Containment Of Communism Quotes

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Books can be immensely powerful. The ideas in them can change the way people think. Yet it was the Nazis and Stalin's officers who committed terrible crimes, and not Mein Kampf or the Communist Manifesto - and of course, the Manifesto contained many key ideas that are still relevant and important today, long after Stalin has gone. There is a crucial distinction between the book and its effect - it's crucial because if you talk about a book being harmful rather than its effect you begin to legitimise censorship. Abhorrent ideas need to be challenged by better ones, not banned.
John Farndon (Do You Think You're Clever?: The Oxford and Cambridge Questions)
It is astonishing that Communism has been writing about itself in the most open way, in black and white, for 125 years, and even more openly, more candidly in the beginning. The [book:Communist Manifesto|30474, for instance, which everyone knows by name and which almost no one takes the trouble to read, contains even more terrible things than what has actually been done. It is perfectly amazing. The whole world can read, everyone is literate, yet somehow no one wants to understand. Humanity acts as if it does not understand what Communism is, as if it does not want to understand, is not capable of understanding.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Warning to the West)
He was abusing Big Brother, he was denouncing the dictatorship of the Party, he was demanding the immediate conclusion of peace with Eurasia, he was advocating freedom of speech, freedom of the Press, freedom of assembly, freedom of thought, he was crying hysterically that the revolution had been betrayed — and all this in rapid polysyllabic speech which was a sort of parody of the habitual style of the orators of the Party, and even contained Newspeak words: more Newspeak words, indeed, than any Party member would normally use in real life.
George Orwell (1984)
Wolf’s answers rarely praised communism outright, and he didn’t use Marxist language. But almost all of them praised the Red Army or the Soviet system, both of which were favorably compared to their German counterparts. And all of them explicitly contained the promise that life, which had become unbearable under the Nazis and during the final days of the war, would now quickly improve.
Anne Applebaum (Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956)
The Republican Party spent the year of the liberal apotheosis enacting the most unlikely political epic ever told: a right-wing fringe took over the party from the ground up, nominating Barry Goldwater, the radical-right senator from Arizona, while a helpless Eastern establishment-that-was-now-a-fringe looked on in bafflement. Experts, claiming the Republican tradition of progressivism was as much a part of its identity as the elephant, began talking about a party committing suicide. The Goldwaterites didn’t see suicide. They saw redemption. This was part and parcel of their ideology—that Lyndon Johnson’s “consensus” was their enemy in a battle for the survival of civilization. For them, the idea that calamitous liberal nonsense—ready acceptance of federal interference in the economy; Negro “civil disobedience”; the doctrine of “containing” the mortal enemy Communism when conservatives insisted it must be beaten—could be described as a “consensus” at all was symbol and substance of America’s moral rot. They also believed the vast majority of ordinary Americans already agreed with them, whatever spake the polls—“crazy figures,” William F. Buckley harrumphed, doctored “to say, ‘Yes, Mr. President.’” It was their article of faith. And faith, and the uncompromising passions attending it, was key to their political makeup.
Rick Perlstein (Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America)
The ending of the existing social order and the renewal of life with the aid of the new principles can be accomplished only by concentrating all the means of social existence in the hands of our committee, and the proclamation of compulsory physical labour for everyone. The committee, as soon as the present institutions have been overthrown, proclaims that everything is common property, orders the setting up of workers' societies (artels) and at the same time publishes statistical tables compiled by experts and pointing out what branches of labour are most needed in a certain locality and what branches may run into difficulties there. For a certain number of days assigned for the revolutionary upheaval and the disorders that are bound to follow, each person must join one or another of these artels according to his own choice... All those who remain isolated and unattached to workers' groups without sufficient reason will have no right of access either to the communal eating places or to the communal dormitories, or to any other buildings assigned to meet the various needs of the brother-workers or that contain the goods and materials, the victuals or tools reserved for all members of the established workers' society; in a word, he who without sufficient reason has not joined an artel, will be left without means of subsistence. All the roads, all the means of communication will be closed to him; he will have no other alternative but work or death.
