok Scrum, then you’re firmly stuck in the 80s and 90s.

                                                                Seriously, can you link the study? And why should I care that CEOs read a whole lot?

                                                                This needs to be said: Agile is and always has been a local optimization providing little gain to the system. All Agile did was put software development teams unfairly under a microscope.

                                                                You just listed three people who apply Agile to whole organizations.

                                                                Theory vs. practice, remember? We need to be pragmatic. Agile in practice is almost always AINO.

                                                                Are you going to actually back this up? With studies, evidence, arguments, anecdotes, anything?

                                                                There are more important things to learn about anyway, including (but not limited to) Lean UX, Lean Enterprise, Beyond Budgeting, Theory of Constraints, Throughput Accounting, Design Thinking, DevOps, Marshall’s Organizational Therapy, and so forth.

                                                                Another wall of terms that really, really needs to actually link to resources. Like what’s DevOps doing there? It’s completely unrelated to everything else he’s saying.

                                                                Why, you might ask, would Lean UX top the list? Outcomes, that’s why, a concept largely popularized by Lean UX.

                                                                I’m pretty dang sure “Lean UX” did not, in fact, popularize the idea of “outcomes”.

                                                                And while we’re at it, we’ve got to stop treating dev teams like they work in a factory. We’re not making plastic cutlery. We’re creating software. We need to stop acting like we’re running a pizza joint. The same rules do not apply.

                                                                Five bucks says the author doesn’t know how to run a pizza joint. Ten says his stereotyped conception is extremely wrong.

                                                                (I’m tired of this idea that SE and Agile are magical, wholly unique things. Like we can’t learn from other fields.)

                                                                So…what’s the way out? It’s a smart focus on clear outcomes, not output, with roadmapped outcomes replacing planned milestones, with trusted product teams, not project teams, empowered to vet assumptions and discover the minimal path to value.

                                                                How is any of this different from Agile? How is anything he said before different from Agile? Isn’t this all Agile all over again?

                                                                1. 4

                                                                  Great summary. These mostly decontextualized “thoughtpieces” that are anecdotal blurbs of one person’s thinking are really tiring. I’m a big fan of “literature review”-type articles disguised as rants, and this article could’ve been a great example of that. However, not putting in the minimum amount of effort to actually give a few links to the literature after this much name-dropping is an insult to the reader. I blame Medium and the modern culture of “personal branding” where producing content is priority #1, and the quality of the content is priority [integer overflow].

                                                                  I’ve also made a habit of automatically dismissing anything said by any person who trivially belittles or dismisses other people’s hard work. It’s a sign of utter ignorance at best, and outright malice at worst.

                                                                  1. 4

                                                                    A rant about something can be useful. You’re doing a rant about something that is a rant about something, and that’s useful too.

                                                                    To me, the most important message in the article is that Agile was a single team delivering software movement that became a co-opted brand attempting to solve larger problems. I think that is important for people to know.

                                                                    Agile is both a triumph and a failure of marketing depending on how you look at it. Triumph because it became the dominant brand. Failure because a brand that means everything eventually means nothing of substance.

                                                                    1. 2

                                                                      it’s completely incoherent

                                                                      I’m afraid I have to agree with you here. I found it very hard to read, and gave up after a while. It’s a like the author did a teensy bit too much coke before writing the post.

                                                                    1. 42

                                                                      Am I the only one shocked by the poverty wages paid in open source? I make more a day than that project makes a month and not by a small margin.

                                                                      The current open source licenses have failed us completely when middlemen make billions while coders make less than minimum wage.

                                                                      1. 12

                                                                        Am I the only one shocked by the poverty wages paid in open source? I make more a day than that project makes a month and not by a small margin.

                                                                        Probably because giving away something for free and then holding out your hat afterward in expectation of payment is a shitty business model. It barely works for some musicians, it doesn’t work at all as a faceless github account on the Internet.

                                                                        If you want to make money doing what you love to do, you have to create a workable business model around it. And the thing about businesses is that sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. Just because you create a thing doesn’t mean you are suddenly entitled to receive a profit from it. The thing you make or do needs to have value to others, you have to prove that value to them, you need a system for delivering that value, and then make it easy for them to pay you for it. There are plenty of companies doing well enough with their own spin on a combination of open source with commercial opportunity. Like any other business, it’s not easy and many fail. But it is possible.

                                                                        The current open source licenses have failed us completely

                                                                        Incorrect, they work exactly as they were intended to work. The majority of open source software is given away with no expectation of anything tangible in return. Open source software (generally) gets written because someone had an itch to scratch and wanted to share the results or their work with a community. The authors may have many motivations for giving away their code (altruism, recognition, social interaction) but none of them are to make a bunch of money.

                                                                        Finally, I have no opinion of the musl project but if they actually want donations, they’re doing a very good job of hiding that fact on their website.

                                                                        1. 4

                                                                          Really? He makes only slightly less than half of what I make (and it probably goes a lot further for him), and I consider myself well-compensated by the standards of the amount of work I put in (if not well-compensated by the standards of this industry, where dev wages are hugely inflated).

                                                                          1. 4

                                                                            You are not the only one.

                                                                            1. 3

                                                                              The current open source licenses have failed us completely

                                                                              Some licenses are way more permissive towards freeloading than others.

                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                That’s true, but there’s another twist to it, right?

                                                                                Giving away the source code freely and then having freeloading (e.g., not pushing changes upstream or sharing source code they link with) services live behind an inscrutable wall (network service, usually) makes catching violations very difficult. At least with a binary you can decompile it and get an idea of what libraries were used–there are no such easy fruit for web applications if even the slightest effort is put into it.

                                                                                1. 0

                                                                                  Yes, SaaS make violations difficult to catch. However, licensing can make such “dark pattern” too risky or too unpractical to be used at a large scale.

                                                                                  Unfortunately license adoption needs a critical mass is needed for this to work. If 90% of software stays under very permissive licenses freeloading will not stop.

                                                                              2. 1

                                                                                It depends on purchasing power, right?

                                                                                There are countries even in continental Europe where a small Patreon campaign can match a lawyer’s salary.

                                                                                Also a reason to not donate to larger projects through Patreon is that it’s impossible for the project management to accomodate everyone. People without that much disposable income, who would prefer to pay for specific features, even if they are on the roadmap but not a priority, may choose to keep their money instead.

                                                                                Or buy into a more commercial solution to get what they need without the open-source politics.

                                                                              1. 12

                                                                                Unpopular opinion in the tech industry apparently, but I think this day is truly awful.

                                                                                Every year, demonstrators march through London on Labour Day, with standard-bearers waving the Hammer and Sickle up high. Typical symbology also includes portraits of Karl Marx and Joseph Stalin.

                                                                                I live in Poland, where the Hammer and Sickle symbol is banned. Polish people aren’t quickly forgetting that Joseph Stalin is responsible for more deaths than Adolf Hitler.

                                                                                Perhaps May Day means something far less controversial to most people, but from where I stand it’s as bad as the KKK being a socially acceptable and even morally-righteous movement.

                                                                                1. 18

                                                                                  Really? Stalin? Mayday was a popular movement in the west including many groups that were adamantly opposed to Russian style communism or even anything associated with Marx. Even in Polish history, the pre-ww2 socialists were a wide range of political ideas.

                                                                                  1. 5

                                                                                    Unfortunately, yes. It’s true.

                                                                                    If I have kids at some point, I’ll insist they take extra history lessons. It seems young adults today were truant.

                                                                                    1. 13

                                                                                      The MLKP is a fringe party:

                                                                                      Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (Turkish: Marksist-Leninist Komünist Partisi, abbreviated as MLKP) is an underground Hoxhaist communist party in Turkey.

                                                                                      (my emphasis)

                                                                                      The fact that they are freely demonstrating in London is less an example of creeping Stalinism than an example of the free speech rights of Western democracies.

                                                                                      As a person of the center-left, I find equating socialist movements with Stalinism as intellectually dishonest as equating far-right/populist parties automatically with Nazism.

                                                                                      1. 6

                                                                                        If you had flicked through the galleries that I linked to, you would have seen there is no shortage of Hammer and Sickle symbols all throughout every march.

                                                                                        My perception is that in the Western world, it is not socially acceptable to march through the streets brandishing a Swastika, whereas doing the same with the Hammer and Sickle is not met with the same opposition.

                                                                                        I hope it’s not me you were calling intellectually honest, because it’s not hard to research which symbolism is banned in which countries. Germany strictly prohibits the public display of Nazi symbols. The UK also prohibits the display of Nazi symbols if it is used to promote racial hatred — which is the only real reason why it would be displayed at a public rally.

                                                                                        Are Communist symbols banned in the UK? No.

                                                                                        Are Communist symbols banned in Germany? No.

                                                                                        There are more countries where Nazi symbols are banned while Communist symbols are not, but it is not my duty to list them all.

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                                                                                          The gallery site you linked to seems to be an umbrella organization for a lot of fringe leftist groups. May Day is not a public holiday in the UK. It is in Sweden, and the marches there are rote, almost obligatory.

                                                                                          I hope it’s not me you were calling intellectually honest, because it’s not hard to research which symbolism is banned in which countries.

                                                                                          My comment was not aimed at you, nor did it address the banning of certain symbols in various countries.

                                                                                          What I reacted to was the “tarring with the same brush” of proponents of workers (really, employee’s) rights, with the worst excesses of “real socialism”. If I call for an expansion of childcare outside the home, am I a Stalinist because the Soviet Union offered that?

                                                                                          As to Poland’s ban on Communist symbols, according to Wikipedia it was found to be unconstitutional in 2011: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bans_on_Communist_symbols#Poland. Is there a followup on this?

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                                                                                            The gallery site you linked to seems to be an umbrella organization for a lot of fringe leftist groups.

                                                                                            That doesn’t matter. These are real photos, of real people, in a real Western capital city.

                                                                                            May Day is not a public holiday in the UK.

                                                                                            That’s irrelevant. It’s May Day, not Communist Day. The point is that one has become tacitly associated with the other.

                                                                                            If I call for an expansion of childcare outside the home, am I a Stalinist because the Soviet Union offered that?

                                                                                            No, and that is still the point. One has become tacitly associated with the other. I am also a proponent of workers’ rights.

                                                                                            As to Poland’s ban on Communist symbols, according to Wikipedia it was found to be unconstitutional in 2011; is there a followup on this?

                                                                                            Yes. It says that in the paragraph you linked to.

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                                                                                              That doesn’t matter. These are real photos, of real people, in a real Western capital city.

                                                                                              I find that something to be proud of, not condemn. Freedom of expression and association are very important!

                                                                                              One has become tacitly associated with the other.

                                                                                              How, exactly?

                                                                                              Regarding the Polish ban on the Hammer and Sickle, in your top level comment you wrote:

                                                                                              I live in Poland, where the Hammer and Sickle symbol is banned.

                                                                                              So this ban has been found to violate the constitution of Poland, and it’s still on the books and enforced?

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                                                                                                I find that something to be proud of, not condemn. Freedom of expression and association are very important!

                                                                                                …I don’t follow your reasoning here. It seemed as though you were trying to discard the photographic evidence I provided because the photos were hosted on a website with extreme views. That’s why I tried to explain that it doesn’t matter where the photos are hosted. What matters is that Communist symbols are freely displayed in public.

                                                                                                How, exactly?

                                                                                                I don’t understand how we’re failing to understand each other here.

                                                                                                May Day isn’t necessarily meant to be all about Communism (thanks for making your Straw Man position clear, though). And yet, any given May Day march will include a congregation of Communists.

                                                                                                So this ban has been found to violate the constitution of Poland, and it’s still on the books and enforced?

                                                                                                I haven’t read the law; I have only read summaries of the law in various places online (BBC, Wikipedia, Russkiymir, etc.). Furthermore, I’m sure you’ve heard of an “amendment” before.

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                                                                                                  I am not discarding the evidence. I am just not that upset that people with different views (maybe even reprehensible ones) are out in public expressing those views.

                                                                                                  You are free to find these views reprehensible though, and to say so.

                                                                                                  I am aware that doing so was illegal for a long time in Poland’s history.

                                                                                                  May Day isn’t necessarily meant to be all about Communism. And yet, any given May Day march will include a congregation of Communists.

                                                                                                  The majority of marchers in May Day parades (here in Sweden, where I can observe directly) are not Communists. They are Social Democrats, Left Party, syndicalists, etc etc. Actual, literal Marxist-Leninists are a tiny minority in Sweden. And they have a right to express themselves too.

                                                                                                  I haven’t read the law; I have only read summaries of the law in various places online (BBC, Wikipedia, Russkiymir, etc.). Furthermore, I’m sure you’ve heard of an “amendment” before.

                                                                                                  I’m sorry, I assumed that you were fluent in Polish. I will try to find clarification elsewhere.

