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the black book of communism is a poor source to use

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Debate details
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Category
Politics
Time for argument
Three days
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Voting period
One week
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Required rating
5
Description
It can be proven that although communism was bloody, claims about atrocities are absurdly exaggerated
Round 1
Published:
Communism was no picnic because it occurred probably about 500 years before technology and man had sufficiently evolved . But people who have studied the black book of communisms outrageous clam that communism killed 100 million people have discovered gaping errors in compiling that number, for one thing some sigificant millions killed by communism were nazi soldiers invading the russian motherland many famines and massacres occured during civil wars when white armies came to exterminate communists, and it isnt fair to count self defense efforts or deliberate sabotage by spies
Published:
Everything that Pro says in Round 1 to debunk the 94 million stat (not 100 million, so Pro is 'exaggerating the exaggeration' so to speak) is mentioned in the book itself. If you properly read the book, it covers the nations and sub-categories of deaths. It admits that war was a cause of many of the deaths and thus that some of the deaths do indeed include Nazi soldiers. This isn't denied by the book at all.

The debate is about the use of it and if it's a poor source for that use. You can use it to explore Communism from the perspective of a pro-Capistalist Russian or basiclaly an outsider with a right-wing lens on the matter. There probably is bias, I'm not going to deny that, but the source isn't poor. It's a peer-reviewed scholarly work with Harvard University Press being its publisher.

I'll bring a lot more in future Rounds but Pro has to be clear on what 'use' is, in the context of this debate and why one stat mentioned in the entire book (94+ million deaths) is enough to discredit the entire 864 pages of scholarly work.
Round 2
Published:
So! you already admit that the 100 million figure used by the black book is bunk!! and it isn't anywhere near 94 million it isn't even one million 

"The fashionable attempt to equate communism and Nazism is in reality a moral and historical nonsense. Despite the cruelties of the Stalin terror, there was no Soviet Treblinka or Sobibor, no extermination camps built to murder millions. Nor did the Soviet Union launch the most devastating war in history at a cost of more than 50 million lives - in fact it played the decisive role in the defeat of the German war machine. Lindblad and the Council of Europe adopt as fact the wildest estimates of those "killed by communist regimes" (mostly in famines) from the fiercely contested Black Book of Communism, which also underplays the number of deaths attributable to Hitler. The real records of repression now available from the Soviet archives are horrific enough (799,455 people were recorded as executed between 1921 and 1953 and the labour camp population reached 2.5 million at its peak) without engaging in an ideologically-fuelled inflation game."


I am in no way saying communism was a workable system at the time it was tried, if it were it would still exist in the many places that abandoned it , EVEN  places like China and Vietnam that are ruled by communist parties have embraced many market reforms and benefited positively from them  . I 'm NOT saying there were  no crimes or that people lots of people did not suffer in significant ways.. they did obviously it was  not a good system and definitely not a preferable to system to the flaw capitalism we now practice...
What I am saying is for purely propaganda purposes these misdeeds were magnified to such absurd levels to frighten future generations from challenging the ruling plutocratic caste that bleeds us.. we will try again, they say insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results, we must learn from our mistakes.. next time? will be different  it may  take 5000 years it may never come to pass, but things are always changing.. change is inevitable in some star trek roboty communist form

Published:
(Black Book of Communism = BBC for this Round of debate and remainder, if I refer to British Broadcasting Corporation I'll let you know)

Irony, bias, quality of arguments and sources

In order to discredit the quality of the BBC, Pro uses a biased personal column in the Guardian website that shows a clearly loaded take on the book. It presumes that the book is equating Communism to Nazism, then goes for another logical fallacy when it essentially says you can't compare things that are different. There are indeed many parallels between Nazism and Communism as it was practised, for a start both facaded as valid variants of Socialism. Nazis called it National Socialism while Communists named their Socialism-type after their nation and/or leader. They both did so to justify the government unfairly and unwisely controlling the economy to suit the needs of the elite. So, to say that the group of scholars who contributed to the BBC were wrong to try to show that the "Black Book" (a book about Nazi horrors) had a narrative and bias that could be even better (or equally) applied to Communism, is not at all unfair or unwise, especially as both regimes were birthed in World War II.

Rather than try to show that Communism was equal to Nazism, the BBC tried to show what is wrong is to glorify Lenin or think the cause was hijacked, instead it tries to display how Communism was from conception to death (or staggering on in terms of NK, China, Cuba and Venezuela) Tyrannical, unfair to those who wanted freedom or fair reward for their hard work and tries to accurately document any objective 'horrors' (deaths, camps, etc) of the regime(s) that claimed to be Communist at the time (or previously). The aim was never to discredit the horrors of the Nazi Regime, it was instead to prevent anyone discrediting the horrors of Communist regimes.

