Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Victims of Communism Day

Some advocate that, just as we recognize the victims of fascism on Holocaust Memorial Day, the victims of Communism should also be remembered with a particular day of remembrance. Communist regimes killed an estimated 80 to 100 million, not as the result of wars, but killed by their own governments.

May Day would be a good choice for that observation. Communists appropriated what had once been an international labor day and made it the occasion for massive celebrations of Marxism-Leninism — the May Day events in Red Square, for instance, with Soviet leaders standing on Lenin's Tomb as weapons, troops, and thousands of others passed before them. They made the day so toxic that American unions essentially stopped observing the day as a labor day.

It is important that we remember the cost of that utopian ideology just as we remember the victims of the 20th century's other massive political murderers. May Day would be a good day for that. From the Amazon review of The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression:
.... Communism did kill, Courtois and his fellow historians demonstrate, with ruthless efficiency: 25 million in Russia during the Bolshevik and Stalinist eras, perhaps 65 million in China under the eyes of Mao Zedong, 2 million in Cambodia, millions more Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America--an astonishingly high toll of victims. This freely expressed penchant for homicide, Courtois maintains, was no accident, but an integral trait of a philosophy, and a practical politics, that promised to erase class distinctions by erasing classes and the living humans that populated them. Courtois and his contributors document Communism's crimes in numbing detail, moving from country to country, revolution to revolution. The figures they offer will likely provoke argument, if not among cliometricians then among the ideologically inclined. So, too, will Courtois's suggestion that those who hold Lenin, Trotsky, and Ho Chi Minh in anything other than contempt are dupes, witting or not, of a murderous school of thought....

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