20th Century Democide....I elaborated on your post a little more onfire
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    20th Century Democide....I elaborated on your post a little more onfire

    I elaborated on your post a little more from this site onfire,hope you dont mind

    DEATH BY GOVERNMENT
    Chapter 1
    20th Century Democide*

    By R.J. Rummel

    Power gradually extirpates for
    the mind every humane and gentle virtue.
    ----Edmund Burke. A Vindication of Natural Society

    Power, like a desolating pestilence,
    Pollutes whate'er it touches.
    ----Shelley. Queen Mab III

    Power tends to corrupt;
    absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    ---- Lord Acton. Letter to Bishop Creighton

    Power kills, absolute Power kills absolutely. This new Power Principle is the message emerging from my previous work on the causes of war1 and this book on genocide and government mass murder--what I call democide--in this century. The more power a government has, the more it can act arbitrarily according to the whims and desires of the elite, the more it will make war on others and murder its foreign and domestic subjects. The more constrained the power of governments, the more it is diffused, checked and balanced, the less it will aggress on others and commit democide. At the extremes of Power2, totalitarian communist governments slaughter their people by the tens of millions, while many democracies can barely bring themselves to execute even serial murderers.

    These assertions are extreme and categorical, but so is the evidence accumulated in this book, Death By Government, and its complement Statistics of Democide. Consider first war. Table 1.1 shows the occurrence of war between nations since 1816. In no case has there been a war involving violent military action between stable democracies3, although they have fought, as everyone knows, non-democracies. Most wars are between nondemocracies. Indeed, we have here a general principle that is gaining acceptance among students of international relations and war. That is that democracies don't make war on each other. To this I would add that the less democratic two states the more likely that they will fight each other.

    This belligerence of unrestrained Power is not an artifact of either a small number of democracies nor of our era. For one thing the number of democratic states in 1993 number around seventy-five, or also taking into account forty-eight related territories, about one-fourth of the world's population.4 Yet we have had no war--none--among them. Nor is there any threat of war. They create an oasis of peace.

    Moreover, this is historically true of democracies as well. If one relaxes the definition of democracy to mean simply the restraint on Power by the participation of middle and lower classes in the determination of power holders and policy making, then there have been many democracies throughout history. And whether considering the classical Greek democracies, the forest democracies of medieval Switzerland, or modern democracies, they did or do not fight each other (depending on how war and democracy is defined, some might prefer to say that they rarely fought or fight each other).5 Moreover, once those states that had been mortal enemies, that had frequently gone to war (as have France and Germany in recent centuries), became democratic, war ceased between them.6 Paradigmatic of this is Western Europe since 1945. The cauldron of our most disastrous wars for many centuries, in 1945 one would not find an expert so foolhardy as to predict not only forty-five years of peace, but that at the end of that time there would be a European community with central government institutions, moves toward a joint European military force by France and Germany, and zero expectation of violence between any of these formerly hostile states. Yet such has happened. All because they are all democracies. Even among primitive tribes, it seems, where Power is divided and limited, war is less likely.7 Were all to be said about absolute and arbitrary Power is that it causes war and the attendant slaughter of the young and most capable of our species, this would be enough. But much worse, as the case studies in this book will more than attest, even without the excuse of combat Power also massacres in cold blood those helpless people it controls. Several times more of them. Consider table 1.2 and figure 1.1, the list and its graph of this century's megamurderers--those states killing in cold blood, aside from warfare, 1,000,000 or more men, women, and children. These fifteen megamurderers have wiped out over 151,000,000 people, almost four times the almost 38,500,000 battle-dead for all this century's international and civil wars up to 1987.8 The most absolute Power, that is the communist U.S.S.R., China and preceding Mao guerrillas, Khmer Rouge Cambodia, Vietnam, and Yugoslavia, as well fascist Nazi Germany, account for near 128,000,000 of them, or 84 percent.

    Table 1.2 also shows the annual percentage democide rate (the percent of its population that a regime murders per year) for each megamurderer and figure 1.1 graphically overlays the plot of this on the total murdered. However, such massive megamurderers as the Soviet Union and communist China had huge populations with a resulting small annual democide rate. For their populations as a whole some less than megamurderers were far more lethal.

    Table 1.3 lists the fifteen most lethal regimes and figure 1.2 bar graphs them. As can be seen, no other megamurderer comes even close to the lethality of the communist Khmer Rouge in Cambodia during 1975 through 1978. As described in Chapter 9 of Death By Government, in less than four years of governing they exterminated over 31 percent of their men, women, and children; the odds of any Cambodian surviving these four long years was only about 2.2 to 1.

    Then there are the kilomurderers, or those states that have killed innocents by the tens or hundreds of thousands, such as the top five listed in table 1.2: China Warlords (1917-1949), Atatčrk's Turkey (1919-1923), the United Kingdom (primarily due to the 1914-1919 food blockade of the Central Powers in and after World War I, and the 1940-45 indiscriminate bombing of German cities), Portugal (1926-1982), and Indonesia (1965-87). Some lesser kilomurderers were communist Afghanistan, Angola, Albania, Rumania, and Ethiopia, as well as authoritarian Hungary, Burundi, Croatia (1941-44), Czechoslovakia (1945-46), Indonesia, Iraq, Russia, and Uganda. For its indiscriminate bombing of German and Japanese civilians, the United States must also be added to this list (see Statistics of Democide). These and other kilomurderers add almost 15,000,000 people killed to the democide for this century, as shown in table 1.2.

