Statue of St Junípero Serra in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, before it was removed during the George Floyd protests. Wikimedia

As a young man in the 1960s, I worked with others of my generation to enhance American democracy. As a mature person in 2020, I and others of my generation are offended to see on-going efforts to destabilize American democracy.

Back when we supported peaceful actions to end racial segregation in America, these activities included sit-ins to integrate public facilities, freedom rides to desegregate public transportation, and voter registration drives to end disenfranchisement.  In the process, we willingly and peacefully accepted punishment for breaking existing laws with which we disagreed – laws that typically authorized segregation.  Many of us were trained in methods of non-violent resistance, both physically and psychologically.  Subsequently we worked to change the very laws we opposed through litigation and by developing legislation to assure equal opportunities for all.  

By contrast, the agitators of 2020 who are wantonly destroying property effectively seek to dismantle government itself. They also seek to create equal results for all rather than simply providing for equal opportunity based on merit. To do so, the agitators converted peaceful protests about George Floyd’s death (protected by the First Amendment) into acts of violence through vandalism, riots, and looting.  Instead of peacefully submitting to law enforcement for their law-breaking actions, these trespassers resist police, demand the defunding or elimination of police, and appear determined to tear down the essential fabric of America’s institutions while destroying our history. Rather than non-violence being their guide-star, they foment anarchy.

Regrettably, governmental supporters (mayors, governors, and legislative bodies) in so-called progressive cities and states, as well as the majority of the mainstream media, tacitly endorse these destructive non-peaceful actions. Local governments order law enforcement agencies to stand idle and to avoid engaging these forces of destruction. The net effect permits these cancel-culture warriors to create a situation of domestic terror as they loot stores, obliterate historical statues, burn our flag, destroy buildings, and attack churches and synagogues. 

Thankfully, the federal government takes a different view of those engaging in widespread looting, burglary, arson, destruction of property, and other acts of violence. Both the President and Attorney General Barr are committed to prosecuting these violators. Several of the Department of Justice’s US Attorneys (including, for example, those in Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, and Oakland) have arrested and indicted violent rioters. However, little publicity has been given to these initiatives.

Many of our politicians and mainstream media sources excuse or coddle these law-breakers, emboldening them. Officials are submitting to a rule by mob rather than upholding the rule of law. They are either unaware of the radical elements embedded within these protests or simply don’t care.

Since Black Lives Matter has been responsible for many of the protests, it is useful to note that one of its co-founders, Patrisse Cullors, proudly exclaimed in a 2015 interview that she and another co-founder “are trained organizers” and more specifically are “trained Marxists” with appropriate ideology.  A second example of the BLM leadership’s philosophy is that of Hawk Newsome, chairman of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York. He warned during a recent Fox News interview, “If this country doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it.”

These attitudes reflect a previously discredited Marxist-Leninist ideology. We were warned however by someone in a position to know, how such thinking may ultimately infiltrate America. In a 1984 TV interview, former KGB agent Yuri Alexandrovich Bezmenov, (who had earlier defected to the West), explained the plan of committed Marxists-Leninists to gradually subvert America’s political system. Prior thereto, Nikita Khrushchev, first secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964 and its premier from 1958 to 1964, prophesied that communism would eventually take over America without firing a shot. How? By pitting us against one another, that is, blacks against whites, the rich against the poor, the north against the south, and the religious against the non-religious.

Bezmenov’s TV interview further explained Khrushchev’s prophesy by setting forth four basic stages of ideological subversion and brainwashing that would take place.

The first stage, “demoralization” is a process of reeducating generations of students to change their way of thinking. He believed this development would successfully occur in the USA when the student radicals of the 1960s and 70s came to power and assumed roles as educators and business leaders. According to Bezmenov, these individuals would throw out classical education and weaken belief in traditional Judeo-Christian moral values. They would indoctrinate future students and our business culture with Marxist-Leninist values (such as destroying free speech and replacing it with politically correct speech codes.) The truth of this prophecy is evidenced by simply witnessing (1) what passes for education today in our high schools and colleges, where virulent anti-Americanism is embedded in the educational system and thus becomes part of the student’s values; and (2) the infusions of cash by major business entities to social movements such as BLM or Antifa.

