In 1959, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Captive Nations Week into law (Public Law 86-90) aimed at raising public awareness of the oppression of nations under the control of Communist and other non-democratic governments. Though emphasis and/or rhetoric of the presidents have varied, every president since Eisenhower has recognized the third week of July as Captive Nations Week, as did The Heritage Foundation this past July 22nd with two very impassioned champions against communism as guest speakers: Lee Edwards, Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought at B. Kenneth Simon Center for American Studies, and Marek Chodakiewicz, academic dean and professor of history at the Institute of World Politics.
“My thesis is that the drive for equality will endure forever, as will the avatar of communism in many different forms,” Chodakiewicz opined. “Its ideology of gnosticism by a chosen few that is implemented through revolution is what fights against faith, family, private property, liberty, and patriotism. There is no morality in communism—if I’m a communist I’ll do whatever it takes, changing the rules along the way so long as I keep power.”
Though there are only five governments today that are officially run as communist states (Cuba, North Korea, China, Vietnam, and Laos) there are a countless number of states, namely, Iran, Venezuela, Libya, and Myanmar where the citizens suffer under near-tyrannical rule and gross acts of human injustice.
“Captive Nations Week offers us an opportunity to reassert our beliefs and principles to change history for the better,” said Lee Edwards.
“In North Korea, Kim Jong-Il will soon be succeeded by his third son, Kim Jong-Un. A time of succession is a time of opportunity,” Edwards said to an applauding audience. “We should be working with South Korea and Japan, amongst other allies, and bring the Hermit Kingdom into the 21st century.”
Chodakiewicz attributed the continuance, prevalence, and tacit acceptance of such widespread injustice in the 21st century due to the ever-evolving and clever tactics implemented by authoritarian leaders. Thus, a great many of outside observers have fallen prey to deceptive tactics and are blind to the blatant and egregious human-rights abuses all around the world, he argued.
A recent tactic used by the Castro family is equally brilliant and perverse due to its effective deceit. In what Chodakiewicz called a “smoking mirror,” Castro publicly announced the state’s acceptance of the homosexual community in Cuba and went so far as to accommodate the community with a gay-pride parade.
Whether it be pandering to the gay community or religious minorities, Chodakiewicz noted the clever tactic of tyrannical leaders of publicly displaying benevolence and tolerance to powerful interest-groups throughout the world by symbolically rewarding them with mundane recognitions or rights the government itself originally took away.
Such gestures without fail garner immense praise throughout the international community as another astounding step toward progress and equality. As it effectively diverts people’s attention from all other issues, Chodakiewicz noted how special-interest groups work into the hands of tyrannical regimes and the particular dangers of hollow publicity stunts: “These Marxists and Leninists put up smoking-mirrors to give off the appearance of being liberalized, and serve to only make them stronger,” Chodakiewicz stated.
“In Nepal, the Maoists were pushed out of power in their (democratic parliament)—by Stalinists,” Chodakiewicz said. “In the country containing the world’s second-largest population, of the 600 districts in India, about 200 are overrun by Maoists and communists.”
“We need to take a committed and comprehensive government and non-government approach,” Edwards said, speaking in concert with many of Chodakiewicz’s assertions. “And Heritage has launched an online museum to show and educate on the countless number of victims due to communist ideology.”
“There are power struggles going on all over the world—from Mozambique to Mongolia, Georgia and Cyprus, and South Africa. In South Africa in particular, the politicians are using the issue of race to expedite divisiveness and power struggles,” Chodakiewicz reminded the audience. “People on the left are fooled by and content with the mere absence of mass executions.”
President Eisenhower and the U.S. Congress originally signed the Captive Nations Week resolution into law in hopes of educating current and future generations about the inarguable and tragic legacy of communist ideology and its victims. Though it has received very minimal, if any news coverage, Captive Nations Week is arguably more pertinent and critical today than it’s ever been.
The extremely powerful and legitimate threat from communism to popular sovereignty and democracy is altogether more dangerous and real due to the cultural war the left is undeniably winning. The agendas and messaging of Hollywood, music stars, and fashion icons have not simply made Marxist icons and ideas tolerable, but admirable and chic.
“In many parts of Europe, such as Portugal, it is sexy to be communist again,” Chodakiewicz said. “We have to speak up in public and on campus—we cannot and should not any longer tolerate Che shirts and models in fashion shows wearing old Soviet uniforms.”
“What does the future hold? The future belongs to us if we start fighting and regaining the culture—from the education system, to art, music, and poetry. We have to be educated and prepared to talk about anything and everything, as proud unabashed conservatives in the grassroots,” Chodakiewicz proclaimed.
The tragedy of it all, in today’s political atmosphere is how quickly the tide has turned, as the left have seized every avenue and cultural instrument to rewrite history and raised a generation oblivious to the facts, no matter the evidence and events that have occurred—most of them within many people’s lifetimes.
Anthony Kang is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia.