The Student News Site of Wofford College

Old Gold & Black

Breaking News
  • Issue 12 Out Now! Good Luck with Exams and Safe Travels!

Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

“100 Years of Communism” seeks to raise awareness

%E2%80%9C100+Years+of+Communism%E2%80%9D+seeks+to+raise+awareness

By: Brie White, Senior Writer

Marion Smith ’07, now executive director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) in Washington, D.C., graduated from Wofford with degrees in history and government. On Oct. 24, he re-visited Leonard Auditorium, not as a student but as a keynote speaker. The Government Department co-sponsored VOC’s program, entitled “100 Years of Communism.” VOC was founded in response to a unanimous act of congress, erected a statue on Capitol Hill in 2007 and has grown rapidly in the last three years.

Much of Smith’s research took pace while living in Europe focusing on Cold War and 20th century history. He considered the position at VOC for almost a year before taking it and has spearheaded curriculum for high schools modeled after the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. A pilot program this past July was overwhelmingly successful, and a vast expansion is in the works for the coming year. This fall, college programs, like what was featured here at Wofford, began. These programs include offering educational resources to students, exhibiting artwork and bringing in scholars and human rights activists to talk to students, intending to raise awareness about the 20 percent of the world’s population that live under a communist regime today.

Smith says the structure of government affects everyone with any belief system and that even students with no interest in the political or governmental realm should care about this.  Bringing “100 Years of Communism” to his alma mater was intentional since “a totalitarian system is most harmful to the liberal arts approach to life.” Wofford students can see the complexity of human life and the value and worth in each story. “My education at Wofford perfectly prepared me,” he says.

Story continues below advertisement

In what is a time of political turmoil for our country, Smith says, “Being anti-communism is American, not partisan. We can talk about a high tax welfare state- that’s not socialism. It’s not a good idea to redefine terms that have more than a hundred years of history.” In fact, in a recent poll sponsored by VOC, it was noted that the majority of millennials think their economy doesn’t work for them.

Smith defines a socialist country as being “a society in which the common ownership of property and central planning is more important than individual rights and free enterprise.” Often these are “dictatorships with gross inequality and no free speech”. With public figures such as comedienne Sarah Silverman and Senator Bernie Sanders using the term lightly, the confusion is easy.

“Humans are fundamentally flawed, but we care about justice. No one wants people to go hungry. We want human rights and equal opportunity,” he says. “There are Scandinavian countries that are high-tax welfare states that are not socialist. We can have that conversation. But we should be very careful about embracing dangerous ideologies that, despite good intentions, lead to bad results.”

Donate to Old Gold & Black
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Wofford College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Old Gold & Black
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal