Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism

Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism

2005, History  -   403 Comments
Ratings: 6.46/10 from 104 users.

Heaven On Earth: The Rise and Fall of SocialismMuch of the history of the past 200 years revolved around a single idea. It was the vision that life could be lived in peace and brotherhood if only property were shared by all and distributed equally, eliminating the source of greed, envy, poverty and strife. This idea was called "socialism" and it was man's most ambitious attempt to supplant religion with a doctrine grounded on science rather than revelation.

It became the most popular political idea in history. Its provenance was European, but it spread to China and Africa, India and Latin America and even to that most tradition-bound of regions, the Middle East. While it never fully took root in America, its influence shaped the nation's political debate. At its crest in the 1970s, roughly 60 percent of the earth's population lived under governments that espoused socialism in one form or another. Then, suddenly, it all collapsed.

Because its goal proved so elusive, the socialist movement split and split again into diverse, sometimes murderously contradictory forms. There was Social Democracy, which insisted that only peaceful and democratic means could produce a harmonious commonwealth. There was Communism, which extolled the resolute use of force and dictatorship to propel mankind to a new way of life.

There was Arab Socialism, African Socialism, and other Third World variants that sought to amalgamate western Social Democracy and eastern Communism. There was even fascism, which turned the socialist idea on its head by substituting the brotherhood of nation and race for the brotherhood of class. And there were those - from early American settlers, to the "flower children" of the 1960s, to Israeli Zionist kibbutzniks - who built their own socialist communities, hoping to transform the world by the force of example.

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Petra Idalia Hernandez
8 months ago

I wishyou had hadCCs. For us, not well versed in history and Senior they are a need.

2 years ago

Statements like "Socialism seems inextricably linked to authoritarianism." without providing any evidence or logic is as suspicious an argument against socialism as it gets. I am sure there is a logical fallacy somewhere.

Patrick Pippen
2 years ago

O.K. Apparently socialists don't like to be associated with people who called themselves "socialist", in the past. But the truth remains: Socialism seems inextricably linked to authoritarianism. Individuals will always seek freedom, which is fatal to socialism. It's that pesky Liberty.

Joseph Antony
3 years ago

The documentary makes the common mistake of confusing Socialism with Fascism. The leaders of so-called Socialist or Communist states called their systems "Socialism" but Stalin's Russia, Hiter's Germany, Mao's China, and other tyrants such as Pol Pot of Campuchea or the dictators of Venezuela or Romania, even though they claimed their countries were socialistic, they were not. They were Fascist states. The documentary should really be called "Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Fascism" except that Fascism is not dead, nor is Socialism, but true Socialism which exists in all the developed countries and partially in the U.S.

5 years ago

My question is, who is the greedy tyrant? A Socialist who wants to run everything and tell others how to live and what they are limited to do? Or a Capitalist who could supply it faster, cheaper, and better, IF govt got out of the way?

Obviously including health care, if you consider the very reasonable health care cooperatives in operation now, a fraction of the cost of Obamacare and typical insurance. Basically a form of direct insurance from a doctors group, cutting out all the expensive middle men. What? You didn't hear about those from your well informed Socialist media outlets? Nope just play more violins about the right for all to have health care at astronomical prices and force it upon the people scraping the lions share of the money to bureaucrats aplenty like a nest full of birds with their mouths open squawking and more so INSTEAD of insurance companies, brilliant. That IS the reality and results of Socialism.

They have to limit your information in order to make it work. If you truly understood Socialism and its design and formation, its chief promoters instruct their media and its other promoters to "lie, lie, and lie again because the people would never go for it if you told them the truth." Saul Alinsky, Rules For Radicals. One of Hillary's mentors and Obama's playbook.

What has caused the many trillions in debt of nations world wide causing currencies to devalue? Anyone? Socialism. Going into debt to buy votes. That IS the reality of Socialism. No? Socialism is only altruistic? Maybe that is what they taught you in school or what you desire to believe. But it never was and never will be. It cannot be. Any system that steals from one group to give to another group is by design, corrupt. And rife with opportunities for more corruption, like skimming by bureaucrats. The more Socialism, the more govt, the more unnecessary bureaucrats with nothing better to do than to devise ways to skim more for themselves.

Will you hear about it? Unlikely with govt run media. Which is the case today with the major media being the minions of the bankster elite Socialists who run the progessives of both the democrat (most all of it) and republican (a good bit of it) parties. Unless you go to independent news sites, you are Not informed, you are lied to in a major way.

WHO will the Socialists blame for all the problems they create when they wipe out Capitalism? Same as this majorly Socialist country does now! They will continue to point the finger elsewhere, toward the Capitalists, just like the Saudis and other Middle East countries do. It is those evil scum over there while we bathe in gold bathtubs and live in palaces. Much like Obama blaming Bush for all his intended failures. He was put there to cause failure and conversion to Socialism by Soros.

Why do people go into govt? Because they seek power, see advantage, lack creativity and hutspa to build a business of their own. If to solve a problem, to right a wrong, after they fixed that then they would leave. No they stay and take advantage of all the perks and become much like the rest. That is why short term limits are necessary.

If any system you devise, limits my freedom to start a business which competes with you or your govt, which in most cases can be done better, more efficiently outside of govt, then who is the greedy tyrant? The Socialist govt who wants to limit me and grab all the money and say who gets some -or- the capitalist who naturally seeks to provide what someone wants with no govt necessary to skim between me and the person who wants it?

