May 1, 2017

The Banality of Sedition

It's May Day again and Communism is still alive and well on the streets of Seattle....

Illustration by RapierWitt

THESE DAYS its not often that you see a member of the Despairing Classes being seduced by classic Communism on a city street, but it does happen.

Sidewalk Snapshot: It's a warm Spring evening on Pine Street in Seattle. Lengthening shadows and brightening light brings everything into sharp relief including the random collection of lay-abouts, short-order poets, tattoo artistes, and students a decade between degrees that take up the tables outside the Cafe Laddro on Capitol Hill.

Capitol Hill is one of those neighborhoods in Seattle that compiles a mainstream lifestyle out of alternatives. Even though it is indeed a hill, it has suspended the normal laws of gravity and everything loose in Seattle rolls up to the top of it. That includes, on this evening, me.

I'm stepping out of your "one-every-block" Seattle espresso slop shop with my machiatto when I notice the odd couple at the table just outside the door. That's not too odd since odd couples, like spiked bright blue hair, are pretty much the norm on Capitol Hill. I notice them at first because the youngest is wearing a Motorhead t-shirt with the mantra "Everything Louder Than Everything Else" on it in that faux German Black gothic font that got old when Auschwitz was in flower, and so had to be made new again back when heavy-metal was a fresh idea.

Glancing over Motorhead's shoulder I note that the man across from him is giving him an ideological lap-dance complete with a whole raft of tracts, papers and books being brought out and waved about and placed, with a muffled thwang, one after the other on the thin black metal of the table: Trotsky's "Marxism and Terrorism," (thwang!); the ever-popular Marx and Engels "Communist Manifesto," (thwang!); Lenin's greatest hit "What Is To Be Done?," (thwang!), Gramsci's "Prison Notebooks," (thunk!), Zinn's "People's History of the United States,"(clunk!).

One by one, they come out of the worn back pack and pile up on the table. All in all, a larger pile of ideological dung would be hard to imagine, and harder to handle even with meat hooks and thick rubber gloves.

The man making his pile of "roadmaps to a more perfect world" is quite a bit older than Motorhead with a slim, somewhat furtive look to him. There's the vibe coming off him that you sometimes sense when someone old is trying to pick up somebody far too young for him.

In the intense light of the evening, you can see a faint cloud of dust motes rising from him as he keeps slapping the tracts down. Greying hair in moist ringlets covers his head except for a monk's tonsure on the back of his skull. He's got a mustache and a beard that, with a little care, could be brought to a Van Dyke point. He sports small round rimmed glasses in front of thin blue eyes. His eyes, although they never waver from his prey, carry within them a permanent 1,000 yard stare -- as if he's always looking outside of the present moment at something in the distance that never gets nearer. Overall the face reminds one, as these faces so often do, of a watered down Leon Trotsky, the Christ of Communism, crucified with an ice axe but still twitching in his tomb.

Trotsky is resurrect this evening on Capitol Hill though, and I linger at the table next to them writing down a few notes about their conversation. Except it is not exactly a conversation so much as a monologue as my Trotsky keeps, in smiling and soft tones, returning to the subject at hand which is the inevitable collapse of the evil American Empire ("Long past its expiry date..."), and the inevitable rise of world Socialism ("Everyone will have more than enough, but nobody will have it all.")

Trotsky's sporting, as all good Trotskys must, a collection of slogan buttons and a sheaf of free tracts and newspapers. The button that is the largest is pinned to his faded plaid flannel shirt and proclaims him to be a member in good standing of the ISO (International Socialist Organization, good Latter-Day Trotskyites all. )

He passes the tracts and newspapers over to his intended, "Free, all free," and points out the more salient injustices they outline: eternal racism, eternal slavery of women, eternal repression of the working man by capitalists, eternal imperialism by the United States -- the whole catastrophe. He underscores that the only escape is through the ever-imminent but forever delayed Rapture of the Left, The Revolution.

After several minutes of his soft chants, Motorhead is nodding like the drinking bird over the glass. He's looking a bit dazed. I wonder if Trotsky has slipped a roofy into Motorhead's machiatto and is just waiting for it to kick in.

Trotsky's tales are the sad sotto voce sagas that underscore all the old nightmares of the Gulag, the Killing Fields, and every other massacre done in the name of the Marxist Utopia. It's a litany proving, once again, that some lies lodge so deep in man's hopes they will not die, no matter the murders they require to live.

Today's fresh lie is that if only Motorhead will attend the "event" tomorrow, Trotsky will be pleased to take him to the exclusive "Cadre" meeting that follows so he can meet the "Comrade of Honor," one Ahmed Shawki.

In soft tones salted with a quick twinkling smile that comes and goes like the red queen in three-card monte, Trotsky continues his spiel, his seduction. Motorhead is "obviously a man of no little intelligence" -- even if his five facial piercings (ears, left eyebrow, lip stud and nose-ring) might make one wonder.

