Why do so many young people like communism?
July 21, 2021
Communism continues to be viewed positively by a significant portion of the U.S. population, especially young people: 28% of Generation Z have a favorable view of communism, 30% view Marxism in the same manner, and only one-third understand the Chinese Communist Party has killed more than Nazism.
The 28% of young Americans who view communism favorably are either ignorant or cold-hearted. Take the Holodomor, for example. Between 1931 and 1934, the Soviet government starved ethnic Ukrainians through a man-made famine in which at least 3.9 million Ukrainians died. Red Famine author Anne Applebaum’s description of the famine is enough to turn your stomach:
“In the first phase the body consumes its stores of glucose. Feelings of extreme hunger set in… In the second phase, which can last several weeks, the body begins to consume its own fats and the organism weakens drastically. In the third phase, the body devours its own proteins, cannibalising tissues and muscles. Eventually the skin becomes thin, the eyes distended, the legs and belly swollen as extreme imbalances lead the body to retain water.”
Besides Joseph Stalin, the list of massacres by Mao Zedong of the People’s Republic of China is extensive. Between the Great Leap Forward, the Chinese Land Reform, and the Cultural Revolution, it’s estimated that anywhere from 50 to 70 million Chinese lost their lives. One survivor of the Cultural Revolution, York College professor Zehao Zhou, recalled: “Two enemies of the state lived under the same roof as me — my sister and my father.” His sister’s crime? Being a schoolteacher. His father’s? Serving with Americans during World War II. When Zehao’s father died from years of assaults by the Red Guard, a paramilitary movement, Zehao was not even allowed to mourn him as he was an “enemy of the state.”
And while the current Cuban regime has been nowhere near as bloody, its strict authoritarianism has led to thousands of Cubans protesting in the streets for the end of communist rule.
Has the United States failed at educating its youth of these horrors?
For Americans who weren’t alive under the Cuban Missile Crisis or the fall of the Berlin Wall, communism is just an economic system, not a political one. But rebellious youth challenging the anti-communism status quo is not the only explanation for these pro-communism views. Modern politicians, both Republicans and Democrats, should be criticized.
Republican rhetoric has softened communism by associating socialism with communism, making redistributive political systems more appealing to young people disillusioned with American inequality. And influential Democrats such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, who liken democratic-socialist countries to nirvana, certainly do not help to promote capitalism as the best economic system. Statements from organizations such as Black Lives Matter, in which they blame the U.S. embargo as the cause of Cuba’s recent protests, all while praising the Cuban regime, also push pro-communism sentiments. Thankfully, some states are recognizing the issue.
Last month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill that would require first-hand accounts from victims of totalitarian dictatorships to be included in the K-12 civics curriculum. In the same week, the Arizona Legislature passed a similar bill in which schools will teach a comparative discussion of political ideologies, including communism. Other states should be taking note.
While Cubans protest the devastating communist regime, some Americans continue to revere communism, all while they live in a free, prosperous society. This reverence is inconceivable. Communism isn’t something that “only works in theory.” It is a murderous ideology that’s failed every time it’s been practiced. The evidence? A basic understanding of history.