Alright, something I've been meaning to post ever since it first came to mind upon watching the Season 5 premier of MLP... Oh, that reminds me:
MAJOR spoilers for MLP's Season 5 premier episode (aka "The Cutie Map", originally to be titled "Cutie Markless", I believe) ahead!!!
Now that we have that message out of the way, onto my rant! X3
It wasn't just upon first seeing the episode that I've been brewing these thoughts, though. I've noticed the implications upon seeing the previews of the episode beforehand, with the creators of the show explaining Starlight's intentions and plans and whatnot. And also since then, upon looking around DA and YouTube, a lot of people seem to think that Starlight Glimmer's town society (which was never specifically named, by the way) was run under communism.
As a communist myself, I can without a doubt confirm that Starlight's society is NOT communism.
Not in the bloody slightest. I may or may not be the first one to point this out, but I still feel a dire need to say it. Too many people are confused by this brutal mistake... even the writers of the episode itself.
Now, at first, I tried curbing myself from jumping to conclusions, giving the episode a chance to show that the little town Starlight is running is more of its own thing, rather than what the writers may be implying is communism, despite not having that strong a grasp of what it is beyond what 'Murican textbooks falsely describe it as. Upon first entering the very uniform town, Starlight explains her philosophy of how individualism (via cutie marks, of course) leads to disagreement and unhappiness, and that absolute equality of ability and identity is the true path to peace- or, as she puts it, "friendship". This, in itself, is technically more akin to the Equalist cult of Amon, as seen in Legend of Korra's first season; which, by the way, is a far more accurate allusion for Starlight's town than communism, and I give very kind kudos to anyone choosing to make that reference rather than the unoriginal bandwagon assumption. That considered, I gave it more of a chance as the episode progressed.
Then we came upon the second part's progression, where the Mane 6 were apprehended by Starlight's community, had their cutie marks confiscated from them, and were all locked in one of the equally constructed little houses, forced to endure consistent loudspeaker propaganda such as "In sameness, there is peace," "Exceptionalism is a lie," "Free yourself from your cutie mark," "Choose equality as your special talent," "Difference is frustration," "To excel is to fail," "Be your best by never being your best," "Conformity will set you free," "Accept your limitations, and happiness will follow,"
and "You're no better than your friend,"
to name what could be heard in the episode. Now, as far as I know, there probably wasn't consistent loudspeaker propaganda played in the Soviet Union (which is hardly an example of real communism, anyway, but that's another story), at least not as frequently as that. Besides, those particular repetitive phrases sound a lot more Orwellian anyway, and we all know (or at least, most of us know) that Orwell was set out on exposing the evils of totalitarianism specifically, which can encompass any kind of government, just so long as there's a government for it to utilize as a host.
Thus far, things were looking okay, and Starlight's society looked quite like its own thing to me, while drawing influence from several unique dystopian sources that could be considered definitively separate from communism. But then, Twilight spoke up, and revealed my worst suspicions of the writer's intentions. She said, and I quote,"I haven't studied Eastern unicorns as much as I should've, but I'm pretty sure Metalwork only had 8 magical items, not 9."
... Allow me to repeat the first part of that sentence again."I haven't studied Eastern unicorns as much as I should've"
... Yeah. "Eastern" unicorns. They very specifically and deliberately said "Eastern". They were referencing the East side of the world, the former USSR, on purpose. ... Yup, the writers WERE making Starlight's town out to be like communism. For fucking shame.
Alright, so I've gone on about the episode's details long enough. You're all clearly wondering, "But HOW is it not communism?" Well, my friends, I'll gladly tell you, specifically with a comparison of definitions:Starlight's town:
While the town remains unnamed, it's definitely strong in its intents and purposes, as Starlight explains to us. She describes it as a town where all within it live without their cutie mark, so that absolute equality envelops the town's populace. Her reasoning for this is that the special talents resulting from cutie marks lead to inequality of opportunity, making some ponies more or less talented than others, leading to disarray and injustice. Therefore, with her "Staff of Sameness" (merely a stick found in
a CrackerJacks box
the desert), she removes any participating townsfolk's cutie mark, locking them away in a grand vault in a cave just outside of her town, and replacing them with the town's equal sign. Everypony is practically the same except for their name and given specialty, which isn't exactly a talent, more as it's an assigned position based on their previous talent. Therefore, everypony is equal in ability; nopony is better than anypony else in anything they do. Adequacy all around. And yet, everyone is perfectly happy with the conditions set before them within their town- unnaturally happy, as Pinkie suspected from the start, but very happy nonetheless. The majority actually feels a great deal of gratitude towards Starlight in the belief that she truly has brought them the happiness and peace she claims to have brought them. ... Aaaand that's about it. Communism:
The Wikipedia definition of communism is "a socioeconomic system structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and characterized by the absence of social classes, money, and the state; as well as a social, political and economic ideology and movement that aims to establish this social order."