Motorhead "needs to live in a system where social justice is the rule for all, not just the rich." Given Motorhead's ripped black jeans, worn black boots and general air of someone not likely to be hired by any business whose work involves meeting the public, this is probably more true than either of them realize. Motorhead nods again to this last proposition, and observes that he yearns for a social order that is more just to his lifestyle than can easily be found outside the subcultural hamlets of Seattle.

Much has been made of Hannah Arendt's phrase, "The banality of evil," and I suppose I'm witnessing a small satori of that kind here on the sidewalks of Seattle. But it seems to me to be a more insidious event than that.

After all, there's nothing evil in speech that argues for ideas that have proven, without exception, to be evil. It is, after all, only speech and the strength of the American system is to protect all forms of speech, especially the idle blather of a coffee house revolutionary. There's nothing, really nothing, in this overheard conversation that threatens the existence of the United States. The mere fact that it can be had, five years into the First Terrorist War, underscores just how strong this nation adherence to its founding principles remains. Here on Capitol Hill dissent of even the most egregious sort, is not only tolerated but celebrated.

The conversation bothers me at the same time it fascinates me. It strikes me that what I am auditing is not so much "the banality of evil," but "the banality of sedition;" a banality we see acted out daily on our television screens and on the op-ed pages of our newspapers.

The banality of sedition is now so well established that it is, well, banal and goes forward without a great deal of remark or trouble. In the last few years, the phrase that has arisen to describe this phenomenon is "The Culture of Treason." I'm not sure who originated the phrase, but its use is proliferating across the Internet for the reason that all such phrases proliferate when the time is ripe; it somehow rings true.

Of late, it iseems that large sections of the better educated and the most privileged among us have decided that the Constitution is, after all, a suicide pact and have determined to preach this death gospel to us all:

"This way to the gas, ladies and gentlemen. Step right up into the van carrying you all away into the perfect freedom of the perfect world. Don't worry about those canisters of gas dropping in through the top. It's just to delouse you of your old, traditional ideas of what being an American is all about.

"In just a few painless minutes you'll all be, as we are now, citizens of the world. And in that world to which we are all going you'll forget the old dream of America. You'll forget, at the last, everything that was good about America. You'll also forget the true and the beautiful. In the end, you'll forget about God himself.
"All those old dreams and visions will fade into a gray sameness. And then you'll all be, at the last, perfect citizens of our brave new world. We've breathed deeply of this gas before you and find it is the perfect blend of platitudes, freshly roasted, for the killing of your soul. After all, you weren't using it much. So step right up. First ride's free."

The long evening light was fading down into a warm dusk outside the coffee shop on Capitol Hill. Motorhead, in a moment of awakening, said, "Well, I should probably get grocery shopping."

Having gotten Motorhead's assent to attend the "event," Trotsky the Comrade becomes Trotsky the Closer and skins twenty bucks out of Motorhead's wallet for Gramsci's "Prison Notebooks" ($14.95 at Amazon). The tracts and, of course, the newspaper are free. Such a deal.

The threadbare backpack is repacked with Trotsky's portable library. He and Motorhead set off up the hill and, turning the corner, move out of sight.

I fold up the scrap of paper on the back of which I've made my notes of their meeting. The front side invites all and sundry to a "Solidarity Gathering" at the 45th Street Overpass: "We Support the Rape Survivor at Duke... and the Countless Others Everywhere. Come and join us in solidarity to bear witness to this terrorism against women." I make a mental note to, somehow, manage to be elsewhere.

Walking back to the Century Ballroom, I notice a large flyer that announces the "event" that Motorhead has agreed to attend. Ahmed Shawki, editor of the International Socialist Review, will speak, it seems, on "Black Liberation and Socialism."

Shaki's image dominates the flyer and looks, for all the world, like a Malcom X returned to life. The look is, of course, a carefully studied one since black socialist saints are hard to come by these days.** The Clenched Fist logo is in the lower left hand corner of the flyer. There are other details but I have a hard time making them out. It is, I discover, hard to read a flyer that is lying in the gutter. Especially when the light has failed.

In "Celebration" of May Day, 2008. HT: Cynr who created the art.

**Written in April, 2006

"I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;"

Posted by Vanderleun at May 1, 2017 1:47 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

The devil makes 'em do it the first time,
second time they do it on their own.
Lord put a handle on that Motorheaded man,
help him leave that treason alone.

(apologies to Billy Joe Shaver, "Black Rose.")

Posted by: Gagdad Bob at April 26, 2006 10:52 AM

Sad to say, but Saint Judas is the patron saint of our times.

Posted by: RKV at April 26, 2006 2:45 PM

For some reason, I am reminded of the early Genesis song "The Knife". It sounds like a typical "lefty-revolution" song, until you realize (when you take a close look at the lyrics) that Peter Gabriel et al. may in fact be criticizing the revolutionaries' shortsightedness; they certainly don't make the Revolution sound any more honorable:

Stand up and fight
For you know we are right
We must strike at the lies
That have spread like disease through our minds
Soon we'll have power
Every soldier will rest
And we'll spread out our kindness
To all who our love now deserve
Some of you are going to die -
Martyrs of course to the freedom that I shall provide

Not to mention the cry of "WE HAVE WON!!" near the song's conclusion; it sounds not so much triumphant as ominous. One can only conclude that lyricist Gabriel was quite aware where such thinking leads.

