pageok
pageok
pageok
May Day: A Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Communism,

at Distributed Republic.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Victims of Communism Day:
  2. May Day: A Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Communism,
Dave N (mail):
According to The Black Book of Communism, the estimated deaths from Communists worldwide stands at over 100,000,000 (that is not a misprint), with the following breakdown:

20 million in the Soviet Union
65 million in the People's Republic of China
1 million in Vietnam
2 million in North Korea
2 million in Cambodia
1 million in the Communist states of Eastern Europe
150,000 in Latin America
1.7 million in Africa
1.5 million in Afghanistan
10,000 deaths "resulting from actions of the international communist movement and communist parties not in power.

We should never forget.
5.1.2008 3:04pm
The Cabbage (mail):
In honor of May Day, I'm wearing this t-shirt
5.1.2008 3:13pm
ejo:
yes, but those deaths were ideologically appropriate and targeted only those deserving of death. I, as a good and pure leftist, can overlook them much like I can overlook the eggs that go into my morning omelet.
5.1.2008 3:22pm
Zombie Richard Feynman (mail) (www):
I think the important thing to do is to hate liberals, rather than mourn the dead.
5.1.2008 3:29pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
I hate to appear to be defending communists, which I am not, but the twentieth century was a particularly bloody one. Non-communist and even anti-communists committed more than their fair share of atrocities. Hitler killed at least 20 million beyond those killed in direct military actions (executions, deprivations, etc.). Both the Nationalists and the Japanese killed millions more Chinese civilians than the communists did before they took power (probably the reason Mao won--he didn't get down to being a mass murderer until after he took power). The death toll from non-Communists in Latin America, almost always in the name of "fighting communism" is certainly several times higher than the 150,000 blamed on nominal communists in South America. Suharto, upon takin power in Indonesia, immediately rounded up and liquidated every member of the Communist party he could find--maybe a million people in about a year. Of course his reign of terror lasted for thirty years after that. The coup that brought Idi Amin to power in Uganda, resulting in the deaths of at least 250,000, was supported by the British because they (and the U.S.) were afraid of losing Uganda to the Communists.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the atrocities and genocide has continued. From Rwanda, the Balkans, to Darfur. Communism has very little to do with it.
5.1.2008 3:42pm
EIDE_Interface (mail):
JF Thomas - you obviously miss the point. Communism is still being promoted as a good thing that we should strive for.
5.1.2008 3:54pm
Zombie Richard Feynman (mail) (www):
EIDE, are you mixing up socialism and communism?
5.1.2008 3:59pm
sure it's a cheap shot but hey:
Shouldn't we also take time to remember the victims of another horrid global mistake, which was declared "accomplished" 5 years ago today by some guy on an aircraft carrier?
5.1.2008 4:02pm
titus32:
Or we could remember every bad thing that's ever happened in the history of the world. But that would probably be impossible, so we probably shouldn't commemmorate anyone or anything.
5.1.2008 4:08pm
ys:

I hate to appear to be defending communists, which I am not,

I applaud your noble sentiment.


Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the atrocities and genocide has continued. From Rwanda, the Balkans, to Darfur. Communism has very little to do with it.

Are you saying that 100 million victims of communism are getting more than their fair share of exposure compared to say Rwanda etc.? Have you noticed that Darfur is in the media regularly and indeed the main complaint of the politically correct against China was its indifference towards Sudan (and 1000 estimated victims in Tibet recently)? The multi-millions killed by essentially the same regime, which by the way dwarf anything done by the Japanese, not to mention Kuomintang, are just fine with this crowd. Or are you saying that Hitler's smaller share in the totalitarian tally has been underexposed and undercondemned lately?
5.1.2008 4:15pm
ejo:
I think the important thing is to point out that many leftists supported, continued to support and actively aided those doing the killing. Many of those leftists of yore are regarded as heroes. further, many leftists continue to idolize those murderous regimes. Certainly, I couldn't and wouldn't show up anywhere wearing a Hitler t-shirt. I suspect if I wore a Mao one or just a good old fashioned hammer and sickle, I might be regarded as trendy instead of an ignorant and disgusting human being.
5.1.2008 4:29pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
While I applaud this sentiment, May Day has been set aside to honor workers all over the world. It celebrates the struggle for the eight hour day, not communism. Changing the focus would be equivalent to renaming Columbus Day "Indigenous People's Day."
5.1.2008 4:41pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Or are you saying that Hitler's smaller share in the totalitarian tally has been underexposed and undercondemned lately?

On this site yes. In fact with this statement you do it yourself. Hitler launched the most destructive war in the history of mankind which resulted in the death of ten percent of the population of his own country. The European component of the war killed at least 40 million people--including probably as many Russians as Stalin killed. Hitler did the vast majority of his killing over the space of a little over five years.

As for the Chinese Communists. It seems to me that the conservative business establishment are the ones most interested in not rocking the boat about their human rights abuses. Remember, it was Lenin who said "when it came time to hang the capitalists they would sell us the rope." Our relations with China is a stark example of what he meant.

Certainly, I couldn't and wouldn't show up anywhere wearing a Hitler t-shirt.

You mean like an English prince showing up at a costume party dressed as an SS officer?
5.1.2008 4:46pm
ejo:
a great non-response, although I do seem to recall that prince getting reamed out in the press and public opinion for his ignorance. could the same be said for a half witted actress walking around with her communist symbol festooned handbag in a country victimized by maoist terrorists? sorry on the china one as well-tell us exactly who it was, on the ideological spectrum, that made his little red book such a hit here in the west. it would be beyond the pale to express some continuing admiration for hitler, yet communists can still proudly proclaim their allegiances without being tarred and feathered as they deserve.
5.1.2008 4:56pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Tony Tutins gets it right. Communism was a horrid, brutal system (although it's not surprising to see that confused with the liberal-left in general in a couple of comments), and the victims of communism deserve to be remembered. But May 1 has long been a holiday commemorating the struggles of workers and their organizations for economic justice. Yes, it involves that bete noir of libertarians, labor unions, but it will continued to be celebrated for those reasons.

Indeed, we already have a Cold War era fake "holiday" on May 1: "Law Day." By all means, mourn the dead killed by the despicable despots of communism, but you will need to pick another day if you want to get any traction.
5.1.2008 4:56pm
Justin (mail):
It always entertains me when Liberterians try to use the atrocities of Communism as a tool to fight labor unions and worker's rights.

I mean, it would be impossible to pick another day - Stalin's birthday or some other day, maybe - to deal with the (completely valid) concerns about the atrocities committed in the name of Communism.
5.1.2008 5:14pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Justin: Indeed. There's also some rich irony in how much the Soviet, Chinese, and other communist governments hated and persecuted free trade unions themselves. And of course, it was a free trade union -- Solidarity in Poland -- that helped bring down Eastern European Communism.
5.1.2008 5:21pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
65 million in the People's Republic of China

This is pretty slippery. China certainly has the label "communist", but Maoism is pretty different from Marxism and the post-Mao governments are even more different.

And that constitutes 65 percent of the claimed 100 million victims.

The truth is there's probably a big difference between deaths "in the name of Communism" and deaths that actually resulted from the application of Marx's theories.

(And, of course, this doesn't even get into the deaths that anti-communist regimes, such as Germany and Portugal, were responsible for. Quite a bit of blood to go around, I would say.)
5.1.2008 5:29pm
ejo:
might it be because the communist world co-opted the holiday to advance their ideology? they were the heroes of the proletariat after all. quite a bit of blood to go around-nope, don't think so. there was a them (bad and evil) and an us (the good guys). I realize that isn't taught much these days but it certainly reflects the body counts.
5.1.2008 5:35pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Ejo:

Communists could try to co-opt whatever they wanted, but May Day celebrations by non-communists existed before communism, during communism, and as you can see, they exist after communism. And as I alluded to above, some of the most stalwart supporters of May Day as a workers/union holiday have been anti-communist unions.

But hey, you can celebrate whatever you want on May Day. Make it "let's try to tar all workers' movements with the stain of Stalin day" for all I care. Just don't expect a lot of followers.
5.1.2008 5:41pm
Boynton Cousin:
quite a bit of blood to go around-nope, don't think so.

Yeah, Nazi Germany never killed any communists, did it? And such remarkably bloodless wars were fought in Korea and Vietnam!

there was a them (bad and evil) and an us (the good guys).

