L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 269, May 2, 2004
May Day Madness
Exclusive to TLE
May Daythat one day a year when a sizeable proportion of the mentally ill members of society gather in force and inflict themselves and their nonsense upon the sane population.
Normally, this wouldn't bother me as such, but this year, I had the misfortune of running bang smack into the parade in London and having to fend these fools off. Until that moment, I hadn't realised the irony of the eight eastern European nations (plus Cyprus and Malta) joining the EU today on 1st of May. If anything, these eight former Communist countries (and many more are clamouring to join the EU in the next few years) highlight just how irrelevant and anachronistic Communism really is. Of course, eastern Europeans will soon find out all about what's wrong with the EU, but that's another matter.
So anyway, there the marchers were with their banners and so on, and quite a few of them had banners with pictures of Stalin and Mao on them with the usual "Workers of the World Unite" type slogans beneath them. It almost made my blood boil. More than that though, it really just highlights how out of touch with reality these people are.
Just this week, Jean Marie Le Pen, leader of the ultra-right wing, xenophobic National Front Party of France was here to talk to members of the British National Party (and the irony of a Frenchman talking to British nationalists was also not lost on meit's been a funny week in politics here in Europe). Protestors turned out in their droves to heckle him and throw eggs. Many of these same protestors also regularly clash with neo-Nazi groups in this country.
Yet where is the moral equivalence?
If people marched with banners of Swastikas and Hitler and Mussolini's faces, there'd be mayhem on the streets. Yet no one so much as blinks when Stalin and the Hammer and Sickle are paraded proudly through central London. Of course, it's the right of the marchers to do so, but very few other people seem to question the whole thing, or maybe they just see these people as little more than a fading nuisance to step around on the street.
Just about everything the extreme end of the right wing has done in the past century, Stalin and Mao did in greater style. Everyone knows how many Jews died in WW2 and can name Auschwitz, Birkenau, Dachau, etc., but how many people can quote how many Ukrainians died in Stalin's forced famines, or how many Estonians died in gulags in Siberia under his purges, or how many died under Mao's misnamed Cultural Revolution? Indeed, who can even name one single gulag? Very few people I should imagine, and certainly not these morons marching today, or if they can, then they conveniently ignore history, which is even more worrying.
Just about everything they accuse the west, including modern dictators such as Bush, Blair and Sharon, of doing (and here, the "my enemy's enemy is my friend is particularly annoying since the same rhetoric comes from the right), Stalin and co. did in more horrific ways. Just as the west has been interfering in third world countries and supporting puppet governments that oppress people, the Soviet Union and China did (and do) on virtually every continent. Just as they accuse the west of destroying foreign cultures through imperialsim, the USSR and China have done also. The various nomadic people of Siberia, and the Buddhists of Tibet are but two of dozens of examples.
Why is it that the old "it's for their own good" argument (rightly) doesn't hold water when used to justify the invasion of Iraq, yet it's perfectly acceptable when talking about the collectivisation of farms, the Russification of foreign peoples or simply sending people to be "re-educated" in the gulags? Why is it not okay for the tanks to roll across the Tigris or the Euphrates, but it's perfectly fine for them to across the Vlatava or Vistula?
People from Tallinn to Tibet simply didn't, and don't, want to have their class consciousness awakened. They just want(ed) to be left alone to do their own things and mind their own business. With the exception of a few old people who are too old to work and have no state benefits, the overwhelming majority of eastern Europeans are glad to have shaken off the yoke of Communism (and although some have gripes about modern times, they wouldn't go back to the old days for anything), although I fear it may take generations to overcome in some places. Talking to anyone under the age of sixty in eastern Europe makes this abundantly clear. Going to any of the dozens of museums documenting and illustrating the truth of what Stalin and his cronies did makes it even clearer.
How much clearer does it have to be? That's why I think that just like someone who thinks he's Napoleon or thinks voices are talking to him from the floorboards, these people hoisting Stalin's mug ten feet into the air are actually not of sound mind. That, or they're evil.
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