    Of course, saying that a state or regime is a murderer is a convenient personification of an abstraction. Regimes are in reality people with the power to command a whole society. It is these people that have committed the kilo and megamurders of our century and we must not lose their identity under the abstraction of "state," "regime," "government," or "communist." Table 1.4 lists those men most notorious and singularly responsible for the megamurders of this century. Stalin, by far, leads the list. He ordered the death of millions, knowingly set in train events leading to the death of millions of others, and as the ultimate dictator, was responsible for the death of still millions more killed by his henchman. It may come as a surprise to find Mao Tse-tung is next in line as this century's greatest murderers, but this would only be because the full extent of communist killing in China under his leadership has not been widely known in the West. Hitler and Pol Pot are of course among these bloody tyrants and as for the others whose names may appear strange, their megamurders are described in detail in Death By Governments. The monstrous bloodletting of at least these nine men should be entered into a Hall of Infamy. Their names should forever warn us of the deadly potential of Power.

    The major and better known episodes and institutions for which these and other murderers were responsible are listed in table 1.5. Far above all is gulag--the Soviet slave--labor system created by Lenin and built up under Stalin. In some 70 years it likely chewed up almost 40,000,000 lives, over twice as many as probably died in some 400 years of the African slave trade, from capture to sale in an Arab, Oriental, or New World market.9

    In total, during the first eighty-eight years of this century, almost 170,000,000 men, women, and children have been shot, beaten, tortured, knifed, burned, starved, frozen, crushed, or worked to death; or buried alive, drowned, hung, bombed, or killed in any other of the myriad ways governments have inflicted death on unarmed, helpless citizens or foreigners. The dead even could conceivably be near 360,000,000 people. This is as though our species has been devastated by a modern Black Plague. And indeed it has, but a plague of Power and not germs.

    The souls of this monstrous pile of dead have created a new land, a new nation, among us. Let in Shakespeare's word's "This Land be calle'd The field of Golgotha, and dead men's Skulls"10 As clear from the megamurderers listed in table 1.2 alone, this land is multicultural and multiethnic, its inhabitants believed in all the world's religions and spoke all its languages. Its demography has yet to be precisely measured and only two rough censuses, the most recent constituting Death By Government, have so far been taken.11 But this last census does allow us to rank this land of the murdered sixth in population among the nations of the living, as shown in figure 1.3.

    This census and the estimates of explorers also enables us to estimate Golgotha's racial and ethnic composition, which is pictured in figure 1.4. Chinese make up 30 percent of its souls, with Russians next at 24 percent. Then there is a much lower percentage of Ukrainians (6 percent), Germans (4 percent), Poles (4 percent), and Cambodians (2 percent). The remaining 30 percent is made up of a diverse Koreans, Mexicans, Pakistanis (largely ethnic Bengalis and Hindus), Turk subjects, and Vietnamese.

    But still, is Golgotha dominantly Asian? European? What region did most of its dead souls come from. Figure 1.5 displays two different ways of looking at this: the percent of Golgothians from a particular region and also the percent of a region's 1987 population in Golgotha. While most, some 40 percent, are from Asia and the Middle East, the highest proportion of any region's population in Golgotha, around 22 percent, is from the territory of the former Soviet Union. In other words, Asians are the largest group while the former Soviet Union has contributed the most of its population. Note that 18 percent of Golgothians are former Europeans, including those from all of Eastern Europe except the former USSR; Europe has contributed 6 percent of its population to this land of the murdered.

    So much for Golgotha and a summary overview of its statistics. As I already have made clear, Golgotha owes its existence to Power. I can now be more specific about this. Table 1.6 summarizes the most prudent democide results and contrasts them to this century's battle-dead. Figure 1.6 gives a bar chart of these totals.12 Note immediately in the figure that the human cost of democide is far greater than war for authoritarian and totalitarian regimes, while although for democracies they suffer fewer battle-dead than other regimes, this total is still greater than democratic domestic and foreign democide. In evaluating the battle-dead for democracies keep in mind that most of these dead were the result of wars that democracies fought against authoritarian or totalitarian aggression, particularly World War I and II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars.13

    Putting the human cost of war and democide together, Power has killed over 203,000,000 people in this century. If one were to sit at a table and have this many people come in one door, walk at three miles per hour across the room with three feet between them (assume generously that each person is also one foot thick, naval to spine), and exit an opposite door, it would take over five years and nine months for them all to pass, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year. If all these dead were laid out head to toe, and assuming each is an average 5 feet tall, they would reach from Honolulu, Hawaii, across the vast Pacific and then the huge continental United States to Washington D.C. on the East coast, and then back again almost twenty times.14 Were each of these people also an average of two-feet wide, then to bury them side-to-side and head-to-toe would take fifty-five square miles. Even digging up every foot of all of San Marino, Monaco, and Vatican city to bury these democide and war battle-dead would not be sufficient to bury half of them.