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                                                                                                    I am not discarding the evidence. I am just not that upset that people with different views (maybe even reprehensible ones) are out in public expressing those views.

                                                                                                    You are free to find these views reprehensible though, and to say so.

                                                                                                    Ok. Is your position on this universal? In other words, are you saying that you’re also fine with Nazis demonstrating in the streets? How about Sverigedemokraterna? Or Hamas? Or Hezbollah? The historical context of course being that Sweden profited from selling resources to Nazi Germany in WWII.

                                                                                                    If it is genuinely your view that anyone should be able to say anything, well, that is liberal indeed (or perhaps just immoral/cowardly, given how many people died as a result of Sweden declaring themselves “neutral” in the past). If that isn’t your view, well…

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                                                                                                      Yes, of course I support these people demonstrating, as long as they follow the laws.

                                                                                                      I am well aware of the moral failings of Sweden, historically. I was not alive then, and had I been, I hope I would have the courage of the those Swedes that opposed the appeasement of Nazi Germany in Sweden.

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                                                                                                        Yes, of course I support these people demonstrating, as long as they follow the laws.

                                                                                                        That is not a position you hold in common with most of the Australian left, who seem to be increasingly adopting the ironically fascist behaviour of Antifa with regards to free speech they don’t like.

                                                                                                        I applaud your consistency.

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                                                                                                          Yes, of course I support these people demonstrating, as long as they follow the laws.

                                                                                                          Tell me, why was Charles Manson sentenced to death for seven counts of first-degree murder? He didn’t actually kill anyone.

                                                                                                          When Hezbollah — who’s primary political aim is the destruction of Israel and the extermination of all Jews — marched through London last year, they didn’t break any laws, right?

                                                                                                          The fact that you don’t see the naïveté of your statement is totally amazing.

                                                                                                          1. -1

                                                                                                            You are misrepresenting my views, and you are not arguing in good faith.

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                                                                                                                I’ll be honest. I was pretty irritated by a lot of the comments here, and I made that tweet to blow off steam.

                                                                                                                I am sorry if you feel targeted.

                                                                                                                I have since engaged, in what I believe to be good faith, with you, and others, in this thread.

                                                                                                                However, I do not see anywhere in my comments here, or in any of the tweets I’ve made today or before, support of the aims of Hezbollah, or of tiny splinter Marxist-Leninist parties, or of Sverigedemokraterna, or of Vänsterpartiet, for that matter.

                                                                                                                All I have ever espoused is for these groups to have their say in public, in accordance with local laws.

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                                                                                            Personally, I see their presence (or the presence of analogous parties over Europe) as the residue of their strength from the 1930-50’s – they are the appendix of the left. Looking at them now, they seem neither a real threat not a real force.

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                                                                                              Oh come on. May Day parades typically feature red flags and literal Communist Manifesto slogans. Here’s one from Melbourne, Australia:

                                                                                              https://www.greenleft.org.au/sites/default/files/styles/glw_full_content/public/widerimages/p3%20May%20Day%20march%20in%20Melbourne%20in%202012..jpg

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                                                                                                Did you mean to reply to the comment you replied to, or to the one by @vyodaiken above it?

                                                                                                Anyway, the red flag predates Communism in Russia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_flag_(politics)

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                                                                                                  I was actually aiming for the post by @gerikson.

                                                                                                  And yes, the red flag does. The swastika pre-dates NAZIsm, too, by thousands of years. But I’m under no illusions about why it gets waved at far-right rallies.

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                                                                                                    OK, that’s me, I apologize for missing the threading.

                                                                                                    It’s unclear to me what your “Oh come on” comment refers to. Is your position that displaying a red flag means that one espouses Marxism-Leninism? That’s a fringe position.

                                                                                                    I live in Sweden, and have seen many May Day parades. The red flag is prominently displayed in all marches, which are organized by the full spectrum of parties on the political Left here. They carry the same sort of symbolism as the Swedish flag, i.e. a benign feeling of belonging.

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                                                                                                      Huh. Maybe Sweden is different to Australia then (beyond the absence of giant spiders, snakes, kangaroos, and sunshine ;) ).

                                                                                                      Seriously, here, it’s a far left thing, and not at all representative of a benign feeling of belonging. There’s even a website: https://redflag.org.au/category/theory-history

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                                                                                                        To be honest, I believe that some of the graying bearers of these standards would be thrilled to hear that someone still finds them even slightly threatening.

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                                                                                                          It’s not about them, it’s about the idea they’re marching for.

                                                                                                          Many millions of innocent human beings were killed during the 20th Century by people trying to implement those ideas.

                                                                                                          What I am scared of is what will happen if they get another chance to try. What I am scared of is that people may have forgotten the history of Communism - or, even worse, may know and not care.

                                                                                                          Greybeards waving flags don’t scare me. Greybeards raising the next generation of Stasi, Cheka, or Santebal do scare me.

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                                                                                                        Judging by the amount of Antifa graffiti I’ve seen in Göteborg, I’d say left-wing extremism is normalised in Sweden.

                                                                                                        I lived in Sweden for more than enough years to be a citizen, I spent most of my career there, I speak the language, I still have many friends there, and I still visit often. I’m not deluded about the state of that country.

                                                                                                        Naziism is a fringe position in Sweden. I used to be a musician in a rock band and I have played at the Hells Angels headquarters in Gunnilse, so yes, I have met some people with “fringe positions”.

                                                                                                        Communism is not a fringe position in Sweden. It’s common, and it’s socially acceptable.

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                                                                                                          Gothenburg prides itself in its radical traditions.

                                                                                                          For the sake of clarification - would you consider a member of Vänsterpartiet to be a communist?

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                                                                                                            Gothenburg prides itself in its radical traditions.

                                                                                                            You’re using a euphemism for violence and oppression here.

                                                                                                            For the sake of clarification - would you consider a member of Vänsterpartiet to be a communist?

                                                                                                            I’d consider anyone influenced by Gudrun Schyman to be extraordinarily naïve.

                                                                                                            I’m not sure how else to answer this question; I don’t agree with collectivism so I don’t want to make a blanket statement about a large group of people. Also, Vänsterpartiet historically has had ‘Communist’ in its name.

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                                                                                                Aside from the one from the tiny German MKLP or whatever it is, they all seem to be trade union banners. The Ivana Hoffman story, which I had never heard about before, is so odd: she was a German woman of South African descent, who belonged to a turkish communist party and died in Syria fighting with YPG Kurdish fighters who are some kind of anarchists. Hard to draw much of a lesson from that except that it’s a strange world. But for the vast majority of UK may day marchers, I doubt Joe Stalin is much of a hero.

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                                                                                                  I have never suggested it is the majority, nor do I believe it is the majority. The problem is that it is seemingly socially acceptable to declare oneself a Communist and espouse those views.

                                                                                                  Frankly, it seems unjust that I should sit and collate evidence of the use of Hammer and Sickle symbols throughout marches in the Western world. We all know this is normalised.

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                                                                                                    It’s legal. In the west, communist parties are tiny splinter groups, with no more influence than flat earth societies. Certainly they are less threatening to free speech and human rights than, say, the anti-communist Polish government or the far right groups that are increasingly enaged in acts of terror in the USA.

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                                                                                                      In fairness I think you’ll find both left- and right-wing groups are increasingly attacking freedom of expression. “De-platforming” is largely a tactic of the left, and is quite successful, especially at Universities. Quite a sad regression from the days of the https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Speech_Movement.

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                                                                                                        I don’t think universities need to give everyone a platform - and of course they do not. The question is whether their normal selection standards should exclude people who deny the humanity of other citizens. Radio Rwanda is not free speech, it is incitement to genocide. I agree with Karl Popper

                                                                                                        Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.

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                                                                                                          But we’re not talking (at least exclusively) about such people. I’m talking about students who violently shut down legitimate conservative or right-wing speakers. Ben Shapiro. Richard Dawkins. Jordan Peterson. We’re not talking about angry students shutting down literal NAZIs, we’re talking about student bodies literally rioting to silence speech they don’t like.

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                                                                                                            They are not advocating censorship, they are arguing that people like Peterson not be given the honor of a platform at a university both because of their repellent views and their mockery of all the things a university is supposed to stand for. Obviously none of Peterson, Dawkins, Shapiro have actually had their free speech rights limited. In fact Peterson’s moronic point of view is hard to avoid.

                                                                                                            “If men are pushed too hard to feminize they will become more and more interested in harsh, fascist political ideology.”

                                                                                                            It would be funny if it were not for how many losers take it seriously. Compare to the US right taking AK47s to synagogues.

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                                                                                                              all the things a university is supposed to stand for.

                                                                                                              Universities used to stand for freedom of thought and freedom of expression.

                                                                                                              https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Speech_Movement

                                                                                                              Students insisted that the university administration lift the ban of on-campus political activities and acknowledge the students’ right to free speech and academic freedom.

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                                                                                                                Freedom of speech does not involve offering any outsider to the university a speaking platform and it certainly does not include providing a platform for people who deny the humanity of others. Basically, everyone knows this is not a free speech issue at all - it is an effort to force universities to act as publicists for particularly nasty people who have wealthy backers.

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                                                                                                                  people who deny the humanity of others

                                                                                                                  This is newspeak.

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                                                                                                                    Like Richard Dawkins or Jordan Peterson? Both are professional academics.

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                                                                                                          It’s legal.

                                                                                                          …And? It’s legal to beat your wife in much of Africa and the Middle East. Does that make it ok?

                                                                                                          In the west, communist parties are tiny splinter groups, with no more influence than flat earth societies.

                                                                                                          I can only hope.

                                                                                                          Certainly they are less threatening to free speech and human rights than, say, the anti-communist Polish government or the far right groups that are increasingly enaged in acts of terror in the USA.

                                                                                                          That’s debatable, hence why I am debating you. The Polish government are going to have to work a bit harder if they want their death toll to reach anywhere near that of Communism.

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                                                                                                            It’s right to have free speech for unpopular or even repulsive opinions. It’s wrong to beat people. How hard is that?

                                                                                                            That’s debatable, hence why I am debating you. The Polish government are going to have to work a bit harder if they want their death toll to reach anywhere near that of Communism.

                                                                                                            I have a lot of faith in them and the other right wing European governments.

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                                                                                                          I am not denying that people are displaying the hammer and sickle in May Day parades in Sweden, in the UK or elsewhere.

                                                                                                          I am denying that this is a huge problem.

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                                                                                                            Would you say the same if they were waving Swastika flags?

                                                                                                            I know you think both should be legal; so do I, as a matter of fact.

                                                                                                            I just don’t think you’d be as quick to dismiss complaints of NAZI marchers as you are to dismiss complaints about Communists.

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                                                                                                              I would say it was an equal problem in 1930s Europe.

                                                                                                              Today, the “star” (no pun intended) of the hammer-and-sickle crowd is falling, while that of the swastika crowd is growing.

                                                                                                              If I ever met someone who literally thought that Stalin’s treatment of the kulak class or the Holomodor was justified, I would treat that person just as I would someone who espouses Hitler’s views on Jews, homosexuals, and Communists - with disgust. But tolday, the fact is it’s much more likely I would meet someone with latter views than the former - or a substantial subset of them, at least.

                                                                                                              In summary - today, Communists are (mostly) harmless - at least in Sweden. Nazis are not. I am vigilant for any change though.

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                                                                                                                But tolday, the fact is it’s much more likely I would meet someone with latter views than the former - or a substantial subset of them, at least.

                                                                                                                In summary - today, Communists are (mostly) harmless - at least in Sweden. Nazis are not. I am vigilant for any change though.

                                                                                                                We have totally opposite views on this, and we may both be suffering confirmation bias in this regard. However, I have tried — by providing links to photos/video, and commenting on laws regarding the illegality of symbolism in the West — to support my view with some evidence.

                                                                                                                If you genuinely believe that support for Naziism is growing while support for Communism is shrinking — which, again, I have seen no evidence to suggest this is the case — then it at least helps me empathise with your position.

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                                                                                                                  Thanks for clarifying your position.

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                                                                                                                    I’d like to thank both you and @jgt for maintaining a genuine effort to reach an understanding of each other’s opinions. It’s nice to see, especially on such a heated thread.

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                                                                                                                    Scandanavia has a recent history of far right terrorism.

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                                                                                                                      While this isn’t about naziism, the rise of far-right parties is definitely linked to it. https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2016/05/24/the-rise-of-the-far-right-in-europe

                                                                                                                      This progress hasn’t slowed down. Meanwhile, far left parties seem to have disappeared in about the same time as the Soviet Union did and haven’t come back. We just have different kinds of moderate left in its wake.