When you try to disregard the validity of BBC doing this to Communist regimes, only to then say you see the Nazi regime as completely deserving of the bad wrap it got and depiction(s) of it in the Black Book and such works, you are being ironic and biased in every sense of both terms.

==

There is one statistic in the entire 864 page of thorough scholarly works that Pro is fixated upon.

This absolute obsession over the 94 million statistic is absurd. It would be like looking at one number or sentence in the entire works of a Harry Potter book to then call it a bad story. The worst part of it, for Pro, is that the number is completely explained in the book to be what Pro said it to be. The book never ever denies that war-deaths were part of the counted statistic and it tries to explain that Communism inherently demands war whenever it is brought about, thus justifying why the war-deaths are not nullified. The deaths are well-researched and consist of the following:

According to the chapter, the number of people killed by the Communist governments amounts to more than 94 million. The statistics of victims include deaths through executions, man-made hunger, famine, war, deportations and forced labor. The breakdown of the number of deaths is given as follows:

  • 65 million in the People's Republic of China
  • 20 million in the Soviet Union
  • 2 million in Cambodia
  • 2 million in North Korea
  • 1.7 million in Ethiopia
  • 1.5 million in Afghanistan
  • 1 million in the Eastern Bloc
  • 1 million in Vietnam
  • 150,000 in Latin America
  • 10,000 deaths "resulting from actions of the international Communist movement and Communist parties not in power"


==

The entire works had much more than just state-sanctioned murder, non-state-sanctioned vicious killigs and such. The '94 million' statistic is only relevant to one of many parts of the works.

According to Courtois, the crimes by the Soviet Union included the following:

  1. The execution of tens of thousands of hostages and prisoners
  2. The murder of hundreds of thousands of rebellious workers and peasants from 1918 to 1922
  3. The Russian famine of 1921, which caused the death of 5 million people
  4. The Decossackization, a policy of systematic repression against the Don Cossacks between 1917 and 1933
  5. The murder of tens of thousands in concentration camps in the period between 1918 and 1930
  6. The Great Purge which killed almost 690,000 people
  7. The deportation of 2 million so-called "kulaks" from 1930 to 1932
  8. The death of 4 million Ukrainians (Holodomor) and 2 million others during the famine of 1932 and 1933
  9. The deportations of Poles, Ukrainians, Moldovans and people from the Baltic states from 1939 to 1941 and from 1944 to 1945
  10. The deportation of the Volga Germans in 1941
  11. The deportation of the Crimean Tatars in 1943
  12. Operation Lentil and deportation of the Ingush in 1944
See source for last Quote.

Additional sources to see, if interested on the matter.

  •  Ronald Aronso.n Review: Communism's Posthumous Trial Reviewed Work(s): The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression by Stéphane Courtois; The Passing of an Illusion: The Idea of Communism in the Twentieth Century by François Furet; The Burden of Responsibility: Blum, Camus, Aron, and the French Twentieth Century by Tony Judt; Le Siècle des communismes by Michel Dreyfus. History and Theory, Vol. 42, No. 2 (May 2003), pp. 222-245
  •  Friling, Tuvia; Ioanid, Radu; Ionescu, Mihail E.; Benjamin, Lya (2004). Distortion, negationism and minimization of the Holocaust in postwar Romania (PDF). International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania. p. 47; 59.
  • ^ Pekacz, Jolanta T. (2001). "Twentieth-Century Communism—The Rise and Fall of an Illusion". Canadian Journal of History36 (2): 311–316. doi:10.3138/cjh.36.2.311.
All three are linked to via the Wikipedia article, the latter-2 relevant to the second quote and first, to the former one.

==

Pro's Irreparable Backstep-Agreement With the Book's Bias/Narrative

I 'm NOT saying there were  no crimes or that people lots of people did not suffer in significant ways.. they did obviously it was  not a good system and definitely not a preferable to system to the flaw capitalism we now practice...
- Pro, R2

This is 100% what the BBC was trying to justify, prove and research in depth. It was a non-mocking parody of the Black Book (which referred to the Nazi Party's atrocities) and instead sought to take a similar approach and style to researching, conveying and explaining the horrors of the Communist regimes up until the book's writing (primarily during and shortly following the WWII era).

==

Baseless assertions by Pro

I refer to Pro as male, here, because his profile says so at the time of writing this.

Pro made a few baseless assertions in his Round (but since the entire first half was not his original works and was a copy+paste from the source he linked. That is why he put it in quotation marks and why all of it is to be discredited as not his own arguments nor something I should reply to until he gives the quote context regarding his other arguments. Nonetheless, I did reply to the first sentence in it in this Round and hope it's fully disregarded by the reader.

