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Video: Immigrants! Don't Vote for What You Fled


Many of America's legal and illegal immigrants fled nations that were ruined by corrupt politicians and failed government policies. But once here, they support the same things. Why? Gloria Alvarez, Project Director at the National Civic Movement of Guatemala, explains.

 

 
 
 
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Communism’s Bloody Century


In the 100 years since Lenin’s coup in Russia, the ideology devoted to abolishing markets and private property has left a long, murderous trail of destruction

By Stephen Kotkin
The Wall Street Journal

A century ago this week, communism took over the Russian empire, the world’s largest state at the time. Leftist movements of various sorts had been common in European politics long before the revolution of Oct. 25, 1917 (which became Nov. 7 in the reformed Russian calendar), but Vladimir Lenin and his Bolsheviks were different. They were not merely fanatical in their convictions but flexible in their tactics—and fortunate in their opponents.

Communism entered history as a ferocious yet idealistic condemnation of capitalism, promising a better world. Its adherents, like others on the left, blamed capitalism for the miserable conditions that afflicted peasants and workers alike and for the prevalence of indentured and child labor. Communists saw the slaughter of World War I as a direct result of the rapacious competition among the great powers for overseas markets.

But a century of communism in power—with holdouts even now in Cuba, North Korea and China—has made clear the human cost of a political program bent on overthrowing capitalism. Again and again, the effort to eliminate markets and private property has brought about the deaths of an astounding number of people. Since 1917—in the Soviet Union, China, Mongolia, Eastern Europe, Indochina, Africa, Afghanistan and parts of Latin America—communism has claimed at least 65 million lives, according to the painstaking research of demographers.

Communism’s tools of destruction have included mass deportations, forced labor camps and police-state terror—a model established by Lenin and especially by his successor Joseph Stalin. It has been widely imitated. Though communism has killed huge numbers of people intentionally, even more of its victims have died from starvation as a result of its cruel projects of social engineering.



A communal Chinese farm in the 1950s during the Great Leap Forward. Photo: UIG/Getty Images

For these epic crimes, Lenin and Stalin bear personal responsibility, as do Mao Zedong in China, Pol Pot in Cambodia, the Kim dynasty in North Korea and any number of lesser communist tyrants. But we must not lose sight of the ideas that prompted these vicious men to kill on such a vast scale, or of the nationalist context in which they embraced these ideas. Anticapitalism was attractive to them in its own right, but it also served as an instrument, in their minds, for backward countries to leapfrog into the ranks of great powers.

The communist revolution may now be spent, but its centenary, as the great anticapitalist cause, still demands a proper reckoning.

In February 1917, Tsar Nicholas II abdicated under pressure from his generals, who worried that bread marches and strikes in the capital of St. Petersburg were undermining the war effort against Germany and its allies. The February Revolution, as these events became known, produced an unelected provisional government, which chose to rule without the elected parliament. Peasants began to seize the land, and soviets (or political councils) started to form among soldiers at the front, as had already happened among political groups in the cities.

That fall, as the war raged on, Lenin’s Bolsheviks undertook an armed insurrection involving probably no more than 10,000 people. They directed their coup not against the provisional government, which had long since become moribund, but against the main soviet in the capital, which was dominated by other, more moderate socialists. The October Revolution began as a putsch by the radical left against the rest of the left, whose members denounced the Bolsheviks for violating all norms and then walked out of the soviet.

The Bolsheviks, like many of their rivals, were devotees of Karl Marx, who saw class struggle as the great engine of history. What he called feudalism would give way to capitalism, which would be replaced in turn by socialism and, finally, the distant utopia of communism. Marx envisioned a new era of freedom and plenty, and its precondition was destroying the “wage slavery” and exploitation of capitalism. As he and his collaborator Friedrich Engels declared in the Communist Manifesto of 1848, our theory “may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.”

Once in power in early 1918, the Bolsheviks renamed themselves the Communist Party as they sought to force-march Russia to socialism and, eventually, to history’s final stage. Millions set about trying to live in new ways. No one, however, knew precisely what the new society was supposed to look like. “We cannot give a characterization of socialism,” Lenin conceded in March 1918. “What socialism will be like when it reaches its completed form we do not know, we cannot say.”

But one thing was clear to them: Socialism could not resemble capitalism. The regime would replace private property with collective property, markets with planning, and “bourgeois” parliaments with “people’s power.” In practice, however, scientific planning was unattainable, as even some communists conceded at the time. As for collectivizing property, it empowered not the people but the state.

