November 28, 2008 By Randall Hoven

Making the World Safe for Marxism

In the novel Catch-22 there is a character named Howard Snowden who is injured when his aircraft is shot. The novel's protagonist, Yossarian, treats the wound on Snowden's leg and thinks he's done a satisfactory job of tending to his injured crewmate. It is a recurring vignette in the novel, but we don't get to its conclusion until near the end of the novel. After thinking Snowden's wounds adequately treated, Yossarian opens Snowden's jacket. He finds him basically eviscerated; his intestines are pouring out of a hole in his chest. His case is hopeless. Snowden dies muttering "I'm cold" and all Yossarian can do is say, "There, there." I thought communism was defeated when the Berlin Wall came down. I'm now thinking the Wall falling was the equivalent of treating Snowden's leg. We did not defeat communism at all. It is almost commonplace to accuse someone of being like Hitler or acting Nazi-like. (Googling "bush hitler" yields 1,300,000 hits, for example.) Yet you are considered beyond the pale, and possibly insane, to even suggest that someone might harbor Marxist sympathies. To question someone's dedication to traditional American or merely Western ideals = calling him communist = being Joe McCarthy = we now know you're nuts. Case number one is Representative Michele Bachman. She merely suggested that the press should look more intently to see if some Democrats and Barack Obama in particular harbor antiAmerican attitudes. The headline at the Huffington Post? "Michele Bachman Channels McCarthy. Obama Very Anti-American. Congressional Witch Hunt Needed." Contributions to Bachman's political rival poured in. Of course Rep. Bachman neither called Obama "very anti-American" nor called for a congressional investigation of any kind. But in a world where facts no longer matter, so what? (You can read the transcript of her Hardball interview here.) Even the Republican Party abandoned her, until it found out the controversy was bringing contributions into her campaign like crazy. Amazingly, she survived her re-election bid. Case number two is Representative Paul Broun, who had the audacity to say this: "It may sound a bit crazy and off base, but the thing is, he's the one who proposed this national security force. I'm just trying to bring attention to the fact that we may -- may not, I hope not -but we may have a problem with that type of philosophy of radical socialism or Marxism." We don't have to go all the way to the Huffington Post to find this one denigrated; we need only go so far as James Taranto writing in the online Wall Street Journal. He puts this one under the headline, "How Not to Revive the GOP":

"Here is a helpful rule of political rhetoric: When you begin a sentence, ‘It may sound a bit crazy and off base, but . . .,' you probably shouldn't finish it." (I guess what we really need are more Jim Jeffords and Lincoln Chafees. "Real Republicans vote Democrat" could be our new motto.) We are now at the point where any utterance at all that merely questions whether a politician leans Marxist is immediate grounds for dismissal, derision and even banishment from the Republican Party and the public conversation. It is "McCarthyism" in reverse, or more properly, real McCarthyism as it actually happened, meaning the accuser is the one who suffers, not the accused. But what if they are Marxist? Excuse me, but isn't the great lesson we were supposed to learn from Nazism to recognize such evil before it reaches critical mass - to quash such movements before things get violent? As a reminder, the Holocaust count was 11 million; communism killed 100 million. If we do not allow ourselves to call something "wrong" or "evil", we yield the battle without even a fight. Yet to refrain from such "invective" is what is now called "civil discourse" and the right "tone." Bill Ayers called himself a "small ‘c' communist." Is it OK to call him a communist? Barack Obama said this in one of his autobiographies (at least he said it on tape, whether or not he wrote the book himself ): "To avoid being mistaken for such a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk rock performance poets." Here's a hint: you have to be pretty steeped in leftist thought to even know that the adjective "structural" goes with the noun "feminist." Obama was essentially a "red diaper baby" who was raised and educated by Marxists to be Marxist. Communists really did spy on us. They had secret meetings. Communism is no longer "strange"; it is taught in our schools, sometimes by Marxists. Obama went to such schools, took such classes and personally sought out Marxists. Bill Ayers calls himself a communist. Barack Obama's run for elective office was kicked off at a meeting in Bill Ayer's house. His voting record was the most liberal in the Senate in 2007, or left of self-avowed socialist Bernie Sanders. Are we not to infer the obvious?

