Thread: The Black Book of Capitalism

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  1. #1
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    Default The Black Book of Capitalism

    Hello comrades,

    I am sure that so many of you are sick and tired of being hit over the head by apologists for the free-market with the claim that 'communism has killed 100 million people'. I have compiled a list of the crimes of capitalism with their known and/or estimated death tolls and have shown that capitalism's victims by far exceed communism's(which were actually socialist nations, since communism has never existed), even if those figures were true.

    My estimates:

    • Extermination of indigenous Americans 1492-1890: 100 million
    • Atlantic slave trade of Africans 1500-1870: 15 million
    • French attempted repression of Haiti slave revolt 1791-1803: 150,000
    • French conquest of Algeria 1830-47: 300,000
    • The Opium Wars in China 1839-42 & 1856-60: 50,000
    • Irish potato famine 1845-49: 1 million
    • British suppression of the Indian Mutiny 1857-58: 100,000
    • Massacre of the Paris Commune 1871: 20,000
    • Famine under British colonialism in India 1876-79 & 1897-1902: 29 million
    • Military and police repression of labor strikes in the United States 1877-1938: 700
    • Blacks lynched in the United States 1882-1964: 3,445
    • Belgian exploitation of the Congo 1885-1908: 10 million
    • United States conquest of the Philippines 1898-1913: 250,000
    • British concentration camps in South Africa 1899-1902: 28,000
    • French exploitation of Equatorial African rainforest 1900-40: 800,000
    • German extermination of the Herero and Namaqua 1904-07: 65,000
    • The First World War 1914-18: 10 million
    • White Army pogroms against Jews 1917-20: 100,000
    • Italian fascist conquests in Africa 1922-43: 600,000
    • Japanese imperialism in East Asia 1931-45: 10 million
    • Fascist terror in Spain 1936-39: 200,000
    • Nazi terror/concentration & extermination camps 1939-45: 25 million
    • Allied bombing of German and Japanese civilians 1942-45: 1 million(inc. over 200,000 Japanese in atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki)
    • Kuomintang massacre in Taiwan 1947: 30,000
    • French repression of anti-colonial revolt in Madagascar 1947: 80,000
    • Israeli colonization of Palestine 1948-present: 30,000
    • British repression of the Mau-Mau revolt 1952-60: 50,000
    • Algerian war of independence 1954-62: 1 million
    • Military juntas in Guatemala 1954-96: 200,000
    • Papa and Baby Doc Duvalier regime in Haiti 1957-86: 50,000
    • Vietnam War 1963-75: 3.4 million
    • Massacre of communists in Indonesia 1965-66: 1 million
    • Tlatelolco massacre in Mexico City 1968: 400
    • US bombing of Laos and Cambodia 1969-75: 700,000
    • Nicaragua civil war(s) 1972-90: 80,000
    • Pinochet dictatorship in Chile 1973-90: 3,197
    • Angola civil war 1974-92: 500,000
    • East Timor massacres 1975-98: 200,000
    • Mozambique civil war 1975-90: 1 million
    • Argentina "Dirty War" 1976-82: 30,000
    • El Salvador military dictatorship 1977-92: 70,000
    • Kwanju massacre 1980: 1,000
    • Bophal Union Carbide disaster 1984: 16,000
    • US invasion of Panama 1989: 3,000
    • UN embargo against Iraq 1991-2003: 1 million(inc. 500,000 children under the age of 12)
    • Destruction of Yugoslavia 1992-95: 200,000
    • Capitalist coup de tat in Russia 1993: 2,000
    • Rwandan genocide 1994: 800,000
    • Congolese civil war 1997-present: 6 million
    • Indian farmer suicides 1997-present: 199, 132
    • NATO occupation of Afghanistan 2001-present: 30,000
    • US invasion and occupation of Iraq 2003-present: 1.2 million

    TOTAL: 221, 641, 874 victims of capitalism, and counting............*
    Last edited by Barry Lyndon; 9th June 2010 at 04:21.
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  3. #2
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    Marxists.org has started a White Book of Capitalism project if I'm not mistaken. There's also the beginning of the Black Book of Capitalism somewhere online. MIM also started something of the kind back in the day, which was never completed for obvious reasons. I think getting something of this sort done would be incredibly important; certainly one could prepare a collection of left-wing essays on different wars, revolutions and counter-revolutions and sum up the number of fatalities mentioned in each. I think one could easily double even the figure you've come up with.
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    There's a French book called the "Black Book of Capitalism" but it was never translated into English. There's a wiki article here
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    Default French version

    Yeah, I looked it up and translated a page describing their accounting, it seems pretty inadequate from what I could tell. Their calculations run like this:

