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house Bill H. Res. 679

Should the House Support Designating November 7th as ‘Victims of Communism Memorial Day’?

Argument in favor

Communism as a political system has led to millions of deaths around the world over its history. However, many Americans aren’t sufficiently aware of this history — consequently, communism appeals to too many young Americans who don’t fully understand communism’s history. Designating an annual day of remembrance for victims of communism will help better educate Americans about this political system’s dangers and guard against communism taking root in the U.S.

Just.Dave's Opinion
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11/07/2019
And we need to do the same for the lives ruined by socialism as well. Look at what socialism has done to North Korea, look at Venezuela... Apparently people in this nation need to see what they're really asking for.
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Libertarian's Opinion
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11/07/2019
As a victim of communism, and a survivor, I would absolutely love for this day to be acknowledged.
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11/07/2019
As long as the focus of this day is providing the FACTS about communism and CLARIFICATION of the differences between socialism and communism, I believe this would be helpful in the continuing effort to create an informed electorate which has been accomplished through similar national recognition months and days like Martin Luther King Day and Black History Month. Maintaining our democracy depends on having educated and informed citizens who can make wise decisions in the election of their leaders. I would like to see similar days focused on the basic tenets of our democratic republic such as Constitution Day, or days designated for Articles and Amendments to the Constitution that focus on varying viewpoints and interpretations of them, the reasoning behind those viewpoints and what the effects of those viewpoints have in the lives of different segments of our society. No American should have to attend a college or university to gain this knowledge and learn how to base their personal views on the facts and identify the reasons behind their choices. Our national history is complex and multifaceted, and our citizens should have a good understanding of how it came to be that way!🇺🇸
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Argument opposed

While it’s true that communism has historically hurt people, it’s not fair to condemn the entire political system due to historic failures. It’s also intellectually dishonest to pretend that communism is the only political system that has hurt people throughout history. This is clearly a partisan resolution that seeks to make socialist policies espoused by some Democrats less appealing to American voters.

Aris's Opinion
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11/07/2019
Only if we have a day for victims of capitalism, who die because they can’t afford to live. Begging online for money for insulin, criminalizing homelessness, curable people dying from running out of insurance. This is pointless.
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Jennifer's Opinion
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11/07/2019
While it’s true that communism has historically hurt people, it’s not fair to condemn the entire political system due to historic failures. It’s also intellectually dishonest to pretend that communism is the only political system that has hurt people throughout history. This is clearly a partisan resolution that seeks to make socialist policies espoused by some Democrats less appealing to American voters.
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jimK's Opinion
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11/07/2019
The words capitalism, socialism, fascism and communism have very little meaning when taken out of context of the societies so governed, and the actions they take. It is more accurate to say that someone or some group is acting like a communist because they do this or that. The fact is that most governments have some capitalistic, some communistic, some socialistic and some fascist aspects in the way they operate. So saying that communism is bad per se, is meaningless. If you want to say Communistic Russia contributed to many unwarranted deaths which should be remembered, that would be OK, since we are talking about a specific country which espouses communistic principles but uses those principles to justify bad actions. We get way too attached to the implied connotation of certain words instead of their actual meaning. I cannot judge that any of these words are inherently good or bad; I can judge that the actions taken by a specific government that proclaims to practice governing according to one of these defined words can act in ways that are good or bad. The really bad word is authoritarianism which seems to be at the core of all bad actors; NAZI Germany, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Syria and so forth. Something we, unfortunately are seeing more of in our own country. All authoritarian societies tend to not play “fair” with the world’s community of nations.
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simple resolution Progress


  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Oversight and Reform
    IntroducedNovember 5th, 2019

What is House Bill H. Res. 679?

This resolution would express the sense of the House of Representatives that November 7th should be designated as “Victims of Communism Memorial Day” to recognize the 100 million victims of Communist regimes. It would also request that the president issue a yearly proclamation declaring the National Day for the Victims of Communism, commemorating the victims of communism, and condemning both past and present crimes committed by Communist regimes.