    Now, as shown in table 1.6 and figure 1.6, democracies themselves are responsible for some of the democide. Almost all of this is foreign democide during war, and mainly those enemy civilians killed in indiscriminate urban bombing, as of Germany and Japan in World War II.15 It also includes the large scale massacres of Filipinos during the bloody American colonization of the Philippines at the beginning of this century, deaths in British concentration camps in South Africa during the Boar War, civilian deaths due to starvation during the British blockade of Germany in and after World War I, the rape and murder of helpless Chinese in and around Peking in 1900, the atrocities committed by Americans in Vietnam, the murder of helpless Algerians during the Algerian War by the French, and the unnatural deaths of German prisoners of war in French and American POW camps after World War II.16

    All this killing of foreigners by democracies may seem to violate the Power Principle, but really underlines it. For in each case, the killing was carried out in secret, behind a conscious cover of lies and deceit by those agencies and power-holders involved. All were shielded by tight censorship of the press and control of journalists. Even the indiscriminate bombing of German cities by the British was disguised before the House of Commons and in press releases as attacks on German military targets. That the general strategic bombing policy was to attack working men's homes was kept secret still long after the war.

    Finally, with the summary statistics on democide and war shown in table 1.6, we now can display the role of Power. Figures 1.7A-D illustrate the power curves for the total democide and battle-dead (figures 1.7A-B); and for the intensity of democide and battle-dead, both measured as a percent of a regime's population killed (figures 1.7C-D). In each case, as the arbitrary power of a regime increases massively, that is, as we move from democratic through authoritarian to totalitarian regimes, the amount of killing jumps by huge multiples.

    Two more figures will exhibit the sheer lethality of Power. Figure 1.8 shows the proportion of war and democide dead accounted for by authoritarian or totalitarian power together and compares this to the democratic dead. For all this killing in this century, democide and war by democracies contributes only 1 and 2.2 percent, respectively to the total.

    And in figure 1.9, one of the most important comparisons on democide and power in Death By Government, the range of democide estimates for each regime-level of power is shown. As mentioned in the preface, I have collected over 8,100 estimates of democide from over a thousand sources to arrive at an absolute low and high for democide committed by 219 regimes or groups. It is highly improbable that the actual democide would be below or above this range. The totals that have been displayed in previous figures have been the sum of conservatively determined mid-totals in this range, and are shown in the figure. Now, what figure 1.9 presents for each type of regime, such as the authoritarian, is the range resulting from the sum of all the lows and highs for all the democide of all regimes of that type. The difference between the three resulting ranges drawn in the figure can only be understood in terms of Power. As the arbitrary power of regimes increase left to right in the figure, the range of their democide jumps accordingly and to such a great extent that the low democide for the authoritarian regime is above the democratic high, and the authoritarian high is below the totalitarian low.

    So Power kills and absolute Power kills absolutely. What then can be said of those alleged causes or factors in war, genocide, and mass murder favored by students of genocide. What about cultural-ethnic differences, outgroup conflict, misperception, frustration-aggression, relative deprivation, ideological imperatives, dehumanization, resource competition, etc.? At one time or another, for one regime or another, one or more of these factors play an important role in democide. Some are essential for understanding some genocides, as of the Jews or Armenians; some politicide, as of "enemies of the people," bourgeoisie, and clergy; some massacres, as of competing religious-ethnic groups; or some atrocities, as of those committed against poor and helpless villagers by victorious soldiers. But then neighbors in the service of Power have killed neighbor, fathers have killed their sons, faceless and unknown people have been killed by quota. One is hard put to find a race, religion, culture, or distinct ethnic group whose regime has not murdered its own or others.

    These specific causes or factors accelerate the likelihood of war or democide once some trigger event occurs and absolute or near absolute Power is present. That is, Power is a necessary cause for war or democide. When the elite have absolute power, war or democide follows a common process (which I call "the conflict helix"17).

    In any society, including the international one, relations between individuals and groups is structured by social contracts determined by previous conflicts, accommodations, and adjustments among them. These social contracts define a structure of expectations that guide and regulate the social order, including Power. And this structure is based on a particular balance of powers (understood as an equilibrium of interests, capabilities, and wills) among individuals and groups. That is, previous conflict and possibly violence determine a balance of powers between competing individuals and groups and a congruent structure of expectations (as for example, war or revolution ends in a new balance of powers between nations or groups and an associated peace treaty or constitution). This structure of expectations often consists of new laws and norms defining a social order more consistent with the underlying distribution of relative power.

    However, relative power never remains constant. It shifts as the interests, capabilities, and wills of the parties change. The death of a charismatic leader, the outrage of significant groups, the loss of foreign support by outgroups, the entry into war and the resulting freedom of the elite to use force under the guise of war-time necessity, and so on, can significantly alter the balance of power between groups. Where such a shift in power is in favor of the governing elite, Power can now achieve its potential. Where also the elite have built up frustrations regarding those who have lost power or nonetheless feel threatened by them, where they see them as outside the moral universe, where they have dehumanized them, where the outgroup is culturally or ethnically distinct and the elite perceive them as inferior, or where any other such factors are present, Power will achieve its murderous potential. It simply waits for an excuse, an event of some sort, an assassination, a massacre in a neighboring country, an attempted coup, a famine, or a natural disaster, that will justify beginning the murder en masse. Most democides occur under the cover of war, revolution, or guerrilla war or in their aftermath.

    The result of such violence will be a new balance of powers and attendant social contract. In some cases this may end the democide, as by the elimination of the "inferior" group (as of the Armenians by the Turks). In many cases this will subdue and cower the survivors (as of the Ukrainians who lived through Stalin's collectivization campaign and intentional famine). In some cases, this establishes a new balance of power so skewed toward the elite that they may throughout their reign continue to murder at will. Murder as public policy becomes part of the new structure of expectations, of the new social order. Consider the social orders of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and their henchmen.

