Category: communism

Thousands of communists mark May Day in New York, 1934

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The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, New York, May 22, 1930

Portrait of Andrej Vlasov, 1942. After his capture at the Siege of Leningrad, Vlasov defected to Nazi Germany and headed the Russian Liberation Army, composed of POW’s fighting against Communism

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Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu – Romania’s longstanding communist leader and his wife – were arrested after the country revolted in 1989. On Christmas Day they were shown into a dilapidated lecture hall at the Targoviste army barracks, north of Bucharest. It was a makeshift courtroom, where the couple’s military captors planned to hold their trial. They were to be tried for armed action against the people, trying to flee with US$1 billion of public money, and a host of other charges. But the trial was a charade. It lasted less than an hour, and though the whole thing was filmed, the camera showed nothing but the two defendents. After a five-minute recess, the judge pronounced the verdict: death. Elena Ceausescu wept, but Nicolae stayed calm.

The couple were bound with ropes and taken into a courtyard, where they were lined up in front of a row of paratroopers. The couple were swiftly executed. After the paratroopers were finished, more soldiers poured in, filling the corpses with bullets. They wanted to be sure that the hated dictators were dead. By the end of Christmas Day, 1989, the two bodies were buried under false names.

Main auditorium of the Moscow State Kremlin Palace, during the 27th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 1986.

Lasting from 1953 to 1975, the Laotian Civil War was fought between the Communist Pathet Lao and the Royal Lao Government. Before 1953, Laos was part of Indochina and nominally under the control of the French Empire. But the reality was the French never got full control back after Indochina was conquered by the Japanese during World War II. So World War II ends, and the French sponsor a guerrilla war to retake control, while the nominal king proclaimed an end to French protectorate status while quietly supporting the French return, and a national liberation movement starts to take shape around some other Laotian princes, supported to a degree by the high percentage of Vietnamese living in urban Laos.

Eventually, the French gave up, leaving the country in 1953 and officially giving power to the Royal Lao government. The civil war got started immediately. It was treated as a proxy war by the great powers, with North Vietnam, Russia, and China supporting the Pathet Lao, and South Vietnam and the United States supporting the Royal Lao Government. At the time, however, the Laotian Civil War was largely ignored in favor of the Vietnam War which was happening at the same time. In the end the communists won, and their party continues to control the country. 

Today, the Laotian Civil War is usually known by the nickname it was given in the 1960s by the CIA – “The Secret War.”

Armed soldiers, carrying a banner reading “Communism”, march towards the Kremlin Wall in Moscow, Russia, 1917

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“Out of fear that women might interfere with their concerns, men made up the theory that women had no business outside of the home. By doing so, they deprived women of their natural rights. Giving women duties without rights allowed men to live in idleness while condemning women to work. Keeping women at home allowed men to pursue education while women were trapped in ignorance. Isn’t this the greatest of injustices?”

He-Yin Zhen, an anarchist and revolutionary during the early 1900s in China. She cofounded the journal Natural Justice with her husband, Liu Shipei, shortly after the couple fled China for Tokyo in 1907. It advocated for equal rights between the genders and an end to the traditional Confucian views on women. The publication went around the community of Chinese exiles, and was also smuggled back to mainland China. 

From 1987 to 1991, the people of Estonia fought for their freedom. By singing. Yes, you read that right: crowds of people, hundreds of thousands large, would gather and sing patriotic songs to show their desire for independence. Even the Soviets couldn’t figure out how to arrest them for just…singing. It started spontaneously. Five patriotic Estonian songs were played during the Tartu Pop Music Festival in May 1988, and people linked their hands and started singing along.  In June another music festival decided to play patriotic songs after the official part of the festival. And a movement slowly began to gain momentum.

Unarmed people facing down tanks; people singing forbidden songs under the eyes of Soviet authorities; incredibly clever parliamentary and street theater maneuvers that vexed Moscow at every turn. By the way, one of those parliamentary maneuvers included working within the Soviet system to officially make the hammer and sickle an illegal symbol in Estonia, implemented while still occupied by the Soviet Union! In 1991, Estonia’s legislatures declared a legally an independent country and a last-ditch coup attempt by Soviet hardliners was stopped. The singers had freed themselves.