In their struggle to normalize fascism and force
working-class youth into the military, the rulers' culture makers
use every form of media, including video games. While such games
have existed for over 20 years, in the last decade game marketers
have especially targeted youth between 16 and 24. The types of games
they sell indicate some of the values the ruling class hopes to
instill in this vital segment of the population.
The extremely popular "Command & Conquer" series
of strategy games allows gamers to "experience" leading an
imperialist power as they build giant armies to conquer other
nations. One of the most popular installments, "Red Alert," puts the
gamer into the middle of World War II. Only this is an imagined
version where the allied forces utilize time travel to kidnap a
young Hitler so the German military can ally with Britain and France
to fight Stalin and the Soviet Union in the 1940's. By doing this,
the game makers switch the roles of the USSR and Nazi Germany in the
gamer's mind. As the game progresses, Stalin is revealed to be a
mere puppet controlled by "Kane" who represents pure evil and turns
the USSR into the "Land of Nod" (the mythical area outside of the
Garden of Eden where wickedness dwelled).
The games' premise reflects the anti-Soviet trend
in U.S. universities that accuses the USSR of being "worse than the
Nazis" and labels Stalin as history's most evil man. These lies are
pounded into workers' heads so they'll forget that it was the Soviet
Union which wiped out the scourge of Nazism during WWII.
To the current ruling-class academic, the USSR
and all it represented (workers' power, anti-imperialism, and
anti-capitalism) are the real evils. It's important to remember that
in the 1930's, other imperialist states supported German fascism in
the hope it would fight the USSR. Not until the Nazis invaded France
(a fellow imperialist) did other imperialist powers make any effort
(small as it was) to stop the Nazis.
By implying that without Hitler, Germany would
not have fallen to fascism, the games' creators are also saying that
"great men," not masses of people, make history. Fascism, like
imperialism, is a natural outgrowth of capitalism, not the actions
of one man. When dealing with the Soviet Union, the game not only
spreads lies about Stalin, but erases the role of Russian workers
and peasants in defeating the Nazi armies. The game implies that
working people are too weak, too dumb, or both to resist such "great"
leaders. This same belief in individualism and the fear that workers
couldn't be won to communism undermined many working-class movements
in the past.
"Command & Conquer's" latest effort, "Generals,"
continues with more of the same. This game pits the Chinese, the
U.S. and the GLA, (an imagined terrorist organization of Middle
Eastern origins) against one another. It sees the three sides as
imperialist powers that fight one another in order to expand their
This game intensifies the level of violence. The
intro to the game assures us that "in the modern world leaders use
words to solve their disputes...words like `scud launcher' and `carpet
bombing.'" It portrays B-52's carpet bombing houses while people run
in terror; a scud missile smashes into a crowded market. Your tanks
roll through towns, running over people who happen to get in the
way, and civilians run away screaming as artillery barrages destroy
city blocks. Such acts of violence against civilians were not
available in previous games. These images are both a sign of
people's willingness to accept this kind of violence and a tool for
U.S. culture makers to prepare people for the slaughter that
accompanies real imperialist conflicts.
One sign of the power of these games is that the
Army now uses a combat simulation game similar to these commercial
games to recruit youth, showing them that the army is "cool."
Perhaps these kids think that if they join the "Army of One" they
can be a "great man" too, just like in the game.
To combat such indoctrination, we must constantly
remind workers of our true history and the great accomplishments of
workers' power in the last century. We must expose the anti-working
class nature of individualism and the "Great Man" theory by showing
that it is the masses of people working together for a common goal
who make history, not individuals.
What appeal do these games have for workers? Is
it the feeling of power they give the gamer after a hard day of
being exploited and feeling powerless on the job? Is it that the
mind-numbing effects of video games help one forget -- for a night
-- the situation facing the working class? Is it that we have
internalized enough ruling-class ideology that we are "amused" by
imperialism and fascism and the violence they create? Or do we
simply want to permanently escape reality and feel like we can be
one of the rulers?
We must answer these questions if we are to
provide an effective defense against these opiates of the masses.
It's well known that certain anti-communist
writers make their living from condemning Stalin. But a review of
three recent anti-Stalin books appearing in the New York Times Book
Review (6/12) tops them all. The reviewer, Harvard professor Niall
Ferguson, heaps praise on the theme of all three authors: because
Stalin allegedly did not prepare for a German invasion, he cost the
Soviet Union millions of lives, resulting in "the greatest military
defeat in Russian history," [!] Of course, the fact that Hitler sent
probably the largest invasion force in world history into the USSR
had nothing to do with those deaths -- "Stalin killed them,"
according to these red-baiters.
In the course of a review covering two-thirds of
two full pages, nowhere is it ever mentioned who won this war! If
someone from outer space came to the Earth and read this opus to
find out what happened in World War II, they would have to conclude
that Hitler beat the Soviets. The review never states what actually
Ferguson, therefore, never quite explains how
Stalin and the Soviet leadership was able to convert this "greatest
military defeat in Russian history" into a war that not only stopped
the Nazis cold at the gates of Moscow; not only produced what is
accepted even by Western historians as the turning point of World
War II when the Red Army smashed the German 6th Army at Stalingrad;
but somehow was able to drive one of the most committed armies the
world has ever seen all the way back to Berlin. This is never
mentioned in the book review, and presumably in the three books
Ferguson doesn't explain this because, seemingly,
it never happened. He also fails to contrast the Red Army's
achievements with the six-week collapse of France's military and
government, not to mention the rest of Western Europe.
Somehow he sees a "demented" Stalin as "assum[ing]
that the capitalist powers...were more interested in the destruction
of the Soviet Union than in the destruction of Nazi Germany." The
anti-communism of this reviewer knows no bounds. For that is
precisely what Britain, France and the U.S. were aiming for: Hitler
to destroy the world's first workers' state. U.S. President Truman
even said he hoped the Nazis and the Soviets "would bleed each other
Ferguson "concludes" that it is hard "to conceive
how World War II might have turned out if Stalin had not trusted
Hitler." [!] But Ferguson never says how it did turn out -- the
smashing of the Nazis along a 2000-mile-long front, occupying 80% of
the German army, and saving the West.
No wonder Ferguson can't figure out that --
despite 50 years of an anti-Stalin orgy, from Khrushchev to
Gorbichev to Yeltsin to Putin -- "53 percent of Russians still
regard him [Stalin] as a `great' leader," according to a 2003 poll
by the Russian Center for Public Opinion (which Ferguson appears to
accept). Truly, no matter how huge their lies and distortions, the
apologists of capitalism can always top themselves