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Debate: Ban on communist parties

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Background and context

In a democracy, many wonder whether it is a good idea to have or to ban communist parties, whose intended objectives may conflict with the constitution and aims of the state in question.

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Ideology: Is communism inherently pernicious?

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Pro

  • Political repression under communist rule used to flourish. Although communist regimes in different countries vary greatly, most of them can be characterized by political processes, executions, nationalization of assests and by other similar actions that failed to uphold basic human rights and freedoms.
  • "Collective" ownership is an ill defined concept. Whatever rhetoric may be used, the fact of ownership of property is having control over the use and disposition of said property. When one speaks of "collective" ownership one is really speaking of government ownership. As a practical matter then the representatives of the state then grant usage of property to individuals who then effectively own it. The real question is whether individuals will gain the use of property through the exchange of their own productive labor or if they will gain its use through political influence. Communism is simply a newer atheistic form of feudalism with divine right of kings replaced with political right of the commissars.
  • Communist regimes used to impose harsh restrictions on the freedom of movement.
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Con

  • Many could be motivated to work by a wish to aid their fellow man. Over time, as the benefits of this better way of life become obvious, all will. The impulse to share wealth and material amongst the community, to support all, leaving none behind, is one of the purest mankind can experience. It is not merely possible – it is a demonstration of the progress of our species to a finer, more humane state of being.
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Political rights: Does the ban uphold political rights of individuals?

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Pro

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Con

  • Democracy cannot and should be protected by banning opinions. It is ironic that "the anti-Communist campaigners say they are acting to defend democracy while working to ban a party that is still doing well in elections"[1]. Democracy should utilize all opinions instead of banning some that are deemed "inappropriate" by someone.
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Threat: Does the communist party present a threat?

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Pro

  • Society can develop a general consensus about what views can pose a "threat". While there are some things society disagrees on, there are other things that we agree on and can establish as norms, standards, and morals. In setting these norms and laws, we establish that their violation can automatically be deemed a threat to society. Disagreement among accepted political parties exists in the area in which societies have not formed a consensus on the "threat/harm" of differing policies. That's why such disagreement is tolerated; we're not sure of the true effects. Yet, if society is able to deem by general consensus that a political party violates these norms, then that party should be deemed a threat to the society, and thereby excluded from politics.
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Con

  • "Threat" to society is an overly subjective criteria for the banning of extremist groups from politics. What "threat" are we talking about? If it violent harm, that is one thing. But other forms of harm risk being arbitrary. Non-extremist political parties may claim, for example, that the policies of other political parties are doing society "harm" and thus they pose a threat.
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Enforceability: Is the ban enforceable?

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Pro

  • Banning communist groups will effectively snuff them out. Their censorship will mean that the vast majority of people in the country never have access to them, even if a small hardcore still do, who are probably converts anyway. The parties will never get anywhere without mass support and publicity.
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Con

  • Communist parties may benefit from being banned, as they may be more effective in the "underground". Such parties benefit from going underground. They can play themselves as martyrs and against the establishment, being denied their chance to have a say. Witness Nick Griffin (BNP leader) and his notorious 'gagged' campaign, and Le Pen’s similar ploys in France. Such anti-state rebellious sentiment will be very attractive to a cross section of the dispossessed and dispirited in society - what New Labour have identified as the 'angry young men' - who provide a fertile ground for votes and support. Moreover, banned parties cannot be overseen and controlled, thus we risk further escalation of their ideology and possible extremism.

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