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May Day: A Day of Remembrance

hammerandsickle copy.jpgFor over a hundred years, May Day has been celebrated as a holiday for workers to commemorate their struggle for a better life and honor their contributions to society. Read more »

The Tally

Although exact figures are difficult to find, The Black Book of Communism estimates the following as the number of deaths caused by regimes headed by followers of Marxism.

| USSR[1] | 20 million |
| China | 65 million |
| Vietnam | 1 million |
| North Korea | 2 million |
| Cambodia | 2 million |
| Eastern Europe | 1 million |
| Latin America | 150,000 |
| Africa | 1.7 million |
| Afghanistan | 1.5 million |
| Other | 10,000 | Read more »

Starvation as a Political Weapon

Among the many crimes committed by Marxist leader Joseph Stalin was the forced famine of the Ukraine over the years of 1932-1933. As is common in nations where socialism reigns, purposeful starvation was used as a political tool used to achieve desired ends against various classes. The victims singled out in this case were the kulaks - peasant famers who owned property and employed workers. Read more »

Inequality through Egalitarianism

Nikolai Getman was a Soviet artist imprisoned in the Gulag for eight years for being in the close vicinity of someone who drew a caricature of Stalin. During his time in prison in Siberia, he witnessed the inhumane conditions first hand. Although he made an 'honest' living by day after his release from prison, he risked his life to recreate the horrors through his art in secrecy. The entire collection of paintings can be seen at The Jamestown Foundation website, and I highly recommend viewing every single one of them. Read more »

A Philosophy of Hate

We are not waging war against individual persons. We are exterminating the bourgeoisie as a class. During the investigation, do not look for evidence that the accused acted in deed or word against soviet power. The first questions to put are:
To what class does he belong?
What is his origin?
What is his education or profession?
And it is these questions that ought to determine the fate of the accused. In this lies the significance and essence of the Red Terror.

p>. -- M. Y. L atsis, senior official in CHEKA Read more »

Cambodian Year Zero

Among the seemingly unending horrors carried out by Marxist sympathizers during the 20th century, the Cambodian genocide was likely the most perverse in per capita terms. The tragedy was so all-emcompassing and far-reaching that even today, Cambodia is struggling to put this chapter of its history behind and move forward.

A false serentity filled the streets of Phnom Penh as Khmer Rouge troops entered the city on the morning of April 17, 1975 ending a civil war of five years. For the most part, the residents of the Cambodian capitol welcomed the troops as liberators. By mid-afternoon, the city's residents were ordered to evacuate the city, the reason given that the city was going to be bombed and safety would be found away from the city. Little did the residents of Phnom Penh know, there were no plans for any bombings at all. Rather, the excuse was simply a ruse to abandon the city. They were given 24 hours to evacuate the city, and among the chaos, many lost their closest relatives forever. During this initial evacuation, approximately 10,000 died.

The Khmer Rouge believed that city life represented the evils of capitalism, referring to Phnom Penh as "the great prostitute of the Mekong"[1]. They viewed peasant life as the ideal of communist society - simplicity, diligence, non-exploitive. The goal of the Khmer Rouge was to transform the former city dwellers, "New People", into peasants, "Old People". It did not matter what the New People did for a living, what religion they subscribed to, or what political convictions they held. By choosing to live in the cities, they had made their allegiance to capitalism known, and thus became enemies of the new communist state.

Other cities were similarly evacuated and in the next few days, nearly 50% of the total population of the country was on the road.

The "Year Zero" was declared, a new start to history. Private ownership, money, and religion were banned. Family relationships were eliminated. Cities were abandoned, schools and factories closed. The goal behind the massive restructuring was to "make socialism in the fields". Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot developed a "Four Year Plan" to increase rice production to triple its peacetime levels. Workers were made to work the fields for 12 hours a day without adequate food, rest, or water. Many fell ill and died due to the Khmer Rouge's refusal to use Western medical methods, instead relying on traditional, ineffective remedies. Foraging for food was a capital offense, even in the face of meager food rations.

Many of the "New People" resorted to pretending to be one of the "Old People". Yet, if any person was found to have been one of the "New People" - educated, a former government official, a monk, a business owner, a French speaker, or a former soldier - he would be killed. Khmer Rouge soldiers often took people during the day from the fields to a distant forest area, where they were made to dig their own grave. The soldiers would bludgeon them in the back of the head. Whether they died or not, they would be buried.

