Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, writing in the Manifesto of the Communist Party , famously said that a specter was haunting Europe -- the specter of Communism. All the powers of old Europe, they said, had entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this specter. Marx and Engels set down two things resulting from this fact, in 1848: (1) "Communism is already acknowledged by all European powers to be itself a power"; (2) "It is high time that Communists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views...." And that is precisely what the Communist Manifesto purported to do. According to Marx and Engels, Communism is an inevitable political and social movement, and not a "conspiracy" in the usual sense. Furthermore, the claim that Communism is a power in its own right, places it in competition with other powers; so that its actions are better described in terms of policy. Five coup plotters in a darkened room form a conspiracy. The thousands who organize Communist power, and the millions who are under this power, form a strategy.
The difference between a Communist conspiracy and a Communist strategy is quickly demonstrated by considering earlier historical examples. When the Carthaginian general, Hamilcar Barca (275-228 BC), went to Spain after the First Punic War to build a powerful new military base for attacking Rome, he also made his nine-year-old son Hannibal swear an oath of enmity against Rome, which he was obligated to keep upon reaching adulthood. Hamilcar's strategy in Spain, and his son's commitment to carrying out the plan, was not a conspiracy. It was a long-range policy conceived by one generation, executed by another. As it happened, three of the planner's sons, and a grandson, would prove faithful to his design. Such long-term planning has occurred in history, and will occur again. Given the right institutional and personal circumstances, one generation of planners may be called upon to execute an earlier generation's plan. Another example would be the German Empire's carefully worked-out strategic plan for crushing France at the outset of a future war. This was known as the Schlieffen Plan, originally devised in 1905 by Alfred von Schlieffen , modified in 1906 and carried out in 1914 by Helmuth von Moltke the Younger. Such plans are not conspiracies. They are artifacts of strategy. In history it is known to happen, that sometimes leaders make secret long-range plans. They pass these plans to a new generation of leaders, who later carry them out. If this happened in ancient Carthage, or in modern Germany, it could also happen in the Soviet Union or Communist China.
Since Communism is a power, it also has strategists and plans. The Communist Manifesto was very clear about the role of Communists as leaders of the revolution. As a political philosophy, Communism advances a sophisticated (and allegedly scientific) argument for the idea that capitalism is inherently unstable and will be swept away by revolution. The Communists are those who strategically bring together all the revolutionary forces that oppose the capitalist system. As Marx and Engels said, the Communists are those who "always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement as a whole." (This is an essential point). Again, this is not a conspiracy. It is a strategic task which, by the way, is now being accomplished in broad daylight. "The Communists," says Marx and Engels, "are on the one hand, practically, the most advanced and resolute section of the working-class parties of every country, that section which pushes forward all others...." They are the captains of revolution, the strategists and community organizers. They turn the poor against the rich, the woman against the man, the child against the parent. "Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents?" asks Marx and Engels. "To this crime we plead guilty." Here we find the strategy of "divide and conquer" frankly outlined for all to see. Is it a conspiracy? No, it is a strategy.
The path to revolution outlined in the Communist Manifesto was enlarged upon by Lenin, who made the first successful Communist revolution in Russia. After that point, the Communists had harnessed the power of several nations, which were placed under the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), also known as the Soviet Union. Eventually, Communist revolutions occurred in Eastern Europe, China, Northeast Asia, Cuba, Southeast Asia, Africa, Afghanistan and Nicaragua. Revolutionary strategy and technique became even more sophisticated, embracing both the path of armed revolution and peaceful revolution. The latter involves the neutralization of a country's armed forces, so that the bourgeoisie are compelled to surrender the means of production. Again, this is not a conspiracy (though conspiracies may be necessary along the way). It is a strategy.
According to a Soviet text, written by KH. Sabirov, the Communist state faces the following national and international tasks:
(1) Crushing the resistance of the exploiting classes within the country, defending the gains of the socialist revolution and the new state against attacks by the imperialist powers;
(2) introducing socialist transformations in the economy and all other spheres of social life, and improving the living conditions of the working people;
(3) the working class's guidance of the peasantry and other working masses with the aim of drawing them into the process of building socialism;
(4) strengthening international ties with the working class of the world and the national liberation movements; supporting the struggle of the revolutionary forces in other countries.
None of these tasks make up a conspiracy, though conspiratorial methods may be necessary. The above listed tasks are strategically laid down as a system of policy. The goal is a "developed socialist society" in which "all aspects of social life, primarily economic, socio-political and spiritual, are gradually brought into conformity." From thence the advance to Communism is achievable. According to Sabirov, "Society advances towards communism on the basis of the all-round perfection of socialism. This is a prolonged historical period which will have its own stages, sequence of tasks and deadlines."