The process set in motion by the communists entailed the vast expansion of a secret-police apparatus to handle the arrest, internal deportation and execution of “class enemies.” The dispossession of capitalists also enriched a new class of state functionaries, who gained control over the country’s wealth. All parties and points of view outside the official doctrine were repressed, eliminating politics as a corrective mechanism.

The declared goals of the revolution of 1917 were abundance and social justice, but the commitment to destroy capitalism gave rise to structures that made it impossible to attain those goals.

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The Delusional Karl Marx


By Jon Rappoport

Prepare yourself for a fantastical Karl Marx quote.

It’s the sort of statement a young person in college might find inspiring, if he had the ability to read it and understand it.

An increasing number of young college students want to believe in a better, more attractive future, in which little or no work will be required of them.

They’ll be provided a “free life.” Housing, food, clothing, an array of consumer items.

They want something resembling college life forever.

Here is the Karl Marx quote:

“For as soon as the distribution of labour comes into being, each man has a particular exclusive sphere of activity, which is forced upon him and from which he cannot escape. He is a hunter, a fisherman, a shepherd, or a critical critic and must remain so if he does not wish to lose his means of livelihood; while in communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, to fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner, just as I have in mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, shepherd or critic.” (The German Ideology, 1845-46)

I’ll break down Marx’s stunning assertion, section by section.

First, he claims the “division of labor” brings on unwanted consequences. What does that “division” phrase mean? Does it mean someone somewhere, once upon a time, came up with the weird notion that, if you wanted to build a temple, you would have different people work on different aspects of the overall job? Is that what division means?

You could have built the temple with “all the workers doing all the jobs,” but some evil wizard imposed the idea, arbitrarily, that different workers with different skills ought to shape the stones, put them in place, design the overall support structure, execute sculptures, and so on?

This was the cardinal first sin?

Apparently so.

Marx then claims that the division of labor specifically leads to people having certain jobs forced on them, from which they can’t escape. Is that a sound inference? Had he never heard of or encountered people who started their own businesses, their own farms? Had he never heard of people who decided to change one type of work for another?

Moving right along—Marx utters this astonishing phrase: “…in communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes…”

Which Communist society will that be? Under a Dictatorship of the Proletariat, the people will be able to choose the direction of their lives? Pick their professions, one after another? A farmer can sell his land to a buyer and move to the city and publish a newspaper?

No, that is what can happen in a free market society.

Next, Marx states that “society regulates the general production.” He’s talking about production of goods and services under Communism. But who is this “society?” Everybody? It appears so. Everybody gathers in a great field and intelligently debates how the economy will operate and what and how much it will produce…and then the miracle will come to pass? None of the population will actually go to work making those production quotas come true? It will just happen?

Well, you would think so, from what Marx describes next: “…society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, to fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner, just as I have in mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, shepherd or critic.”

In other words, Marx would live for free, unemployed, and do whatever he wants when he wants. And so could everyone else—but somehow the national production of goods and services gets done.

Magic. The magic of the Communist State.

I recommend Marx’s passage to teachers of logic. Have your students chew on it for a week, take it apart, analyze it. It’s a masterpiece of fallacies, taken to the extreme.

And by the way, there is no indication Marx was anticipating a society in which machines and AI would do all the work. If this were his ace in the hole, he would have to re-think his famous “workers of the world unite,” because there would be no human workers, aside from those who monitored and repaired the machines…

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A Century of Ghastly Communist Sadism

Communism isn't something for romantic nostalgia.


By A. Barton Hinkle
Richmond Times Dispatch

“Let there be floods of blood,” declared Krasnaia gazeta, the official newspaper of the Red Army in 1918. From the enemies of the revolution, there should be “more blood, as much as possible.”

A few months before, the Bolsheviks had seized power from the provisional government that had been installed in the final days of Russia’s Romanov dynasty. The revolution ushered in what would become a century of ghastly sadism.

The world will mark the 100th anniversary of that revolution this November 7. Yet while the Soviet Union is no more and communism has been discredited in most eyes for many years, it is hard even now to grasp the sheer scale of agony imposed by the brutal ideology of collectivism.

Few now dare question the degree of human misery that communism inflicted. Yet there were many, during its height, who fell victim to what Solzhenitsyn called “the desire not to know.” They either refused to acknowledge the facts staring them in the face, or actively tried to cover them over with lies.