As a simple resolution, this legislation is non-binding and wouldn’t advance beyond the House if passed.

Impact

The House of Representatives; the president; November 7; Victims of Communism Memorial Day; and Communist regimes around the world, both past and present.

Cost of House Bill H. Res. 679

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) introduced this resolution to designate November 7 as Victims of Communism Memorial Day each year. Lipinski is a founder of the bipartisan Victims of Communism Caucus, and spoke of how it important it is for the history of communism and its evils to be recognized:

“I will never forget my experiences in Berlin at the fall of the wall in 1989… In my district, there are many people who suffered under communism, watched relatives and friends perish, and were forced to leave their homes and countries. It is our duty to tell these stories, the truth about communism, and preserve this history for future generations.”

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) supports designating a Victims of Communism Memorial Day. In a November 2018 post on ALEC’s blog, Rep. Kay Christofferson (R-UT) wrote: 

“Given the increasing popularity of socialism in America – especially among young people – designating a day to honor the victims of communist governments is not only the right thing to do but also good policy. A commemorative day offers an ideal teachable moment to educate new generations of Americans about the evils perpetrated in the name of communism and socialism – evils that continue to the present day. These educational efforts are desperately needed. As the Cold War recedes into our national memory, socialism and communism are experiencing a resurgence. According to a 2016 Harvard University study, the majority of millennials do not support capitalism and a 2017 Victims of Communism Foundation survey found that more millennials would prefer to live in a socialist or communist society than in a capitalist one. In subsequent Harvard University polls, only respondents over the age of 50 evinced majority support for capitalism. The movement to “rehabilitate” communism is evident in America’s political landscape… While capitalism’s deficiencies are on full display, including the 2008 financial collapse which some economists predict will have a lasting effect on the lifetime earnings of millennials, communism’s horrible legacy is largely forgotten, not fully understood and unacknowledged. Young American communists and socialists confuse ‘socialist’ western European models with communism. They seem unaware that the strong social safety nets in those countries are made possible by robust capitalist economies and high taxes. They also fail to realize that relinquishing economic freedom often leads to the gutting of social and political freedom. The unfortunate truth is that communism continues to destroy people’s lives and national fortunes… Victims of Communism Memorial Day would create an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the brutalities of life under communism.”

The Trump White House released the first-ever statement for National Day of the Victims of Communism on November 7, 2017 (the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution). In its statement, it said: 

“Today, the National Day for the Victims of Communism, marks 100 years since the Bolshevik Revolution took place in Russia.  The Bolshevik Revolution gave rise to the Soviet Union and its dark decades of oppressive communism, a political philosophy incompatible with liberty, prosperity, and the dignity of human life. Over the past century, communist totalitarian regimes around the world have killed more than 100 million people and subjected countless more to exploitation, violence, and untold devastation.  These movements, under the false pretense of liberation, systematically robbed innocent people of their God-given rights of free worship, freedom of association, and countless other rights we hold sacrosanct. Citizens yearning for freedom were subjugated by the state through the use of coercion, violence, and fear… Today, we remember those who have died and all who continue to suffer under communism.  In their memory and in honor of the indomitable spirit of those who have fought courageously to spread freedom and opportunity around the world, our Nation reaffirms its steadfast resolve to shine the light of liberty for all who yearn for a brighter, freer future.”

A year later, on November 7, 2018, the White House published another presidential message echoing the 2017 message’s themes.

Criticism of the idea of a Victims of Communism Memorial Day has largely come from the left. Buzzfeed journalist Blake Montgomery has characterized the discussion of anti-communist education as a “white nationalist talking point,” and others have condemned this initiative as an attempt to manipulate voters. 