Personally, I'm quite proud of Wikipedia's surprising accuracy of summarizing and defining communism so well. Many 'Murican textbooks will tell you that in communism, "the state" controls the means of production, and insinuates the unfair and prejudicial stigma that communists adhere to the state as their source of identity and belonging. That is a miserable and slanderous lie, and has already been debunked by Wikipedia's definition, in stating that communism is stateless. Real communism, anyhow. The communism that Karl Marx himself (who, by the way, is the pony seen on the far left) innovated and set out the first official form of, if only in writing. Very sadly, no creed of humanity has ever successfully accomplished real communism in history, and the concept has been bastardized by corrupt, power-hungry dictators who used it as a means of manipulating a desperate populace to their iron will... but I digress. Basically, communism is supposed to be a true utopia free of state, class and capital (money). The removal of state results in truly communal democracy, where each and every citizen has the right of say in what goes on in the community, and everyone provides for and benefits from each other on a level basis. The removal of class results in prejudice, bigotry, inequality and poverty (among other horrendous conditions) to be washed away completely, harmonizing all within the community. Finally, the removal of capital eliminates one of the most insidious of humanity's vices: greed. Without money to corrupt the people, the endless consequences of greed are no more, and gratitude for what is already there is realized in greater actuality and immediacy. I could go on about the benefits and absence of vices/hindrances in the communist utopia, but I think I've covered pretty much all I can of it.
Now that I have the two properly defined, how do they compare or contrast? Well, they both have unique ideas of absolute equality and peace thereof, but upon further inspection, they have very different ideas of what that equality is. Starlight's community believes this equality to result from everypony being on the exact same level of ability and identity, basically equating to the total removal of individuality in order to remove the potential disharmony of talents being superior or inferior to one another. Communism sees equality as having all on a same level as well, regarding the removal of class, but this same level is established from a standpoint of economic status, meaning nobody is richer or poorer than anyone else, particularly because of the removal of capital that would result in such inequality and poverty.
When it all narrows down to the one most important difference, it's revealed to be the matter of individuality.
What does each ideology say about that? Let's take a look see, shall we?Starlight's town:
Strictly and explicitly calls for the absolute removal of individuality, believing it to be the inherent source of disharmony and suffering. They believe absolute equality, keeping everypony at the exact same level of ability and identity (apart from name, that is), is the true path to peace and friendship.Communism:
As far as I know, Marx never made any specific statements about individuality's place or lack thereof in the communist utopia. It was probably not really a concern of his at the time, for his innate intentions in creating communism was to engineer a method of both elimination and replacement for capitalism, which, around his time, was creating a great slew of suffering, poverty and inequality on a devastating level... a level that can actually be seen in today's modern economy and society, if one is willing to look past the propaganda of the news media and government and take a look at the conditions of the world around them, as well as the empirical statistics proving the line between the rich and the poor to be paper-thin, exposing the drastic difference between the 99% (poor) and the 1% (rich), and revealing 5.5 million deaths per year to result from the poverty and inequality that capitalism produces... but again, I digress. Point is, Marx's focus was not individuality in creating communism.
Though, if anything, it's very likely hinted that individuality is, in fact, important
to the function of communism!
