One hundred years ago this week the Bolsheviks came to power in Russia and communist regimes began a hundred year killing spree that would claim more than 100 million lives. Twenty five years ago I thought that communism was destined for the ash heap of history. Having come of age in the 1980s in Miami during the Reagan years my political awakening as a conservative and anti-communist coincided with the fall of communism in Eastern Europe in 1989, the ouster of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua in 1990, and the peaceful dissolution of the Soviet Union on Christmas day in 1991. The wisdom behind the words of the great 20th century poet T.S. Eliot holds true today and is an implicit warning against complacency.
“If we take the widest and wisest view of a Cause, there is no such thing as a Lost Cause because there is no such thing as a Gained Cause. We fight for lost causes because we know that our defeat and dismay may be the preface to our successors’ victory, though that victory itself will be temporary; we fight rather to keep something alive than in the expectation that anything will triumph.”The revelation that 100 million human beings had been slaughtered in peace time by communist regimes combined with the evidence of the socio-economic backwardness of communism and its rejection by tens of millions was thought to be a mortal blow to Marxist ideology. Many believed that communism had been defeated and let their guard down. Meanwhile the remnants of international communism began to gather regularly in Sao Paolo, Brazil and in the midst of their defeat began plotting their come back on a global scale. This gathering became known as the Sao Paolo Forum.
Communists, by and large, have no difficulty in denouncing Josef Stalin, but attempt to portray Vladmir Lenin as different. The words of the Russian Revolutionary however reveal his true nature. In January of 1918 at a meeting of the Presidium of the Petrograd Soviet Lenin explained the necessity of terrorism for communist revolutionaries: "We can't expect to get anywhere unless we resort to terrorism: speculators must be shot on the spot. Moreover, bandits must be dealt with just as resolutely: they must be shot on the spot."
In the United States triumphalism ignored the continued march through academic and cultural institutions of Marxist Leninists and Cultural Marxists of the Frankfurt school that today is better known as Critical Theory.
Twenty five years later the results are in and they are troubling. The Washington Times reported that Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation’s “Annual Report on U.S. Attitudes Toward Socialism,” documented "58 percent of the up-and-coming generation opted for one of the three systems, compared to 42 percent who said they were in favor of capitalism.The most popular socioeconomic order was socialism, with 44 percent support. Communism and fascism received 7 percent support each." The same report found that "one in five (23%) of Americans age 21-29 consider Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin a ‘hero’; 26% for Vladimir Lenin; 23% for Kim Jong Un.”
Not surprisingly over 20% of millennials had a positive opinion of Karl Marx.
The crimes of Jong Un, Castro, Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, and Lenin need to be accurately highlighted to counter the misinformation and disinformation seeking to downplay communist crimes.