For Millenials, “Commie” Isn’t an Insult

The Sun’s front page on Corbyn meeting with a “Commie” spy is further evidence that the right-wing media in this country doesn’t get young people.

For a certain generation, Commie is one of the worst things you could level at someone, perhaps just behind Nazi in the political insult pecking order.

Nazi still retains most of its emotive power, though in some ways diluted by its somewhat flippant use across the internet.

But for most people like me, who grew up in a post-Iron Curtain world, the idea of Commie as an insult just doesn’t really stick.

Though there have been as many or more deaths as a result of Communism as there has been Nazism, young people see the two as very separate beasts.

I decided to ask my friends, all of whom are in my age group, their thoughts on this, and the responses I got were pretty enlightening.

The general feeling was this: Nazism is a failed ideology created by Hitler and the Nazi Party and solely them, whereas Communism is a theory in its own right, separate from the Communist states and dictatorships that used it.

To put it simply: rightly or wrongly, the perception is that there are, or could be, good Communists and bad Communists, but there are only bad Nazis.

What does this have to with Jeremy Corbyn and The Sun? Well, on February 15th, The Sun had this as its front page:

The general vibe here is that Corbyn meeting with a Communist at the height of the Cold War would amount to treason.

For some, perhaps those alive at the time, they’d agree with that assertion.

But to a millenial, this just seems weird.

If he did meet with a “Commie” - and as this is The Sun, the veracity of the story is very much up for debate —does it really matter?

Theresa May continues to help prop up a very questionable Saudi Arabian regime. Tony Blair shook hands with Colonel Gaddafi. Margaret Thatcher was General Pinochet’s biggest fan.

These are surely at least as bad or much worse than the idea of an, at the time, backbench MP meeting with a Czech agent.

For many young people, who on a daily basis see the rotten fruits of the unfettered Capitalist system we’re in, Communism doesn’t seem a significantly worse prospect.

Stalinism? Yes, bad. Nazism? Yes, bad.

But Communism, as Marx expresses it, can seem quite appealing when in the thickets of gross inequality, exploitation and financial oppression.

And so when The Sun labels Corbyn, or anyone he associates with, a Commie, our reaction is to basically shrug.

There are bad Communists and Communist states, there are bad Capitalists and Capitalist states; that’s the ever-growing opinion of a significant portion of the under-35 age group.

I think the internet plays a major role here too.

Whereas in the 70s and 80s, maybe a handful of news sources was the best we could hope for, we now have millions.

We can research every angle of every story, every possible opinion and viewpoint, and this has lead to many young people understanding that the world is not black and white, good and evil, but lighter and darker shades of grey.

I am by no means advocating Communism here, I’m merely suggesting that its emotive threat holds much less weight to me, than it does to perhaps my parents or grandparents.

And all of this goes to show that it is they, not me, who The Sun and other papers target.

To me, that indicates a medium at risk of soon losing its hold on the minds of the populace.

The millenial generation will grow in influence naturally over coming decades. When baby boomers start dying out, how will tabloids - so unreflective of the views of my generation — continue to prosper?

Without sounding too much like the relentless barrage of articles decrying millenials as the cause of death for such and such industry, it would appear that the tabloids have yet to work out that without us, they won’t last much longer.

They could start by giving a break to the man most millenials voted for.

Commie, or not.

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Jackson Rawlings is a political writer, with views on just about everything. You can chat/vocally disagree with him on Twitter, if you like.

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Jackson Rawlings 🤔

Written by

Writing words about politics and philosophy, mostly, and hoping they appear in the right order.

The Politicalists

Politics chat while the world burns.

Jackson Rawlings 🤔

Written by

Writing words about politics and philosophy, mostly, and hoping they appear in the right order.

The Politicalists

Politics chat while the world burns.

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