15 years after being declared dead and buried, the spectre of communism is again haunting the minds of some of Europe’s political leaders.
On February 24 2005, the European Ministers of Justice were to discuss a common strategy against racism, anti-semitism and xenophobia. On this occasion, several European MPs from the former East European countries, members of the European Popular Party (EPP), among whom the Lithuanian former president Landsbergis, demanded the forbidding of Communist symbols all over the EU: Hammer, sickle, red star … "If the Nazi symbols were to be forbidden, so should the Communist symbols," declared the Hungarian vice-president of the EPP, Jozsef Szafer.
The European commissioner Frattini, member of Berlusconi’s party, allied to the fascists in the Italian government, was questioned about this. He thinks that discussing this topic as a strategy against racism is "not the proper framework" to talk about Communist symbols. He encouraged Parliament to organise the debate on these symbols and what they can mean to European citizens.
With the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of Europe against fascism, the European Parliament (EP) approved an anti-Communist resolution in May 2005 with 463 votes in favour, 49 against and 33 abstentions. The initiative came from the Christian-Democrat Elmar Brock, chairman of the Commission on Foreign Affairs of the EP. This resolution calls the liberation of the countries of East Europe from Nazism "occupation and Soviet domination" and "Communist dictatorships". The words fascism and Nazism do not appear in the resolution.
In October 2005, members of parliament from the EPP, members of the Political Commission of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) tried to vote an even more anti-Communist memorandum. The Council of Europe was founded in 1949. Today 46 countries are members. The organisation has given up all activities of an international character except: "evaluating the progress of democracy and human rights on the continent", something it does with the special orientation it has had since the beginning: the struggle against communism.
Three reports were to be given to the PACE of which the first one is on "the unacceptability of the justification of Nazism in contemporary Europe", the second on "the necessity of an international condemnation of the Franco regime and the third on "the condemnation of the crimes committed under communism". This text demands from the Assembly, which includes MPs of 46 European countries, an "immediate" international condemnation of communism. On December 14 2004 the Political commission of the PACE held a parliamentary hearing in Paris in preparation for its report on the matter. Amongst the participants, Stéphane Courtois, author of "Le livre noir du communisme" ("The Black Book of Communism"), Vladimir Bukovsky, former dissident and Tommas Hiio of the "Estonian foundation of inquiry on crimes against humanity" (see further).
An "introductory note" on the agenda of the hearing describes the objective of the organisers: "It is time to make an assessment of the numerous crimes of totalitarian communism in the past and to make a formal condemnation. If we don’t do this, an illusory nostalgia can arise in the minds of young generations looking for a possible substitute for liberal democracy".
In this note, not only is communism being pinpointed but also "class struggle". According to the text of the memorandum of the PACE "… Communism was born out of the theory of class struggle". The discussion on this project was postponed because of protests.
The persecution of Communists also exists in reality. In several new member countries of the EU, promoting Communist ideals and symbols of the international workers’ movement is forbidden. In countries like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Rumania and Turkey, Communist parties are forbidden by law or face insurmountable obstacles to the legality of their action. In Hungary and the Czech Republic, the use of socialist symbols is forbidden and punishable by law. Mikolas Bourakiavitsius, president of the Lithuanian Communist Party and his comrade Yiouozas Kouolelis have been in prison for the last ten years for political reasons. The German socialist Verheugen, ex-commissioner for the extension of Europe, believes that this situation is completely in agreement with European democratic values. During an exchange that took place on September 30 2003 in the Commission of Foreign Affairs of the EP, he answered: "after all these populations had to go through under communism, I would, if I were a citizen of these countries, demand the banning of Communist parties too".
After several days of imprisonment, Sean Garland, president of the Workers’ Party of Ireland, is under house-arrest in Northern Ireland and is being threatened with extradition to the United States and this without any specific accusation.
The founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines, José Maria Sison, fled to the Netherlands, and is being threatened with extradition to the Philippines or to the United States on the basis of an accusation that refers to the so-called anti-terrorist laws adopted after September 11 2001 in the European Union.
In France, a group called "Ukraine 33" demands that the university of Paris VII take action against Ms Annie Lacroix-Riz, professor in contemporary history and author of several internationally known and rigorously scientific books. The group "Ukraine 33" cannot bear the fact that she has refuted, on the basis of archival elements, the thesis, fabricated in the thirties by extreme right circles, according to which the Soviet regime knowingly organised in 1933 a "genocide through famine" in the Ukraine. She was called up before the president of the university to explain herself.
Behind the condemnation of communism, lies the revival of fascism.
