A non communist cannot answer this question alone. Che Guevara was a communist because given the options of political systems which can defeat the evil of capitalism, Marxism Leninism (communism) is the only practical, time proven, effective means of doing so.
Che grew up in a wealthy family. He traveled while in medical school on a motorcycle with his friend. He saw great poverty, hopelessness, and oppression. This broke his heart. Why? Because Che Guevara was the most morally developed, empathic, and courageous person you would ever meet. In fact Sartre said that Guevara was the most complete human being of our age.
Guevara broke down his feelings into love. A true communist revolutionary is filled with love. And the opposite of this is hate. He hated injustice, and he savored getting rid of Batista’s torturers and executioners. Che was willing to risk his life for others. He knew that he could be killed in battle, and he accepted this. Ultimately he would pay the ultimate price—his life, in Bolivia.
Cuba remains a symbol of defiance and solidarity against capitalism and the evils of imperialism. During the Chernobyl accident only one country offered assistance to the children harmed by radiation—Cuba. Cuba sends doctors to help people during natural disasters. And the spirit of the revolution lives on. This year 86.5% of people ratified the Cuban Constitution, and they demanded the phrase “We are a socialist nation working toward communism” be included in the final draft language. Cuba remains the most solidly Marxist Leninist nation in the world, despite being 90 miles from the U.S. coast of Florida.
Lies about Che Guevara
Che fought in battles. In war there are firing squads. Che put Batista’s torturers, executioners, and other war criminals before the firing squad. He felt a sense of justice that those who had done so much wrong had finally gotten what they deserved. Because it was a revolutionary war there was no way to put them in jailand if he let them go they would simply turn around the try to kill the revolutionaries once again.
Jon Lee Anderson is the leading scholar on Che Guevara. He actually traveled to inquire into whether Che was the murderer of children and a mass murderer. He found these were lies about Che Guevara. There is no substance to them.
In his characterization of Che Guevara, Mr. Ravelo makes a number of sweeping and emotional assertions which are historically unsound.
For instance, he says that Che was “the executioner of innocents all the way from the Sierra Maestra to the Cabana prison.” To this I must point out that, while Che did indeed execute people [an episode I have gone into at length in my book] I have yet to find a single credible source pointing to a case where Che executed ‘an innocent’. Those persons executed by Guevara or on his orders were condemned for the usual crimes punishable by death at times of war or in its aftermath: desertion, treason or crimes such as rape, torture or murder. I should add that my research spanned five years, and included anti-Castro Cubans among the Cuban-American exile community in Miami and elsewhere.
Next, Mr. Ravelo asserts that Guevara “ultimately betrayed the [Cuban] revolution.” This is a novel concept indeed. Indeed, it is the first time I have heard such a claim. Mr. Ravelo is obviously confused: Che Guevara was a Marxist, and, even before the revolutionary victory in 1959, he was determined to see that Cuba’s “revolution” become a Marxist one.
He never concealed his beliefs, and never swerved from this course. I have never heard anyone – even his most bitter foes — accuse Guevara of betraying his beliefs in Marxist revolution. Indeed, there are many amongst the U.S. Cuban exile community who credit Guevara for having always spoken honestly about the aims of Castro’s revolution – while accusing Castro himself of having ‘betrayed’ the many anti-communist Cubans who once supported him.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
Che knew that being a freedom fighter meant he could lose his life. Later he was caught by the CIA and tortured to death. But his spirit lives on.
Che is celebrated for his soul. Che was a diarist, self aware and open. Read the diaries. You will find yourself coming to know him.
From some of the quotes I’ve seen from the mobsters who fled Cuba after the triumph of the revolution, there may be a forged set around. Look for an early publishing date. Ocean Press should still be selling the genuine article.
Che Guevara was not a murderer.
Che killed armed combatants.
Che was also the JAG of the Revolution, responsible for overseeing the trials of the torturers and murderers who had been too slow in leaving for Miami. (I have searched for pictures of them clinging to rising helicopters but couldn’t find any.) Perhaps they missed the last plane out trying to get their money out of a bank that was closed. Perhaps they were so used to being untouchable they couldn’t imagine anyone coming to power they couldn’t bribe.
Jon Lee Anderson, by far the most hard-working and thorough of Che’s biographers, looked long and hard at all cases where Che was supervising and concluded that all were charged with a crime that was internationally considered a capital crime at the time, and none were innocent. The Mafia, death squads, torturers and police who hung mutilated corpses from the lamp posts had impunity in Batista’s Cuba. They didn’t hide their crimes, they bragged about them.
They all had a trial, an opportunity to present a defence, and an opportunity to appeal. (97% of Americans charged with a federal crime do not get a trial.) There were, by Anderson’s estimate, around 500 of them.
When the earlier dictator Machado fled Cuba, unarmed mobs swarmed through the streets hunting for security police in their homes, and killed them with their teeth.
When Batista fled, Fidel’s forces were at the other end of the island. Radio Rebelde immediately began to run a looped tape:
He did very little in Bolivia, where he was captured and murdered.
In Cuba, guerrilla fighting in the mountains, probably several dozen.
When the Revolution triumphed, Che’s iron will relaxed and he collapsed, having just walked across Cuba from the Sierras to the Escambrays under cover—swamps and forests—and used up his reserves. (Che had terrible asthma—it ran in his family and he had pneumonia when he was two. He’d have made a great Norwegian skiier.) He was taken out of Havana for bed rest. He had been appointed Judge Advocate General of the army and signed off on the court cases of the psychopathic butchers who failed to escape to Miami with the Mafia and the rest of the criminal class.
They drove out to his rest home every night with the day’s legal documents and he checked that all the papers were signed, counsel provided, appeal applied for or not. I don’t know if he signed the execution orders. There’s never been one on E-Bay. But if so, his signature was to attest that the convicted had received all his rights and the trial conducted fairly.
However, any gaudy stories you hear about Che in his office brutally ordering the shooting of a young boy in front of his weeping mother, told you by someone who learned it at his mother’s knee, are horseshit. Che wasn’t there.
There was one day when they executed the worst of the butchers in a sports stadium. They read the indictment, the spectators screamed “Al paredon!” and they were shot. This is often described as their trial. It wasn’t. Their trials were correct. Martial law.
Capitalist ideologues always demonize great communist leaders for political purposes. Lenin, Stalin, Mao, it doesn’t matter. All of them have to be vilified to ensure the people don’t become energized by their heroism.
Here are some links. I have written a few answers about him:
The doctors were not themselves perpetrators though – more accessories coerced into cooperating. But the existence of a large conspiring group to effect a coup and take over the regime was true. Not to mention neverending series of sabotages which were happening here and there.
To the extent that white russians who were living in america back then were proudly writing how much funds they have sent to Russia to a given sabotage operation and how successful this or that operation was, and openly circulating these in their publications, memoirs in pre-war USA.
Moreover, the events, places names and dates match identically with the ones in notable persona’s memoirs like Churchill, Ex Tzarists, major white russian figures and Western industrialists who were mired with these crowds for taking their investments in old russia back.
Below is a link to a book which was published right around WW2 (first time – it had many editions) by two historians in united states, detailing the events that transpired in these angles since 1917 – complete with names and dates and characters as well. The book is assumed to be written by the help of FDR administration, since the gritty details and information which shouldnt be publicly available by early 1940s are surprisingly included in the book. That is rather natural though, since the book starts with the interview of an ex us diplomat/spy to moscow, details of various operations (then still sensitive) he has undertaken, and you just cant talk these things freely without permission.
