The past several years have taught me that, sadly, socialism (especially its most virulent kind — Marxism) is alive and well on college campuses, in the media, in American government, and even among the rank and file of American citizens. Do these followers of socialism, sometimes waving red flags and wearing “Che” Guevara t-shirts, not know the truth about Marxist leaders over the past 100 years?
Apparently not. In our day, I often come across people who do not know the difference between John Lennon and Vladimir Lenin, or Karl Marx and Groucho Marx. So, since our school systems are doing a rather abysmal job educating people about the truth of Marxism, I thought I would write a brief article highlighting the “careers” and “high points” of some of the world’s most notorious Marxist socialists.
1. Karl Marx (1818-1883).
Well, we should start with the founder, shouldn’t we? Karl Marx did not create concentration camps, the secret police, or the ministry of propaganda, but his philosophy certainly enabled future generations to carry out the machinery of an all-powerful state.
But what kind of a guy was Karl? History tells us that for all his blow-hard philosophizing about the poor downtrodden proletariat, he never actually met or had a conversation with a single one of them. He was rarely employed, and mooched off his parents, in-laws, and friends who had real jobs for almost his entire life. What a big surprise from the father of a major brand of socialism.
He never invented a single product, never went into business for himself, and the only employee he had was his maid. Oh yeah, his maid, Helen Demuth … the same one he had an adulteress affair with. She bore him his son Freddy, but when the child grew older, he was banished from the home and was not allowed to come visit unless Karl was out of the house.
And what did Karl pay his proletariat sex slave? Not a single penny. What a great guy. You can read more about this gem of a human being here.
2. Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (1870-1924).
He is also affectionately known as “Lenin” to all his admirers. Lenin, of course, was the leader of the Russian Revolution in 1917. The Russian people had plenty of legitimate gripes against Czar Nicholas II, but it seems to me that they merely exchanged one form of oppression for a decidedly worse one with Lenin in charge.
Today we have such terms as “gulags” and “the KGB” as synonyms for totalitarian oppression. You can thank none other than Lenin for bringing these things to the world.
I know, there was no KGB at the time Lenin ruled. Instead it was called the Cheka. It was the beginning of the feared Soviet secret police. Yes, the czar had a secret police force, too, and exiled people to Siberia. Lenin put that oppression on steroids in an era from 1918-1922 known as “the Red Terror” in which his secret police arrested people in the middle of the night and murdered tens of thousands of people.
(Along the way his goons murdered the czar, his wife, and all their children too.) Lenin did not just exile people to Siberia … he established the concentration camp. He and his Chekists created the slave labor camps known as the gulags. He was very clear that he would use terror and violence to strip the private property from the “haves” and put it in the hands of …. the peasants? Nope.
He would put newly stolen property in the hands of “peasants committees” (monitored by his police). It really worked out well, didn’t it? Starvation haunted Russia during his reign, until he instituted the “New Economic Policy.” What exactly was the NEP? People could keep some of their property, own a business, and keep the profits, thus stimulating the economy. Capitalism. Yes, capitalism saved the Russian economy for a while. Then Lenin died.
3. Joseph Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili (1878-1953).
Later he called himself “Stalin” (basically meaning “man of steel” in Russian). Adolf Hitler was another socialist monster (“Nazi” being an abbreviation for “National Socialism”), but he was a piker compared to Stalin. In terms of numbers of people murdered, in terms of controlling vast territories for decades, Stalin far outdid Hitler. Stalin was a fanatic about Marxism. He was 100 percent committed to Marxism and followed it faithfully to his dying day.
When Lenin died, Stalin worked to slowly gain control of the Soviet government apparatus. By 1929 he was firmly in power. Stalin dispensed with Lenin’s “New Economic Policy” and collectivized the farms and factories. Those who resisted were murdered or sent to the gulags, naturally. Food production steadily declined until finally the famine of 1932-33 resulted in the deaths of some 10 million people.
Of course, Stalin followed this brilliant domestic policy with his Great Purge (1934-39). Millions of people, from the highest in the government or military down to the lowest peasants, were sent to the gulags on the slightest hint of disloyalty to Stalin and his grand ideas. Stalin’s purges greatly weakened the Soviet military (since he killed off so much of the officer class), and that explains some of the Soviet Union’s military reversals at the beginning of the German invasion of 1941.
So how many people did Stalin murder? Here is a sober evaluation of that question. The lowest figure is 20 million. The highest figure is 60 million. (Just think about that as a legacy … and shudder.) So, let’s split the difference and say that the Marxist-Socialist Stalin murdered about 40 million people. By contrast, the National Socialist Hitler murdered about 12 million.
4. Mao Zedong (1893-1976).
Chairman Mao — his portrait still proudly hangs on a wall of the Forbidden City overlooking Tiananmen Square in Beijing. He looks jovial enough. He and his band of merry men fought off the Japanese Imperial Army and Chiang Kaishek’s Nationalist army for years, finally driving the Nationalists out of mainland China in 1949. Yet, by anyone’s standards, he tops the charts as the world’s greatest mass murderer of all time.
