Friday, March 19, 2010

Fourteen Signposts to Slavery -- An Introduction

Today is a sunny, but chilly day here in Salt Lake City.  It's already mid-March, and my poor Floridian self is dying to go to the beach -- ANY beach!  I want to soak in that relaxed and peaceful vibe that comes with the sound of ocean waves and seagulls, and the feeling of the sun and sand on my skin!

For now, I'll have to settle for a Northern Utah Spring (which feels a lot like winter in Florida).

I went for a walk in my neighborhood the other day (it was in the 60's!), and I must admit I love a lot about where I live.  I enjoy seeing people at the park with their dogs, 20-something guys with their stunt bikes, and cute little kids stoked that they get to walk around outside without their coats on for the first time in forever!

Life goes on day by day and there is much to appreciate.  I am always glad when I stop to enjoy the little things.

Sometimes I realize that some of the "little" things I enjoy really aren't that small.  What a complete privilege it is to live in a time and a place where personal liberties are enjoyed to an extent unheard of by so very many!  If I wanted to get in my car and drive to California this weekend just to get a taste of the beach, I would be completely free to do so.  If I want to study a particular subject, no-one will stop me.  If I want to pursue a certain path, my biggest obstacle is only myself.

Living like we do in our society with all of our freedoms, it can be easy to forget how very precious they really are.

Like some of you, I have studied history and read horrifying accounts of nations and societies where freedoms are trampled and the people suffer atrocities.  In particular, I spent four years pursuing two Master's Degrees in Russian Language & Literature and Russian & East European Studies (for some reason, one Master's Degree wasn't enough for me).  I received a fairly in-depth education on Russian and Soviet history and literature during my studies.  Honestly, it was pretty traumatizing at times. 

I remember reading Kolyma Stories by Varlaam Shalamov -- a collection of semi-autobiographical short stories about life in the Soviet Gulag.  Outrageous, heart-rending, and horribly depressing.  Just read one of them and you'll be messed up for the rest of the day.

I read Journey Into the Whirlwind by Evgenia Ginzburg --  an autobiographical account of an 18-year stint in the Gulag and some of the events leading up to it.  A rank-and-file, card-carrying Communist Party member, Ms. Ginzburg had the misfortune of getting sledgehammered by Stalin's cannibalistic Purges in the 1930's in which well over a million loyal Communists were arrested in the night and accused of being enemies of the USSR.

Innumerable individuals*** were shot, imprisoned, and interred in slave labor camps in Siberia where their hair would freeze to the barrack walls in the winter nights and come out in clumps the next morning, where inmates would practically be eaten alive in the summer months by mosquitoes while building a railroad to nowhere in the Siberian steppe, and where hunger, abuse, and tortured death was a common, daily ocurrance. 

I lived in Russia in the late 90's, and saw first-hand the beauty and resilience of a people who can live through just about anything and know it.  I also observed the collective unhealed trauma of a nation determined to move forward, but dogged by unresolved pain from the past.

I gained so very much by my study of Russia, it's people, and it's history.  I came away with a greater appreciation for those who labor for freedom, sometimes at great cost to themselves and their families.

Last Spring I read an eye-opening book called None Dare Call It Conspiracy by Gary Allen, and was particularly impressed with a short section on the fourteen signposts to totalitarianism by a historian Dr. Warren Carroll and a refugee from Yugoslavian Communism, Mike Djordjevich.

Carroll and Djordjevich compiled this list sometime in the 1950's or 60's, and warned that the implementation of any of these fourteen policies is a step in the direction of totalitarianism, and "once a significant number of them -- perhaps five --  had been imposed, we can rationally conclude that the remainder would not be far behind . . ."

Where do we stand right at this moment in our nation, while so many assure us that everything is fine while others warn of impending gloom and doom?

I decided that over the next while, I will address each of these fourteen red flags to take a good, objective look. Here are the red flags themselves --

Fourteen Signposts to Slavery

This is a pretty big undertaking for me, requiring hours of research for each point.  I would like to ask any of my readers who have studied some of these issues to comment on this article or email me with resources and leads. I would like for this to be a collaborative effort at understanding the true state of our nation.

I am looking forward to it . . . 

***"According to the declassified Soviet archives, during 1937 and 1938, the NKVD detained 1,548,367 victims, of whom 681,692 were shot - an average of 1,000 executions a day (in comparison, from 1825 to 1910 the Tsarists executed 3.932 persons for political crimes).[55] Historian Michael Ellman claims the best estimate of deaths brought about by Soviet repression during these two years is the range 950,000 to 1.2 million, which includes deaths in detention and those who died shortly after being released from the Gulag as a result of their treatment in it. He also states that this is the estimate which should be used by historians and teachers of Russian history.[56]

According to Memorial society,[44] on the cases investigated by the State Security Department of NKVD (GUGB NKVD):
  • At least 1,710,000 people were arrested
  • At least 1,440,000 people were sentenced
  • At least 724,000 were executed. Among them:

    • At least 436,000 people were sentenced to death by NKVD troikas as part of the Kulak operation (see also figure of 376,202[37])
    • At least 247,000 people were sentenced to death by NKVD Dvoikas' and the Local Special Troykas as part of the Ethnic Operation
    • At least 41,000 people were sentenced to death by Military Courts
  • Among other cases in October 1936-November 1938:

    • At least 400,000 were sentenced to labor camps by Police Troikas as Socially Harmful Elements (социально-вредный элемент, СВЭ)
    • At least 200,000 were exiled or deported by Administrative procedures
    • At least 2 million were sentenced by courts for common crimes, among them 800,000 were sentenced to Gulag camps.
Some experts believe the evidence released from the Soviet archives is understated, incomplete or unreliable.[55][57][58][59] For example, Robert Conquest suggests that the probable figure for executions during the years of the Great Purge is not 681,692, but some two and a half times as high. He believes that the KGB was covering its tracks by falsifying the dates and causes of death of rehabilitated victims.[60]"
 -- Wikipedia "Great Purge" --

1 comment:

  1. There was another list back in the days of the Bush Administration - Dr. Lawrence Britt’s Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism - which of course seemed tailored towards proving that the Bush's were fascist (i wrote on it here ).

    I don't think much of these lists - if America turns towards Communist Dictatorship ( which seems unlikely under the leadership of the mildly liberal Clinton-like corpratist Barack Obama), it will probably do so in a unique way. Frankly i think if we are going towards totalitarianism - a Latin American style oligarchy seems far more plausible.