Which is the greedy? The Socialist land agency head who took all the waterfront property and sells a spot to a fancy resort hotel that only the richest could afford for the mere deposit of a sum of dough into a numbered off shore account -or- the greedy capitalist fisherman who had his boat ties up there, feeding many through his efforts? That IS the reality of Socialism

It isn't that Capitalism doesn't have similar things occur, just to a lesser degree and which can in fact be challenged, because govt is not all powerful in Capitalism. Regardless of the motives of Marx or anyone favoring Socialism now, the reality is, Socialists desire to take over the distribution of everything and claim to make it more fair. Will they? Or are they just a jealous lot devising a means to get what they did NOT work for? Regardless of altruistic claims, that will be the result.

For those who refuse the straight facts and historical record about Socialism and cry about Sweden, Sweden, look at Sweden! Sweden is a mishmash of capitalism and socialism just like the usa has become, only tilted a bit more of Socialism, a matter of degree. What did it cost them? The people had no say in their govt allowing the muslim horde to come rape and pillage. Matter of fact some of the clueless stood welcoming them in at the border while being spat on. That IS the reality of too much govt control. The elites decide and you get to like it, like it or not. Can they vote out their beloved Socialists when the next indoctrinated elite running will vote the same way, because all the bankster owned media allow to get through the election process are part of the elite who desire to keep people in fear of each other, a known strategy to keep people on edge and worried about their neighbor rather than about what govt is up to next.

The belief that ANY govt, especially a Socialist govt is there to protect the people is one of the largest misbeliefs people have. Even if they suspect, the years of indoctrination of hearing the mistitled Agency names designed to make you think they are protecting you, when in fact the exact opposite is true. They protect their industry Against YOU. Only in extreme situations when people of large clout have been screwed do they act. Unless they can get a lot of PR from helping a little old lady and then they effort to get that into the news. You are not being protected by all these unnecessary Socialist agencies, they are swindling you, and like the Socialist media, you fall for it.

Food and Drug Administration, if they were there to protect you, GMO foods would be banned along with many other things, while things that could truly help cure cancer, like Rick Simpson oil, which used to be available about 100 years ago until he rediscovered it not so long ago, but essentially illegal because it is a concentrated hemp oil. We can get imported industrial hemp fiber but not grow our own? Whose brilliant idea is that? A true capitalist or a socialist govt who wants to protect their industry from much less expensive competition?

In the end, Socialism is all about getting rid of the competition, of various types, that is what it is all about. The end result is a higher cost of living, creating MORE POOR. That IS the reality of socialism by design. They are able to fool the unthinking into believing they are benevolent and helping the poor. They dribble a little to them to buy their votes and that is all. People sell their lives and votes so cheaply.

5 years ago

I have yet to see/read a govt school /media indoctrinated socialist see the forest for the trees and brush they are focused on. These entities emotionalize their audience and point the finger of blame at Capitalism while ignoring most all the facts:

1) Corporatism is NOT capitalism it is Fascism. Mussolini coined the term Fascism and later stated Corporatism was a better description.

2) Regardless of all the platitudes and emotion heaped upon Socialism, it is just a slick way for the largest corporations that have already cozy-ed up to govt to eliminate their competition. Or in a true Socialist state, for incompetent bureaucrats or cronies to those in power, who pretend to think they know how to do things better, to abscond with what others worked hard to build and eventually make it into a mess like any other govt run behemoth: Maybe we'll get to your needs, maybe we won't, just wait in line and shut up because we're the boss now, not you.

3) Contrary to the ridiculous comments at the top regarding "Human Nature is irrelevant", Human Nature really means everything. a) It means there will be just as much CORRUPTION or MORE with Socialism, because for all practical purposes, it is inherent in the design. When govt has more power, what does it do? It makes more unnecessary govt and ways to steal from people who actually do things, be it permits and fees for every little thing or legislating you out of business in favor of themselves in govt or a crony.

4) Even worse and the downfall of any true Socialist state, is lack of skin in the game. If you built your house with your own two hand, like my grandfather did more than once having moved from place to place, you are most likely going to take care of it. If govt gives you housing, a few will take care of it, many will not, hence the slums.

I've seen first hand people given a vehicle to use and not take care of it but when forced to buy it, take great care of it.

The great myth of Socialism is equal distribution of land. When someone else is born, or a million someone elses, where does that land come from? The Socialist bureaucrats of course dictate that they take a portion of someone else's place they have been living on, rather than their own.

There are many examples of Socialism at work on the farm over the 100's of years. There just is no incentive for people to bust their hineys when they see everyone else living off of their hard work. No food on the shelves is the result. If you are given a tract of land to grow food on and 3/4 of that food is taken for other people, while the remainder is "the govt's gift for allowing you to reside there to feed them", is your food going to look better than the rest because you tend to it better. If heavy rains are coming, heavy runoff onto your property is likely and time is short, what are you going to do? You are going to build a berm or dig a ditch to protect your portion first and when you are done doing that you are tired and call it a day. The capitalist who sells his crop for a profit has a stake in the WHOLE crop and tries to protect as much as he can. If someone is going to bring up the example of a Kibbutz, that would only work, IF every last person was forced to live in one and forced to work and do each assigned task well or starve. If not, Human Nature would take over and others would get lazy and ask, why should I work hard when Mr/s lazybones doesn't? Which of course is the exact OPPOSITE of all the cries for more Socialism, "to help the poor". In reality, Not to force people to work but to get more people NOT working, on the govt dole, so they can buy their vote cheaply and stay in power.