Walter Duranty, the New York Times reporter who won a Pulitzer for denying the truth of Soviet famine, might be the most famous. (The Times eventually conceded that Duranty’s coverage was disgraceful, but the Pulitzer board has never revoked the award.) Yet there were legions of others, a few of whom continue to insist even today that communism really was not so bad.

For some time, debate also roiled over whether Joseph Stalin’s summary executions, liquidations, forced labor camps, and endless other crimes against the Russian people were a departure from the so-called ideals of the revolution, or their all-but-inevitable result. The opening of Soviet archives put that debate to rest: Russian communism was a regime of terror from the very beginning.

In 1918 Iakov Peters, deputy to Felix Dzerzhinsky, head of the secret police, declared that “anyone daring to agitate against the Soviet government will immediately be arrested and placed in a concentration camp.” The enemies of the working class, he promised, would be met with “mass terror.”

For sanction, Peters had the word of none other than Lenin himself. “Hang (hang without fail, so the people see) no fewer than one hundred known kulaks, rich men, bloodsuckers,” Lenin ordered in 1918. “Publish their names. Take from them all the grain. Designate hostages. Do it in such a way so that for hundreds of versts around people will see, tremble, know, shout: They are strangling, strangling to death the bloodsucker kulaks.” (The term “kulak” referred to peasants well-off enough to hire workers.) "It is necessary secretly — and urgently — to prepare the terror,” he ordered shortly thereafter.

Over the next several months the secret police of the Cheka carried out mass executions in a campaign that would become known as the Red Terror. In “Red Victory,” W. Bruce Lincoln writes that one early estimate claimed the Cheka shot “more than eight thousand people in the twenty provinces of Central Russia before the end of July 1919, but by all accounts that figure was a gross understimate.”

It was also just the beginning.

In 1997, a French publisher published "The Black Book of communism,” which tried to place a definitive figure on the number of people who died by communism’s hand: 65 million in China, 20 million in the Soviet Union, 2 million in Cambodia, 2 million in North Korea, and so on — more than 90 million lives, all told.

Many of them died by famine. But the famines were man-made disasters: the result of expropriation, forced collectivization, and other policies. In 2013, Yang Jisheng told The Guardian about the effects of the Great Famine in China, which killed tens of millions between 1958 and 1961: “People died in the family and they didn’t bury the person because they could still collect their food rations; they kept the bodies in bed and covered them up and the corpses were eaten by mice. People ate corpses and fought for the bodies. In Gansu they killed outsiders; people told me strangers passed through and they killed and ate them. And they ate their own children. Terrible. Too terrible.”

The publication of the Black Book precipitated a debate over whether communism was as bad as Naziism. There might be a technically correct answer to that question, but it seems perverted to ask. It’s like asking whether you’d rather watch your children murdered by strangling or by drowning. Taking sides in such a debate at all borders on depraved.

But depravity was woven into the sinews of communism by its very nature. The history of the movement is a history of sadistic “struggle sessions" during the Cultural Revolution, of gulags and psychiatric wards in Russia, of the torture and murder of teachers, doctors, and other intellectuals in Cambodia, and on and on.

This confounds those who look at the idea of communism and see something noble: a classless society in which everyone is, blessedly, equal — where there is no want, no envy, and no greed. Yet while that vision, however fanciful, might hold some surface appeal, it ignores the necessary means to the desired end. Because the only practical manner by which such a society conceivably might be attained is to subordinate the individual to the collective, wholly and utterly. Individual wants and wishes — indeed, any personal autonomy except of the most minimal sort — must be set aside for the sake of the planned society.

Human freedom, in communist society, is an obstacle to higher ends, since it interferes with social regulation and can even lead people to question the government. As Friedrich Engles himself wrote: “Political liberty is sham-liberty.”

Despite this gruesome butcher’s bill, you still find those who harbor a soft spot for communism. You see it in the posters and T-shirts lionizing the murderous Che Guevara. And in The New York Times’ current series on the “Red Century,” which includes pieces on “Why Women Had Better Sex Under Socialism” (“Yes, there was repression behind the Iron Curtain. But it wasn’t sexual”) and “Lenin's Eco-Warriors” (“How did Russia ... become a global pioneer in conservation? Much of the answer begins with Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.”)