    • Slave trade in the 17th and 18th centuries: 10 million
    • Liquidation of the American Indians 1500-1860: 70 million
    • Crimean War 1853-56: 252,000
    • American Civil War 1861-65: 617,000
    • Franco-Prussian War 1870: 220,000
    • Massacre of the Paris Commune 1870: 20,000
    • French colonization of Algeria 1839: 10,000
    • French conquests in West Africa 19th century: 112,000
    • Belgian colonization of the Congo in the 19th century: 1 million
    • Spanish-American War 1898: 100,000
    • Boer War 1899-1902: 57,000
    • First World War 1914-18: 10 million
    • Spanish Civil War 1936-39: 410,000
    • Second World War 1939-45: 50 million
    • French military repression in Madagascar 1947: 80,000
    • War in Algeria 1954-62: 380,000
    • Indochina War(s) 1946-75: 3, 107,000
    • Anti-communist repression in Indonesia 1965: 500,000
    • Repression during May 1968 in Paris: 4
    • Massacre of students in Mexico City 1968: 400
    • Biafra War 1967-70: 1 million
    • Dictatorship in Chile 1973-90: 3,197
    • Dictatorship in Argentina 1976-82: 30,000
    • 'Disappearances' in Guatemala and El Salvador 1975-96: 50,000
    • Falklands War 1982: 1,005
    • Union Carbide Bophal disaster 1984: 2,900
    • Persian Gulf War 1991: 160,022

    TOTAL: 147 387 051

    Kind of a wimpy calculus, in my view.
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    Is it just easier for some right winger and liberal academics to construct a Black Book of Communism than it is for someone to publish a Black Book of Capitalism? I mean the right is not flexible about what defines capitalism. They only apply capitalism to nations that are prospering. Indonesia, for instance, a sweatshop haven would not be seen as capitalist, but Canada would.

    So it would be difficult to make a Black Book of Capitalism from a Marxist perspective and have it be taken seriously in academia.
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    There's no need to make a study of the crimes of capitalism academically rigorous in its thesis, only its statistics. Just do the exact same thing the folks who made the Black Book of Communism did: compile a list of every event of mass violence and catastrophe that occurred under socialist governments and then tally up a total of all the excess deaths making sure to use plausible but higher end estimates. Get your nice round number and market it as "Communism's body count" and ascribe all the deaths from these variegated causes to the agency of a particular ideology or political system.

    The very idea is just such an absurd piece of pop-history that only a deeply ideologically committed academic culture could possibly take it seriously.
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    The UN estimates that 9 million children under the age of five die every year worldwide due to starvation and preventable diseases, virtually all in Third World capitalist countries(last year the top three locations of death were Nigeria, India and the Democratic Republic of the Congo). If we add that up for every year since 1991, when the UN survey began and also coincidentally when the Soviet Union collapsed and capitalism attained almost total global supremacy, 19X9=171 million deaths. 223+171=394 million victims of capitalism.
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    In Africa, one child dies every three seconds of condiations created by Capitalism. Charitys use that fact to hit it home to the public here, they never say it's due to Capitalism but it is.
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    Is it just easier for some right winger and liberal academics to construct a Black Book of Communism than it is for someone to publish a Black Book of Capitalism? I mean the right is not flexible about what defines capitalism. They only apply capitalism to nations that are prospering. Indonesia, for instance, a sweatshop haven would not be seen as capitalist, but Canada would.

    So it would be difficult to make a Black Book of Capitalism from a Marxist perspective and have it be taken seriously in academia.
    This is exactly how that Black Book of Communism worked out. From what the wiki tells me, one of the contributors was hellbent on trying to connect Nazism and Communism together.

    And you are right about how hard it is for Marxist professors to get their stuff in academia. Right-wing pundits like to paint universities as a bunch of Marxist professors trying to brain wash people, but the reality is that Marxist professors tend to be ostracized from academia at large.

    Though my honest opinion here, it is pointless to try and pin atrocities on economic ideologies. As much as I hate capitalism I can't imagine Adam Smith would like this. Nor would Marx if he saw some things that happened under Marxist regimes.

    The French "Black Book of Capitalism", posted earlier, was more of a slam on the Black Book of Communism as can be seen in the title. If these "experts" try to irrevocably associate communism with death, then we should be free to tarnish their precious wet dream of capitalism. Though I suppose it is easier for them to live in an ignorant bliss while people starve and suffer in the third world.

    If anything I would love to see a Black Book of Imperialism and Totalitarianism. That is where I would attribute all this to.
    Last edited by Red Commissar; 20th March 2010 at 01:07.
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    The very idea is just such an absurd piece of pop-history that only a deeply ideologically committed academic culture could possibly take it seriously.
    Very well put.

    If anything I would love to see a Black Book of Imperialism and Totalitarianism.
    I'd appreciate something like that as well; but most people wouldn't consider themselves supporters of imperialism, the way they do capitalism. That's the real benefit of attributing it to capitalism.
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    Some of those numbers (both from the 'capitalist' and the 'communist' perspective) are probably not exact, but I don't think that's something we should really care about. What we should try to make clear is not that many people died in capitalist/imperialist regimes, but why it is capitalism/imperialism that caused (and still causes) all these horrible genocides, famines and poverty striken regions.

