Blame the Predecessor, Not the Ideology: A Historical Leftist Tactic
I witnessed this strategy in the Soviet Union, and now I see it at Occupy Wall Street. It always fails.
October 31, 2011 - 12:00 am
The chaotic Occupy Wall Street movement is the result of the Democratic Party’s chaotic efforts to find villains for its chaotic economic policy, which has put 14 million Americans out of a job. The U.S. debt has now reached an unprecedented $15 trillion — greater than the total debt accured by all 41 presidents from George Washington to George H.W. Bush combined. That means a debt of $35,835 for every American household. The GDP fell from 4.5% growth in the first quarter of 2011 to 1.3% in the second quarter of 2011.
Instead of pulling up their socks and encouraging the production — not redistribution — of wealth, the leaders of the Democrat-run White House and U.S. Senate blamed former president George W. Bush for the current economic calamity. No American really bought it. So then the Democrats blamed the Japanese tsunami. No more luck. Blaming the Arab Spring and the European economic crisis did not do the trick either. Now the Democrats are blaming Wall Street — whatever that means — and America’s rich. They are the real evil. They are sucking the people’s blood, wrecking America.
In the sanctum sanctorum of the former Soviet empire, to which I once belonged, finding a scapegoat for the mistakes of a country’s leader was called “political necrophagy.” Although Marxism proclaimed the deciding role in history to be played by “the people,” the Marxists sitting on the Kremlin throne believed that only the leader counted. From the lips of Khrushchev himself, I used to hear over and over: “Change the public image of the leader, and you change history.”
The Kremlin’s secret “science” of political necrophagy was launched into the world on February 26, 1956. On that day, Khrushchev exposed “Stalin’s crimes” in a four-hour “secret speech” delivered at midnight under a cloud of mystery during the highly publicized XXth Congress of the Soviet Communist Party, to emphasize its importance.
New York Times journalist Harry Schwartz wrote: “Mr. Khrushchev opened the doors and windows of a petrified structure. He let in fresh air and fresh ideas, producing changes which time already has shown are irreversible and fundamental.”
In actuality, Khrushchev’s “secret speech” was just a show intended to distract attention away from the brutality of Soviet Marxism and from his own image as “butcher of the Ukraine.” It was not Marxism’s fault that 20 million people had been barbarically killed in the Soviet Union in order to make Marxism the country’s only religion — it was all Stalin’s fault. It was not Marxism’s fault that hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians had been executed during the years Khrushchev was the Kremlin’s viceroy in Kiev — that too was all Stalin’s fault.
A few days after Khrushchev had delivered his “secret speech,” his brand new spy chief, General Aleksandr Sakharovsky (the former chief Soviet intelligence adviser to Romania) slipped the text of it to my Romanian foreign intelligence service, the DIE. “This is the most secret document I have ever held in my hand,” Sakharovsky told us — with a wink.
He asked us to pass the “secret speech” to the Israeli Mossad, which had just begun discussing a secret barter arrangement with the DIE to allow Romanian Jews to emigrate to Israel in exchange for U.S. dollars. The DIE obediently leaked the secret speech to the Mossad, which at that time was closely cooperating with the American CIA.
In June 1956, Khrushchev’s “secret speech” was published by the New York Times, which acknowledged that it had gotten it from the CIA. There are many public versions about how that speech ended up at the New York Times — the Mossad is famous for obfuscating its operations. A few months later, however, Sakharovsky thanked DIE management for having helped him to introduce Khrushchev’s new “Communism with a human face” to the world.
Soon after that, Khrushchev’s “secret speech” was debated in all Communist Party organizations and media throughout the Soviet bloc. Marxism was rehabilitated.
Romania’s first Communist ruler, Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, died only a few months after Khrushchev was overthrown, and political necrophagy moved to Romania as well. As one might expect in the Balkans, Romania’s political necrophagy took on a gloriously Byzantine coloration. “We do not need idols,” the new ruler, Nicolae Ceausescu, told the plebs. Then Ceausescu “unmasked” his predecessor’s “unprecedented” cult of personality, and allowed the plebs to cast its eyes on the opulence of Gheorghiu-Dej’s palace. It was not long, however, before Ceausescu was proclaiming himself a “lay god,” and boasting that “a man like me is born only once every five hundred years.” A few years later, Ceausescu founded the first Communist dynasty and began alternately residing in 21 lavishly furnished palaces, 41 “residential villas” and 20 hunting lodges.
After Khrushchev, political necrophagy became the rule in the Kremlin. Brezhnev accused Khrushchev of having destroyed the unity of the Communist world. When Gorbachev came along, he accused Brezhnev of having devastating the Soviet economy. Gorbachev even had some of Brezhnev’s relatives arrested, in an obvious attempt to prove that the Soviet economy had been devastated by corrupt individuals, not by Marxism. For his part, Yeltsin accused Gorbachev’s perestroika of “leading the country to ruin,” and then Putin blamed Yeltsin for the “demise of the Soviet Union, the greatest catastrophe of the century.”
