The Eurocommunist Schism

The Eurocommunist Schism

To try to answer the question whether there are “varieties of communism”—Eurocommunism, Asian Communism—I make three assumptions:

FIRST: Despotism is not a “degeneration” of Communism. So far, we haven’t seen any Communism in power except in Leninist-Stalinist, totalitarian versions. There is no exception to the rule that wherever Communism has come to power, no matter in which way (internal forces or foreign domination), not only were civil liberties and democratic institutions done away with, but a totalitarian form of social organization was imposed. (Not everywhere, it is fair to add, was it imposed with the same efficacity.)

Not every variety of despotism is totalitarian. The latter consists in the constant tendency to destroy all the existing social ties and all spontaneous crystallizations of social life, and to replace them with state-imposed organizations. In the perfect totalitarian society no form of human activity— economic, intellectual, political—is allowed unless planned or permitted by the state, and human individuals are considered the nationalized property of the state. One of the salient features of this social form is the abrogation of Law—not necessarily in the 33 sense of rules or procedures in public matters but in the sense of a device that mediates between individual and the state, and thus limits the state’s power in dealing with individual human beings.

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