Anti-communism is political and idealogical opposition to communism. Historically, the word communism has been used to refer to several types of communal social organization and their supporters, but, since the mid-19th century, the dominant school of communism in the world has been Marxism. Marxist communism drew far more supporters and opponents than any other form of communism. As such, the term anti-communism is most often employed to refer to active opposition to Marxist communism.

Marxism, and the form of communism associated with it, rose to prominence in the 20th century. Organized anti-communism developed in reaction to the growing popularity of the communist movement, and took on many forms as the 20th century unfolded. Conservative monarchists in Europe fought against the first wave of communist revolutions from 1917 to 1922. Fascism and Nazism were based on a violent brand of anti-communism; they incited fear of a communist revolution in order to gain political power, and they aimed to destroy communism in World War II. Nationalists fought against communists in numerous civil wars across the globe. Both conservatism and classical liberalism shaped much of the anti-communist foreign policy of the Western powers, and dominated anti-communist intellectual thought in the second half of the 20th century.

Following the October Revolution in Russia, Marxist communism became largely associated with the Soviet Union in the public imagination (though there were many Marxists and communists who did not support the Soviet Union and its policies). As a result, anti-communism and opposition to the Soviet Union became almost indistinguishable, especially in terms of foreign policy. Anti-communism was an important element in the foreign policy of the Axis powers during the 1930s (Anti-Comintern Pact) and the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Canada, Israel, and other capitalist countries during the Cold War.

Conservative and traditionalist anti-communism

There has been great deal of conflict between communists, and conservatives and traditionalists. The majority of communist revolutions have occurred in relatively conservative countries, and most of the governments overthrown by communists had been conservative governments. Nationalist anti-communism has usually arisen for three reasons: defense of traditional values, national identity and social structures as a part of the nationalists' program of preserving national power and prestige.

Since communists advocate extreme social equality, they are theoretically opposed to monarchy, aristocracy, and other forms of hereditary privilege. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the early communist movement was at odds with the traditional monarchies that ruled over much of the European continent. At the time, monarchists were the most prominent anti-communists, and many European monarchies outlawed the public expression of communist views. Advocacy of communism was illegal in the Russian Empire, the German Empire and Austria-Hungary, the three most powerful monarchies in continental Europe prior to World War I. Prior to the late 19th century many Monarchists (except Constitutional Monarchists) viewed inequality in wealth and political power as resulting from a divine natural order.

By World War I however, in most European monarchies, this had become discredited by liberal and nationalist movements who believed monarchs should be figureheads of the nation while elected governments held the real power. The most conservative European monarchy, the Russian Empire, was replaced by the communist Soviet Union. The Russian Revolution inspired a series of other communist revolutions across Europe in the years 1917-1922. Many of these, such as the German Revolution, were defeated by nationalist military units.

The 1920s and 30s saw the fading of traditional conservatism. The mantle of conservative anti-communism was taken up by the rising fascist movements on the one hand, and by American-inspired liberal conservatives on the other. Communism remained largely a European phenomenon, so anti-communism was also concentrated in Europe. American anti-communist sentiments, accordingly, followed their European counterparts. When communist groups and political parties began appearing elsewhere in the world, such as in the Republic of China in the late 1920s, their opponents were usually colonial authorities and/or local nationalist movements.

Some of the reactionary anti-communist dictatorships that were established in Europe in the late 1930s, such as the government of Francisco Franco in Spain, are considered to fall somewhere on the border between traditional conservatism and fascism. The reactionary anti-communist government of Augusto Pinochet in Chile falls in this same category.

After World War II, communism became a global phenomenon, and anti-communism became an integral part of the domestic and foreign policies of the United States and its NATO allies. Conservatism in the post-war era abandoned its monarchist and aristocratic roots, focusing instead on the preservation of the free market (sometimes capitalism itself), private property, the interests of large corporations, organic inter-cooperation by different classes, and the defense of traditional customs, values, social norms and ways of life. These conservatives saw communism as dangerous due to its intention to abolish private property and its desire to do away with cultural norms, such as traditional gender roles and - sometimes - sexual norms.

