French philosopher Jacques Derrida, who claimed he had broken with Marxism but confessed to still being choked with emotion whenever he heard the “Internationale,” reminded us just before he died that the first noun in Marx’s Manifesto is specter: “A specter is haunting Europe, the specter of Communism.” According to Derrida, Marx began The Communist Manifesto with specter because a specter never dies.
Derrida was certainly onto something. “Of only one fact do I feel certain, and it is that no thinking man can imagine that the ultimate result of the Great War can be anything but disastrous to humanity at large,” stated Alfred Mosley, one of Europe’s most celebrated economists, in 1915.[iii] Mosley was prophetic. Each of the World Wars caused a brief economic letdown and induced people in some countries, those more heavily affected, to seek Marxist solutions to their economic problems.
World War I brought Marx’s specter to life in the shape of the Soviet Union. Marx’s specter continued to thrive after the long wars in other corners of the world. The Soviet Empire, which dispossessed all inhabitants of Eastern Europe of their property and transformed that part of the word into a gulag empire, was created at the end of World War II.
My native country is a case in point. Four years of war on Germany’s side had squeezed Romania like a sponge, and what little remained had been stolen by the vindictive “liberating” Soviet Army, which had laid waste to the land worse than a plague of locusts. Many young Romanian intellectuals who had grown up under the influence of the postwar patriotic fervor were willing to try anything, Marxism included, to rebuild their homeland. I was one of them.
After World War II ended, the young British voters turned to Marx’s specter for help as well. Tired of five years of war and ignorant of history, they kicked the legendary Winston Churchill out of office — although his leadership had been critical to winning WWII — and brought in Clement Attlee, the leader of the Labour Party. Attlee, who was a Marxist disguised as a socialist, started his reign with a popular socialist move: he nationalized the health care system, which had been heavily damaged by the war. Most people clapped, and Attlee suddenly became more popular than Churchill. Since, as the saying goes, l’appétit vient en mangeant, Attlee went on to nationalize the financial system, the automobile, gas and coal industries, communication facilities, civil aviation, electricity production, and the steel industry. He also introduced taxpayer-funded milk in schools.
The British economy collapsed, and the powerful British Empire passed into history. Nationalized famous British brand names, such as Jaguar cars, became disgraced or even international jokes. “Apart from some Russian factories in Gorky, Jaguar’s were the worst,” stated Ford executive Bill Hayden, when Ford bought that once prominent automobile manufacturer from the British government in 1988.[iv]
In 1950 the British voters repented and brought Churchill back to Downing Street, but it took Great Britain 18 years of conservative governments to repair the catastrophe generated by Attlee’s government in a mere six years. In the process of recovery, the Labour Party was fortunate enough to acquire non-Marxist leaders who normalized the party again.
Red China was created after eight years of Sino-Japanese war and four more years of civil war. The Sino-Japanese war (1937-1945) forced an uneasy alliance between Chinese Nationalists and Communists, which in 1947 generated a Chinese Civil War. On October 1, 1949, this civil war ended with the Communist Party of China taking control of the mainland China, and the Kuomintang retreating to Taiwan. Some hundred million people in Red China cheered. Marxism had won! Soon, however, an estimated 45 million people died of starvation and the effects of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, and a billion ended being deprived of their properties.
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany have recently discovered a genetic factor, the A1 mutation, which affects the ability to learn from past mistakes. It seems that quite a few people in South America are carrying the A1 mutation. They brought various Atlee-style populist labor parties to power in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Argentina, which shepherded those countries into the first stage of Marxism, the socialist fold. Russian military ships and bombers are now back in Cuba — and newly in Venezuela — for the first time since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. Brazil, the world’s tenth largest economy, even installed a former Marxist guerrilla fighter, Dilma Rousseff, as the country’s president.
Socialism, which is simply a smiling mask hiding the ugly face of Marxism, has dramatically changed the geopolitical map of the world.
After 45 years of Cold War and eleven more years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, quite a few Americans also began imagining that capitalism was their real enemy, and they felt that the system of government should be transformed into socialism by redistributing the capitalists’ wealth. The leaders of the Democratic Party obliged. According to a March 12, 2008, amendment introduced in the U.S. Senate, funding just 111 of the 188 social projects proposed for financing by redistributing America’s wealth would steal 1.4 trillion U.S. dollars from businesses and other taxpayers over the next five years. This huge redistribution of America’s wealth would cause the tax bill of people earning $104,000 to rise 74% ($12,000) and that of people earning more than $365,000 to rise by 132% ($93,500),[v] but it would also heavily affect the average taxpayer earning $62,000, whose tax bill would rise 61% ($5,300).[vi] In addition, the Democratic Party stated that it would let the Bush tax cuts expire. That would mean an additional federal tax increase of between $2,400 and $3,000 per taxpayer. On March 27, 2008, the Democratic Party announced a new $30 billion stimulus package to help individuals and areas “hard hit by the housing crisis.”
Millions of young Americans cheered. They were, of course, galvanized by the prospect that a Democratic administration would force rich Americans to pay a part of their own health care, mortgages, loans and school tuition, and they rushed to support the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party won the White House and both chambers of the U.S. Congress, and undercover Marxism became a national policy.