Sociology Index

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Democide

Democide is defined as murder by government including genocide, mass murder and politicide. In The Blue Book of Freedom, R. J. Rummel defined democide as "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." This definition of democide covers any murder of any number of persons by any government. Rummel created the term as an extended concept to include forms of government murder not covered by the term genocide. Democide is still occuring. In 2015, over 4,000 Christian people were killed in church attacks throughout Nigeria.

Democide includes deaths arising from reckless disregard for life which includes deaths arising because of forced mass starvation. Great Purges carried out by Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union and the deaths from the colonial policy in the Congo. Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward and famine killed millions of people. Rummel re-classified Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward as democide in 2005. These were not cases of genocide because they resulted from government policies. Induced famine can also be democide.

According to Rummel, definition of democide covers a wide range of deaths, including forced labor and concentration camp victims; killings by "unofficial" private groups; extrajudicial summary killings; and mass deaths due to the governmental acts of criminal omission and neglect, such as in deliberate famines, as well as killings by de facto governments, as in civil war killings. Democide surpassed war as the leading cause of non-natural death in the 20th century. - R. J. Rummel (Feb 1, 2005). "Democide Vs. Other Causes of Death." R. J. Rummel (1998). Statistics of Democide: Genocide and Mass Murder since 1900. LIT Verlag.

Rummel's idea was to include forms of government murder that are not covered by the term genocide. Government-sponsored killings would be considered democide. The objectives of democide include the disintegration of the political and social institutions of culture. Figures for democide include Chinese Communist Party (77 million), Soviet Union (62 million), Nazi Germany (21 million). This generalized meaning of genocide is similar to the ordinary meaning but also includes government killings of political opponents or otherwise intentional murder. In order to avoid confusion over which meaning is intended. Rummel created the term democide for this third meaning.