“What’s going on there now is they’re defacing the monuments of our soldiers . . . they’re insulting the Soviet Union in every possible manner . . . In other words, they’re mocking us,” Soviet Politburo member Nikolai Tikhonov exclaimed during a September 1981 debate over how to respond to the strikes and headline-grabbing protests by the Polish union, Solidarity.
Another Politburo member suggested using the media to smear the independent Polish union to win the public relations battle: “Both in ‘Pravda’ and in other newspapers we must organize statements of this sort.”
Then, like now, academics and media were a tool of first resort to suppress and smear political opposition.
In September of 1981, the Soviet Union seemed an uncrackable monolith. On its frontiers stood a NATO force that would last only a few weeks were a conventional war to break out. The Soviets could rely upon apologists in Western academia and the media to amplify their propaganda and stifle voices demanding freedom.
Yet the opposition of a labor union to Soviet Communism powerfully undermined its claim to legitimacy. The very symbol of that communism — the intersection of a hammer and sickle — implicitly claimed the entire Soviet system was just one large pro-worker’s union. …
In 1981, the future prime minister of Canada had not yet turned 10 years old … Yet there are clues that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau might have heard and absorbed Soviet anti-Solidarity propaganda. In response to the 2022 truckers’ convoy, Trudeau plagiarized the Soviets, claiming, “We won’t give in to those who fly racist flags. We won’t cave to those who engage in vandalism or dishonour [sic] the memory of our veterans.”
The media, perhaps responding to a Soviet-style call to “organize statements of this sort,” wrote, “Images shared on social media during the weekend showed protesters waving flags with swastikas on them, as well as U.S. Confederate flags — which civil rights groups say is a symbol of white supremacy.”
Claims linking the Canadian truckers’ convoy to Nazis appeared in the Guardian, Vox, NPR, the Atlantic, BBC, the (ironically-named) Independent, NBC, Reuters, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and many more. Each of those 10 sources contains a line similar to this, “The truckers have been joined by various groups, including some displaying Nazi symbols and damaging public monuments.” None contained one picture or video to support the smear. …
In 1981, the Soviets seemed invincible. Yet their power was fragile, vulnerable to a single fissure of courage that started in Poland. That crack lengthened and spread until the entire system crumbled.
It must have seemed impossible to defeat an ideology that controlled every institution — the press, the education system, the military, etc. Yet, without firing a shot, a courageous protest in Poland did just that.
The Soviet Union, like modern leftism today, appropriates and exploits the struggle of ordinary people while simultaneously making things worse for them. Their soft hands and arrogance set them apart from their supposed clients in the “real world.” Their only skill is to feast upon the fruits of other people’s labor. When real labor awakens to the true parasitic nature of the Left, the whole system comes crashing down.
The official government media in Soviet Europe was like the mass media in the West today. The Internet sites that spread the truth — despite the government and big tech censorship — are like the samizdat. Pass it on.