“We learn from history that we do not learn from history,” said German philosopher Georg Hegel. This certainly applies to the resurgent support for Marxism and the tolerance for her adherents, bloody though their hands may be. A good example is the honoring of communist FALN terrorist Oscar López Rivera at Sunday’s New York City Puerto Rican Day parade.
Rivera, 74, spent 35 years in prison for his involvement with the FALN, a Puerto Rican terrorist group that bombed more than 120 U.S. targets between 1974 and 1983, killing or maiming dozens of people. It advocated independence for Puerto Rico but also its enslavement — as it also advocated Marxism. (Of course, Puerto Ricans have never voted for independence — they just voted for statehood — but pesky little matters such as the people’s will never deterred Marxists.)
Rivera was free to be honored because Barack Obama had commuted his two sentences — amounting to 70 years’ incarceration — just before leaving office in January. Rivera can be seen at the parade in the picture above showing the communist clenched-fist salute to supporters.
Speaking of supporters, in what would be shocking in a saner world, parade organizers actually offered Rivera the parade’s “National Freedom Award”; this, for a man whose co-ideologists murdered 94 to 110 million people during the 20th century and who were perhaps history’s greatest destroyers of freedom.
Rivera declined the award, however, “after a backlash that saw sponsors, including AT&T and Jet Blue, and politicians like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo pull out,” reports Fox News. This underlines how controversial Rivera’s honoring is, though one might wonder if the hard-left Cuomo is more concerned about principle or politics: He has presidential ambitions, you know.
One man likely driven by at least some principle is Mayor Bill de Blasio (original name, Warren Wilhelm Jr.): He attended the parade. He’d long defended his decision to do so until claiming last week that he was uncomfortable all along with the honoring of Rivera. Note, however, that I not-so-affectionately dubbed the mayor “Bolshevik” Bill because he has a long history as a Marxist, having supported the brutal Sandinistas, raising money for them and subscribing to their newspaper.
Several police and fire department groups also refused to attend the parade, yet that crowds did flock to the event speaks volumes (mostly about man’s nature). While most attendees were present simply to celebrate Puerto Rican heritage, tolerance of Rivera smacks of at least ignorance — which itself is largely born of indifference — if not of direct indifference itself or even tacit approval.
Yet there was on-scene controversy: Rivera was allowed to ride a float, and his “supporters followed, carrying signs that read, ‘Oscar López Rivera is our Mandela,’” writes CBS News. The site continues:
Nanchelle Rivera, who’s no relation, was not among them. From the sidelines, she said she refuses to back the man who served 35 years in prison for his involvement with a group responsible for bombings that killed and maimed dozens of people.
“He did not represent me,” said Rivera, visiting from Orlando, Florida. She said she would not have gone to watch the celebration if she’d known Lopez Rivera would be there.
A supporter in the parade heard her booing and shouted back, “This is your history!”
Another Rivera presumably no relation, Mark Rivera, was livid about the Marxist’s presence. “This is a day for honoring the republic of Puerto Rico, not honoring a terrorist,” he told the New York Post. “This man has no place in our parade. He makes me ashamed to be a Puerto Rican.”
On the other hand, writes CBS News, a “man named Fred told CBS New York that he still considers Rivera a hero. ‘He struggled to decolonize Puerto Rico, one of the last colonies in the world,’ he said.”
Despite the cheers, jeers, and fears, the violence some anticipated didn’t materialize. Yet the controversy inspired City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to blame “journalists for turning the debate into a big deal,” reports CBS. “‘This is a day of unity, a celebration, not a controversy being made up by the press,’ she told CBS New York.”
Apparently, Viverito doesn’t think honoring a terrorist at a major city parade is newsworthy — even the fake-news (mainstream) outlets aren’t fake enough for her see-no-evil tastes.
Yet the incident is most noteworthy for what it says about us. It’s no surprise NYC officials would honor a Marxist terrorist (or at least be indifferent to him); in 2013, after all, the city elected Bolshevik Bill to its highest office.
Sadly, this isn’t so unusual today. The Obama administration was infested with Marxists, both closeted and avowed. As I reported in 2010, “There was former ‘Green Jobs Czar’ and self-proclaimed communist Van Jones; former communications director Anita Dunn, who said that Mao Tse-tung was one of her ‘two favorite philosophers’; ‘Manufacturing Czar’ Ron Bloom, who said in a speech, ‘We agree with Mao’; and ‘Global Warming Czar’ Carol Browner, who was until recently listed as a leader of the socialist organization ‘Commission for a Sustainable World Society’ (note that, in classical Marxism, socialism is but a transitional phase between free markets and communism).”
This just reflected Obama himself. As The New American noted in January addressing Rivera’s commutation, “The radical move is merely a reflection of Obama's radical roots. After all, the virtually unknown extremist who grabbed the presidency with the backing of the establishment got his political career off the ground in the home of Castro-backed communist terrorist William Ayers of the Weather Underground — a close ally of the FALN terrorists. According to FBI operative Larry Grathwohl who infiltrated the outfit, Ayers' Weathermen group was plotting to exterminate 25 million anti-communist Americans in death camps once they overthrew America with help from foreign communist dictatorships. Like Obama and Ayers, Lopez Rivera was also a ‘community organizer’ in Chicago.”
Also note that Obama’s mentor as a youth was Frank Marshall Davis, a card-carrying member of the Communist Party USA. Then there’s John Drew, a former Marxist who knew Obama at Occidental College in 1980. He says that Obama was a flat-out “Marxist-Leninist” who believed in old-style (violent) socialist revolution.
Of course, if Rivera (and, presumably, Obama) had gotten his way, Puerto Rico would have suffered Cuba’s fate and been even worse off than at present. As with all people, what the island needs aren’t socialist messages wrapped in empty displays of ethnic pride, but a people that acts industriously and virtuously and is willing to shed statism.
This just goes to show that perhaps people do sometimes learn from history — the very recent variety that bites them in the backside — but then forget their lessons as time and prosperity make the pain a distant memory.
Photo of Oscar López at Puerto Rican Day parade in New York City: AP Images