Cubans have been marching in the streets for freedom, chanting “Libertad!” and demonstrating by the thousands that they’ve had enough of the sham called communism. They know economic disaster and political repression come with that territory.
Yet today we’re peering through Alice’s looking glass as we watch these events unfold. Everything is backwards. Elites in the U.S. government, media, and Big Tech seem to be taking the side of the communist authorities who are clamping down on the protests, Soviet-style. Some journalists and Twitter have spun the idea that Cubans are taking to the streets mostly because of a desire for more awareness of COVID-19 cases and deaths. Please.
There’s always hell to pay whenever you allow too much power into the hands of too few people. That’s the story of communism, in a nutshell. It’s a totalitarian system in which a little clique of elites has absolute power to dictate to everybody what they may say, how they may act, what goods and services they may receive, and with whom they may associate. In a word, communism is state-run slavery.
The elites who push it stop at nothing to maintain their power. So it shouldn’t surprise us that communist regimes have murdered 100 million people in the twentieth century. That’s probably a gross underestimate, but you get the picture. It’s summed up well in Professor R.J. Rummel’s opening words to his book, “Death by Government”: “Power kills; absolute power kills absolutely.”
It’s tragic that the free world has never held the lethal ideology of communism accountable for its crimes against humanity. Worse, the ideology is making a comeback, mindlessly promoted and celebrated, often by American youth who have never been taught to know better.
Identity politics (especially in the form of critical race theory,) mob rule, and censorship enforced by Big Tech in America today are the same tools communist regimes have always used to enforce their utopian schemes. If more of us recognized the ideology as the murderous perversion that it is and understood how its tools pave the path to oppression, we’d be more vigilant. But how might we build such awareness?
We Need a Nuremberg Trial for Communism
The whole world united to discredit National Socialism immediately after World War II. In a trial in Nuremberg, Germany in 1946, Nazis had to answer for their horrific crimes against humanity, which resulted in the deaths of 11 million people, including six million Jews. Yet despite more than 100 million murders, the victims of communism have never come together in a similar condemnation of communism.
This failure may stem in part from mixed messages the public got from the original Nuremberg trials themselves. The allied powers of World War II—including the Soviet Union—served as prosecutors at Nuremberg. That meant a communist nation could pretend at Nuremberg to stand with the West for human rights, even though its methods of “governance” were virtually indistinguishable from those of fascists: a harsh surveillance culture, no free expression, a war on private life, gulag camps for political prisoners, mass killings of minorities. Don’t forget, either, that Joseph Stalin was aligned with Adolf Hitler for the first two years of World War II.
Nor have the crimes of communist China ever been called to account. Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution resulted in the brutal deaths of tens of millions of Chinese. Although many today see China as a sort of state capitalist/communist hybrid, all of the communist tools and techniques to suppress political opposition and repress cultural minorities remain in place there.
Slave labor and concentration camps remain. Speech is strictly controlled. A sophisticated social credit system controls every aspect of life of every private citizen in China. Nor have communist regimes, including those of pre-1989 Eastern Europe, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela, been held accountable for their crimes against humanity.
And in the West? Powerful apologists throughout the world, especially in media, academia, the corporate world, and Big Tech have enabled the cover-up of such crimes. This, in turn, has led to the rise of far-left sentiments in the United States and the West, unchecked by recognition of communism’s crimes.
The Case for a Nuremberg for Communism
Vladimir Bukovsky (d. 2019,) a preeminent leader of the Soviet dissident movement, was the driving force for putting the ideology of communism in a Nuremberg-like dock for the whole world to judge. He felt for decades that all needed to witness such an accounting for communism’s horrific crimes and genocides.
Bukovsky himself suffered 12 years as a political prisoner confined to psychiatric prison-hospitals and gulag prison camps in the Soviet Union. His 1976 deportation to the West, arranged through a prisoner exchange, brought him the freedom to publish his book, “Judgment in Moscow: Soviet Crimes and Western Complicity.”
Bukovsky’s initiative for a Nuremberg for Communism lay fallow until Renato Cristin, a philosophy professor at the University of Trieste, proposed they write an appeal and petition that could be circulated throughout the world, to leaders, journalists, and concerned citizens alike. Bukovsky signed on to the initiative they intended to launch on November 9, 2019, the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. But Bukovsky died suddenly just two weeks prior.
Their appeal emphasizes that, unlike the trials of individual Nazi officials at Nuremberg in 1946, the ideology of communism itself must be put on trial. This is not because most of the biggest players of the 20th century, such as Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and their top-level cohorts are long dead. Indeed, dictators today wear their mantles.
