The media is saturated with documentaries, books, novels, films, discussion and debates about the Nazi’s short and murderous reign but there is a relative dearth of coverage of the miseries of Communism. One notable example that exposes the viewer to the horror behind utopian ideology is the BBC documentary, Gulag.
There are three important factors that cause Communism to get off too lightly: The fact that there is less photographic/video evidence of the concentration camps of Soviet Russia than exists of their German counterparts – mainly because the gulags were never liberated by conquerors – and because of the shame and guilt of the west having to ally with Stalin to defeat the Nazis, which resulted in the subjugation of much of eastern Europe.
The other factor is the apologists, sympathisers and fellow travellers of the Left who wanted the Soviet Union to succeed and vindicate them and have a continued interest in sanitising Communism because it is based on the ideology and theories of figures, such as Marx, who they still idolise. The difference between Communism and Socialism is one of degree, and in any case many on the Left are either unreformed Communists or former enthusiasts.
Indeed, many Labour Party politicians were members of the Communist Party. Others were heavily influenced by them, and many were even paid up agents of the Kremlin. The young Communists and various Marxist groups of the 1980’s, the Marxism Today generation, combined with members of the various Marxist groups and protégés of elderly Soviet sympathisers and veterans of the extremist Left grew up, modernised the Labour Party and rose to power in 1997.
New Labour cannot be properly understood without recognising its roots in Communism and the fact that it was dominated by people who were Communists, Marxists, Trotskyites and Stalinist sympathisers in their youth.
Many prominent figures were former Communist members; John Reid, David Triesman, Peter Mandelson, Jack Straw and Charlie Whelan to name but a few.
Others, like Stephen Byers, Bob Ainsworth and Alan Milburn (again, to name only a few) were involved in Marxist organisations. They dropped the Marxist insistence on the ownership of the means of production as they realised its relative lack of importance in achieving their far more important cultural aims. They took their inspiration from Euro-Communism and particularly Antonio Gramsci. It was the tactics and the methods they had learnt that endured and were influential on the nature and methodology Blair/Brown government.
In its techniques of infiltration, expansion of bureaucracy, its use of propaganda, its secrecy, its bitter hostility to open democratic debate, its cliquey, closed nature and suspicion of those deemed to be ‘outsiders’, and its tendency to make policy and deals in private and out of public scrutiny all have roots in Communist Party tuition.
The policies of open borders and mass immigration, cultural and racial diversification, the long march through the institutions and remaining conservative strongholds, integration into the European Union and the systematic dismantling of ancient British liberties had been the heady intentions of Leftist radicals since the 1960’s, with New Labour they came to fruition.
In-fact, given the transformation of British society, and the infiltration of the Civil Service and the third sector, and the march through the remaining conservative strongholds – from the House of Lords to the Conservative Party – I would contend that their long term aims had been achieved thoroughly and beyond question.
Little wonder then, given their cultural victory, that Leftists still get away with the most absurd double standards; objecting to one murderous, violent and inhuman creed and not condemning another. They can’t bear to admit the striking similarities between the two nightmarish dogmas. They are able to get away with it partly because we do not perceive Communism in the same way as Nazism, as we should.
So there is no controversy when a Labour politician has the Internationale played at their funeral and his colleagues all sing along with gusto, though I imagine the playing of the Nazi Horst Wessel Song would (rightly) cause uproar.
No-one bats an eyelid when a Labour politician heaps praise on an unreformed Communist as they pass away, as Ed Miliband did when Eric Hobsbawm died in 2012: “A man passionate about his politics and a great friend of my family”, he said.
Hobsbawm was a lifelong Communist devotee, a Stalinist apologist and a defender of the Soviet Union throughout the mass murder, the purges, the slave camps and the gulags. This was a man who openly said that the achievement of Communism would have made millions of deaths worthwhile. Would anyone mind if a Tory praised an dying old fascist? We know the answer. They should not be able to get away with this.
How is it that people who profess to have good intentions can be so horrendously misguided and blind? The Left thinks Western Liberal capitalist democracy is inherently flawed and especially immoral (not least because it’s a British export) and so is forever seeking a revolutionary change that will make everything right and good.
Such a blinkered desire and a dogmatic devotion to a rigid ideology warps the mind and stunts the moral compass, hence why the Left has a long history of romanticising and sympathising with dictators and third-world “rebels”. From Castro and Che Guevara to Mao, Lenin and Trotsky, the Left often have curious bedfellows (and often turn a blind eye when the bed sheets are soaked in blood).
This blinkered tendency is all the easier to get away with because Communism is not as demonised as it should be. Were as they portray conservatism as a step away from Fascism and Nazism, Socialism remains sanitised. Even in its most benign form this tendency is severely misguided and intellectually and morally bereft. Take the socialists lauding of the (now deceased) Hugo Chavez and his Marxist regime in Venezuela. Owen Jones, considered to be a serious political commentator, idolised Hugo Chavez and complimented him for showing that, “a progressive alternative to neo Liberalism is both possible and popular”.
In his latest book, The Establishment, Jones endorses policies such as mass nationalisation of industry and currency and capital control; policies implemented in impoverished and corrupt socialist countries like Venezuela.
In his praise for Chavez he aligned himself with Diane Abbott, Ken Livingstone, George Galloway and Peter Hain among others, including Jeremy Corby. They want to emulate Venezuela in Britain and admired Chavez as a fellow socialist.
This is to wilfully ignore the catalogue of human rights abuses committed by his authoritarian regime, and the fact his Socialist utopia was actually a crime ridden dystopia of poverty, oppression, food shortages, power cuts, wide scale corruption, censorship and dilapidation; his reign was a catastrophe.
For anyone with a deeper interest (beyond the news reports that clearly show the terrible legacy of Chavez) I can recommend Comandante: Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela by Guardian journalist Rory Carroll as a good place to start.
Admirers of Chavez were quick to endorse his successor Maduro (they used the laughable hashtag #abetterwayispossible) who was quick to imprison or murder dissenters and move to create an autocracy while the Venezuelan economy is crumbling and the county has been the scene of regular social unrest. Yet again, a state of emergency has been declared, Socialism has created yet another basket case.
When will they learn?
The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Conservatives for Liberty