Sergey Nechayev
The United States must play a counterrevolutionary containment role in order to protect our national interests?' This is true only if we equate "our national interests" with the investment interests of high finance. U.S. interventionism has been very effective in building neo-imperialism, keeping the land, labor, natural resources, and markets of Third World countries available at bargain prices to multinational corporations. But these corporate interests do not represent the interests of the U.S. people. The public pays for the huge military budgets and endures the export of its jobs to foreign labor markets, the inflow of thousands of impoverished immigrants who compete for scarce employment and housing, and various other costs of empire.
Michael Parenti (Blackshirts and Reds: Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism)
renovating its welfare-warfare capacities into something different by molding surplus finance capital, land, and labor into the workfare-warfare state. The result was an emerging apparatus that, in an echo of the Cold War Pentagon’s stance on communism, presented its social necessity in terms of an impossible goal—containment of crime, understood as an elastic category spanning a dynamic alleged continuum of dependency and depravation. The crisis of state capacity then became, peculiarly, its own solution, as the welfare-warfare state began the transformation, bit by bit, to the permanent crisis workfare-warfare state, whose domestic militarism is concretely recapitulated in the landscapes of depopulated urban communities and rural prison towns. We shall now turn to the history of this “prison fix.
Ruth Wilson Gilmore (Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California (American Crossroads Book 21))
Containing Communism was a priority, but the United States government had its own plans. Since 1951 or 1952, the idea had been floating around the CIA that they should promote what agent Miles Copeland described as a “Moslem Billy Graham” to spread Islamic fervor. Islamism—the political application of Islamic thought—was considered a possible cure for atheistic Communism. According to Copeland, the CIA “actually got as far as selecting a wild-eyed Iraqi holy man to send on a tour of Arab countries.” He insisted that the project “did no harm.” By the time of Eisenhower’s first administration, though, some in the State Department considered that the House of Saud might fill this religious, anti-Communist role.23 However flamboyantly the Saudi princes might carry on in private, they were publicly devout and served as the guardians of Islam’s holiest sites in Mecca and Medina.
Alex von Tunzelmann (Blood and Sand: Suez, Hungary, and Eisenhower's Campaign for Peace)
All the problems that the socialists proposed to themselves, cosmogonic visions, reverie and mysticism being cast aside, can be reduced to two principal problems. First problem: To produce wealth. Second problem: To share it. The first problem contains the question of work. The second contains the question of salary. In the first problem the employment of forces is in question. In the second, the distribution of enjoyment. From the proper employment of forces results public power. From a good distribution of enjoyments results individual happiness. By a good distribution, not an equal but an equitable distribution must be understood. From these two things combined, the public power without, individual happiness within, results social prosperity. Social prosperity means the man happy, the citizen free, the nation great. England solves the first of these two problems. She creates wealth admirably, she divides it badly. This solution which is complete on one side only leads her fatally to two extremes: monstrous opulence, monstrous wretchedness. All enjoyments for some, all privations for the rest, that is to say, for the people; privilege, exception, monopoly, feudalism, born from toil itself. A false and dangerous situation, which sates public power or private misery, which sets the roots of the State in the sufferings of the individual. A badly constituted grandeur in which are combined all the material elements and into which no moral element enters. Communism and agrarian law think that they solve the second problem. They are mistaken. Their division kills production. Equal partition abolishes emulation; and consequently labor. It is a partition made by the butcher, which kills that which it divides. It is therefore impossible to pause over these pretended solutions. Slaying wealth is not the same thing as dividing it. The two problems require to be solved together, to be well solved. The two problems must be combined and made but one.