Posted by: Michael Andreyakovich at April 26, 2006 3:03 PM

That "faux German Black gothic font" is normally known as "Fraktur and is a pain for the modern German-reader to decrypt.

Posted by: Consul-At-Arms at April 26, 2006 3:56 PM

I won't be riding to utopia in that van.

My dream instructs me to blow it up.

You are a great teacher.

Welcome to the resistance.

Posted by: DirtRagsRanch at April 26, 2006 5:29 PM

Yes! Isn't Capitol Hill wonderful? Much like a visit to the zoo. An opportunity to view some near-human life forms having only a minimal contact with reality.

I've been visiting the "Huffington Post" website now and again; reading the articles and checking the comments. It's quite like an on-line Capitol Hill.

I love the way you write, Mr. V. That's why I'm slowly working my way through your archives.

Posted by: Richard in Port Orchard, WA at April 26, 2006 5:43 PM

Didn't Freud write something about "Civilization and its malcontents"? I am reminded of this somehow.

The amusing thing here is that Mr. Motorhead is mixing his rock/punk/metal visual cues, as it were. Or so it seems to me, having seen all that stuff the first time around.

Posted by: Eric Blair at April 27, 2006 5:18 AM

Marxists, socialist pyschos, liberal demorats, animal rights nuts, enviromental wacko tree huggers, arab terrorist killers, illegal alien invaders supported by La Raza- It is all so sad. These sick evil mental midgets tying the Gullivers Travels USA giant down with thier psyhcosis. It is getting tiring swatting these infected insects buzzing around our collective heads, but don't use the DDT!

Posted by: Legion at April 27, 2006 8:08 AM

Second to Richard above: I love the way you write, especially the 1st paragraph.


Posted by: Mike Walsh, MM at April 27, 2006 8:26 AM

Like many Seattleites, I was born in that neighborhood and so were two of my children. So sad to see it taken over by the America haters. Motorhead will find some crazy business or the other to consume the part of his life not already wasted by the toxic sludge he's advertising now. And his older seducer, whether motivated by gay undertones or political alienation, needs to be confined until he wises up or dies.

Someone's opinion on a bumper sticker "The Gene Pool Needs Chlorine" could apply to Capitol Hill. Scrub the whole thing down and put back only what does credit to the gorgeous views there.

Posted by: AskMom at April 27, 2006 9:09 AM

"THESE DAYS its not often that you see a member of the Despairing Classes being seduced by classic Communism on a city street, but it does happen."

Not sure how I came to your site recently but I find your posts reminiscent of growing up in a lower middle catholic neighborhood / schools. It is a better than thou attitude that I missed for many years. Not even sure what religious beliefs you have? Lumping Zinn with the others is not fair but fair is not the issue - what is the issue? Do you know better or are you better? Are their worlds silly - could yours be silly to another? I really do miss the point of the piece, the haughty dismissiveness confuses me. Please clarify.

Posted by: james at April 27, 2006 11:40 AM

There is none so blind as you who will not see.

Posted by: Doug In Colorado at April 27, 2006 12:50 PM

Doug, another puzzling comment? See what? How many here can say they have accomplished what Zinn has? Any?

Posted by: James at April 27, 2006 3:58 PM

Ah James. You too talk in riddles. What do you think Zinn accomplished? Writing a biased, limited and deceptive "history"? Helping spread a madness that killed millions? None here have done that. Nor would they have wanted to.

And the "haughty dismissiveness" is not confusing. Just dismissive, for those who carry their own confusion perpetually with them.

Class is over now. You may go.

Posted by: AskMom at April 27, 2006 8:42 PM

Just to clarify a point or two. James asks:

" Do you know better or are you better? Are their worlds silly - could yours be silly to another? "

1. I do know better.
2. I am better.
3. Their words are worse than silly, they can be and have been deadly.
4. My words would seem silly only to those who believe the words of people like Zinn are wise and "accomplished" in anything other than making the world progressively worse with their "work."

Hope that clears things up for you.

PS: No Catholic I in birth, baptism, upbringing, or schooling. If you are, as you seem, somewhat young and enamored with the "accomplishment" of those like Zinn I think it fair to say that, to my eternal regret, I helped invent you.

Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at April 27, 2006 10:32 PM

America has no idea how close we are to either endless PC thought control "paradise" or civil war. If McCain wins in november expect bad things from the left, if Obama wins, expect to lose more money and rights. Thats just the way it is. We have "tolerated" so much that fringe groups are starting to have enough power to cause REAL problems.

Posted by: sonofdy at May 1, 2008 11:55 AM

This couldn't be more timely...

