Saturday, May 5, 2018

#KarlMarx200 Ideas have consequences: Rather than celebrate perhaps Marxists should apologize.

"They must work to ensure that the immediate revolutionary excitement is not suddenly suppressed after the victory. On the contrary, it must be sustained as long as possible. Far from opposing the so-called excesses—instances of popular vengeance against hated individuals or against public buildings with which hateful memories are associated—the workers’ party must not only tolerate these actions but must even give them direction." - Karl Marx, 1850

Child victims of the communist Khmer Rouge regime genocide in Cambodia 1975-79
Communist China is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx and commissioned a statue of the German philosopher that is now on display in Marx's German home town. It should not be surprising that the Chinese regime would push for this because Karl Marx is the intellectual author of the communist revolution led by Mao Zedong. What is shocking is that democrats in Germany accepted the statue and that Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the EU Commission would attend an event there to honor the German communist and declare "Marx isn't responsible for all the atrocity his alleged heirs have to answer for."

Alleged heirs?  Karl Marx advocated revolutionary terror, moral relativism, and an end justifies the means approach in a toxic mix that produced a century of mass murder and totalitarianism. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. understood this and rejected communism and the Marxist Leninist vision which is why the KGB targeted him with an active measures program.

Communist China honors Karl Marx, but does it truthfully look at its own history as other nations have? Have any other communist regimes or communist parties?

Has the communist regime in China apologized for the tens of million killed creating and consolidating their regime? Has the Castro regime in Cuba apologized for the tens of thousands of Cubans it killed, or the tens of thousands of Ethiopians it killed, or Nicaraguans it killed or Venezuelans it is killing today?
An apology without making amends is not enough but it is something. It is at least a recognition of past wrongs and the need to do better. The Australian government apologized in 2008 for the policies that did great harm to the Aboriginal people during the colonization of Australia.The U.S. House of Representatives issued a formal apology for slavery and Jim Crow in 2008. In 2010 the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate passed a resolution apologizing for treatment of indigenous people in the U.S. and the President signed it.

The fact that the Putin regime has refused to apologize for the crimes of Soviet Russia in the Baltics s worrisome. Have any existing communist regimes apologized for past crimes? Have any communist parties recognized their past crimes? Instead of rewriting history perhaps recognize the past, apologize and make amends?

Perhaps communists could apologize for how communist regimes have treated children?
Communists advocate and carry out policies to end families and replace the role of parent with the communist state. This means that the extrajudicial killings of children in communism are acts of state filicide. Filicide is the act of killing one's own son or daughter. Across the world from Europe, to Asia, to Africa, and the Americas there is a pattern that transcends race and ethnicity but have one commonality: all are communist regimes and they murder their own innocent children.

China could also consider their legacy in Cambodia, a regime they backed and that was Marxist-Leninist and Maoist.

Spanish poster for S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine and Enemies of the People
There are two documentary films that you must see to gain an understanding of how a true and pure communist regime operates. They both focus on events in Cambodia following the rise to power of the communist regime there. One of them Enemies of the People was released in 2010. The other S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine (French: S-21, la machine de mort Khmère rouge) is available online and was released in 2003. Both are works of art that transcend the confines of documentary film making to serve an important role in truth telling and national reconciliation. Members of the Khmer Rouge were placed on trial, but the verdict on their ideological project is still the subject of fierce dialogue and debate among communists of what took place between 1975 and 1979. Both these films can serve to not only inform but provide context into understanding revolution. 

The films compliment each other. Enemies of the People offers the perspective of the revolutionary leadership, their ideological vision, and how they applied it as government policy. While the S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine documentary allows the viewer to see how that policy was implemented in day by day accounts by the prison guards and surviving prisoners. Enemies of the People offers the perspective of the documentary's director Thet Sambath, a senior reporter for the Phnom Penh Post, and he is regarded as one of Cambodia’s best investigative journalists. On the other hand in S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine the director, Rithy Panh, is a lifelong filmmaker and a survivor of the Khmer Rouge camps who lost his parents, sister, and many other relatives to the genocide. 

Both films offer something I have never seen before in a documentary the voice of the individuals who committed the atrocities. In Enemies of the People the party’s ideological leader, Nuon Chea aka Brother Number Two – break a 30-year silence to give testimony never before heard or seen laying out what and why they did it, and in S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine it is the guards themselves walking through S-21 prison with one of their former captives describing in detail what was done there. 

Instead of building new statues to the intellectual author of these horrors perhaps they should be torn down or placed in museums that provide the proper historical context. Meanwhile the European Union, whose countries gave birth to the two great totalitarian nightmares of the 20th century: Nazism and Communism, should reflect more deeply on what they seek to honor, to avoid repeating past mistakes.

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