                                                                                                                      Your point that some symbols are prohibited and some are not is of course to the point. The obvious reason is that nazis lost the last big war and communists (amongst others) won. The less obvious and possibly more subjective reason is that far leftism (in the sense of communism) has redeeming qualities while far rightism (when we are talking about naziism, not modern far-right parties) has none.

                                                                                                                      I mean sure, communism sucked, but mostly because it didn’t work. Naziism would’ve sucked if it had worked. I have to find incompetence to be a lesser evil than … well, evil.

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                                                                                                                        1. That article is paywalled, so I can’t read it in full.

                                                                                                                        2. I’m not sure what to make of some of the descriptions used in the not-paywalled excerpt and in other publications. Parties are far-right because they’re anti-migrant? Poland is often described as being anti-migrant or anti-refugee — this despite Poland having taken in more refugees than almost any (if not just any) other European country. The false perception stems from the fact that the vast majority of refugees in Poland are Ukrainian, and not from MENA. There is historical context for this, as well as an overwhelming deluge of current events.

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                                                                                                                          Parties are far-right because they’re anti-migrant?

                                                                                                                          Do you seriously not see the similarities between those parties and the national socialists of early 1900s? Do you think all supporters of national socialists in that time were evil?

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                                                                                                                            All I’m suggesting is that it’s not that simple. The excerpt that I could read of the link you posted (and several other publications, and the general state of sociopolitical discourse today) suggested that any society which is supposedly anti-migrant/refugee is inherently far-right. It is a fairly commonly held view that both the Polish government and its people are anti-migrant/refugee, and are therefore racist. People on this website — in this very discussion thread — have essentially said the same.

                                                                                                                            It is a common tactic of the authoritarian left — and I am politically left-leaning myself — to associate any idea/society they don’t like with racism. It is an effective tactic because nobody on either side of the debate is arguing that racism is a good thing.

                                                                                                                            And it just isn’t that simple. As I already noted, Poland has taken more refugees than [almost?] any other European country.

                                                                                                                            I can’t comment specifically on the parties mentioned in the excerpt of the article you linked to. I am not denying the existence of the far-right in Europe — or anywhere, for that matter. What I am arguing against is the common reductio ad absurdum argument made that “oh, society x doesn’t like ideology y, therefore they are racist”. The excerpt of the article you linked hinted at this sentiment, or at least I read that interpretation into it.

                                                                                                                            Do you think all supporters of national socialists in that time were evil?

                                                                                                                            I have said it before in this discussion thread, and I will say it again. I am against collectivism, so no.

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                                                                                                                      But today, the fact is it’s much more likely I would meet someone with latter views than the former - or a substantial subset of them, at least.

                                                                                                                      That’s not been my experience, at all. I have met many people sympathetic to Communist philosophy - several in the replies to this lobste.rs story, in fact! I see Communist symbology and rhetoric on a near-daily basis. Melbourne recently hosted a Marxist conference, I see young folks wearing Che and red star clothing, and colleagues who routinely describe Communism as a “good idea in principle”.

                                                                                                                      In contrast, I have only once seen literal fascists in Melbourne, and they were being counter-protested by a lot more of the Hammer and Sickle crowd outside a courtroom. The last time a person explicitly espoused sympathy for Fascism to me was in the mid 90s.

                                                                                                                      Maybe this is another difference between Australia (or at least, Melbourne), and Sweden?

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                                                                                                                I think the writing on the MKLP banner is Turkish.

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                                                                                                                Communist and Fascist imagery are two of the very, very few things I’d draw the line at being allowed in my home. I expect my kids to understand why by the time they’re old enough to buy their own clothes.

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                                                                                                              Unpopular opinion in the tech industry apparently

                                                                                                              No, the tech industry in general leans right on economic issues, and you know that. It’s just unpopular on this site, which is great. Stalinism is inexcusable, but Marxism has been an indispensable ally to the working class throughout history.

                                                                                                              There are many worker’s struggles happening in Poland right now: https://www.marxist.com/militancy-grows-over-first-week-of-polish-teachers-strike.htm

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                                                                                                                No, the tech industry in general leans right on economic issues, and you know that. It’s just unpopular on this site,

                                                                                                                Totally true.

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                                                                                                                The AskHistorians subreddit has really well researched posts on these topics that are nonetheless accessible to non-historians or non-political-philosophers:

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                                                                                                                  There’s also the abridged version.

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                                                                                                                  Thank you for sharing your experience.

                                                                                                                  One of the things to keep in mind for all of us advocating for ourselves and our fellow workers is that the messaging we use and the shibboleths we touch on can lose us the support of people who have had different histories or experiences.

                                                                                                                  It is hard to, for example, talk to workers in red states about things they should agree on if we carelessly use pictures that they feel (rightly) threatened by. We can’t talk to people like you if we also invoke Soviet imagery.

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                                                                                                                    This isn’t a subjective issue that can be explained away by appealing to historical or situational relativism.

                                                                                                                    May Day celebrations worldwide prominently feature Communist rhetoric (“our fellow workers” included), Marxist and Communist organisations, Marxist and Communist banners and symbols, etc.

                                                                                                                    This also isn’t a matter of invoking the wrong imagery. Supporters of actual mass murdering dictators turn up to your events with their flags and leaflets, and are accepted with open arms.

                                                                                                                    Anyone familiar with the death toll and barbarism associated with Communism should be appalled, every bit as appalled as if “workers groups” allowed Swastika-waving NAZIs to join their parades.

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                                                                                                                      The history of the communists in the West is very different from that in Eastern Europe/Russia or China. And “fellow workers” is labor union language. France commemorates a number of Communists who took part in the resistance against the Nazis and, after the war, participated in electoral politics.

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                                                                                                                        The history of the communists in the West is very different from that in Eastern Europe/Russia or China.

                                                                                                                        Yes, in no small part because they never gained power.

                                                                                                                        Are you arguing that, if they had, the result wouldn’t have been a Mao, Stalin, Tito, or Pol Pot? Curious as to your reasons why.

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                                                                                                                          No, I’m pretty sure the result would have been terrible. But it didn’t happen. Here in the USA, we have armed right wing nuts machine gunning synagogues. In Europe, between Orban and the SS descended party ruling Austria, the 1930s seem on their way back. It’s hard to take some 11 person One True Communist Party Marxist Lenninist Whatever marching around Clapham with pictures of Uncle Joe as anything but a kind of unpleasant joke.

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                                                                                                                      We can’t talk to people like you if we also invoke Soviet imagery.

                                                                                                                      Finding yourself with an audience that’s comfortable with Soviet imagery should probably prompt some reflection.