A prime example of no skin in the game: In low lying areas subject to possible flooding, where a lot of food is grown or people live, many of those areas in the usa have dikes or levees around them. In a capitalist farm area, those farmers are out all night taking turns driving around the dike to check for leaks and to help each other stop leaks in the dike with sand bags and such. What happened in the govt owned and run district, where they bought it and have caretakers on it to "support wildlife"? The dike breached due to lack of maintenance and much of the sacred wildlife drowned. In the next years they were contacting farmers to capture that same species off of their farms which survived due to the efforts of the farmers who had skin in the game, to put in their district again. Nice having a govt job with no consequences, when you can just go over to those who work for a living to get what you want. What happens when everyone is under that system? Nothing good, unless you like empty shelves.

The nature of elites is that they think they know best. They want to use socialism as a means of total control, because it requires that to do what they think is best. It will be MUCH easier for the elites to do what they want to do to you, via Socialism. Do a search for the Georgia Guidestones and read them. The elites want to reduce the population to under a billion. How can this be done without killing you? And that IS their plan. The benevolent Socialists who want to help the poor, like Bill Gates who favorite way of getting rid of people is through vaccinations. See his TED talk on youtube. Also invested in Monsanto to supply GMO terminator seed tech to South American areas. Socialism at its finest. It is and always has been a ruse. A means of one group to take power, because they know best. You shouldn't be free to do as you choose, you should only be free to do as we say and permit you to do. That is the Socialist mentality.

5) Does a Socialist govt care about you? Not according to their whole concept. "For the good of SOCIETY", Not for the good of You. So if there are poor people, what is their solution? GIVE them shelter, food, and money. What does that accomplish? BY DESIGN is creates MORE POOR people who like free stuff. If a Socialist govt truly cared about You, if you were poor, they would create an environment where you could obtain a decent job where you were doing something you cared about or at least could earn self respect.

The Human Nature of the poor is that few break free because their ego, to divert their conscience away from the truth, tells them that the world owes them a living and all the free stuff they get and tell themselves it should be much more. Socialist promote this fallacy to keep them poor and voting Socialist. If they truly cared, they would require results. Create a job rich environment. It is forever Symolism(BS) over substance. Socialists are always telling themselves they are good for caring but they don't or they would look at the results of years of incrementally increasing socialism which has caused most of the problems they attribute to Capitalism. Abject failure to truly care even a bit to see that better results happen. Over supplying poor countries with free food does what? It puts the local farmers out of business, creates dependency, and gives more power to the warlords who abscond with it. But it sure makes the Socialist feel like they are good and caring, while doing more harm than good.

Why do Socialists ruin the economy? To create more poor who would grow to like free stuff and vote for more Socialism, in hopes of gaining perpetual power via the larger voting block they created. That is Exactly what Obama meant by "transforming the nation".

Why do Socialist desire open borders? Same reason; more poor to vote for Socialists promising more free stuff.

6) Yes, the list of ills of Socialism can go on and on. Is Socialism immune to the Banksters causing inflation and deflation? Not at all. Those are the very ones who have been promoting Socialism. It makes their style of thievery much easier, less competition, no one is allowed to devise a way around them or anything, without the Socialist govt, which they own and control, without the govt approval. Is what is best for a bankster best for you?

7) It is simply a matter of computing: Garbage In = Garbage Out. Emotionalize and indoctrinate students, some who become the teachers who teach the teachers, into feeling instead of thinking and you have won another recruit into Socialism. Yes that was and is the Rockefeller and friends plan and why they poured so much money into Universities with the strings of accepting certain professors to go along with that money.

We no longer have an education system but a Socialist govt indoctrination system. Over the past 60 years these arrogant good for nothings have infiltrated most of govt and most of the media. You can read the results many of the comments above. Total ignorance of reality due to edited and limited information presented as facts and news. Limited and edit in such a way so that the viewer would come to the desired conclusion, and think they did so on their own, "based on the evidence"! And these supposedly "intelligent" types fall for it hook, line, and sinker.

One of these Socialist commentors claims "you can talk reason to anyone." Totally untrue. You cannot talk reason to many Socialist. Over the years they develop a world view that they wrap their ego around. You can talk facts, evidence, history, results, all day long and they cannot hear you. For some it will require them to starve before they understand. Others would just blame someone else like they do now.

Gus Brum
6 years ago

The title itself is a joke, and a shameless anti-socialist propaganda.

6 years ago

Capitalist never can see the Communist Socialist send rice bread butter chicken beef milk to help the poor Capitalist

8 years ago

Propaganda much? I tried to watch all of it, but it was just too much nonsense. When they got to the part about how wonderful things were at the turn of the last century in the U.S., I nearly got sick. The BS detector rang itself off the wall. The credits scream "Think Tank Propaganda";

Brittany Huckabee

Ben Wattenberg
American Enterprise Institute

10 years ago

I never watched this doc but as far as im concerned in the world today it is socialism for the rich (bank bail outs, corporate tax cuts and loopholes etc.) and capitalism for the poor.

10 years ago

The Socialists conferences in the west (4:00) show that the majority of the people advocating socialism seem to be leftist Jews. In the former Soviet Union the majority of Communist at the top were Jews. I wonder why so many Jews seem to be believers in this nonsense? What is it that makes some Jews want to create a Tower of Babel that makes an ideology a god over the people.

10 years ago

Socialism is good if you haven't own capital

10 years ago

It's amusing, that all these comments, declare that socialism works. Socialism has never worked. It didn't work before, or after, WW1 & WW2. It's on life support now, and modern socialism only thrives in Europe because of the USA. Now that the US is declining, economically and culturally, we see that Europe's socialism is finally coming to fruition; and it's falling apart everywhere. Cypurs, Greece, Spain, etc.