Posted by: Andy at May 1, 2008 2:02 PM

The problem is trendiness. Right now it is, quite frankly, just plain hip to hate America. Apparently you are just not intelligent enough if you are happy with being treated well. It shows some sort of advance intellect to not be won over by concepts like freedom, sacrifice, protection, and prosperity, all of which are currently provided in mass supply by our government. And what does this terrible government ask of us in return for seeing to it that we are DOING EXCEEDINGLY WELL as a society and a nation (regardless of how quickly we spit in the face of their efforts)? They ask what they have always asked since the founding of this country - that we continue to have the backbone to work for a living. That's all. There will always be enough Americans who are willing to stand up and do the fighting (and do it better than anyone else on Earth), the rest of us just need to shut up and work.

Posted by: Andy at May 1, 2008 2:22 PM

Human nature, we are a ship of fools. As the immortal Bugs Bunny would say What a bunch of maroons.

Posted by: jeffersonranch at May 1, 2008 2:22 PM

Gerard: In the last full line of the Poster above, "executed" should be "murdered". Execution is homicide (the death of a man) but it follows trial and is not unlawful. Murder is unlawful and premeditated.

Zinn: Let's admire the dude. He has made a lot of money off the ignorance of folks like James. A fool and his money. Grandpa's last words said, just before they sprang the trap, were "You can't cheat an honest man; never give a sucker an even break, or wise up a mark."

Posted by: Fat Man at May 1, 2008 2:23 PM

I do believe it was an ice pick, not an ice axe.

Posted by: Paul at May 1, 2008 2:37 PM

I take that back, it was the pick of an ice axe.

Posted by: Paul at May 1, 2008 2:39 PM

There is indeed a culture of treason these days and quite a few of the practitioners are national-level elected politicians.

I think things are going to get to the point where nothing less than a second American Civil War will turn it all around. We will have a choice of sliding comfortably into that good night of history and say goodbye to the Great American Experiment or do the horrible, necessary thing to save it.

Posted by: Sam at May 1, 2008 2:50 PM

Trotsky's assailant used an alpine ice axe for his attack, with a sawed-off shaft for easier concealment.

Posted by: Howard at May 1, 2008 2:56 PM


It has been a long time since I was on Capitol Hill. In those days the hook was a "Christian" Sex Cult whose name had "Children" in it if I remember correctly.

A much more wholesome come on all in all.

Posted by: M. Simon at May 1, 2008 2:57 PM

"Communism has been the greatest social engineering experiment we have ever seen. It failed utterly and in doing so it killed over 100,000,000 men, women, and children, not to mention the near 30,000,000 of its subjects that died in its often aggressive wars and the rebellions it provoked. But there is a larger lesson to be learned from this horrendous sacrifice to one ideology. That is that no one can be trusted with power. The more power the center has to impose the beliefs of an ideological or religious elite or impose the whims of a dictator, the more likely human lives are to be sacrificed. This is but one reason, but perhaps the most important one, for fostering liberal democracy."
R. J. Rummel

Posted by: RKV at May 1, 2008 3:05 PM

the Closer skins twenty bucks off Motorhead for Gramsci's Prison Notebooks available at Amazon for $14.95. Ha ha ha ha ha. That's a good one.

I would have gone for the Howard Zinn. At least flipped through to see what's in it. Haven't read that yet, although I know of it. I've been thinking of picking up a few copies to pass along as Christmas presents to a few friends so they'll know I'm sympathetic and still love them even though I insist they're colossally resolutely and dangerously retarded and insist they STFU. By way of peace offering. I am out, after all, to have a beer and not to listen to them banging on.

Banality of sedition. I like that. I'm going to use it -- for the parting shot as I turn away.

Posted by: bour3 at May 1, 2008 3:32 PM

Banality? I find it quite fun, actually!

Posted by: Sir Michael L. Foley at May 1, 2008 3:36 PM

Wow, Glenn Reynolds leads one to the most interesting places.

Geez, Van der Leun, why don't you just take an automatic weapon up to Capitol HIll and get it all over with? (Bring some of your friends along, too.) It's gotta end up being less painful than what you're putting yourself through now. I mean, really—you think by whining about it on a blog you're gonna make people stop reading Gramsci?

Posted by: Glenn Kenny at May 1, 2008 3:49 PM

Vanderleun: You've previously endangered my life by making me laugh too hard. But now you give me hope.

I think that, in the final analysis, your writing will tip the balance in the next battle between civilization and the barbarians. Glad to know you're on our side.

You deserve a bigger megaphone, a broader broadsheet.


Posted by: Fred at May 1, 2008 3:55 PM


(Is that in the South Park Kenny?)

The pain? There's no pain except the pain I observe in the two subjects of this tale. If that is pain that you cannot tell, no tale will tell you what you need to be told.

Posted by: vanderleun at May 1, 2008 5:11 PM

M. Simon:


It has been a long time since I was on Capitol Hill. In those days the hook was a "Christian" Sex Cult whose name had "Children" in it if I remember correctly.