The United States never experienced traditional conservatism in the 20th century. As a result, the ideology known as American conservatism does not share the monarchist history of its European counterpart. Instead, it is based on individualism and a capitalist view of economic competition as beneficial for society, which is, quite unusually, coupled with strong religious sentiment and defense of the traditional family. American conservatism was always opposed to communism, but this opposition only became a cornerstone of American conservative thought in the 1940s and 50s. The United States made anti-communism the top priority of its foreign policy, and many American conservatives sought to combat what they saw as communist influence at home. This led to the adoption of a number of domestic policies that are collectively known under the term "McCarthyism".

Throughout the Cold War, conservative governments in Asia, Africa and Latin America turned to the United States for political and economic support. Some of these were authoritarian regimes, which - according to their critics - used the fear of communism as a means of legitimizing repression, the suspension of civil rights, and the abolition of democracy. Examples include South Korea under Syngman Rhee (see Jeju massacre), the State of Israel under David Ben-Gurion, the Republic of China under Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, South Vietnam under Ngo Dinh Diem, Indonesia under General Suharto, Zaire under Mobutu Sese Seko, Paraguay under Alfredo Stroessner and Chile under Augusto Pinochet.

During the 1980s, the conservative governments of Ronald Reagan in the United States, Margaret Thatcher in Britain, and Brian Mulroney in Canada followed a clearly anti-Soviet foreign policy that is credited by their supporters as a major factor in the fall of the Soviet Union and the democratization of Eastern Europe and other countries.

In the aftermath of the Cold War, communism is no longer seen as a major force in world politics, and therefore most conservatives are far less concerned with anti-communism. Nevertheless, conservative anti-communism resurfaces anywhere that communist political groups make significant advances, such as in Nepal in recent years.

Fascist anti-communism

Fascism and "Soviet" Communism are political systems that arose to prominence after World War I. Historians of the period between World War I and World War II such as E.H. Carr and Eric Hobsbawm point out that liberal democracy was under serious stress in this period and seemed to be a doomed philosophy. The socialist movement worldwide split as the leaders of the social democratic parties supported the war, while supporters of the Russian Revolution of 1917 formed Communist Parties in most industrialized (and many non-industrialized) nations.

At the end of World War I and the Russian revolution, there were attempted socialist uprisings or threats of socialist uprisings throughout Europe, most notably in Germany, where the Spartacist uprising in January 1919 failed. In Bavaria, Communists successfully overthrew the government and established the Bavarian Soviet Republic, that lasted for a few weeks in 1919. Similar short lived Soviet Republics emerged in other German states and a short lived Soviet government was also established in Hungary under Béla Kun in 1919.

The Russian Revolution also inspired attempted revolutionary movements in Italy with a wave of factory occupations, a strike wave in Britain, the Winnipeg General Strike, the Seattle General Strike and other radical events.

Many historians view fascism as a reaction against to these developments – a movement that both tried to appeal to the working class and divert them from Marxism and also appealed to capitalists as a bulwark against Bolshevism. Italian fascism founded and led by Benito Mussolini took power with the blessing of Italy's king after years of leftist unrest led many conservatives to fear that a communist revolution was inevitable. Throughout Europe, numerous aristocrats and conservative intellectuals as well as capitalists and industrialists lent their support to fascist movements in their countries that arose in emulation of Italian fascism. Meanwhile in Germany, numerous right wing nationalist groups arose, particularly out of the post-war Freikorps, which were used to crush both the Spartacist uprising and the Munich Soviet.

