On the radio the other night, I heard a fellow being interviewed — I believe it was Paul Robeson II, the son of the legendary black communist singer and actor. Mr. Robeson was discussing his father’s embrace of communism and Stalinism, and putting it in a “proper” historical context.
His notion is that Stalin was a creature of the right-wing, an imperialist and an heir to the Tsars. Likewise, Mao was also a right-winger and a modern-day Emperor — and both were traitors and perverters of Marxism. As evidence of his theory, he cited how both the Soviet Union and Communist China had very strict regulations of immigration, both in an attempt to keep themselves not only ideologically but ethnically pure.
I’m no great political scholar or historian, but my own casual acquaintance with both fields (and their confluence) tell me this guy is talking out of his ass.
Both Stalin and Mao were outspoken opponents of nationalism, urging it be crushed and defeated for communism. And Mr. Robeson’s description of their immigration policies far better fit their emigration policies — both of them put huge restrictions on their people’s ability to “vote with their feet” and get out of their respective “worker’s paradises.”
Also, it’s worth noting that both dictators built their empires on Marxist practices and principles. While they might have “perverted” Marx’s ideals (I think that “Marxist ideals” is one of the most perverse and disgusting oxymorons), it was those principles that let rise to tyranny.
In fact, it’s becoming more and more apparent that Marxism seems to lead, almost inevitably, to tyranny and oppression of the absolutely worst sort. And for an ideology so concerned with equality and The People, it seems to generate an awful lot of “leaders for life.”
And while they were alive, Stalin and Mao found their support in the West from the left, while it was the Right that produced their most rabid enemies.
I’m not saying that the Right doesn’t have its own set of problems, its own rogue’s gallery of thugs and dictators and mass murderers masquerading as statesmen. I’ll grant Mussolini and Imperial Japan as being, by and large, right-wing. (Not Hitler, though. Hitler combined the worst of both worlds, taking the worst of both wings and blending them into his unique brand of evilness.) But you can’t put Stalin and Mao on the Right. They came from the Left, they wrapped their crimes against humanity in the language and ideals of the Left, and they were championed and lionized by the Left of their time.
You own ’em. Deal with it.