This book was banned in usa during cold war. Make a guess why. But in its time, FDR administration basically made use of this book and the noise it generated to turn public opinion against nazis and the industrialists inside usa who openly backed them – including the eminent Henry Ford, rather a vocal and active sympathizer of fascist movements and a funder of white russian circles and their activities in usa.
Even though you will find Churchill’s statements in his memoirs and during the period very, very shameless and incredible, Trotsky’s actions during that era speak louder than anything in the period – he went and collaborated with a US congress/senate panel, which was made up of proto-fascists and asked them to prosecute all communists in usa – despite being a supposed revolutionary himself.
The most shocking thing is that, the people who were part of this panel then went on to form the famous ‘committee of anti american activities’, which was to the main tool of military-industry complex in usa for prosecuting dissent.
Imagine Saddam Hussein going and collaborating with a panel made up of George Bush, George W Bush, Rice, Cheney and whatnot.
So you can understand that the accusations raised against Trotsky has high traction.
What ordinary soviet citizens of the time say and think also sheds some light to the issue:
““Valya, don’t you understand, there was a civil war. Only the textbooks say that the Civil war ended in 1922. In reality it only ended with the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. Beyond the Urals practically the entire party leadership were the Trotskyists. Therefore beyond the Urals the prisoners were mostly Stalin’s supporters. And here – the Trotskyists and the representatives of the new opposition. It was a kind of a Civil war.”
Basically, bolsheviks just exiled all trostkyists to east of urals, to central asia where they could make little harm. (supposedly). Hence the rather extreme comfort and excessive political activity of Trotsky during the time when he was also sent to eastern russia after that fashion – staying in a rather comfortable mansion, constantly sending letters and organizing political opposition to the administration – even at the wake of world war 2.
Establishment in the West hated stalin. That is because industrialists in the west hated stalin. That is because stalin administration thwarted all their attempts in bringing back aristocracy to russia for their benefit, through a civil war and then various coup attempts. All of which are referenced in the best seller book i linked with their dates, times and their unfolding.
White russians who emigrated to west and lobbied like world is ending tomorrow, have great effect in that propaganda in the west against stalin and then ussr, but the initial effort which lit the fire is standard oil, who lost their oil rights in caucasus with the revolution – allying with white russian circles in the west. The counter-subversive activities were so blunt and open that, these circles have already arranged funds and organization for having French invade caucasus around late 1920s, which flopped due to great depression upturning everything. Otherwise even the general who was to lead the expedition was picked.
British establishment, foremost churchill took over that coalesced hate of industrialists in the west as flag bearers. So much that Churchill was planning to bomb ussr even as uk fought nazi germany for its survival, in the first two years of the war.
He was especially rabid after stalin asked him to let british colonies have their independence towards the end of ww2. So much that he was pushing for World War 3 as soon as ww2 ended:
Towards the end of the war the flag-bearership passed to american military-industry complex, and naturally ussr was chosen as the ‘evil enemy’ to fulfill the role of the everlasting enemy to enable the military-industry complex to have usa as they wanted it : “Usa must be in a permanet state of war”, the leading senator of the group who put truman into power in democratic primaries of 1944 through a soft coup, had said.
Since then there had been propaganda going on according to that policy, and this issue is no different.
I have heard criticisms that “communists overly focus on history, and that trying to rehabilitate Stalin and the Soviet Union is not going to win us any new followers, nor convince anyone. Perhaps we should just focus on the present and move forward.”
History provides the narrative that helps people understand the present. That is why people with psychological problems see therapists. They discuss their problems and the therapist helps them work through these problems. The therapist is a narrative guide, a kind of anchor while the patient does the work. The past informs the present. After Khrushchev denounced Stalin, he caused monumental damage to the survival of the Soviet Union. It would be the equivalent of Obama going on television and announcing that George Washington was a mass murderer. The narrative of the people would be destroyed. And it is these narratives that help form a sense of social cohesion. They also lead people to trust the government enough to feel invested in its rule. In the Soviet Union Stalin was admired by the people, and there was even a cult of personality around him. What made it worse was that Khrushchev’s denouncement was built upon lies, as researched by Dr. Grover Furr in his book, “Khrushchev Lied.”
When you say you are a communist you get told “Stalin was a mass murderer,” “The Soviet Union fell, communism doesn’t work,” “communism killed 100 million people.” These are all lies, and if they are true then we should quit being communists because it would be irrational to remain such. But reality is on our side. These are lies, as David King and I have discussed repeatedly.
I became a communist after learning I had been lied to about the cause of the Soviet Union. It led me to look closer at history. Others would become communists if they knew the truth and cut through the lies.
Nobody is saying Stalin and the Soviet Union are perfect. In my posts I focus on the positives because there are already mountains of lies and negativity. You can go anywhere to read that.
Anti-communists have said that “Finnegan relies on Soviet propaganda for his claims about the Soviet Union, and Soviet statistics are unreliable.” This is an extremely stupid claim. First, I rely primarily on respected Western scholars, as I don’t read Russian. And the West already has a bias against communism, so my refutations of Western lies should be even more pronounced, not less. Second, some former Soviet citizens who are right wing claim that I am “regurgitating the propaganda they learned in school.” They were taught socialism in school. But they don’t agree with socialism, so they call it “Soviet propaganda.” But what if socialism is true? Then when they hear it again, they cannot tell truth from lie, right from wrong. Third, there are some who cannot tell the difference between fact vs opinion.
The Great Purges were caused by a great fear that overcame the Soviet Union during the 1930’s. Why? There were sabotages at important industrial centers. Undercover operations like Operation Trust uncovered the existence of right wing, Trotsskyist, and others opposed to the Soviet government. The NKVD created a fake anti-Bolshevik organization that was dedicated to overthrowing the government. It uncovered volumes and volumes of real conspiracies.
Soviet workers vote for the Great Purges
Meanwhile, some members of the military were planning a coup d’etat against the government. Despite the fraud of the Dewey Commission (one of the leading officials resigned due to the sham nature of it), there were Trotskyist plans to cede land to Germany, engage in a palace coup against Stalin and the Communist Party.
In fact, the workers voted for the Great Purges because they feared a German invasion. They voted for the Great Purges. The archives show that while there were real conspiracies, there was also great fear that permeated the entire society. James Harris, a historian, in his book “The Great Fear” looks at the Soviet archives. He was surprised to discover that Stalin and the other members of the government were not cynically engaged in the purges to eliminate Stalin’s political enemies. Not at all. In private Stalin was very serious about socialism and finding the enemies. Part of the reason was the methods used by the NKVD itself. Using Operation Trust materials the head of the NKVD estimated a certain number of traitors in the ranks. So the NKVD would go arrest someone and ask them questions, often using torture and not relenting until they “named names.” But people will say anything under torture, so they would name anyone. So then the NKVD would go arrest this person, and on and on. The first head of the NKVD, Iagoda, was fired because he didn’t arrest enough people. So then Yezhov was hired. Yezhov estimated there was a grand conspiracy that he believed was out there. This was partly from bad intelligence from his agents. So then he went out and started having hundreds of thousands arrested. They were summarily tried and executed. Somehow the Germans influenced Yezhov. Some believe they had information about him being a homosexual and engaging in homosexual acts. Others believe he was part of a very real conspiracy with the right wing opposition, wanting to bring mayhem to turn public opinion against the government to support a coup. Later the full range of his behavior was discovered and opposed, and he was fired, tried, and executed. The killings by the NKVD under Beria then fell down to 1%. About 680,000 people were tried and executed in total. 28,000 were sent to prison.
