|Photo credit: Ileana Johnson, 2013|
I will start with equal pay, social justice, and equality across the board by government fiat. The commie social justice was equality of misery, hunger, poor, cold, and cramped living conditions, scarcity of food, basic needs, electricity, water, and everything else spoiled brats in America take for granted that is produced by a free market model. The Sochi hotel accommodations are a case in point. To deal with the misery, the workers (the proletariat), which was all of us (except the ruling regime), joked that the “communists pretended to pay us, and we pretended to work.” I choose capitalist inequality any day.
“Collectivism, community, and the common good” meant that the elites in power stole for their own good and used everything that the community worked hard to produce. We acquiesced like sheep because the commies had jails, jailers, security police, informers, and a well-equipped army. We had nothing but fear and oppression.
NBC’s Olympic opening ceremony introduction described communist Russia as “one of modern history’s pivotal experiments.” To say that the murder and suffering of millions of citizens who disagreed ideologically with the Soviets, was a vital experiment is a slap in the face of decency and humanity. How can you say that murdering, torturing, oppressing, and imprisoning people for their thoughts was a vital experiment? Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted on February 7, 2014, “The NBC Olympics is absurd. The Soviet Union was a ‘pivotal experiment?’ Really? No, it was an evil empire that murdered and oppressed.”
A play at the Arena Stage in the D.C. area, “The Tallest Tree in the Forest,” dedicated praise to the communist Paul Robeson who traveled to the Soviet Union in the 1930s and defended the Soviet death machine, aiding and abetting evil. He never mentioned Holomodor, the genocide by man-made starvation in Ukraine in 1932-1933. He was also silent about hundreds of naïve Americans who left in the 1930s for the Soviet Union only to die in the gulags. http://alextimes.com/2014/01/the-cost-of-fighting-the-good-fight/
A self-described communist wrote, “Why you’re wrong about communism: 7 huge misconceptions about it (and capitalism),” in an ill-informed attempt to rewrite the dreadful history of communism by making fallacious comparisons to capitalism. The article is a disturbing list of how the far left views communism.
Progressives have been quite successful in indoctrinating Americans into believing their fantastic misrepresentation of history and I’d like to offer counterpoints.
1. The author says, “Communism necessarily distributes property universally, but, at least as far as this communist is concerned, can still allow you to keep your smartphone. Deal?” Not true, the property is not distributed, you cannot make deals, property is confiscated at the end of a gun from all people and becomes the patrimony of the ruling elites who use it as they see fit. You would not have a smartphone in the first place unless someone from a free economy developed it first and brought it to the market. Communism mandates “groupthink,” discouraging and punishing people who are creative and who desire to become entrepreneurs.
2. Capitalist economies were based on free exchange, on the coincidence of wants, until the job-killing EPA regulations and outrageous taxation prevented many companies from producing competitive goods at affordable prices; labor unions controlled by the left drove the wage of a high school graduate to almost $50 an hour in some sectors, prompting many companies to outsource jobs or move to other countries for cheaper labor and less corporate taxation.
Nobody “is forcing you to work for a boss who is trying to get rich by paying you less and working you harder.” You are free to quit, move to any part of the country, and get a new job. That is not an option under communism where everyone works for the state, has a work card which must be stamped by the authorities, and must get the state permission to move or change jobs.
It is not true that the “U.S. particular brand of capitalism required exterminating a continent’s worth of indigenous people and enslaving millions of kidnapped Africans. And all the capitalist industry was only possible because white women, considered the property of their fathers and husbands, were performing the invisible task of child-rearing and housework, without remuneration.”
We did not exterminate an entire continent although some Indians were killed and pushed off their lands into reservations. That hardly qualifies as mass extermination. We did not enslave nor kidnap Africans. The British engaged in the slave trade and the African men and women were sold into slavery to the British by their own tribesmen. The British brought the slaves to the New World. There are many nations and cultures today that still engage in the slave trade. Where is the leftist outrage over that?
Capitalism did not develop because white women stayed home and raised their children without remuneration. That is the most laughable statement I had ever read. Women around the world, of all races, raise their children with love and without pay because we love our children and it is our maternal instinct to do so. We are not invisible. Many of us hold part-time jobs and some have full-time professional careers.