The initiative of the PACE was delayed thanks to protests by the Russian delegation and Communist and progressive EMPs. According to Konstantin Kossatchev, secretary of the Foreign Affairs commission of the Douma, the Russian parliament, the presentation of the report on communism played into the hands of the forces in the PACE which want to identify Communism with Nazism so they can trivialise the latter. This is what is already happening in the Baltic States, where several members of Parliament at the basis of many of these anti-Communist initiatives are from. In Estonia and Lithuania for example, ex-members of the "SS" have the same privileges as the veterans and soldiers who fought in the Great Patriotic War. This state of affairs is unacceptable", he said.
History repeats itself. Between 1933 and 1940 leaders of the so-called democratic bourgeois parties let Hitler have his way. They were hoping to make Germany into a spearhead of their crusade against the Soviet Union. Fascism was a lesser evil to them. It seems that the leaders of the European Popular Party (EPP) are currently stepping in the footsteps of their predecessors. They do not hesitate to include in their ranks parties in power in East European countries which put Communist leaders in prison, authorise the restoration of Hitlerite symbols and honour SS collaborators. Lithuania is a new member of the European Union and NATO. On March 16 2005 for the fifth year in a row a demonstration of Waffen-SS was held in Riga, the capital. The demonstration was allowed despite an official demand by Israel and Russia to forbid it. Neither NATO nor the European Union protested.
It needs to be said that the present rulers in these countries have a long tradition of fighting communism in common with NATO and the European secret services.
Even before the end of World War II the British secret services recruited agents amongst Nazi war criminals (in particular, members of the Arajs Kommando) to fight communism. and helped them reach Sweden. The "best" elements received complementary training in Britain and were incorporated in the "stay behind" network of NATO, aimed at remaining in place in the event of a "Soviet occupation of Europe". After the overthrow of socialism, these agents were brought to power by NATO and the USA. In Lithuania the Bureau of the Protection of the Constitution (SAB), in charge among other things of "defending democracy", was led by Janis Kazocinu. This man is in fact a general of the British army who became military attaché in Riga after independence, and then vice chief of staff. He only took the Lithuanian nationality when he was appointed.
The President of Lithuania, professor Vaira Vike-Freiberga, is in fact a Canadian whose family fled Lithuania after the fall of fascism. She was in contact with the Nazi agents of the "stay behind" network of NATO through an underground organisation aimed at the Diaspora, the "Daugava river hawks" (Daugavas Vanagi). Vike Freiberga settled in Riga in 1999, took Lithuanian nationality and got herself elected as president of the Republic. According to her, the Lithuanians who went into service with the SS did this only to find an ally to free their country.
In January 2005, the Lithuanian government, together with the embassy of the United States published a piece called "History of Lithuania: the XXth century". The book was launched at a press conference given by the President of the Republic. It states, among other things, that the camp of Salaspils, where the Nazis did medical experiments on children and where 90000 people were killed, was only a corrective work camp" and that the Waffen-SS were heroes in the struggle against the Soviet occupation.
This is also the moment to talk about one of the "experts" who on December 14 2004 was called before a parliamentary hearing of the PACE in Paris in the context of the preparations of its report on the "crimes of communism". Toomas Hiio of the "Estonian Foundation for the investigation of crimes against humanity" was presented by the journalist Anna Badkhen in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle. The article talks in fact about the impunity enjoyed in Estonia by the war criminal Michael Gorshkov, who was stripped of his US nationality in 2002 and expelled from Florida. A federal judge had esteemed that "there was no doubt at all that Gorshkov was involved in the mass murder of at least 3000 Jewish men, women and children during the Nazi occupation of Eastern Europe, more specifically in the Jewish Ghetto of Sloutsk, in Belarus". Today Gorshkov is a free man and no prosecutor in Estonia is preparing to bring proceedings against him or any of the 17 other known Estonian Nazi war criminals. Toomas Hiio, adviser to the president of Estonia, historian and member of the "State commission responsible for the investigation on Nazi and Soviet crimes against Estonian citizens" rejects the accusations against Gorshkov. "In every community you can find people hating other people", he says. He also rejects the proofs that were given by the Wiesenthal foundation against the members of the "36th police battalion", set up by the Nazis with Estonians who were accused of the mass murder of 2500 Jews in the Belarussian city of Novogrudok, on August 7 1942. He doesn’t find it necessary to prove his allegations. "We don’t know for sure they killed Jews", Hiio says. "There are no facts, only propaganda. These are the "experts" brought by the EPP to support their bill of indictment against communism.
Today in Estonia, revisionist books like that of the Swiss Juergen Graf are sold freely. The author even had a tour around the country in 2002. The Estonian heavy metal group Marras sings with impunity in their concerts that "it is fun to kill Jews".
Behind the attack on the French professor Lacroix-Riz, the profile of the heirs of fascist collaborators in France can be seen.
