Before continuing with this article, I do hope you have read my previous three posts regarding this topic. If you have not, I highly recommend that you stop before starting here and read in order Part I, Part II, and Part III in order to best understand the purpose and direction of this series.
Bernie Sanders did win over the majority of Democratic voters under the age of 45 by a large margin, as shown by this graph created by The Economist; but Hillary Clinton won by a much larger margin those who were 45 and older. Mentioning Sanders and the major success he experienced in his campaign greatly suggests that it is not just the Millennials who are believers in Communism’s closest ally, Socialism.
This graph demonstrates that socialist and communist ideals permeate within the older generations. Many of the Baby Boomers in the 1960s and 1970s were major proponents of broader social welfare programs and have continued to be so. The success behind Sanders enabled David Priestland to state in the New York Times essay that there are “signs of some grass-roots resurgence on the left.”
These grass-root movements have continued to garner strength. As mentioned earlier, there is class struggle, but for many it is a misperceived class struggle. Take for instance Angela Davis, who was a civil rights activist during the 1960s and 1970s (and has continued to be so). Her fight was very different than the one today, and no one can really argue that. Is there still racial injustice? Yes. Is there still non-racial injustice? Yes. There is simply injustice. Injustice is always something to fight against. But when you demonize a certain class, which is what is currently taking place, then you revert to 100 years ago.
Take today. Davis’s rhetoric and vehemence has not altered from 50 years ago. Her speech at the Women’s March on Washington about “the supremacy of the white male hetero-patriarchy” and that America is still “a country anchored in slavery and colonialism” indicate the class struggle perception has not changed. It also ensures that whatever progress achieved or battles won will always be discounted, and at times completely disregarded.
But why mention Davis, of all people? Primarily because she is one of the more well known social progress seekers, as well as a self-proclaimed Communist and a former long-time member of the Communist Party USA. She is also the Distinguished Professor Emerita of the History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies Department at the University of California-Santa Cruz.
SIDE NOTE: The Communist Party USA, headquartered in New York City, has been in existence for 90 years.
This correlation is where the danger originates. It is when the easily influenced (the younger generations) gravitate to the words of politicians, like Sanders, and intellectuals, like Davis, who are bent on instituting socialist and communist ideals into everyday society. It is an old tactic known as the Student Movement, which was also part of the Russian Revolution and the Chinese Revolution.
“We are only at the beginning of a period of major economic change and social turmoil,” Priestland said in his essay. “The young may adopt a more radical economic agenda.”
TOUCHY ABOUT THE HINT OF COMMUNISM
Americans are typically pretty touchy about even the hint of Communism crossing over into politics and economics. Eyebrows went up when President Obama re-established relations with Cuba, a communist country of 50 years. Another moment was when President Obama made the statement, “You didn’t build that.” It created such an anti-Communism stir, and for good reason. The statement more than likely had more to do with Socialism than Communism, but it echoed Karl Marx’s words in The Communist Manifesto of “the theory of Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.”
In other words, “What you perceive to be yours is not yours.” For very good reason, although not made very prevalent in this New York Times essay, Americans should be touchy about anything coming close to the elements of Communism. It is an ideology like that never kicks down the front door, at least not any more. Its best methods, as Micah White suggested, are by sneaking through the back door.
As Abraham Lincoln once said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
WHAT'S LEFT OF COMMUNISM? TOO MUCH
Priestland ended his essay with this statement: “Lenin no longer lives, the old Communism may be dead, but the sense of injustice that animated them is very much alive.”
It is very odd to suggest that the “old Communism” is dead but that there seems to be a “resurgence” for a “remodeled” version of a “fourth incarnation of Communism.” This remodeled version that is resurging doesn’t look new at all. As discussed in Part III, it makes the same outrageous statements, promises the same promises, uses the same tactics, and has the same precise goal. From this perspective, it appears the “old Communism” isn’t dead at all and that a “phoenix” may already be rising.
Lenin may no longer live, but Marx’s words definitely do. Keep in mind that it wasn’t Marx or Engels, the creators of Communism, who inflicted the harm brought on by their system. It was Lenin, and soon Stalin, followed by other international leaders who inflicted the harm; but it was instigated by its creators.
Marx declared this as a final rallying cry: “Then the world will be for the common people, and the sounds of happiness will reach the deepest springs. Ah! Come! People of every land, how can you not be roused.”
I pray we never become so roused as to follow this lead, because the past 100 years has shown precisely where it ends.