What a cant-free, nuanced analysis! I hope you're the one who'll write the history books about the War on Terror. Which side will we be on then? Wait, lemme guess: good?
5.1.2008 5:48pm
ejo:
Yep, I can pretty much say that, when balanced against the evil of jihadist/islamic terror, we will be on the good side. just like we were on the good side in WWII and the good side in the Cold War. Not perfect, just good. May Day was not only co-opted but also expanded by Communists. It has become a multi-purpose anti-West day.
5.1.2008 6:11pm
Boynton Cousin:
Uh, yeah, when you set up your opponents as "evil," then you're going to end up as "good." What would be the point of teaching such a thing, as you seem to want children to learn?
5.1.2008 6:39pm
HipposGoBerserk (mail):
I just want to know if The Cabbage is the blond on the linked t-shirt site. :)

I'm not feeling much solidarity here. :(

HGB
5.1.2008 6:54pm
ejo:
when your opponents are bad, is it nuanced to maintain an illusion that they aren't. Is there some nuance I am missing there? going to end up as good-compared to Nazis, Communists and Jihadists, I guess I am going out on a limb to imagine we are a force for good by comparison. I hope to teach my kids that, while imperfect, our country has been an incredible force for good in this world. That likely is considered offensive in some, mostly twisted, circles.
5.1.2008 6:55pm
Boynton Cousin:
So when you teach your kids that slavery was legal in the U.S. until a bloody civil war that was won after the president seized dictatorial powers, which side will be good and which will be bad?

As I asked before, what is the point of making history into a play of good vs. evil? What could kids do with such vapid insight except to project it onto future opponents, perhaps leading to another war with, say, China?
5.1.2008 7:12pm
Dave N (mail):
ejo,

I do not confuse political liberals with communists--but I am always amazed that some liberals think they must defend the indefensible.

Perhaps this editorial from today's Wall Street Journal explains why, in its explicit comparison to what is happening now in Iraq and what happened to South Vietnam in 1975--and which group in the United States prevented us from giving the South Vietnamese government a fighting chance.
5.1.2008 7:42pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Perhaps this editorial from today's Wall Street Journal explains why, in its explicit comparison to what is happening now in Iraq and what happened to South Vietnam in 1975--and which group in the United States prevented us from giving the South Vietnamese government a fighting chance.

So what? Vietnam turned out fine, the dominos didn't fall, and the Soviet Union eventually did. And Vietnam is now a part of the family of nations which doesn't threaten us (even though it is still authoritarian and undemocratic).

Seriously, I get the feeling a lot of conservative handwringing about Vietnam has to do with the silliest sort of short-term thinking-- they can't stand the idea that we "lost" a war. But war is not a game-- it is a policy that must, like any other policy, be evaluated in terms of whether it furthers the profferred objectives. The Vietnam War didn't stop a dangerous communist government, because the communist government wasn't as dangerous as claimed. So it didn't need to be fought by the US, and it didn't matter to the US' strategic outlook that we lost it.

So when one says, "if we had done X instead, South Vietnam wouldn't have fallen", the correct response is "how would that have made things better?". (Even if we assume the questionable premise that the South Vietnamese would have been able to hold off the North with American financing.) If Saigon hadn't fallen, presumably, the Vietnam War would have simply continued, on and on. And the North Vietnamese government would have remained not a particularly big threat. And we would have spent a lot more money on an unimportant cause.

There was no strategic benefit to the US winning the Vietnam War. And the fact that conservatives can't accept this goes to a particular intellectual blindness of conservativism-- they can't get past the issue of wins and losses and look at the broader strategic benefit or detriment of warfare.
5.1.2008 8:31pm
Dave N (mail):
Dilan Esper,

I suspect the million or so killed by the communists in Vietnam might disagree.
5.1.2008 8:37pm
liberty (mail) (www):

This is pretty slippery. China certainly has the label "communist", but Maoism is pretty different from Marxism and the post-Mao governments are even more different.

And that constitutes 65 percent of the claimed 100 million victims.

The truth is there's probably a big difference between deaths "in the name of Communism" and deaths that actually resulted from the application of Marx's theories.


Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is as true a form of Marxism as the others. In fact, Mao's Great Leap Forward and his Cultural Revolution (together which caused much of those 65 million deaths) were quite literal applications of Marxist theory.

