The Pope and Stalin
Question for Marxists (please post and distribute):
Do you think you would you be able to look Lech Walensa in the face and tell him that Marxism is humanity's best hope? Here, from an AP story, are a few of the millions of words that are currently being written and published about Karol Wojtyla.
Lech Walesa, founder of the Solidarity movement that toppled communism in Poland in 1989-90, recalled the power of John Paul's visit to Warsaw in 1979. It was the first to his homeland after becoming pope a year earlier, and he ended Mass with a prayer for the Holy Spirit to "renew the face of the Earth," words that became a rallying cry.
"We know what the pope has achieved. Fifty percent of the collapse of communism is his doing," Walesa told The Associated Press on Friday. "More than one year after he spoke these words, we were able to organize 10 million people for strikes, protests and negotiations.
"Earlier we tried, I tried, and we couldn't do it. These are facts. Of course, communism would have fallen, but much later and in a bloody way. He was a gift from the heavens to us."
I want to write against Jogo's manichean presentation of the world into those who were on Stalin's side and those who were on the side of Reagan and Wojtyla. I also want to write against the simple equasion of the Stalinist bloc with Marxism. In particular, I want to remember all of those on the left including the Marxist left, who helped keep alive the flame of freedom in Eastern Europe. I'm thinking of people like CLR James, Raya Dunayevskaya, Martin Glaberman, Susan Sontag and others at The Nation, Christopher Hitchens, Dissent magazine, Telos magazine, many of the New Left Review editors, Alan Wald...
You don't read obituaries of Solidarity rank and file activists in FrontPage (see these links: Alina Pienkowska and Jacek Kuron).
Keywords: Pope Benedict, Pope John Paul, Cardinal Ratzinger
Christopher Hitchens | John Paul II's other legacy
GreenLeft | Pope John Paul II, a reactionary in shepherd's clothing.
OpenDemocracy | Pope John Paul II and democracy
The Pavelic Papers | The Patron Saint of Genocide
spiked-liberties | The Pope's 'anti-fascist' Christmas tree
idly.org | The Pope and the Fascist
Timothy Garton Ash and Christopher Hitchens
Stalinism: Angela Davis' children, Che and Fidel
Anti-Stalinism: Karl Marx as anti-Stalinist, Voline and Rocker