The idea that Communism is no longer a power, that the Communists surrendered in 1991, is based on a misunderstanding of what happened to the Soviet Union. As explained by KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn in his 1984 book, New Lies for Old, the changes in the Communist world were prepared in advance as part of a long-range strategy worked out over a period of nearly three decades, and implemented under Gorbachev. The Soviet government was a secretive government. Its liberalization plans were kept secret. The CIA never effectively penetrated the Soviet strategic centers. Instead, the Soviets penetrated the West. This has been documented in books like The Venona Secrets, by Herbert Romerstein and Eric Breindel, as well as John Early Haynes and Harvey Klehr's In Denial: Historians, Communism and Espionage. Those who write derisively of a "Communist conspiracy," as does David Aaronovitch in his book Voodoo Histories, seem to suggest that Communist espionage and subversion did not occur during the Cold War. Sadly, the special services of the Communist Bloc successfully infiltrated and penetrated many Western countries and institutions. In terms of scholarship and testimony, this is indisputable. But the public, the politicians, and the media are unfamiliar with the facts. The Communists have been so successful at information warfare, society as a whole glosses over the fact that the Soviets were winning the Cold War right up until they supposedly quit. The official version of history, uncritically accepted by many, is that the Soviet Union was a failed empire that never posed a threat to the United States. In response to this, the lament of researchers Haynes and Klehr could not be more poignant:
Despite all of the new archival evidence of Soviet espionage and American spies, revisionism still dominates the academy and the historical establishment. The leading journals of the historical profession do not print essays that are critical of the CPUSA [Communist Party USA] or cast a favorable light on domestic anticommunism. In these journals there is no debate about American communism and Soviet espionage; revisionism reigns without challenge.
In the details of history, the collapse of the Soviet Union does not signify the disappearance of Communism. In fact, Soviet or Marxist perspectives have gotten the upper hand at many American colleges and universities. "This is an intellectually sick situation," say Haynes and Klehr. Even more, it represents a victory for Communism -- which also tells us that Communist strategy is effective.
In his masterpiece, " a Letter to My Children," former Communist Whittaker Chambers explained the true nature of Communism and the source of its power. "I see in Communism the focus of the concentrated evil of our time," wrote Chambers. "You will ask: Why, then, do men become Communists?" It is not due to stupidity or moral depravity. According to Chambers, "Communism makes some profound appeal to the human mind." Then he added, "You will not find out what it is by calling Communism names. Chambers explained that Communism is "not simply a vicious plot hatched by wicked men in a sub-cellar. It is not just the writings of Marx and Lenin...." Then what is it? "It is man's second oldest faith," he said. "Its promise was whispered in the first days of the Creation under the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil: 'Ye shall be as gods.' It is the great alternative faith of mankind." As such, it cannot disappear. It cannot collapse or go away.
And so we find, at our local Borders book store, a small paperback titled The Anti-American Manifesto, written by Ted Rall. In this book the author says that America is collapsing. The U.S. is going to end soon. According to Rall, "There's going to be an intense, violent, probably haphazard struggle for control. It's going to come down to us versus them." Rall is a Communist in Chambers' sense of the word. He warns the "downtrodden and the educated" that the hardcore uneducated fundamentalist Christians are preparing to seize power. According to Rall, "They can't wait to unleash their venomous hatred on the city-dwelling commie hipster fags they despise. They are armed. They recognize that the system is doomed. They've seen this coming." He names the Tea Party as the main decentralized organ of the enemy. "A war is coming," he says. "The government, the corporations, and the extreme right are prepared to coalesce into an Axis of Evil. Are you going to fight back? Will you do whatever it takes, including taking up arms?" He basically suggests that the Right is coming to exterminate the Left, so the Left had better get ready. The book is basically a call to civil war -- American versus American.
But none of this is a conspiracy. It's man's second-oldest faith, as Chambers said. It is therefore a power, as Marx and Engels insisted. As such, it has a strategy. It has followers. And it anticipates the fall of our society. In Thomas Sowell's new book, Dismantling America, we find a description of Rome's fall and the subsequent thousand-year-collapse. "Is that where America is headed," he asks. "I believe it is." As the Republic declines through fiscal suicide, the Communist revolutionary sees his chance to lash out. The old Communist machine, long in existence, is planning to take the bourgeoisie by the throat. Is this so strange? Is this so unlikely? The crisis of today has been building for decades. It has been perfectly visible at every stage, yet we haven't seen it because we don't want to. Again, it is not a conspiracy. It is an attitude, best expressed with Satan's line in Paradise Lost, "Better to reign in Hell, than Serve in Heav'n."