Picture: Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.), who won reelection Nov. 8 in a formerly blue South Florida district, questions Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol in Washington, in March 2021. (Ken Cedeno-Pool/Getty Images)
By February 2, 2023Updated: February 2, 2023
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The U.S. House of Representatives on Feb. 2 passed H. Con. Res. 9, a bill “denouncing the horrors of socialism,” over opposition from Democrats.
The bill was introduced by Rep. Maria Salazar (R-Fla.). It passed in a bipartisan 327–86 vote. All Republicans and 109 Democrats voted in favor of the measure. 13 Democrats voted present.
Salazar explained her rationale for unveiling the bill now in comments to NTD.
“Because 44 percent of Americans believe the Communist Manifesto is better than the Declaration of Independence,” Salazar replied quickly.
Salazar represents Miami, the world capital of communist refugees fleeing from the socialist systems of Cuba, Venezuela, and others in the southern hemisphere. She grew up in Fidel Castro’s Cuba, where she experienced the deprivation of basic essentials that have historically been part and parcel of socialist states.
Republicans pointed to the atrocities and human rights violations historically common to socialist states like the Soviet Union, the Chinese Communist regime, and North Korea.
Founded in the political philosophy of Karl Marx, a German who spent a lifetime in unemployment, socialism and its offshoot communism push for state ownership of the means of production—meaning capital goods like factories, machinery, and other equipment for production.
In Marx’s formulation, a communist country in its final form has no need for a state; however, as a transitionary device Marx called for a so-called “dictatorship of the proletariat,” a nominally short-lived body meant to transition a society from capitalism to communism.
Thus far, however, no communist state has moved beyond this first conceptual stage.
Meanwhile, guided by Marx’s ideology, socialists are responsible for the deaths of upwards of 100,000,000 people during the 20th century.
‘The Greatest Crimes in History’
“[Socialist] ideology necessitates a concentration of power that has time and time again collapsed into Communist regimes, totalitarian rule, and brutal dictatorships,” Salazar wrote in the bill.
Socialism, she continued, “has repeatedly led to famine and mass murders, and the killing of over 100,000,000 people worldwide.”
“Many of the greatest crimes in history were committed by socialist ideologues,” Salazar argued, pointing to figures like Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro, Pol Pot, Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un, and others.
Salazar then listed a slew of examples of rights violations under socialist regimes: the horrors of Stalin’s dictatorship in the USSR, which killed tens of millions and sent millions more to rot in terrifying gulag labor camps; the destruction brought to China’s inhabitants by Zedong’s “Great Leap Forward,” which killed upwards of 55 million human beings in China. She pointed to the so-called “killing fields” of Pol Pot’s Cambodia, which left over one million dead; she pointed to mass starvation that continues to this day in Kim Jong Un’s North Korea.
Socialism, Salzar argued in the bill, is contrary to the founding principles of the United States.
Salazar noted: “The author of the Declaration of Independence, President Thomas Jefferson, wrote, ‘To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry, and the fruits acquired by it.’”
Likewise, Salazar cited a quote from former President James Madison, known in American history as the “Father of the U.S. Constitution.”
Madison wrote that it “is not a just government, nor is property secure under it, where the property which a man has in his personal safety and personal liberty, is violated by arbitrary seizures of one class of citizens for the service of the rest.”
“Whereas the United States of America was founded on the belief in the sanctity of the individual, to which the collectivistic system of socialism in all of its forms is fundamentally and necessarily opposed: Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress denounces socialism in all its forms, and opposes the implementation of socialist policies in the United States of America.”
In floor responses to the resolution, Democrats argued that Republicans were making false equivalencies between the policies pushed for by Democrats and those supported by communists.
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), one of the most prominent left-wing progressives in the lower chamber, said, “No Democrat believes there should be government gas stations or government car companies.”
“So what does the Democratic Party believe? We believe every person in America should have childcare; Republicans’ answer: ‘Look at how many people Stalin killed.’”
Khanna continued: “We say ‘Let’s give everyone healthcare.’ Republicans say, ‘We can’t do that, look at how many people Pol Pot killed!’”
“Give me a break,” Khanna said. “The American people are catching on.”
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) echoed these sentiments.
“This resolution … equates Medicare with the Great Leap Forward,” Sherman said.
Sherman then pointed to so-called “Capitalist Authoritarians,” under which label he placed historical figures like Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Spain’s Francisco Franco, and Chile’s Augusto Pinochet.
Notably, the Russian economy as it exists today is more an oligarchy, controlled by those who benefitted most from the collapse of the Soviet Union, than a capitalist economy.
Likewise in Spain, Franco was an adherent of fascist ideology, which is at a core level opposed to capitalism. The most well-known proponent of the fascist ideology, Adolf Hitler, often made clear that he considered capitalism as much an enemy as socialism and communism.
With the passage of the resolution through the House, it could now be taken up in the Senate.
However, given Democrats’ critical reactions to the resolution in the lower chamber, it seems unlikely that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) will permit a vote on the legislation.
NTD’s Melina Wisecup contributed to this report.
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