Henrik Gøtke
10 years ago

i have lived in Sweden, and I can asure everybody, that Sweden is the worst socialist piece of **** country in the entire western world. People don´t know that, but over half a million danes has been persecuted back to Denmark, when they tried to settle down in Sweden. And for what reason? It´s good business. Realestate thrives, bu the main reason for the swedish evil is, that there has to be made room for more muslims. They can´t get enough of muslims, which in the future will guarantee Sweden to be an absolute socialist muslim hellhole.

10 years ago

and for the record. Ayn Rand took both social security and medicare.

10 years ago

I would love just once, just one time, to enjoy reading comments following a documentary on socialism, in which Republicans could make an intelligent argument based on factual knowledge, and for pity sake, leave the christian religion (and badly understood scripture at that) completely out of the argument.Are they just obsessed with their own version of reality? The reason any social program does not work is because many people refuse to give up their ego for 5 minutes.

Jeremy Hughes
10 years ago

The propaganda is strong with this video lmao, sadly, 10 years ago I would have gobbled it right up, thanks Adam Curtis for setting me straight.

11 years ago

I come from Sweden, and I would like to invite you here, a country who hasn´t been involved directly in war for around 200 years. Come here, travel around a couple of months, and then tell me socialism has never had fair or humane objectives. And then let me ask you, sir, how many wars have the US been involved (started) in only the post WW2 years?

11 years ago

Being a person of social views I must say I enjoyed this documentary. Although it portrays capitalism as the ultimate destination. Theres a lot of history here and for a person who just began his journey with this ideology I'd definatelly recommend it. Plus it makes a clear distinction between socialism and later totalitarism - something that is commonly mistaken.

One thing bothers me and it's mentioned somewhere along this doc: how do we get people to contribute to a socialist society. I do favor movements such as Zeitgeist (thou some ideas are just sci-fi or simlply far-fetched) but it is very hard for me to convince myself that a great leap in human conciousness can be achieved. Everywhere I look around, folks just care about securing enough money for themselves and beyond that being entertained. Plus most of them are so spoiled and shallow, that the only word that comes to mind is 'id**t'. And you simply can't have them take part in any direct democracy or social democracy. The values that beam from media, educational system and elders are just wrong. And they are the values that capitalism helped shape. Just like socialism unintendedly contributed to totalitarism.

Both ideas seem to be wrong. Perhaps the answer is somewhere in between.

11 years ago

If we hope to interpret the complexities of history accurately or with any semblance of philosophical depth, shallow accounts such as this written, narrated and produced by fierce opponents of the content itself do not paint a picture with any basis in reality. This is still a worthwhile viewing if you can gaze through the fog of ideology -- knowing full well that history is written by those who won. The value here is not what's said, but what's implied.

11 years ago

"The American Enterprise Institute"????
Oops. There goes the old credibility thingy.

Jeremy King
11 years ago

It is utterly idiotic to suggest that because Communism does not work, Capitalism automatically becomes the de-facto "standard model".

That aside, all the isms till-date have absolutely nothing to do with how humans have evolved over millennia and tend to evangelise utopian visions built on ever expanding layers of theoretical nonsense from armchair "experts". Short of an omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, dictatorship, we have no solution to the problem that all the isms attempted to resolve. Recall the conversation between Neo and the Architect in The Matrix Reloaded. I think philosophically, that exchange puts the problem into perspective – choice. How do we account for the anomalous choices that do not conform to the standard model? Ignore? Engineer? Exterminate?

"The Architect - Please. As I was saying, she stumbled upon a solution whereby nearly 99.9% of all test subjects accepted the program, as long as they were given a choice, even if they were only aware of the choice at a near unconscious level. While this answer functioned, it was obviously fundamentally flawed, thus creating the otherwise contradictory systemic anomaly that if left unchecked might threaten the system itself. Ergo, those that refused the program, while a minority, if unchecked, would constitute an escalating probability of disaster."

11 years ago

Interesting program but coming from a very American point of view. One must note that both the "Standard of Living" and the "Quality of Life" is much higher countries with Social Democratic policies, namely Canada, Sweden, Denmark etc. The problem with pure capitalist economies is that institutions and corporations that are necessary to life are privatized. This privatization jeopardizes the "Standard of Living" and the "Quality of life" among middle and lower classes causing an ever widening gap between the aforementioned and the upper class. The U.S. with its powerful economy consists of a population that in comparison equal to or greater than Western Europe combined. When put to scale the reason behind its economic prosperity becomes a little more prevalent. What also must be said is that regardless of this economic prosperity the average debt is astronomical, not just with its government but with its individual person. This causes a sense of security in a debtor’s society, a security that can quickly be extinguished when the debt runs to high to control (As was seen in the bubble collapse of 2008 as Reaganomics proved a corrupt failure).

Social Democracy is on a course of resurgence within the Western World again as debts rise and bankruptcy becomes more prevalent. Capitalism is well and good and works, but must be kept in check by the Governments in which they operate under whom are elected by the people. Healthcare, Education, Transportation, Public Security and Utilities must be Government owned to keep a moral and ethical check on a society that is inherently selfish and ignorant.

This is a debate that will last well past our lifetimes as Utopia does not exist and equality is a pipe dream. That said, there is no reason we should not strive for a better life both individually and collectively.

