November 7 as Victims of Communism Day – 2021

The state is always the enemy, whether capitalist or communist.

By Ilya Somin, Reason

While I have long advocated using May 1 for this purpose, November 7 is a worthy alternative candidate, which I am happy to adopt if it can attract a broad consensus.

NOTE: The following post is largely adapted from last year’s November 7 post on the same subject..

Since 2007, I have advocated designating May 1 as an international Victims of Communism Day. The May 1 date was not my original idea, but I have probably devoted more time and effort to it than any other commentator. In my view, May 1 is the best possible date for this purpose because it is the day that communists themselves used to celebrate their ideology, and because it is associated with communism as a global phenomenon, not with any particular communist regime, such as that of the USSR. However, I have also long recognized that it might make sense to adapt another date for Victims of Communism Day, if it turns out that some other date can attract a broader consensus behind it. The best should not be the enemy of the good.

As detailed in my May 1 post from 2019, November 7 is probably the best such alternative, and in recent years it has begun to attract considerable support. Unlike May 1, this choice is unlikely to be contested by trade unionists and other devotees of the pre-Communist May 1 holiday. While I remain unpersuaded by their objections on substantive grounds, pragmatic considerations suggest that an alternative date is worth considering, if it can sidestep objections and thereby attract broader support.

For that reason, I am – for the third year in a row – doing a Victims of Communism Day post on November 7, in addition to the one I do on May 1. If November 7 continues to attract more support, I may eventually switch to that date exclusively. But, for the time being, I reserve the options of returning to an exclusive focus on May 1, doing annual posts on both days, or switching to some third possibility should there be another date that attracts a broader consensus than either May 1 or November 7.


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