A much more wholesome come on all in all.

Children of God! Wow. Had to dissuade brainless then-boyfriend (now... well... the wench is dead)from joining. Probably more wholesome than the current bait, though, yes.


Posted by: Portia at May 1, 2008 5:13 PM

As for the nature of the weapon that killed Trotsky, rest assured I know exactly what it looked like. To render it more precisely than I did would mangle the meter of the sentence.

Posted by: vanderleun at May 1, 2008 5:19 PM

A clearly fictional account. I couldn't get past the line "a warm Spring evening on Pine Street in Seattle" as the writer could not have been talking about Globally Warmed Seattle in 2008.

Unless warm == 48 degrees F., in which case it could be true.

Posted by: director at May 1, 2008 5:48 PM

"Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged."

promises, promises....

Posted by: Joel Mackey at May 1, 2008 10:15 PM

Just one question: do you have any real full-sized copies of that "poster", or is it made out of 1s and 0s only? Could sure use one for my cube at work...

Posted by: waltj at May 2, 2008 5:15 AM

If the body count doesn't put it into perspective for the James' and Kennys', maybe this will...

Communism turned a nation full of Germans into shiftless, unemployable bums and a nation full of Koreans into brainwashed starvelings.

Compare and contrast with how their siblings to the West and South, respectively, have fared under capitialism and both starting from the same, war-shattered basis over the same period of time.

That's how utterly Communism has failed, theory or practice. There's just no excuse for it.

Posted by: furious at May 2, 2008 6:41 AM

Bravo! Excellent writing! Thank you!

To the lambs heading to slaughter (James & Kenny):

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." --Goethe

Wake up!

Posted by: retro at May 2, 2008 10:38 AM

You know you've encountered some fine writing by the comments it engenders. Well done.

Posted by: Cathy at May 2, 2008 3:11 PM

Heh. You know the Fiddler on the Roof number "Tradition"? I don't think I've ever mentioned this to anyone before, but ever since the Fahrenheit 9/11 days, I've amused myself with a private joke in which I imagine Michael Moore and a supporting cast dancing about with wild abandon to the same tune, singing similarly exuberant chants of "Seditio---o---o---on!.... Sedition? Sedition!" Still gives me a chuckle. I just had to share that with someone. ;-)

On a graver note: What to make of those who still champion such ideologies after all the humanity-crushing misery that has gone before us? Solovetsky... Kolyma... Vorkuta... Lubyanka... Will it happen all over again? We're in danger of forgetting as a culture (to the extent that some of us ever knew in the first place). The ten-month-old VOC memorial in Washington D.C. is a small step toward institutionalizing that memory in the U.S., and I'm glad to have done my modest part to help support its construction, but with the genuflecting, self-deprecating way history is being taught these days, do such isolated gestures make any significant impact?

Thank you for this piece, Gerard. I'm reminded of Andrew Bernstein's excellent essay "Villainy":

Communism may have died in Eastern Europe, and it may be dying in Cuba, but it
flourishes in American universities where hordes of Marxist professors promote socialism,
racism and environmentalism. Today evil men hold enormous power in the world, and it
is not an exaggeration to say that they threaten our prosperity and our lives.

I will also never forget your notes from Brooklyn Heights on September 11th. Thank you for articulating so well what so many of us felt, and still feel. Sincerest regards.

Posted by: an unrepentant kulak at May 2, 2008 9:23 PM

Good Lord, what a pompous twit.

Thanks for the giggle, though.

Posted by: scrumptious at May 3, 2008 7:28 PM

Thanks for the insightful analysis.

Posted by: vanderleun at May 3, 2008 8:02 PM

The fact is, liberals are all faggots and the bitches of real Americans, Heartlanders like myself. We fight for decencey, freedom and against media bias.

Posted by: Gary Ruppert at May 3, 2008 8:37 PM

I tried to start an elementary primer on what we are about to face, for those who have no knowlege of Marx, Pot, Mao, or Stalin. Imagine these psychos with 21st century weapons?

There seems to be an alliance forming between the Left and our Jihadist friends. 1930's all over again.

Posted by: JD at May 7, 2008 4:51 AM

Gerard, you have captured the banality of Capitol Hill's relentless march to the Revolution with alarming detail for this former First Hill resident.

And a Gagdad Bob sighting! Nicely done!

Above, James asks:

Are their worlds silly -
Yes, James. They are not only silly, but have and continue to result in the deaths of millions of people, James.

The point of the piece, James, is that there remains a group of people who believe a socialist fairy tale, believe it so strongly that they are willing to destroy the foundations of the institutions that give them their freedom to be dangerously silly. And they are allowed to do that, here, without interference or jack booted thugs knocking down their doors at night and carting them off to a utopian gulag, much as they might wish for such justification of their pitiable existence.

As to Zinn's accomplishments, I've met people who pluck chickens for a living that have a happier, fuller life than he does. And I'd rather be like them, thanks all the same.

