Communism: Confronting the Ideology
The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) is dedicated to educating new generations about the ideology, history, and legacy of communism, and ensuring that the millions who suffered under communist regimes are not forgotten.
An entire generation of Americans, unaware of the true nature and history of communism, is warming to collectivist ideas because they don’t know the facts. Studies consistently reveal that America’s high school and college students do not know basic facts about the history of communism. In this environment, it is no wonder that personalities and symbols of communism are worn on clothing and even celebrated as symbols of equality and justice. Our country’s educational institutions have failed to teach the most important lessons of the 20th century to a new generation of Americans.
We built the first memorial in the world dedicated to every victim of communism. It is a replica of the Goddess of Democracy erected by peaceful pro-democracy Chinese students in Tiananmen Square in June 1989. The Memorial was dedicated by President George W. Bush on June 12, 2007. Since then, it has been a gathering place for ethnic organizations, human rights groups, and foreign government officials who commemorate important historical events and honor the departed and captive. The plinth of the Memorial reads: “To the more than one hundred million victims of communism and to those who love liberty,” and “To the freedom and independence of all captive nations and peoples.”
TRUMAN-REAGAN MEDAL OF FREEDOM
The Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom is awarded to those who have demonstrated a lifelong commitment to freedom and democracy and opposition to communism and all other forms of tyranny. Past laureates include Elena Bonner, Václav Havel, Pope John Paul II, Solidarity Free Trade Union of 1980, Robert Conquest, William F. Buckley Jr., Tom Lantos, Richard Pipes, Armado Valladares, Chen Guangcheng, Natan Sharansky, Oswaldo Payá, Joachim Gauck, Tiananmen Mothers, Memorial Society, Vytautas Landsbergis, and Joseph Zen.
From the Killing Fields of Cambodia to the labor camps of the Soviet Union and the 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square, the Witness Project tells the tragic and powerful stories of the victims of communism, past and present. This award-winning short video series features courageous men and women who experienced life under communism and want to share their cautionary and inspiring stories. The oral history mini-documentaries are screened across the country and internationally as well as disseminated widely online and through social media.
We equip teachers through our annual National Seminar for Middle and High School Educators and in-service professional development workshops based on our new digital curriculum, Communism: A History of Repression, Violence, and Victims. VOC is proud to offer a reimagined approach for rising generations of teachers and students to study the violent past and enduring legacy of communism. Our growing number of teacher alumni are reaching thousands of students in classrooms around the country. The prior edition of the curriculum, Communism: Its Ideology, Its History, and Its Legacy, can be downloaded here.
VOC has partnered with Streamable Learning, an educational platform that provides live and interactive presentations for middle and high school teachers and students, to provide educational resources on the history and perils of communism to teachers and students who are part of Streamable Learning.
Watch video recordings and view semester schedule.
Our Communism and the World webinar series complements our curricular supplements. Renowned scholars and noted subject matter experts present 30-minute lectures that are followed by a moderated Q&A with teachers. Past events are available on VOC’s YouTube channel and serve as a video library of supplemental material for the classroom.
We host campus events for college students in all 50 states to help educate them about communism and socialism. Our academic staff and research fellows participate in conferences, film screenings, lectures, and expert panels on campuses across the country and internationally. We organize class visits by dissidents, witnesses, and scholars on communism from our Speakers Bureau and partner network.
We are pleased to offer internships for enterprising young professionals looking to gain experience in a dynamic, mission-driven nonprofit. We offer the following internships: Academic Programs, Communications, Curatorial, Development, Events, Government Relations, Public Affairs, Research, and Video Production. Interested candidates can apply here.
VICTIMS OF COMMUNISM MEMORIAL DAY
Each year on November 7th, we mark National Day for the Victims of Communism to remember those who have suffered and died at the hands of communist regimes in the past, and to stand for those who are fighting for freedom today. To date, Alabama, Utah, and Virginia have passed resolutions to officially recognize November 7 as “Victims of Communism Memorial Day”, and ten others are moving to do the same.
Our aim is to drive the scholarly and public debates on related issues. Our Speakers Bureau is a representation of our most closely affiliated experts. It is also a valuable resource for schools, universities, and think tanks, as well as allied organizations, governments, and the media.
Through our Local Commissions, we partner with community leaders to support local education with public officials, educators, business leaders, veterans, and ethnic communities. Activities include media campaigns, public and private events, professional development for teachers, local media support, promoting official recognition of an annual day for memorializing victims of communism, and other significant anniversaries.
ART, ARCHIVES, AND PUBLIC EXHIBITIONS
We acquire, curate, and present to the public an expanding collection of art, historical archives, and artifacts that tell the story of more than 100 years of communism from the intellectual, social, economic, and historical vantages. Current collections include The Gulag Collection paintings by Ukrainian artist Nikolai Getman, the International Black Ribbon Day Archive, and Tiananmen Square eye-witness accounts, among others.
PUBLIC INFORMATION CAMPAIGNS
We sponsor advertisements and informational campaigns in prominent places, such as airports or our “Communism Kills” series in New York’s Times Square which reached 1.1 million people. The purpose is to raise public awareness of socialism’s brutal experiments in the last 100 years and of the danger that collectivism poses today. We also run campaigns in solidarity with freedom fighters today, such as our #FreeHongKong t-shirt campaign in support of Hong Kong student protesters. We garner earned media through appearances on major television networks, by briefing journalists, and by hosting public events.
DIGITAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS
We reach millions of people every year through our advertisements, short animated videos, blog posts, mini-documentaries, and social media in order to educate the public on current issues and preserve an accurate record of important historical events. We disseminate and promote these videos and digital products on social media with an eye toward engaging Millennials and Gen Z’ers.
SURVEY ON “U.S. ATTITUDES TOWARD SOCIALISM, COMMUNISM, AND COLLECTIVISM”
In partnership with polling firm YouGov, we publish the survey U.S. Attitudes Toward Socialism, Communism, and Collectivism to better understand national trends and generational differences regarding free enterprise, socialism, and basic 20th-century history. The survey report is cited widely in major media outlets each year and demonstrates a clear need for our work.