Sunday, November 1, 2009

Raymond Lotta: In Response to Op-Ed in NYU's Student Newspaper

This is in response to an op-ed from David Ryan Williams, entitled "Communism Far From Utopia Ideal" which appeared in the 10.29.09 issue of the Washington Square News. It can be read HERE.

David Williams takes the fast, easy, and blind road in responding to my speech "Everything You've Been Told About Communism Is Wrong," just ignore the facts and mindlessly repeat the standard lies about communism. These lies can be easily refuted. The only problem is that no one is allowed to seriously do so in the public sphere. Such is the weight and influence of the institutionalized "conventional wisdom" about communism.

ITEM: Williams says there was no dissent under communism. Has he heard of the Cultural Revolution in China of 1966-1976? Here was debate and protest on a scale unseen in any modern Western society: mass meetings and demonstrations, political struggles to overthrow oppressive authority, and people from all walks of life scrutinizing and critisizing leadership and policy in society. In Beijing alone, there were over 900 newspapers. The "Maoist regime" opened meeting halls, provided supplies for wall-poster debates, and even allowed students to ride the trains free-- so that people could take part in this movement.

ITEM: Williams alleges "genocide" against Cossacks in 1919. This is flat-out untrue. Williams conveniently omits the salient fact that a civil war was raging in the Soviet Union! This civil war was instigated by anti-communist reactionaries in the Soviet Union-- aided by France, the U.S. , and other Western powers seeking to destroy the new socialist society. Cossack armed forces were part of this violent counterrevolutionary assault. And it was in the context of a brutal civil war that military and civilian deaths took place. Would Williams charge Abraham Lincoln with genocide for waging the civil war against the confederacy?

ITEM: Williams alleges that Stalin killed 20 million. Williams cites no reliable data. The fact is, there was no ethno-genocide in the Soviet Union; nor was there political genocide. Even one of the authors of the notorious anti-communist bible The Black Book of Communism who subsequently dissociated himself from the book, had to admit in Le Monde: "death camps did not exist in the Soviet Union." Williams includes deaths owing to famine caused by rationing in his mythical body count. Two famines did take place in the Soviet Union: one the result of the dislocations caused by the civil war (1918-21); the other (1932-33) the result of an actual decline in production. Rationing was not the cause of these famines-- but was part of a food distribution system and a response to emergency, along with other measures, designed to save lives.

The lies and distortions David Williams repeats are pervasive in the media. They are reinforced in the university, where the search for the truth and critical thinking are supposed to go on. All of this gravely constricts the discourse about why another world is necessary and possible. I challenge Mr. Williams, and I challenge any professor or scholar, to a public debate about what communism stands for and its actual history, about religion and communism, and about socialism versus capitalism.