Professor Harris discusses the Great Fear, the intelligence and collection of it during the Great Purges
Operation Trust (операция “Трест”) was a counterintelligence operation of the State Political Directorate (GPU) of the Soviet Union. The operation, which ran from 1921 to 1926, set up a fake anti-Bolshevik resistance organization, “Monarchist Union of Central Russia”, MUCR (Монархическое объединение Центральной России, МОЦР), in order to help the OGPU identify real monarchists and anti-Bolsheviks.
The cover story used for discussion was to call the organization the Moscow Municipal Credit Association.
The head of the MUCR was Alexander Yakushev (Александр Александрович Якушев), a former bureaucrat of the Ministry of Communications of Imperial Russia, who after the Russian Revolution joined the Narkomat of External Trade (Наркомат внешней торговли), when the Soviets began to allow the former specialists (called “spetsy”, Russian: спецы) to resume the positions of their expertise. This position allowed him to travel abroad and contact Russian emigrants.
MUCR kept the monarchist general Alexander Kutepov (Александр Кутепов) from active actions, as he was convinced to wait for the development of internal anti-Bolshevik forces. Kutepov had previously believed in militant action as a solution to the Soviet occupation, and had formed the “combat organization”, a militant splinter from the Russian All-Military Union (Russian: Русский Обще-Воинский Союз, Russkiy ObshcheVoinskiy Soyuz) led by General Baron Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel.
Kutepov also created the Inner Line as a counter-intelligence organization to prevent Bolshevik penetrations. It caused the Cheka some problems but was not overly successful.
Some modern researchers say that there are reasons to believe that both persons had doubts in MUCR, and they went into the Soviet Union for their own reasons, using MUCR as a pretext.
The Soviets did not organize Trust from scratch. The White Army had left sleeper agents, and there were also Royalist Russians who did not leave after the Civil War. These people cooperated to the point of having a loose organizational structure. When the OGPU discovered them, they did not liquidate them, but expanded the organization for their own use.
Still another episode of the operation was an “illegal” trip (in fact, monitored by OGPU) of a notable émigré, Vasily Shulgin, into the Soviet Union. After his return he published a book “Three Capitals” with his impressions. In the book he wrote, in part, that contrary to his expectations, Russia was reviving, and the Bolsheviks would probably be removed from power.
The one Western historian who had limited access to the Trust files, John Costello, reported that they comprised thirty-seven volumes and were such a bewildering welter of double-agents, changed code names, and interlocking deception operations with “the complexity of a symphonic score”, that Russian historians from the Intelligence Service had difficulty separating fact from fantasy.
The Great Purge took place from 1936 through 1938. It had “merit” for Stalin in that it eliminated any remaining opposition or resistance <emphasis added> to his rule. Estimates of the total number of people killed to achieve this range from 680,000 to 1,200,000. Here are the details: Great Purge – Wikipedia
Let’s use the link and have a look at the contingent of those remaining opposition and resistance to Stalin’s rule.
<By NKVD of USSR – Nicolas Werth: L’Ivrogne et la Marchande de fleurs. Autopsie d’un meurtre de masse, 1937–1938, Tallandier, Paris 2009, ISBN 978-2-8473-4573-5., Public Domain, File: NKVD Order No. 00447.jpg>
Do you know who this Nicolas Werth is? Please meet: Nicolas Werth is a French historian, and a scholar of communist studies, particularly the history of the Soviet Union. He is the son of Alexander Werth, a Russian-born British journalist, and writer. He wrote the chapters dedicated to the USSR in The Black Book of Communism.
The Black Book sold 70,000 copies in four weeks in France.(13) Of course, the Wall Street Journal endorsed it as well as most of the rest of the bourgeois press. There are 175 entries in an Internet search using the “Google” search engine. Many of the book reviews can be seen by visiting MIM’s bookstore under reviewed books and going to the Amazon bookstore link for the Black Book. The positive reviews can be taken as an indication of the lack of historical knowledge of some, the weak quantitative skills of others and the overall conscious distortion of the bourgeoisie. In the end, MIM agrees that Courtois has recognized the truth about the media: it will buy anything anti-communist.
This matter cleared, I want to represent to the curious reader who was the majority of those remaining opposition and resistance to Stalin’s rule. I apologize for any discrepancies in my translation of the scanned document above.
PEOPLE’S COMMISSARY OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS OF THE USSR
July 30, 1937 No. 00447
REPRESSING FORMER KULAKS, CRIMINALS AND OTHER ANTI-SOVIET ELEMENTS.
July 30, 1937.
The materials of the investigation into the cases of anti-Soviet formations establish that a significant number of former kulaks, other previously repressed, fled the camps, exiles and labor camps. Also among them, there are many, repressed in the past churchmen and sectarians, former active participants of anti-Soviet armed protests. Significant cadres of anti-Soviet political parties (Esers, Grusmeks, Dashnaks, Mussavatists, Ittihadists, etc) – remained almost untouched in the villages, as well as cadres of former active participants in the gangs of uprisings, whites, punishers, returnees, etc.
Some of the above elements, having left the village to the cities, penetrated into the industrial enterprises, transport, and construction.
In addition, the village and the city still nest a significant number of criminals – cattle-and-horse thieves, recidivists, robbers, etc. who had served their sentences, had escaped from prison and were fleeing repression. The inadequacy of the fight against these criminal forces has created conditions of impunity for them to facilitate their criminal activities.
As it is established, all these anti-Soviet elements are the main instigators of all kinds of anti-Soviet and sabotage crimes, both in collective farms and state farms and on transport and in some areas of industry.
The state security authorities have a task – in the most merciless way to defeat this whole gang of anti-Soviet elements, to protect the working Soviet people from them counter-revolutionary machinations and, finally, once and for all, to put an end to their vile subversive work against the foundations of the Soviet state.
IAW THAT REPORT I ORDER TO START THE OPERATION AGAINST THE FORMER KULAKS AND ACTIVE ANTI-SOVIET ELEMENTS AND CRIMINALS BEGINNING FROM 5 AUGUST 1937 IN ALL REPUBLICS, KRAIS, and OBLASTS.
Now my turn to ask a question, can anyone explain to the public which way the above-mentioned cattle-and-horse thieves presented opposition to Stalin’s rule as John Berger suggests in his answer? Rhetoric question.
We should stop to mark the whole contingent of the punitive facilities of GULag as innocent victims by definition. Our sympathy should go only with the TRULY INNOCENT, who represent a mere tiny fraction of the total number of the repressed.
|So my answer to the title question is Yes, the purges of the 1930s have had the merit of removing the gangrenous matter from the newbie USSR.
Tukachevsky’s execution had little to no personal background to it.
