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Recalls Horrors Of Communism… Liberty Conference In Krakow Appreciates Blessings

September 13, 2018 Featured Today No Comments


The Communist totalitarian control of Eastern Europe is still a recent enough nightmare that some of those who managed to live through it, or their children born since, take time to appreciate the blessings of freedom and liberty that followed the fall of the Iron Curtain. They aspire to spread them further.
The 2018 Liberty International World Conference, held in Krakow, Poland, in mid-August, brought together 123 “freedom leaders” from 24 countries, some of them far from Europe, including Nepal, Brazil, and India, for lectures, panel discussions and networking.
Li Schoolland, a woman born in Communist China who lived through the horrors of Mao Zedong’s monstrous rule, shared her testimony about the destruction and despair clamped onto the populace by wild central-planning theorizing.
Poland’s Jacek Spendel, CEO of the hosting Freedom and Entrepreneurship Foundation (fundacjawip.org), told The Wanderer that the conference has been held every year in a different city since it began in 1982 in Zurich, Switzerland.
The main goal, Spendel said, is “to bring together the best minds and activists in the global freedom movement — to exchange ideas, contacts, and celebrate friendship. As for the ideals — we are all lovers of individual liberty. That means we want a world to be maximally free from government coercion in the field of economics and beyond it.”
Rather than looking to government planners to improve life, the philosophy is that people’s own ingenuity and creativity can supply the answers.
Spendel also is the founder and director of Project Arizona, a fledgling program to bring young people from other countries to the Grand Canyon State for three months in the winter to network and study such aspects in American life as individual initiative, the U.S. Constitution, free enterprise, and private property.
He told The Wanderer he’ll be returning to Phoenix “right after Christmas” to begin directing the third year of Project Arizona, in 2019. Among their activities, participants take university classes, work at internships, engage in projects, meet with public leaders sympathetic to the freedom movement, and use free time to visit Southwestern landmarks.
Earlier this year The Wanderer published two articles introducing readers to the program: “Young Eastern Europeans Come To U.S. To Study Free-Market Ways With ‘Project Arizona’” (February 15, 2018, hardcopy issue, p. 7B) and “FEE Speaker Tells Young Eastern Europeans Liberty Is Rare; Most Have Lived as Slaves Or Serfs” (March 29 hardcopy, p. 3A).
Thanks to the reach of the global digital world, the Argentinian website El Ojo Digital published an article in July encouraging applications to the 2019 Project Arizona.
In a video summarizing the Krakow conference, which he attended, Lawrence Reed, president of the Atlanta-based Foundation for Economic Education (fee.org), said the Freedom and Entrepreneurship Foundation “is devoted to the most noble ideas on the planet, that people should be free, that they should be entrepreneurial, that they should create wealth, they should solve problems.”
Spendel told The Wanderer, “Most of us call ourselves libertarians but some also classical liberal or conservative liberal. We work in different countries and continents around the world to push freedom agenda, more economic and individual freedom, and less government intervention. It’s a lot of fun!”
Just before the Krakow conference, a related event was held in the Polish village of Ponikiew, the Liberty English Camp, where attendees learn English while discussing liberty in an informal setting in the hills that includes barbecue and beach volleyball.
Spendel was quoted in a news release about the camp, “We simply wanted to offer people something different than another conference. Formal events like conferences are important indeed, but I, as well as many of my friends, strongly felt that there is also a demand for more casual ventures.”

A Man-Made Disaster

For those unable to attend the Krakow conference, publicity material included a video of Chinese native Li Schoolland recalling her sufferings under the Mao dictatorship and the wacky Communist central-planning schemes that brought tragedy to the Chinese people.
The rest of this article is a summary of some of Schoolland’s video comments.
She was born in China in 1958 and lived there for 26 years. She was put into boarding school because her parents were assigned to make steel and engage in political activity. “They were never home. They couldn’t take care of me.” There were no parental love and hugs. “That’s my first taste of Communism, because there’s no family.”
In the Great Famine in the early 1960s, “We were starving.”
During the Great Leap Forward for attempted industrialization, backyard furnaces sprouted everywhere for the government’s steel-making program. People had to collect scrap metal, or even manufactured items like doorknobs, to melt down to meet government quotas.
Entire areas of trees were cut for fuel for the furnaces, then even chairs and tables went into the flames.
Another misconceived scheme was to kill all the birds so they couldn’t eat crops and deprive people of food. However, without birds, this meant that insects, especially locusts, were “all over China, and destroyed all the crops, and three years of famine…totally man-made disaster.”
The government also decided that winding rivers going past villages took up too much land, so the rivers had to be straightened out. However, when the water was directed into the new, straight channels it simply was absorbed by the dry earth, while the sandy bottoms of the previous river channels were useless for cultivation. “After that the whole area had no water.”
Mao also decided to grow rice in the mountains, which weren’t suitable for the project, so much work went into building terraces for the paddies, followed by “endless trips every day” to carry water up to the paddies.
Because of government-caused famines, starving people ate leaves, grass, and bark.
Children were taught to sing, “Nothing is greater than the Communist Party,” which was more important than their own families.
At marriage ceremonies, people didn’t say “I love you,” but, “We vow our loyalty to Chairman Mao and party and country.”
With this kind of life, “I am very thankful that we didn’t become crazy. Many of our relatives became crazy….They’re afraid of so many things. They’re traumatized….All the people were really, really creative of humiliating other people, or torture.
“There’s so many different form of torture. And many of my family members couldn’t take it anymore. They commit suicide, so many….The youngest one was 16 years old….
“I watched people die on the street of starvation.”
Even when family members were eating a simple meal at home, other people would walk in and say, “You have to share your food with me, because we’re dying.”

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