This is a great idea:
May Day began as a holiday for socialists and labor union activists, not just communists. But over time, the date was taken over by the Soviet Union and other communist regimes and used as a propaganda tool to prop up their regimes. I suggest that we instead use it as a day to commemorate those regimes’ millions of victims. The authoritative Black Book of Communism estimates the total at 80 to 100 million dead, greater than that caused by all other twentieth century tyrannies combined. We appropriately have a Holocaust Memorial Day. It is equally appropriate to commemorate the victims of the twentieth century’s other great totalitarian tyranny. And May Day is the most fitting day to do so.
People are far too willing to forget the horrifying body count the Communists piled up. They are also too willing to forget the people in this country who enabled or ignored the bloodshed. But we should never, ever forget or allow ourselves to think that communism is somehow “cute” or “idealistic”. The brutal totalitarianism of communism was not an accident; the foundations of it were laid down in the writings of Lenin and Mao, who believed that people were nothing — the Revolution was everything.
So on today’s Victims of Communism Day, I give my highest recommendation to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago and Anne Applebaum’s haunting Gulag – A History. I recommend Farewell My Concubine, which is a good movie and incidentally shows a little bit of what happened in China under Mao. Read the story of Shin Dong-Huyk, one of the only people to escape from North Korea’s existing gulag. And read the Somin post above and the links she provides.
We don’t have the luxury of pretending it didn’t happen.