“The Moscow press announced that they [the primary Generals on trial] had been in the pay of Hitler and had agreed to help him get the Ukraine. This charge was fairly widely believed in foreign military circles, and was later substantiated by revelations made abroad. Czech military circles seemed to be especially well informed. Czech officials in Prague bragged to me later that their military men had been the first to discover and to complain to Moscow that Czech military secrets, known to the Russians through the mutual aid alliance, were being revealed by Tukhachevsky to the German high command.”
Strong, Anna L. The Soviets Expected It. New York, New York: The Dial press, 1941, p. 134
“Bolstering Khrushchev’s version of this affair, that Stalin swallowed German disinformation designed to destroy Tukhachevsky, is a legend that Stalin was warned of a conspiracy with the Germans. In 1939 the Soviet defector Krivitsky, who had worked for the NKVD and GRU in Western Europe, published his book In Stalin’s Secret Service, in which he claimed that the NKVD received secret information about such a conspiracy from Czech President Benes and from its agent Skoblin,…. Krivitsky accused Skoblin of providing the Soviets with disinformation from the Germans about secret contacts with Tukhachevsky. Later General Schellenberg, chief of Hitler’s foreign intelligence service, in his memoirs also claimed that the Germans fabricated documents pointing to Tukhachevsky as their agent. Before the war, he said, they passed these documents to the Czechs, and Benes reported the information to Stalin. For me, this is a self-serving fairytale. The documents have never been found in the KGB or Stalin archives. The criminal case against Tukhachevsky is based entirely on his confession, and there’s no reference to any incriminating evidence received from German intelligence. If such documents existed, I, as deputy director and the man responsible for the German desk in the intelligence directorate, would have seen them or found some reference to their existence.”
Sudoplatov, Pavel. Special Tasks. Boston: Little, Brown, c1993, p. 90
“The case of the generals was different from that of the accused civilians. Not only was it held in camera, but the “Court” of a presiding judge and two assistants was reinforced by eight of the highest officers in the Red Army. In addition, more than 100 high-ranking officers from all over the country were summoned as spectators, in order later to give an eye-witness account of proceedings to the troops under their command. It is a matter of record that none of them ever expressed doubts about the genuineness of the charge or the justice of the verdict. In this case at least, there was no possibility that the accused had been “worked on” during a long period of preliminary examination, as they were tried within three days after their rest, confessed their guilt, were condemned by unanimous verdict, and shot without delay.
…The charges against them, and the exact nature of their offense, had never been made public officially, but they can be surmised with a reasonable degree of accuracy. The night before Tukhachevsky and the others were arrested, Marshall Gamarnik, Vice Commissar of War and chief of the Political Department of the Red Army, committed suicide, which gives the key to the puzzle. The Political Department had been originally intended by Lenin as a means of civil control over the Army, but in the course of time it had gradually become a part or appanage of the General Staff, owing allegiance to the Army rather than to the Kremlin. The danger of war, and perhaps doubts provoked by the murder of Kirov and subsequent investigation, led Stalin to decide that a radical change should be made in the status of the Political Department, that it must henceforth revert to its original function as an instrument of civilian control. The Army leaders resented this “interference,” and finally decided to prevent it by violent action…. Accordingly, Tukhachevsky, Gamarnik, and their colleagues appealed to the German General Staff for support in their projected coup d’etat or “palace revolution” against Stalin. They hoped to affect the coup through the Kremlin Guard and the students of the military academy in the Kremlin, who, they believed, would obey their orders; but they had the gravest doubts about the mass of the Army and the nation as a whole, which prompted them to seek German aid in return, it is said, for an offer of territory and for economic and political advantages in the Ukraine and North Caucasus.”
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 220
“I gave him [Spiegelglass] the contents of a brief confidential dispatch from one of my chief agents in Germany. At a formal reception tendered by high Nazi officials, at which my informant was present, the question of the Tukhachevsky affair came up. Captain Fritz Wiedemann, personal political aide to Hitler –appointed subsequently to the post of Consul-General at San Francisco –was asked if there was any truth in Staliin’s charges of espionage against the Red Army generals. My agent’s report reproduced Wiedemann’s boastful reply:
“We hadn’t nine spies in the Red Army, but many more. The 0GPU is still far from on the trail of all our men in Russia.””
Krivitsky, Walter G. I was Stalin’s Agent, London: H. Hamilton, 1939, p. 242
Such ideas as a General being on the payroll of the Nazis and who were attempting a coup is not far-fetched, as attempts and plans of such attempts ocurredin many countries with it being successful in Germany, Italy and most notably SPain. Attempts were ven made in the US, attempts revealed by Smedley Butler who later died mysteriously not long after.
Historians Getty and Harris discuss the Great Purges
It certainly isn’t a cultural universal. In many nations around the world, particularly Eastern ones, the older generations are venerated and respected for their wisdom.
In Korea and China, for example, the people are still influenced by Confucian principles. One of them is filial piety. It is expected that you show respect, deference, and honor to your parents and to the elderly in general. This kind of respect is considered at the root of a strong society.
Contrast this with the West, particularly the United States. My father became disabled with MS and I was unable to continue caring for him because I was unable to lift him and he needed skilled nursing care 24/7.
It is an understatement to say that elderly people are infantilized. And this happened at multiple nursing homes, as I had to keep moving him because the level of care was shit. Elderly people are spoken to as if they are children, basic respect for them is ignored even when they could be afforded a higher level of privacy and dignity.
The most horrifying is the consensus among “caregivers” that once you become unable to walk and “too sick” (which really means they have to exert some effort to care for you) they decide it is time for you to be put into hospice to begin “the journey.” This is a Boomer conceived notion that if you don’t want to die or if your family doesn’t want you to die that you are “afraid of death,” “not letting go,” and “not being compassionate.” In reality it is a functional death panel. Even worse is that hospice in America is frequently for profit. So the salesmen of death get bonuses if you unload your loved ones to them to begin “the journey.”
“The journey” means them not letting you drink water or eat food as to hasten your death. They try to sell it to you as “receiving extra comfort care but you can still get treatment if you need it,” but this is a goddamn lie. As a lawyer I always read the fine print, and it said that by taking part in hospice you “waive your right to have Medicare pay for your treatment related medical care,” meaning you only receive comfort care, not treatment to keep you alive or sustain you.
Most families are so traumatized by their loved one being ill they are slipped the wet peter by these people. Hospice is fast food death, American style.
The reason elderly people are not valued in American society is because we are a nation of hustlers, religious extremists, and individualists. We are always “on the make,” and we value being young, beautiful, and being a “value producer.” Once you cannot buy, sell, or be gun fodder for the military, you best sit your ass on the ice canoe and float out to sea. Human life isn’t worth much in America. Wisdom from old people is considered passe, and certainly not relevant. What might an old person know about life, having grown up during the Great Depression, fought in WWII, rebuilt America, and seen decades of changes? Storming the Beaches of Normandy? Please. That was a million years ago, right? No, we are too focused on building another startup so we can produce the 28th flavor of gourmet ketchup, or some hookup app, or whatever.
Love plays very little part in American society. It is a violent, racist, paranoid, selfish culture. And I am not making this up. In fact, it has been scientifically proven. Perhaps the best word I can use to describe America is “mean.” It is a very mean place.
Getting back to the situation with my father. The nursing home administrators and staff considered me mentally unbalanced because I would throw a fit when I visited him and he was sitting in a pool of his own urine, or when I refused to put him in hospice so they didn’t have to deal with him, and this was multiple nursing homes.
