Blogger Ilya Somin at the Volokh Conspiracy is on a quest to mark May Day as Victims of Communism Day, in the same vein as Holocaust Memorial Day. Why May 1?
May Day began as a holiday for socialists and labor union activists, not just communists. But over time, the date was taken over by the Soviet Union and other communist regimes and used as a propaganda tool to prop up their regimes. I suggest that we instead use it as a day to commemorate those regimes’ millions of victims. The authoritative Black Book of Communism estimates the total at 80 to 100 million dead, greater than that caused by all other twentieth century tyrannies combined. We appropriately have a Holocaust Memorial Day. It is equally appropriate to commemorate the victims of the twentieth century’s other great totalitarian tyranny. And May Day is the most fitting day to do so. I suggest that May Day be turned into Victims of Communism Day….
The main alternative to May 1 is November 7, the anniversary of the communist coup in Russia. However, choosing that date might be interpreted as focusing exclusively on the Soviet Union, while ignoring the equally horrendous communist mass murders in China, Camobodia, and elsewhere. So May 1 is the best choice.
The choice of date isn't the real issue here. People have a tendency to ignore the lessons the previous generations learned the hard way and make the same mistakes over again. We still live in a world where China, North Korea, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam are lumbering communist nations.
When the last peasant is executed and the cracked hammer and twisted sickle are put away, the world will begin to forget. The ignorant children of the future will fall into the open sewer of communism unless our wisdom can be passed forward like a burning torch. Let humanity never forget.