I find the tendency to trivialise the 80s, the Cold War and the genuine threat to liberty and democracy around the world that the USSR represented quite disturbing.
History has been re-written. The Revisionists - particularly millennial academics – now in charge of our educational establishments, have completely whitewashed and entirely hollowed out the achievements of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and other world leaders of the time, and their role in exposing and thus discrediting and playing their part in dismantling what was the CCCP project. That they do not recognise the European Union’s Arbeit-Macht-Frei-esque sloganeering to be akin to Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union is disconcerting to say the least to those that have lived through those times and find the signs all too familiar.
Many of the under 40s have no idea of the threat communism was, not just in terms of the formidable military arsenal the Soviets possessed but in terms of the bloody revolutions, genocidal campaigns, and political assassinations they carried out around the world.
The USSR backed and facilitated satellite regimes and paramilitary movements weren’t limited to Africa, South America, the Middle East and Asia alone: The Red Brigade in Italy operated openly in several northern cities and just as a single example of their boldness they orchestrated the kidnapping of a 2 time Christian Democrat PM (at that point party leader in opposition), Aldo Mora, one or the major figures of post war Italian politics. They killed 5 men in his security detail, held him prisoner for 54 days, and then executed him by shooting him 10 times after covering him with a blanket on the pretence of moving him to another location.
I remember the fall of the Berlin Wall. I sensed and shared the euphoria of East & West Germany merging into Germany. Some years ago, my daughter bought me a fragment of the fallen wall on one of her trips to the continent. This was a wall the Far Left built – way before Donald Trump was building anything.
The Red Brigade in Italy was as extreme as extreme gets, but we have our own hard left in this country that while less overt in its use of violence (for now – but getting there) to support its goals, nonetheless has sympathy with those movements that resort to those tactics. Enter Antifa and the Koreshique Cult of Corbyn.
They shrug off Corbyn’s connections, affiliations and sympathies to militant political movements, communist revolutionaries and the terror groups they label “freedom fighters”. They do so because they have no appreciation of those times - they argue communism or radical socialism was corrupted by bad leaders in Russia and China but that the ideas themselves were noble.
Trouble is, noble as they might sound, they are anything but. Nothing the hard left want can be achieved while free will is still a thing, while free will is still a human right, while free speech, the right to criticise and offend is still a basic principle of a democracy where every voice or opinion or belief or religion has every right to be heard, and equally, be open to be commented on, lauded, ridiculed, lampooned or critically analyzed.
Communism isn’t dead; it’s just got a better, cuddlier marketing strategy in this day and age. It’s waging a culture war against liberal democracy and our institutions and we HAVE to fight it.
With contributions from Daniel Cremin and Catherine Francoise.