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The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

Some clarification on communism

Puzzle and games editor Aidan Herrick (The DVC Inquirer)

Communism. That dark and dreaded word has struck many Americans with fear and disgust. With a few exceptions, most students I asked about communism either wrote it off as a delusional philosophy or simply refused to comment. And really, why shouldn’t they? The communists we learn about in school (such as Joseph Stalin, Chairman Mao and Pol Pot) were responsible for the deaths of millions. From the early 1900s until the late 1950s, America was going through what was called The Red Scare, where people lived in fear of communists attempting to overthrow their democracy. This all culminated in the Cold War and the arms race, which cost billions of dollars and continued until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989.

What could possibly be good about communism?

Well, let’s start small. When was the last time you went to a potluck? The communal sharing of food is a communist practice, spanning back to before it had a name. Diablo Valley College, like all California community colleges, was initially set up as a free institution until education budgets were slashed and administrators felt they needed a salary larger than $100,000. This is an issue that pure communism avoids by having no leaders.

The weekend and overtime are also things obtained from communism, won by the communists, socialists, and anarchists of an often overlooked chapter of the labor movement of the early 1900s. Even the very ideas of American democracy and unity were heavily influenced, if not directly borrowed, from the Iroquois Nation. According to Native American historian Bruce Elliott Johansen, the Iroquois implemented many communal practices, such as distribution of land and food. American Revolution heavyweights such as Benjamin Franklin and Tom Paine both respected the Iroquois and acknowledged that they borrowed from their ways.

So how have the influences such ideas gone largely unnoticed?

In almost every class I’ve taken concerning history, the idea presented tells that Americas story is one of constant progress, challenged only by “un-American ideas.” After World War II, with Europe and Japan shattered by war, Russia was the only power left that could challenge America on the world’s stage; hence, the things that made us different were exaggerated and distorted on both sides. While our parents were told Khrushchev wanted to blow up the world, Russian children were told that a Russian invented the light bulb.

This bias exists today. When I play Modern Warfare or Battlefield, guess who I’m supposed to  be shooting at? You guessed it, Russians. Anything that could aim a critical eye at our capitalism, our bipartisan democracy, our materialism, is an “un-American” gauntlet thrown against the idea of America’s perfection and, as far as the education system is concerned, an issue not worth discussion.

Well I think it is. I think the idea of reappropriating funds from war to education, healthcare, and welfare is worth discussing. I think being able to vote for a third party candidate would be worth discussing. I think a world with no leaders is worth discussing.  I’m not afraid to honestly consider radical concepts. Are you?

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About the Contributor
Aidan Herrick
Aidan Herrick, Staff member
News editor, fall 2012. Staff writer and puzzles editor, spring 2012.

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Some clarification on communism