Is Communism something violent? Does it inherently require that people start killing those who do not agree with it in order to achieve it? Hearing the propaganda thrown around, one could very well be led to believe that Communists are bloodthirsty demons who will break down your door and take your stuff. That they will force you to sing hymns, and clap for the glorious leader on pain of death etc.
Some of this is patently ridiculous but there is the sliver of truth in that every attempt at communism has gone through a violent struggle which then ended up with a dictatorial state rule. One looking no more than skin-deep at this might indeed get the idea that communists somehow spring out of the ether, kill the resisting peaceful citizens and establish their brutal rule
But when having a deeper look, one easily can find the errors in this image.
If one thing is true about Communism, it’s that it has proven impossible to be achieved without a revolution. The Capitalist system has proven to be very resilient to reformation from inside and instead of it changing, it ends up changing the reformers. Thus there is no alternative that to destroy the flawed system and rebuild from scratch.
But this revolution is not about violence. The people who demands things change do not want to kill their fellow man, they simply wish to stop being exploited. The way they go about it is by ignoring the Capitalist rules and simply starting to live under their own. Thus they ignore the previous agreement about private property. The majority decides that the means of production should belong to the majority who has paid their cost many times over already and they peacefully take them over.
It is at this point that violence occurs. Not from the workers, but from the state machine who steps in to protect the interests of the minority. When the workers are assaulted first by the police and later by the army, it would be foolish to remain peaceful. For peace would only mean the continuation of exploitation. But the workers are not the aggressors. Communism is not the cause of violence.
This assault from the minority towards the majority has always been the case in all revolutions. Accusing the communists of violence is as morally empty as accusing the slaves Rome of being violent when they revolted, or accusing the bourgeois of being violent when they overthrew the monarchies.
Revolutionary violence always comes from the side of the exploiter who has the most to lose and who controls the power of the state.
This is the fear that a communist nation would engage in the classic imperialistic moves. That it will attempt to invade other countries and forcibly turn them “Communist”. This of course is absurd. Communism has no state to wage out the war and the workers of a commune have no incentive to leave their homes and assault other countries.
Certainly, the USSR was guilty of playing the imperialist game (at least as much as the US did when it was making dictators while “spreading democracy”) but as this was a State Capitalism, it should come as no surprise. Indeed they were acting perfectly in the capitalist nature.
But a general fear of communist imperialism can simply be attributed to projection on the Capitalist’s part. If anything, the only form of “imperialism” that can be waged is peacefully cultural, where the workers or the world take the example from the ones who have succeeded and work on their own revolution. But of course, this is why Capitalist nations are so propagandistic against Communism in the first place.
Day to day
So will a communist society breed violence day to day? After all, violence is the norm in a capitalist state which depends on competition and greed. Well, that’s exactly the point. Communism does not depend on those. Why would violent crime happen when people can simply get what they need for free? How could violent suppression happen without a state?
Any system based on cooperation instead of competition can only be peaceful and this is why fears of communist violence are not only unfounded but a telltale sign of propaganda.