Taking advantage of the termination of family life, children became the targets for brainwashing and communist indoctrination. They were seen as blank slates, untainted by the evils of capitalism, ripe for propangda. Some methods were so successful that children often spied on their own parents. If they revealed their parents as "New People", they would be rewarded, even as their parents were dragged away to their deaths.

Perhaps the most horrific remnant of the Cambodian genocide is the photographic record of those executed at S-21, a Khmer Rouge interrogation center. While over a million Cambodians were dying in the killing fields, a select few were executed at such interrogation centers. S-21 was located at the former high school in Phnom Penh known as Tuol Seng. An estimated 20,000 people entered S-21; only 6 are known to have survived. Confessions were extracted by whatever means necessary, including electric shocks, hanging torture, hot metal, and repeated bludgeoning. Nearly 5,000 photographs remain today from the confession files of prisoners. The pictures were taken before execution as proof of their deaths. What does a person look like when death is staring him in the face? See for yourself.

As time passed, the regime began to crumble from within. Paranoia was rampant, and perhaps none was as paranoid as the man at the top of the hierarchy - Pol Pot. Any suspicion of disloyalty was met with mass purges and liquidations. He even executed friends he had known for decades to make sure there was absolutely no dissention in the ranks. Eventually, most of the people passing through S-21 became Khmer Rouge agents accused by their comrades of treason. Accusations of treason, whether based on merit or not, became the only means of survival in the struggle for power.

Eventually, the Khmer Rouge was defeated by invading Vietnamese troops in late 1978. As the Vietnamese took control of Phnom Penh, Pol Pot escaped by helicopter. Although the Vietnamese themselves had been involved in brutal war for many years by that time, their discoveries in Cambodia shocked them - killing fields, execution centers, and mass graves throughout the countryside.

Estimates vary, but somewhere between one million and two million people lost their lives during the reign of the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge holds a notorious distinction: they killed a greater portion of their own people than any other regime in history. In merely four years, they killed anywhere from 10% to 25% of the entire population of Cambodia, depending on varying estimates.

In the quest for a classless society, the Marxist Khmer Rouge nearly succeeded in wiping clean any trace of the old Cambodia. For the millions who perished in their wake, today, we remember them.

fn1. The Tragedy of Cambodian History: Politics, War, and Revolution Since 1945, David P. Chandler

Back to May Day: A Day of Remembrance

Personal Tragedies

I saw Tetyana eating chicken meat and saw there was a lot of it. I approached her and asked her for some, but she refused to give me any. Because it was human flesh.

-- Mykhaylo Naumenko, survivor of Stalin's Ukranian famine Read more »


The Seductive Dream

Blog Notes

As you may have noticed on the sidebar over the last couple of weeks, we have quite a bit of new content in the works for tomorrow. Please come visit us tomorrow to commemorate May Day.

The excellent Adam Smith Institute weblog has changed its address to Please update your bookmarks and blogrolls. Read more »

Defense as a Public Good

Johnathan Pearce of Samizdata asks an engaging question.

An interesting question for those concerned about creating a more free society is how such a society, be it a model of constitutional, limited, minimal government, or even an anarchist one, would actually defend itself from attack. What sort of practical ways would such societies employ, and would such societies require armies, navies, air forces and the like?

Non-Geographic School Districts

I've been having an interesting discussion at the Agitator's blog on the topic of government involvement in schooling. Many people take the "strong federalism" position on various issues, believing Federal government involvement to be the cause of various government shortcomings and believing more dispersed control to be the solution. Read more »

Get Your WiFi Off My Land!

There is an interesting article in the Washington Post on interference caused by close proximity of multiple WiFi access points.

Peter Kastner moved from the suburbs to an apartment in Boston last summer while his new home was under construction. As soon as he got set up in the temporary digs, Kastner -- chief technology analyst at the research firm Aberdeen Group -- set up his WiFi home network to enjoy some wireless Web surfing.

Learning, not Schooling

"I didn't really think about getting an education. I didn't understand the idea of having to artificially 'get' an education. I thought that you lived in the world and you got smarter because every day you were learning. I thought that there was no way you could get dumber unless you were erasing stuff out of your brain. It seemed to me that one day you were talking to someone about one subject and another day you were talking to someone about another, and eventually you'd get around to all of them.