Victor Hugo (Les Miserables Vol. IV, Book 11-15)
That’s why traditional religions offer no real alternative to liberalism. Their scriptures don’t have anything to say about genetic engineering or artificial intelligence, and most priests, rabbis and muftis don’t understand the latest breakthroughs in biology and computer science. For if you want to understand these breakthroughs, you don’t have much choice – you need to spend time reading scientific articles and conducting lab experiments instead of memorising and debating ancient texts. That doesn’t mean liberalism can rest on its laurels. True, it has won the humanist wars of religion, and as of 2016 it has no viable alternative. But its very success may contain the seeds of its ruin. The triumphant liberal ideals are now pushing humankind to reach for immortality, bliss and divinity. Egged on by the allegedly infallible wishes of customers and voters, scientists and engineers devote more and more energies to these liberal projects. Yet what the scientists are discovering and what the engineers are developing may unwittingly expose both the inherent flaws in the liberal world view and the blindness of customers and voters. When genetic engineering and artificial intelligence reveal their full potential, liberalism, democracy and free markets might become as obsolete as flint knives, tape cassettes, Islam and communism.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow)
First problem: To produce wealth. Second problem: To share it. The first problem contains the question of labor. The second contains the question of salary. In the first problem the employment of forces is in question. In the second, the distribution of enjoyment. From the proper employment of forces results public power. From a good distribution of enjoyments results individual happiness. By a good distribution, not an equal but an equitable distribution must be understood. From these two things combined, the public power without, individual happiness within, results social prosperity. Social prosperity means the man happy, the citizen free, the nation great. England solves the first of these two problems. She creates wealth admirably, she divides it badly. This solution which is complete on one side only leads her fatally to two extremes: monstrous opulence, monstrous wretchedness. All enjoyments for some, all privations for the rest, that is to say, for the people; privilege, exception, monopoly, feudalism, born from toil itself. A false and dangerous situation, which sates public power or private misery, which sets the roots of the State in the sufferings of the individual. A badly constituted grandeur in which are combined all the material elements and into which no moral element enters. Communism and agrarian law think that they solve the second problem. They are mistaken. Their division kills production. Equal partition abolishes emulation; and consequently labor. It is a partition made by the butcher, which kills that which it divides. It is therefore impossible to pause over these pretended solutions. Slaying wealth is not the same thing as dividing it. The two problems require to be solved together, to be well solved. The two problems must be combined and made but one. …Solve the two problems, encourage the wealthy, and protect the poor, suppress misery, put an end to the unjust farming out of the feeble by the strong, put a bridle on the iniquitous jealousy of the man who is making his way against the man who has reached the goal, adjust, mathematically and fraternally, salary to labor, mingle gratuitous and compulsory education with the growth of childhood, and make of science the base of manliness, develop minds while keeping arms busy, be at one and the same time a powerful people and a family of happy men, render property democratic, not by abolishing it, but by making it universal, so that every citizen, without exception, may be a proprietor, an easier matter than is generally supposed; in two words, learn how to produce wealth and how to distribute it, and you will have at once moral and material greatness; and you will be worthy to call yourself France.
Having renounced theism, liberal thinkers have concocted theories in which their values are the end-point of history. But the sorcery of 'social science' cannot conceal the fact that history is going nowhere in particular. Many such end-points have been posited, few of them in any sense liberal. The final stage of history for Comte was an organic society like that which he imagined had existed in medieval times, but based in science. For Marx, the end-point was communism—a society without market exchange or state power, religion or nationalism. For Herbert Spencer, it was minimal government and worldwide laissez-faire capitalism. For Mill, it was a society in which everyone lived as an individual unfettered by custom of public opinion. These are very different end-points, but they have one thing in common. There is no detectable movement towards any of them. As in the past the world contains a variety of regimes—liberal and illiberal democracies, theocracies and secular republics, nation-states and empires, and all manner of tyrannies. Nothing suggests that the future will be any different. This has not prevented liberals from attempting to install their values throughout the world in a succession of evangelical wars. Possessed by chimerical visions of universal human rights, western governments have toppled despotic regimes in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya in order to promote a liberal way of life in societies that have never known it. In doing so they destroyed the states through which the despots ruled, and left nothing durable in their place. The result has been anarchy, followed by the rise of new and often worse kinds of tyranny. Liberal societies are not templates for a universal political order but instances of a particular form of life. Yet liberals persist in imagining that only ignorance prevents their gospel from being accepted by all of humankind—a vision inherited from Christianity. They pass over the fact that liberal values have no very strong hold on the societies in which they emerged. In leading western institutions of learning, traditions of toleration and freedom of expression are being destroyed in a frenzy of righteousness that recalls the iconoclasm of Christianity when it came to power in the Roman empire. If monotheism gave birth to liberal values, a militant secular version of the faith may usher in their end. Like Christianity, liberal values came into the world by chance. If the ancient world had remained polytheistic, humankind could have been spared the faith-based violence that goes with proselytizing monotheism. Yet without monotheism, nothing like the liberal freedoms that have existed in some parts of the world would have emerged. A liberal way of life remains one of the more civilized ways in which human beings can live together. But it is local, accidental, and mortal, like the other ways of life human beings have fashioned for themselves and then destroyed.
