Part of the propaganda that the capitalist class loves to preach about communism is that we are brutal suppressors of civil rights. Here’s the truth:
Despite all the talk about democracy, we live in a dictatorship: the dictatorship of those who control all the power and wealth. We call them the bourgeoisie. While some people have the vote, this is rarely a sufficient safeguard for the well-being of the most of us. Gerrymandering, the influence of big money in elections, lobbyists, and many other features of capitalist “democracy” mean that most of us are doing what we are told, like it or not. Also, many of the most important issues that control our lives aren’t subject to a vote. A corporation can close a factory regardless of the devastation to the community, to give but one example. Elected “representatives”, even those few who attempt to represent the people more than the monied interests who keep them in power, have no say in this.
The bourgeoisie will not give up power by appealing to their better nature. As individuals, some of them do indeed have kind hearts, and will treat some “poor unfortunates” who cross their path with generosity and compassion. Don’t be fooled by this. Their main motive remains profit, no matter how philanthropic they may be, and the matter of social control is seen when we consider that the money they might share is extracted from exploited peoples and environments. They retain control over whether to be charitable with the money they have stolen. This isn’t the picture of a saint. Power and profit remain dominant themes in their relationships with the rest of us.
There are many – probably the majority – who have been so indoctrinated by bourgeois culture that they believe this to be the natural state of affairs. They will fight to maintain it, even though they would benefit much more from socialism. They will continue to fight for capitalism, even after the revolution, alongside the bourgeoisie.
One of their main strategies will be to loudly complain that their civil rights are being violated. Of course, their view of civil rights is founded within bourgeois culture. If they can assert that they should be able to say whatever they wish, then they can continue the hateful propaganda that has kept the bourgeoisie in power for centuries. We will not allow proponents of white supremacy, patriarchy, homophobia, and exploitation to spread these poisons willy-nilly.
It isn’t necessary to resort to widespread slaughter to protect the people from those slanderers. For instance, with the demise of profit-motivated agribusiness, there will be a need for more people to work in healthy farming communities. This will keep them busy, allow them to contribute to the welfare of society as a whole, and segregate them where their propaganda and counter-revolutionary activities can do little harm. Prison farms are as much a part of American life as Siberian labor camps were part of Czarist Russia and the USSR. No one need be shocked by this. The difference is that it will be enemies of the people, not of the oligarchy.
Mistakes will be made, and some will be treated unjustly. This happens now, already, under capitalist rule. No human power can prevent it in the future. We will have systems of review in place to mitigate unnecessary punishment, but there will never be a utopia where everyone gets exactly what they deserve.
Many reactionaries would not want to get exactly what they deserve, anyway. They will plead for the people to be more merciful than they ever were.