However, certain anti-communist authors have disputed the view of fascism as a reaction against socialist revolutionary movements and instead stressed what they believed to be essential similarities between state communism and fascism in both theory and practice. This is posited under the theory of totalitarianism. The noted Austrian School economist Friedrich Hayek, author of The Road to Serfdom, argued that various modern totalitarian movements, including fascism and Communism, have common philosophical roots both springing from the opposition to the liberalism of the 19th century. Those arguing from these positions see it as far more than a coincidence that Benito Mussolini himself claimed to be a Marxist and member of the Italian Socialist Party before World War I, while many philosophical founders of fascism, such as Sergio Panunzio and Giovanni Gentile, came from a Marxist or syndicalist background that they later repudiated in their writings. However, these authors concede that the ideologies are divided on the issue of what the foundation for the ideal society should be (communists focus on class struggle for a classless society free of all forms of exploitation and oppression, while fascists focus on national class solidarity through an often corporate state). Additionally, Hayek claims that as late as 1938 Hitler said that Marxism and National Socialism were practically the same thing.

With the worldwide Great Depression of the 1930s, it seemed that liberalism and the liberal form of capitalism was doomed; communist and fascist movements swelled. These movements were bitterly opposed to each other and fought each other frequently. The most notable example of this conflict was the Spanish Civil War, which became in part a proxy war between the fascist countries and their international supporters who backed Francisco Franco and the worldwide Communist movement (allied uneasily with anarchists and Trotskyists) which backed the Republican government and were aided chiefly by the Soviet Union.

Initially, the Soviet Union supported the idea of a coalition with the western powers against Nazi Germany as well as popular fronts in various countries against domestic fascism. This policy was largely unsuccessful due to the distrust shown by the western powers (especially Britain) towards the Soviet Union. The Munich Agreement between Germany, France and Britain heightened Soviet fears that the western powers were endeavoring to force them to bear the brunt of a war against Nazism. The Soviets changed their policy and negotiated a non-aggression pact with Germany, known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in 1939. The Soviets later argued that this was necessary to buy them time to prepare for an expected war with Germany. However, some critics question this claim, pointing out that along with a non-aggression clause, the pact also laid out extensive economic cooperation between the Soviets and Germans, in the form of the German-Soviet Commercial Agreement, providing Nazi Germany some of the materials it needed to build its war machine. This detail is used by the aforementioned critics to argue that Stalin expected the war to be waged solely between Germany and the Western Allies, with the Soviet Union keeping its neutrality while its two greatest enemies fought each other.

Whatever the case, it is clear that Stalin did not expect the Germans to attack until 1942, so he was taken by surprise when Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, with Operation Barbarossa. Fascism and Communism reverted to their relationship as lethal enemies - with the war, in the eyes of both sides, becoming one between their respective ideologies.

Roman Catholic anti-communism

The Catholic Church has a history of anti-communism. The most recent Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "The Catholic Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modem times with 'communism' or 'socialism.' … Regulating the economy solely by centralized planning perverts the basis of social bonds … Still, reasonable regulation of the marketplace and economic initiatives, in keeping with a just hierarchy of values and a view to the common good, is to be commended."

Pope John Paul II was a harsh critic of communism, and other popes shared this view as well, for example Pope Pius IX issued Papal encyclical called Quanta Cura in which he called "Communism and Socialism" the most fatal error. During the Spanish Civil War, the Catholic Church opposed the left-leaning Republican forces due to their ties to communism and atrocities against Catholicism in Spain, and in many churches and schools prayers were made for the victory of Franco and the Nationalists.

Lucia Santos, a visionary of the Marian apparition at Fatima, Portugal was known for her anti-communist beliefs, as well as the message of Fatima in general.

From 1945 onward Australian Labor Party leadership accepted the assistance of an anti-Communist Roman Catholic movement, led by B.A. Santamaria to oppose communist subversion of Australian Trade Unions (Catholics being an important traditional support base). To oppose communist infiltration of unions Industrial Groups were formed to regain control of them. The groups were active from 1945 to 1954, with the knowledge support of ALP leadership[7] until after Labor's loss of the 1954 election, when federal leader Dr H.V. Evatt, in the context of his response to the Petrov affair, blamed “subversive” activities of the "Groupers", for the defeat. After bitter public dispute many Groupers (including most members of the NSW and Victorian state executives and most Victorian Labor branches) were expelled from the ALP and formed the Democratic Labor Party (historical). In an attempt to force the ALP reform and remove communist influence, with a view to then rejoining the “purged” ALP, the DLP preferenced (see Australian electoral system) the Liberal Party of Australia, enabling them remain in power for over two decades. Their negative strategy failed, and after the Whitlam Labor Government during the 1970s it, the majority of the DLP decided to wind up the party in 1978, although a small Federal and State party continued based in Victoria (see Democratic Labor Party) with state parties reformed in NSW and Qld in 2008.

