Communism at "Peace"
A Brief Outline of Non-Wartime Communist Atrocities
    Few millennials know about the evils of communism.  

    I've taken survey after survey of students in my English classes,
    and very few students (about a third) say they've studied anything
    about communism in their high school classes. One student actually
    claimed she had studied communism, but all she had been taught
    was America's wickedness during the McCarthy hearings.  It's
    baffling.  It's as if the 80-100 million deaths never happened.

    Communism was and is evil...not just bad ...but evil: 80-to-
    100 million corpses bear that out. Some of these corpses
    form roadbeds in the Arctic Circle (Soviet Union  [56]).  Others
    have been ingested by starving relatives driven to canni-
    balism (Cambodia, China, North Korea, Soviet Union [57]). Some people
    have served as pig food (Bulgaria [58]), while others have served
    as fertilizer to nourish the crops (Cambodia, China [59]). The strange
    thing is that all this occurred within the last century--and still,
    few millennials know anything about it.

    It scares me to think that the evil behind yesterday's communism
    might be the same evil behind today's ignorance. So I am offering
    a brief statistical outline for anyone who would like to become
    more informed about a system that  purports to be run by "the
    people" but always winds up being run by a thousand Caligulas.

    I am no R.J. Rummel, and there is little in the data that
    advances argumentative discourse--but the goal isn't to
    advance the argument, it's to broaden the audience; and the
    target isn't the academic researcher; the target is the individual
    whom I refer to as the "unfairly uninformed."

    Atrocities are broken into the most accessible of demographics--
    "the villager"; "the religious"; "the homosexual"; etc.--and the
    breadth of persecution is made quickly real without relying on
    numbers that are too huge to comprehend.  The goal is for
    hell to become visible after 2 minutes of perusal.

    These statistics are excerpted from a forthcoming treatise,
    and these data have been posted in advance because of their
    potential value. Meticulous care has been given to ensure
    that these numbers do not include military or war-related
    deaths; therefore, we are seeing communism's brutality as
    it truly relates to its citizens apart from its expansionist ideals.
    The one exception concerns Peru. The communists (Luminosa)
    lost the civil war, so by definition, any communist atrocities in
    Peru were war-related. However, the numbers for Peru were
    relatively small, while Peru comprised an important part of
    communism's Latin American footprint. Since Peru is an impor-
    tant part of the overall narrative, it has been included here
    though it is made abundantly clear that their numbers are war-
    related and constitute an exception.

    Additionally, meticulous care has been given to categorize
    victims in each country without double-counting them. This
    is a daunting task since many victims fall into more than one
    category (e.g., most landowners fall into both the kulak and
    the villager categories). When such a situation arises, the victim
    is placed into one category or the other but not both.

    And while there is something cold and dehumanizing about
    reducing human beings to categories--through simple categories
    we see the raised imprint of a culture and a society. Ultimately,
    categories at least come closer to conjuring human faces than
    do sheer, abstract numbers.  

         And to bring things back around to my student who was taught
    that communism's great evil lay in the McCarthy hearings, I would
    love to give her and her classmates a challenge.  She should read
    each statistical item on the outline. And after she reads each item,
    she should think for a second about the McCarthy hearings. Almost
    immediately, the evils of our witch-hunt would seem infinitesimally
    small. It's as if a dragon landed in the backyard, and the teacher
    chose only to talk about a flea in its ear. If my student were to take
    this challenge, it would likely cause her to question everything else
    that her history teacher had chosen to teach her or, rather, not
    teach her. To fill the gap in the students' knowledge has the added
    benefit of exposing the gaps/biases in their teachers' instruction.  

    Ultimately, filling the gap in knowledge will combat the evil of
    ignorance.  If you can forgive the fact that, for the time being,
    these statistics exist as a couple of lone web pages floating
    through cyberspace without mooring, you should find in them a
    concise--if conservative--profile of communism's horrors.

    James McCachren

James McCachren served in the Peace Corps in Uzbekistan  
in 1994-1995, three years after the Central Asian country
seceded from the USSR. He holds an M.F.A. from the
University of Florida and is currently an English instructor
at Halifax Community College in Weldon, NC.