Salon has accused Trump of implicit anti-Semitism, noting that while he’s found strong expressions to condemn communist crimes, Trump has failed to do the same when denouncing Nazi crimes. Salon has also established a parallel between Trump and far-right leaders in Eastern Europe, who use anti-communism as a propaganda tool. In November 2017, Salon writer Taylor Link wrote

“The rhetoric in the [White House’s] statement [for Victims of Communism Memorial Day] was a stark departure from the language used in January when Trump honored International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Trump White House's statement at the time omitted a reference to the Jewish people, who were targeted and killed by the Nazi regime… The Trump White House's eagerness to condemn communism will likely please his base. Far-right politicians in Europe, especially in Hungary, frequently celebrate a day remembering the victims of communism.”

Russia has offered virtually no reaction to the creation of the Day for the Victims of Communism. This is despite the fact that the Kremlin generally opposes “denigration” of the Sovet past (for example, in 2007, Putin called the opening of the Memorial for the Victims of Communism in Washington, D.C. an anti-Russian action). 

This resolution has two Republican cosponsors.


Of Note: Over 100 million people died under commumist regimes in the 20th century, with most of the deaths occurring in the Soviet Union and People’s Republic of China. Despite that history, a 2017 survey by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation found that 58% of young Americans prefer socialism (44% support), communism (7%  support), or fascism (7% support) over capitalism (42% support).

Marion Smith, executive director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, says the study’s results reflect historical illiteracy: 

“This troubling turn highlights widespread historical illiteracy in American society regarding socialism and the systemic failure of our education system to teach students about the genocide, destruction, and misery caused by communism since the Bolshevik Revolution one hundred years ago.”


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / oxinoxi)

AKA

Expressing support for designation of November 7 as annual "Victims of Communism Memorial Day".

Official Title

Expressing support for designation of November 7 as annual "Victims of Communism Memorial Day".