Anarchist and leftist anti-communism

Although many anarchists (especially anarchist communists) describe themselves as communists - spelled with a lower case c, all anarchists criticize authoritarian Communism. Anarcho-communists traditionally agree with other Communists that capitalism is a tool for oppression, that it is unjust and that it should be destroyed, one way or another. These anarchists, however, go on to say that all centralized or coercive power (as opposed to just wealth) is ultimately injurious to the individual. Therefore, the concepts of dictatorship of the proletariat, state ownership of the means of production, and other similar tendencies within Marxist thought are anathema to an anarchist, regardless of whether the state in question is democratic. However many other anarchists such as have a more fundamental critique of communism, often from an individualist or anarcho-capitalist point of view. There are, also, strong anti-anarchist tendencies among Marxists, who have been denounced variously as unscientific, romantic, or bourgeois. e.g. according to the International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist) in a pamphlet entitled Marxism versus Anarchism.

The debates in the First International between Mikhail Bakunin and Karl Marx are well-known. While Bakunin's own philosophy owed much to Marx's critique of capitalism, their views diverged sharply over questions of how a post-capitalistic society should be organized. Bakunin saw the Marxist State as simply another form of oppression: "The question arises, if the proletariat is ruling, over whom will it rule? This means there will remain another proletariat which will be subordinated to this new domination, this new state." He loathed the idea of a vanguard party ruling the masses from above, quipping that "when the people are being beaten with a stick, they are not much happier if it is called 'the People's Stick.'"

Anarchists initially rejoiced over the 1917 revolution as an example of workers taking power for themselves, and indeed played a part in the revolution (see Russian anarchism). It quickly became evident, however, that the Bolsheviks and the anarchists had very different ideas regarding the kind of society they wanted to build there. Anarchist Emma Goldman, for example, deported from the USA to Russia in 1919, was initially enthusiastic about the revolution, but left sorely disappointed, and began to write her book My Disillusionment in Russia. Perhaps the most prominent and respected Russian anarchist of the era, Peter Kropotkin, proffered trenchant criticism of the emergent Bolshevik bureaucracy in letters to Lenin (who on rare occasions visited his home). He noted in 1920: "[a party dictatorship] is positively harmful for the building of a new socialist system. What is needed is local construction by local forces" and "Russia has already become a Soviet Republic only in name" (referring to the dominance of Bolshevik party committees over the peasants' and workers' soviets).

Anarchists often cite the crushing of the Kronstadt Rebellion, in which the Red Army crushed an embryonic anarchist commune and defeated an uprising of Soviet sailors dissatisfied with the authoritarianism of the new Bolshevik government, as a specific example of the tyranny they perceived in the Bolshevik government. The typhus epidemic, and subsequent crushing of Nestor Makhno's weakened anarcho-communist "Black Army" in the Ukraine was also a specifically controversial action of the early Bolsheviks.

During the Spanish Civil War, a Stalinist Communist Party of Spain gained considerable influence due to the political manipulation of aid from the Soviet Union. Communists and liberals on the Republican side fought mainly against the Falange fascists, but also put some effort against the workers anarcho-communist Spanish Revolution, ostensibly to bolster the anti-Fascist front (the anarchist, anti-stalinist and trotskyist response was, "The revolution and the war are inseparable"). The most dramatic action against the anarchists was in May 1937, when Communist-led police forces attempted to take over a telephone building run by the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo in Barcelona. The telephone workers fought back, setting up barricades and surrounding the Communist "Lenin Barracks." Five days of street fighting in the Barcelona May Days ensued. The enmity between anarchists at communists reached a new high, and remained there.