But this is nothing compared to what just happened to my maternal grandfather. My grandmother had always been verbally abusive to my grandfather. Over the last 3 years he began to show some mild signs of dementia, but nothing serious. Over the last 6 months he had broken his hip, but survived and was healing, although his walking required a walker. It became clear that based on his age, 91, that he was going to need more help, but otherwise his health was good. He still recognized everyone, spoke normally, could feed himself, shower with assistance, etc. In March he developed a touch of pneumonia. Instead of taking him to the hospital, my grandmother and my aunt had him put into hospice. The bogus claim was that he had ARD or something, which was nonsense. Hospice decided that it was time for “the journey.” Over a week he was denied water and food. Two of my other aunts begged my grandmother to bring him to the hospital, but she refused. She decided she didn’t want to be inconvenienced by his inevitable decline. My uncle nearly kidnapped him. I begged my grandmother to send him to the hospital too. Nothing. He looked at my grandmother with love, like a puppy being ready to be put down because it had piddled on the kitchen floor one too many times. It was monstrous. While he was dying my grandmother was already working out the details of his funeral. She always loves giving a good eulogy. My father had died one week prior. My grandfather died three days later. I was scapegoated and literally banned from the funeral services and being around the family.
Fascism is capitalism in decay. And the more we see the decay of the American economy, the more we see the people fighting for the scraps and being at each other’s throats. Just like the fascists in Europe decided to get rid of the disabled, the weak, and the “inferiors,” the elderly are considered used up and ready to be sent to the glue factory.
We live in a Culture of Death.
Consider the statement by the Lt. Gov. of Texas, who said old people should volunteer to die to save the economy:
Appearing on Fox News, Patrick told Tucker Carlson, “No one reached out to me and said, ‘As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’” But if they had? “If that is the exchange, I’m all in,” Patrick said. He continued: “That doesn’t make me noble or brave or anything like that. I just think there are lots of grandparents out there in this country, like me, I have six grandchildren, that what we all care about and what we love more than anything are those children. And I want to live smart and see through this, but I don’t want the whole country to be sacrificed…I’ve talked to hundreds of people, Tucker, and just in the last week, making calls all the time, and everyone says pretty much the same thing. That we can’t lose our whole country, we’re having an economic collapse. I’m also a small businessman, I understand it. And I talk with businesspeople all the time, Tucker. My heart is lifted tonight by what I heard the president say because we can do more than one thing at a time, we can do two things. So my message is let’s get back to work, let’s get back to living. Let’s be smart about it and those of us who are 70-plus, we’ll take care of ourselves. But don’t sacrifice the country, don’t do that, don’t ruin this great America.”
At this point, Tucker Carlson, who, alarmingly, could be our only hope, asked, “So you’re basically saying that this disease could take your life but that’s not the scariest thing to you, there’s something that could be worse than dying?” Put in those terms, Patrick appeared momentarily taken aback but responded, “Yeah.”
Let’s pretend we want to cut through the propaganda and learn more about a subject. Where do we turn?
Let’s look at the issue of the Holodomor. If we are uncritical thinkers who are too lazy to look into the matter we can simply do a quick Wikipedia search, accept whatever is presented uncritically, and then feel merited in regurgitating the usual anti-communist propaganda that “Stalin killed 100 million people,” etc. If we are especially stupid we can go to Alexander Finnegan’s page and virtue signal about how disgusted we are with him, how deplorable he is for supporting a bloody, paranoid dictator, and how “free market and capitalism have lifted more people out of poverty than any other system.”
But let’s assume we want to take a break from our stupidity for one day. Then what?
First thing we can do is check out the Wikipedia page. It states that the Holodomor was a “man made famine” that was a “genocide.” Really? Those are some pretty serious accusations. Let’s check out the citations. Citation 13 takes us to a webpage that looks like the spooky entrance to a gaming website. The website was created by the “Ukrainian Research Institute.” I wonder who is behind this? After some digging I find that it was founded through the efforts of a professor who also happens to be a Ukrainian nationalist. This immediately reminds me to be attentive to potential bias. Ukrainian nationalism has a long history of Russophobia and anti-communism.
However, not all hope is lost. Reading further down the article there is a brief mention that there is the possibility that Joseph Stalin did not deliberately cause the Holodomor. One of the papers in support of this cited is by Mark Tauger, which I download and read. It is an academic paper that shows a highly detailed analysis. Now we are getting somewhere. There is also a paper by J. Arch Getty which absolves Stalin of deliberate guilt but basically states that the famine was caused by gross incompetence. This is something I decide to look into later.
So far I am relying on other people telling me what happened. Maybe I can find some primary sources in English? So I find a link which has some documents from the Soviet archives translated into English.
One of them is a letter by Stalin, expressing his frustration with the kulaks for intentionally sabotaging the harvest, causing the famine:
Stalin put enormous effort into ensuring the harvest succeeded because his plans for industrialization depended upon the success of collectivization.
This is a letter written by Stalin translated into English:
Letter from Stalin to Mikhail Sholokhov, May 3, I933, on sabotage by the grain growers of the Veshenskii raion
Dear Comrade Sholokhov:
As you already know, all of your letters have been received. The help for which you are asking has been approved. To investigate the matter, I am sending Mr. Shkiriatov to the Veshenskii mion to see you. I earnestly request you to render him assistance. So that’s that. But not all, Comrade Sholokhov. The problem is that your letters create a somewhat one-sided impression. I would like to write you a few words about that. I am thankful to you for your letters, as they reveal the open sores in party and Soviet work; they reveal how our officials, in their ardent desire to restrain the enemy, sometimes inadvertently beat up their friends and sink to the point of sadism.
But this does not mean, that I completely agree with you on everything. You see one side of the situation, and you do not see it too badly. But this is only one side of the matter. In order not to make political mistakes (your letters are not fiction, but outright politics), you must observe widely; you must be able to see things from both sides. The other side is that the esteemed grain growers of your region (and not only from your region) have conducted a “sit-down strike” (sabotage!) and were not against leaving workers and the Red Army without bread. The fact that this sabotage was peaceful and outwardly harmless (bloodless) does not change the fact that the esteemed grain growers actually carried on a “quiet” war against Soviet authority. A war of starvation, dear Comrade Sholokhov. Of course, this circumstance cannot to any degree justify those terrible acts that were allowed to happen, as you are convinced, by our officials. Those guilty of these terrible acts should be punished accordingly. But it is clear as day that these esteemed grain growers are not as innocent as they appear to be from a distance. Well, so long, shaking your hand
Another is a resolution passed by the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Ukrainian Communist Party, November 27, 1932 concerning the harvest and measures to combat sabotage.
I do more online searches for photos of what happened.
Here Soviet workers find kulaks hiding grain. This is consistent with the claims by the local party officials that kulaks were hiding grain and then selling it on the black market even though others were starving.
These collectivization farmers are praising the collectives and asking for the elimination of the kulaks as a class.
These kulaks protest, refusing to share their grain.
So far, based on primary source evidence and photos, the narrative posed by the Ukrainian nationalists seems to fall apart. If I had not done some digging, I would have been stuck.