Dennis O'Neill
11 years ago

I just like to comment on the Canadian Socialism thing, actually most Canadian socialists were Canadian and the first "socialist leaning" governments where not lead by the CCF and the NDP but rather by the various united farmer-labour parties across the nation in Alberta Manitoba and Ontario. Also i'd say in Canada socialism is on the rise as the popularity of free market ideals in Canada is declining and the popularity of the NDP is rising, which we most recently saw in the 2011 election with The NDP getting 103 seats and a nearly stratospheric rise to official opposition to the new conservative party (which has also in recent years moderated it's free market rhetoric)

11 years ago

No where in the Bible does God say you have to give what you earn.. He does say that we should help the poor.. but in no way does he expect us to give what we earn to people, in no way is it right for government to take from the rich or middleclass.. they already have been for decades, now they just want it all .. we are free to choose.. and America, has always been the most giving country.. even in our taxes, money goes to welfare, food, medical.. the problem is you can give people a hand up, but we should never be a nation of handouts.. We have generational welfare, SSI etc.. people become slaves to welfare.. There should be requirements that people must find work.. I guarantee you after not eating for awhile people will look for work.. We cannot save the world.. and Jesus said, "the poor will always be with us." How many countries have we helped.. and they hate us, how many have we helped, who now refuse to help themselves...We can no longer hold up the world... its time to be responsible for self..

11 years ago

The only problem with Socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money - Margaret Thatcher

11 years ago

That was definitly worth the three hours spent to wath it.

11 years ago

Mr Ben Wattenberg I am sorry to say that your democratic capitalism is failing miserably. There is no democracy and the capital is owned and exploited by a few powerful people.
The world my children is about to inherit is poisoned, polluted and it's resources exhausted. There is no democracy in democracy and I am forced to to live as others believe I should.
Wake up and see the rot you are living in and please tell me it really makes you happy and content every day of your life!
Kibbutzine systems failed not because of what was going on inside of these institutions but rather because of the lure of the capitalist propaganda of constant marketing and advertising going on outside of its boundaries. If the younger generation could not see the value of what they were brought up with it is because no one bothered to teach them that. To leave your children growing up in front of the TV is simply suicide. Get mainstream broadcast TV and news media out of your homes. These people should not be welcome there the same as a stranger of the street would be.

11 years ago

Interesting to note that socialism always seems to fail the moment capitalist principles like growth, development, banking and economy is applied.

Socialism has been seen as political model but really at heart it is a spiritual one. To function in a socialist society you need to be able to relinquish your own ego and give everything you have for the greater good of the group or the community. Letting go of the ego is a spiritual quest but something unobtainable through the murky haze created by mainstream religion.

Socialist ideals should strive for self reliance and sustainability, Surplus should only ever be produced so that it can be bartered for those commodities really needed for survival and that is simply not viable to produce in a community itself. Everything else should be planned around putting back what you have taken. The circles of live.

11 years ago

Socialism and economic growth or prosperity can never sit at the same table!
Socialism can never be run by centralized government and socialism can never be forced onto people.
Collapse of the current capitalist system is inevitable as resources and oil are running out and as global corporates and banks are growing more greedy and powerful.
I predict that for those fortunate to survive peak oil and societal collapse communal socialism will become a means of survival.
We don't need growth on a material level, we need growth on a human level.
A self sustainable lifestyle can be very basic and simple but we need each other in order to survive.
Our world is full of socialist groups and societies being very successful today, lets stop looking at the reasons why socialism did not work and find the things that did make it great.
Socialism is the only way we can move away from consumerism to complete self-sustainability.

11 years ago

Socialism doesn't work. Socialism CAN'T work. It reduces the incentive TO work.

Anyone who thinks capitalism is to blame for our current economic woes is out to lunch. In capitalism, banks aren't "too big to fail", welfare and social security payments are non-existent, interest rates aren't set by men in ivory towers but rather by the marketplace, and money is not created out of thin air.

Free market capitalism and property rights, started first in the U.S. (prior to the Declaration of Independence all property was owned by the king) is what got man out of digging in the dirt for worms to eat and created all that we have today.

Cristi Vidrascu
11 years ago

It is interesting how most of the supporters of socialism (such as those on this forum) have never lived in a hard-core socialist society (or probably even visited one for an extended time). I, as one who has lived in one of the most orthodox of socialist societies, can attest that, while this documentary is not the best from an artistic point of view, and has certain omissions, it is accurate about the rise and fall of an ideology. And as one who personally lived during the fall of the Eastern Block regimes, I can tell you that the best way to describe the end of socialism from our perspective was an overwhelming sense of freedom. Sweet, overpowering freedom. Capitalism, with all its inequalities, basically means freedom, but with all indulgence I cannot expect someone who has lived in a free society their entire life to understand the real meaning of the word freedom. In the West, it is just a word that is thrown around, without real meaning.

11 years ago

I have to admit that Hitler was a leftish.
He only attacked Soviet Union because Marx was Jewish....(?)
In fact i also think he Bombard London because Marx lived there for a great deal of time.....(?)
Ok excuse me for joking on such serious matters.
I 'll get straight to the point.
Marxism - Leninism in other words Diallectic and Historical Matterialism is the scientific theory by which nature and society can be explaind.
We know when a state is a Socialistic one, if we examine the way the products are being constucted.
For example. If we have a state where i can pay 10 workers to work in my factory then that is a capitalist state.
You see the main point from which you can tell a Sosialistic state from a Capitalistic one is IF SOMEONE CAN BUY A MAN'S WORKPOWER.
On the other hand at a Socialistic state.

So if working is obligatory you can't be unemployed, state is obligated to create a place for you in the productive system were you are functional for your society and feal good about creating something for your fellow citizen.