Bitter feelings between anarchists and Marxist communists are apparent even today in revolutionary circles. Much conflict and arguing occurs as it did in the 19th century between Marx and Bakunin. However, in recent times, anarchists and Marxist Communists often join in protest (at least for pragmatic purposes) on certain issues, such as the recent 2003 invasion of Iraq and the anti globalisation movement.

Many left-wing socialist parties tend to distance themselves from the more authoritarian Stalinism and Maoism. George Orwell was a socialist and was also highly critical of what he perceived as the authoritarianism of Soviet regime. Various revolutionary socialists, including some who self-identify as communists (eg. Trotskyists, Titoists), are highly critical of Marxism-Leninism, Maoism and Stalinism.

Anti-communism in the United States and Cold War

Henry Luce’s TIME Magazine cover of September 17, 1951 depicting the World Peace Council as a front organization of Soviet leader Joseph StalinThe first major manifestation of anti-communism in the United States occurred in 1919 and 1920, during the First Red Scare, led by Attorney General Alexander Mitchell Palmer.

Following World War II and the rise of the Soviet Union, many of the objections to Communism took on an added urgency because of the stated Communist view that their ideology was universal. The fear of many anti-Communists within the United States was that Communism would triumph throughout the entire world and eventually be a direct threat to the government of the United States. This view led to the domino theory in which a communist takeover in any nation could not be tolerated because it would lead to a chain reaction which would result in a triumph of world communism. There were fears that powerful nations like the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China were using their power to forcibly assimilate other countries into communist rule. The Soviet Union's expansion into Central Europe after World War II was seen as evidence of this. These actions prompted many politicians to adopt a kind of pragmatic anti-Communism, opposing the ideology as a way of limiting the expansion of the Soviet Empire. The US policy of halting further communist expansion came to be known as containment.

The United States government usually argued its anti-communism by citing the human rights record of Communist states, most notably the Soviet Union during the Stalin era, Maoist China, the short-lived Khmer Rouge government in Cambodia led by Pol Pot, and North Korea, because those states ended up killing of millions of their own people and continued to suppress civil liberties of the surviving population.

Anti-communism became significantly muted after the fall of the Soviet Union and Eastern bloc communist regimes in Eastern and Central Europe between 1989 and 1991, and the fear of a worldwide Communist takeover is no longer a serious concern. Remnants of anti-communism remain, however, in United States foreign policy toward Cuba, mainland China, and North Korea under Kim Il-sung and after his death, his eccentric son, Kim Jong-il. In the case of Cuba, the United States continues to maintain economic sanctions against the island in a policy which is sharply criticized outside of the United States, but which has substantial support in the US, particularly from the Cuban-American constituency, including many of the Cuban exiles living in Florida who oppose any such normalization with the Cuban government. Much of the right wing of American politics also opposes trade normalization with Cuba while the Communist Party of Cuba retains its influence.

Due to expanding American trade interests with the People's Republic of China, much of the United States foreign policy establishment does not regard "Communist China" as communist in any meaningful sense. Nevertheless, there is some hostility toward the People's Republic of China, particularly among conservative Congressional Republicans which can be regarded as remnants of anti-communism. For example, national security issues were raised during Chinese state-owned CNOOC Ltd.'s takeover bid for Unocal, an American energy firm. North Korea remains staunchly Stalinist and economically isolationist, and tensions between the country and the US have heightened as the result of reports that it is stockpiling nuclear weapons and the assertion that it is generally willing to sell its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technology to any group willing to pay a high enough price.

Repression and anti-communism

Further information: Russian Civil War, Lapua Movement, and Cursed soldiers After the October Revolution in Russia, allied intervention troops tried to crush the revolution. There was also some political repression in the name of anti-communism in the United States, most notably in the Red Scare of the 1920s and the McCarthyist era after World War II.