3. Communism killed at least 100 million people through purposeful starvation, mass shootings, torture, imprisonment in gulags, concentration camps for re-education into the communist ideology, and for resisting the confiscation of their lands, homes, farms, food, and personal belongings. Purposeful famine and starvation as it happened in the Ukraine is a “left wing problem.” Do deny this historical truth is to revise history.
4. To say that capitalist governments commit human rights atrocities in your lame attempt to excuse the real atrocities committed by communist regimes is unbelievable.
Capitalism is not responsible for the genocide in Africa; the killing of indigenous tribes and of Christians is committed by Muslim groups in third world dictatorships.
Capitalism is not responsible for the malnutrition in Africa – we have certainly donated billions in food, aid, and specialists to grow crops.
We are not responsible for “climate-borne deaths.” How exactly are we accountable for climate that has been changing for millions of years? The climate change is called seasons caused by the yearly revolution of the Earth around the Sun and the tilt of the Earth’s axis, relative to the plane of revolution. Climate change is not man-made.
“Famine like the human species has never known is in the offing because the free market does not price carbon and oil-extracting capitalist firms have, since the collapse of the USSR, become sovereigns of their own.” This sentence makes no sense. The author seems to imply that, if we don’t tax carbon, famine will take place. Carbon taxes do not benefit anyone but those who impose the taxes and do not reduce pollution.
Global warming is not settled science, it is a hoax and “consensus” science. We have certainly shoveled a lot of global warming from our driveways this winter. And the expedition of Australian “scientists” to document how the ice caps had melted, were embarrassed when, stuck in 13 miles of very thick ice, had to be rescued by crews with conventional fuel-driven means, at great cost to society. The desperate left called this cooling, that contradicted their global warming theory, the “Polar Vortex.” In my childhood, the Polar Vortex was called winter.
5. Progressives, your brand of communism is not going to be “more open, humane, democratic, participatory, and egalitarian than the Russian and Chinese attempts managed.” It is still a form of tyranny, imposing your views of the world on the rest of us.
You cannot afford to bribe citizens forever into accepting your drug-induced utopian dreams that you have concocted in your social studies or ethnic studies classes at the liberal colleges you attended.
Your teacher lied to you in order to keep his/her high paying job and his classes full while promoting outrageous ideology.
Your god, Marx, was a bum who never worked a day in his life, neglected his family, two of his children died of malnutrition, waiting on handouts from his rich benefactor. There are only so many producers who work to spread their wealth around to the takers without a work ethic.
6. “Communism is based on the total opposite of uniformity: tremendous diversity, not just among people, but even with in a single person’s occupation.” That is not true.
Diversity was strongly discouraged; we were expected to conform to a specific mold dictated by the communist party. We wore the same style shoes, always in short supply, and the same style clothes or uniforms.
If one tried to be different or do anything else other than what the assigned job was, you were taken in for questioning by the economic police, then by security police, your comings and goings were recorded by the bloc informer, your extra goods derived from such activity were confiscated, and your extra-curricular activities had to cease or else you went to jail.
“That so many great artists and writers have been Marxists suggest that the production of culture in such a society would breed tremendous individuality and offer superior avenues for expression.” Perhaps in your Marxist utopian dreams there was “tremendous individuality.” Avenues of expression were allowed within the strict communist ideology and slogans.
Yes, we had a culture; it was called Marxism and the worship of the communist party leaders. Every play, movie, poem, painting, picture, cartoon, song, dance, gymnastics, holidays, and athletic games had to proclaim communism and worship the dear leader. If an artist did anything that the party did not approve of, he/she was jailed and his/her works of art trashed and burned.
Lefties are delusional if they think that people had “universal access to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” You had the right to breathe if the party allowed you to live within the confines of their ideology. You were not allowed to travel; you had to register your residence within 7 days of moving to a new street or a new apartment so that the police could track you. If you did not report your new location, the bloc informer did, and you were subsequently fined and jailed for not doing so.
