by Jimmie Moglia
After reading the Saker’s article, I had to walk back and forth for some time, partly to digest its content, and partly to determine why I found it so persuasive. My conclusion, however humble, is that the article is accurate because it tells us very clearly all we need to know on the subject, while leaving the reader to draw his/her conclusion. And I maintain that accurate inconclusiveness is vastly preferable to ideological certainty, especially when certainty is based on prejudice or, worse, speculation.
Of course the Saker brings to the subject his knowledge of the Russian language, which enabled him to see and measure better than others the fears, the motivations, the hopes or the disillusions of those who moved from the East to the West.
I contend that in these matters, the personal, experience-based perspective outweighs in interest, value and insight any theoretical, economic or academic treatment of the same issue. Especially considering the wildly conflicting assertions we hear today, in the US and Europe, about political systems, sociology and general philosophy of life. Assertions influenced and arising from the evolution, the convulsion, and almost the inversion of traditional meanings of what was once the socialist “Left” (theoretically friendly to socialism and communism) and what was once the conservative “Right.”
For the Left appears to have become an expression of the Cultural Marxism, promoted by the US intelligentsia at first, and by Hollywood later, a degenerate radical egalitarianism that has little if nothing to do with the Communism I observed in Europe, or Russia during my travels and my youth.
As we know, according to Cultural Marxism, third world migrants should we welcome by the millions, ignoring the effects on the host country and its citizens (especially the poor), blacks can never be racists, affirmative action is the only moral thing to do, Islam is a religion of peace, regardless of the crimes and the ghettoization they produce in the countries that host them, national borders are inherently racist, children should decide whether they are male or female, transgenderism and homosexuality are symbols of emancipation, a mother rearing her children at home is a failed woman (especially if she is white), and white men at large are the only social group that can justifiably be targeted as the oppressor.
The new Right, on the other hand, glibly brands all Leftists as Bolsheviks. And since Cultural Marxism was a mostly Jewish phenomenon of the 1960s, all Jews are Bolsheviks and all Bolsheviks were Jews. It is true that many original Bolsheviks were actually Jews, but, depending on the standards applied, the first Bolshevik was probably Peter the Great. After all, in his zeal for complete and dramatic reforms, he even had his son tortured and killed, following a failed rebellion.
It is hard to say if we are dealing with absurd perverseness by the new “Left” or witless dogmatism by the new “Right.” The phenomenon is akin to superstition, about which it is almost vain to conjecture, for what reason did not dictate, reason cannot explain.
And now to my views on whether “Communism is really dead,” filtered through the mesh of personal experience. Which is a way of claiming the discovery of warm water – namely it is our life to shape our view of the world, rather than the world shaping our view of our life.
My first recollection of communism was indirect, dramatic and bad. My family in Turin, Italy moved out of the city, during WW2, to a town in the country where my great uncle was town commissioner. When the mayor of the town sensed that the war was lost he defected and disappeared, which left my great uncle the de facto mayor. He had to keep a very delicate balance on an extremely thin line. On one side of which there was the German army stationed in town, and on the other the Communist partisans whom today I would call terrorists. To each terrorist attack the Germans responded by taking hostages. The family of the hostages then pleaded with my uncle to intercede with the Germans to save the hostages from execution.
At the end of the war, the Communists arrested my uncle and wanted to execute him as a “collaborator.”. It took the effort of many parties, including the families of the many saved hostages to prevent his murder. He was later fully reinstated with honors, but the experience gravely harmed his health and he died quite young.
At the first post-war Italian elections there was the real possibility of a Communist victory. The Church – and of course the Americans – were instrumental in securing a victory of the Christian Democrats. However, the real threat of Italy crossing over to the Communist camp convinced what today we call the deep state to loosen the purse. The enacted subsequent reforms benefited me and million others, by ensuring free education at the highest level, health care and several other positive social and labor initiatives.
We were Catholics, though my grandfather was a pacifist socialist, an agnostic whose generosity towards the poor suggested a character out of a Russian novel.
Though my family voted for the Christian Democracy, they had, as a whole, a friendly positive attitude towards the USSR, as embodied by Stalin. I vaguely recall discussions around the table where it was held that things may have been tough in the USSR, but what else could Stalin have done to keep together such an immense territory. When things would settle, after reconstruction, things would be better for all.
Furthermore, Stalin, in Italy familiarly called “baffone” (big moustache), projected an image of astute benevolence, which endeared him to many Italians. Later, when I studied his biography there are elements that support the view, irrespective of whatever other cruelties the system may have committed.
As a brief aside, in time, I formed the conviction that it was a good thing that the Stalinist idea of “Communism in one Nation” prevailed over the Trotskyite idea of globalized Communism. For in general it is the character of a nation that shapes the expression of a new ideology, and not a new ideology that shapes the character of a nation.
In the instance of Italy, the Communists, by and large, adapted themselves to the local mores and lived mostly peacefully and even amicably with their political or religious opponents. A witty anti-communist Italian writer said, “The Italian Communists know very well that in a Communist regime it’s like living in a convent or a prison. But if they were to take over in Italy, they would quickly convert the convent into a brothel and the prison into a discotheque.”