    Instead of wasting our time about numbers (thousand dead workers isn't worse than hundred dead workers, it's the same genocide) we should really care about the structural violence capitalism breeds and try to find strategies that allows revolutionary socialists to fight against this system and find alternatives which don't cause these kinds of structural violence. I'm not at all saying that I have such a starting point, but realising that such stupid things like 'black books' about capitalism/fascism/communism/whatever don't solve a thing is a nice beginning anyway.
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    Hello comrades,

    I am sure that so many of you are sick and tired of being hit over the head by apologists for the free-market with the claim that 'communism has killed 100 million people'. I have compiled a list of the crimes of capitalism with their known and/or estimated death tolls and have shown that capitalism's victims by far exceed communism's(which were actually socialist nations, since communism has never existed), even if those figures were true.

    My estimates:


    • Extermination of the indigenous Americans 1492-1890: 100 million
    I don't know that extermination is the right term here. Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
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    I'd object to the notion that the (attempted) extermination ended in 1890. I'd say that it's ongoing. They just don't send in the cavalry anymore.
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    I'd object to the notion that the (attempted) extermination ended in 1890. I'd say that it's ongoing. They just don't send in the cavalry anymore.
    This is very true. After 1890 there were reservations, boarding schools, and all sorts of other nasty attempts to destroy Indians through either assimilation, extermination, or termination of tribes. The attacks on Native sovereignty are 100% still active, and real life versions of Avatar get played out daily in both North and South America.
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    That's a very good point, Plagueground, I am aware that the cultural genocide against the indigenous Americans went on long after the physical genocide ended(and in some ways, continues to this day). There are even areas where the massacres went on into our lifetimes, such as Guatemala into the 1990's, which is included on my chart. For simplicity's sake, I had the timeframe confined to the period of outright genocide. In an actual 'Black Book of Capitalism', the section on the Native Americans would certainly mention the post-1890 trends that you brought up. I have been to the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota and talked to veterans of the Wounded Knee siege of 1973, so I am not ignorant of these what has happened in the more recent past.

    I didn't mean to imply that you were dead. I am glad that your alive, my apologies.
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    Weren't there cases of attacks on indigenous populations in Latin America within the past year?
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    Weren't there cases of attacks on indigenous populations in Latin America within the past year?
    There was an attack on indigenous people in Peru this past summer. Here's how the whole thing ended... (first article I found, forgive the source).

    http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/am.../peru.indians/
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    Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see Indian Farmer Suicides 1997-pressent: 199,132
    "It is slaves, struggling to throw off their chains, who unleash the movement whereby history abolishes masters." - Raoul Vaneigem

    "Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality will have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things." - Karl Marx

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    There's no need to make a study of the crimes of capitalism academically rigorous in its thesis, only its statistics. Just do the exact same thing the folks who made the Black Book of Communism did: compile a list of every event of mass violence and catastrophe that occurred under socialist governments and then tally up a total of all the excess deaths making sure to use plausible but higher end estimates. Get your nice round number and market it as "Communism's body count" and ascribe all the deaths from these variegated causes to the agency of a particular ideology or political system.

    The very idea is just such an absurd piece of pop-history that only a deeply ideologically committed academic culture could possibly take it seriously.
    This.

    Soso, a RevLeft poster, had a good parody of this way of thinking recently (from the "perspective" of a capitalist):

    Capitalism cannot really be blamed for any atrocities because unlike socialist countries, they did not use the term “capitalist” in their official political titles. They also did not, to the best of my knowledge, acknowledge “capitalism” as a system in their constitutions and/or relevant legal documents.

    It’s no use pointing out all the atrocities and millions slaughtered in the name of anti-communism. Things like the Vietnam War, the coups throughout Latin America, Europe, and Asia, and imperialist invasions and military campaigns cannot be used to indict capitalism because there were people in those countries who disagreed with such policies, and many people feel bad about them today...

    If someone points out how communists and suspected communists, as well as leftists, were persecuted, arrested, jailed, shot and lynched in the United States, always be sure to point out that this was far less than the number of people sent to the gulag system in the USSR, ignoring for example, that the percentage of the adult population behind bars in America today is actually higher than that of the USSR under Stalin.

    Numbers only make a difference if a specific death toll in a non-communist nation was less than that of a socialist one! If the opposite is true, then numbers don't matter; it’s democide either way.

    If someone tries to point out that co-called “Stalinist” Albania had far lower amount of deaths attributed to the regime even by its enemies, this is unacceptable. Numbers don't matter—20 million, 10 million, 5 million, 1 million, a few thousand…it makes no difference and the liberal democratic establishment is terribly outraged by the idea that anyone would try to make comparisons. One death is too many!
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    Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see Indian Farmer Suicides 1997-pressent: 199,132
    Done, comrade.

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