Why the Red Scare in 2015?


This week on Open Sources Guelph, we will welcome Guelph Communist Party candidate Tristan Dineen. I personally have enjoyed my discussions with the Communist candidates over the years, they’re always thoughtful, engaged, passionate, and unscripted. Lately though, it’s felt like I’m in the minority. Lately, it’s seemed like we’re living in the 1950s and the Red Scare is on all over again.

The latest story comes from incumbent Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MP, Conservative Larry Miller. If that name sounds familiar, then you may recall his insistence that Canada has no tolerance for Muslim women that wear niqabs, comments that he was later forced to apologize for the comments. Now, several months later and in the middle of an election campaign, Miller tweeted last week a blast from the past according to Press Progress, “Communist Rules for Revolution.”

The document was supposedly found by Allied soldiers in Germany in 1919, and included such telltale signs of communist activity including, “encouraging government extravagance,” “Divide the people into hostile groups,” and “Corrupt the young, get them away from religion. Get them interested in sex. Make them superficial. Destroy their ruggedness.” Except that it wasn’t real. A thorough investigation by The New York Times in 1970 searched the files of the FBI, CIA, the Library of Congress and other American agencies and learned that the document was likely created by American politicians in the anti-Communist frenzy of the 1950s.

Miller has since deleted his original tweet.

Now this could have just gone down in the annals of Larry Miller boners, but it does strike to a much more bizarre trend I’ve noticed: are some of us still fighting the Cold War?

Despite the fact that even Cuba, one of the last fronts of the Cold War along with the Korean border, now flies an American flag above an operating American embassy in its capital, some us what to fight the commies like its 1959. At a forum hosted by Fair Vote Guelph last week, Dineen rose and demanded to be allowed to join Lloyd Longfield, Andrew Seagram and Gord Miller on the main stage and get equal time. Aside from the bristling discomfort that was akin to walking into a room where your parents are fighting, I was struck by the negativity that Dineen was greeted with. “Not all men are created equal,” said one voice. “All you’ll ever get is one vote,” said another. Message received: communists bad!

To what do we owe this? Have the maneuvers of Vladimir Putin in places like Crimea and Syria casting him as the Post-Soviet Iron Man of Russia hit a little too close to home? Perhaps, but let’s not discount the Victims of Communism Memorial, a project being pushed by a group Tribute to Liberty involving a monstrous concrete design that will sit not inconspicuously on land next to the Supreme Court of Canada building. Before the start of summer, the Conservative government pushed forward a number of committee appointments, including to the National Capital Commission which oversees the design and layout of all monuments in the Ottawa capital area.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, people by and large have seemed content to leave the Red Scare in the past. The biggest communist country remaining, China, became the most sought after market for all that free market money in the last 25 years, even despite their recent economic troubles. But Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made becoming Putin’s arch-enemy a foreign policy plank, and members of government are amongst the loudest cheerleaders for the Victims of Communism Memorial. With Miller’s un-fact checked tweet it almost seems like some people out there are missing the good old days of the Cold War. Hopefully, they’re the only ones.

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