At the end of my teens I had an opportunity to travel to the USSR as a musician, (in Ukraine and the Black Sea), which means that I saw the USSR before the US. I knew little other than what I saw, but, even then, I was impressed by the friendliness of the people and by the lack of the glitter associated with the sea resorts of the West. Maybe because of my nature – and I say this because our nature more than facts influence our generalized conceptions, including Communism – I found myself at home in Russia, except of course, for my ignorance of the language. It seemed to me that Russians were not expected to “compete with the Joneses” – though I probably did not formulate the thought in those terms.
When I completed my studies I wished to see life in the country that set itself up as a beacon of prosperity and democracy. Until then propaganda and movies had shaped my ideas of America and of the “American dream.” The few large American cars, absurdly oversized for the narrow Italian roads, gave, however, the impression of a widespread American plenty, unreachable anywhere else.
Arrived in America, I did not find Hollywood in the cities and towns I visited or resided in. I found indeed many nice people, but little suggesting the ideas previously shaped by movies or TV. I was horrified by the foreign wars and the violence, and puzzled by a certain widespread sense of resentment based on a fear of not being sufficiently competitive, or adequate to compete.
But I could not decide whether the resentment and violence were due to unfulfilled expectations of the “American Dream” by those who felt they did not or could not reach it. Or was I projecting onto the environment around me fears that I did not admit to myself? Besides, at what point does established custom calls poverty the lack of superfluities? etc.
Still, closer to the topic at hand, I could not find a reason for the hatred of the USSR on the grounds of Communism.
As for the “American Dream,” it was only much later, when the web suddenly opened so many avenues of information that I learned more about it. I quote here from the American documentary, based on the book “An empire of their own – How the Jews invented Hollywood,” written by the Jewish author Neil Gabler.
Where the documentarist says, “They (the Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe) created their own America, an America which is not the real America. But ultimately, this shadow America becomes so popular, so wildly disseminated, that its images and its values come to devour the real America.” And so the grand irony of all is that Americans come to define themselves by the shadow of America created by Eastern European Jewish immigrants. Hollywood Jews became almost godlike in their power and set up a system to raise their prestige in the eyes of normal Americans. Where there are new Gods, there must be new idols. The studio heads set up a movie guild, called “The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.” It was Meyer’s (originally Laszo Gelbfish) brilliant idea to create the Oscars where the movie moguls’ honor themselves by giving each other awards. In this way they went from being a group of immigrant Jews to award winning American producers.”
Like, I assume, the majority of Americans before the Internet, I was only vaguely aware of Jewish influence on American culture and, as I said, I could still not justify the actively promoted hatred towards the Soviet Union, which, after all, had completely adhered to the agreements of Potsdam and Yalta, at the end of WW2, on the respective areas of influence of East and West.
Was it really possible, as I read, that much of the media-inspired hatred reflected the lingering desire for revenge by the Jewish element in America? Revenge for the difficulty they had had in living together with the Russians in Russia during the last 200 years, as documented by many writers of worldwide fame? Nor could I explain why the good relations established by Nixon with Brezhnev soon turned into the distrust, animosity and contempt by Reagan towards the Soviet Union.
What satisfaction could there be in pushing so heavily the dismantling of the Soviet Union, followed by the actual rape of Russia, and then by so many wars where millions died?
What was Reagan’s ‘peace dividend’ other than a fraud? If Communism was so bad, why the same attitude towards the subsequent non-communist Russia? How can the American opinion-making machine claim American superiority and exceptionalism when 1% of the US population controls 45% of the wealth?
All these questions and more make it impossible for me to hazard a guess about the future of Communism. As I said, my initial perceptions of Communist Russia were positive but limited and scanty. Most of what I subsequently learned about it comes from books, and the books are dramatically contradictory in their content and assessments.
If I attempt to pull a thread out of a tangled web of conflicting ideas I would say this. The basic notions of egalitarianism are not dead. Perhaps egalitarianism will issue into an ideology that, for lack of a name still to be officially assigned, may be called Humanism.
On the other hand, I believe that any prediction on the future cannot disregard two problems for which no one sees or dares suggest a solution.
One is that the world population cannot continue to increase at the rate of 100 million humans per year.
The other is equally unanswerable. As we know, there is a small sect or tribe that exerts an unimaginable influence on the future of the world, via what we can call for quick simplification the Usrael Zionist ideology.
It seems to me and many others that this influence has dramatically increased, after the Zionist establishment concluded that America would not or could not compel Israel to give up the lands stolen in the Middle East, after the military aggression of 1967.
Since then the Zionist occupation of the power centers and cultural hubs of the host country (the US) has spread metastatically. I may be wrong, but a sect claiming, for at least 2000 years, to be chosen by God to rule over all others, is incompatible with an equitable administration of any nation and, today, of the world.
Still, let’s assume for a moment that the controversial idea of Communism may evolve into a commonly acceptable Humanistic ideology. I don’t see how Humanism can overcome the two seemingly insurmountable challenges of Zionism with its nefarious implications, and of the population explosion.
Hence, in the end, whatever knowledge or notions I may have acquired on Communism, Capitalism and the ways of the world, make me feel almost more ignorant than I would feel without them. Much as the man without legal training, who, when dealing with the law, feels no wiser than a daw.