Tag: Communism

Red-Green Coalition vs. Church [Updated]

 

Stories arising from the fire at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, France, seem to avoid too much or impute too little. The usual suspects on the left, and the anti-Trump (because somehow this distorts everything) personalities at Fox News and Fox Business News, demanded that we immediately look away and ask no questions. Mind you, they have shown no such standard in any other stories. The usual suspects on the right were similarly rolling outlooks/swims/quacks like” stories. And … both have avoided and obscured the red-green coalition’s full expression.

We can all agree that Shepard Smith, a Trump-hater who launched his brand with his Hurricane Katrina hysterical on-camera performance, and Neil Cavuto, the leading anti-Trump Chamber of Commerce voice on Fox Business, were outrageous in their silencing of the factual reports about the long string of significant vandalism, desecration, and arson attacks on Roman Catholic churches in France. These attacks have been on top of the now routine assaults on Jewish persons and places in France. Smith and Cavuto cut off guests because they want their audiences to hear nothing of either set of facts, except when spun as indicators of “right-wing” violence that can be smeared onto President Trump.

At the same time, we get “it sure sounds like Islamist terrorism again.” Yet, the individuals and outlets who turn to this source of violence somehow are blind to a mass murder in a Texas church, by an anti-Christian atheist, or the other news this week of the arrest of the son of a sheriff’s deputy, a white pagan, for torching three churches with black congregations in Louisiana. This registered Democratic voter is apparently into music that had a brief connection, in Norway with church burnings. Our blinkered focus, since that infamous autumn day in 2001, blinds us to the actual history of Europe.

ACF Critic Series #28: Never Look Away

 

There is a new Donnersmarck movie, Never Look Away, a brilliant successor to the famous The Lives Of Others, so we are getting the team back together. @FlaggTaylor and Carl Eric Scott join me on the podcast for a long, wide-ranging discussion about art and tyranny, about the relationship between beauty and politics, and what great movies can offer by way of meditation on our search for freedom. Flagg and Carl co-edited the book on Donnersmarck’s marvelous, Oscar-winning debut, The Lives of Others.

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 Our old friend, Claire Berlinski, has a very good piece in the City Journal about a communist festival she attended last Fall. In classic Berlinski style, she captures the fist in the air punch with all its Marxist glory, using her funny/serious, tongue-in-cheek writing style. It’s a snapshot of the mindset of current zombie European […]

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God’s Little Smuggler

 

“Brother Andrew” is the pseudonym of Andrew van der Bijl, a Christian missionary who smuggled Bibles into communist countries during the height of the Cold War. His story was well known in Evangelical circles; they even made a comic book about him. He told of crossing through border checkpoints, his ancient Volkswagen stuffed with Bibles. It was like a spy thriller. He was never caught. The blindness of the crossing guards seemed miraculous.

Brother Andrew was the perfect hero for a young, deeply conservative, deeply religious boy — which is to say, my 13-year-old self. I longed to be like him. To face danger, to engage in intrigue, to take the battle to an implacable, prodigious foe — that would be glory.

Out of the blue, my shot at glory appeared.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn at 100

 

Arrested three months before the defeat of Hitler’s Germany, his first reaction was like that of the millions he would later write about: “Me? What for?” A decorated captain of an artillery battery that had fought its way deep into East Prussia, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was at the time a committed Marxist-Leninist. He even fantasized he was being whisked to a meeting with Stalin. In fact, military censors had read his letter exchanges with a boyhood friend, also in the army, in which they criticized Stalin (“the mustachioed one”) for having deviated from the path laid down by Lenin.

It was more than enough to earn Solzhenitsyn a sentence of eight years imprisonment in the labor camps, to be followed by “perpetual exile.” He served all eight years in various camps, plus three years exiled to distant Kazakhstan, where he worked as a teacher of high school mathematics before his sentence was annulled in 1956 in the wake of Khrushchev’s “de-Stalinization.”

Born 100 years ago today, Solzhenitsyn was educated in the sciences, but his lifelong love was literature and writing. In the camps, where writing was prohibited, Solzhenitsyn used matchsticks and rosary beads as mnemonic devices to preserve 12,000 lines of his verse that he would later publish. What brought him to his country’s and the world’s attention, however, was the publication in 1962 of his One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, a fictional but semi-autobiographical account of a day in the life of a Soviet political prisoner (zek) in Stalin’s time.

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Every year around this time I start looking at lists of recent movies that have garnered acclaim overseas and at film festivals to see if there’s anything that I should be aware of that might not have gotten any attention or release in the U.S. Over on the movie rating website Letterboxd I came across […]

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November 7: National Day for the Victims of Communism

 

On 7 November 2018, Americans dug through election results, slung and deflected stones, and fretted over the future of our country, or not. Almost all of us, including the White House press scrum, failed to note the day’s solemn and deadly significance. But, President Trump did not forget, and he had something to say,  worth our reading.

Presidential Message on the National Day for the Victims of Communism
Issued on: November 7, 2018

On the National Day for the Victims of Communism, we honor the memory of the more than 100 million people who have been killed and persecuted by communist totalitarian regimes. We also reaffirm our steadfast support for those who strive for peace, prosperity, and freedom around the world.