    As should be clear from all this, I believe that war and democide can be understood within a common framework. It is part of the same social process, a balancing of powers, where Power is supreme.

    It is not apparent, however, why among states where Power is limited and accountable, war and significant democide do not take place. Two concepts explain this: that of cross pressures and of the associated political culture. Where Power is diffused, checked, accountable, society is riven by myriad independent groups, disparate institutions, and multiple interests. These overlap and contend; they section loyalties and divide desires and wants. Churches, unions, corporations, government bureaucracies, political parties, the media, special interest groups, and such, fight for and protect their interests. Individuals and the elite are pushed and pulled by their membership in several such groups and institutions. And it is difficult for any one driving interest to form. Interests are divided, weak, ambivalent; they are cross-pressured. And for the elite to sufficiently coalesce to commit itself to murdering its own citizens, there must be a near fanatical, driving interest. But even were such present among a few, the diversity of interests across the political elite and associated bureaucracies, the freedom of the media to dig out what is being planned or done, and the ever present potential leaks and fear of such leaks of disaffected elite to the media, brake such tendencies.

    As to the possibility of war between democracies, diversity and resulting cross-pressures operate as well. Not only is it very difficult for the elite to unify public interests and opinion sufficiently to make war, but there are usually diverse, economic, social, and political bonds between democracies that tie them together and oppose violence.

    But there is more to these restraints on Power in a democracy. Cross-pressures is a social force that operates wherever individual and group freedom predominates. It is natural to a spontaneous social field. But human behavior is not only a matter of social forces, but also depends on the meanings, values, and norms that things have. That is, democratic culture is also essential. When Power is checked and accountable, when cross-pressures limit the operation of Power, a particular democratic culture develops. This culture involves debate, demonstrations, protests, but also negotiation, compromise, and tolerance. It involves the arts of conflict resolution and the acceptance of democratic procedures at all levels of society. The ballot replaces the bullet, and particularly, people and groups come to accept a loss on this or that interest as only an unfortunate outcome of the way the legitimate game is played. "Lose today, win tomorrow."

    That democratic political elite would kill opponents or commit genocide for some public policy is unthinkable (although such may occur in the isolated and secret corners of government where Power can still lurk). Even publicly insulting and dehumanizing outgroups in modern democracies has become a social and political evil. Witness the current potency of such allegations as "racism" or "sexism." Of course, the culture of democracy operates between democracies as well. Diplomacy, negotiating a middle-way, seeking common interests, is part of the operating medium among democracies. A detailed political history of the growth of the European Community would well display this. Since each democracy takes the legitimacy of the other and their interests for granted, conflict then is only a process of non-violent learning and adjustment between them. Conferences, not war, is the instrumentality for settling disputes.

    In sum, then, where absolute Power exists, interests become polarized, a culture of violence develops, and war and democide follow. In this century alone, by current count, absolute-totalitarian-Power has murdered near 138,000,000 people (table 1.6). Over 14,000,000 more of its subjects have died from battle in their wars. Where among states Power is limited and accountable, interests are cross-pressured and a culture of nonviolence develops, no wars have occurred and comparatively few citizens have been murdered by the governing elite, and even most of those killed is questionable. About 90 percent of the citizens killed by democracies have been by marginally democratic Spain (during its 1936-1939 Civil War and by Republicans after the war), India, and Peru (during its struggle against the communist Shining Path guerrillas).

    This picture of Power and its human costs is new. Few are aware of the sheer democide that has been inflicted on our fellow human beings. That Hitler murdered millions of Jews is common knowledge. That he murdered overall near 21,000,000 Jews, Slavs, Gypsies, homosexuals, Frenchmen, Balts, Czechs, and others, is virtually unknown. Similarly, that Stalin murdered tens of millions is becoming generally appreciated; but that Stalin, Lenin, and their successors murdered almost 62,000,000 Soviet citizens and foreigners is little comprehended outside of the Soviet Union (where similar figures are now being widely published). Then there is Mao Tse-tung's China, Chiang Kai-shek's China, the militarist's Japan, Yahya Khan's Pakistan, Pol Pot's Cambodia, and the others listed in table 1.4, who have murdered in the millions. Even those students of genocide who have tried to tabulate such killing around the world have grossly underestimated the toll. The best, most recent such accounting came up with no more than 16,000,000 killed in genocide and politicide since World War II.18 But this estimate does not even cover half of the some 35,000,000 people likely murdered by just the Communist Party of China from 1949 to 1987 (table 1.2).

    Moreover, even the toll of war itself is not well understood. Many estimate that World War II, for example, killed 40,000,000 to 60,000,000 people. But the problem with such figures is that they include tens of millions killed in democide. Many war-time governments massacred civilians and foreigners, committed atrocities or genocide against them, executed them, and subjected them to reprisals. Aside from battle or military engagements, during the war the Nazis murdered around 20,000,000 civilians and prisoners of war, the Japanese 5,890,000, the Chinese Nationalists 5,907,000, the Chinese communists 250,000, the Nazi satellite Croatians 655,000, the Tito Partisans 600,000, and Stalin 13,053,000 (above the 20,000,000 war-dead and democide by the Nazis of Soviet Jews and Slavs). I also should mention the indiscriminate bombing of civilians by the Allies that killed hundreds of thousands, and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Most of these dead are usually included among the war-dead. But those killed in battle versus in democide form distinct conceptual and theoretical categories and should not be confused. That they have been consistently and sometimes intentionally confounded helps raise the toll during World War II to some 60,000,000 people, way above the estimated 15,000,000 killed in battle and military action. And that the almost universally accepted count of genocide during this period also is no more than "6,000,000" Jews, around 13 percent of the total war-time democide, has further muddled our research and thought.19

    Even more, our appreciation of the incredible scale of this century's genocide, politicide, and mass murder has been stultified by lack of concepts. Democide is committed by absolute Power, its agency is government. The discipline for studying and analyzing power and government and associated genocide and mass murder is political science. But except for a few specific cases, such as the Holocaust and Armenian genocide, and a precious few more general works, one is hard put to find political science research specifically on this.

