“If you’re a Communist and you hate America so much, why don’t you just move to Russia?”
The above question is something I have been asked way too much in my short 8 years of calling myself a Communist. Not only because it is annoying and probably the absolute laziest excuse for an argument ever uttered, but because it reflects a mass delusion in regards to communist theory, Russian history, world history, and the events of just a few decades ago. Granted, thanks to bourgeois hegemony, ignorance to the theories of Marxism-Leninism is a long-held tradition that took nearly a century to fully solidify in the minds of the masses of people living under capitalism, so I’m not exactly surprised by the anti-Communist sentiment within the above statement. What I’m suprised at is the embarrassingly ignorant forgetfulness of the people who say such things to me about what went down 26 to 27 years ago, especially when most of these people were old enough to pay attention to the news in those years.
I was born in 1990, in the midst of the chaos that ensued with the collapse of the USSR and the other socialist-turned-revisionist states of Eastern Europe. I wasn’t even old enough to walk by the time these states collapsed, and yet, for some odd reason, my memory seems to serve me better than those who were fully-functioning adults when all of this happened. Well, it’s not really my memory that has served me, but this little thing called history that we are supposed to learn about in school. But even that has failed many people, since it isn’t solely previous generations who tell me and others to “move to Russia”, many people around my age have told me the same thing.
I will make it easy for you and just tell you what happened (with a fancy link to the Wikipedia article so you can look for yourself): The USSR no longer exists and Russia is now a capitalist state.
It is astounding that I have to explain this very well-known fact to so many people, some of whom probably even watched the Berlin Wall fall on live television.
There seems to be a problem with understanding history, both among the Right and the Left. On one hand, we have folks who believe that today’s Communists must support Russia, because McCarthy said so half a century ago and his influence just won’t go away. On the other hand, we have angsty “Leftists” who support anything that even slightly rubs the US government the wrong way. I won’t really go into the latter here, as that would require another post entirely, but both sides are forgetting one simple fact: Imperialists are often in conflict with each other. Just because one capitalist-imperialist state is in conflict, or even at war, with another state, does not mean the other state is not capitalist-imperialist. Competition is a driving force of capitalism. Inter-capitalist or inter-imperialist conflicts aren’t just characteristics of capitalism, they are an intrinsic aspect of capitalism-imperialism. Meaning, just because the US and the Russian Federation are competing capitalist powers does not mean that one is somehow anti-capitalist, even if one of those powers is named “Russia”.
Back to my original point. Many of the conservatives and neoliberals who praised the fall of the Berlin Wall have since forgotten that today’s Russia is exactly what they had wished for, not something we Communists wanted. So–pardon my language–why the fuck would I, a communist, have any interest in moving to Russia? Why would I have any inclination to support a state full of traitors and oligarchs? Why would I praise a state which Reagan endorsed?
I have talked about the ironies of anti-Communism before, but isn’t it funny how the illogical conservatives will call the bourgeois US government “socialist”, praise the fall of the USSR, and yet still tell communists to “move to Russia”? Shouldn’t they be the ones packing their bags, if they are craving an impoverished, homophobic, xenophobic, ultra-nationalist, oligarchal, anti-Communist, ultra-conservative state, such as the current Russian state, which they adored so much not too long ago?
I mean, when you look at it, the Russian Federation is all these conservatives ever wanted: an anti-Communist, homophobic, xenophobic state with close ties to far-Right organizations and which is favored by right-wing figures within the US such as Alex Jones and Donald Trump.
In short, no, just because the US and Russia have their differences does not mean that I prefer one over the other, it simply means that imperialism is still functioning the same as it always has: greedy conflicts that inevitably only really hurt the oppressed people living on both sides of said conflict.
I understand that this is a rather random topic to bring up, and seemingly unimportant to many people. But its importance comes with espousing Marxism-Leninism. While Putin and his cronies are waving hammers and sickles for purely populist and nationalist reasons, he, and the state of which he is the head, is dragging the name of Communism through the mud. He will bash Marxist revolutionaries and leaders, especially Lenin, while stealing the imagery they inspired, attempting to separate the successes of the Soviet Union from the theory which guided those successes (Marxism-Leninism).
So what I am getting at is, the Russian Federation is precisely what the conservatives were dreaming of from 1917-1990, Putin’s rule is the logical outcome of what the conservatives supported 3 decades ago. Modern Russia is your ideal paradise, not ours. So stop equating Communist theory with the things you wanted to happen in Russia.
Now, either you can side with the pseudo-fascistic Russian oligarchy, or you can admit that capitalism is a failure and that the Russian people were better off living under the banner of Marxism-Leninism. And, for the love of god, stop telling us Communists where to move, because we are working class people who can barely afford a vacation 4 hours away from our homes, much less the ability (or desire) to move into the capitalist hellhole you helped to create.