An Open Letter to Alex Atamanenko, NDP MP BC Southern Interior

Constituency Offices:

337 Columbia Avenue
Castlegar, British Columbia V1N 1G6
Telephone: (250) 365-2792
Fax: (250) 365-2793

9964 - 350th Avenue
P.O. Box 1701
Oliver, British Columbia V0H 1T0
Telephone: (250) 498-5353

Parliament Hill Office
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Telephone: 613-996-8036

Re: Your Public Support of the "Tribute to Liberty Project"

Dear Alex:

You and I have spoken from the same platform and marched together in the same demonstrations in the cause of ending the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Because of your public stance as an NDP MP for peace, your work in defence of the family farm and organized labour, your stance on environmental issues, on women’s rights, against racism and many other worthy causes of economic and social justice, my late wife Sylvia and I publicly supported your candidature and election.

It is because of our public stance in our community in support of your record as MP that I am publicly expressing my profound disagreement with the support you and the NDP are giving to a cause I deem to be unworthy of any advocates of peace.

I have just read with shock and disbelief your name on a list of supporters and organizations that promote the Tribute to Liberty Project to erect a monument to the “victims of totalitarian communism” in Ottawa.  The project is supported by such “friends” of peace and democracy as;

The Conservatives on this list and the individuals and organizations that support “Tribute to Liberty” actively promote and support the George Bush wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  They are silent about the murder of trade unionists in Columbia.  They do nothing in defence of US War Resistors in Canada.  They oppose full disclosure of alleged torture of Afghan detainees.  They throw open the doors of Canada’s border to US right-wing hate-monger Ann Coulter and slam it shut to US left-wing democrat and peace advocate Amy Goodman.

All of these right-wing politicians, individuals and organizations that support “Tribute to Liberty” are bitter opponents of causes the NDP caucus promotes in Parliament.  The Liberals on the list have no consistent record in defence of peace or democracy.  If the NDP believes it may garner votes by supporting the cause promoted by these individuals and groups it is sadly mistaken.

The NDP has not explained its public support for “Tribute to Liberty.”  I have read nothing thus far justifying the NDP’s association with this project.  I am compelled to conclude that the NDP and you as its spokesperson in our constituency support this project and its stated purpose.   That is inescapable.

The NDP and you as an NDP MP of course have the right to choose which individuals, organizations and causes you will support.  As an elector and citizen I have the right to do likewise.

The “Tribute to Liberty” project unites individuals and organizations that in the name of anti-communism seek to trivialize the crimes of Hitler and his fascist supporters and absolve them of their responsibility for unleashing WW2.  The individuals and groups supporting “Tribute to Liberty” are all well known publicists and activists of an anti-Soviet industry that works to besmirch the role of the Red Army and the Soviet Union in the Allied victory over Hitler Germany.

If there is to be a monument in Ottawa to the “victims of communism” here is a list of names I recommend appear there.  They are all well known historical figures, who emblazoned anti-communism on their banners and dragged the world into WW2 to uphold “liberty” against godless Bolshevism.  

It took an alliance of the Soviet Uni0n, the USA, Britain, France, and the Resistance movements in Nazi occupied Europe to stop them at a horrendous cost to all of humankind.  When it was all over, there were “victims of communism” and they were condemned by all consistent anti-fascists and democrats and brought to justice at Nuremburg and we should be eternally grateful that they were. 

Here is a partial list I would recommend the “Tribute to Liberty” engrave on the pedestal of such a monument.  All were justly “victims of communism.”

Every genuine anti-fascist can add thousands more:

  • Adolph Hitler;

  • Joseph Goebels;

  • Heinrich Himmler;

  • Herman Goering;

  • Benito Mussolini;

  • General Kurt Meyer;

  • Generalismo Franco;

  • Tojo;

  • Hirohito;

  • Miklos Horthy;

  • Count Esterhazy;

  • Sir Oswald Mosley;

  • Adrian Arcand;

  • Senator Joseph McCarthy ;

  • Singh Man Rhee;

  • President Suharto;

  • Raphael Trujillo.

If such a monument should ever be erected in Ottawa, there is another one already there that will stand defiantly opposed to everything “Tribute to Liberty” represents.  It is the monument that Governor General Adrienne Clarkson unveiled to commemorate the sacrifice of more than 1546 Canadians including Dr. Norman Bethune, humanist and Communist, who volunteered to go to Spain and fight the Franco fascists.

National Monument to the MacKenzie-Papineau Battalion:

There you will find the name of Bill Beeching, my wife Sylvia’s stepfather.  He was a Communist.  After returning from Spain he was interned for his beliefs.  Upon his release he immediately joined the Canadian Armed forces and served in WW2 until the defeat of Hitler.  John Beeching, his brother, is honorary Chair of CPS and likewise served along with thousands of other Canadians many of whom were Communists.

I am reminded of a cartoon in a US left wing newspaper of yesteryear of a New York cop beating up and arresting strikers.  The caption read of a strike breaker protesting:  “You can’t arrest me up I’m an anti-communist”.  The cop replies, “I don’t care what kind of communist you are your going to jail.”

Good social democrats like you and communists like Sylvia and I all died together in Hitler’s concentration camps.  That is what “Tribute to Liberty” celebrates.

Don Currie

Chair, Canadians for Peace and Socialism

CC: Jack Layton Leader NDP and Members of the NDP Parliamentary Caucus