100 Years of Communism

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Salud

by Daniel Nardini

Just last Tuesday, November 7th, was the date that heralded probably the most dreaded political system ever created—Communism. It was on that date, back in 1917, that Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky led the palace coup that would bring to power the Bolsheviks (after the Russian word “bolsheviki,” meaning “majority”). The Bolsheviks would rename themselves the Communists in honor of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels—the true founders of modern socialism. Seizing power was only the start of their horrid social experiment. In the decades that would follow they killed off or exiled at least ten percent of the entire Russian population, sent tens of millions to slave labor camps, and in Joseph Stalin’s reign alone killed off between 25 to 30 million people. In its heyday, Communism would encompass one-third of the entire globe and control the lives of close to one-third of the earth’s population.

In the year 1989, which many historians have called the “year of miracles,” Communism fell in all of central and eastern Europe, what was the former Soviet Union, and in Africa. In that year alone the majority of Communist regimes that had been in place for close to two generations were sent to the dust heap of history. But Communism did not die in that year. It has remained in five countries—China, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos and Cuba. In the passed two decades socialism has been making a nasty comeback. Socialist regimes in Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Nepal have come to power and it seems that the lessons of the past have not yet been learned. Worse than not learned; many American “Millennials” have in one survey given a favorable opinion of socialism and Communism. In an opinion poll conducted by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, 52 percent of all Millennials have expressed that they would have no problem living in a socialist or a Communist state. In contrast, 42 percent of all Millennials favored living in a capitalist state. What is disturbing is that many young people are joining politically left wing groups, parties and organizations on a scale not seen since the 1960’s in the United States.

This bodes ill for American democracy and for seeing an end of Communism itself in the next 50 years. Will Communism still be around in that time period? I cannot answer, and I will not live long enough to see its end if indeed it does have an end. My fear is that capitalism and democracy may have an end if there are too many young people who do not see the evil and terrible nature for what Communism is. Despite the crimes of Communism having been laid bare from the former secret archives of the Soviet Union, the Communist eastern European states, and even the African Communist countries, socialism and Communism still remain popular in the current imagination of too many intellectuals, some politicians, and among ordinary people who know little of its realities. Even in Russia today, where Communism first started and eventually fell, it is still popular among so many Russians. When will the plague of Communism ever end?!

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