Later I discover that most of the early history about the Holodomor came from Robert Conquest. So I decide to look into him. Who is he? Turns out he is a British intelligence services agent and paid propagandist:
In 1948 Conquest joined the Foreign Office’s Information Research Department (IRD), a “propaganda counter-offensive” unit created by the LabourAttlee government in order to “collect and summarize reliable information about Soviet and communist misdoings, to disseminate it to friendly journalists, politicians, and trade unionists, and to support, financially and otherwise, anticommunist publications.” The IRD was also engaged in manipulating public opinion.
WTF! So this is the guy the “reputable academics” in the West use as their primary source for why the Holodomor was a genocide?
And it doesn’t end there. Modern authors like Simon Sebag Montefiore and Stephen Kotkin do the same thing. Look at the citations of their books and they either don’t have them or they cite each other in a kind of self-referential loop untethered from reality. Any time you question it then you are a “Stalin apologist,” so nobody considers it worth the effort.
“The CIA believed that Ukrainian nationalism could be used as an efficient cold war weapon.While the Ukrainian nationalists provided Washington with valuable information about its Cold War rivals, the CIA in return was placing the nationalist veterans into positions of influence and authority, helping them to create semi-academic institutions or academic positions in existing universities.
By using these formal and informal academic networks, the Ukrainian nationalists had been disseminating anti-Russian propaganda, creating myths and re-writing history at the same time whitewashing the wartime crimes of OUN-UPA.
“In 1987 the film “Harvest of Despair” was made. It was the beginning of the ‘Holodomor’ movement. The film was entirely funded by Ukrainian nationalists, mainly in Canada. A Canadian scholar, Douglas Tottle(1), exposed the fact that the film took photographs from the 1921-22 ‘Volga famine’ and used them to illustrate the 1932-33 famine. Tottle later wrote a book, ‘Fraud, Famine, and Fascism: The Ukrainian Genocide Myth from Hitler to Harvard,‘ about the phony ‘Holodomor’ issue,” Professor Furr elaborated. “
The Holodomor Hoax: Joseph Stalin’s Crime That Never Took Place
“In the last 15 years or so an enormous amount of new material on Stalin … has become available from Russian archives. I should make clear that as a historian I have a strong orientation to telling the truth about the past, no matter how uncomfortable or unpalatable the conclusions may be. … I don’t think there is a dilemma: you just tell the truth as you see it.
The common or “mainstream” view of Stalin as a bloodthirsty tyrant is a product of two sources: Trotsky’s writings of the 1930s and Nikita Khrushchev’s “Secret Speech” to the XX Party Congress in February, 1956. This canonical history of the Stalin period – the version we have all learned — is completely false. We can see this now thanks mainly to two sets of archival discoveries: the gradual publication of thousands of archival documents from formerly secret Soviet archives since the end of the USSR in 1991; and the opening of the Leon Trotsky Archive at Harvard in 1980 and, secondarily, of the Trotsky Archive at the Hoover Institution (Furr).
The Hoover Institution keeps playing a role in much of this “research.” Who are they? Turns out the main donors to the Hoover Institution were associated with Polish and Ukrainian nationals. The Scairfe Foundation is dedicated to supporting conservative and libertarian causes, including anti-communist causes. Guess who also funded Nicholas Werth, the rabid anti-communist and author of “Cannibal Island?” The Hoover Institute. Werth is also one of the co-authors of the debunked “Black Book of Communism,” which its own co-authors admitted the “100 million killed by communism” claim was bullshit.
Werth and Margolin felt Courtois was “obsessed” with arriving at a total of 100 million killed which resulted in “sloppy and biased scholarship”
So even co-authors Werth and Margolin were uncomfortable with the primary author, Courtois’s obsession with reaching “100 million killed by communism.”
Don’t take my word for it. Start checking things. Go down the rabbit hole. Your mind will explode. Try it with everything you have learned in history. You are going to be very busy.
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[c]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d]”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[e] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Blessed are the poor
Luke 6: 20–26
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. 22 Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.
24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. 25 Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. 26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up for treasure for the last days. Behold, the wages of the labourers who mowed your fields, which you have kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter
James 5: 1–6
“It is when the Communists are good that they are dangerous.”
That is how Dorothy Day begins an article in America, published just before the launch of the Catholic Worker on May Day in 1933. In contrast to the reactions of many Catholics of the time, Day painted a sympathetic, if critical view of the communists she encountered in Depression-era New York City. Her deep personalism allowed her to see the human stories through the ideological struggle; and yet she concluded that Catholicism and communism were not only incompatible, but mutual threats. A whole Cold War has passed since her reflection, and a few clarifying notes are now worthwhile.
Communists are attracted to communism by their goodness, Day argued, that unerasable quality of the good that can be found within and outside the church alike, woven into our very nature. It might have been an easier thing to say back in 1933, when American communists were well known to the general public for putting their lives on the line to support striking workers, but it was also the kind of thing that could land you in a lot of trouble, not least in the Catholic Church.
By affirming the goodness that drives so many communists then and now, Day aimed to soften the perceptions of Catholics who were more comfortable with villainous caricatures of the communists of their era than with more challenging depictions of them as laborers for peace and economic justice. Most people who join communist parties and movements, Day rightly noted, are motivated not by some deep hatred toward God or frothing anti-theism, but by an aspiration for a world liberated from a political economy that demands vast exploitation of the many for the comfort of a few.
But in her attempt to create sympathy for the people attracted to communism and to overcome a knee-jerk prejudice against them, Day needlessly perpetuated two other prejudices against communism. First, she said that under all the goodness that draws people to communism, the movement is, in the final analysis, a program “with the distinct view of tearing down the church.”
Then, talking about a young communist in her neighborhood who was killed after being struck by a brick thrown by a Trotskyite, she concluded that young people who follow the goodness in their hearts that may lead them to communism are not fully aware of what it is they are participating in—even at the risk of their lives. In other words, we should hate the communism but love the communist.
Though Day’s sympathetic criticism of communism is in many ways commendable, nearly a century of history shows there is much more to the story than these two judgments suggest. Communist political movements the world over have been full of unexpected characters, strange developments and more complicated motivations than a desire to undo the church; and even through the challenges of the 20th century, Catholics and communists have found natural reasons to offer one another a sign of peace.
A Complicated History
Christianity and communism have obviously had a complicated relationship. That adjective “complicated” will surely cause some readers to roll their eyes. Communist states and movements have indeed persecuted religious people at different moments in history. At the same time, Christians have been passionately represented in communist and socialist movements around the world. And these Christians, like their atheist comrades, are communists not because they misunderstand the final goals of communism but because they authentically understand the communist ambition of a classless society.
“From each according to ability, to each according to need,” Marx summarizes in “Critique of the Gotha Program,” a near echo of Luke’s description of the early church in Acts 4:35 and 11:29. Perhaps it was Day, not her young communist neighbor, who misunderstood communism.
It is true that Marx, Engels, Lenin and a number of other major communists were committed Enlightenment thinkers, atheists who sometimes assumed religion would fade away in the bright light of scientific reason, and at other times advocated propagandizing against it (though not, as Lenin argued, in a way that would divide the movement against capitalism, the actual opponent). That should not be so scandalous in itself. They are hardly alone as modern atheists, and their atheism is understandable, when Christianity has so often been a force allied to the ruling powers that exploit the poor. Catholics have found plenty of philosophical resources in non-Christian sources in the past; why not moderns?
