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Issue #1914      May 11, 2020



Last week was the 75th anniversary of the defeat of European fascism, otherwise known as Victory Day, which signalled the virtual end of World War 2. The surrender of Nazi Germany, thanks in large part to the Soviet Union (who saw the loss of 29 million lives both military and civilian), ushered in an era that saw Socialism challenge Western Imperialism’s hegemonic dominance. Anniversaries of Victory Day should serve humankind as a reminder of the evils of Fascism and Imperialism. It should also serve as a reminder of the tremendous work the USSR did in not only liberating Eastern Europe but also in raising the standards of living in those nations forgotten by the West. However, in the last few years, it seems like these lessons have been lost not only in Eastern Europe but by a large portion of the world.

Looking towards Eastern Europe, there have been a number of scary developments. Countries like Poland and Hungary have elected far-right leaders who have exhibited fascist tendencies. In Poland, the Law and Justice party has presided over a country where rampant ultranationalism is on the rise under the guise of a kind of Catholicism that promotes white supremacy and anti-immigration views. In 2018, according to NPR, the country passed a law that made it illegal to “[accuse] the nation of complicity during the Holocaust,” was punishable with “a prison sentence of up to three years.” Hungary is on a similar trajectory, with the reelection of Victor Orban, and its National Conservative party Fidesz, who have had a supermajority in parliamentary for a decade. Hungary is also experiencing similar revisionism that minimises Hungary’s fascist activities during World War II. A study from Yale University found that “Hungary has gained the dubious distinction of rewriting history to rehabilitate war criminals and diminish its own guilt,” adding that Hungary “suffers from grave deficiencies in its Holocaust education, memory, and commemoration.”

However, the problem isn’t located solely within Eastern Europe. Countries like the Philippines, Itay, Brazil, and the US, among others, have seen the rise of fascism materialise in electoral politics that in turn shape their respective cultures. Anti-communist, racist, and rabid nationalism have been the weapons of choice for these fascists.

How is it, particularly in countries liberated by the Red Army, that such a 180° turn in perspective has arisen? The reasons are numerous and multifaceted and cannot be adequately outlined in this editorial. However, the diminishing of communist efforts has been a decades’-long project by reactionaries looking to rewrite their nation’s respective history since the collapse of the Soviet Union. In other countries, such as Australia, the focus on the West’s achievements and involvement during WW2 in modern history classes serve only to reinforce Western values and hegemony, diminishing communist efforts in an attempt squash any curiosity of an alternative ideology.

The efforts and actions of those who want to minimise the contributions communists, not only in the Soviet Union but across the world, added to the war effort need to be stopped. It is up to us to uphold the legacy of our fallen comrades. On anniversaries such as these, we need to make concerted efforts to ensure that communist efforts aren’t minimised. Furthermore, we need to correct narratives about the Soviet’s position during the war; claims and narratives are materialising that at best describe the Soviet Union as holding a third position (in opposition to the Axis and Allies) and at worst Nazi collaborationists.

We cannot let the efforts of those brave men and women who died to defeat fascism be in vain. We cannot let Victory Day be morphed into a distortion that serves to promote anti-communist sentiment and diminishes fascist atrocities. That is why every Victory Day we need to be loud and proud about communist efforts so that the world knows, and never forgets, who won the war.


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