    Now, one university course I teach is introduction to political science. Each semester I will review several possible introductory texts (the best measure of the discipline) for the course. I often just shake my head at what I find. Given the democide totaled in table 1.2 the concepts and views promoted in these texts appear grossly unrealistic. They just do not fit or explain, or are even contradictory to the existence of a Hell-State like Pol Pot's Cambodia, a Gulag-State like Stalin's Soviet Union, or a Genocide-State like Hitler's Germany.

    For instance, one textbook I recently read spends a chapter on describing the functions of government. Among these were law and order, individual security, cultural maintenance, and social welfare. Political scientists are still writing this stuff, when we have numerous examples of governments that kill hundreds of thousands and even millions of their own citizens, enslave the rest, and abolish traditional culture (it took only about a year for the Khmer Rouge to completely suppress Buddhism, which had been the heart and soul of Cambodian culture). A systems approach to politics still dominates the field. Through this lens politics is a matter of inputs and outputs, of citizen inputs, aggregation by political parties, government determining policy, and bureaucracies implementing it. Then there is the common and fundamental justification of government that it exists to protect citizens against the anarchic jungle that would otherwise threaten their lives and property. Such archaic or sterile views show no appreciation of democide's existence and all its related horrors and suffering. They are inconsistent with a regime that stands astride society like a gang of thugs over hikers they have captured in the woods, robbing all, raping some, torturing others for fun, murdering those they don't like, and terrorizing the rest into servile obedience. This exact characterization of many past and present governments, such as Idi Amin's Uganda, hardly squares with conventional political science.

    Consider also that library stacks have been written on the possible nature and consequences of nuclear war and how it might be avoided. Yet, in the life of some still living we have experienced in the toll from democide (and related destruction and misery among the survivors) the equivalent of a nuclear war, especially at the high near 360,000,000 end of the estimates. It is as though one had already occurred! Yet to my knowledge, there is only one book dealing with the overall human cost of this "nuclear war"--Gil Elliot's Twentieth Century Book of the Dead.

    What is needed is a reconceptualization of government and politics consistent with what we now know about democide and related misery. New concepts have to be invented, old ones realigned to correct--dare I write "modernize"-- our perception of Power. We need to invent concepts for governments that turn their states into a border to border concentration camp, that purposely starve to death millions--millions!--of their citizens, that set up quotas of those that should be killed from one village or town to another (although murder by quota was carried out by the Soviets, Chinese communists, and Vietnamese, I could not find in any introductory or general political science literature even a recognition that governments can be so incredibly inhumane). We have no concept for murder as an aim of public policy, determined by discussion among the governing elite in the highest councils, and imposed through government bureaucracy. Indeed, in virtually no index to any general book on politics and government will one find a reference to genocide, murder, killed, dead, executed, or massacre. Such is not even usually indexed in books on the Soviet Union or China. Most even omit index references to concentration or labor camps or gulag, even though they may have a paragraph or so on them.

    A preeminent fact about government is that some murder millions in cold blood. This is where absolute Power reigns. A second fact is that some, usually the same governments, murder tens of thousands more through foreign aggression. Absolute Power again. These two facts alone must be the basis of our reconceptualization and taxonomies. Not, as it is today, only whether states are developed or not, third world or not, militarily powerful or not, or large or not. But also and more important, whether Power is absolute, and whether it has engaged in genocide, politicide, and mass murder.

    In any case the empirical and theoretical conclusion is this. The way to end war and virtually eliminate democide appears to be through restricting and checking Power. This means to foster democratic freedom. 

    Chapter 2

    Genocide: among other things, the killing of people by a government because of their indelible group membership (race, ethnicity, religion, language).

    Politicide: the murder of any person or people by a government because of their politics or for political purposes.

    Mass Murder: the indiscriminate killing of any person or people by a government.

    Democide: The murder of any person or people by a government, including genocide, politicide, and mass murder.

    Genocide is horrible, an abomination of our species, totally unacceptable. It is an obscenity, the evil of our time that all good people must work to eradicate. And at the core there is no doubt as to what this evil is--all recognize that the Nazi program to kill all Jews was genocide. Nor is there any doubt that the current Bosnian Serb massacre of Bosnian Moslems is genocide. But was genocide also the massacre of helpless villagers in the Sudan by government forces fighting a rebellion, the Indonesian army purge of communists, the assassination of political opponents by the Nationalist government on Formosa, the "land-reform" executions of landlords in the Soviet Union, or the rapid death of inmates in Vietnamese re-education camps? What about non-killing which has been called genocide, such as the absorption of one culture by another, the disease spread to natives by contact with colonists, the forced deportation of a people, or African slavery?