Communist political parties and organizations were actively opposed by conservative governments in Eastern Europe after the failed communist revolutions around 1920, in Nazi Germany and German-occupied Europe, in Japan during World War II, in the Republic of China by the Kuomintang (KMT) in the 1920s and 1930s, in post-war Taiwan and South Korea, in Latin America by various right-wing military regimes (Augusto Pinochet in Chile, Dirty War in Argentina, civil war in El Salvador, etc.), and in many other places and instances.

Communists and communist sympathizers often emphasize the persecution of their political movement by "reactionary" forces, which has been downplayed by capitalist governments. Anti-communists respond to this by pointing out that communist governments have often used similar methods to deal with their political enemies, including fellow communists. Regarding this issue, the opinions of communists are divided: some of them support the actions of those communist governments on the grounds that they were necessary in order to deal with dangerous terrorists and criminals, while other communists agree that such actions cannot be justified and put in question the self-proclaimed communist nature of the governments willing to carry them out.

Contemporary anti-communism

Objections to communist theory

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One central idea within Marxism is historical materialism, a methodology for studying history using dialectical reasoning which concludes that human society has grown or evolved through several historical stages due to the contradictions inherent in each stage, with each transition to the next stage involving the overthrow of the existing socioeconomic order. This idea was first theorized by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, but Marx used it to formulate his beliefs. Using this method, Marxists conclude that capitalism will be followed by socialism, just as feudalism was followed by capitalism. Marxists then conclude that socialism would be followed by communism, which Marx claimed would not be able to be improved upon as it has no contradictions of its own.

Most anti-communists reject the entire concept of historical materialism, or at least do not believe that socialism and communism must follow after capitalism. Some anti-communists question the validity of Marx's claim that the state will just wither away into a true communist society.

Many critics also see a key error in communist economic theory, which predicts that in capitalist societies, the bourgeoisie will accumulate ever-increasing capital and wealth, while the lower classes become more dependent on the ruling class for survival, selling their labor power for the most minimal of salaries. Anti-communists, claiming that this argument is equivalent to the statement that "the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer", point to the overall rise in the average standard of living in the industrialized West as proof that contrary to Marx's prediction as, they assert, both the rich and poor have steadily gotten richer. There is still, however, communist attack of this objection. This is rooted in Lenin's "Imperialism - the Highest Stage of Capitalism", argued to be the conclusive chapter of the founding series of communist works set out by Marx.[citation needed] His predictions correlated with Marx's in that the poorer would get poorer and the richer would get richer as capitalism would live on, however he predicted, in accordance with the early 20th century rise of imperialism, that the class struggle would move to an international basis. Many members of the modern Left assert that trends like this have indeed been seen in recent years, for example as Western economies develop and those of third world countries continue to decline as their citizens are continually exploited.

Another reply to this criticism is that the nations who most endorse capitalism today, such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, had a long history of bountiful natural resources, strategic geography, military victory, and technology long before many capitalist intricacies, giving them these benefits today. Similarly, they claim nations such as Russia and Vietnam, had long histories of military defeats, brutal environments, strict dictatorships, and underdeveloped economies throughout their histories, making living conditions harsher even after socialist revolutions. Anti-capitalists, on the other hand, often argue that capitalism is now a global economical system, therefore affecting the whole world. Thus, it is necessary to see economic trends without national boundaries. They state for example that much of the commodities sold in the United States are produced or enhanced in one way or another, in a poorer country. And on an international scale, the division between the rich and poor has generally increased.

Communists also argue that the industrialized West profits immensely from the exploitation of the Third World through globalization, that the gap between rich and poor capitalist countries (sometimes called the North-South Gap) has widened greatly over the past hundred years, and that poor capitalist countries vastly outnumber the rich ones. The standard anti-communist reply to the latter argument is to point out the examples of former Third World countries that have successfully escaped out of poverty in the recent decades under the capitalist system, most notably the Asian Tigers, India and even nominally Communist China itself. Anti-communists also cite numerous examples of Third World Communist regimes that failed to achieve development and economic growth and in many cases led their peoples into an even worse misery, for example the Mengistu regime in Ethiopia or the North Korean totalitarian government. Supporters of Mengistu or Kim typically attribute the shortcomings in their societies to "imperialist" Western meddling. Other communists, such as the Trotskyists, while agreeing that imperialism harmed these countries, also say that Ethiopia and North Korea were never communist--they were Stalinist, meaning that they were ruled by a clique of bureaucrats who claimed to be acting in the popular interest but actually betrayed it, being more oppressive to its working class.