Despite and beyond theoretical differences, priests like Herbert McCabe, O.P., Ernesto and Fernando Cardenal, S.J., Frei Betto, O.P., Camilo Torres and many other Catholics—members of the clergy, religious and laypeople—have been inspired by communists and in many places contributed to communist and communist-influenced movements as members. Some still do—for example in the Philippines, where the “Christians for National Liberation,” an activist group first organized by nuns, priests and exploited Christians, are politically housed within the National Democratic Front, a coalition of movements that includes a strong communist thread currently fighting the far-right authoritarian leader Rodrigo Duterte.
Closer to home and outside of armed struggles, Christians are also present today in communist movements in the United States and Canada. Whatever hostilities may have existed in the past, some of these movements are quite open to Christian participation now. Many of my friends in the Party for Socialism and Liberation, for example, a Marxist-Leninist party, are churchgoing Christians or folks without a grudge against their Christian upbringing, as are lots of people in the radical wing of the Democratic Socialists of America.
The Communist Party USA has published essays affirming the connections between Christianity and communism and encouraging Marxists not to write off Christians as hopelessly lost to the right (the C.P.U.S.A. paper, People’s World, even reported on Sister Simone Campbell and Network’s Nuns on the Bus campaign to agitate for immigration reform). In Canada, Dave McKee, former leader of the Communist Party of Canada in Ontario, was once an Anglican theology student at a Catholic seminary, radicalized in part by his contact with base communities in Nicaragua. For my part, I have talked more about Karl Rahner, S.J., St. Óscar Romero and liberation theology at May Day celebrations and communist meetings than at my own Catholic parish.
In other words, though some communists would undoubtedly prefer a world without Christianity, communism is not simply a program for destroying the church. Many who committed their very lives to the church felt compelled to work alongside communists as part of their Christian calling. The history of communism, whatever else it might be, will always contain a history of Christianity, and vice versa, whether members of either faction like it or not.
Communism in its socio-political expression has at times caused great human and ecological suffering. Any good communist is quick to admit as much, not least because communism is an unfinished project that depends on the recognition of its real and tragic mistakes.
But communists are not the only ones who have to answer for creating human suffering. Far from being a friendly game of world competition, capitalism, Marx argued, emerged through the privatization of what was once public, like shared land, a process enforced first by physical violence and then continued by law. As time went on, human beings themselves would become the private property of other human beings.
Colonial capitalism, together with the assumptions of white supremacy, ushered in centuries of unbridled terrorism on populations around the world, creating a system in which people could be bought and sold as commodities. Even after the official abolition of slavery in the largest world economies—which required a costly civil war in the United States—the effects of that system live on, and capitalist nations and transnational companies continue to exploit poor and working people at home and abroad. For many people around the globe today, being on the wrong side of capitalism can still mean the difference between life and death.
What Motivates a Communist?
Communism has provided one of the few sustainable oppositions to capitalism, a global political order responsible for the ongoing suffering of millions. It is that suffering, reproduced by economic patterns that Marx and others tried to explain, and not the secret plot of atheism (as Day once argued), that motivates communists.
According to a report by Oxfam released in 2018, global inequality is staggering and still on the rise. Oxfam, which is not run by communists, observed that “82 percent of the wealth created [in 2017] went to the richest one percent of the global population, while the 3.7 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity got nothing.”
While entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are investing in space travel, their workers are grounded in daily economic struggle here on earth. In Mr. Musk’s Tesla factories, workers suffer serious injuries more than twice the industrial average, and they report being so exhausted that they collapse on the factory floor.
An undercover journalist reports workers urinate into bottles in a U.K. Amazon warehouse for fear of being disciplined for “idle time,” and the company has a long list of previous offenses. In Pennsylvania, Amazon workers needed medical attention both for exposure to the cold in the winter and for heat exhaustion in the summer. These hardly seem like prices worth paying so a few billionaires can vacation in the black expanse of space. As one Detroit Tesla worker put it: “Everything feels like the future but us.”
For communists, global inequality and the abuse of workers at highly profitable corporations are not the result only of unkind employers or unfair labor regulations. They are symptoms of a specific way of organizing wealth, one that did not exist at the creation of the world and one that represents part of a “culture of death,” to borrow a familiar phrase. We already live in a world where wealth is redistributed, but it goes up, not down or across.
Though polls show U.S. citizens have become increasingly skeptical of capitalism—one Gallup survey even reports that Democrats currently view socialism more positively than capitalism—that attitude is not widely popular among electoral representatives. A revival of socialist hysteria typified the response to Bernie Sanders’s inspiring 2016 primary bid and the electoral success of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, members of the Democratic Socialists of America, a party co-founded by a former Catholic Worker, Michael Harrington. Republican and Democratic politicians have made it abundantly clear that whatever their differences, they both agree that in U.S. political culture support for capitalism is non-negotiable, as Nancy Pelosi told a socialist questioner during a CNN town hall.
Communists are not content with the back-and-forth of capitalist parties, who point fingers at one another while maintaining, jointly, a system that exploits multitudes of people, including their own constituents. Communists think we can build better ways of being together in society.
Contrary to the fear that communists simply want everyone’s “stuff,” the abolition of private property, for which Marx and Engels called, means the abolition of privately owned ways of generating wealth, not taking the clothes off your back or your dad’s tie collection. As the popular saying in communist circles goes, communists do not want your toothbrush. Some of the standard proposals in the programs of communist parties include things like providing free health care, abolishing private profit from renting property and the creation of truly democratic institutions in which politicians are not millionaires and are subject to recall.
In fact, although the Catholic Church officially teaches that private property is a natural right, this teaching also comes with the proviso that private property is always subordinate to the common good. So subordinate, says Pope Francis in a truly radical moment in “Laudato Si’,” that “The Christian tradition has never recognized the right to private property as absolute or inviolable, and has stressed the social purpose of all forms of private property.”
Something like this is paralleled in “The Communist Manifesto,” when Marx and Engels underscore that abolishing private property means abolishing not personal property, or the kinds of things an artisan or farmer might own, but the amassed property held by the rich, which divides human beings into antagonistic classes of people—in other words, the kind of private property that most of us do not have.
“You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property,” Marx and Engels say to their bourgeois detractors. “But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths.”
Instead, they write that property should be transformed. In a passage not too far from Pope Francis’ bold sentence above, Marx and Engels say: “When, therefore, capital is converted into common property, into the property of all members of society, personal property is not thereby transformed into social property. It is only the social character of the property that is changed. It loses its class character.”
What communists desire is an authentically common life together, and they think that can only happen by relativizing property in light of the good of everyone. Radical indeed, but certainly not all that shocking to people who remember when the Virgin Mary sang that God has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty (Lk 1:53).
Dorothy Day and Christian Communism
Dorothy Day seemed to recognize the deeper motivations for communism later on, changing her judgment of good communists to suggest perhaps there is also good communism. Her article in America was written at the beginning of the Great Depression. Twenty years later, Fidel Castro and comrades founded the 26th of July Movement. That effort in 1959 ousted Fulgencio Batista, whose regime was infamous for torturing or killing thousands of Cubans while enjoying support from the United States.
Reflecting on the Cuban revolution in The Catholic Worker in 1961, Day offered a complex perspective on the persecution of some Catholics following the revolution. Nevertheless, she wrote, “It is hard…to say that the place of The Catholic Worker is with the poor, and that being there, we are often finding ourselves on the side of the persecutors of the Church. This is a tragic fact.”