                                                                                                                      1. -1

                                                                                                                        It’s not just that they find themselves with that audience, the Soviet flag-wavers literally turn up to their celebrations, and are welcomed. In many cases they are the organisers.

                                                                                                                        https://www.greenleft.org.au/sites/default/files/styles/glw_full_content/public/widerimages/p3%20May%20Day%20march%20in%20Melbourne%20in%202012..jpg

                                                                                                                        Red flags aplenty, and a literal Communist Manifesto slogan on the banner. Every bit as abhorrent as a march of flag-waving NAZIs, and with a worldwide death toll an order of magnitude greater.

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                                                                                                                          This is maliciously dishonest.

                                                                                                                          Any fair criticism of any ideology will separate its implementation from its thought. Fascism and national-socialism have things like violence, war, racism, antisemitism, and xenophobia prominent in their ideology; communism is inherently democratic.

                                                                                                                          While the crimes of the so-called communist states of the 20th century should certainly not be dismissed, communists and socialists were crucial to the defeat of mid-20th century Nazism, played a key role in the development of modern-day workers’ & women’s rights, and had significant impact in the defeat of ISIL/Daesh – among others.

                                                                                                                          You can be a Marxist and a communist while being disgusted by what was done by Stalin; you can hardly be a Nazi while being disgusted by what was done by Hitler.

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                                                                                                                            Any fair criticism of any ideology will separate its implementation from its thought.

                                                                                                                            This makes very little sense to me. If ideologies were to stay mere thoughts, no one would be concerned. But ideologies are enacted and can, and should, therefore be judged by the outcomes of their implementations.

                                                                                                                            While not blatantly horrific like National Socialism, Communism is inherently destructive and violent, as every practical expression of it has shown.

                                                                                                                            All that aside, to use the iconography of a particular implementation of Communism that resulted in arguably the worst atrocities in human history is unforgivable and shows either extreme naivety or malice.

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                                                                                                                              There is a difference between an ideology where {Bad Thing} is a postulate, and one where it isn’t; this fundamental presence or absence of {Bad Thing} should influence the way we think about them.

                                                                                                                              People have used violence to fight for things like democracy and workers’ rights, yet those are still (hopefully) considered to be good things on their own. You can take a look at a relevant encyclopedic definition to see that violence and destruction are not inherent to communism unless you subscribe to schools of thought which think of taxation and redistribution of wealth as violence.

                                                                                                                              I do agree that Stalin should not be publicly glorified, and do not fully understand the motivation of the people who do so.

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                                                                                                                                You can take a look at a relevant encyclopedic definition to see that violence and destruction are not inherent to communism unless you subscribe to schools of thought which think of taxation and redistribution of wealth as violence.

                                                                                                                                Guilty as charged :) A couple of schools, in point of fact. But I don’t think you’re correct that subscription to those schools is a pre-requisite.

                                                                                                                                One can determine that violence and destruction are inherent to Communism regardless, by observing that a) state Communism implies seizure of the means of production and the abolition of private property, and realising that b) that will require literal murderous violence to achieve. I think that most people who favour partial wealth redistribution through compulsory taxation would blanch at the treatment of the Kulaks.

                                                                                                                                Communism on a small scale actually seems to be workable where it remains peaceful and voluntary, and capable of co-existence with other political systems (like capitalism). Is that what you’re getting at, here? The voluntary, peaceful formation of small communes?

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                                                                                                                                  Yes there is a difference, but I’d argue that it is relatively insignificant. If a “peaceful” ideology routinely leads to horrendous outcomes, you have to seriously consider that it is, perhaps, not peaceful at all.

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                                                                                                                                You can be a Marxist and a communist while being disgusted by what was done by Stalin; you can hardly be a Nazi while being disgusted by what was done by Hitler.

                                                                                                                                There’s no functional difference.

                                                                                                                                Every Communist state, ever, has either started out as, or has become, a totalitarian dictatorship. Hundreds of millions of people have died as a result. The USSR, Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia (described as the worst genocide in history, which is a pretty high bar), China, … the death toll is staggering.

                                                                                                                                One could perhaps be a good NAZI or a Communist in the first half of the 1900s, before it became apparent just what those ideologies led to in practice. That hasn’t been true since the Holocaust, or the death of Stalin.

                                                                                                                                Perhaps to turn the question around: as a Marxist and a Communist, can you point to any leader of a Communist state with whom you’re not (on balance) disgusted?

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                                                                                                                                  Again, this is maliciously dishonest. The postulates of communism, fascism, and national-socialism as political ideologies are fairly clear.

                                                                                                                                  The national-socialist ideology is anti-democratic, antisemitic, eugenic, and social-darwinist. Fascism is, at best, anti-democratic and militarist. Communism is about redistribution of wealth, workers’ self-management, and ownership of the means of production.

                                                                                                                                  Most so-called “Communist states” you mention do not consider themselves to actually be communist, but rather a transitionary entity on the way to communism / socialism. To turn the question around: as an anti-Marxist and an anti-communist, can you point to any leader of any state with whom you’re not disgusted?

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                                                                                                                                    Repeatedly calling me maliciously dishonest is the sort of ad-hominem attack that, elsewhere on the site, people are proposing a flag / downvote mechanism to deal with. Please watch your tone.

                                                                                                                                    To clarify your answer, are you saying that there have never been any Communist states? Because you haven’t answered my question. Can you? Also, if those states are all transitional steps towards “true” Communism (the withering away of the state, if my memory serves?), then that seems to imply that the transition to Communism demands the deaths of hundreds of millions of men, women, and children.

                                                                                                                                    To answer yours: yes, on balance. Margaret Thatcher is a good starting point. Definitely a mixed bag (heh), but better than any of her contemporaries that I’m aware of, and a boon to England. I’m certainly more a fan of hers than a detractor, much less someone who is disgusted by her.

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                                                                                                                                      I have never called you maliciously dishonest, but rather your writing and your arguments. I have also tried to explain why I think so, even after you’ve ignored a large part of my attempts to do so. That is certainly not an ad hominem attack.

                                                                                                                                      There have indeed been no communist societies fully consistent with what Marxist thought considers to be a “full” communist society. There have been various attempts at more local and non-nation-state levels, with various degrees of success.

                                                                                                                                      The transition to communism does certainly not demand the deaths of hundreds of millions of people no more than a transition to a liberal state democracy does, yet some of them end up in bloodshed. There are various ways to transition, some more violent and disgusting, some less.

