The ideas of communism, and the various schools of thought at its foundation, had already seeped deeply into the societies of Europe ahead of the 1917 October Revolution in Russia. Provocateurs presented it as a way out of the suffering of this world—with dreamy tales of an end to poverty and hunger, and a future of earthly delights.
Behind the offer were other intentions, however, and these are made clear by looking at the histories of Karl Marx and others credited with laying the foundations of communism.
In his early poem “Invocation of One in Despair,” Marx wrote about his will to create a new system. He states: “So a god has snatched from me my all … /Nothing but revenge is left to me!”
To exact this revenge, Marx states in the poem that he will “build [his] throne high overhead.” Of this throne, he writes: “Cold, tremendous shall its summit be./For its bulwark—superstitious dread,/For its Marshall—blackest agony./Who looks on it with a healthy eye,/Shall turn back, struck deathly pale and dumb;/Clutched by blind and chill Mortality/May his happiness prepare its tomb.”
Marx had many similar writings, many of which suggest his goal in using communism was never to help humanity, but instead to enact a sort of vengeance against heaven.
In his 1839 play “Oulanem,” believed to be named for a backward pronunciation of “Emmanuel,” an alternative biblical name for God, Marx begins with, “Ruined! Ruined! My time has clean run out! The clock has stopped, the pygmy house has crumbled. Soon I shall embrace eternity to my breast, and soon I shall howl gigantic curses at mankind. … If there is a Something which devours, I’ll leap within it, though I bring the world to ruins—the world which bulks between me and the abyss, I will smash to pieces with my enduring curses.”
In the book “The Making of Modern Economics,” Mark Skousen writes that a pact with the devil is a central theme in “Oulanem,” and the play “reveals a number of violent and eccentric characters.” Skousen notes that “Marx’s fixation with self-destructive behavior was prevalent through most of his life.”
Just like his character Oulanem, Marx shows in his writings a desire to not only destroy himself, but to destroy humankind along with him.
In his 1841 poem “The Player” (also translated as “The Fiddler”), Marx writes, “Look now, my blood-dark sword shall stab/Unerringly within thy soul./God neither knows nor honors art./The hellish vapors rise and fill the brain/Till I go mad and my heart is utterly changed.” He continues, “See this sword—the Prince of Darkness sold it to me,” and, “Ever more boldly I play the dance of death."
A Khmer Rouge soldier waves his pistol and orders store owners to abandon their shops in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on April 17, 1975, as the capital fell to the communist forces. A large portion of the city’s population was forced to evacuate.
An analysis of the above poem from biographer Robert Payne, in his 1968 book “Marx,” states, “Marx is here celebrating a satanic mystery, for the player is clearly Lucifer or Mephistopheles [a Faustian devil], and what he is playing with such frenzy is the music which accompanies the end of the world.”
He continues, “Marx clearly enjoyed the horrors he depicted, and we shall find him enjoying in very much the same way the destruction of whole classes in the ‘Communist Manifesto.’ He was a man with a peculiar faculty for relishing disaster.”
“There can be very little doubt that those interminable stories were autobiographical,” wrote Payne. “[Marx] had the Devil’s view of the world, and the Devil’s malignity. Sometimes he seemed to know that he was accomplishing works of evil.”
However bizarre Marx’s early writings were, his stated claims and goals were not far from the reality of what he created: a system that in a single century took an unprecedented number of lives. Estimates vary, but according to combined research from historians, including Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jung Chang, and Jon Halliday, and numbers collected by “The Black Book of Communism,” published by Harvard University Press in 1999, the number is close to 150 million deaths.
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