Some more hints: "a heavy progressive or graduated income tax" is one of the ten planks in the Communist Manifesto. So is "centralization of credit in the hands of the State." So is "centralization of the means of communication" and "establishment of industrial armies." I don't think it's my imagination that (a) we are already far down the road in establishing each of these planks (e.g., Federal Reserve System), and (b) Barack Obama and the Democrats are itching to take us even further down that road: more progressive income taxes; more government control of credit, banking and industry; the "fairness doctrine" and other regulations of speech and communications; a national service plan and mandatory "public service" for students; etc. A reasonable person could infer that the present aim of the Democratic Party is full implementation of the planks of the Communist Manifesto. Just look at the ten planks and look at the Democratic Party's platform or its legislation waiting in the wings. You don't need rosecolored glasses to see the red in either. In fact, the interesting question is no longer whether our politics in the US and Europe (not to mention Latin America) are leading to Marxism. The interesting question now is whether voters care. My guess is that almost half the people in the US, and probably more elsewhere, think Marxism is no worse or even better than "capitalism." Isms is isms, in our post-rational world. (Personally, I avoid the use of the word "capitalism." It is a Marxist term that just means letting people buy and sell what they want at the prices they want -- or what Adam Smith called "the system of perfect liberty.") Of course, Barack Obama has not even begun his Rule yet. It's possible, I suppose, that the Obama we'll get in the Oval Office is the Obama we saw in his campaign ads -- good old American nice -- a "mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy" as Joe Biden said. Then again, here are a few parting thoughts from the horses' mouths: "It was usually an effective tactic, another one of those tricks I had learned: People were satisfied so long as you were courteous and smiled and made no sudden moves. They were more than satisfied; they were relieved -- such a pleasant surprise to find a well-mannered young black man who didn't seem angry all the time." Barack Obama "I am not a Marxist." Karl Marx "Democracy is the road to socialism." Karl Marx "We say that it may be possible in the U.S. to bring socialism through peaceful means. Perhaps through the ballot box. One thing is clear, there won't be socialism in the U.S. until the majority of the American people want it." The Communist Party USA

Ready to play Communist Manifesto Bingo? Just get out your copy of the Manifesto and look at the 10 planks. Once Obama passes laws that enact or strengthen at least, say, five of them, yell "bingo." That will be the sum total of your power to do anything about it.
Randall Hoven can be contacted at or via his web site,

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February 20, 2007

The World's Champion Villain
By Randall Hoven

Much of the world now believes that the United States is a force for evil. Hugo Chavez: George Bush is "the devil". Harry Belafonte: Bush is "the greatest terrorist in the world". Nelson Mandela: U.S. is "a threat to world peace". Ann Wright (retired U.S. Army colonel and State Dept. official, now anti-war activist): "We are the cause of violence in Iraq. The violence will continue as long as we're there." William Blum (author of Rogue State, and quoted by Osama bin Laden): "If I were the president, I could stop terrorist attacks against the United States in a few days. Permanently. I would first apologize to all the widows and orphans, the tortured and impoverished, and all the many millions of other victims of American imperialism. Then I would announce, in all sincerity, to every corner of the world, that America's global interventions have come to an end." Joel Rogers (in The Nation): "Our own government, through much of the past fifty years, has been the world's leading ‘rogue state.' ... the bodies of literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of innocents, most of them children, whose lives we have taken without any pretense to justice." Amnesty International: "Throughout the world, on any given day, a man, woman, or child is likely to be displaced, tortured, killed, or 'disappeared', at the hands of governments or armed political groups. More often than not, the United States shares the blame."