Posted by: EW1(SG) at May 8, 2008 7:15 AM

Even though I'm a third generation Communist still in Red Diapers I have to say that this essay persuaded me that my entire gene pool was a dead end. I showed it to my grandfather and he stroked out on the spot. Thanks. Now I can inherit.

Posted by: Comrade Emily at October 24, 2008 8:13 AM

Your article seems both hipocritical and tainted by your own dellusional nationalism, which i find as a UK citizen both confusing and deluded. Clearly our nations do not share the same sense of patriotism, as who would seriously perpetuate their own 'lot' withouut a serious degree of irony. As for your ideas, yes, communism has produced serious atrocities and acts both brutal and terrible. However one could argue that so too, has capitalism. The endless desire for profit and greed has had little consideration for the deprived and poor of the third world, causing death, disease and exploitation. Furthermore the colonisation and imperialism of first older European nations, and the the USA has likewised caused thousands of deaths, (vietnam, korea case in point). Not fighting communism "an evil doctrine" but fighting socialists trying to improve the social and human conditions of their existance. So do not preach that socialism is deluded and inhumane as your article suggests, it is in itself, preaching the true values of egalitariansm; as opposed to the deluded constitutionalism which poses as eqality, of the USA and other liberal capitalist nations. True socialism is not stalinism or maoism, both of whom used propaganda and murder for their own despotic ends. If you actually bothered to read, and undersrtand Marx, Engles and Trotsky, you'd realise that their ideas could not be further from the actions of Stalin etc. Please consider the democratic left, before tarring every socialist with the same Stalinist argument. Furthermore i find it difficult to take seriously the nationalist self perpetuation within your piece considering the mass inequality that exists within your country. Look around you, then reconsider your views.

Posted by: Comrade Harry at July 24, 2009 6:30 AM

wow there are alot of ignorant statements here. i hope you all know that if your arguements of veiwpoints arnt factual then they mean jack.

Posted by: Reno at October 24, 2009 7:23 PM

I am of the same oppinion... but you need to give some evidence of why communism cannot work, rather than using character assasination,
unfortunately for you I like motorhead.

Communism will never work because 1 person may be genuine and have the best intentions but people are stupid, ignorant and selfish. It all sounds rather good but who can honestly say that they are pure and hold no predjudice against any national/ethnic/religious group?

Communism is not evil. If it was it would have been started by a man who thought to himself "how could I cause mass pain and suffering to as many people as my influence can extend to". Yes that is what happened but it was not the aim... He just wanted power like everybody else.

The way the world is right now is not perfect, we see this every time we turn on the tv and flick to the news. I am of the same oppinion as Winston Churchill "Democracy is the worst form of Government. Except for all those other kinds we have tried."

To be totally honest I will be happy so long as no ideology becomes dominant political or religious. I am happy knowing there is a struggle between right and left. Everyone who has died for the Right and the Left has made the world a better place by preventing us from being enslaved by either.

I must appologise if my comment has no relevence but I found this page looking for material on the Bolshevik influence on the Constructivist art movement for an essay I need to do for my Web Design course.

one last thing... 1st War on Terrorism?
A Terrorist is just a new word for someone who fights for what they believe in. If you did not resort to terrorism America would still be a British colony. Call it what you want but it's not Evil. Get every "Terrorist" on an island and NUKE them if you want, just don't pretend your righteously clensing the world of evil. The phrase "For the Greater Good" springs to mind... Now where have I heard that before? Oh and the way you go on about class and privelege having anything to do with it you're practically giving the Communists the ammunition they need to brainwash people. Funnily enough it was the Middle Class Educated Man that began and rode that storm that was Bolshevism. The pupose of political ideologies is that the few should have power over the many and it doesn't matter what the ideology was or is. So you should be thankfull that we live in a Democracy which is not any better in that regard, but at least it's not one big LIE about a perfect society.

Over and Out.

Posted by: Jack at November 29, 2009 3:04 AM

Funny how all the 'ism's' require a sacrifice from others to build the perfect world. The one who espouse it are the ones who don't practice it.

Posted by: wildman at June 1, 2010 1:21 PM

"After all, there's nothing evil in speech that argues for ideas that have proven, without exception, to be evil."

I have to disagree Gerard. Those who advocate for a system that killed 100+ million in the 20th Century ARE evil. We are doomed until we treat them accordingly.

Posted by: butch at June 1, 2010 1:45 PM

Thank you again, Gerard. Three times now, I have had the sublime pleasure of seeing my poor effort alongside your craftsmanship. I am reminded of the Wilbur Smith line about the flea who rode across a bridge in the ear of an elephant and then said "We sure shook that bridge!"

Posted by: Cynyr at June 1, 2010 2:36 PM

first of all i have to say that its really great written post) i belive that nowadays with such serious resourses of information as internet its pretty hard to hide the truth, china is exeption but asian mentality is different-asian people are not as curious and greedy for the truth as americans or european ones.

