Dateline: Downtown Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos

Dan Roche

Perhaps you have seen the Socialist Alternative flyers floating around campus blaring “MARX was RIGHT.” There is a “PUBLIC MEETING” (which I cannot attend and heckle, pity) Thursday, and as I was taking in the text of the message I thought, “would UMass allow the American Nazi Party their own space?”

A hate group is a hate group, and I consider Socialist Alternative to be an extremist hate group. Communism as an ideology was responsible for more deaths than Nazism, Fascism, or any other 20th century mutation. I suppose it is a triumph of the Left that their extremist fringe has found refuge in the universities and some form of legitimization, while those of the Right stay for the most part secluded in their underground bunkers.

I’m not alarmed: socialists and their fellow-travelers are merely vultures. During recessions, they loop around hoping to find the occasional disgruntled, down on his luck Joe and turn him into a useful dupe for the Proletariat Revolution. The economy recovers, they are made irrelevant again and disappear. They thrive on misery and want to introduce more misery into the world, so that they can show people their way to a worker’s paradise!

One which never really seems to pan out, does it. And it only results in more misery for ordinary people, as the Party bureaucracy eats everything in sight.

I know that I’m going to receive angry letters and do not care. I have no particular fondness for argument. I will instead address the following to Socialist Alternative, and anyone else who wishes to engage me on this topic.

What follows are quotes culled from Harvard University’s “Project on the Soviet Social System.” The Project is a series of interviews conducted between 1950-1953 by the U.S. Air Force (which UMB alum Dominic Alonzo tells me, incidentally and facetiously, is “the closest thing you will get to socialism in America”), of more than 700 Russian expatriates who fled Communism and were promised anonymity to tell their stories. I respectfully request anyone who contacts me to consider the opinions of these men and women first before they react to mine.

“I feel that the very theory of Marx, Engels, and Lenin is organically wrong and against man’s nature, and carries the danger of social experimentation, completely divorced from real life.”

“…They haven’t told people the truth and people do not believe, but they cannot get out of it and quit the propaganda and go somewhere to the West because there are horrible chains on them. They must listen until such a moment comes.”

“Read a Soviet book; it is propaganda. Attend a Soviet movie; it is propaganda. Read the papers, turn on the radio; propaganda follows you from early in the morning until late at night, and everywhere.”

“…There was a great fuss and scandal going on at the meeting; the children were crying. It turned out the children were being reprimanded for not reporting what they saw and heard at home and on the street to the teachers. From their earliest years the children were developed to be denouncers.”

“Perhaps God has sent us the Communists to pay for the sins of the people. Suffering brings the knowledge of truth.”

“The party wanted to break up the family and religion and put everything under its control.”

But oh ho ho, “the Soviet Union wasn’t real socialism,” you say. I argue that it was the prime exemplar. If Socialist Alternative have their way and socialism comes back, a new Stalinism will be right on its heels. Socialism, Communism, Nazism, Fascism: ideology is the iron fist.

(The Harvard Project on the Soviet Social System Online can be found at

Addendum: There has been a slow-rolling stream of finicky quibbles slipped into this space, about phantom indoor wind gusts, sidewalk cracks, and other minor irritations, over the past few years, and if there is something that looks stupid but could potentially be harmful – or, does not make any cotton-picking sense – I try to bring it up. It is again time.

Every student, I am guessing, uses the Healey electronic reserves at least once or twice a semester, and most use it dozens of times throughout the course of classwork. Yet it remains many clicks away. A simple link under “Quick Links” on Healey’s site could solve what for me, and I’m guessing many others, is a quite vexing problem.

Step one: Begin at UMB homepage, click “Academics” link along top.

Step two: Look for “Electronic Reserves” where they, logically, should be.

Step three: Don’t find them. Enter “Electronic Reserves” in search.

Step four: Follow it to CPCS E-Reserve page, the first result, which leads to a busted link.

Step five: Click back, look and find it at the seventh search result.

Step six: Develop dementia praecox.

…Next week I’m gonna write about the fee increase, probably. Get at me with your propaganda! Also, I’m still looking for graduation horror stories: the working title here is “UMB: No One Gets Out of Here Alive.” Write to me: [email protected].

Deadline for the Watermark, UMB’s literary magazine, is Wednesday!!! But if you’re sweet, maybe you can send something a little late. [email protected]