One of the defenders of "Ukraine 33" is Jean Lous Panné, together with Stéphane Courtois linked to the "Institute for social history". According to professor Annie Lacroix-Riz this institute was founded after World War II by big business which delegated former collaborators to it. It was supported by the collaborator Worms bank and the American Intelligence services.
One of its founders is still active, despite being 89. Guy Lemonnier, close to the collaborators Marcel Déat and Georges Albertini in the Rassemblement national populaire (RNP). Albertini was second in command to the collaborator Déat in the RNP and director of his cabinet at the Office of Labour (1944).
In the early fifties Worms gave him the assignment to lead the institute "to guide the French working class and wage-earners away from communism and sympathy for the USSR".
Today fascism is on the increase and is being trivialised in the whole of Europe under the slogan. "Hitlerite fascism and Stalinist communism are twins".
Since 1989 this slogan is a kind of dogma which, so it seems, no longer has to be proved .
The slogan dates from 1945 when defeated Nazis were incorporated into Western secret services to continue the fight begun by Hitler in 1923 to destroy communism.
With help and financial support from the CIA, these Nazis flooded the world with a deluge of lies about the "crimes" and "holocausts" of Stalin. These lies served first to relativise Hitler’s holocaust and then to justify it.
To justify their crimes, fascists needed greater numbers of dead, victims of the bloody regime in the Soviet Union!
The anti-Communist attacks were needed to legalise an official history of the Soviet Union based on the criminalisation of the country and the Communist movement.
By voting these resolutions, by excluding "dissident" researchers, they want to legalise an official "history" of the USSR and Communism, protected forever from contradictory debate, criticism and archive research.
Today imperialism rules again over jost of the planet and advances in the open: wars, the explosion of unemployment, racism and fascism, poverty and criminality. But people are subjected to an ideological brain-washing according to which the Western system represents "democracy", freedom and human rights".
Anti-communism rejects the idea that "Big" Capital is not eternal. It opposes every form of revolutionary and socialist struggle against world capitalism.
There is no alternative to the imperialist system and simply putting forward the idea that we are not at the end of history, is a criminal act in itself.
Fifteen years of capitalist reforms in the former socialist countries have caused the demolition of industry and agriculture, mass unemployment, civil wars, emigration, the disappearance of free health care and education, the triumph of corruption and the mafia, criminality and prostitution.
What the media call "nostalgia for communism", is spreading in these countries. But in Western Europe as well, neo-liberalism with its privatisations, relocations, replacements of real jobs by poverty and ultra-flexible jobs and the dismantling of social security systems have driven large parts of the population to revolt, still largely trade unionist and electoral. Witness the Nos to the European constitution, the progress of Communist and workers’ parties in the Czech republic, in Germany and in other countries of East Europe, parties that are, rightly or wrongly, considered to be representative of the socialist system.
All this doesn’t mean that we’re on the eve of a new socialist revolution.
But in the eyes of the jost rightwing fringe of the European bourgeoisie it is high time to prevent the unthinkable becoming reality once again.
At a time when social and political struggles are on the rise, thanks in part to the efforts of Communists, it is a question of paralysing these struggles by attacking the forces and movements that defend the social and democratic rights of the workers. It is a question of outlawing communism and all defenders of the socialist alternative.
The socialist countries that still exist must also disappear.
In a resolution of the congress of the European Popular Party (EPP) is written that "in various parts of the world some regimes hang on to power, which is detrimental to the well-being of their populations."
Of course, what is unbearable to the EPP is the support the Cubans, Chinese, Vietnamese, Laotians or Koreans give to their government. These people know the difference between their situation and that of their Haitian, Filipino or African neighbours who are dominated and exploited by capitalist regimes, installed by leaders of parties like the EPP.
A regime where the people are masters of the wealth they produce themselves must never exist again.
As the agenda of the parliamentary hearing of the PACE of December 2004 says: what must be avoided is "that history repeats itself and that there is no illusionary nostalgia in the minds of the younger generations that see in this (Communist) regime a substitute for liberal democracy".
There is no other explanation for the revival of aggressive anti-communism in the last two or three years. As in the past fascism has once again become a respectable ally in the struggle against the deadly enemy: the power of the people.
In the interests of the struggle for social justice, democracy, peace and against fascism, we have to fight for an immediate end to political persecution, discrimination against communists and measures aimed at hindering their activities, as well as for the abolition of judiciary or penal anti-Communist measures in all the countries of Europe.
The anti-terrorist laws voted in Europe after September 11 must be withdrawn.
The definition of terrorism that is used allows any movement or party that wants another society to be treated as terrorist. The so-called "list of terrorist organisations", which permits the criminalisation of several Communist organisations, must also be withdrawn.
The task of all of us is to support Communists, researchers and all victims of the new fascist-inspired witch-hunt and to defend freedom of thought, organisation and scientific research.