Victims of Communism Day:

Today is May Day, the primary holiday of communist parties and regimes. Last year, I put forward my proposal to transform May Day into Victims of Communism Day, in honor of the 100 million or more people murdered by communist regimes in the USSR, China, Cambodia, and elsewhere.

In this short 2005 article, political scientist Rudolph Rummel, a leading authority on mass murder, summarizes the massive death toll of communism in the twentieth century, which he conservatively estimates at some 110 million dead. This figure greatly exceeds the deaths attributable to all of the 20th century's wars combined, as well as all the deaths caused by the 20th century's many brutal noncommunist dictatorships. As Rummel also points out, the communists also have the dubious distinction of establishing the single most lethal regime relative to the size of the population it ruled: Pol Pot's Cambodia.

In addition to honoring the victims of communism, the proposal can also serve as a much-needed reminder of the dangers of allowing the state to seize control of the economy and civil society - just as Holocaust Memorial Day serves as a useful reminder of the dangers of racism and anti-semitism.

UPDATE: As I mentioned in my original May 2007 post, it is likely that this idea was proposed by others first, so I don't claim originality for it. Catallarchy/Distributed Republic, for example, has been commemorating the victims of communism on May Day for several years. Unlike me, they have not, as far as I can tell, proposed that Victims of Communism Day be made an official holiday similar to Holocaust Memorial Day; they instead simply commemorated the day on their blog. That said, their idea was similar enough to mine that I don't object if they take the lion's share of the credit for it. I wouldn't be surprised if someone else came up with a similar idea even earlier. What should matter is the merit of the proposal, not who came up with it first.