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During my trip to Prague, I visited the Museum of Communism. Soviet propaganda art was magnificent, but it was a facade which failed to cover the misery, oppression, and death that the system of totalitarian socialism brought on the Czech people and others under its yoke. There is a tendancy among some on the far left to romanticize Lenin, partly because the sociopathic and mass murdering Stalin followed him. However, Lenin was a brutal and murderous dictator whose crimes were bad enough, though dwarfed by Stalin's.

The irony of attending that museum was just how many parallels I saw to what is going on with the right in its ascendancy here in the US. Things haven't gotten anywhere near as bad in the US, at least not yet. But, visiting the Czech Republic, a country now much freer than the US, certainly gives one a sense of perspective.

When I discuss the American right, I'm not just talking about talk radio, the Moonie Paper (Washington Times), and Rupert Murdoch's evil media empire. I'm not just talking about the Goppers and the conservative Democrats. I'm referring to the entire corporate and political infrastructure of the right from the New York Times to the local teabagger to the Bush and Obama administrations.

Some examples of the similarities between the American right and the Soviet empire follow.

Using WMD Propaganda to Frighten the Populace
Before I went to the Museum of Communism, an American expatriate talked about how the communists used weapons of mass destruction in their propaganda to terrorize the population about the West. The museum had a display about that very propaganda.

Sound familiar? If it doesn't, you haven't been paying much attention to what's been going on for the past decade or so.

Unlawful Detention
One of the many ways that the communists stayed in power was for secret intelligence agencies to detain people without charge and hold them indefinitely. Sounds like the inspiration for Gitmo to me.

Constant Spying
In communist Czechoslovakia, every means of communication was spied upon. Phones were tapped. Houses and public places were bugged. A human spy network pervaded society looking for opponents of the state. If you added in Internet and cell phone spying, you would get what we have now in the US.

Focus on Internal "Enemies"
Communist propaganda in Czechoslovakia portrayed anyone who disagreed with government policies or foreign domination as enemies of the state and the people. The hysteria over Islamic terrorists in the US is somewhat similar, and is pervasive among the more mainstream parts of the right. In both societies, there were opponents of the governments, and they did pose threats to the public safety. However, those threats were wildly exaggerated in order to try to keep the population timid and passive.

The threat of terrorism is real, but it is relatively small. Legalized gun ownership kills almost 30,000 Americans every year. That's ten 911's every year. Yet, the same right that tries to paralyze us all in fear over terrorism insists that gun ownership not only be legal, but be utterly unregulated.

The far right takes things one step closer to Soviet era communism. They treat political liberals, opponents of war, feminists, non whites, queers, and the non religious as internal enemies that must be destroyed. Some analysts discuss the Eliminationism found on the right, yet they haven't looked at the historical parallels between the this behavior and the same kind of internal demonization that was practiced by the Soviet era communists.

Constant Propaganda, Often with Some Elements of Truth
The US is one of the most heavily propagandized societies in world history. Advertising, even for corporate products, is highly ideological, promoting the view of human beings primarily as passive purchasers whose main source of self worth is found in what they buy. Our political system is dominated by campaign ads as well.

The "news media" in this country are overwhelmingly propagandistic, resembling the old Soviet Pravda. Like the Soviet media and the media in satellite states such as Czechoslovakia, information is highly censored and distorted in the US. Most political views are either censored or ridiculed in the corporate media here in a way that is so familiar to people aware of the practices in communist societies.

Yet, both societies' media used elements of truth to produce their message. No one can reasonably dispute the fact that the US has a war mongering government, and that banks and other corporate interests abuse the people horribly. Equally accurate is that there are Islamic religious extremists at home and abroad who want to destroy the United States. Yet, in each case, the potency of the threats were exaggerated wildly in order to keep people in line.

Contempt for Environmental Protection
The reaction of the right, including President Obama and Sarah Palin, to the horrific, but easily predictable oil spill caused by offshore drilling done by British Petroleum is shockingly similar to the Soviet Union's response to the Chernobyl. This should tell people something.

The right's contempt for environmentalist and environmental concerns is one of their most hot button issues. They act as if everyone who is concerned about the environment is an atheist/Muslim/communist/liberal/terrorist/pacifist or something. Yet, if you look at the set of regimes most contemptuous of the environmental protection, those would be the former Soviet Union and its satellite states.

The American right doesn't just show a Stalinesque contempt for the planet. It also uses paranoid, Sovietesque propaganda to demonize people who care about the environment. The conspiratorial propaganda against accepting the fact of global warming is highly representative of this phenomenon.

Another Parallel: Heterosexism
This wasn't mentioned in the Museum of Communism, but heterosexism was rampant in Soviet dominated Czechoslovakia. These visceral prejudices were rationalized by saying that homosexuality was "capitalist decadence." Here in the US, visceral bigotry is rationalized by passages from a Bible that the bigots largely ignore except in those passages that involve behavior that they aren't interested in participating in.

Heterosexism also has been used by communists and American rightists to demonize opponents and frighten dissidents.

Why Doesn't the American Right See the Parallels?
The similarities have been completely censored from corporate media outlets. You have to think for yourself and get access to alternative media to recognize them.

However, media manipulation isn't the whole story. Many on the right opposed communism because it was foreign and Russian, in their rather limited world view. The actual oppression was more of an excuse. "Freedom" to the right merely means the freedom to do what the right wants. Also, much of US anticommunism has been based on picking teams similarly to how sports franchises are worshiped. The USSR and its empire were the Boston Red Sox to Yankees fans and vice versa.

 

 

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