Opinions of people who living in leftist nations

….and view them as bad?
Over and over I hear from people that have actually lived under various implementations of socialism that ranges to just being "bad" and dreary to hellish authoritarian bloodpits. I don't know what to think of them. How can so many different implementations of socialism end up all being authoritarian and often also having crap-tier levels of quality of life?
Today I read a leddit bread where people asked questions to someone who lived in the USSR and it got me thinking about it again.


they're almost always a CIA asset spreading lies

That's some pretty tinfoil hat thinking right there.


1) Look up the polls, the majority of people who lived under "communist" USSR what it to return.
2) I live under capitalism, I consider it to be a dreary and authoritarian nightmare. It is disgusting to me how bad it holds back progress and fucks people over.

Point being, there are people who are never happy, no matter the circumstances. I live in the far north of the US. You have people who, in summer complain constantly about the heat, "It's too damn hot, I can't wait for winter". And then once winter roles around, you hear "Ah this cold is unbearable, I can't wait for summer". There is never satisfaction. I am willing to bet if you tossed these same people in the literal Garden of Eden they'd bitch that they were bored and it was "dreary". Nevertheless we have a materialist critique of capitalism, we have plenty of evidence, not minor gripes.

I'm not saying capitalism is good or something. It's hellish. But I'm saying I think maybe the people who have lived under socialism should maybe be listened to as they may have something to contribute to the conversation about socialism.

Well, you make a good point, but I think of it this way. As leftist, we debate among ourselves constantly as to how a socialist society should be run. I mean if you want to see a communist tear the USSR a new one, read Pannekoek. He was definitely not a fan.

Thing is though, there is plenty of critique that the USSR wasn't socialist. I think they were in ways but certainly not perfect. So what I am getting at is yes, for sure, absolutely honor their complaints, and seek a solution to those complaints, a remedy. But likewise take them with a grain of salt because not every single person is happy in every single situation.

On the specific guy, several things jump out:
"The Black book of communism is my favourite book."
"Russia can't be a democracy because it is too ethnically and culturally diverse."
"Social democracy only works in 'hegemonic states'."
Honestly strikes me as someone who doesn't know what the fuck they are talking about.

As for others, I have spoken to plenty of people who have lived in eastern bloc countries: An ethnic Russian from Latvia, an Estonian, a few Russians, Hungarians, Ossies and the like. Most have a positive view, a "things were bad in some ways, but overall it was better: if the governments were less repressive they would have survived" attitude. The only one that was overall negative was the Estonian fascist (self ascribed ideological orientation). I mean my parents lived in the BRD for a decade, including when the wall fell: my mother always said that whenever someone asked her what the wall falling meant to the ossies, she answered "The Freedom of fail". Now does this excuse the work of the Stasi (with whom my father had run-ins, although in a more cordial manner than most would expect) and the SED in the GDR, no: however most people have a massive warped view of what life was like from emigré and propaganda alike.

Sure. That is true. But I don't think the whole 'it wasnt really socialism' argument is any good when the whole of historical academia and common language calls it such. Plus when you have whole nations of people saying "We are converting to socialism!" and then "We are fighting for a socialist revolution!" and later "We are doing socialism now!" is kinda bullshit. I think. Capitalists do the same thing when I bring but particularly bad capitalists nations. "It wasnt really capitalism!" they say.

One of the authors tried to exaggerate the numbers to the one million mark, because a nice big round number like that would sound even more scary. But he failed to do. As a history geek, I will say that while it is a shitty book, the remaining numbers are still accurate.

This is true though? Russia is huge and has multiple different cultures inside its lands, many of which conflict with one another. I'm not sure what you mean.

This is pretty true though. Look at Switzerland or Iceland. If everyone in a democracy is from the same culture and hold the same values, you tend to generally have a pretty agreeable voting season. Am I wrong?

My grandfather lived during Stalin's times.

He considers Stalin to be the best ruler, and Stalin's time the best organized and most beneficial period in his life.

There are people of any sort of opinion on any given subject. Opinion alone, as a thing in itself, is worthless.

What's more important than his opinion on Stalin to him politically? Russia stronk? or actually existing socialism?

He is an entirely pragmatic person. Shit getting done, order being maintained, wealth being delivered to those who work for it.

So he does agree it was ruling that was being done. Was it socialism? What it freedom from capitalism?

I don't personally think it "wasn't real socialism" instead I see it as a failed attempt at socialism, which is what it is. Socialism, as an economic system, is an experiment. Objectively, when we look at capitalism, we can see it is riddled with problems. Very bad ones, to be frank, and they are very obvious, and virtually any economist can recognize these issues. The problem is, they disagree with how to fix it.
Socialism, as an economic system, can fix many of the problems inherent in capitalism. People who complain about the issues they experienced under "socialism" are complaining about socialism under the framework of a particular flavor of socialism, in the case of Eastern European nations, rather authoritarian Marxist-Leninism. When confront with this fact by people I am conversing with, I advocate personally for more libertarian version of socialist thought, such as anarcho-syndicalism and council communism, for which I ascribe to.