    And we need to do the same for the lives ruined by socialism as well. Look at what socialism has done to North Korea, look at Venezuela... Apparently people in this nation need to see what they're really asking for.
    Like (31)
    Follow
    Share
    Only if we have a day for victims of capitalism, who die because they can’t afford to live. Begging online for money for insulin, criminalizing homelessness, curable people dying from running out of insurance. This is pointless.
    Like (104)
    Follow
    Share
    While it’s true that communism has historically hurt people, it’s not fair to condemn the entire political system due to historic failures. It’s also intellectually dishonest to pretend that communism is the only political system that has hurt people throughout history. This is clearly a partisan resolution that seeks to make socialist policies espoused by some Democrats less appealing to American voters.
    Like (86)
    Follow
    Share
    The words capitalism, socialism, fascism and communism have very little meaning when taken out of context of the societies so governed, and the actions they take. It is more accurate to say that someone or some group is acting like a communist because they do this or that. The fact is that most governments have some capitalistic, some communistic, some socialistic and some fascist aspects in the way they operate. So saying that communism is bad per se, is meaningless. If you want to say Communistic Russia contributed to many unwarranted deaths which should be remembered, that would be OK, since we are talking about a specific country which espouses communistic principles but uses those principles to justify bad actions. We get way too attached to the implied connotation of certain words instead of their actual meaning. I cannot judge that any of these words are inherently good or bad; I can judge that the actions taken by a specific government that proclaims to practice governing according to one of these defined words can act in ways that are good or bad. The really bad word is authoritarianism which seems to be at the core of all bad actors; NAZI Germany, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Syria and so forth. Something we, unfortunately are seeing more of in our own country. All authoritarian societies tend to not play “fair” with the world’s community of nations.
    Like (71)
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    This is an empty, pointless gesture intended to froth up the right. As Jennifer notes below, it’s also intellectually dishonest, ignoring how other systems also kill people. In our current capitalist hellscape, people with diabetes die because they can’t afford insulin. Children die because their families can’t afford medical treatment. According to some numbers, 1 in 5 children in the US experiences food insecurity, and 62% of teachers have reported students coming to school hungry, while we throw out or waste (according to the USDA) 30-40 percent of the food that we produce. While Communism is deeply flawed in many ways, it is just a system. How it works comes down to the people involved. Capitalism is just as guilty of deaths, but it is forgiven as long as those deaths are profitable.
    Like (38)
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    Nothing the US hasn’t perpetrated under the flag of capitalism. Does that mean we now need a ‘Victims of Capitalism Memorial Day’ for all the heinous crimes the US has perpetrated and all the people who suffered because of it? ALEC is involved in this and that’s bad news. Through the corporate funded ALEC, global corporations and state politicians vote behind closed doors to try and rewrite state laws that govern our rights. Participating legislators, overwhelmingly CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS, bring proposals home and introduce them in statehouses across the land as their own brilliant ideas and important public policy innovations, without disclosing that corporations crafted and voted on the bills. 98% of ALEC’s funding comes from corporations, corporate trade groups and corporate foundations. And it’s misleading to say that socialism is communism. Socialism is an economic philosophy, whereas communism is economic and political in its requirement that government be the central owner and decision maker in all matters.
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    Oh for Christ’s sake! We have much bigger fish to fry and this is just utter nonsense.
    Like (28)
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    Only if we also designate days to commemorate victims of lynching, attacks in religious institutions, and violence against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people (at least one transgender woman is brutally killed every month this year). Communism has been dangerous worldwide, but we have much darker crimes happening right here on our own soil, and much of it goes without real consequence.
    Like (24)
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    We have bigger concerns for national security like protecting our elections. Why is legislation left up to the whims of Moscow Mitch?
    Like (22)
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    As a victim of communism, and a survivor, I would absolutely love for this day to be acknowledged.
    Like (21)
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    We are now holding National holidays for foreigners? Can we start with immigrant victims day? Or perhaps Slavery Reperations Day? How about First Nations Memorial Day? We have plenty of victims in American history that we owe apologies and memorial in memory to who suffered under the yoke of capitalism and imperialism. So how about we stop the McCarthyism redbaiting?!?
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    Victims of hatred , ignorance and greed abound in our Earth!! Scapegoating and creating more ignorance, hatred and greed does not help us in mourning for them!! Imagine if the world condemned democracy for the state sponsored terrorism by The United States Of America in Iraq and The Middle East in General!! That would be wholly unfair to democracy and even to ourselves! This whole idea is revolting to any person of conscience!!
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    Or... and bare with me here... our congress could use that time it would take to do this and use it, oh idk... usefully!
    Like (12)
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    As long as the focus of this day is providing the FACTS about communism and CLARIFICATION of the differences between socialism and communism, I believe this would be helpful in the continuing effort to create an informed electorate which has been accomplished through similar national recognition months and days like Martin Luther King Day and Black History Month. Maintaining our democracy depends on having educated and informed citizens who can make wise decisions in the election of their leaders. I would like to see similar days focused on the basic tenets of our democratic republic such as Constitution Day, or days designated for Articles and Amendments to the Constitution that focus on varying viewpoints and interpretations of them, the reasoning behind those viewpoints and what the effects of those viewpoints have in the lives of different segments of our society. No American should have to attend a college or university to gain this knowledge and learn how to base their personal views on the facts and identify the reasons behind their choices. Our national history is complex and multifaceted, and our citizens should have a good understanding of how it came to be that way!🇺🇸
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    This makes no sense to me.
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    People need to be educated. The socialist programs we have are already bankrupting our country. I fear we are beyond the point of no return.
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    This the about the only bill that I could get behind by the democrats.
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    Now if we could only get schools to teach these things.
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    Dumb idea
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    Due to the lack of understanding of the -isms (capitalism, communism, socialism, etc) there is too much of a risk that this could be used as political propaganda to manipulate voters especially with the day falling so close to Election Day! Furthermore, there are more important problems for Congress to work on like healthcare, gun control, education, crumbling infrastructure, global warming, etc! Why has Congress been side tracked into this irrelevant topic unless to use it as a tool for propaganda in upcoming elections?
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