I am not going to repeat the content of the embedded podcast verbatim in this post, but I will explain the context that prompted me to make this recording.
On my Theodosia and the Pirates blog, I got a comment from a reader that suggested that the following facts indicated someone was not a real communist and joined the party only for power and not out of genuine idealism:
- he came from the middle class
- he had gone to college
- he studied law
In my experience, communist leaders often do come from the middle class, are well educated and study the law or something equally as abstract. They are political theorists, and they spend a lot of time trying to think of ways to create a better world for people “less fortunate” than themselves. This is known of important leaders such as Lenin and Trotsky, but was equally true of my great uncle, Juliusz Katz-Suchy. You can read more about Katz-Suchy here:
It is only after the economic experiment fails and everyone in the country is starving for staple items that it begins to appear that the leaders are greedy for luxuries such as chocolate, meat and basic appliances. In a free country, these things are not even luxuries, and everyone in the middle class can have them. But under the communists, as basic necessities become scarce, the leaders do manage to get more of these “luxuries” than the average person.
Greed is not usually an impetus to becoming a communist. Idealism is the main driving force, and the people who set out to topple the bourgeoisie are usually members in good standing with full stomachs and heads in the stars. After the experiment fails, when all men are hungry, the leaders appear to be greedy because they still manage to have more to eat.
To say “he was not a real communist because he came from the middle class” is to misunderstand the history of communism and to be ready to repeat the same experiment with different players.