The Trump administration recognizes November 7, the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Russian Revolution, as the National Day for the Victims of Communism.
Despite communism’s track record of intolerance and brutality, which caused the deaths of more than 100 million people in the 20th century, the move has been attacked and belittled by journalists from left-wing publications, including BuzzFeed, Salon, and Newsweek.
The White House’s statement can be read in full below:
Today, the National Day for the Victims of Communism, marks 100 years since the Bolshevik Revolution took place in Russia. The Bolshevik Revolution gave rise to the Soviet Union and its dark decades of oppressive communism, a political philosophy incompatible with liberty, prosperity, and the dignity of human life.
Over the past century, communist totalitarian regimes around the world have killed more than 100 million people and subjected countless more to exploitation, violence, and untold devastation. These movements, under the false pretense of liberation, systematically robbed innocent people of their God-given rights of free worship, freedom of association, and countless other rights we hold sacrosanct. Citizens yearning for freedom were subjugated by the state through the use of coercion, violence, and fear.
Today, we remember those who have died and all who continue to suffer under communism. In their memory and in honor of the indomitable spirit of those who have fought courageously to spread freedom and opportunity around the world, our Nation reaffirms its steadfast resolve to shine the light of liberty for all who yearn for a brighter, freer future.
Marion Smith, executive director of Victims of Communism, a human rights group dedicated to remembering those who suffered and died under communist regimes and those who are still oppressed by them today, welcomed the statement.
— Marion Smith (@smithmarion) November 7, 2017
Victims of Communism also emailed out a statement:
America has never before had a day dedicated to recognizing the victims of communism. And there couldn’t be a more fitting day than today—the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. The President also declared his solidarity with “all who continue to suffer under communism.”
As we begin our three-day Victims of Communism Centennial Commemoration today, please join me in honoring the memory of more than 100 million victims and let us continue our efforts to see a world free from the false hope of communism.
However, the move has not been welcomed by some on the left, who tend to view communism in a far more favorable light than other murderous, totalitarian forces of intolerance.
In a now-deleted tweet, BuzzFeed reporter Blake Montgomery described the very idea of victims of communism as a “white nationalist talking point.” The tweet is still available in archives.
Salon, another markedly left-wing publication, ran the headline “Trump’s ‘National Day for the Victims of Communism’ is opposite of Holocaust statement,” before making the bizarre argument that “the White House speaks of the horrors of communism with more gusto than the horrors of the Holocaust.”
On the Holocaust, the Trump administration has previously said it is “impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror.” This is apparently not good enough for Salon.
Newsweek, a publication known for attempting to cover up the Clinton-Lewinsky affair in the 1990s, asked if President Trump was “being a hypocrite” for condemning communism on the eve of his visit to China.
“Some might say there’s an inherent contradiction between the White House condemning communism and Trump’s warm disposition toward China’s leader,” says Newsweek.
White House spokesperson Raj Shah told Newsweek that the statement was “well-timed to indicate our commitment to human rights and freedom.”
In Eastern Europe, commemorations to the victims of communism are commonplace, with many of the region’s leading politicians having directly experienced life under communist regimes. Hungary, for example, maintains a Committee of National Remembrance, while Poland operates a similarly-named Institute of National Remembrance.
Despite communism’s history of state-sanctioned murder, violence, and intolerance, communist flags are still a common sight at left-wing protests and rallies, the most recent sighting being this weekend in Seattle.
— Sam Levine (@samlevine) November 4, 2017