John Gray (Seven Types of Atheism)
The requirement for the United States to craft a national security strategy (NSS) document was first codified in the National Security Act of 1947, and amended by the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986. The 1986 amendment requires the President to submit the document on an annual basis to Congress to provide a comprehensive report on U.S. national security strategy. Both pieces of legislation mandate that the strategy include a "comprehensive description and discussion of worldwide interests, goals, and objectives...that are vital to the national security of the United States." It would also address foreign policy, world wide military commitments, U.S. national defense capabilities, short- and long-term uses of the elements of national power, and the requirement to have the strategy transmitted to Congress in both classified and unclassified form. A number of national security strategies were developed over time prior to the Goldwater-Nichols legislation, to include what many believe was the most significant grand strategy of the era, NSC-68, the key containment strategy against Soviet and Chinese communism. All were crafted during the pre-Goldwater-Nichals Act period at the classified level.
Alan Stolberg
Just because capital has brought a thing inside itself doesn’t mean that thing can’t be threatening to it. I mean, it contains labor within itself, it contains communism in itself. It is contradictory, and the condition of its own demise.
Nazism, fascism, and communism were belief systems adopted passionately by millions of well-educated men and women. Taken together, all of the totalitarian ideologies were self-contained and delivered through a one-way flow of propaganda that prevented the people who were enmeshed in the ideology from actively participating in challenging its lack of human values. Unfortunately, the legacy of the twentieth century’s ideologically driven bloodbaths has included a new cynicism about reason itself—because reason was so easily used by propagandists to disguise their impulse to power by cloaking it in clever and seductive intellectual formulations. In an age of propaganda, education itself can become suspect. When ideology is so often woven into the “facts” that are delivered in fully formed and self-contained packages, people naturally begin to develop some cynicism about what they are being told. When people are subjected to ubiquitous and unrelenting mass advertising, reason and logic often begin to seem like they are no more than handmaidens for the sophisticated sales force. And now that these same techniques dominate the political messages sent by candidates to voters, the integrity of our democracy has been placed under the same cloud of suspicion. Many advocacy organizations—progressive as well as conservative—often give the impression that they already have exclusive possession of the truth and merely have to “educate” others about what they already know. Resentment toward this attitude is also one of the many reasons for a resurgence of the traditional anti-intellectual strain in America. When people don’t have an opportunity to interact on equal terms and test the validity of what they’re being “taught” in the light of their own experience, and share with one another in a robust and dynamic dialogue that enriches what the “experts” are telling them with the wisdom of the groups as a whole, they naturally begin to resist the assumption that the experts know best. If well-educated citizens have no effective way to communicate their ideas to others and no realistic prospect of catalyzing the formation of a critical mass of opinion supporting their ideas, then their education is for naught where the vitality of our democracy is concerned.
Al Gore (The Assault on Reason)
At the beginning of the Cold War, George Kennan, a senior U.S. diplomat, advised his country to “contain” Soviet communism rather than capitulate to or crusade against it. Containment entailed not only military and economic strength, not only diplomacy, but also soft power—the attractiveness of a good example. Crucial, he wrote in 1947, was “the degree to which the United States can create among the peoples of the world generally the impression of a country which knows what it wants, which is coping successfully with the problem of its internal life and with the responsibilities of a World Power, and which has a spiritual vitality capable of holding its own among the major ideological currents of the time.”19 Kennan knew that the United States could do this, but knew that it might not, and he saw with a clear eye what would happen if it did not. He understood then what Americans should understand today: that their ability to negotiate their country’s internal divisions and their confidence in their constitutional democracy have consequences for the wider world. Now, as then, what happens within America is not just about America.