Many refer to both communism and fascism as totalitarianism, seeing similarity between the actions of communist and fascist governments. It should also be noted that many modern left-attributed communists, particularly anarcho-communists, use these similarities, and actual sayings from Marx himself, to argue that those self-proclaimed communist regimes were not actually following any sort of communism at all. One such quote in The Communist Manifesto to support this simply says, "Democracy is the road to socialism."

Anti-communists also object to the actual practices of communist governments in contrast to the stated promises of communism, questioning whether or not they are truly able to be called "communist". For example, the view of "human nature" usually expounded by anti-communist Objectivists is that while an egalitarian society could be looked at as ideal, it is virtually impossible to achieve. They state that it is human nature to be motivated by personal incentive, and point out that while several communist leaders have claimed to be working for the common good, many or all of them have been corrupt and totalitarian. Communists retaliate that "human nature" essentially doesn't exist, since human beings are extremely adaptable with inbred logic and have shown themselves to be able to live in a wide variety of social organizations, some similar to communism, throughout history.

Notable Anticommunists (Past and Present)

Larry McDonald. Conservative Democratic Representative from Georgia, the only sitting member of Congress reported killed by the Soviets during the Cold War, when Korean Air Lines Flight 007 was shot down by the Soviets on Sept. 1, 1983

Anti-communist historians

One of the most influential anti-communist historians was Robert Conquest, a former Stalinist and British Intelligence officer. He argued in his works that Communism was responsible for tens of millions of deaths during the 20th century.

Communist parties (sometimes combined with left socialist parties as workers' parties) which have come to power have likewise tended to be rigidly intolerant of political opposition. Most Communist countries have shown no signs of advancing from Marx's "socialist" stage of economy to an ideal "communist" stage. Rather, Communist governments have been accused of creating a new ruling class (called by Russians the Nomenklatura), with powers and privileges far greater than those previously enjoyed by the upper classes in the pre-revolutionary regimes.

It should be noted, however, that many communists have been virulent critics of the policies carried out by Stalin's Soviet Union and other nations who followed the same model. They refer to these nations as Stalinist rather than communist, and sometimes call them deformed workers states. The anti-communists reply that the repression in the early years of the Bolshevik regime, while not as extreme as that during Stalin's reign, was still severe by any reasonable standards, citing the examples such as Felix Dzerzhinsky's secret police, which eliminated numerous political opponents by extrajudicial executions, and the brutal crushing of the Kronstadt rebellion and Tambov rebellion. According to them, Trotsky could hardly claim any moral high ground, having been one of the top-ranking Bolshevik leaders during these events. Trotsky was later to claim that the Kronstadt rebels were early harbingers of the bureaucratisation which he associated with Stalinism.

Anti-communists will likewise argue that the contemporary communist/Marxist claim that any communist regime that perpetuated human rights abuses was not a "true" communist state is merely a convenient excuse that can be evoked to avoid taking responsibility, and a classic example of a No True Scotsman fallacy.


Some sociobiologists have criticised communism on evolutionary grounds: Edward O. Wilson, referring to ants, once said that "Karl Marx was right, socialism works, it is just that he had the wrong species", meaning that while ants and other social insects appear to live in communist-like societies, they only do so because they are forced to do so from their basic biology, as they lack reproductive independence: worker ants, being sterile, need their ant-queen to survive as a colony and a species and individual ants cannot reproduce without a queen, thus being forced to live in centralised societies. Humans, however, do possess reproductive independence so they can give birth to offspring without the need of a "queen", and in fact humans enjoy their maximum level of Darwinian fitness only when they look after themselves and their families, while finding innovative ways to use the societies they live in for their own benefit.

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