    In international conventions and the professional literature, genocide was initially defined as the intentional destruction of people because of their race, religion, ethnicity, or other permanent group membership. The origin of the concept is the 1944 work by Raphael Lemkin on Axis Rule in Occupied Europe:

    New conceptions require new terms. By "genocide" we mean the destruction of a nation or of an ethnic group. This new word, coined by the author to denote an old practice in its modern development, is made from the ancient Greek word genos (race, tribe) and the Latin cide (killing), thus corresponding in its formation to such words a tyrannicide, homicide, infanticide, etc. Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups. Genocide is directed against the national group as an entity, and the actions involved are directed against the individuals, not in their individual capacity, but as members of the national group.1

    This was written at the height of the Jewish Holocaust, a clear case of a regime trying to exterminate a whole group, its intellectual contributions, its culture, and the very lives of all its people. There was an immediate need for some way of conceptualizing this horror and "genocide" did it. During the Nuremberg trials of the Nazi war criminals and in the post-war discussion and debate over how to prevent such killing in the future, "genocide" became commonly used. And in incredible little time, it passed from Lemkin's pages into international law. In 1946 the United Nations General Assembly recognized that "genocide is a crime under international law which the civilized world condemns, and for the commission of which principles and accomplices are punishable." Then two years later the General Assembly made this concrete. It passed the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This international treaty, eventually signed by well over a majority of states, affirms that genocide is a punishable crime under international law, and stipulates the meaning of genocide to be:

    any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

    (a) Killing members of the group;
    (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
    (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
    (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
    (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.


    Note that the Convention is consistent with Lemkin's definition and elaboration. Relevantly here, the gravity of both is that genocide is the intent to destroy in whole or part a group. One way of doing this is to kill members of the group, but also genocide includes the intent to destroy a group in whole or in part by other means, such as by preventing births in the group or causing serious mental harm. That is, by both definitions, genocide does not necessarily include killing.

    This has been the source of much confusion. In the early years of its use "genocide" was applied almost entirely to the Jewish Holocaust and then, especially through the work of Armenian scholars, to the mass murder of Armenians by the Young Turk regime during World War I (as described in chapter 10 of Death By Government). However, scholars increasingly have come to realize that restricting the killing aspect of the concept to those murdered by virtue of their indelible group membership does not even account for the millions of those wiped out by the Nazis. How then do we conceptualize the purposive government killing of protesters or dissidents, the reprisal shooting of innocent villagers, the beating to death of peasants for hiding rice, or the indiscriminate bombing of civilians? How do we conceptualize torturing people to death in prison, working them to death in concentration camps, or letting them starve to death, when such killing is done out of revenge, for an ideology, or for reasons of state having nothing to do with the social groups to which these people belong?

    Because of such questions scholars have generalized the meaning of "genocide." In some cases it has been extended to include the intentionally killing of people because of their politics or for political reasons 2, even though this has been explicitly excluded from the Genocide Convention. Some scholars also have extended the definition of genocide to cover any mass murder by government whatsoever 3; some have even stretched the concept much further, such as to characterize the unintentional spread of disease to indigenous populations during European colonization, including that in the American West.4 To all these scholars the critical aspect of "genocide" is intentional government killing.

    All this is confusing. Both the non-killing aspect of "genocide" and the need to have a concept covering other kinds of government murder, all the following have been called genocide: the denial of ethnic Hawaiian culture by the American run public school system in Hawaii; government policies letting one race adopt the children of another race; African slavery by Whites; South African Apartheid; the murder of women by men; death squad murders in Guatemala; deaths in the Soviet gulag; and, of course, the Jewish Holocaust. The linking of all such diverse acts or deaths together under one label has created an acute conceptual problem that begs for the invention of new concepts to cover and be limited to intentional government murder. Thus, both Barbara Harff5 and I have independently developed the concept of politicide for a government's premeditated killing of people because of their politics or for political reasons. But this new concept is still not sufficient, since many mass murders by government cannot be so labeled either, such as the working of POWs to death by the Japanese army in World War II or the killing of Black Africans that resisted enslavement.

    Already in general use we have the concept of "mass murder" or "massacre." Although usage varies, both usually mean the intentional and indiscriminate murder of a large number of people by government agents, such as the shooting down of unarmed demonstrators by police, or soldiers lobbing grenades into prison cells before retreating under pressure from enemy troops. They can also include the random executions of civilians, as in the German reprisals against partisan sabotage in Yugoslavia; working prisoners to death, as in the Soviet Kolyma mining camps; the blanket fire bombing of cities, as in the British-American bombing of Hamburg in 1943; the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; or atrocities committed by soldiers, as in the 1937-1938 Japanese rape and pillage of Nanking during which they probably killed some 200,000 people.

    We also have the concept of "terror" applied to government killing, whose meaning is usually that of the extrajudicial execution, slaying, assassination, abduction or disappearance forever, of targeted individuals. That is, the killing is discriminating. This may be to exterminate actual or potential opponents or for social prophylaxis, as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn characterized Stalin's country-wide elimination of undesirables.6 Such killing also may be for the purpose of promoting fear among a people and thus ensuring their obedience and subservience.