John M. Owen IV (Confronting Political Islam: Six Lessons from the West's Past)
Moderate Republicans like Rockefeller supported the national consensus toward advancing civil rights by promoting national legislation to protect the vote, employment, housing and other elements of the American promise denied to blacks. They sought to contain Communism, not eradicate it, and they had faith that the government could be a force for good if it were circumscribed and run efficiently. They believed in experts and belittled the Goldwater approach, which held that complex problems could be solved merely by the application of common sense. It was not a plus to the Rockefeller camp that Goldwater had publicly admitted, “You know, I haven’t got a really first-class brain.”174 Politically, moderates believed that these positions would also preserve the Republican Party in a changing America. Conservatives wanted to restrict government from meddling in private enterprise and the free exercise of liberty. They thought bipartisanship and compromise were leading to collectivism and fiscal irresponsibility. On national security, Goldwater and his allies felt Eisenhower had been barely fighting the communists, and that the Soviets were gobbling up territory across the globe. At one point, Goldwater appeared to muse about dropping a low-yield nuclear bomb on the Chinese supply lines in Vietnam, though it may have been more a press misunderstanding than his actual view.175 Conservatives believed that by promoting these ideas, they were not just saving a party, they were rescuing the American experiment. Politically, they saw in Goldwater a chance to break the stranglehold of the Eastern moneyed interests. If a candidate could raise money and build an organization without being beholden to the Eastern power brokers, then such a candidate could finally represent the interests of authentic Americans, the silent majority that made the country an exceptional one. Goldwater looked like the leader of a party that was moving west. His head seemed fashioned from sandstone. An Air Force pilot, his skin was taut, as though he’d always left the window open on his plane. He would not be mistaken for an East Coast banker. The likely nominee disagreed most violently with moderates over the issue of federal protections for the rights of black Americans. In June, a month before the convention, the Senate had voted on the Civil Rights Act. Twenty-seven of thirty-three Republicans voted for the legislation. Goldwater was one of the six who did not, arguing that the law was unconstitutional. “The structure of the federal system, with its fifty separate state units, has long permitted this nation to nourish local differences, even local cultures,” said Goldwater. Though Goldwater had voted for previous civil rights legislation and had founded the Arizona Air National Guard as a racially integrated unit, moderates rejected his reasoning. They said it was a disguise to cover his political appeal to anxious white voters whom he needed to win the primaries. He was courting not just Southern whites but whites in the North and the Midwest who were worried about the speed of change in America and competition from newly empowered blacks.
John Dickerson (Whistlestop: My Favorite Stories from Presidential Campaign History)
History from Below’ directed attention to the important roles the masses had played politically, in bringing about major revolutions. It argued that history was not an affair of the upper classes only, using the French Revolution as an example of how even its ‘bourgeois’ phase was driven by the actions of peasants and artisans, and how the proletariat was destined to be the main agent of history in ushering Communism.[9] This approach, advanced by Marxist historians, would be extended by feminists and cultural Marxists generally into a call for a new history that would include the ‘indispensable’ roles and achievements of a whole host of ‘minorities’ neglected by traditional academics (i.e. gays, transsexuals, lesbians, blacks etc.), all of which contained a corresponding assault, and inevitable devaluation of the one agent that stood out as unoppressed, as ultimate oppressor: white hetero males, the very beings responsible for almost all the greatest works in Art and Science. The argument by World Systems Theory is that the ‘core’ countries of the West had achieved their status as advanced cultures by exploitation and holding down the ‘periphery’ and that a true historical narrative entailed an appreciation of the morally superior ways of Third World peoples struggling to liberate themselves from a world system controlled by white owned multinationals. This too has had an immensely negative impact on students, leading them to believe that the West only managed to modernise by extracting resources from the Third World and enslaving Africans and Natives.[10] This highly influential school has missed the far more important role of modern science and liberal institutions in the industrialisation of Western European nations.
Ricardo Duchesne (Faustian Man in a Multicultural Age)
In the building of socialism and communism, the realization of a communist society is the ultimate goal; the establishment of the socialist system is the starting-point. When we say that the socialist revolution has emerged victorious and the socialist system has been established, this means that, with the establishment of a socialist government and of the socialist relations of production, the skeleton of a new society, in which the popular masses are the masters, has been set up. Viewed as part of the progress of human society, the establishment of the socialist system is a historic reform. But viewed as part of the process of building socialism and communism, it is nothing but a beginning. The fledgling socialist society which emerges with the establishment of the socialist system is a new society containing some communist elements. At the same time, it is a transitional society embodying many remnants of the old society.
