It’s May 1, which before the fall of the Iron Curtain was a day on which the peoples of the Communist world were constrained to celebrate the very system that oppressed them. In many countries today, May Day continues to be officially observed, complete with red flags, banners inscribed with Soviet-era slogans, and the Internationale played by marching bands – all supposedly in the name of honoring workers and the labor movement.
In today’s Washington Post, Ilya Somin – a law professor at George Mason University and Cato Institute scholar who was born in the Soviet Union and was brought to the U.S. by his parents when he was five years old – argues that instead of propping up this ragged old Communist institution, we should turn May 1 into an international “Victims of Communism Day,” memorializing the millions who perished at the hands of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and other Marxist tyrants. Noting, correctly, that people in the West tend to be far less aware of the crimes of Communism than of the crimes of Nazism, Somin writes:
The authoritative Black Book of Communism estimates the total [of people killed by Communism] at 80 to 100 million dead, greater than that caused by all other twentieth century tyrannies combined. We appropriately have a Holocaust Memorial Day. It is equally appropriate to commemorate the victims of the twentieth century’s other great totalitarian tyranny. And May Day is the most fitting day to do so.
An excellent proposal. Not only do the victims of Communism deserve to be remembered; but such an annual act of recognition would go a long way toward countering the shameless, untiring efforts of the useful stooges among us who continue to whitewash Communism and its atrocities.