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article imageOp-Ed: Communist Chic and Realities Worlds Apart

By Johnny Simpson     May 28, 2008 in Politics
Lenin statues. Cameron Diaz' Mao bag. Che Guevara romanticized on tee shirts, flags, posters and a new movie with Benicio del Toro. Hammer and sickle flags plentiful at major protests. Why is Communism so romanticized when the realities are so horrorshow?
The love of Communism is everywhere.
You can find it at every major political rally around the world, where hammer and sickle flags dominate the crowds, particularly on May Day.
You can find it on the walls of an Obama campaign office in Houston.
At least you could.
At the Oscars, Antonio Banderas sings the theme song to Motorcycle Diaries, a romanticizing of a young Che Guevara, to resounding applause.
(author's note: In all fairness, he did do a great job. Just didn't care for the subject matter.)
And in Guerilla, a new four-and-a-half hour-long Steven Solderbergh tribute to Che's life, featurng Benicio del Toro in the title role.
A recent entry on Michelle Malkin's website, via the Atlantic City Press, caught my eye and set my muse into motion on this subject:
Al Garrett, who has spent more than three years fighting a statue, thinks he has finally hit on a way to win his cold war: call it bad luck.
The statue is of Vladimir Ilich Lenin, the communist founder of the Soviet Union. Lenin stands outside the front door of Red Square, the hipper-than-thou, Russian-themed restaurant and bar in The Quarter, the highly capitalistic dining and retail section of Atlantic City’s Tropicana Casino and Resort.
And Garrett has objected to the architect of one of history’s brutal dictatorships being part of a restaurant’s theme statement ever since Lenin’s likeness went up early in 2005. Garrett has written letters to the editor. He has made calls to radio talk shows. And he has circulated public petitions demanding that Red Square tear that statue down - or at least move it inside the restaurant, away from where thousands of people walk by it every day.
There is also another Lenin statue in Seattle that gets lit up with a bright red star every Christmas.
The irony here being, Lenin himself called religion the 'opiate of the masses' and it wasn't long after the Revolution that the Soviets began a campaign of dynamiting churches.
The greater irony is, in most countries that have shed the yoke of Communism, statues of Lenin were the first to suffer wanton destruction.
No one hates Communism more than those who lived under it.
"Last one out of Poland turn out the lights," a Polish friend of mine once told me years ago. He had been a member of Solidarnosc and had fled Warsaw during General Wojciech Jaruzelski's martial law crackdown on the popular Polish labor union back in the mid-1980s.
And that's just scratching the surface of one man's life under Communism.
At least 100 million people have died under its ruthless iron hand in Russia, China, and Cambodia, where the Pol Pot genocide claimed 2,000,000 lives, a quarter of the population at the time.
In the Hungarian Uprising of 1956, over 30,000 people were butchered. Many of their bodies were dragged behind Russian tanks as a lesson to others.
Earlier in 1956, an uprising in Poland was similarly crushed.
In 1968, the 'Prague Spring' in Czechoslovakia was turned into a brutal Winter of Discontent when armies from five Warsaw pact nations invaded the country to suppress the demands for greater freedom.
Communist China, despite its economic advancement, remains an oppressive Communist state. You need look no further than the events of Tianenmen Square to know that.
As glorified as Che Guevara has been and continues to be on tee shirts, flags and film, the reality is Che was a mass murderer with more kills than Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Henry Lee Lucas and the Green River Killer combined.
The American Left has always had a soft spot for Fidel Castro, particularly Michael Moore, who in essence proselytized on Cuba's superior health care system in Sicko.
Yet Castro has summarily executed political opponents, has overseen the political oppression of his own people for going on fifty years, and nearly brought America and Russia to the brink of nuclear war over the Cuban Missile Crisis.
This is a hero and a political system to be admired?
So why all the love, when there's been so much hate, repression, forced famines, murder and even genocide under Communism?
Why the hatred of capitalism, when capitalist societies have been at the forefront of individual prosperity, advancing human rights, and liberating nearly a billion people in the last century, at great cost of blood and treasure?
I have a few theories.
First, Communism represents change.
The obliteration of the status quo.
Of capitalism and all it represents to those that hate it.
Unlike free capitalists, true believers in Communism cannot abide or live side-by-side with the entrepreneurial or the religious, whom they consider the true enemies of mankind.
It is often promoted as the only true mechanism of real equality among men and nations, yet the inequities of Communism past and present stand in stark contrast to the equality men and nations enjoy under capitalism and its constitutions, its labor unions, its freedoms of speech and assembly, and the ability of its citizens to choose, challenge and even change its governments, all choices impossible wherever Communism has or does rule.
Ultimately, Communism symbolizes godlike political power for individuals to persecute and even destroy those whose belief systems they despise (such as religion), as well as the belief systems themselves.
That's one hell of a temptation for petty tyrants hell-bent on the ultimate political power
Fact is, the Revolution has already been televised, and soundly rejected by most sane people and nations when given the choice to live under it or not.
When I see Che, I see a brutal cold-blooded killing machine.
When I see the Hammer and Sickle, I see Alexander Solzhenitsyn and the millions who have perished in famines, gulags, mass executions and even genocide under that flag.
Why don't those who fly the Hammer and Sickle, or wear Che tee shirts?
Or is it they actualy approve of those brutal means to an oppressive end?
Question of the Day.
Perhaps it was partially answered by Cameron Diaz, who caught hell for wearing a Mao bag in Peru, where the Maoist Shining Path insurgency left nearly 70,000 people dead.
If only more sane civilized people spoke out like the Peruvians against the horrible truth emblazoned so stylishly on tee shirts, handbags and other fashionable killer Commie gear.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: By the way, I just found during my research that Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe wrote an OpEd on this very subject back in January 2005.
Obviously, it's a continuing problem.
And I didn't plagiarize him. Really.
Never read it, even just now.
Read both OpEds and you can decide for yourself.
NOW I can read it!
More about Communism, Che, Stalin
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