It’s been about a century since the Russian Revolution introduced the world to real-life Communism, one of the most murderous totalitarian political systems ever created by humanity. Sadly, the Western world is filled with people almost totally unaware of the tens of millions of deaths and the immeasurable level of suffering that have resulted from his system, and a century later, it’s still going strong. We have active Communists protesting in the streets, teenagers wearing Che Guevara T-shirts, and political leaders lacking an iota of shame about having supported the wrong side in the Cold War. And, of course, continuing Communist governments, or so-called “socialist” governments different in name only, throughout the world.
We think a large part of the reason for this ignorance about the horrors of Communism is the lack of popular narratives or stories in the average person’s consciousness. While certain other 20th-century human tragedies have results in endless coverage on movies and television, Hollywood has been criminally negligent in covering Communism.. And this isn’t due to lack of source material— there has been a constant stream of excellent memoirs, novels, and short stories coming out of the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Red China, and other affected areas. When you have a mental vision of a real person suffering through real experiences, it’s just inherently a lot more vivid than dry statistics you may have been formally taught.
Thus, we arrive at the reason for this podcast. We’re going to look at Communism not from the perspective of global statistics, but through the eyes of those who lived through the system. We’ll review and discuss stories, novels, and memoirs that reveal what it was really like to live in Communist countries, and what it’s still like for many unfortunate prisoners in its remaining outposts. This isn’t meant to be an audiobook— these short podcasts won’t replace the need to read the source materials— but we’re hoping it will peak your interest, and whet your curiosity for more details about what it’s really been like to live under this system. And perhaps, it will open your eyes to the still-present danger that remains if we ignore this bloody phase of history.