By: Andrew Breschard
On November 5th, a small group of faculty members and students gathered on the quad at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The purpose of their gathering? Re-enacting the “Storming of the Winter Palace” in celebration of the 102nd anniversary of the October Revolution, originally led by Vladimir Lenin. This revolution played a significant role in creating what would later become the Soviet Union.
The event was advertised as the staging of “a mass spectacle” in the tradition of the early Soviet Union.” The flyer for the event, hosted by students and faculty from the Russian Area Studies Department and the Russian Culture Club, also contained a soviet-era propaganda poster. It depicted Vladimir Lenin waving a gun in the air, in front of illustrations of soldiers and the words “Long Live the Socialist Revolution!”
The re-enactment itself was short and poorly attended. Around 5:00 PM, about 20 people gathered on the quad carrying large protest-style signs with Russian text. Two students then read a speech given by Lenin through a megaphone. The speech included statements like “Long live the people’s militia! Down with the anarchy in industry and capitalists! Long live the control and organization of production and distribution!” and “Down with the State Council! Down with the capitalist ministers! All power to the Soviets of Workers, Soldiers’, and Peasants’ Deputies!” The speech concluded, ironically, with “Bread! Peace! Freedom!”
It is unsurprising to see a demonstration such as this on a campus where Young Americans for Freedom chapter members are absurdly labeled white supremacists and terrorists by professors (one of whom proudly boasts a hammer and sickle on her social media profiles) and students alike. At HWS, funding is refused to clubs that are suspected to be “controversial,” and the school ignores, and in some cases rewrites American history in order to fit their social justice narrative. The school ignores the history of the United States, and the events we could be commemorating, while engaging in the glorification of a Communist revolution
As the president of my YAF chapter, it is appalling that the school writes us off but has no issue glorifying Communism, a system that eventually murdered 100 million people. The failure of many at Hobart and William Smith to promote the history and heritage that makes us proud to be an American is exactly why it is so important to keep conservative activism alive here and on other liberal campuses. It appears that those who are charged with educating us have forgotten the reality of the threat of Communism, or worse are turning a blind eye to it. Students today need to be educated on this threat, not indoctrinated in the false glories of it.
Andrew Breschard is the president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ Young Americans for Freedom chapter.