But, unlike the situation with the Nazis, communism has had more than 100 years to march through our institutions worldwide. Few understand that communism, just like fascism, fights for total control over all human beings and their private lives. As Bukovsky stated, it is “a cancer on the body of the human race.” And it’s gone unchallenged for too long.
Today we are faced with a “New Iron Curtain,” an internal front, or an internal split within the West itself. This “brings the enemy of the West right into our institutional, cultural, and even our mental world, disrupting us, weakening us” and creating chaos in order to generate power vacuums it can then fill.
The New Iron Curtain comes to us in the form of political correctness, identity politics, mob rule, and nonstop propaganda on the internet, all of which serve to manipulate every individual emotionally and psychologically. Communism’s warfare today is at least 90 percent psychological. And most people are not psychologically equipped to engage with this onslaught, especially vulnerable youth who are targeted with the full alliance of its “progressive” column in the West.
What Would a Nuremberg for Communism Look Like?
Even though a trial couldn’t be a courtroom drama like the one that took place at Nuremberg in 1946, the toxins spread by communism need an equally deep reckoning that clarifies what the ideology does to people and how it destroys lives and freedom. In short, we need a moral renewal.
To do that, Bukovsky and Cristin see a public “trial” for communism that might be developed along three closely related tracks of action, in which all could participate in some way. We might call those tracks reflection, investigation, and condemnation.
First, the world must reflect on how communism has affected our lives and how it marched through all of our institutions, infiltrating them with its intolerance for freedom. We would need to examine how communism subverted education, the media, courts, the arts, popular culture, legislatures, psychiatry, the corporate world, the military, churches, and more.
Second, a legal and historical line of argument would have to methodically examine communism’s specific crimes against humanity. Historians and legal scholars would document the crimes and the costs in human lives.
The list of communism’s atrocities is long. It includes the deliberate starving of about seven million peasants under Stalin’s forced collectivization in the winter of 1932-33 and the wholesale reign of terror Mao unleashed during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976.) Everyone ought to hear witnesses who verify what happens in Communism’s legacy of gulags, slave labor camps, and psychiatric prison-hospitals.
Third, there must be political and institutional work in which legislative bodies of nations condemn the ideology of communism on moral grounds. The European Parliament actually passed such a resolution in September 2019, historically equating communism with National Socialism. Predictably, leftists were aghast. But this is the sort of work that must persist. Resolutions condemning communism could be generated at various levels of government worldwide, including by states and municipalities, just as has been done in recognizing the Armenian genocide. Corporations and other entities could add their voices as well.
Can any of this happen? Many outlets for this work could be used, including events, conferences, papers, and legislation, and each track builds on and supports the others. People who have survived communist regimes could help through their vocal support and determined action. High-profile media and cultural figures speaking out could also make an enormous difference. Of course, you can help too, by signing the appeal.
But, whether we pursue this “Nuremberg appeal” or not, we have no choice but to try to make such a public reckoning happen. We are in a war today that we must fight and win if we want to live in a world in which freedom is preserved.
A Reckoning Could Help Us Wake Up from Wokeness
The fact that apologies for Communist China have become radical chic in America should alarm us. Some of the biggest offenders include the NBA, America’s corporate media, Nike, Disney, and tech companies like Apple, Facebook, Amazon, et al. They are joined by the Democrat Party and its media lackeys.
Their support for that regime serves to promote the imprisonment of the Uighur population in concentration camps. Nike, for example, has a supply chain that’s interwoven with Uighur slave labor in China. Apologists cooperate with China’s censorship policies, boost the Chinese government’s oppression of religious minorities, and aid China’s clampdown against freedom in Hong Kong.
But hopeful signs are visible also. We should be heartened to see survivors of communist systems warning Americans that the toxic ideology they escaped is now at our doorstep.
Xi Van Fleet, a mother who lived through the nightmare of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, recently warned the Loudoun County, Virginia school board about critical race theory. It’s the same sort of coercive thought reform she saw used in that reign of terror to divide people, characterized by “struggle sessions,” the use of concepts like “white privilege” to sow social distrust, and intense social pressure to conform or be canceled.
We should also find encouragement in Arizona’s recent legislation that would have victims of communism tell their stories in public schools. This would greatly balance today’s one-sided narratives hostile to America, narratives meant only to serve the social engineering agendas of educrats and the media. American children would learn what it’s actually like to live under totalitarianism.
All Americans need to learn what is at stake. Communism is not a harmless ideology that simply claims to work for equality and justice. It’s a deceptive front that aims to abolish all private life along with private property. The deep truth is that in communism you personally become the private property of the state.