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I was wondering today if Fascism and communism are rising or not. I quite easily found the answer about Fascism but didn't find any convincing information about communism. A quick google search lead me to a reddit thread.

Is communism rising/growing in the west?

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  • "A quick google search lead me to a reddit thread." What did the thead say? – Trilarion Feb 9 '18 at 9:16
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Not really.

"The West" is a bit broad, so I'll focus on the US and Germany.

USA

If we look at political parties, the Communist Party USA has not had its own presidential candidate since 1988. The party itself says that its numbers grew because of Trump, but the numbers aren't significant. The Socialist Party USA got 0.0% (4061 votes) in the 2016 election, down from 0.01% (6581 votes) in 2008 and 0.01% (10822 votes) in 2004.

The relatively positive run of Bernie Sanders does seem to signal a desire to move the democratic party to the left, but Sanders is far from being a communist or even a socialist.

Germany

The MLPD - a stalinist/maoist party - got 0.06% (24.219 votes) in the 2013 election, down from 0.07% (29.261 votes) in 2009, and 0.1% (45.238 votes) in 2005. The DKP - a maxist/leninist party - did not seriously take part in federal elections since 1983.

Die Linke is a social democratic party, but it has some communist factions. In the 2013 election, they got 8.6%, down from 11.9% in 2009. In current polls, they are down again at 8%.

Other

I'm not that familiar with the situation in other countries, but it seems that the situation is similar in France, where the communist party is generally in a downwards trend (2012 being an exception where it gained votes). The communist party of Austria experienced a slight - but non-significant - rise. The communist party of Ukraine lost significantly since 1999, as did the communist party of Hungary (with a slight but insignificant increase in 2014).

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  • Note that in Germany the Party Die Linke originated from the Party SED which was the State Party of the DDR In eastern Germany. – Matthias Herrmann Apr 14 '17 at 9:59
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    @MatthiasHerrmann True, they originated from the merger of the PDS and the WASG, and the PDS originated from the SED. But their current political stand isn't really communist, but somewhere between democratic socialist and social democrat. The communist platform is only about 1% of the party. – tim Apr 14 '17 at 10:11
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    Sanders described himself as socialist. – user4012 Apr 14 '17 at 13:07
  • The socialist party is as much communist as Bernie Sanders is – dan-klasson Apr 14 '17 at 13:12
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    @user4012 I think communism is not rising but leftism and the far left is surely rising. – Sakib Arifin Apr 14 '17 at 14:09
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It depends somewhat on how one defines socialism and communism (and the problem is, most people don't even have a good definition, conflating the two; and also conflating things like social-democracy).

Overall, yes it is on the rise.

  1. First, let's look at political success (most of my answer's focus is USA, not "West" in general) of self-identified socialists.

    In 2016 US Democratic Primaries, a VERY large minority of the party supported Bernie Sanders, who openly described himself as "Socialist" (yes, technically speaking his views aren't entirely socialist and more social-democrat, but very few people are politically-nerdy enough to make fine distinctions like that). Matter of fact, projecting for demographic shift, chances are Bernie would have won the primaries 4-8 years from now (as he was far more popular with Millenials).

  2. Second, let's look at popular opinion in USA:

    As per 2016 Yougov poll:

    • Democrats rated socialism and capitalism equally positively (both at 42 percent favorability).

    • People younger than 30 rated socialism more favorably than capitalism (43 percent vs. 32 percent, respectively).

    As per Gallup poll

    • 35% of Americans have a positive view of the term socialism

    Now, the interesting thing is is that, anecdotally, most of those people supporting socialism couldn't give two flying figs about state ownership of means of production (which is what defining feature of socialism is). What they usually seem to think of is social democracy on the most common side.

  3. More importantly, as alluded to before; what people often refer to when they speak of the rise of socialism/capitalism in the West, it's not the literal "State owns the means of production" issue.

    Instead, it's the fact that socialist type of ideas are on the rise and winning.

    This has many flavors, but many/most of this boils down to Rousseau's original concept of valuing the social/group interests over that of Locke-ish valuing of the individual. Socialism/communism are just convinient familiar labels that people can hang on the higher level philosophical ideas - which is why conservatives called Obama "communist" despite his platform largely not having too much socialism or communism in a strict wonkish sense.

    And it is 100% undenyable that in the West, Rousseau's ideas are on the definite and largely unceasing rise since 1960s. Even when so-called "right wing" wins, it's usually more-rousseau-sh, e.g. "Compassionate Conservatism" of GWBush or populist right wing rise (Trump or Europe in 2010s) which is decidedly more group-identity than Lockeish.


  • UPDATE

    For further evidence: MIT Press (yes, official publisher of MIT) just published "Communism for Kids"

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  • Your last point is very interesting, but I have seen the exact opposite, Locke's individualism loosing over Rousseau's "groupism". It is illustrated by the decrease in union membership, the continued economic deregulation, the valorisation of "superstars" as role models, ... I also think Rousseau is currently loosing over Hobbes as to whether men are naturally good or not (as shown by the support for authoritarianism). Do you hope to get any polling as evidence a more "Rousseau-ish" society ? It looks quite hard to verify. – user5751924 Apr 14 '17 at 17:54
  • @user5751924 - (1) Near-universal rise of social-democratism/nordic-model/welfare-socialism. Very few countries don't have that in the West (or even all) (2) Support for UBI, universal healthcare etc... (3) General unpopularity of libertarianism - though you make a good point that Hobbes-vs-Rousseau is a factor here as well; (4) Identity politics. This is also heavily tilted demographically towards younger strata, so is more and more ascendant. – user4012 Apr 14 '17 at 18:00
  • That last point reads like opinion. The other two points were well-supported. – indigochild Apr 14 '17 at 18:15
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    This answer seems to fuzzily regard socialism and communism as synonyms. – agc Apr 14 '17 at 18:45
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    @user4012, to avoid confusion I'd suggest using the OP's terms, (perhaps in quotation marks), or else an opening sentence or note explaining your use of replacement terms. – agc Apr 14 '17 at 19:04
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Many elements of it has been up in the West. State ownership of properties. Guaranteed income. State employment. Welfares. State provided healthcaree, education, food, housing, .....

Not part of a thretical implementation but in every practical implementation, stated directed media and content production..

With that said, communism is likely the utopia for humanity: high levels of productivity, work for the joy of work and self fulfilment, ...

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    Do you have sources for your first and second paragraph? Because I'm not aware of an increase in state ownership, and I'm not sure which countries actually have a guaranteed income or state directed media. I'm also not so sure about the other points. It would help if you could specify about which countries you are talking, and add sources. I'm also not sure how eg something like universal healthcare - something almost all developed nations have - is a sign of increased communism in the west. – tim Apr 14 '17 at 9:02
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    @tim source of the third paragraph as well. A utopia where the state controls all aspects of socio-economic life and one a merely a cog in some mass machine of production, gag, no thanks. – easymoden00b Apr 14 '17 at 14:20
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    "With that said, communism is likely the utopia for humanity: high levels of productivity, work for the joy of work and self fulfilment" Maybe you should read up on the USSR, China, North Korea, Cuba, etc. – Andy Apr 15 '17 at 0:42

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