Kim Jong Il (The Historical Lesson in Building Socialism and the General Line of our Party)
The Wise Men’s Policy for Asia was a blueprint for American disaster in post–World War II Asia, as it called for the U.S. military to enforce the Japan-centric model, a “for us or against us” policy designed to contain Mao Zedong. Bruce Cumings, one of the leading historians on Korea, wrote about the Policy for Asia, “The United States would now do something utterly unimagined at the end of World War II: it would prepare to intervene militarily against anti-colonial movements in East Asia—first Korea, then Vietnam, with the Chinese revolution as the towering backdrop.”33 In Korea, the two sides skirmished, each repeatedly violating the other’s borders. Acheson testified in secret to the Senate that the U.S. had drawn a line of containment in Korea and asked for funding to turn back Communism there.
James D. Bradley (The China Mirage: The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia)
Public meetings, business meetings, encounters on the street, conversations, even posters on the wall all get wrapped up in an official language that doesn't contain a single word of truth. People in the West can't possibly understand what it is really like to lose the right to say what you think for years on end, and the way you have to repress the tiniest "illegal" thought you might have and stay silent as the tomb. That sort of pressure breaks something inside people.
Stéphane Courtois (The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, terror, repression)
He settled into the Chelsea apartment as best he could with everything in his life in turmoil — no permanent abode, no publishing agreements, growing difficulties with the police, and what was to happen now with Marianne? — but when he turned on the TV he saw a great wonder that dwarfed what was happening to him. The Berlin Wall was falling, and young people were dancing on its remains. That year, which began with horrors — on a small scale the fatwa, on a much larger scale Tiananmen — also contained great wonders. The magnificence of the invention of the hypertext transfer protocol, the http:// that would change the world, was not immediately evident. But the fall of Communism was. He had come to England as a teenage boy who had grown up in the aftermath of the bloody partition of India and Pakistan, and the first great political event to take place in Europe after his arrival was the building of the Berlin Wall in August 1961. Oh no, he had thought, are they partitioning Europe now? Years later, when he visited Berlin to take part in a TV discussion with Günter Grass, he had crossed the wall on the S-Bahn and it had looked mighty, forbidding, eternal. The western side of the wall was covered in graffiti but the eastern face was ominously clean. He had been unable to imagine that the gigantic apparatus of repression whose icon it was would ever crumble. And yet the day came when the Soviet terror-state was shown to have rotted from within, and it blew away, almost overnight, like sand. Sic semper tyrannis. He took renewed strength from the dancing youngsters’ joy.
Salman Rushdie (Joseph Anton: A Memoir)
I can’t take communism nor can you, but to cross this bridge I would hold hands with the Devil.
John Lewis Gaddis (Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of American National Security Policy during the Cold War)
My state’s constitution seems to contain a provision requiring that once every two years we must pass a bill which dazzles the entire country in its glittering, bejeweled stupidity. Not all of them are bad. I rather like the absurd ones. For instance, it is illegal to go whale hunting in Oklahoma. That law is certainly a nice gesture (whales both sing and have giant brains, putting them one point ahead of many legislators). But humpback poaching has never really been problematic in our part of the country, what with it being landlocked and all.
Andrew Heaton (Laughter is Better Than Communism)
The refutation of Kephalos’ view of justice thus contains the proof of the necessity of absolute communism in the sense defined, as well as of the absolute rule of the philosophers. This proof, it is hardly necessary to say, is based on the disregard of, or the abstraction from, a number of most relevant things; it is “abstract” in the extreme. If we wish to understand the Republic, we must find out what these disregarded things are and why they are disregarded. The Republic itself, carefully read, supplies the answers to these questions.
Leo Strauss (History of Political Philosophy)
In defining my youthful ideas I used the terms anarchism and Communism. The first stands for the need for the truth about life to be developed in all its richness, over and above the deadening effect imposed on it by institutions. The second represents the need for the world’s richness not to be wasted but organized and made to bear fruit according to reason in the interests of all men living and to come. The first term also means being ready to break the values that have become consolidated up until now, and that bear the mark of injustice, and to start again from scratch. The second also means being ready to run risks involved in the use of force and authority in order to reach a more rational stage in the shortest time possible. These two terms or orders of needs and risks have been to varying degrees co-present in my way of considering political ideas and actions, in the years when I was part of the Communist party, just as they were before that and as they have remained since. Placing an emphasis on one or other of the two elements, or one or other of the two definitions I have given of each, has been the way in which I followed the historic experiences of these years. Today my main concern is to see that the positive definition of the two terms, the one I gave first, can come true by paying the lowest possible of the costs I outlined in the second. The problems that are now troubling the world seem to me to be contained in this crux.
