World

Why Is Communism Still a Respected Ideology?

Karl Marx monument in Chemnitz, Germany (Matthias Rietschel/Reuters)
A memoir by a student of Communism reveals how socialists, time and again, erase the criminal traces of Communism to save the good reputation of their common ideals.

Marx’s first crusade was not against capitalism but against soap. I guess every time he had to take a shower, he was too drunk to do it. Otherwise, he always lived off of other people’s money, he never worked, even when his own children were starving, and he drank enough to deform his liver along with his conscience. Surprise: The first Marxist was a shameless rascal, the type of person who would despise the working class.

Lenin was no different. “He was always the spoilt child of the house, surrounded by women who took him for a genius and supported him financially all his life. He never worked,” says one of the most influential and controversial Spanish journalists of the last half century, Federico Jiménez Losantos, author of A Memoir of Communism, a colossal work published in 2018 and not yet translated into English.

Jiménez Losantos attempts to answer the key question: “One hundred years and one hundred million deaths later, why is Communism still a respected ideology?”

Joe Biden won’t like the answer: It is socialists who have taken it upon themselves to excuse Communism’s crimes. For the first time, a book goes into great detail explaining the reasons for this historical complicity, which still stands, with the help of leftists everywhere, from the Democrats in America to the Social Democrats in Brussels. And it stands in spite of incontestable facts, as P. J. O’Rourke described them in Give War a Chance: “It’s impossible to get decent Chinese takeout in China, Cuban cigars are rationed in Cuba, and that’s all you need to know about communism.”

That Communism goes hand in hand with deceit is well known, especially now that we are suffering the consequences of a pandemic secretly exported worldwide by China, under the auspice of the WHO, which is as concerned about world health as Xi Jinping is about allowing the Chinese to go to Mass on Sundays. It’s worth remembering: If China were a free country, its leaders would have raised the alarm in time, and the coronavirus would never have spread to the extent it has today. It is Communism that is to blame for this world crisis.

As Jiménez Losantos reminds us, “the first lie about the Communist revolution” is that it was a “proletarian uprising” against czarism. “In October 1917, there was no czarism in Russia, but instead a democratic republic with the socialist [Alexander] Kerensky at the head of government,” he writes. “What Lenin overthrew was not a tyranny, but a democracy.” As Jiménez Losantos notes: “The only thing the masses really took was the palace cellar. To drink it dry.” Perhaps because, really, “the proletarians who were said to have been saved by Marx, Bakunin, or Lenin did not want to be saved, but to have their own houses, better wages and working conditions, work, life or accident insurance, in short: to be owners.” The truth is that, to be a Communist, you first have to be a millionaire. It doesn’t work the other way around.

Over more than 700 pages, Jiménez Losantos composes a politically incorrect profile of the Communist beast, supported by a very thorough bibliography. He knows what he’s talking about: He used to be a Communist. But in 1976, at the age of 25, after reading The Gulag Archipelago and traveling to China, he broke up with Communism for good. The political powers that be drove him out of the two Spanish radio stations where he’d worked and found success as an opinion leader — perhaps they drove him out precisely because of his popularity. After that, in 2009, he started his own radio station and newspaper, EsRadio and Libertad Digital. From these perches, he defends the role of the United States, where he often spends his summers.

Two characteristics mark Federico Jiménez Losantos’s personality: independence and the defense of freedom. He has forged his career by denouncing the powerful — fighting terrorists, Communists, and lukewarm self-conscious right-wingers alike. The reappearance of Communism in Spain, by the hand of Spain’s current deputy prime minister, Pablo Iglesias, has pushed Jiménez Losantos to write this great work dedicated to the victims of this totalitarian ideology.

The most novel thing in A Memoir of Communism is its study of the moment in which socialists absolved the revolutionary Communists. December 1917 was the moment when “perhaps the most important debate on the left in its entire history” took place, he writes. Two months after Lenin seized power by force from the socialist Kerensky, a group of Russian socialists published, in the French newspaper L’Humanité, an appeal against the Bolshevik regime; they described Bolshevism as violent, terrifying, and “capable of making the very name of socialism hated.” Their appeal was not successful. “There is also no way to ignore Kerensky’s terrible negligence in not condemning to the press Germany’s financing of Lenin after the failed coup in July (a dress rehearsal for what would happen in October).”

Shortly afterwards, in 1918, when Kerensky reappeared in London and Paris, “his criticism of the Leninist coup and the terror unleashed against the opposition produced a phenomenon that would last until our times,” namely “the socialists’ and bourgeois Left’s insistence on denying the evidence of the Communist regime’s illegality and brutality.” Corollary: If you want to ruin the last hope, put it in the hands of a French socialist.

The key to this historical trap is provided in a speech by Kerensky himself: “This regime, which calls itself socialist while following the worst methods of czarism, is the worst enemy of socialism, because the bourgeoisie exploits the example it gives and uses it to discredit our ideal.”

Jiménez Losantos’s thesis is unyielding on this point: With his words Kerensky shows that the Left is not worried about the crimes “of which socialists themselves are victims.” No, they are distraught that this sinister Leninism might spoil the reputation of their socialist ideal.

The contemporary Left often puts forth a surprising defense when faced with the string of Communism’s failures throughout history: that no one has been able to get it right. It’s about as reasonable as claiming that serial killers shoot their victims because no one has taught them to hunt ducks. It reminds me of those weekend do-it-yourself experts who, when they see you bend a nail for the tenth time while trying to hammer it into a plank, snatch the hammer from you, screaming, “Give it to me, you useless idiot!” And naturally they miss the nail and smash their finger. Speaking of “the alleged Stalinist deviation from authentic Marxism-Leninism,” Jiménez Losantos writes:

In every country where Communism has been applied, the result has been, and still is, crime and misery, but . . . because Communism has not been applied. The key is the but, which avoids condemnation. No one can tell us why we should keep insisting on an ever-failing recipe, and that’s because the reason is unutterable: Life is just peachy on the side of Good!

