Marx and Lenin

Does Mrs. Noem know what she is talking about?

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem actually said the following sentence yesterday during the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Houston: “Let me tell you the truth about the enemies of the Second Amendment. They are schooled in the ways of Marx and Lenin.”

Soviet propaganda banner with the heads of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin), Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx (from left). We were fed up with such images in GDR times, because they hung in every classroom. I can’t believe that I have to come back to these pictures now, in the supposedly freest country in the world, of all places. At least no harm happened to us in school during our childhood, not once in the whole country – and that in the midst of a socialist dictatorship.

What pathetic nonsense.

“In the ways of Marx and Lenin” I was trained against my will in 1987/88 in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) on the Kalashnikov, the most widely used sub-machine gun in the world at the time – and I did not like that at all. Even that “schooling” did not change my attitude towards guns.

In the GDR, where I lived for 29 years, military education was a compulsory subject in schools, as well as military camps – by the way, also for girls -, where the young people were trained on weapons. This also included hand grenades.

Notice something? Marxists, Leninists, Communists, Socialists, were sinister propagandists in line with Mrs. Noem and the NRA in their opinion about guns. Both sides for different, but in both cases self-serving purposes. Both are characterized by efforts to sell their propaganda with all sorts of history distorting arguments to disguise their true intentions. Politicians in the U.S. for reasons of votes and donations from the gun industry, no matter how many children have to die in their own country due to gun violence. Communists and socialists believed that guns were desperately needed to succeed in the “revolutionary struggle against the class enemy.” I am not sure anymore which is worse.

So, I don’t know where the lady from South Dakota gets her wisdom from. But she doesn’t care about historical facts – because she knows how well any nonsense goes down propagandistically with the majority of her countrymen as soon as terms like “Socialism” or “Marxism” come into play. My special friend Ron DeSantis from Florida uses far-fetched allusions to German history, including odd remarks about the Cold War, with such regularity that you can’t help but laugh at them. But with a majority of Americans, that kind of thing resonates.

The radical, naive and inflammatory speeches of the Trumps, DeSantis’, Cruz’ are easy to see through, especially for those who are informed about the historical background. I understand more and more why the political right, together with the churches in the fairway, wants to teach children in schools only what they think is right. For there is nothing more dangerous for the goals of propagandists than an enlightened humanity.

For they do not know what they are talking about

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

Too many Americans obviously don’t know much about the history of their own country. Many have no knowledge, for example, that the social measures proposed by a certain Bernie Sanders are very similar to the measures implemented by one of the most famous U.S. presidents, FDR; measures that have brought millions of Americans out of the misery of the Great Depression. Nobody in America therefore seriously thought of calling Roosevelt a socialist. And it’s worth noting that to this day, schoolchildren in the U.S. every morning recite a pledge written in 1892 by an avowed socialist, Francis Bellamy.

As a contemporary witness who had to live in a socialist form of society, my assessment of the USA is that the term “socialism” in this country is continuously misused by the political right for ideological purposes as well as propaganda of the most primitive kind. In truth, the opposite of socialism has been taking place in the U.S. for a long time, at least since the days of Ronald Reagan: It is the greedy seed of neoliberalism that is dividing and destroying the country.

The recurring warning of an alleged, American socialism serves the political right as a bogeyman to protect their real clientele, the super-rich corporations and their billions in donations to the very same politicians. Among the profiteers, by the way, are also large parts of the Democratic Party, which 40 years ago would have been identified as moderate Republicans.

It is a sad fact that the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt has turned its back on the working class and is shamefully abandoning it even in the time of Joe Biden.