Posted by: aliza@israel at June 1, 2010 3:16 PM

A classic Mr. V.

Posted by: monkeyfan at June 1, 2010 9:54 PM

"Communism is not evil."

Tell that to a Pole, Jack. Or an East German. Or a Hungarian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Latvian, Estonian or Lithuanian who endured persecution by the People of Marx and Lenin.

Or maybe you'd like to tell that to Armando Valladares. The name may not sound familiar, but it must. He spent 22 years in Castro's gulag. Count'em: 22. He's still alive, last I know, and lives in Miami. You might want to ask him, and his fellow Cuban-Americans.

Tell that to their faces. I dare you.


You will be glad if you come out in one piece.

Or maybe scream that to the 100 million + souls who lost their lives because of Marx and Engels quest for the "Perfect World".

I met people from Eastern Europe - Poland, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. All of them lived there during the time of Communism. All of them hated Communism. All of them saw how Communism seeped out any desire to live. All they saw in their countries were lonely souls, because they couldn't trust their fellow man. The KGB, Stasi and other "security" agencies accomplished exactly what George Orwell had said in 1984.

I also met a Chinese doctor who was present in Beijing at the time of the Tianamen Square Massacre. She treated many wounded and saw too many dead. It was hard to watch, she told me.

Jesus said "Ye shall know them by their fruits." The tree planted by Marx, Engels and Lenin has brought forth a poisonous fruit. A fruit that looks great when you have it in your hand, but when you bite, it will rot your soul and render it unrecognizable.

The only reason you don't see it is that you have eaten a truck full of it. You're so used to the poison that it seems not to harm you. But we all here know better: you are already rotten inside. And totally unrecognizable from those who love freedom.

In short, you're no longer one of us. You've changed, and have become a different species altogether.

Last I know of, Marx, Engles and Lenin are still dead. And hell-rotten, as their fruit is.

May those 100 million souls haunt your dreams like demons for the rest of your miserable life. Or again, maybe not. Dead souls like yours rarely feel any remorse or guilt. Or even grief.

Posted by: newton at June 2, 2010 11:04 AM

I was born and raised in the Rainier Valley area of Seattle during the fifties and early sixties. I do believe that Seattle then was arguably one of the safest, cleanest and the most beautiful cities in the world. How times have changed.

Even then however, it was well known to all that the Capital Hill area had herds of weirdos living in cages with whips up there. (I'm trying to be nice) What in the hell do they put in that area's reservoir?

Gerard, if by chance you live up there please be careful to drink bottled water and be sure and go to the lowlands for groceries.


Posted by: Denny at June 2, 2010 2:38 PM

i've always wondered why hitler was bad so nazism was bad. but, stalin was bad , mao was bad, pol pot was bad, castro was bad, but, communism is still good.

Posted by: at July 7, 2010 8:49 PM

Nazis were capitalists fool! Don't you get it? Communism AND capitalism are bad in the ways we use them.

Posted by: Kue at October 14, 2010 1:16 PM

From wikipedia re: deaths/communism.

"In the introduction, editor Stéphane Courtois asserts that "...Communist regimes... turned mass crime into a full-blown system of government"[3]. He claims that a death toll totals 94 million[4], not counting the "excess deaths" (decrease of the population due to lower than-expected birth rates). The breakdown of the number of deaths given by Courtois is as follows:

65 million in the People's Republic of China
20 million in the Soviet Union[5][page needed]
2 million in Cambodia
2 million in North Korea
1.7 million in Africa
1.5 million in Afghanistan
1 million in the Communist states of Eastern Europe
1 million in Vietnam[6][page needed]
150,000 in Latin America
10,000 deaths "resulting from actions of the international Communist movement and Communist parties not in power."[4]
Courtois claims that Communist regimes are responsible for a greater number of deaths than any other political ideal or movement, including Nazism. The statistics of victims includes executions, famine, deaths resulting from deportations, physical confinement, or through forced labor."

One would expect these statistics to be enough for anyone with common sense.

Fantastic article Gerard!

Posted by: Mistersurefire at March 17, 2012 5:32 AM

All those books on communism to hand out when just one would have sufficed: The Black Book of Communism.

Posted by: Jewel at March 17, 2012 8:21 AM

1969 Milwaukee, I'm sitting in a booth at Mom's cafe with a copy of the Daily Worker that was handed to me on the street. Mom and her husband were Polish Jews who survived the camps. As I begin to scan the front page articles, Mom's tattooed arm reaches down to place my breakfast before me. It wasn't a flash of lightning, more a spark of understanding; this is a load of crap, DANGEROUS CRAP. The Evil One has fooled me many times since on other subjects but never again on this. Whenever I hear of Marx, I see that faded tattoo before me.

Posted by: John Tordoff at March 17, 2012 9:48 AM

There are no words... This piece is brilliant. Amazing!

Posted by: Captain Dave at March 17, 2012 11:04 AM

Very nice piece of writing!