The reason why I think this is valid, and I want to be explicit about this, is because IMO the formation of socialist society is somewhat like a chemical reaction to me. Most require some degree of "activation energy", this transition doesn't just happen spontaneously. Paper normally doesn't just ignite randomly. However, much like any lab situation, there is a degree of experimentation and variable control that must take place. A damp environment is not good for a combustion reaction. Too little oxygen likewise is not. Subsequently, while the Russian revolution did successfully estabilish a socialist state, it ultimately failed and in other ways did not adaquately address some issues inherent in its organization. In the same manner, if future socialist movements do take root, I am of the opinion we should adhere dogmatically to any 1 tendency. So my primary point is, the USSR was a failure and we need to learn from our mistakes, but not abandon the primary goal of remedying the world of in inefficiencies and barbarism of capitalism.

The best example I can give is we havent been able to cure cancer. And in some instances, the medical industry has actually killed people trying to do it (through gene therapy and the like). Thus, should we abandon the fight to cure cancer because we made some mistakes? Or should we trudge forward, learn from our mistakes, and improve our approach?

Flag checks out

t. CIA
Point me to one of these cases where the dissident isn't the son of a kulak or a counterrevolutionary defector. You can't.

So essentially a Hobbesian, I respect the shit out of that

My appologies:

The kulaks were few. Not everybody is CIA. Calm yourself.

I feel like someone would just say 'try something else'.

Lamo it counts dead nazis soldiers as those "Murdered by the Stalin regime", actually no, it counts the theoretically unborn children of dead nazi soldiers as those murdered by the Stalin regime, It is perhaps the most intellectually dishonest thing ever written about the Red bloc: it is pure propaganda. There has been plenty of sane and accurate work done into those that have died under Stalin.

It buys into bullshit exceptionalism about how "oh Russia can't HANDLE democracy, too many cultures see!", I mean if ethnic and cultural difference excluded democracy: India would not exist, heck any modern European states would not function

Oh you mean that country broken up into 32 catons with unique identities, 4 main languages (Switzerdeutsch, French, Italian and Romansch), religious diversity (catholics, calvinists, lutherans et al) is an example of a hegemonic state that proves social democracy can only work in hegemonic states? U wot? Again it buys into bullshit exceptionalism that culture, ethnicity and various other spooks must align for the magic of social democracy to occur. I mean let's look at a non-European socdem state for a minute, Singapore, you know how many religious, languages, ethnicities live in Singapore? Explain to me how ethnic differences cause social democracy to magically fail…

I'm from former Yugoslavia.

It's kinda complicated. Most people actually have two separate outlooks on the former country - one is political and the other is economical. Economically, the majority of those who lived in Yugoslavia prefer socialism over capitalism. Politically, they have mixed opinions depending where you ask. The political question is usually about who is responsible for the break up, who fucked who over, thousands of painful, unsolved internal relations among the republics that predate the communist regime in Yugoslavia, and even Yugoslavia itself. So any positive outlook on the economic system per se will always be shadowed by nationalistic impulses that buried the country six feet underground. What happened in the 90s was one gigantic explosion of nationalism, chauvinism, religious hatred, from which corruption and decay followed. Tito left a lot nationalist disputes unsolved and pushed down the carpet. When the first nationalist sparks appeared in the 70s, Tito just sacked the responsible ones inside the Party and carried on like nothing happened. Tito in fact never allowed anyone inside the Party to gain more influence, whether they were Serbs or Croats. In this way he sacked some competent administrators who would've certainly approach the matters differently. Needless to say, the Titoist regime failed to present a permanent solution for these internal problems, and the post-Tito communist officials had no strength or will to deal with them fast, in fact they only fucked up the situation even more. Milosevic and Tudjman turned from typical Party apparatchiks into chauvinist nationalist leaders.

Today, except maybe Slovenia, all ex-Yugo countries suffer from massive depopulation. Masses of unemployed, young people are running away en masse to Western countries. They simply see no future here. It's not just ex-Yugoslavia, countries like Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria suffer from the same fate, more or less. Everywhere the crony capitalism took over, everywhere the rampant plunderous privatizations destroyed what was built and kept for decades. Does former socialist state look more favorable compared to this? Of course it does, unless you're one of those who profiteered off other people's misery during the 90s and beyond.

My parents are mostly an apolitical bunch, always kept to themselves like most regular people do. They weren't Party members, in fact Party membership wasn't mandatory, although it was mandatory if you aimed for higher positions in society, which kinda makes sense. Dad had a good job and ran his own car workshop in the spare time. Now he's your typical cranky Yugonostalgic pensioner, though i think he doesn't really care about the system, he just longs for his youth days when he was young, strong and able.

Like what? In reality there are only a limited framework in which to approach any certain situation.
I mean socialism, to a layman, is essentially "abolish private property". If we tried this through centralized state means, in reality the next most logical way to do this is through less authoritarian means. There are really only two directions this problem of property can go, either

Where I live in means nobody gets to own anything because the government owns everything and they'll kill you if you disagree.