Comrades & Cash

Comrades & Cash is a documentary featuring investigative reporting about some of the corrupt big money deals engaged in by various Iron Curtain supposedly communist regimes and individuals.

For example, it opens with the story of how East Germany secretly sold weapons to apartheid South Africa when South Africa was an international pariah that almost every country in the world refused to trade with, for arms or anything else. At the same time of course, East Germany and other Soviet allies were publicly siding with the rebels attempting to overthrow the South African government.

I was never into this documentary more than modestly. A lot of the details—about how this shell company laundered these funds, and this middleman secretly met with this official from this Eastern European government, etc.—aren’t the kind of thing I would remember five minutes after watching something like this, even if I had been fully engrossed in it.

As far as the phenomenon itself (hypocritical leftist regimes wheeling and dealing in the most unethical and illegal ways like the capitalists they purport to condemn), here is my take on it:

The most positive possible spin you can put on it is that such choices are sometimes the lesser of the evils. An individual regime may be communist, but the world still largely works according to capitalist principles. If you want to be able to trade, to be able to interact beyond your own borders, rather than be some lunatic, bankrupt, maximally insular, hellhole like Pol Pot’s Cambodia, you have to play the capitalist game to at least some extent and obtain hard currency. The capitalists have so thoroughly rigged things that you need to do that to survive, and hopefully to gradually grow in strength as communism spreads and one day it’ll be realistic to get back to living more in accordance with your ideals.

So if you want to try to defend it, I suppose it would go something like that. Sometimes a deal with the devil is your least bad option.

In reality, my guess is that that’s maybe 10%-15% of the explanation.

The other 85%-90% of the explanation is that these are simply bad people doing bad things, people motivated by greed and self-interest just as much as their capitalist supposed enemies.

Most of the people involved I’m sure were phonies all along—the rhetoric of Bernie Sanders combined with the moral character of Donald Trump. Others I suppose started off idealistic to some degree, and were corrupted by wielding power. In time they got to the point that they’d do whatever it takes to maintain and increase their power and wealth, whether it’s selling arms to South Africa so that it can more effectively murder in defense of its apartheid regime or whatever else.

Folks like that—like most or all of the leftist bad guys in this documentary—are only communists or socialists in the sense that, say, a charlatan faith healer calling himself a Christian in order to more effectively exploit the gullibility of believers to get rich is a Christian (which is a very weak sense indeed).

In the end, I wouldn’t say I have any particular criticism of Comrades & Cash. Just as a subjective thing I was never much drawn into it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s