I saw your, um, Wings imitation over at Prof. Mead's blog and wondered, Why haven't I read that guy lately? So here I am, happy that my question remains unanswered and pleased to be reminded why I ever read you in the first place: fine detail, a pointed conceit and a clean thrust to a graceful finish.

May I offer one criticism, however? This line,

"there are some lies that lodge so deep in the hopes of man that they can never be killed no matter how many are executed to make the lie true,"

feels a bit awkward, pulled off its mark by a few infelicities of language. I would like to suggest a reformulation. Maybe,

"some lies lodge so deep in our hopes that they cannot be killed [or, will not die], no matter the murders they require to live."

Posted by: clazy8 at March 17, 2012 2:34 PM

For the present I agree and have altered the text accordingly. Thanks.

Posted by: vanderleun at March 17, 2012 4:03 PM

"Communism is not evil..."

Jack, that was a lot of words just to tell us that you understand nothing.

Posted by: pst314 at March 17, 2012 5:32 PM

I am honored to have made my tiny contribution.

Posted by: clazy8 at March 17, 2012 7:52 PM

pst314, if you don't like Commies, you're all right by me, but on the evidence provided by your comment, you have no business discussing Gerard's comprehension. I would like to extend my compliments to you on a masterful stalking and killing of the piece's context.

"Maggies drawers", son, read it again, this time with an eye towards the writer's intent. Hint: Think about possible meanings behind the very last sentence, "Especially when the light has failed."

Posted by: Mike James at March 17, 2012 10:25 PM


Have you read Mark Levin's Ameritopia? I've been. It makes the same point that you made here.

Great minds think alike.

Posted by: newton at March 17, 2012 11:05 PM

Only someone as young and stupid as I once was could believe in communism, as I once did.

The best way to fight these assholes is to retreat directly through their forward positions. "But don't you want to stop violence against women?" "No. In fact, I support violence against women. The more the better!" Result: commie brain-lock. "A system that lets some get rich while others stay poor isn't fair." "There's no such thing as fairness. Fuck the poor." Result: blood spurts from commie eyeballs. "That's borderline racist!" "Borderline, hell! I'm 100% racist!" Result: commie screaming à gorge déployée. Total in all columns: 100% WIN.

Don't argue with lefties, commies, greenies, or race hustlers. It's like arguing with a staph bacillus. The next time some Soldier of the Revolution comes at ya, wad his (or her) pious bullshit up in a nice, tight ball and stuff it down his (or her) throat. Like a Lucky Strike -- It Satisfies!

Posted by: B Lewis at March 17, 2012 11:56 PM

For those who speak of "left" vs. "right" and consider them equally bad, please see this video:

The American Form of Government

Posted by: rickl at March 18, 2012 5:59 AM

So glad you posted this one again. I love to read your work.

Posted by: DeAnn at March 18, 2012 5:53 PM

You could change the word COMMUNISM to THEISM and the quote would work better.

Posted by: Me at April 12, 2012 1:05 PM

Lev Bronstein, "the Christ of Communism, crucified with an ice-axe but still twitching...". Profound capsule psychohistory, Van der Leun. Says volumes

Posted by: Haxo Angmark at April 18, 2015 1:50 PM

Rules for Radicals - Tactics of the Left - Saul Alinsky
Rule 1: Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have
Rule 2: Never go outside the experience of your people.
Rule 3: Whenever possible, go outside the experience of the enemy.
Rule 4: Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.
Rule 5: Ridicule is man's most potent weapon
Rule 6: A good tactic is one your people enjoy.
Rule 7: A tactic that drags on for too long becomes a drag.
Rule 8: Use different tactics and actions and use all events of the period.
Rule 9: The threat is more terrifying than the thing itself.
Rule 10: Maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.
Rule 11: If you push a negative hard and deep enough, it will break through into its counter-side.
Rule 12: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
Rule 13: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

Posted by: chasmatic at April 18, 2015 10:13 PM

Evil is not banal, it is always injurious of the innocent.
Ideology is generally perverted by deliberate misuse of generally accepted meanings of words.
To understand an ideology observe how it is applied in all it's daily expressions​

Posted by: Howard Nelson at May 1, 2017 2:39 PM

I worked many years on said Capitol Hill. After-work beers at the Vomit (Comet); morning coffee at the Cafe Paradiso. In the Eighties and the Nineties you could exist as a conservative, but of course you didn't wear a sticker on your back spelling that out, either.

What I remember best were the murderous death glares commies were good at broadcasting. You did want to watch your back all of the time; and before my day the same things were true of the toe end of Pine and Pike - the waterfront. In the Old West you sat with your back to the wall, and your face towards the door. In more contemporary times, you did the same if you didn't want to get a case of the Wobblies.

I'll bet that after the 45th Street overpass rally, they watered themselves at the Blue Moon.

Fucking Seattle. It ought to be condemned and quick.

Posted by: Casey Klahn at May 1, 2017 3:31 PM