And these are not isolated opinions. In a recent poll, a majority of Europeans think that America is now "a threat to world peace" and see "George Bush as a greater danger to world peace than either the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Il, or the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad." I'm sure many in the U.S. believe the same. There seems to be a notion that the world's natural state is one of peace, if only the U.S. hegemon would take a chill pill. As they used to say: time for a reality check. First of all, the United States wasn't even around through most of history, when peoples were annihilating each other in virtually continual warfare - from the extinction of the Neanderthals through Genghis Khan. But we don't have to go that far back in history; the last century is rife with examples of violence in the world. One way to get a handle on "evil" in the world is to examine genocides. The list below is a complete listing of all alleged genocides since 1915, according to Wikipedia.
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Japan 1910-45. Japanese killed 25,000,000 Chinese and enslaved millions of Koreans. Turkey 1915-23. Turks (Muslims) killed 1,500,000 Armenians (Christians). Soviet Union 1918-89. Soviet Communists killed 20,000,000. (Fatality count is from The Black Book of Communism. Germany 1940-45. Nazis killed 11,000,000 Jews, Romas, homosexuals, Slavs, the mentally ill and communists. Croatia 1941-45. Croats (Catholics) killed 500,000 Serbs (Christian Orthodox). China 1950-80. Chinese Communists killed 65,000,000 fellow Chinese. (Fatality count from The Black Book of Communism.) Zanzibar 1964. Africans killed 5,000 Arabs and Jews. Bangladesh 1971. Muslims killed 1,500,000 Hindus. Burundi 1972. Tutsis killed 125,000 Hutus. Cambodia 1975-79. Communist Cambodians killed 1,700,000 fellow Cambodians. East Timor 1975-99. Indonesian military (Muslim) killed 150,000 Timors, including many ethnic Chinese. Afghanistan 1979-89. Soviet Communists killed unspecified number of Afghans. Lebanon (Sabra) 1982. Christians killed 750 to 3,500 Palestinians.

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Sudan 1983-2007. Arab/Muslims killed over 2,000,000 Africans. Iraq 1988. Iraq's government (Sunni dominated) killed unspecified number of Kurds. Tibet before 1990. Communist Chinese killed unspecified number of Tibetans. West New Guinea/Papua before 1990. Indonesian government (Muslim) killed unspecified number of Guineans/Papuans. Bosnia 1992-95. Serbs killed at least 8,000, mostly Muslim. Rwanda 1994. Hutus killed 937,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

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Burundi, Zanzibar, Guinea/Papua, Rwanda, Sudan, Tibet? Do those sound like the heart of U.S. interventionism's darkness to you? The largest death tolls are from Communism (100,000,000 dead according to the Black Book of Communism), which was our enemy during the Cold War. The other big killers were Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan (over 36,000,000 according to the above numbers), who were our enemies in World War II. In short, the U.S. either had nothing to do with all that violence or was actively fighting to stop it. Let's move to today, with the U.S. in Iraq. What was Iraq doing before the U.S. invaded in 2003? Saddam had already gone to war with two neighbors, Iran and Kuwait, resulting in over a million dead. Saddam killed hundreds of thousands of his own people; there are over 400,000 dead in mass graves throughout Iraq. He had lobbed rockets into Saudi Arabia and Israel, shot at U.S. aircraft on UN sanctioned missions and tried to assassinate former President Bush. He financially rewarded the families of suicide bombers. And he once had and used WMD, and could make them again. Yet somehow people seem to believe that if we'd just let Saddam alone, there would be little or no violence in Iraq. Let's review. When we did leave him alone, the death count easily reached 1,400,000 or more. When we merely imposed sanctions, we were accused of causing the deaths of over half a million children. Now that we've invaded, we're chided for 3,000 American dead and perhaps some tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians. Let's simplify this by a multiple choice question: What decision would you make among the following choices: (a) Do nothing to a regime that has killed over 1,400,000 of its neighbors and own people, shot at U.S. aircraft on UN sanction missions, tried to assassinate a former U.S. president, had contacts with terrorists, had produced WMD and maintained resources to produce them again (assuming it actually got rid of those it had), had declared itself hostile to the U.S. and it allies, and continues to defy UN resolutions, violating terms of its own surrender.

(b) Impose economic sanctions to get a change of that violent behavior, despite the regime causing hundreds of thousand of deaths and blaming them on the sanctions, and not changing violent behavior anyway. (c ) Invade the country and set up democratic institutions and elections, costing 3,000 or more American deaths and thousands of Iraqi civilian deaths. It is naïve and sophomoric to harp on what went "wrong", when every possible choice included bad things happening. And if you think you have some other choice that would have come out wonderfully, consider writing fiction. Today we face radical Islam. If you think "they hate us" because of our foreign policy, how do you explain Islamic violence in Thailand, The Philippines, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Sudan, etc.? Funny how the existence of Israel causes Muslims to kill Hindus, Buddhists, pagans and Christians across the planet. Dear people: The true bad guys in this world are not like the boogey man; they do not disappear when you pull the sheet over your head. Ask the Jews about Auschwitz, the Chinese about Nanking, the Ukrainians about forced famine, the Cambodians about killing fields, the Tutsis about machetes, etc. Those are example of what happens when the U.S. is not around.