Capitalism may constantly brag about how it's the system of opportunity, claiming that anyone can accumulate personal success and wealth with enough hard work and thrift, but in reality, such opportunity is reserved specifically for the spoiled 1%, most of which gained such wealth from inheritance and never really work that much to begin with, especially not compared to the toiling and oppressed working class (the proletariat, as Marx defined it) building the 1%'s success for them. It's especially hard nowadays to really excel in what you're talented at without investing a great deal of money into it, specifically with the education system and how it runs its colleges, the majority of them being expensive as hell and impoverishing graduating students with heaps of debt. Not only that, but certain degrees only get people so far, and don't even come close to the range of opportunity and success that they may have envisioned in pursuing a desired career path that such a degree would be vital for, resulting in monotonous desk jobs for the majority with degrees, and toilsome, exploitative positions of labor and basic service for those without degrees, who are harshly labeled by society as "unskilled", just because they don't have an expensively earned piece of paper to prove otherwise.
Therefore, with the elimination of class and capital, opportunities to explore desired career paths and exercise special talents are opened up to literally everyone
. Education for these skills would be public and open to anyone with the desire and determination to learn them. The success of these careers and abilities would be defined not by monetary income, but by how much of an impact they make upon the community by serving them and providing what they need. This does include all forms of art, by the way. An advanced utopia such as communism would embrace the importance of art and its significance in society, and the expression of creativity would be absolutely unhindered and unrestrained, especially by capitalist limitations such as focus groups, unnecessary censors, etc. All this considered, the way careers and talents would flourish in the communist utopia ultimately debunks the conservative myth that communism/socialism eliminates the incentive to work, simply because of equal/no pay, resulting in a lack of wealth and decadence. The contrary is true, to be exact. Money isn't, and shouldn't, be the incentive for work at all; rather, it's the joy one takes in doing their job, because they're talented at it and it's what they love doing, giving them a sense of purpose and belonging in society, creating an overall healthy and happy environment, resulting in a great deal of efficiency and community benefit.
So there you have it, comrades! Articulate and empirical proof that Starlight Glimmer's town of "equality" is, in fact, NOT communism in the very slightest. I really do hope this clears up any confusion or misunderstandings of the case in the future...
... Oh yes, of course! X3 The artwork description!! Silly me, I cant leave a description of mine without one! Well, it can be clearly seen that Starlight is being chewed out by a select few of history's most influential communists, and ironically admired by the greatest traitor to communism and history's worst monster, Joseph Stalin. The two real
communists circling Starlight are Karl Marx (left) and Vladmir Lenin (right). Stalin, of course, is on the far right. Marx's retort to Starlight is a poised, but disappointed and shame-striking, inquiry as to her apparent ignorance of what his invention of communism truly is. His cutie mark is of the communist hammer and sickle, the inherent and most recognizable symbol of communism, representing the strength of the proletariat (they are both tools of the common working man, banded togther to display strength and unity). Lenin, known historically as a powerful-speaking revolutionary (as can be seen by his communist-fist cutie mark), is humorously characterized here as outspokenly enraged at Starlight for her distasteful misrepresentation of communism through her equalist ideals, berating her with bitter, unforgiving and unapologetic rancor. Stalin's motives in this piece are already explained, though his place isn't entirely defined yet. You'll notice that he's considerably shorter than the rest of the ponies here, specifically because in real life, he was actually particularly short. 5'4", to be exact, a lot shorter than what USSR propaganda depicted him to be. His cutie mark is the soviet star, representing how he manipulated the ideals of communism and used them to create a totalitarian state which he ruled with an iron fist, since the star is supposed to be more of a state symbol rather than a symbol of communist strength or ideals. Each communist (and not-real-communist) pony has a hide color according to the shade of their personality as best as I could pinpoint it to. Marx is shaded a light red, for having invented communism itself, which is practically always associated with the color red. Lenin is a faded and light shade of orange, both to represent how close he was to achieving Marx's communism in his day of leading the USSR (since orange is a very close shade to red), and to display his most influential revolutionary actions to take place around the time of the October Revolution. Orange is a color associated with autumn, and October is an autumn month, so it makes sense in that manner. Stalin is a very dark but faded shade of blue, as close to black as possible, to represent his black heart and sinister demeanor.
Made in Sketchbook Pro 2011. Hope you all enjoy, constructive feedback is always welcome!
Starlight Glimmer, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and all related names and properties (c) Hasbro and Lauren Faust (known on DA as
Communism is the creation of Karl Marx, the inspiration for Lenin and his accomplishments, and the greatest victim of Stalin's destructive grasp...</span>