So what is Socialism.
A system where: you are not alllowed to sell your workpower
you are working and getting paid according to the quality and quantity of your work.
you are obligated to work and rest.
you are entitled to your own home or homes, that you are not allowed to rent.

SWEDEN? Sweden is not socialist.
Socialism means the first step to Communism.
Socialism means that working class gained control over the means of production, created a new mechanism of goverment and through that mechanism tries to apply politics that are in their favor.

If in Sweden there is that kind of society i strongly dought it because:
Every time that a state was trully Socialist, the Imperialistic Countries started wars or assasination attempt to their leaders in order to overthrow them.

11 years ago

american anti-socialist propaganda

11 years ago

Is it because the second S in USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) that almost all Americans equate Communism with Socialism? Not so!

Ben Wattenberg, from the American Enterprise Institute no less, is, like so many of his fellow enterprisers, as dumb as a brick. Also, I'm old enough to remember when PBS was first class (but that was a long time ago). So sad.

No political philosophy is perfect, but Social Democracy comes closer to being fair to most citizens than any other. Its inherent fairness brought peace, wealth, universal healthcare, excellent mainly free education, paid vacations, and much more to Western Europe after WW2. It lasted until Reagan and Thatcher got their claws on the throttles of power. And we all know that for most workers not much good has happened since.

This ducumentary is a dud.

12 years ago

Oh man this has to be a personal record.

I turned it of after about 30 seconds when the guy said that the socialism has collapsed and some pictures of the end of Berlin wall where shown.

I have some news for you buddy.
Socialism is full blown in the whole western world and many other parts of the world. The whole EU is one ever fatter socialist pig*. No it's not about freedom of migration or one big free market unrestrained with borders - that's what Schengen Agreement is about. Only things that EU is about are centralizes power and socialism.

In fact socialism today is in better shape then ever before.

Surprise, surprise.

By the way, have you heard that EU recently tried to kill Schengen Agreement? Probably not since virtually no media has reported this...

*No, I'm not trying to be offensive. I'm just saying that it's existence is similar to the one of a pig. It tries to eat as much as it can so it grows bigger so it can eat more, you know what for... The only difference is that at the end when they get slaughtered you can't make any ham of EU.

12 years ago

the documentary is merely a documentary, only the opinions of some teachers at some universities. The facts are no facts. "Lenin didn't like humans", bolseviks claimed power and stayed there during the civil war
but nothing is said on what they did and if the lives of the people in russia got any better related to the former regime. Is there any possibility that lenin and the party lead people to a better living that they throught the workers gave their country a plan to prosper instead of leading wars and try to make money for some capitalists?
And of course there is no historic timeline to follow. They speak of the revolution in russia and after even mentioning stalin for the gullags they return to america to talk about trade unionism a way of straggle that was before ww1 and was rejected by lenin, because it wouldn't lead to a revolution. It is nonsense all aspects of the documentary. Here in greece every university student would see that the documentary is being presented in an unscientific way just to "prove" that communism failed. As if Capitalism had never failed when it struggled with feudalism, untill the french revolution that was it's final victory.
As for the second part when it sais that leninsm led the way to fascism that's a lie because the fascist ideology has nothing to do with communism. First of all fascism rely on the capitalists and tries to maximize their profit while communism produces without businessmen running any enterprize. And of course if fascism and communism are so alike then how come and communists were always trying to fight fascism.
How come and hitler came to power by burning down the reicjstag and then framing Dimitrov, who was a communist that he plotted against germany. History proves that fascism is Capitalism blended with Nationalism, while communism has nothing to do with this mixture of economic growth, So the american think tanks should better read the history of communism instead of trying to write their own history about what they would like to hear.

12 years ago

What? Not a word about the scandinavian social democracy? I am disappointed!

12 years ago

I'm still unsure as to why they termed it "The Rise and Fall" of Socialism and not "The Continual Rise and Fall" of Socialism, since most, if not all countries across the world have taken their chunk of the idea, regardless of what they want to claim to be.

Similarly, a "1" is a "1" and a "2" is a "2", but you cannot say the same about any type of government, anywhere, even though that is what they may want their people and others to believe. American's call themselves a "Democracy", even though our government, through corporations own and control 80%+ of our property, while at the same time promote multiple methods of socialistic systems; Welfare, "Social" Security and so-called "Free Health Care".

However, I am not blinded and am fully capable of seeing through the propaganda, I am glad that I see it for what it is and has been for decades, while continually becoming more-so each and everyday, until all will see. Perhaps there will be a follow up to this Documenting series in around 25-100 years from now, depicting the downfall of our very own imperialistic western society.

12 years ago

Informative but biased. Both the narrater Ben Wattenberg and the author are members of conservative funded think tanks.
View this documentary, since it is informative, but keep in mind that for most of human existence, some form of feudalism, whether through power or media illusion has been the basis for economic inequality...
...and do not confuse socialism with liberalism or progressivism.

12 years ago

Fair enough.

There are certainly ways that our government could improve. (Real democracy would be a nice start, but even that won't happen until we can find a way to limit or remove the influence of money over our processes.)

: ) I don't need a perfect system, I'll settle for what ever improvements we can make, and let the next generation improve on our work.

Revolt is also a competitive based approach. I think there are viable alternatives for that as well. But you're right, regardless of how an alternative system is formed, it will be essential for the people involved to be diligent to watch for attempts at grabbing power. I think that's one of the most important reasons for the transition to be economic / political / and moral/philosophical all at the same time.

