The Communist insurgency in Peru, Nepal and the long-term insurgencies in Colombia (FARC, others) are guilty of terrorism as are the separatist movements in Spain (ETA) and Northern Ireland (between various Catholic and Protestant groups).
In fact, many of these groups specifically sanction the use of terror in their charters or founding documents. But people often do not associate the term “terrorism” with the former communist regimes in Russia and Eastern Europe.
Yet, it is widely known that in the past communist governments practiced some of the bloodiest terrorism on their own citizens. These include the victims of Stalin’s iron rules, victims of the Cambodian genocide, victims of the Latin American and Cuban civil wars as well as East and Central Europeans dying in the uprisings of 1953, 1956 and 1968 against their communist masters. When the records of the former Soviet Union were opened, Soviet crimes became widely known.
If there is any connection between the two, it is the callous indifference to human life demonstrated by the perpetrators of terror and the communist leaders guilty of mass murder. In the so-called “social rule”, there have been many examples of the battle over communism destroying cultures and causing untold suffering to everyday people.
These people may have organized themselves in ways that were different than the so-called social rule. They were people nonetheless with the innate dignity of being human beings and deserved life, liberty and respect.
Faulty reasoning blurs the lines between the acts of violence normally thought of as “terrorism” and other causes of human suffering.
“On the other side, seriously, the academic literature on why communism and Communism (they are different) failed can provide valuable insights into why, theoretically, an economic system that sounds so good on paper, is perfectly logical, comports with some people’s view of things, and is, well, so Utopian in vision can turn out to be utterly and terribly wrong in how it affects people’s daily lives,” wrote journalist John G. Scherb.
Why would a system so completely fail to provide what was actually needed for its own people? The answer is deceptively simple. Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist theory is fatally flawed.
It doesn’t work.
“Capitalism and its distant cousin Socialism actually take into account something called “human nature”. Communism never did. Like castles in the mind, communism was a totally mental construct which was launched in Russia, a country that, even today, has not fully freed its serfs. This is not a recipe for success,” added Scherb.
Communism as a rallying cry, as a banner to unite oppressed people, does have a certain seductive appeal. Even dog food will appeal to a starving person.
The first clue that communism was doomed to failure was the “secret police”. When you have to construct your “workers’ paradise” by employing legions of informants and goon squads, it displays a lack of confidence in the success of the ultimate endeavor.
Truth be told, the rise of communism did scare a lot of the proverbial fat cats of yesteryear. And they did fully exert their economic might to ensure that those alien ideologies did not take hold. What actually resulted was, of course, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, an unqualified success for many years, despite the best efforts of the revisionists on the right.
As the Cambodia and Peru genocides showed, the use of communism to actually govern was a miserable failure. Similarly, Columbia communists are also utilizing a common phenomenon in Central and Latin America: Fear and envy.
Communism recruited men and women to their cause, but once under communism, they were often treated worse than animals. If we look at the history, communists had to rely on a lot of show trials and executions. Even then, communist countries never worked very well.
John G. Scherb is a retired freelance writer living in Irvine.