                                                                                                                                      On balance, I am not completely disgusted by Josip Broz Tito.

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                                                                                                                                        There have indeed been no communist societies fully consistent with what Marxist thought considers to be a “full” communist society.

                                                                                                                                        In the same sense that there have been no capitalist societies fully consistent with either Austrian or Objectivist definitions of capitalism. The closest we’ve achieved has been mixed, but mostly free, economies. New Zealand for a decade or two following the 1984 reforms is actually a good example. The closest you’ve achieved has been … totalitarian Yugoslavia? Really?

                                                                                                                                        The national-socialist ideology is anti-democratic, antisemitic, eugenic, and social-darwinist. Fascism is, at best, anti-democratic and militarist.

                                                                                                                                        Yes. I’d argue that it also explicitly embodies a degree of personal leadership - a.k.a. the Fuherprinzip - that was never a part of Marx’s doctrine. Discussion elsewhere ( http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=8310 ) has led me to think that this is possibly the most significant difference between Marxism (at least in theory) and Fascism. The enormity of Stalin’s rule shocked people like Yevtushenko; that sort of rule was an explicit feature of Fascism.

                                                                                                                                        Communism is about redistribution of wealth

                                                                                                                                        … which in practice means violent revolution (because that redistribution is most certainly not universally welcomed).

                                                                                                                                        workers’ self-management

                                                                                                                                        That’s good business sense ;). Genuine empowerment and autonomy at work makes every kind of good sense, from personal well-being to profit.

                                                                                                                                        , and ownership of the means of production.

                                                                                                                                        I’m personally not against ownership of the means of production. Hell, I work for a company that literally promotes that, and also distributes half of its profits among its employees. I could leave tomorrow, taking with me my share of the profits, and quite literally the tools I’ve used to generate it.

                                                                                                                                        The problem is, Communism isn’t about ownership of the means of production, it’s about seizing it. To quote Marx himself (and I don’t think I’m taking this out of context; please correct me if I am):

                                                                                                                                        “There is only one way in which the murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated, and that way is revolutionary terror.”

                                                                                                                                        This is particularly relevant to the leader you mention, Tito.

                                                                                                                                        I’ll grant you that he’s definitely the best of the Communist dictators. He was also definitely a war hero, having directly participated in the overthrow of NAZI rule. And I suspect that unlike a lot of other Communist dictators he genuinely wanted the best for the Yugoslavian people; witness his partial adoption of free markets later in his rule.

                                                                                                                                        But he, too, was a totalitarian dictator, and was at his worst in the first ten years of his rule, while pretty literally following Marx’s advice above. He built a secret police that routinely oppressed political opponents (including other Communists), and perpetuated a string of human-rights abuses. Even after toning it down some, the oppression continued, and there were no free elections.

                                                                                                                                        I’m afraid I agree with Marx, here (as I do on a number of points, despite being an anti-Marxist). “Murderous death agonies” and “bloody birth throes” really do characterise the establishment of Communism, even in its transitional forms.

                                                                                                                                        Edited to add:

                                                                                                                                        communism is inherently democratic.

                                                                                                                                        In which case, why has every Communist state prohibited free elections?

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                                                                                                                                          Somewhat tangentially, I’d like to point out that based on the example of New Zealand reforms, I’m quite pleased we haven’t achieved this vision of “true capitalism”. As it is, we’re still dealing with the consequences, and will continue to do so for a long time. There is an obscene amount of poverty, deprivation, and environmental destruction in New Zealand thanks to the delusions of free market economists.

                                                                                                                                          New Zealand’s economic reform program was a failure.

                                                                                                                                          Personally, I feel frustrated with how such discussions are always about the dichotomy between communism and capitalism. Neither model has worked in practice, capitalism has been enormously destructive (see climate change), we need to move on to better socio-economic models altogether instead of being fixated on two obsolete options.

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                                                                                                                                    Every Communist state, ever, has either started out as, or has become, a totalitarian dictatorship. Hundreds of millions of people have died as a result.

                                                                                                                                    Singapore is a police state. It started out rough as lots of revolutions do. They mostly take care of their citizens from what I’ve seen. I have some insiders that send me encrypted emails talking about the corruption, people dropping due to mandatory workouts, indoctrination in schools, questionable taxes, and so on. What they tell me barely compares to prior states. Actually, they’re better off than lots of people over here who can’t get a job or benefits, or work multiple jobs without health insurance. They also don’t have to go into tons of debt to got to school. If my info is correct, the average person in that dictatorship might be objectively better off than tons of people in capitalist U.S..

                                                                                                                                    You’re also leaving off the cost of capitalism, esp imperialist capitalism. To support its capitalism, the U.S. military has invaded a ridiculous number of countries. In War is a Racket, Smedley Butler admits most of those deaths were to support some corporate interests back home. The War in Iraq alone supposedly led to 250,000 to 1 million innocent civilians dead depending on which source you get from your numbers. The food, chemical, drug, and medical industries combined with the corporate media are driving the leading causes of death for Americans. Since salt and sugar are as addictive as delicious, most Americans can’t quit eating the stuff even if they wanted to. As in this thread, their jobs have also steadily occupied more of their time, demanding more, stressing them out more, and always giving less to shift that money to capitalist executives. Data coming in shows how damaging the stress and sleep deprivation is on the workers’ mental and physical health, maybe even kids down the line.

                                                                                                                                    So, capitalism is highly damaging with military-back capitalism torturing, maiming, and/or murdering all kinds of people. Better than alternatives but still does damage. I don’t see you equating with worst of capitalism any mention on Lobsters of jobs, nice acts of government, symbols like money, and so on. Likewise, you probably would’ve have left if you equated programming with burnout, apathy, and freeloading that we see in its worst implementations. One can, as you do on other topics, discuss reasonable implementations of abstract ideas without using or doing the worst. The others are saying you can do that with this topic, too, like you do with others. Especially communism which had decent ideas and beneficial influences but utterly failed in practice due to corrupt or evil leadership.

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                                                                                                                                      Especially communism which had decent ideas and beneficial influences but utterly failed in practice due to corrupt or evil leadership.

                                                                                                                                      Every time. Every single time, over the course of more than a century.

                                                                                                                                      What does it tell you about the “decent ideas” of Communism that literally every attempt to implent it at scale has lead to political terror, mass murder (often in the millions), and a debased totalitarian leadership? How are ideas “decent” if they a) don’t work, and b) kill millions of innocents again and again while their adherents keep trying them?