Day reminded her readers that Castro emphasized he was not against the church or Catholics as such (he knew Catholics in the revolution, after all) but against those factions within Cuba that would prefer to cling to the old regime, built on the oppression of Cuba’s people. Castro had not only permitted priests and nuns to stay in Cuba, Day wrote, but affirmed that the church endured through monarchies, republics and in feudalist states. “Why cannot she exist under a socialist state?” she asked. She noted many Jesuits would stay in Cuba to work in parishes and added that the Jesuits already had experience living through periods of persecution and suppression.
But Dorothy Day was not open only to the begrudging possibility that the Cuban church might not be wiped out by socialism. She went further: “We are on the side of the revolution. We believe there must be new concepts of property, which is proper to [humanity], and that the new concept is not so new. There is a Christian communism and a Christian capitalism.
“God Bless the priests and people of Cuba. God bless Castro and all those who are seeing Christ in the poor,” she said. A year later, Day visited Cuba to see the revolutionary society for herself. In a series of dispatches to The Catholic Worker, she reported glowingly, albeit not without noting the many problems the young society had to solve, problems she hoped could in fact be solved with a little communist ingenuity.
Spanning over a century now, communists—Christians and non-Christians—have fought against a violent capitalist economy, putting their lives and freedoms at risk, enduring character assassination, imprisonment and war. Whether or not one is convinced by the communist hope of abolishing private property, it is undeniable that communists have provided a real, material challenge to a global system that the most powerful world governments have every intention of perpetuating. The loss of a mass communist movement, due in large part to an aggressive legal and political persecution by the United States and other governments, has made organizing opposition to capitalism itself a difficult task; but even in its absence, a majority of millennials reject capitalism.
As Marx and Engels put it in “The Communist Manifesto”: “In place of the bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.” It is with that hope for free development, beyond the competition of capitalists, that many Catholics, myself included, count themselves among the communists.
So Dorothy Day was right when she said it is when the communists are good that they are dangerous. Communists are pursuing the good when they are dangerous; they are opposing an economic system based on avarice, exploitation and human suffering, afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted. And in a world beholden to an economy of death, one that is crippling our “common home,” as Pope Francis tells us, and asserting itself as the end of history, we must also add: It is when the communists are dangerous that they are good. 
Probably because people with a normal level of human empathy and moral consciousness realize the following:
That Nazis kill people for who they are, which is something one cannot choose. Nazis exterminated 6 million Jews, and millions of disabled people, gypsies, Slavs, and other “undesirables.” By contrast, communists killed people for what they did. Of course there are some exceptions. One must consider the historical context of pre-WWII Russia, along with Operation Trust, the planned coup, and the mindset after the horrors of the Russian Civil War.
Communist is against anti-Semitism. Nazism is highly anti-Semitic.
Nazis performed painful, brutalizing, and cruel human experiments on adults and children. The “Angel of Death,” Dr. Mengele, performed horrifying experiments on twin children. 
Nazi racism was only matched (and inspired) by U.S. Southern racism, which was some of the most virulent and brutal racism in the world. In fact, some black POW’s from the Korean War chose to move to Red China instead of return “home” to the American South, which was dominated by the KKK, lynchings, police brutality, and Segregation.  The Nazi miscegenation laws were actually modeled after U.S. miscegenation laws. How the Nazis Used Jim Crow Laws as the Model for Their Race Laws
Generalplan Ost was the German plan for the starvation, shooting, and mass extermination of millions of Slavs, Jews, and others in the Soviet Union after the Germans conquered it.
Clarence Adams, a black American POW, chose to stay in Red China after being captured during the Korean War as a soldier for the U.S. military. The disgusting and dehumanizing racism he faced at home and in the military convinced him to try something new. So he did. He met a Chinese woman, got married, and had children. He lived there until the Cultural Revolution, at which time he moved back to the U.S.
Absolutely. You cannot “memorialize” something that never happened. Communists never killed 100 million people. That number was based upon a work of propaganda disguised as serious work, called “The Black Book of Communism.” There were multiple authors to the book. After release, the book was widely criticized by serious scholars. Even the fellow co-authors of the work admitted that the “100 million” number was untrue.
Second, the purpose of the statue is also to demonize China, which is totally unwarranted. Further, the Tianneman Square incident was not a wholesale mass slaughter of innocents. Rather, actual protesters dispersed after the police told them to clear the area. It wasn’t long after that violent thugs began to set fires, attack police, and try to induce mayhem. The police dealt with them appropriately.
As for the USSR “death toll,” it is far less than 100 million:
Gulag numbers are here: number of gulag.pdf 1,053,829 died in the gulag. But it must also be remembered that this includes people who died from natural causes. The death toll went up during WWII because everyone in the nation was on food rations so there was no starvation, but sick people and older people sometimes succumbed out of the stress. There were also outbreaks of diseases that caused deaths. Solzehnitsyn Lied pdf.pdf,
The Great Purges included 777, 975. But this includes a large number that were sentenced to execution but it was never carried out. The Great Purges were not as top down as one might guess.
The supposed terror of Mao’s rule is total propaganda. In fact the supposed “famine” that he caused turned out to be a period of hunger, and the numbers extolling his supposed 45 million killed are unsubstantiated lies. Most of it comes from bitter members of the CCP who found themselves purged for embracing capitalism and had to do some service work in the country to learn the value of not being antisocial. Mao did not execute his political enemies. He believed in rehabilitation and service work. That is why President Xi’s father and Deng Xiaoping himself were not killed and Deng would eventually become the leader of China.
The only landlords that got hurt were the ones who took up arms and violently resisted the land reforms. Landlords that caused deaths or had collaborated with the Japanese invaders would face a trial and if found guilty could be executed.
When the land reforms were announced Mao anticipated there would be resistance from the landlord class, as any privileged class is unlikely to just happily give up their riches for the well being of others. But landlords had the option to abide by the law and be fine. Estimating resistance is not a death sentence. In fact landlords that complied were given land to till and welcomed into the community. They were not exterminated.
I double checked the Wikipedia account of Mao’s land reform measures, and the citations refer to rabid anti-communist books that are filled with lies. I shouldn’t be surprised. The story of Mao in the West is filled with outright lies.
You rarely hear it but the reality was that even though slavery was officially abolished, the practice continued before Mao stopped it. The Dalai Lama had slaves up until 1959. But for Mao this would continue.
I’m sorry but I can take no more. I understand the role of psyops and the use of social media for propaganda purposes. The Russians are boss at it. Do I care? No. Influencing people and elections is what nations do. I think Dima Vorobiev is doing a bang up job for Mr. Putin and the Russian government. Good for him. At least there is some style to it. Hell, I even laugh sometimes as Dima plays with Westerners like a cat plays with a mouse.
Then the CIA decided to get into the game. Checkout the account by “Misha Firer.” Not surprisingly he gets thousands of new followers each week. Must be nice to have the Quora algorithm artificially tuned to your posts. Anyway, I wouldn’t doubt he is a real person from Moscow. Great. Either he is “writing” the posts with assistance, or doing it full time, but you can guarantee ALL of it is going to be anti-Russian and plays into all the Western stereotypes about Russia and Russians. As you might guess, his conclusion is that it is hell on earth.