Collectivization under the Great Leap Forward was very similar to Stalin's collectivization, and both were based on the teaching of Marx that private property be abolished in agriculture, large scale agricultural farms be created in order to industrialize farming, and surplus from agriculture would be used to aid industrialization in the cities.

In fact, it was almost identical to Stalin's plan - which was directly sourced in Marx, and agreed upon by all Bolsheviks although each wing had a slightly different view on when and how fast to proceed.

The Cultural Revolution was also based on Marx, but it was of a more social nature.

And if you still think they aren't Marxist, please explain why Marxists of the time were so enthusiastic about them - including western intellectuals.

It is a revision of history to claim that Mao - because it turned out so badly - wasn't true to Marx's teachings. He was - in fact he was truer than the rest. The sad fact is that the more closely Marx was followed the worse the outcome. The areas where socialism has done the best is the areas where it stayed farthest from doctrine. To the extent that it has followed Marx, it has been a horrific disaster.
5.1.2008 8:51pm
liberty (mail) (www):
Dilan Esper is also conveniently forgetting the funding and aid that the North Vietnamese had from the Soviets and from China...
5.1.2008 8:52pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
In my normal round of shopping I'm starting to find products made in Vietnam. Now, normally I'd never support communism by buying such products, but my alternative suppliers are all in Red China. I've pretty much given up looking for anything made in this country, by the way. Aside from a couple leather belts, the latest LL Bean catalog I got offers only canvas bags and Adirondack chairs that were made in this country.
5.1.2008 9:35pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
On this site yes. In fact with this statement you do it yourself. Hitler launched the most destructive war in the history of mankind
Hmm. Seems to me Stalin might have helped launch that war.

So when one says, "if we had done X instead, South Vietnam wouldn't have fallen", the correct response is "how would that have made things better?".
Well, I guess that depends whether one is asking from the perspective of an American liberal or a South Vietnamese citizen.
5.1.2008 10:48pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
I suspect the million or so killed by the communists in Vietnam might disagree.

1. That's a vastly inflated number.

2. Unless you believe that we should send the US military wherever any large number of people are being killed, this argument means nothing. The question, against, is what US strategic objective could have been achieved. And the answer is "none".

3. I have a feeling that far more people would have been killed, anyway, if the Vietnam War had gone on and on. More than a million died already. A persistent stalemate would have just kept the killing going.
5.1.2008 11:22pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is as true a form of Marxism as the others.

And so all the myriad complexities of three very different theories of politics, government, and the nation-state are reduced to one sentence. This is what I love about conservatives. "They're all alike!"

No, they are not.
5.1.2008 11:24pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Dilan Esper is also conveniently forgetting the funding and aid that the North Vietnamese had from the Soviets and from China...

I'm not forgetting it. It's irrelevant to the issue.

Eastern Europe persisted under Soviet domination for almost the entire post-WW2 Cold War period. Did it prevent the Soviet Union from falling?

Similarly, Cuba persisted under Soviet domination for decades.

And Vietnam, of course, did remain communist. And it didn't hurt us at all.

What pisses you guys off, as I said, has nothing to do with strategy. You guys just can't stand the fact that we lost a war. Get over it.
5.1.2008 11:26pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Well, I guess that depends whether one is asking from the perspective of an American liberal or a South Vietnamese citizen.

You are being totally intellectually dishonest, David. Because you know damned well that you don't support sending the American military anywhere large numbers of people are dying.

You are willing to let people die without US military intervention just like I am. So you have no standing to make the critique that people died after the fall of Saigon.
5.1.2008 11:28pm
liberty (mail) (www):

And so all the myriad complexities of three very different theories of politics, government, and the nation-state are reduced to one sentence. This is what I love about conservatives. "They're all alike!"


Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is what Marxist-Leninist-Maoists call it; its not my sentence, its their ideology. And you ignored my other sentences. But this is what I love about liberals - you're all alike! :)
5.2.2008 12:21am
Richard Nieporent (mail):
Dilan, the Communist regimes were responsible for the death of millions and millions of people. When it comes down to it, whether the number was 50 million or 100 million is totally beside the point. This is not the book of Guinness records we are talking about. These were innocent people that were killed by these evil regimes in the name of an ideology. The fact that millions of people were also killed by other evil ideologies such as Nazism in no way excuses the harm done by the Communists. Any rational individual would simple condemn both. Why does it appear that you are trying to defend the indefensible? Don't you have any shame?
5.2.2008 12:42am
EIDE_Interface (mail):
What's a few million dead proles? You can't make a communist utopia w/o breaking a few eggs, no?
5.2.2008 3:47am
q:

I hate to appear to be defending communistsNazis, which I am not, but the twentieth century was a particularly bloody one.