    But then there is killing that does not easily fit under any of these labels. There is, for example, murder by quota carried out by the Soviets, Chinese communists, and North Vietnamese. For the Soviet and Vietnamese communists, government (or party) agencies would order subordinate units to kill a certain number of "enemies of the people," "rightists," or "tyrants," and the precise application of the order was left to the units involved. Moreover, millions of people wasted away in labor or concentration camps not because of their social identity, their political beliefs, or who they were, but simply because they got in the way, violated some Draconian rule, did not express sufficient exuberance over the regime, innocently insulted the Leader (as by setting on a newspaper with the picture of Stalin showing), or simply was a body that was needed for labor (as the Nazis would grab women innocently walking along a road in Ukraine and deport them to Germany for forced labor). And there are the hundreds of thousands of peasants that slowly died of disease, malnutrition, overwork, and hunger in Cambodia as the Khmer Rouge forced them under penalty of death to labor in the collectivized fields, expropriating virtually their whole harvest and refusing them adequate medical care.

    Moreover, even when applicable the concepts of "genocide," "politicide," "mass murder" or "massacre," and "terror" overlap and are sometimes used interchangeably. Clearly, a concept is needed that includes all intentional government killing in cold blood and that is comparable to the concept of murder for private killing.

    The killing of one person by another is murder whether done because the victim was Black or White, refused to repay a loan, or hurled an insult. It is murder if the killing was a premeditated act or the person died because of a reckless and wanton disregard for their life. Nor does it matter whether the killing is done for high moral ends, for altruistic reasons, or for any other purpose, it is murder under Western and most other legal codes (unless officially authorized by government, as for judicial executions or military combat). And as a crime murder is limited by definition to taking the life of another in some way. Although we use murder metaphorically, as in someone "murdering" the language, it is not the crime of murder to hurt someone psychological, to steal their child, or to rob them of their culture.

    As an analogous concept for public murder, that by government agents acting authoritatively, I offer the concept of democide. Its one root is the Greek dTmos, or people; the other is the same as for genocide, which is from the Latin caedere, to kill. Democide's necessary and sufficient meaning is that of the intentional government killing of an unarmed person or people. Unlike the concept of genocide, it is restricted to intentional killing, and does not extend to attempts to eliminate cultures, races, or a people by means other than killing people. Moreover, democide is not limited to the killing component of genocide, nor to politicide, mass murder or massacre, or terror. It includes them all and also what they exclude, as long as such killing is a purposive act, policy, process, or institution of government. In detail, democide is any actions by government:

    (1) designed to kill or cause the death of people

    (1.1) because of their religion, race, language, ethnicity, national origin, class, politics, speech, actions construed as opposing the government or wrecking social policy, or by virtue of their relationship to such people;
    (1.2) in order to fulfill a quota or requisition system;
    (1.3) in furtherance of a system of forced labor or enslavement;
    (1.4) by massacre;
    (1.5) through imposition of lethal living conditions;
    (1.6) by directly targeting noncombatants during a war or violent conflict.

    (2) that cause death by virtue of an intentionally or knowingly reckless and depraved disregard for life (which constitutes practical intentionality), as in

    (2.1) deadly prison, concentration camp, forced labor, prisoner of war, or recruit camp conditions;
    (2.2) killing medical or scientific experiments on humans;
    (2.3) torture or beatings;
    (2.4) encouraged or condoned murder, or rape, looting, and pillage during which people are killed;
    (2.5) a famine or epidemic during which government authorities withhold aid, or knowingly act in a way to make it more deadly;
    (2.6) forced deportations and expulsions causing deaths.

    (3) with the following qualifications and clarifications:

    (a) "government" includes de facto governance, as by the Communist Party of the People's Republic of China; or by a rebel or warlord army over a region and population it has conquered, as by the brief rule of Moslem Turks (East Turkistan Republic) over part of Sinkiang Province (1944-1946);
    (b) "actions by governments" comprise official or authoritative actions by government officials, including the police, military, or secret service; or such non-governmental actions (e.g., by brigands, press-gangs, or secret societies) receiving government approval, aid, or acceptance;
    (c) clause 1.1 includes, for example, directly targeting noncombatants during a war or violent conflict out of hatred or revenge, or to depopulate an enemy region or terrorize or force the population into urging surrender; this would involve, among other actions, indiscriminate urban bombing or shelling, or blockades that cause mass starvation;
    (d) "relationship to such people" (clause 1.1) includes their relatives, colleagues, co-workers, teachers, or students;
    (e) "massacre" (clause 1.4) includes the mass killing of prisoners of war or of captured rebels;
    (f) "quota" system (clause 1.3) includes randomly selecting people for execution in order to meet a quota; or arresting people according to a quota, some of whom are then executed;
    (g) "requisition" system (clause 1.3) includes taking from peasants or farmers all their food and produce, leaving them to starve to death;
    (h) and excluding from the definition:

    (h.1) execution for what are internationally considered capital crimes, such as murder, rape, spying, treason, and the like, so long as evidence does not exist that such allegations were invented by the government in order to execute the accused;
    (h.2) actions taken against armed civilians during mob action or a riot (e.g., killing people with weapons in their hands is not democide);
    (h.3) the death of noncombatants killed during attacks on military targets so long as the primary target is military (e.g., during bombing enemy logistics).

    Table 2.1 gives an overview of this concept in relation to the other concepts mentioned above, placing them within the context of democidal sources of mass death.