What I am saying is for purely propaganda purposes these misdeeds were magnified to such absurd levels to frighten future generations from challenging the ruling plutocratic caste that bleeds us
- Pro, R2

Everything in this, from 'purely progaganda purposes' to the conclusion that the levels of expressed atrocities were 'absurd' in the levels to which they were 'magnified' from the itty bitty misdeeds that they originally were, is all baseless assertion. There is no evidence justifying it, nor is there even an unsourced expansion on why Pro has concluded it to be true. Pro is simply saying it is so, while I stand here telling you that it categorically is not. The motive of the book and representation of the atrocities are all accurate, peer-reviewed works that Harvard University Press approved and published. Those are facts, not opinions.

we will try again, they say insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results, we must learn from our mistakes.. next time? will be different  it may  take 5000 years it may never come to pass, but things are always changing.. change is inevitable in some star trek roboty communist form
Depending on how you interpret what he means by 'try again' and 'differently' you could take this to be an actual violent manifesto designed to incite violent protest, much like the original rebels like Castro+Guevara and the Lenin 'crew' were to their respective nations. Perhaps this is the flaw of Communism that the book tries so vehemently to explain; it always has a facade of being so different to past overthrows, that the end result will definitely be better this time and yet every time it's violent from its birth to its death, with almost everyone in it brutally held under the tyrannical rule of its overlord(s).
Round 3
Published:
people that worked on the book admitted to get to the 100 million number he simply began to make stuff up
Published:
Fixation on the 94 million statistic

The 94 million estimation of the total deaths due to Communism explicitly is stated, in the BBC, to include deaths due to war. War is considered to be an integral part of all Communist regimes and it is for this reason that the statistic is so vehemently brought forth. There is no individual responsible for the BBC, because the original author died while writing it. Fellow scholars finished it and published it via Harvard University Press. It is thus so extremely reliable because it was peer-reviewed in its very formation.

An 800-page compendium of the crimes of Communist regimes worldwide, recorded and analyzed in ghastly detail by a team of scholars. The facts and figures, some of them well known, others newly confirmed in hitherto inaccessible archives, are irrefutable.
- Tony Judt, The New York Times
“When The Black Book of Communism appeared in Europe in 1997 detailing communism’s crimes, it created a furor. Scrupulously documented and soberly written by several historians, it is a masterful work. It is, in fact, a reckoning.
- Jacob Heilbrunn, The Wall Street Journal
The Black Book of Communism, which is finally appearing in English, is an extraordinary and almost unspeakably chilling book. It is a major study that deepens our understanding of communism and poses a philosophical and political challenge that cannot be ignored. 
- Michael Scammell, The New Republic
- All three quotes taken from: https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674076082&content=reviews Accessed 14th September 2019

I can quote too, show opinions of the book too, if Pro wants to go down that route then there you go. Now that Pro's 'other people think' angle is discredited due to the highly reliable journalist's opinions on the matter, let's stick to the facts and stop focusing only one one statistic mentioned in an entire works.

The HUP copy of the book (the official published one) is 912 pages, not even just 864, but that may be more due to fonting and such than due to extras in the book. Either way, it's a serious piece of work, not to be discredited due to one stat mentoined in it that I already explained last Round has complete justification and split up the millions by the nations.

Round 4
Forfeited
Not published yet
Round 5
Not published yet
Not published yet
Added:
The Black Book of Communism, written by Stephane Courtois has been called into question on multiple different grounds.Some critics have objected to the book's depiction of communism and nazism as being similar, others have criticized the approach the book takes to assigning blame of deaths, and still others, most notably J.Arch Getty, for its lack of distinction between famine deaths and intentional deaths. But in terms of factual accuracy, the book is, according to most experts, off the mark. The Black Book of Communism, written by Stephane Courtois has been called into question on multiple different grounds.Some critics have objected to the book's depiction of communism and nazism as being similar, others have criticized the approach the book takes to assigning blame of deaths, and still others, most notably J.Arch Getty, for its lack of distinction between famine deaths and intentional deaths. But in terms of factual accuracy, the book is, according to most experts, off the mark.https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/7n6ql2/is_the_black_book_of_communism_an_accurate_source/
Instigator
#2
Added:
How many people have been victims of communism?
Courtois considers Communism and Nazism to be distinct, but comparable totalitarian systems. He says that Communist regimes have killed "approximately 100 million people in contrast to the approximately 25 million victims of the Nazis".
The Black Book of Communism - Wikipedia
https://en.m.wikipedia.org › wiki › The_Black_Book_of_Communism
Instigator
#1
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