Archive for December, 2008

A Proclaimation of a New Holiday

(Cross posted at Facebook and LiveJournal.)

I hereby proclaim, for now and for evermore, today, December 12 shall be celebrated as Victory over Communism (V-C) Day.

Now I realize that this may seem premature because after all there are still five communist states out there and several more where communist parties form governments. Nonetheless, the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991 represented a swift kick in the nuts of the world revolution. The USSR broke apart over the entire month of December 1991, beginning with the Ukrainian independence referendum on the 1st and ending with the complete and utter cessation/transfer of all functions on the 31st.

So why the 12th? Well since it’s hard to pin down exactly popular dates include the 21st when the CIS was formed or 26th when the Supreme Soviet voted to dissolve the union. However, since both of these are too close to Christmas, I decided on the 12th which is when Russia left the union, a point that there was definitely no turning back from. Just as if England were to secede from the UK, Russia’s departure effectively rendered the superpower defunct.

I want to take this time to recognize some important warriors in the struggle against communism:

Pope John Paul the Great
Everybody knows him, he was the head of the largest church in the world, a figurehead for over a billion people. Nevertheless I believe too many people regard him “simply” as a religious figure and don’t appreciate the political influence he had.

The Roman Catholic Church’s no-holds-barred opposition to communism was one of several factors that led European communists to break from Moscow and develop “eurocommunism,” a version of communism which, among other things, lacked the atheist ambitions of straight up Marxism.

However, I believe one quotation says it better than anything else. In 1992, devout atheist Mikhail Gorbachev made the follow comment: “What has happened in Eastern Europe in recent years would not have been possible without the presence of this Pope, without the great role even political that he has played on the world scene.”

Chiang Kai-shek
Much has been said about Chiang’s authoritarian rule and human rights violations. While there are many things he did I certainly don’t endorse, he was stuck between a rock and a hard place: with the Japanese breaking down his front door and the communists coming in the back he did what he had to. In fighting Japan he lost China and he decided that some freedoms would have to be sacrificed to prevent infiltration. One thing is for sure: in 1949 there were two China’s and today one of them is a liberal democracy with a robust economy and the other is an exploitative police state. Chiang’s China is the former.

The Partisans
Last, but not least I want to give a shout out to all those who fought against unbelievable odds. After everyone else had given up they refused to put down their arms. While Russian White Army and the Chinese National Revolutionary Army must be given their due, the people for whom I have limitless respect are those who continued to fight to the bitter end, moving from town to town or even living in the wilderness to avoid capture. These people mainly lived in Eastern Europe and the Baltic states. Who knows what drove them on to fight a battle they could never hope to win? Perhaps at first they were preparing for Western intervention. But after the brutal crushing of the Hungarian Revolution many still fought on.

I’m really glad I wasn’t alive in 1956 because I would have been so fucking pissed off at the uselessness of the West to come to the aid of Hungary. We just sat on our hands and said, “Oh wow, you must be very brave. We’re so proud of you, and although we’re not going to stop the Soviets from brutally crushing you, Time Magazine has agreed to make you Man of the Year as a consolation prize.” 12 years later like déjà vu, the same damn thing happened to Czechoslovakia.

But still they fought on. Poland’s “cursed soldiers,” the Forest Brothers of the Baltic nations and various groups in Romania. I hope one day I am able to find a cause for which I have a fraction of the passion they had.

In the long run, we’re all dead

(Cross posted at Facebook and LiveJournal.)

“Ben, why do you complain so much about the monarchy?”
“It has no real power.”
“It’s not even a relevant issue.”

So Prime Minister Stephen Harper requested proroguing of parliament and Governor General Michaëlle Jean granted his request. That buys Mr. Harper some time but ultimately if the opposition parties do topple the government the ball is in Mme. Jean’s court. Would she allow a coalition to form? or would she call an election?

Why is it her decision? I don’t remember voting for her. I guess she was appointed then, but she must have had parliamentary confirmation. Wait, she didn’t? Well, the vast majority previous Governors General have been Members of Parliament, Canadian or British, or at least held some sort of diplomatic post. Pardon? You say she was none of these things? She was actually a reporter? Well, clearly that qualifies her to be the head of our military. I guess she represents same old hag named Mrs. Windsor (just don’t call her that in parliament or else you’ll be expelled).

Contrary what some will have you believe this coalition idea is more democratic than the Senate and completely constitutional. It’s also completely stupid. Like suicide or abortion, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. The last two times there were serious coalition discussions it was concerning the issue of conscription. Maybe we should bring that back, too, because I think Hamid Karzai would be a much better leader to live under than Stéphane Dion. You know, if we’re lucky, this may even turn into a full blown constitution crisis. That would just be swell on top of that little economic crisis we’re already in.

But Mr. Harper, this doesn’t mean I’m letting you off the hook. I’d like to introduce you to my good friend John Maynard Keynes. You’d do well to listen to what he has to say.