In 2004, when our war in Iraq encountered its first difficulties, the Democratic Party smuggled the Kremlin’s poltical necrophagy into the United States. Although that war was authorized by 296 House members and 76 senators, the leaders of the Democratic Party called it Bush’s war. “Bush lied, people died,” became the slogan of the Democratic Party, whose leaders suddenly forgot that they had also voted for that war.
The doormat at the entrance to the office of Democratic Party’s national chairman, Terry McAuliffe, depicted the U.S. president and it read “Give Bush the Boot.”Democratic Senator Tom Daschle, the minority leader, called President Bush a miserable failure. Retired general Wesley Clark, a former NATO commander who became a leader of the Democratic Party with an eye on the White House, asked Congress to “determine whether President Bush was a criminal by advocating a war against Saddam Hussein.” The 2004 Democratic National Convention focused almost exclusively on political necrophagy. In fact, except for Senator Joe Lieberman, all other speakers denigrated the U.S. president.
Two days after that convention ended, Teresa Heinz Kerry, the wife of the Democratic nominee for the White House, stated that four more years of the Bush administration meant four more years of hell for America. Like her, I am also an immigrant. I have spent my 33 American years under six presidents — some better than others — but I have always felt that I was living in the best country on Earth. In fact, that is how the overwhelming majority of Americans also felt during that election year.
President Bush was re-elected, but the Democratic Party’s political necrophagy had sunk the United States’ international prestige so unbelievably low that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe had to certify to the rest of the world that the United States had free elections in November 2004.
Now we have important new elections coming up, and the Democratic Party is resorting to a new form of political necrophagy. “Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes” has become the new slogan of the Democratic Party. The result: Occupy Wall Street encampments.
American citizenship used to be the highest dream for millions of people striving for freedom who made it to the United States — as it was mine. Now, however, the Democratic Party is replacing American citizenship with a generic Ash-sha`b yurid isqat an-nizam (the people want to bring down the regime). “Bring an open mind and a sleeping bag,” the organizers of Occupy Wall Street posted on Facebook and Twitter. “It’s going to be big, it’s going to be global.”
This anarchist movement generated by the Democratic Party’s political necrophagy has indeed spread to over 200 U.S. cities and to 82 other countries.
Khrushchev’s political necrophagy shattered the Soviet Union’s image as the workers’ paradise. The Democratic Party’s political necrophagy and its Occupy Wall Street encampments are shattering the United States’ image as the leader of the Free World.
I could write a whole book about political necrophagy, and maybe someday I will. Here I would only like to say that, in my experience, political necrophagy is a dangerous game. It hurts people’s national pride, and it usually turns against its perpetrator.
On October 14, 1964, Khrushchev became the first Soviet leader ever to be dethroned. The Soviet Politburo considered his political necrophagy so erratic and dangerous that it kept him under house arrest, guarded by the KGB, for the rest of his life. When Khrushchev died, Brezhnev decreed that his predecessor had badly harmed the country’s historical respect for the Kremlin, and that he was not worthy of being buried in the Kremlin Wall next to the other former leaders. The Soviet government even refused to pay for Khrushchev’s gravestone. In 1972, when I visited Khrushchev’s grave in the Novodevichi Cemetery, there was only a small, insignificant marker identifying it.
Leonid Brezhnev, who deposed Khrushchev, ended up being seen by the Russians, and by the rest of the world, as a self-aggrandizing cartoon. His political necrophagy and his cult of personality damaged the Soviet Union’s international standing to such a degree that the KGB decided to take over the Kremlin.
Yury Andropov, the first KGB officer to be enthroned in the Kremlin, began the process of transforming the Soviet Union into a country in which, behind a facade of Marxism, the ruler’s political police took precedence over the original tool for running the country — the Communist Party. Already terminally ill, Andropov died before accomplishing his task.
Mikhail Gorbachev, whose glasnost and perestroika were depicted as an act of political necrophagy intended to change Russia’s historical traditions, ended in exile.
In December 1989, Romanian tyrant Nicolae Ceausescu was executed. The Extraordinary Court that sentenced him to death decided that his political necrophagy and his subsequent outrageous cult of personality had dishonored Romania’s traditional respect for its leaders, and that he did not even deserve a coffin and grave. Ceausescu corpse was therefore dumped into a bag and tossed into the trash at a soccer stadium.
The Soviet Union and Communist Romania were extreme cases. But political necrophagy will not work here either. The United States has a long tradition of respecting its elected leaders. During World War II, 405,399 Americans gave their lives in order to defeat Nazism and the Holocaust, but the U.S. remained sturdily united behind its president. The United States held elections during that war, but no one running for office had even thought about harming the country’s unity in a quest for personal victory.
No political necrophagy and no Occupy Wall Street demonstrators mobs will be able to change that American tradition.