*nods* I also think you're right that our human challenges are at the root of most if not all of the things we might hope to change about our economic / political circumstances. Perhaps then, rather than running for office, I would be better off working with people to help them grow through those challenges so they can make healthier decisions in whatever economic or political system they happen to find themselves in.

12 years ago

i like the current system now.. i like the monopoly law.. i know some big business are bad. but for me the goverment is the worst.

your a nice guy(well your utopian guy).. you should run for office.. but first throw away your view that there is a perfect system cause were inperfect creatures..

utopian socialism(dreamed by the socialist revolutionary) is just an illusion after the revolt there dream system is turn to fascism.. cause a perfect system is incompatible to such an inperfect creatures..

12 years ago

*nods* Certainly, if you put people in a position where they think they have to compete to meet their needs (real or perceived) there’s going to be conflict. I certainly agree that any sustainable peace, in any economic or political circumstance, will have to address our current energy practices and find more sustainable solutions.

If the population of a society shouldn’t control resources / energy, who should? Is your argument against cooperative economies, or against the abuse of power?

No, in all honesty I don’t think ‘big’ government is a sustainable solution in the long run. I agree with the research that suggests that humans are only able to maintain empathic connections with a relatively limited number of group members. And I think those empathic connections are essential for a healthy society. So even though, in terms of today’s huge nation-states I might advocate for governments large enough to effectively control the potential abuses of self interested institutions, I don’t necessarily think those large structure’s are really the best possible solution for how to form healthy society.

Have you ever stepped back to question the assumption of power-over political structures? Perhaps cooperation between equals could apply in questions of political organization as well. Then there wouldn’t be people in positions of power over us to feel contempt for, just neighbors to work with to work towards the best interest of our community.

But yes, certainly, within the context of an authoritarian political structure, I certainly advocate for democratic processes that would allow the people to replace their leaders.

Are the two mutually exclusive? It’s probably a fair label, but I also think of myself as a realist. I recognize the struggles of the human condition, and that any social organizing structure that hopes to improve on what we’ve seen in the past will have to take those struggles into account.

12 years ago

sorry for me what ever system we have even if its a utopian one unless we fixed are energy system and pass oil behind thre will still be conflict.

it means socialist goverment controling the commanding heights(resourse/energy business type). sorry i just quote lenin.

really you like big goverment? sorry for me a big goverment is a no no.. i always view people in power in contempt. for my belief its should be basic for a system to kickout are leaders in power if we dont like them anymore.. but big goverment system allowed them to stay even if that leader is a criminal

you know the more i talk to you the more i think your not a socialist but a utopian guy..

12 years ago

It's true. The history of authoritarian communist regimes is littered with examples of abuse and violence. Clearly there was something wrong with the way they were doing things, and any effort towards a more cooperative economy in the future should certainly take those lessons into account. But having looked at that history, the lesson I took away (among others) is that authoritarian / power over structures are unhealthy for the long term success of a society, and as messy as cooperative political effort might be, it's a necessity for a truly fair and sustainable society.

*nods* I agree. There should be recognition of our human capacity for weakness, fear, selfishness, etc, built into the political system. On one hand I believe we should support people in growing to become stronger, more moral, etc... But at the same time, I also agree that there's value in setting a system up so that those who are best able to make the healthiest choices, will be in positions to do so, while those who are least likely to make the healthiest choices will have the least political capital.

I do think people will share power. I think it's our fear that motivates us to try to grasp at power to try to control our environment. But I believe we have the capacity to rise above that. Perhaps not all of us, but perhaps those of us we support in guiding our society.

I'm not sure what you're asking in this question: "are you saying they will only unionist the commanding heights?"

I believe our current government leaves much to be desired as I see it primarily being in the service of moneyed interests while presenting the illusion of a democracy.

Yes, socialized economies will likely have larger governmental structures than non-socialized economies. I don't think that's the worst thing in the world. I prefer larger non-profit democratic institutions managing certain aspects of our economy with our best interest in mind, over for profit corporations who explicit aim is to maximize profit at our expense.

There are some protections. Though far fewer than what are necessary for the best interest of society, IMHO. Sure, there's a legal process, and who knows, some times what's right wins out against the influence of money in it, so at least that's better than nothing.

I think you bring up a good point in distinguishing between the economic system and the political system. It seems like the two are often confused in these discussions.

*nods* I imagine we'd find something else to fight about. Is the problem that we don't have enough energy, or that we don't use the energy we have in appropriate ways? In any event, it seems like you recognize the vulnerability of the global economy on the access to relatively cheap energy. And as such, when taking into consideration the consequences of peak oil, how globalism itself might be vulnerable. Certainly, we might come up with some impressive alternative. Then again, economic endeavor might have to be scaled down and become more local / regional.

