Why aren’t communists stigmatized just as much as Confederates and neo-Nazis are?
Saturday’s violence in Charlottesville, Va., where a car mowed through a crowd protesting against neo-Nazis and other “alt-right” demonstrators, has renewed focus on white supremacists and, more specifically, the role Confederate monuments play as rallying points. In the wake of the Charlottesville protests, Baltimore; Richmond, Va.; Dallas; and Lexington, Ky., are now debating removing their Confederate monuments. Simply put, the protesters argue that history matters and that the symbolism of the past has resonance today.
Make no mistake: The issue surrounding Confederate symbolism is different than efforts at Yale University and elsewhere to rename buildings and to remove statues, stained glass windows, and artwork. The issue at hand is not a refusal to judge historical figures by the standards of their time, but rather the symbolism driving or representing a political movement.
How ironic it is, then, that the same stigma (rightly) attached to Confederate symbolism is strangely absent with regard to communist symbolism.
Communism, after all, is an ideology that has led to the deaths of almost 100 million people. While men like Ernesto “Che” Guevara may have become folk heroes for some on the political Left, they were in reality sociopathic mass murderers. The same holds true, of course, with Soviet dictator Josef Stalin and Chinese communist leader Mao Tse-tung (Mao Zedong).
Democratic National Committee Vice-Chairman Keith Ellison told progressive activists on Friday that North Korean communist leader Kim Jong Un was a more responsible leader than President Trump (he immediately regretted his wording). Kim, however, presides over a system of concentration and death camps that are reminiscent of Nazi Germany or Stalin’s Gulag. The American Friends Service Committee describes itself as a progressive organization dedicated to non-violence, but they were among the chief cheerleaders for the Khmer Rouge, a communist and racist gang responsible for the deaths of over a million people in Cambodia.
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