The Victims of Communism Memorial is being dedicated in Washington, D.C. today, in a service featuring Reps. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.). Other events later in the day include a roundtable discussion with Richard Pipes, Paul Hollander, and Harry Wu; and a dinner with William F. Buckley and Elena Bonner (Andrei Sakharov's wife).
Via Arts & Letters Daily comes this piece in the New Statesman that asks whether brutal repression is a feature not a bug in communism. Writes Robert Service, author of Comrades: A World History of Communism,
In all cases of durable state communism, there was some approximation to the Soviet "model". A single party kept itself in power without concern for electoral mandate. A nomenklatura system of personnel appointment was introduced. Religion was harassed. National traditions were emasculated. The rule of law was flouted. The political police was ubiquitous and ruthless; labour camps were established. Foreign travel permits were made hard to come by. Radio and TV broadcasts from abroad were banned. A prim public culture was installed.
This was the pattern despite the many national differences….
Service notes that, with the exception of Pol Pot's Cambodia, these same regimes industrialized quickly, expanded education, and did other things that helped to explain their staying power (and their good press in the liberal West). More here.
Alan Charles Kors took a long look at The God that Failed (the 1950 anthology and the ideology) for Reason here.