Rebuking Communism, EU Style
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File under: ABOUT DAMN TIME!
While waiting a mere fifteen years to begin dealing with the horrors that Communism inflicted upon the European continent--not to mention China, Cambodia, etc--the Council of Europe voted to condemn the "evils of Communism":
Thursday January 26, 2006"Laudable ideals"--by which they mean equality (of misery) enforced at the barrel of a gun?
For some it was a vile capitalist plot aimed at rewriting the recent history of half of Europe, transforming wartime resistance heroes into villains, and denying the laudable ideals and legitimacy of a great political movement.
For others it was a long-overdue denunciation of a couple of dozen thoroughly evil regimes who wrecked their nations' economies, tortured their citizens, and between them were responsible for up to 100 million deaths.
But, by a clear majority, the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe yesterday backed a controversial motion demanding that the continent's 46-member human rights watchdog formally condemns "the crimes of totalitarian communist regimes".So the Euroweenies' spines returned?
More than 60 members of the body's 315-seat assembly, made up of MPs from Europe's parliaments, were due to speak in a debate on a report by the conservative Swedish MP Goran Lindblad, which argued that 15 years after the collapse of the eastern bloc international condemnation of its governments' activities was "urgently necessary".In other words, a conference to set the record straight on the vile history of Communism, rather than one intended to deny it (the Holocaust Denial party set for Iran)?
Mr Lindblad's motion also called for an international conference on the issue and urged former communist states to "revise school books to reflect what happened, establish museums documenting these crimes, and introduce a memorial day for the victims of communism".
The MP adopted the 100 million victim figure arrived at by Stéphane Courtois in his 1997 Black Book of Communism. The count includes 65m in China, 20m in the Soviet Union, 2m in North Korea, 2m in Cambodia, 1.7m in Africa, 1.5m in Afghanistan, 1m in Vietnam, 1m in east Europe and 150,000 in Latin America. (Mr Courtois puts the number of deaths due to Nazism at about 25m.)Exactly what anti-communists have been saying since, oh, 1917!
Mr Lindblad listed communist regimes' crimes as "assassinations and executions, concentration camp deaths, starvation, deportation, torture, slave labour and other mass physical terror", saying they should be condemned like Nazis' crimes.
Council officials said 99 of the MPs present voted in favour of the motion, 42 opposed it and 12 abstained. Communist parties, mainly in western Europe, had reacted fiercely, saying the report deliberately failed to distinguish between the ideals of communism and its application by totalitarian regimes.The old, "Communism has never been truly applied" canard that is the mental equivalent of saying that "Communism is great, except for all the Communists. . ." Of course this inflamed the passions of the unreconstructed Marxist wingnuts still festering in Europe:
The Belgian Communist party, the PCB, called the motion "a violent attack on history, present and future of communism". The Greek KKE called it "a declaration of war and persecution against all communist parties", and Germany's PDS said it was "neo McCarthyism".There it is again, dang McCarthyism!
Mikis Theodorakis, the Greek composer, said: "In the name of our dead comrades, of those who passed through the hands of the Gestapo and the death camps ... shame on those who want to turn victims into executioners, heroes into criminals and communists into Nazis."El Presidente agrees! Shame on those who fought nationalistic partisan actions on behalf of themselves (Poland, Ukraine, etc.) only to be "purged", sent to the concentration camps in the Gulag Archipelago, or sent to "reeducation" camps to strip away "fascist taint". Who cares about all those starved, shot, and worked to death in forced labor programs like collectivization, any number of "Five Year Plans", or Cultural Revolutions! Fie upon those who taint the good name of Communism, the very same which helped to carve up Poland as part of the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939, produced the killing fields in Cambodia, or one of the most repressive post-WWII police states in the form of East Germany and the Stasi.
French communists said the motion "banalises the Holocaust" and "ignores the communist role in fighting fascism".Except when it didn't. See example above.
André Guerin, a Lyon MP, told Le Figaro that the council's idea was to "definitively bury the values of communism" and "make believe they are outmoded and that the only alternative is capitalism".Capitalism is everywhere, especially in China, where everyone with a piece of sidewalk attempts to sell everything from tourist kitsch to electronics. Even socialist extravaganzas like Chavez's shindig down in Venezuela over the past week is characterized more by capitalism than any abiding commitment to an alternative to it--other than hating the United States. Communist/socialist regimes survive only if the population or the environment can be exploited to prop up the economy. Chavez has oil and is therefore successful. Castro has Castro and Cuba suffers, as Cuban refugees flee to the United States.
Protests were vigorous in Russia, where a survey found 50% of Russians felt Stalin had played a "positive role" in their history and 42% thought "somebody like him" would be helpful in Russia today.Apparently, 74 years of Communist rule, NKVD and KGB oppression, famine, gulags and misery haven't cured some Russians from all things Red. Perhaps they are too young to remember, or have attached nationalist aspirations to the memories of the Soviet state. Capitalism isn't a panacea, but to paraphrase Winston Churchill, it is the worst economic system, except for all the others. El Presidente prefers the "invisible hand" of the market over the visible point of a gun. Liberals/leftists/socialists hate the monopolistic power of an "evil and greedy" corporation like Wal-Mart, and yet would have the government become a sort of nationalized Wal-Mart complete with military support. Yes, there should be no denunciation of Communism, where everyone is equal(ly miserable)!