Marxist and Communist Ideology: Its History and a Warning For Today

On Wednesday, June 14, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation and Human Events co-hosted an online event during which scholars Jonathan Brent, Flagg Taylor and David Satter discussed the power of Marxist and communist ideology and its impact on the nations that suffered under communist regimes. Despite the obvious failures of their policies these regimes clung stubbornly to their ideology and proceeded with failed plans and policies that resulted in the deaths of millions. Our panelists will examine the history of how and why ideology influenced these regimes and explore current events for signs of similar patterns today. Brent Hamachek, Managing Editor of Human Events, moderated the panel discussion.

About the Speakers

Dr. Jonathan Brent is an academic, author, and publisher. As a publisher, he is the Director of the Annals of Communismseries, which he founded in 1992. He is currently the Visiting Alger Hiss Professor of History and Literature at Bard College and is also the CEO and Executive Director of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York City, Bard’s partner in the Bard-YIVO Institute for East European Jewish History and Culture. Brent is the author of Inside the Stalin Archives: Discovering the New Russia, Stalin’s Last Crime, which was named one of the Best Books of the Year by the Financial Times, and Isaac Babel (forthcoming). He is the Editor of The Best of TriQuarterlyand A John Cage Reader. Brent has held editorial positions at Yale University Press, Northwestern University Press, FORMATIONS, and TriQuarterly. As Executive Editor at Yale in 1992, Brent founded the internationally acclaimed Annals of Communismseries. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Chronicle of Higher Education, American Scholar, New Criterion, New Republic, New York Times, Commentary, and many other newspapers and journals. He received the Whiting Foundation Fellowship in 1977. Brent earned his B.A. at Columbia University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, and has been a member of Bard’s faculty since 2004.

Dr. F. Flagg Taylor IV serves on the Academic Council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation and is an Associate Professor of government at Skidmore College. He holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. in political science from Fordham University and a B.A. from Kenyon College. Taylor’s specialty is in the history of political thought and American government, especially the question of executive power. He is the co-author of The Contested Removal Power, 1789-2010, author of numerous articles, and editor of The Great Lie: Classic and Recent Appraisals of Ideology and Totalitarianism and The Long Night of the Watchman: Essays by Václav Benda, 1977-1989.

David Satter is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a fellow of the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and a long-time observer of Russia and the former Soviet Union. Mr. Satter graduated from the University of Chicago and Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar and earned a B.Litt. degree in political philosophy. He worked for four years as a police reporter for the Chicago Tribune and, in 1976, he was named Moscow correspondent of the London Financial Times. He worked in Moscow for six years, during which time he sought out Soviet citizens with the intention of preserving their accounts of the Soviet totalitarian system for posterity. Mr. Satter has written three books about Russia: It Was a Long Time Ago and It Never Happened Anyway: Russia and the Communist Past; Age of Delirium: the Decline and Fall of the Soviet Union; and Darkness at Dawn: the Rise of the Russian Criminal State.

Brent Hamachek (moderator) is the Executive Editor of Human Events, the oldest conservative platform in the US.  He is also the Business & Operations Manager for the media outlet, Post Millennial. Brent is an opinion writer and author who cowrote Charlie Kirk’s first book, “Time for a Turning Point.” His most noted publication was his 2021 essay, “Understanding and Embracing the Role of a 21st Century American Dissident” which received worldwide attention and led to numerous lectures, media appearances, and events centered around the topic. His most current project is promoting the “Common Ground- Campus” program of which he is a co-founder. Brent also has operated his own business consulting practice since 2000 and has successfully handled over 200 client engagements for privately owned companies.

Event Recording