7. Capitalism fosters individuality, not communism. In capitalism you don’t have to live in the same type of housing, you have choices in your daily life. You can even stay home shamelessly and claim perennial unemployment, disability, accept welfare, and mooch off your parents until middle age because you are trying to find yourself.
You now have ObamaCare which frees you from the drudgery of having to work. Somebody else is paying for your health insurance.
Under communism everybody had to work. Nobody was fed for free or received welfare. We lived in the same drab and dirty concrete 300 square ft. apartments, took the same dingy buses to work, rode the same rickety bikes, and walked everywhere. We had free medical care but, unless you had the sniffles, most people died when real surgeries had to be performed.http://www.salon.com/chromeo/article/why_youre_wrong_about_communism_7_huge_misconceptions_about_it_and_capitalism/
Another example of revisionist history is the CNN’s 1999 twenty-four episode documentary, “Cold War,” presented as objective history. On the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, CNN is rebroadcasting its documentary through November 8, 2014.
According to Jaroslaw Martyniuk, “the documentary was infused with an extreme brand of revisionism verging on the tragicomic,… distorting reality and suggesting moral equivalence between the behavior of the Soviet Union and Western democracies.”
Martyniuk’s objections to the documentary are as follows:
- Strong emphasis on Soviet regime “lofty” goals of decent education, free health care, common ownership of the land, and fairness but no mention of the savage revolution, the mass shootings, property confiscations, social engineering, and the millions who died in deliberate mass famines engineered by Lenin
- CNN indicates that Stalin’s aims were not aggressive, “he feared encirclement by capitalist countries, he was merely establishing a buffer zone through his Eastern European satellite countries of the Iron Curtain”
- CNN barely mentions the Soviet Union as a “prison of nations” and Stalin as a tyrant who subdued Eastern Europe through brutal coercion and terror
- The Berlin Blockade episode does not point out the disparate buildup of troops – 40 combat-ready Soviet divisions in Eastern Germany as opposed to 8 allied divisions in Western Germany
- CNN describes the introduction of the new Deutschemark (currency) and the financial aid (Marshall Plan) to rebuild the war-torn West Germany as acts of aggression
- Truman’s attempt to contain communism is labeled by CNN as “the official declaration of the Cold War” but the Soviet aggression and expansionism is ignored
- In the episode “Reds,” CNN compares the Soviet Gulag with the 1947 investigation of the “Hollywood ten” by the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC); there is no moral equivalency between the internment of 25 million prisoners in the Arctic death camps and ten Hollywood stars who lost their jobs or were jailed for refusing to answer questions before HUAC
- CNN documentary excuses Stalin and his monstrous crimes - Soviet Union had a good reason to be concerned by the shortwave transmissions and programming from Radio Liberty; no mention is made of the risk Soviet citizens took by listening to freedom radio broadcasts – deportation to gulags
- The CNN series allocate 45 minutes to China, commenting that Mao’s Great Leap Forward “caused millions to die;” to report accurately, it was a mass killing of 45 million Chinese, one of the most deadly man-made disaster in human history
- While depicting in great detail the electric chair death of Ethel Rosenberg, the Cultural Revolution in China that killed and persecuted millions in violent skirmishes, is barely mentioned
- The Cold War documentary does not reference the Venona files, discoveries made more recently in Russian archives, or by historians Anne Applebaum, Simon-Sebag Montefiore, Timothy Snyder, Vasili Mitrokhin, Frank Dikötter, and M. Stanton Evans.
In an ideal world, students and viewers should listen to the trustworthy voices of average citizens who endured and survived a harsh life during the terrible times of the brutal communist regimes. They should not listen to “progressive” writers who have never experienced communist life but spew very confidently communist propaganda through rose-colored glasses, articulating strong opinions formed and spun from textbook theories that have a distinct anti-American agenda.
The Cold War was a “colossal battle between good and evil, freedom and slavery, and democracy and totalitarianism.” Revisionist presentation of communist atrocities is a sad distortion of truth and of history.
Sources: CNN’s Cold War Documentary: Issues and Controversy, Hoover Institution Press, 2000Jaroslaw Martyniuk, February 2014