                                                                                                                                      Yes, somewhat-capitalist countries have committed atrocities (because, as with communism, we’ve never achieved true capitalism). But the worst of these pale in comparison with the worst of communism, and the best… well, so far on this thread we’re comparing New Zealand with Communist Yugoslavia.

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                                                                                                                                        “Every time. Every single time, over the course of more than a century.”

                                                                                                                                        Same with capitalism. Every single one became a plutocracy doing tons of damage inside and outside.

                                                                                                                                        “What does it tell you about the “decent ideas” of Communism that literally every attempt to implent it at scale has lead to political terror, mass murder (often in the millions), and a debased totalitarian leadership?”

                                                                                                                                        I’m not sure it’s ever been implemented. Like with capitalism, it looks like most of the ambitious people who can take power over countries do the kinds of things you describe regardless of model. They promote that they’ll do one thing while doing different, evil things. That means each model that allows this must be called out for it. That followed by a way for the citizens to hold the government in check regardless of what kinds of policies it follows day to day. Honest-enough leadership, accountability for them, and a feedback loop so they know what effects they’re having.

                                                                                                                                        You’re obsessively calling out specific ones equating any piece of them with the full evils of their worst implementations while denying anything remotely positive in them. Then, you’re ignoring the others on capitalist side or letting people have a balanced view of them. This is very inconsistent. If you hate evils you describe, you’d really be calling out military-backed capitalism in the West. That they maybe did less of those evils didn’t mean they didn’t do a massive amount of avoidable evil. They certainly did.

                                                                                                                                        So, we can give due credit for the good, bad, and (most often) “doesn’t matter what random people are doing” of all of these philosophies. Or negate all details, comparisons, possibilities, etc if some version or a lot of them were evil as you’re doing for just a few.

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                                                                                                                                          Same with capitalism. Every single one became a plutocracy doing tons of damage inside and outside.

                                                                                                                                          Except for the rather significant fact that it is the only system in human history that has moved, and continues to move, people to levels of wealth above mere subsistence. Capitalism certainly has its flaws, but it also has huge benefits that are actually observed in the real world. And compared to the slaughter of 10s or 100s of millions of people, those flaws are positively mild.

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                                                                                                                                            What some of us have been arguing against is the claim the the worst parts of communism mean nothing symbolic or good about it counts. That expressing the slightest thing about it negates all the good because of the bad. The author doesn’t apply that logic to capitalism, which I’ve shown is also horrific on its bad sign. So, they need to get consistent slamming anything tying into capitalism or backtrack admitting both the good and bad of communism can be considered.

                                                                                                                                            “And compared to the slaughter of 10s or 100s of millions of people, those flaws are positively mild.”

                                                                                                                                            One of my links showed capitalism slaughtering millions to tens of millions of people. They do it through a mix of direct action and using their money/spies to incite others to do it for them to reach their capitalist goals on international level. Without their input, much of it might have not happened.

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                                                                                                                                              What some of us have been arguing against is the claim the the worst parts of communism mean nothing symbolic or good about it counts.

                                                                                                                                              What are the good parts of Communism that have been seen it any of its practical instantiations? This is a serious question - perhaps my reading has been too much on the horrific side.

                                                                                                                                              One of my links showed capitalism slaughtering millions to tens of millions of people.

                                                                                                                                              Which is one or two orders or magnitude less bad than Communism. Not to mention the millions of lives that market-based economic systems have saved. I’m under no illusion that Capitalism is “good”; but I’m pretty confident based on the natural experiments we’ve seen throughout the 20th century that it’s a damn sight better than Communism.

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                                                                                                                                                re good parts of Communism

                                                                                                                                                Nikola already gave a few examples:

                                                                                                                                                “communists and socialists were crucial to the defeat of mid-20th century Nazism, played a key role in the development of modern-day workers’ & women’s rights, and had significant impact in the defeat of ISIL/Daesh – among others.”

                                                                                                                                                I didn’t spend a lot of time tracing the history of communism given even studying it was discouraged in my country. I do wonder if it had any inspiration for socialism in more democratic countries where people got education, healthcare, and safety nets. Capitalism was initially opposed to all of that unless they had money. Then, their money would be minimized while cost of that stuff maximized. Monarchies varied considerably. So, I’m not sure where socialists’ inspirations came from. Work looking into.

                                                                                                                                                re capitalism better than communism

                                                                                                                                                Hey, I said that! Clearly capitalism is a better experience for the citizens in most cases.

                                                                                                                                                Still, I should probably add to the litany of crimes that imperialist capitalism also installed or supported the kinds of regimes you’re talking about to back their domestic agendas. Often just letting specific companies push more product in more countries or benefit from slave labor or lack of safety/environmental regulations there. So far, capitalism works hand in hand with external fascists and dictators since they’re good for profit maximization in domestic businesses. The people, not those businesses, pay the costs of the manipulations and wars.

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                                                                                                                                              For example, it has raised the very real prospect of eliminating extreme poverty:

                                                                                                                                              https://humanprogress.org/article.php?p=770

                                                                                                                                              Well, in 1820, 94 percent of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty (less than $1.90 per day adjusted for purchasing power). In 1990 this figure was 34.8 percent, and in 2015, just 9.6 percent.

                                                                                                                                              Capitalism did this. During the same period, Communism reduced several previously wealthy countries to ruins, and led to the murder of millions (many by outright starvation, in a macabre contrast to the growing wealth of the free world).

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                                                                                                                                            I think the communist parties have often had a dual nature - with many members honestly hoping to improve the world and often doing good things. But the nature of the ideology seems to almost always produce ugly dictatorships - something that Marx’s opponents in other left wing movements predicted way back in the 1870s.

                                                                                                                                            Atrocity comparisons are pointless. Did the Belgian Congo pale in comparison to Stalins crimes? Not for the people who were victims, I bet.

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                                                                                                                                              Violent revolution has almost never ended well for the people. It installs leaders who are, by definition, willing to use violence to enforce their way of doing things.

                                                                                                                                              My reading of 20th century history shows that founding a revolution in political violence is a near-guaranteed way to produce a brutal dictator.

                                                                                                                                              Non-violent revolutions, by contrast, produce a healthy government about half of the time (guesstimate based on my readings; I haven’t actually counted them).

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                                                                                                                              See also:

                                                                                                                              For what it’s worth, I’m still at @nikola@mi.pede.rs. My posts are mostly a combo of computer stuff and music, politics, physics & some other stuff I’m into.