Pause for a moment to read those sentences with “Naziism” and “Hitler” in place of “socialism” and “Lenin.” Yes, Hitler murdered millions of Jews, but ...

But?

Moral vacuity like that partly explains the results of a poll last year for the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. It found that 21 percent of young people said they would be willing to vote for a communist. It also found that a third of millennials think more people died under George W. Bush than under Stalin. Twenty-five percent of millennials who had heard of Lenin had a positive view of him.

Santayana probably was not speaking the literal truth when he said those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. But forgetting the past certainly makes its repetition, or at least its imitation, more likely. Which is why the world would be doing the future a favor if it spent the next couple of months reflecting somberly on the past century of communism’s blood-soaked history.

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A Beating in Berkeley

Antifa mayhem and malice in Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park


As white supremacists go, Joey Gibson makes for a lousy one. For starters, he’s half Japanese. “I don’t feel like I’m Caucasian at all,” he says. Not to be a stickler for the rules, but this kind of talk could get you sent to Master Race remedial school.

And it gets worse. The founder of Patriot Prayer—a Vancouver, Wash.-based operation that sponsors rallies and marches promoting freedom and First Amendment rights along with all-purpose unity—also spews hippie-dippie rhetoric like “moderates have to come together” and “love and peace [are] the only way to heal this country.” Joey tends to sound less like an alt-right bully boy than a conflict-resolution facilitator or a Unitarian Sunday school teacher.

For his late August “Liberty Weekend” in the Bay Area, which was to include a free speech rally in San Francisco followed by a “No to Marxism” rally in Berkeley (headed by a local “transsexual patriot”), Joey advertised that “no extremists will be allowed in. No Nazis, Communists, KKK, Antifa, white supremacists .  .  . or white nationalists.” (So much for free speech.) Likewise, the advertised docket of speakers was to include “three blacks, two Hispanics, one Asian, one Samoan, one Muslim, two women, and one white male.” If becoming a liberty movement fixture doesn’t work out for Gibson, he has a promising future as a UC Berkeley admissions officer.

Despite all this, you’d have thought from the avalanche of alarmist walk-up stories that Gibson and friends would be dancing in a “Springtime for Hitler” kick line. Donald Trump, of course, who draws frequent Hitler comparisons in some quarters, has already set nerves on edge with his nativist rhetoric, perpetually divisive style, and what’s widely perceived as his winks ’n’ nods to white nationalists. But in the wake of the recent white supremacist hoedown in Charlottesville—a cesspool of racial hatred that resulted in the death of anti-racism activist Heather Heyer when a Nazi fanboy drove his Dodge Challenger into her and 19 others—opportunistic leftists/Democrats have been on the prowl to paint everyone to the right of Angela Davis as a dangerous racist lunatic.


A masked counterprotester in Berkeley, August 27 (Photo credit: Helena Zemanek)

They seem to have forgotten that the far right hardly has a monopoly on political violence. Just a couple of months before Charlottesville, a Bernie Sanders supporter opened fire on a baseball-field full of Republican congressmen, almost killing Rep. Steve Scalise. And this, of course, has been the year of antifa, the masked anarchists in black ISIS pajamas, who advocate violence while battling “fascists,” defined loosely as anyone they don’t like (including run-of-the-mill Trump supporters).

Antifa have shown up at one right-leaning gathering after another this year to administer random beat-downs with everything from metal poles to bike locks to bear spray, causing multitudinous injuries and large-scale property damage. Back in February, they literally set fires on the Berkeley campus, smashing windows as they rampaged through the city streets, to prevent Milo Yiannopoulos from appearing, even though the professional provocateur frequently speaks about his penchant for sex with black men, which used to count as a social-justice twofer during less polarized times.

But when it came to Joey Gibson’s Liberty Weekend, enter Nancy Pelosi, who seems to be pining for girlhood activism days, as she’s billed this “Resistance Summer.” Gibson secured a permit for his free speech rally to be held at Crissy Field, a former Army airfield next to the Golden Gate Bridge. But Pelosi loudly suggested the permit be pulled, saying the National Park Service should reflect on its “capacity to protect the public during such a toxic” event, which she termed a “white supremacist rally.” The fact that over two-thirds of the event’s scheduled speakers were minorities, that race wasn’t being discussed, and that the event was billed a “day of freedom, spirituality, unity, peace, and patriotism” didn’t seem to cut much ice with her.

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