Tag Archives: Communism

Commies From Outer Space

The Left Forum took place last week in New York City. This is an annual confab of Marxists and left-wing anarchists of different varieties. In past years, they’ve gathered in a series of plenaries to discuss diverse topics ranging from the Russian Revolution to Mexican politics. While in other years, left-wing academic celebrities like Zizek or Cornel West were central parts of the event, this time many panels had tiny socialist and communist outlets of which the majority of mortals probably have never heard.

In attendance were the Posadists––a Trotskyist organization that sounds more like science fiction comedy than a revolutionary cadre. Their name comes from the founder of this peculiar form of Trotskyism, the late J. Posadas, who was an Argentine who believed that extraterrestrial beings are communists. His followers think that intergalactic travel could only be developed by a communist society, so they believe that if there are aliens able to travel the cosmos, they are logically commies from outer space. Their own annual event is hosted by the aptly named Intergalactic Workers’ League.

Read the rest at: Splice Today

The Gulag Aperture: Hollywood Becomes Handmaiden To China’s Communist Party

On New Year’s Day, China Central Television (CCTV) unveiled its newest “soft power” entertainment media venture, whose purpose is to extend China’s global media influence. Chinese President Xi Jinping said that the overriding directive of this new collection of television stations and news agencies will be to “follow the party line and promote ‘positive propaganda as the main theme.’”

The CCTV announcement compounds the growing risk that increased Chinese investment will entice Hollywood into volunteering itself as a propaganda division of the Communist Party of China (CPC). And if these trends continue, the Western world’s outlet for Chinese dissenters will be closed.

China’s film industry has in recent years grown approximately 34% annually and generated $6.8 billion in 2015. While many applaud the very modest political reforms that sometimes complement China’s market liberalization, one should be wary of the country’s iron grip on its entertainment industry.

China’s industry players are inextricably bound to the CPC, as evidenced by the ascent of Wang Jianlin, China’s richest man. Jianlin’s successes are a product of quid pro quo arrangements between himself and the CPC’s top officials. Further, Jianlin is a delegate to the CPC congress and was a high-level advisor in China’s faux legislature from 2008 to 2013. Today, CPC delegate Jianlin can count several American awards shows, including the Golden Globes, the Billboard and American Music Awards, and even AMC Theaters as part of his recently accrued collection.

Continue reading at Forbes.

 

Could Cuba be the next Vietnam?

With the death of Fidel Castro, many are wondering what the future holds for Cuba. Could the island nation finally free itself from the chains of communism with the Dear Leader finally dead? A recent trip I took to Vietnam gives me hope for Cuba’s successful transition to a market economy.

In all likelihood, an economic sea change isn’t likely to sweep the Caribbean country immediately. Nevertheless, Cuba has taken some positive steps towards a market economy in recent years. In 2011, President Raul Castro legalized private property, allowing citizens to buy and sell their homes and farmers to cultivate a portion of their land for profit. This year brought even more optimistic changes, with many United States embargo restrictions on travel and trade lifted, facilitating the freer flow of goods and services.

Historically speaking, Cuba is likely to join most other so-called “communist” countries still standing today by embracing more capitalist reforms. While China, Laos and Vietnam are all red in theory, in practice the three Asian countries have enjoyed some of the fastest economic growth in recent decades because of free market reforms. North Korea is arguably the last true communist holdout, with the state completely owning the means of production to disastrous results.

This odd juxtaposition of communist ideology with capitalist practice was on full display when I visited Vietnam in November. The monuments and museums are still filled with propaganda. Nearly every mention of the Vietnam War is presented in black and white, as “imperialists” versus “patriots.” Granted, that time period wasn’t exactly the brightest for American foreign policy, but the communist recollection is so biased to the point of humor. While strolling through Ho Chi Minh City’s War Remnants Museum, for example, I couldn’t help but laugh at a panel claiming to show a photograph of South Vietnamese soldiers “drinking blood and swearing to destroy the communists.”

Continue reading at Washington Examiner.

For Liberals, Castro Represents A Last Roadblock To Forgetting The Evils Of Communism

In the wake of Cuban despot Fidel Castro’s death at the age of 90, media and public response has been decidedly mixed among North American and European personalities. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Irish President Michael Higgins, for instance, both penned effusive eulogies praising the “longest serving president” who advocated a “development path that was unique and determinedly independent.” Yet the nation’s largest community of Cuban-Americans, many of whom are exiles or escapees of the oppressive regime, celebrated in the streets that the man who jailed, murdered and starved thousands of their people was at last dead.

Why this chasm between those in the West who unequivocally condemn the man and those who are paying him post-mortem lip service? His deeds, among them mass murder and incarceration, the criminalization of free speech and homosexuality, and the absolute restriction of emigration from the country, would certainly horrify any person who values a Western society that protects the freedom to pursue one’s own ends.

One must wonder if the hesitation to outright condemn Castro comes in part from Western progressivism’s complex relationship with communism: American and European leftist intellectuals were quick to embrace communist precepts and praise early movements before the extent of the oppression and poverty in the USSR and elsewhere was known. French existentialist and political theorist Jean-Paul Sartre famously renounced communism, after years of intellectual participation in communist politics, when he witnessed first-hand the atrocities of the USSR. He was, as many Western leftists have been, enamored with surface elements of communist thought until familiar with its oppressive application. If this realization is so crucial, then forgetting communism’s violent history can only promote its renewed romantic aura in the eyes of the public and intellectuals alike.

Continue reading at The Daily Caller.

Rebelling against Castro… with spray paint

For many, graffiti is just another form of street art, but for Danilo “El Sexto” Maldonado it is a way to dissent from and protest against the Cuban Communist Party. Through his art, he criticizes the human rights abuses the Cuban people suffer at the hands of the Castro regime.

As a young kid in Cuba, Maldonado always knew he wanted to be an artist. Yet throughout school he was constantly indoctrinated with the country’s revolutionary ideology and saw himself unable to express his thoughts through art. As he grew older, he eventually found the artistic medium that would give him voice: graffiti. However, his artistic expression came at the price of his freedom—he is now one of Cuba’s most detained artists.

The world noticed Danilo when, in December 2014, he performed one of the most subversive acts seen in Cuba in the last couple of years. He was arrested for attempting to stage a performance involving two pigs; one painted with the name of Raúl, while the other read Fidel. As part of his act, he planned to release the pigs in Havana’s central park for people to try and catch them. His main inspiration: George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

Danilo never made it to his performance. He was detained on his way to the central park. The Cuban Communist Party accused him of contempt for the leaders of the Revolution—a crime in Cuba that can cost you up to three years in jail. When talking about his arrest, Danilo believes he was arrested “simply because [he] made fun of the highest leaders of this revolution.”

Danilo was not given a trial. He was never officially charged. Simply for trying to express his art, he was held for 10 months in a Cuban prison.

To him, and to the rest of the world, his imprisonment only confirmed the harshness of the dictatorship. While he was in jail, several international human rights organizations picked up his case. Each day he remained imprisoned, more joined his cause. He was classified as a prisoner of conscience by both the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba and Amnesty International. The Human Rights Foundation awarded him with the Vaclav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent.

With his story in the spotlight, Danilo was eventually released in October of 2015. Since then, not only has Danilo continued to draw graffiti, but he has become one of the island’s leading human rights activists.

Read the full article at Dissident, here.