Step One of Becoming a Tankie

The first thing you need to do isn’t to read Stalin or Kim Jong-Il, nor is it to watch tankie videos on Youtube; it is a simple logical putting together of facts that you already know. Capitalists and capitalist governments lie for their own benefit, and everything you’ve ever heard about socialism comes from capitalists and capitalist governments.

You know what I mean when I say capitalists. The filthy rich, the billionaires, the 1%, the people who own and control companies and corporations. You know that the cigarette companies lied about the health effects of smoking with the line, “Cigarette smoking is no more ‘addictive’ than coffee, tea, or Twinkies.” You know that the oil companies lied about global warming and climate change to protect their oil business that contributed so much to it. Volkswagen used internal software to cheat diesel emissions tests to pretend their vehicles were cleaner. I know, none of this has to do with socialism, and you’re wondering how this fits into that conversation — while capitalist personalities like Trump and Musk might shout their personal opinions of how bad socialism is to the world, there is a larger point we will get to soon.

You know that capitalist governments lie. Even if we ignore the entire mess of contradictory statements about the economy/antifa/COVID/immigrants/etc that is the Trump administration, we don’t need to look far for some really memorable lies. “There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.” We know how that turned out. Soon-to-be President Johnson said this during his election campaign: “We are not about to send American boys nine or ten thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.” Oops, that’s exactly what they did. If you’ve never heard of any of the horrifying ‘Operations’ perpetrated both on US soil and abroad by the FBI and CIA, perhaps you should take a look at those. Let’s not forget Radio Free Europe and Radio Free Asia, those government-funded broadcasters of US propaganda. I’m really only aware of American government lies, but I’m sure you know of many cases when your particular government lied, or perhaps when the UK or France or Germany or any other capitalist government was caught in a lie.

Capitalist government figures are always making claims about evils perpetrated by socialism. Of the many enemies of our capitalist governments, socialism is depicted as perhaps the most insidious. We know that the governments will lie for their own benefit, so anything they say about socialism deserves doubt, just as much as when they talk about cutting corporate taxes as a way to help the poor.

But what about historians, and what you read in history textbooks? Are they not unbiased proof that socialism is evil? Are they not required by some law to convey the truth? Well, let’s take a step back here. How are textbooks made, who makes them? Textbooks are made by companies and corporations, which are owned by capitalists, who as we know are no strangers to lying for their own benefit. Capitalists are well aware that under socialism, they would lose their capital, their control over the means of production, as well as their hoarded wealth. It benefits the owner of a textbook company to slander socialism as much as it benefits Elon Musk to do the same, because they face the same loss of capital and wealth should socialism come into power over them.

But what about the historians and writers who actually write the textbooks? Why would they lie? Well, if the publishing companies are owned by capitalists who have so much to lose from socialism, would not those publishing companies have reason to avoid publishing those who promote socialism and instead prefer those who denounce socialism and promote capitalism? Why would they not set their editors to the task of replacing any unsightly truths about the nature of socialism or capitalism with more palatable lies?

But what about the law? Surely it must be against the law for my children to be reading lies in their history textbooks at school! Well, you have to remember who writes and enforces those laws. That’s right, it’s the capitalist government, who as we know, is not above lying for its own benefit. If it isn’t actively promoting lies being told about socialism through grants and funding, it certainly will see no benefit from bringing to justice those who tell lies about socialism of their own accord.

What about the news report you heard the other day about human rights violations in that evil socialist country? If textbooks can get away with lying, why not the news? Why not tv shows and movies? In a system where the capitalists control almost all of the means of production as well as all the funding, why would anything you encounter not include anti-socialist propaganda? Actually, the media does sometimes issue retractions of abjectly false statements about socialist countries, but only well after the lie has been solidified in the reader’s mind, and these retractions are not promoted but quietly slipped in.

So when tankies are unsatisfied with your mainstream media articles and your ability to recall what you read in your high school textbook, this is why. We know that the people who control those things benefit from lying about socialism and face no resistance when doing so.

Why is this step one for tankies, and not for, say, anarchists? Surely anarchists have a similar disdain for the lies of capitalism, but they often have an equal if not greater disdain for communists. Their theory readings tell them that all states are inherently bad, and so to conform to this notion, they may accept capitalist narratives about communist states as truth while denouncing capitalist lies about capitalism for the lies they are.

So, you can take most of what you think you know about the USSR, DPRK, China, Cuba, Vietnam, even Venezuela, and wherever else socialism and communism has been in power, and cast doubt upon all that knowledge, knowing that the source was extremely biased. Sure, it’s entirely possible that information coming out of those countries is also biased, but is it biased to the degree that the capitalists want you to believe? From this point, look into finding some media from those countries, and come to your own conclusions. Learn about the structures and functions of their governments, and come to your own conclusions. Read works of theory, practice, and literature from those countries, both from the prominent figures and average locals if possible, and come to your own conclusions.

Don’t just take a tankie’s word for it, investigate for yourself.

Just want to liberate people from the evils of capitalism and build something better.

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Just want to liberate people from the evils of capitalism and build something better.