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I am reading an interesting book, Children of the Killing Field.  It is a series of short memoirs by survivors of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, 1975-1979. In 1975, the Commuunists under Pol Pot, aka the Khmer Rouge, took over the country.  The Khmer Rouge were from the agricultural country regions.  They weere anti-city, anti-education.  The […]

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 Recently, newly minted Ricochet editor @bethanymandel posted a mournful piece on why she was surprised by the existence of the children’s book A Fly Went By. Now, if she ever comes back for a visit, she’s welcome to our copy, including play along props made by one of my daughters (#4of9 I think).  But while it is […]

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Reflections on the Prague Spring and Socialism

 

I had a terrific time on the flagship podcast this week—thanks to Peter, Rob, James, and the Blue Yeti for having me on. Here are some further thoughts I had hoped to articulate on the podcast as well as others prompted by the podcast.

First, an important addition to the lesson of the Prague Spring. The program of the Prague Spring reformers, “socialism with a human face,” was saddled with a central contradiction. On the one hand they wanted to grant more autonomy and freedom to societal groups and managers; on the other, they had no intention of giving up the “leading role of the party.” So the allowance for the use of prices and profits would always be subordinated to the central Plan of the party and societal groups would also remain subject to the judgment and ultimate control of the party. But most reformers thought it would be good enough to end censorship, allow social groups to form, and allow opinion to operate freely. Then the party could allow a resuscitated society to feed it knowledge and thus prod it to respond with better policies. But either the Communist Party has a special knowledge of history’s logic and direction and thus deserves its leading role or it doesn’t. Václav Havel, in an essay published in April of 1968, saw the problem quite clearly. He argued that communist error must no longer count more than noncommunist truth. “If this is not done,” he wrote, “it means that communists are a special breed of superhumans who are…right even when they are wrong, while noncomunists are…wrong even when they are right…If communists have a guaranteed right to be wrong on occasion, then noncommunists must have a guaranteed right to be right; everything else is pointless.”

When Spring Ended in August

 

Fifty years ago today, 200,000 Soviet troops, with reinforcements from East Germany, Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria, invaded the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, and the so-called Prague Spring came to an end.

In January of 1968, Alexander Dubček, a Slovak, was elected First Secretary of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, succeeding Antonin Novotný. The latter had been experimenting with a new economic model for a couple of years (Czechoslovakia had been continental Europe’s most highly industrialized country until overtaken by Nazi Germany in the late 1930s and was less adapted to the post-war Soviet model), and this attempt at easing the Communist system had spurred writers, such as Milan Kundera, to demand more social flexibility as well.

The Dubček government set about achieving what the new First Secretary described as “socialism with a human face,” abolishing censorship and easing travel restrictions.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud the Trump administration for rolling back the burdensome EPA clean power plant regulations and giving the states more flexibility in how they deal with emissions.  They also unload on CNN and other media outlets for reporting on tearful reunions among family members living in North and South Korea after nearly 70 years, blaming the separation on the Korean War rather than a brutally repressive communist regime in North Korea.  And they shake their heads as President Trump takes to Twitter and muses about pulling security clearances based on what former national security officials say about him on cable television.

ACF: Prague Spring Edition

 

Friends, this edition of the podcast is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Prague Spring — on the night of August 20-21, the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact armies invaded Czechoslovakia and put an end to the hopes for reform of the Communist regime. It would take more than a generation for freedom, destroyed by invasion, to come back to Prague. On January 16, 1969, Jan Palach, a 20-year-old student, burned himself in Wenceslas Square in protest against the resurgent tyranny. Agnieszka Holland, the Oscar-nominated director of the Holocaust movie In Darkness (2011), also made Burning Bush (2013), a three-episode mini-series on Jan Palach’s self-immolation and its aftermath, one of the best works of art we have about late totalitarian government. Flagg Taylor and I talk about this movie and about the Prague Spring itself, the Charter 77 movement, and Jan Palach’s legacy up to the return of freedom to Czechoslovakia.

In their third episode, the Young Americans take the occasion of the recent New York primary victory of 28-year-old self-declared socialist Millennial Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to wonder if their peers really are all socialists now, or are just going through a phase. They also reflect on the 10th anniversary of The Dark Knight and debate whether it is the best blockbuster released in their (so far relatively short) lifetimes.

Member Post

 

Here’s something else to sip on, along with your local craft beer over the grill tomorrow. On Election Day 2016, there were approximately 8,500 that identified themselves as Democratic Socialists via membership to the DSA. Last year, that number was clocked at 24,000, a three-fold increase in 18 months. Their membership and target groups range […]

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I was reviewing my Rush Limbaugh transcripts this morning, when I came across a reference one caller made to a 45 point summary of goals needed to subvert the U.S. by the Communist Party: http://www.restoring-america.com/Documents/THE%20NAKED%20COMMUNIST%20GOALS%20WITH%20NOTES.pdf Preview Open

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Nicaragua is spiraling down because commie dictators gotta be commie dictators. But, it is not doomed to follow Venezuela, as there is a strong student movement for democracy. The population is unarmed, like the Democrats want to make Americans, but they are not collapsing in the face of being shot by government goons. President Trump […]

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I thought it would be fun to have a thread for The Americans, which began its final season this week. It is a great show, tightly written with compelling plot development, characterization, and performances. Certainly this will be a place for spoilers, so those who have not seen it – or kept up – but […]

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