It has murdered tens of millions of its citizens and all its proponents can say in its defense is that we haven't seen "true" communism yet - a 'No True Scotsman' fallacy of epic proportions!
The proponents of many of Marx's ideas are NOT trying to defend totalitarian communism. There is no "No True Scotsman" fallacy here. It seems you and cofty are making a strawman argument here. I haven't read all of Marx's work, far from it, but from what I have read I see nowhere where he advocates for totalitarianism. If he does I'd like to know (please show me).
Supporting Marxism is the moral equivalent of promoting German National Socialism.
Woah Cofty, be careful not to make the false cause fallacy here. What you are doing is equivalent to a creationist asserting that supporting darwinism is the moral equivalent of promoting the nazi eugenics program.
From my perspective, the main work I've read of Marx directly is Wage Labour and Capital. I don't see much in that work to complain about (or anything at all to equate to nazism!). Some of the main arguments he makes that stand out to me include:
- Laborers are like slaves. A slave though has it much worse of course. A slave's whole life is a commodity that can be sold and owned. A free laborer is like a slave in that he sells off himself in fractions (a day's shift) to the capitalist. Life for him starts when he gets off work. Like the slave, his life is not his own while he is working.
- What a laborer gets paid in wages is the value of his labor-power (the cost of training and education of the workers for a specific task, as well as their replacement when they can no longer work). Labor-power is a commodity (like raw materials) that is purchased by the capitalist. The laborer doesn't receive a share in the product being produced. The profits from the production go to the capitalist. Since the production couldn't have happened without the laborer, and the product wasn't sold merely at cost, the value of the laborer's productivity is greater than the value of his labor-power. In essence, this surplus value is transferred form the laborer to the capitalist by nature of the relationship between the two. The laborer class has no choice but to sell themselves to the capitalist class in order to survive. As more of the surplus is transferred from workers to the capitalists, the more power the capitalists have, and the worse off are the workers. This is the crux of the unfairness of capitalism.
- Capitalism is ultimately unstable in the long run. The only way to avoid collapse requires perpetual growth and ever increasing productivity. To Marx, eventually this is unsustainable.