Italo Calvino (Hermit in Paris: Autobiographical Writings)
There was a general shortage of medication. Even the iodine ran out. Either the supply system failed, or else we’d used up our allowance — another triumph of our planned economy. We used equipment captured from the enemy. In my bag I always had twenty Japanese disposable syringes. They were sealed in a light polyethylene packing which could be removed quickly, ready for use. Our Soviet ‘Rekord’ brand, wrapped in paper which always got torn, were frequently not sterile. Half of them didn’t work, anyhow — the plungers got stuck. They were crap. Our homeproduced plasma was supplied in half-litre glass bottles. A seriously wounded casualty needs two litres — i.e. four bottles. How are you meant to hold them up, arm-high, for nearly an hour in battlefield conditions? It’s practically impossible. And how many bottles can you carry? We captured Italian-made polyethylene packages containing one litre each, so strong you could jump on them with your army boots and they wouldn’t burst. Our ordinary Soviet-made sterile dressings were also bad. The packaging was as heavy as oak and weighed more than the dressing itself. Foreign equivalents, from Thailand or Australia, for example, were lighter, even whiter somehow … We had absolutely no elastic dressings, except what we captured — French and German products. And as for our splints! They were more like skis than medical equipment! How many can you carry with you? I carried English splints of different lengths for specific limbs, upper arm, calf, thigh, etc. They were inflatable, with zips. You inserted the arm or whatever, zipped up and the bone was protected from movement or jarring during transportation to hospital. In the last nine years our country has made no progress and produced nothing new…
Svetlana Alexievich (Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices from the Afghanistan War)
In the words of Jaurès, ‘there was in the history of the red flag an ambiguous period in which its meaning oscillated between the past and the future.’ It seems that it takes its current significance from a sort of semiotic reversal: deployed by the royal authorities during the executions of sans-culottes, the latter appropriated it and began to make of it their emblem (this occurred with the insurrection of 10 August 1792, when the revolutionary crowds stormed the Tuileries Palace, put an end to the monarchy and established the National Convention, which proclaimed the Republic in September). It reappeared in 1830 and, like the barricade, became the symbol of the insurgents in all the revolutions of 1848. After the violent repression of June 1848 and the ‘bloody week’ that crushed the Paris Commune in May 1871, counterrevolution made the red colour an object of fetishistic demonization; nothing red could be tolerated, and burning red fabrics became a ritual of purification and a practice of public safety. In 1849, Léon Faucher, the state secretary of the first conservative republican government, issued a circular letter directed to the prefects that contained very precise instructions: ‘The red flag is a plea for insurrection; the red cap recalls blood and mourning; bearing these sad marks means provoking disobedience.’ Therefore the government ordered the immediate banishment of those ‘seditious emblems’. After the Paris Commune, a witness wrote in his memoirs that the city was seized by ‘a crazy rage against all that was red: clothes, flags, ideas, and language itself …’ The colour red, he explained, had become ‘a mortal disease’ whose return should be avoided absolutely, as we do ‘the plague and the cholera’.
Enzo Traverso (Revolution: An Intellectual History)
Then as now, politicians and the media could not diagnose the problems. The failure can be attributed to a Cold War superstructure in which empire was not honestly acknowledged or grappled with, in part because the imperial project had been legitimized by mythical references to the empire’s antithesis and to the empire’s “defensive” strategy—communism and containment, respectively. Belying liberal democratic myths about public sovereignty and the rule of law, the exceptionist pursuit of empire was driven by the pinnacle of American wealth and power. In this context, the state’s crimes or “abuses” at home and abroad are much easier to comprehend, as are the media’s otherwise inexplicable 1970s vacillations between being the public’s watchdog and being the lapdog of official Washington, so to speak.
Aaron Good (American Exception: Empire and the Deep State)