Like all political systems formed on an ideological rather than a pragmatic basis, communism is flawed. Liberalism for example, is flawed for many of the same reasons that communism is, in spite of the fact that it sets itself against communism. Both share an unhealthy fanaticism that is difficult to successfully oppose.
But on this International Workers Day, I would like to celebrate the most important achievement of socialism and communism. This achievement happened as much by accident as by design.
Communist and socialist countries were and are generally opposed to the import of American hegemonic pop ‘culture’.
American and broader western culture in the 20th century became increasingly anti-Christian, anti-family, anti-male, ahistorical and anti-traditional. Interestingly, in spite of the futurism and atheism implicit in communism, communist societies ended up opposing many of the same things which conservatives despise in western ‘culture’.
For most people living in former communist states, the legacy of former political systems does not manifest itself in people fondly recalling chapters of Das Kapital nor is it about nostalgia over speeches made by Erich Honecker. People tend to look to this era and remember the music of The Alexandrov Choir, films like Офицерыa (Officers) and sweet cartoons like Ну, погоди! (Nu, Pogodi!).
Throughout the communist era, particularly in Warsaw Pact countries and also in Yugoslavia, there was a general cultural consistency wherein the content of film, music and television was wholesome, historically informed, patriotic and comforting. Classical orchestras were well funded in such societies. Performances of both traditional folk, modern and classical music remained popular and recordings became widely and inexpensively available.
Contrast this with the west which at the same time began to increasingly devalue classical music. Likewise, in the west, films became increasingly obscene. By the 1990s, the decade that communism ended in Europe and much of Eurasia, western pop music, film and television were filed with the glorification of violence, a hatred of Christianity, sectarianism, whoring, anarchism and general sickness.
While liberalism is generally thought of as less left-wing than communism, in terms of aggregate cultural output, communist states produced a culture that was monumentally more conservative than that of the liberal west.
The popularity of President Putin in Russia has demonstrated that one can maintain a normal culture and a happy citizenry through the maintenance of a moderate conservative government. This is exactly what Russia has become in the Putin era. Russia still has much work to do in order to purge itself from garish western influences, but Russia is broadly heading in the right direction in this respect.
In the 1920s and 1930s, many Christians fled the Soviet Union due to religious persecution. However, what has become of the west where many fled to? Christian symbols are exorcised from the public sphere and Christian values are excoriated by both the mainstream and counter-cultures.
Christianity has returned to Russia and the communitarian values of communism have been strengthened after the anarchy of the 1990s.
Other post-communist states have not been so lucky. Many countries in Europe have been totally swamped by a deluge of western propaganda disguised as culture. Many have indeed adopted the vulgarity of American culture as a way to enhance their anti-Russian credentials as such states wrongly equate the Germanic philosophy of communism with the long history of Russia which for most of its existence was a conservative Orthodox country, as it once again is today.
For decades, communism helped these countries resist the western ‘cultural’ onslaught. This rampart has been replaced with nothing in most countries. Russia is an exception that proves the rule. Russia’s rich history and restored superpower status have made this exceptional circumstance possible.
On this International Workers Day, I long for a time when much of the world that has now gone ‘west’, used to be protected from the social rot of western Europe and America. In these countries, traditional Leninist-Marxism has been replaced by something much worse: Cultural Marxism.
Many have regrets about this development, but many more remain oblivious. After all, the end result of Cultural Marxism is neurosis and oblivion. That is the point after all, to conquer and numb simultaneously.