In other words, do you know of any Communist leader who has not notably improved his own financial standing thanks to his Communist status? I don’t.

It is not easy to understand Communism without taking a closer look at the personality of its leaders. Lenin’s driving force was hatred. Jiménez Losantos refers to what the founder of socialist realism, Russian writer Maxim Gorky, said regarding this: “I know of no one who felt with the depth and strength of Lenin the hatred, disgust, and contempt for human misery, pain, and suffering.” Jiménez Losantos adds that Lenin “was indifferent to whether others lived or died, except in relation to The Cause, namely, himself.” And then there is the matter of his bad character. “Another of the things Lenin shared with Marx was “the somatization of his failures,” Jiménez Losantos writes. “Both of them had outbursts of anger when someone disagreed with them or things didn’t go the way they wanted.” Sort of like Nancy Pelosi’s tearing up Trump’s State of the Union speech on live TV.

Perhaps that same somatization explains Marx’s visceral contempt for workers, something Marxist professors will never tell you at the university:

The self-employed, who in a quasi-service society like London made up a third of the employees, were erased from the chosen class, the proletariat. The peasants — as Lenin and the Russian Communists also thought — were for him an obsolete reactionary collective destined to disappear with the onset of industrialization.

In 1921, “the images of hundreds of people dying in the streets, people sleepwalking or prostrate unable to move, the storming of cemeteries and cannibalism, elicited a feeling of horror among society . . . in those capable of feeling horror.” This was not the case with Lenin, who despised the sensitive and who, in the midde of the famine in July 1921, ordered a campaign of “intense propaganda among the rural population explaining to them the economic and political importance of paying taxes on time and in full.” Often we arrive at the same place: A big problem for the Left is that those that die of starvation cannot continue to pay taxes.

However, the balance of victims is difficult. Jiménez Losantos reaches a conclusion:

The terrible figures of Communist humanicide can only be discovered in the mathematical coldness of statistics: In 1924 there should be 17 million more in Russia but, after Lenin’s stint, they are not there. In addition to the deceased that Communism kills off, there are also those that Communism does not allow to live, to be born, to grow old, or to become ill without dying.

As for the murderous record of Chinese Communism, he reasons: “The only difference between Mao and Lenin and Stalin is that the Chinese were more numerous than the Russians, and by doing the same as them, Mao was able to kill a great many more.”

Among the Communist massacres, the particular violence against Christians stands out. The antagonism between Communism and Christianity is unconditional, despite the absurd attempts at reconciliation by the left-wing advocates of “liberation theology.” In Christianity, each life is unique and invested with a special dignity; each person is a child of God, created to be free. In Communism, the individual has no value and freedom is forbidden. “For Lenin and his infinite children, property and freedom are one and the same thing,” says Jiménez Losantos. “You cannot take away someone’s property without morally taking away his freedom and physically taking his life. That’s why Communism is the most atrocious form of modern slavery.”

The terrifying religious persecution unleashed against Catholics, in the lead-up to and during the Spanish Civil War in Spain, is paradigmatic. In the massacre of the Paracuellos martyrs in 1936, Jiménez Losantos sees a replica of the massacres perpetrated by the Russian Cheka, the Bolshevik security forces that slaughtered many thousands of “counter-revolutionaries” during the Russian Revolution. “Although the Spanish one, for a population six times smaller, was the worst in the history of Christianity since Diocletian, the Soviet one reached very similar figures.” A Memoir of Communism reminds us of the religious massacre in Spain with the grim image of the desecrated body of a nun, displayed in the middle of the street, leaning against a wall, before the indifferent gaze of passers-by.

Only a few days ago we saw Joe Biden promising more Islam in American schools. No one can be surprised by the flirtation of the Left with Islam. First, because of their hatred of Christians, and second, because of the Left’s historic alliance with the faithful of Allah. Russian Communism “since the 1970s, made a pact with its secular or social Communist versions and, after the Fall of the Wall, the Communist regimes made a pact with the radicals,” Jiménez Losantos explains. “The close alliance of Castro and Chávez’s post-Communism with the Iran of the ayatollahs is evident” — the same connection that Iranians have today with the Spanish Communists of the Podemos party.

Communism is not dead. “If the greatest success of the Devil (or of Evil) is to convince people that it does not exist, the survival of Communism is based on the death certificate and the consequent moral pardon that so many historians have extended to it as an exquisite, infinitely researchable corpse,” says Jiménez Losantos, “Communism has been unremembered, history not forgotten, but destroyed.”

In this hour, the United States is fighting the same battle against cultural Marxism as Europe, although the Old Continent has been on the losing side for a long time. The memoir concludes:

To know if a country is sick with totalitarianism, if it is incubating the egg of the Leninist snake, one must check its relationship with history. If, in the name of multiculturalism, grammatical genre is erased to satisfy feminist or LGBT sexism; if reference to race is obscured in the news of gang crime; if the [Spanish] Reconquista is condemned so as not to disturb Islam or be found guilty of the horrendous crime of Islamophobia; . . . if, in the end, classic literature, from Cervantes to Mark Twain, with which for centuries Western children have learned to read, is banned from all schools and even in Oxbridge, for being white only, Greek philosophers are suppressed for not conforming to the multiculturalist criteria imposed by the Left and observed by the Right, then Communism is still alive and is grooming society for tyranny.

If you think your country is safe from these horrors, go out into the street, go to a bar or a college campus, try to talk like Jordan Peterson, and tell me how big the snake’s egg is.

Translated by Joel Dalmau

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