    Democide is meant to define the killing by government as the concept of murder does individual killing in domestic society. Here intentionality (premeditation) is critical. This also includes practical intentionality. If a government causes deaths through a reckless and depraved indifference to human life, the deaths were as though intended. If through neglect a mother lets her baby die of malnutrition, this is murder. If we imprison a girl in our home, force her to do exhausting work throughout the day, not even minimally feed and clothe her, and watch her gradually die a little each day without helping her, then her inevitable death is not only our fault, but our practical intention. It is murder. Similarly, for example, as the Soviet government forcibly transported political prisoners to labor camps hundreds of thousands of them died at the hands of criminals or guards, or from heat, cold, and inadequate food and water. Although not intended (indeed, this deprived the regime of their labor), the deaths were still public murder. It was democide.

    Moreover, when conceptually there is not a clear domestic analog to murder, as in the indiscriminate bombing of urban areas, I have tried to follow the Geneva Conventions and Protocols.7 Killing helpless people in time of war or military action in breach of these international agreements is a violation of the international law they codify a crime and is ipso facto democide. Therefore the forced detention of prisoners of war under conditions that cause their death is democide, as is death caused by medical experimentation on them. Bombing, shelling, or bombarding civilians indiscriminately is also democide, as is the forced removal of all food stuff in occupied areas, thus causing the death of the inhabitants from starvation. Similarly, food blockades that cause the indiscriminate death of civilians is democide, as was the largely British blockade of the Central Powers during and after World War I. As Article 14 to Protocol II of the Geneva Conventions affirms: "Starvation of civilians as a method of combat is prohibited."8

    I have to again be absolutely clear on this since so much takes place in time of war. War related killing by military forces that international agreements and treaties directly or by implication prohibit is democide, whether the parties are signatories or not. That killing explicitly permitted is not democide. Thus, the death of civilians during the bombing of munitions plants in World War II is not democide. Nor is the death of civilians when through navigation or bombing errors, or the malfunction of equipment, bombs land on a school or hospital, unless it is clear that the bombing was carried out recklessly in spite of a high risk to such civilian buildings. Nor is the death of civilians in a bombed village beneath which has been built enemy bunkers. Nor is the death of civilians caught in a cross fire between enemy soldiers, or those civilians killed while willingly helping troops haul supplies or weapons. Seldom is it easy to make these distinctions, but the aim here must be clear. I discriminate between democide in time of war and war-deaths. The latter are those of the military and civilians from battle or battle related disease and famine. The former are those victims (which may include the military, as when POWs are massacred) of internationally prohibited war-time killing, what may be called war-crimes or crimes against humanity.

    What then about the American fire-bombing of Tokyo or atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II? I recently received a letter from a colleague who was distressed that I would count deaths from such raids as American democide. I discuss this to some extent in Statistics of Democide, but here I might note that this was indiscriminate civilian bombing and would thus be by Article 48 to Protocol I of the Geneva conventions unlawful. The Article reads:

    In order to ensure respect for and protection of the civilian population and civilian objects, the Parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives and accordingly shall direct their operations only against military objectives.9

    Article 51 makes the meaning of this more specific:

    Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited. Indiscriminate attacks are:

    (a) those which are not directed at a specific military objective;
    (b) those which employ a method or means of combat which cannot be directed at a specific military objective; or
    (c) those which employ a method or means of combat the effects of which cannot be limited as required by this Protocol; and consequently, in each such case, are of a nature to strike military objectives and civilians or civilian objects without distinction.10


    And still more specifically,

    Among others, the following types of attacks are to be considered as indiscriminate: (a) an attack by bombardment by any methods or means which treats as a single military objective a number of clearly separated and distinct military objectives located in a city, town, village or other area containing a similar concentration of civilians or civilian objects. . . .11

    Pulling all this together, throughout this book a death constitutes democide if it is the intentional killing of an unarmed or disarmed person by government agents acting in their authoritative capacity and pursuant to government policy or high command (as in the Nazi gassing of the Jews). It is also democide if these deaths were the result of such authoritative government actions carried out with reckless and wanton disregard for the lives of those affected (as putting people in concentration camps in which the forced labor and starvation rations were such as to cause the death of inmates). It is democide if government promoted or turned a blind eye to these deaths even though they were murders carried out "unofficially" or by private groups (as by death squads in Guatemala or El Salvador). And these deaths also may be democide if high government officials purposely allowed conditions to continue that were causing mass deaths and issued no public warning (as in the Ethiopian famines of the 1970s). All extra-judicial or summary executions comprise democide. Even judicial executions may be democide, as in the Soviet show trials of the late 1930s. Judicial executions for "crimes" internationally considered trivial or non-capital, as of peasants picking up grain at the edge of a collective's fields, of a worker for telling an anti-government joke, or of an engineer for a miscalculation, are also democide.

    I have found that in the vast majority of events and episodes democide is unambiguous. When under the command of higher authorities soldiers force villagers into a field and then machine gun them, there should be no question about definition. When a group armed by the government for this purpose turn the teachers and students out of their school, line up those of a particular tribe and shoot them, it is surely democide. When all food stuffs are systematically removed from a region by government authorities and a food blockade is put in place, the resulting deaths must be democide. Sad to say, most cases of government killing in this century is that clear. The number of deaths will be hazy for many of these cases; the perpetrators and intent will not. 
    onfire likes this.

  2. #2
    us
    onfire

    Nov 2004
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    Nice job red Now I can see why teaching History in High school etc. would be difficult, I'm sure many would be lost Trying to comprehend these statistics.

  3. #3
    Charter Member
    us
    WolfPack member

    Aug 2009
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    Thanks onfire.Im sure many are lost and dont even bother trying to comprehend it.

 

 

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