12 years ago

come on man read socialist goverment history you'll see its no different, except their more blunt in their approach in war.

as i said before system should be build to check are bad side not the other way around.. do you really think people will share power? again read the history of socialist country.

also are you saying they will only unionist the commanding heights? if you are then im sorry to say soviet has the same system.. their system is like socialism dip in capitalism, and you really should love your goverment more since socialism effectively equals big goverment.. dont say its not, its inevitable.. read libertarians comment about it.

now if your for social democracy like i am(capitalism dip in socialism)? then your already in one. since workers is already protected maybe some are not unionist like walmart your wolf. well thats the union problem its not like there's no legal process to deal with it, also the name social democracy should be change to capitalist socialism! since democracy is in a different spectrum in line with fascism=totalitarian. i personally think they only name it like that because of the bad blood in the cold war and the revolutionary age.

about globalization.. well good luck to you cause its like a man battling a forest fire with a tablespoon of water. defeated itself? well ok if you think so...

i understand what your saying about the resource thing.. i personally think who ever invent a tech that will secure are energy needs should be awarded with a new medal. cause he/she would have effectively stop 90% of war(resource war) and noble peace prize medal is not enough(and i personally think its already politicized)

12 years ago

No? War seems like a fairly competition based approach to resource distribution. If we had a more cooperative approach to resource distribution, perhaps we might have found different solutions. Similarly, war as a tool for funneling tax-payer money into for-profit capitalist enterprises wouldn't have been a motivation for conflict if those arguably necessary industries were nationalized as non-profits. The idea that a nation-state that organized it's internal economy around a collectivist ideal rather than an ideal of competition would be more blunt / harsh / etc seems like baseless conjecture. If you use the authoritarian regimes of the past command economies of this century as your basis for that assumption, you're attacking a straw man. As I mentioned above, few, if any of the people who are advocating for some form of socialist ideology are advocating for pure / total collective ownership of all property under an authoritarian regime. And, also as I mentioned above, if such a regime does take immoral action, I suggest that it is the failing of the regime, not a failing of cooperative effort.

With regards to our economy being 'somewhat' protected and regulated, I would put a heavy emphasis on 'somewhat' our regulations are a joke. Asking the wolves to guard the sheep is not regulation.

:) Yes, walmart and other, similar, global capitalist empires seem very powerful, but I do not accept defeat for one very simple, undeniable fact. Their unsustainable linear practices are built on a foundation that requires continual growth, and that continual growth requires ever increasing amounts of relatively inexpensive energy. We are reaching the capacity of the earth to provide that growth and energy, and when the growth slows, or the energy is not longer cheap enough (same thing) those systems will crumble. Only sustainable solutions (cooperative or competitive) can provide for our needs in the long run.

I don't have to defeat global capitalism, it's already defeated itself.

12 years ago


iraq is a resource war, its not the systems fualt. i personally think the other system would have been more blunt, no need to be cunning about it, and more harsh..

the economy is already somewhat protected and regulated except the low paid jobs, extreme manlabor once that no west man would do with that kind of salary.

now about walmart.. forget it you cant stop globalization that result in extreme competition in a global scale. its like trying to stop the internet! no one can regulated the world.. it actually have defeaten or about to be defeaten any socialist regulation in the private sector already whether that country like it or not like china and russia. watch the "Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy" in this site.. see the history of your enemy so you can see why i say its inevitable you cant defeat it.

12 years ago

Hello GTO

*nods* I think I hear where you're coming from, certainly, pure socialism, pure collectivism of all property is very problematic. Not that it's impossible, but I do believe that to do it in a healthy / moral way would be a challenge for just the reason you state, it's a centralization of power, the political system that distributed that power, those economic goods and services, would not only need to be moral and just, but also skillful and knowledgeable in the relevant areas of commerce / production / distribution, etc.

That said, to assume that a socialist or communist economy inherently equates to a specific political system that allows a particular person to gain massive amounts of unchecked power is failing to see the potential if applying socialist principles beyond the several tragic, but very public examples of our past.

I think you'll find few of us who are advocating for socialist principles who are actually advocating for full blown collective ownership of all property. I believe most of us believe and support some form of mixed system where the basic necessities of life are mutually provided for, and those areas of free enterprise that have the potential to do harm appropriately regulated, and the rest of the economy can be as free as possible.

I think the main problem that most of us have with the extreme version of capitalism is that it allows those in power to set up the economy such that the very things that we need for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, can be denied to us if we fail to make ourselves the economic slaves of this (in external appearances) free system.

I'm not sure that we won't see that kind of power in this system now. Do we not kill massive amounts of people over seas to ensure our continued access to relatively cheap resources? Do massive populations not live in serf-like conditions to produce our cheap walmart goods? How many people are hungry so we can eat so well? Can we justify these imbalances with capitalist ideology? At what point does the ideology break down and our human heart recognizes that others are suffering for our comfort and leisure and distraction? At what point will we be willing to give a little of our ease and relative affluence to provide for the basic human dignity of another?

I think you make a good point about being conscious of the distribution of power and the relative value of checks and balances. But I am convinced that those political mechanisms can be utilized in a political/economic system that ensures the basic needs of all, regulates where necessary to protect the interests of all, and provides freedom where ever possible for all other aspects of our lives.

12 years ago


its the systems fault! the system allow stalin to gain that much power uncheck by no one..

you'll never see that kind of power in are system now.. so blunt in killing and atrocities.. even the devil of the west CIA will never and cant even if there's a couple of stalin in their group to do that kind of thing. system should always be build to deal and control are bad side. forget about the goodside if you want to be good system doesnt matter unless its a reward system. the fact is pure socialism is wrong cause.

1. goverment is to powerful since he absorve the business sector
2. democracy and socialism cant be combine because of #1. because of the fact that goverment being too powerful he/she will destroy the circle of power..(people>goverment>military/police>people) the arbiter (constitution/justice)
3. the meaning of justice depends on the rulling elite or god=stalin not some paper.
4. the disparity of class is as wide as monarchy system and permanent. read the history of many pure socialist country if you dont believe me

as churchill said are democracy is the worst system ever if there's no other system. meaning you find it bad cause you havent experience other system..

im not againts socialism in a whole only the pure one, and why can i be againts it were living in a part socialism age to begin with! just one example of social structuring progressive tax if you want look for the others its right at the top of goverment agenda..