Posted BY: Adam Vicari

When many people of the 21st century think of communist authoritarianism, they probably tend to think of the horrific genocidal regimes of dictators like Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot.  Their approaches to political dissidents and Marxist theory were blunt, and done in a quick fashion, so as to hasten the revolution and bring about their fictitious “utopia” much more quickly than non-authoritarian states.  Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge, for instance, wasted no time in initiating the revolution, because as soon as the regime gained power in Cambodia, it went straight to work purging the cities and forcing its inhabitants into the country to work on agricultural projects, and then proceeded to summarily execute between 1 and 3 million Cambodians, including the most disfavored group: the intellectuals, whom those in power were able to recognize because they “wore glasses,” in what became known as “the killing fields of Cambodia.” 

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Similarly, about a half-century before, the Bolshevik regime, under V.A. Lenin, initiated what was known as the “Red Terror” against their political and class enemies, a campaign of murder against non-Bolsheviks (known as “the Whites”) that resulted in up to 1.3 million deaths between 1918 and 1921.  This approach was simple, to the point, and expedient, but it left a trail of death and destruction that some future communists, particularly communists in Western nations, sought to steer clear of.

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