He murdered anywhere from 50 to 80 million people. The Washington Post gives the evidence for those numbers.
Once Mao took over, he launched his brilliant socialist/collectivist “Great Leap Forward.”
However, collectivizing all the farms resulted in the “Great Famine” and millions of Chinese starved to death. The masses of proletariats the socialists claim to love … starved to death.
His secret police hunted down anyone who spoke against him, and his cult of personality (plagiarized from Stalin) sent all opposition to the concentration camps or the firing squads.
From 1964 to his death in 1976, his “Cultural Revolution” basically destroyed the economy and infrastructure of the nation, and millions more perished at the hands of his roving bands of “Red Guard” terrorists. The Chinese gulags and firing squads had plenty of business during these times.
5. Fidel Castro (1926-2016).
Castro and his army threw out the dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959. They certainly had plenty of good reasons to get rid of that guy. However, it was not long afterward that the Cuban people realized that Castro was even worse. Over a million Cubans fled the island in the next few years, and hundreds more every year keep trying to swim or sail from the island of socialist paradise to Key West.
Comparing Castro to Stalin or Mao is almost like comparing a junior varsity high school football player to Tom Brady. Castro was a small fry. So why is he even in this mix? Because to this day he is still idolized by the Left in America and around the world.
Never mind that he kept the Cuban economy in the Third World for the last 50 years (and counting). Never mind that his secret police continues to terrorize the Cuban people and deprive them of free speech, freedom of religion — heck even the freedom just to leave! All that is excused because Castro just made everyone “equal.”
How many did Castro kill? We don’t know for sure. Here is a good, balanced article that tries to factor in all those who were executed by firing squad in the early days, all those who perished in the Cuban gulags, all the Cuban troops killed fighting in Angola, and all those who perished while trying to make it to America.
Because the communists may not keep excellent records like the Nazis did, and because their “Berlin Wall” has not come down (yet), we simply do not have a good number to work with.
6. Ernesto “Che” Guevara (1928-1967).
This is the guy whose beret-wearing mug you see on t-shirts worn by college kids and other aspiring Leftists. Here is a great little video with actual quotes from Guevara.
“Che” was an Argentine communist and Castro’s pal. He was with Castro when they finally took over Cuba in 1959 and he was responsible for consigning political prisoners to the firing squads. Guevara had a post in the new Cuban government managing the economy. Well, we now know what collectivism does, right?
So, after ruining the Cuban economy, Guevara left Cuba to start revolutions in the Congo and later in Bolivia. Here is a very interesting article from the Daily Beast documenting not only Castro’s hatred for homosexuals and his imprisoning and execution of anyone who had a different sexual preference, but also that the dearly beloved “Che” Guevara despised homosexuals and wanted them eliminated.
I wonder how that news will go down with the idolizing Left. After murdering and torturing people in Cuba, Congo, and Bolivia, the good doctor (he actually never finished medical school) was tracked down by the Bolivian army and captured. He whined, “I’m worth more alive to you than dead,” as he put down his loaded weapons. The Bolivians executed him.
7. Saloth Sâr (1925-1998).
He later changed his name to Pol Pot. It meant nothing in the Kampuchean language (the language of Cambodia; he just liked the sound of it, apparently). His Marxist army, known as the Khmer Rouge, conquered the capital city of Cambodia on April 17, 1975.
I’ll never forget watching those events on TV. Even though I was in the seventh grade at the time, I knew enough about communism to know what the poor people of Cambodia were in for. But nothing could prepare me (or those poor people) for the hell that was descending on them.
Pol Pot and his thugs believed the country had to be reduced to “Year Zero.” That meant that everyone must be removed from the cities and sent to work in the fields. All connections to the past had to be broken: families were broken up, education and religion were destroyed and replaced with the teachings of Pol Pot. All who resisted were executed. If you wore eyeglasses, you were executed immediately (having glasses meant you could read and were educated). If you spoke French, you were executed (speaking French meant you were educated AND were connected to the previous regime).
Pot’s followers did not believe in “wasting bullets.” So they shackled people with chains and buried them alive. Or they just chopped them to pieces with machetes.
Of course, multiplied thousands starved to death (it’s the Marxist/socialist way, you know). Best estimates are that 2 million people perished during the reign of terror of Pol Pot. Later, after rival communist forces from Vietnam threw out the Khmer Rouge, Pot was on the run. He died in 1998.
If you have never seen the 1984 film “The Killing Fields,” you really should. Here is the trailer from that amazing film:
Think about all this the next time you see somebody waving a red flag or stupidly wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt. Think about all the innocent people, over 100 million in the past 100 years, drowned in their own blood by the lovers of Karl Marx.