J.F. Thomas, think about how this statement were to be received had Eugene been advocating a day of remembrance for the victims of Nazi Germany. Not very well, I can imagine. And yet you did not find your statement vis a vis communism to be equally disturbing or distateful, in fact, it's apparent you think such comments are appropriate.

Now, when one considers that the Communist regimes were often at least as brutal as that of Nazi Germany, and yet people like J.F. Thomas can attempt to "mitigate" their brutality in full expectation that it will be well-received, or at least not utterly ignored as beyond the pale, then perhaps one can understand why advocating for such a day may be a reasonable thing to do. The simple matter is that criticism of Nazi ideology is near universal, yet of Communist ideology it is not. At the very least, a J.F. Thomas finds it appropriate to diminish, if ever so slightly, such travesties with Tu Quoque statements, and a Dilan Esper finds it appropriate to bring up irrelevant semantics.

Which is not to say I'm guiltless. Someone above brought up a decent point. I can go to school wearing my satirical t-shirt of Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Castro having a "communist" party. I would never consider wearing a satirical t-shirt involving Hitler.
5.2.2008 5:54am
JosephSlater (mail):
Um, nobody here is "defending" communism.
5.2.2008 11:51am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Well, I guess that depends whether one is asking from the perspective of an American liberal or a South Vietnamese citizen.

You are being totally intellectually dishonest, David. Because you know damned well that you don't support sending the American military anywhere large numbers of people are dying.

You are willing to let people die without US military intervention just like I am. So you have no standing to make the critique that people died after the fall of Saigon.
How does any of this "Tu quoque" argument change the fact that your claim that things wouldn't have been better if Saigan hadn't fallen?
5.2.2008 11:53am
ejo:
good and evil are vapid insights? I think the muddle headed thinking that nothing is evil stands as a greater testament to vapidity than the good old simple minded standard of good and evil. as to the Civil War, is that a close call in your mind-Lincoln did what he had to do to win a just war. Just like Roosevelt/Truman did what they had to do to win WWII, all without the benefit of lawyers vetoing strategy. If they had followed some vapid abstraction of due process, but lost, I can't say that that would have been a good result, do you?
5.2.2008 1:36pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is what Marxist-Leninist-Maoists call it; its not my sentence, its their ideology.

You need to reverse that syllogism. Most Marxists do not consider themselves Maoists, and most Marxist-Lenninists also do not consider themselves Maoists. Indeed, not even the officially Marxist Chinese Communist Party considers itself Maoist (though it did in the past).

Again, this is nothing more than simplistic conservatives shouting "they're all alike".
5.2.2008 4:34pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Why does it appear that you are trying to defend the indefensible? Don't you have any shame?

Stop being a jerk, David. It should be possible for you to understand the difference between saying that claims have been overstated and defending communism. Stalin alone killed at least 20 million. There's nothing defensible about that.

But on your side there are a lot of people who want to claim that opposing communism is the end-all and be-all of human rights advocacy. In doing so, they want to minimize the death tolls of non-communist regimes, inflate the death tolls of communism, and deny that any communist regime ever did anything good or replaced a regime that was just as bad or worse. And then when anyone points this out, people like you scream "YOU'RE DEFENDING COMMUNISM!". No, David, we aren't. And until you guys stop saying that crap, there's no way to have an intellectually honest discussion with you.
5.2.2008 4:37pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
How does any of this "Tu quoque" argument change the fact that your claim that things wouldn't have been better if Saigan hadn't fallen?

David, you have a habit of deliberately misstating my claims. I said that there was no US strategic benefit to continuing to fight the Vietnam War. The fact that there may have been a humanitarian disaster (which probably would have happened anyway if the war had continued) doesn't change that, because preventing humanitarian disasters, by itself, wasn't an objective of the war.

Why don't you try answering my actual arguments instead of the ones you'd like me to be making?
5.2.2008 4:39pm