Will Covid-19 Global Tragedy Spell the Death of Communism?

    09-Jun-2020   
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China's unbridled hegemonistic ambition has led to its landing in the doghouse in the new world order. As the epicentre of one of the greatest threats to humanity, Communism is likely to fall apart under its own weight.
 
Death of Communism_1 
 
Communism is on borrowed time. Its epitaph has long been ready. It is already discredited throughout the world. History has witnessed its ignominious downfall in several countries where its writ once ran large with impunity. Bastion after bastion of Communism crumbled and crashed into the oblivion of history and the statues of its high priests were unceremoniously pulled down the pedestal much to the delight of the cheering crowds of onlookers. Not because it failed to deliver but because it miserably failed even to take off.
 
All these happened within less than a century of its appearance on the political horizon as a bright star of hope. Communism has been well and truly exposed for what it always stood for – an antiquated political system wherein one human is as good as another, both mere humanoid in the scheme of things of the system. There is no room for human sentiments, religion, spirituality, love for land, or attachment to a value system in preference to the party ideology. Communism is a vast wintry wilderness where no life form of political or humanitarian aspiration can grow.
 
Bare-Face of Communism
 
The ugly, soft underbelly of Communism reveals that it is enforceable only by brute power, with no people's will or popular support required to prop it up. No opposition from any external political forces or dissent from within is brooked. Power springs from the barrel of the gun. Human lives are an expendable commodity – nothing more, nothing less. However, the eternal truth is that power can never be exercised for long over freethinking people by external forces.
 
A long-oppressed people in the erstwhile Russian empire ruled by the Czars by divine right or the Serbs of its East European hinterland could, no doubt, be easily won over by the charm and appeal of a refreshingly new theory that advocated an egalitarian society. There was, however, no way people could be kept under the jackboot of Communism for long, simply by being fed anti-Capitalist propaganda. The human spirit yearns for freedom and liberty, and it aspires for expression of free will even during the harshest of times.
 
It was exactly this indomitable spirit of humankind which had led to its experimentation with Communism as a political tool to explore the possible conversion of its aspirations into tangible results in the first place. Later, people were dismayed to discover that they had burnt their fingers with experimentation that proved too expensive and foolish. Besides, there was no way a man can be expected to give up on the cherished values and sentiments that had been held dear by humanity for so long for a few empty promises and hollow words of political sagacity by the powers that be.
 
The individual was neither a party to the dispensation of power, nor had he any say in the running of the state. A mere cog in the wheel in the state machinery, he was replaceable, with nary a shred of feeling or appreciation. The much-dreaded midnight knock at the door was a constant irritant in his mind. Life in a far-away concentration camp where he was forced to toil till his last breath was factored in his psyche, with no room for mercy or clemency. It was like a system where all were for the state and the state for none. You worshipped a false god that promised you no boon nor granted you a favour.
 
If you developed bourgeoisie virtues like love for the land, family or sentiments like individual freedom, liberty, nationalism or patriotism, then you did so at your own peril. According to Communist leaders, the Capitalist society was to be abhorred, and its symbols shunned. Their fake propaganda tried to emphasize that democracy was poppycock, not worth the paper it was written on.
 
The Evil Soviet Empire
 
In the erstwhile USSR, which was the pioneer of Communism and the front runner state and flag bearer of the state of the peasant and the proletariat, chewing gum and jeans had not even been heard of by the apparatchik. Those were only for the privileged offspring of the First Secretaries of the party. All one was expected to do was to work for the state just to get his share of stale bread and cabbage soup and go to bed on an empty stomach.
Then wake up next day and join long lines of hopeful, nay, wishful customers outside the state-run supply stores only to be greeted by rows after rows of empty shelves. Sliced bread? Sliced cheese? What was that? Crib and be reported upon. There was no room for privacy. Nor was there any scope for ventilating one's grievances. Big Brother was watching. Such was the life of a comrade citizen in the premier Communist state.
 
Finally, the inherent flaws of the system started showing signs of cracking up from within. No amount of bids to wallpaper over the cracks could help the exposure of the bankruptcy of the state to sustain its security forces or the all-powerful intelligence outfit any longer. There was no question of locking the stables after the horse had bolted. Then dawned Glasnost and Perestroika! Finally, the curtains fell over the sprawling evil Soviet empire!
 
Whipping a Dead Horse to Life
 
Now, how do you re-enact elsewhere the sordid drama that had failed in Europe and Asia? It is well nigh impossible in this age and times of information revolution to try to fit people into the straightjacket of Communism. China and North Korea are the last outposts of a dreaded political system of a bygone era. China, which has thus far sustained itself on the sheer strength of brute power unleashed on its own people, is evidently a bogus Communist state. In reality, it is a Capitalist state that operates under the camouflage of Communism. It is building up its forex reserves at a furious pace and keeps accumulating assets throughout the world.
 
Covid-19 Will Emasculate China
 
So, now the question is how China will fare in the post-Covid-19 world? The global tragedy unleashed by the Coronavirus pandemic has brought to the fore the flaws in the Chinese system and the great dissent growing within the party and disaffection for Xi Ping, who is known for nurturing an unbridled ambition to continue in power beyond 2023. Western intelligence reports reveal that a revolt by at least three factions is brewing within the party and there is an imminent possibility of the disintegration of the country into seven independent states. With the development and production of the right vaccine, Covid-19 will hopefully become a thing of the past. But the question is, how will that impact Communist China’s future?
 
Will Beijing’s apparent success in tackling the Covid-19 virus enable China to gain global pre-eminence? Most definitely not because world’s big powers, led by the US, have already started making concerted efforts towards holding China responsible for the outbreak of the global pandemic and the consequential economic ruination of many a country. Furthermore, China hardly has a friendly country either in its neighbourhood or elsewhere on the globe. Its unbridled hegemonistic ambition has led to its landing in the doghouse in the emerging new world order, and it is now seen as the epicentre of one of the greatest threats to humanity. The tragic Covid-19 pandemic will have to go and, with it, Communism is likely to fall apart under its own weight, sooner than later.
(The author is Member of FICCI National Executive Committee and Ex Director - Punjab National Bank and several other top national institutions)