Referring to such people, and in turn the new generations of students they would lead astray, Bezmenov said, “Exposure to true information does not matter anymore. A person who was demoralized is unable to assess true information. The facts tell nothing to him. …”

He continued: “They are programmed to think and react to certain stimuli in a certain pattern. You cannot change their mind even if you expose them to authentic information. Even if you prove that white is white and black is black, you still cannot change the basic perception and the logic of behavior.”

Stage two, “destabilization”, is a process of weakening the essential structural elements of a nation by targeting changes in the economy, defense systems, and international relations  – such as the effort to overhaul 20 percent of the economy through Obamacare or providing billions of dollars to Iran.

The third stage utilizes “crisis” to achieve the ends of the revolution, whether it be a pandemic or the killing of an unarmed Black man. During this time “a violent change of power, structure, and economy” can take hold. It can also accelerate the process of redistributing wealth.

And finally, Bezmenov referred to stage four as “normalization” or what we may now call a “new normal.” By this time America has basically been taken over and lives under a new ideology and reality.

He warned us this is what will happen to America unless it guards against people who desire to bring on times of crisis. “If people will fail to grasp the impending danger of that development, nothing can help the United States. You may kiss goodbye to your freedom.”

We should not be deceived by good hearted progressive idealists who defend the lawbreakers by explaining that these emboldened anarchists only wish to destroy symbols of racism such as confederate statues. Several representative objects targeted for destruction reveal both a contrary intent and actions inconsistent with this rationale. They are not limited to symbols of police brutality or antagonism toward African-Americans.  

Statues of abolitionists such as Matthias Baldwin, an outspoken supporter of abolishing slavery in the USA and the inventor of the steam locomotive, as well as President Ulysses S. Grant who led the Union army against the Confederate army, were vandalized. Also eyed for destruction are statues of Abraham Lincoln whose Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves as is George Washington who led our country to independence. What do any of these statues have to do with erasing historical memories of those supporting the Confederate States of America? And, how does such erasure help us understand our history?

Shaun King, a prominent black activist publicly urged destroying religious icons and statues where Jesus appears “white”. He suggested that such religious artworks were created as “tools of oppression” and as “racist propaganda” that “should all come down.” However, the mobs protesting police brutality following the killing of George Floyd did not discriminate and, indeed, broadened King’s advice into a general anti-religiosity.

Revolutionaries in San Francisco’s Golden Gate State Park toppled a statue of St. Junípero Sierra holding a life-size cross.  St. Junipero was a Roman Catholic Spanish priest and friar of the Franciscan Order during the 18th century. He led the Catholic Church’s missionary efforts among Native Americans on the West Coast and founded several missions. Another Serra statue was toppled at Placita Olvera in downtown Los Angeles.  Other statues of the saint are likewise being ravaged.  

In the uptown Los Angeles neighborhood of Fairfax, synagogues, Jewish memorials and schools were vandalized with anti-Semitic, anti-Israel slogans.  Jewish-owned businesses, including kosher stores were also sacked and looted. Memorials pertaining to the genocide of Jews in World War II did not escape the mobs. The statue of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg in Los Angeles was smeared with anti-Semitic slogans. Wallenberg saved thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Nazis and had no relationship to America nor to its slave past.  A mob in Santa Rosa, CA, knocked to pieces a memorial fountain that was attached to a Holocaust memorial. 

A historic landmark in front of the White House, St. John’s Episcopal Church, known as the “church of presidents” was vandalized on more than one occasion during weeks of unrest related to racism and police brutality. The first time, a boisterous mob deliberately set a fire in the Church’s basement. The second time an unruly mass of folks attempted to set up an “autonomous zone” in front of it. The Church was then defaced with graffiti.  

Illustrative of the destruction of non-religious symbols and ensuing violence was the major riot that broke out in response to the arrest of a 28 year old Black man in Madison, Wisconsin.

Devonere Johnson was videod causing a disturbance in a restaurant there. He confessed to disturbing the peace as he was using a bullhorn inside the restaurant while carrying a bat with the words “black lives matter” painted on it. Video shows him resisting arrest and attempting to escape.

Nevertheless, the response of the crowd was to knock down statues of an abolitionist immigrant who died fighting for the union as well another commemorating women’s suffrage.  Neither of these two memorials reflected racism. They also beat up a 60- year-old state senator (who happened to be a liberal and who, prior to the beating, was likely on their side). They also tried to break into the capitol, and tossed at least one Molotov cocktail onto the capitol grounds. 

The above examples only scratch the surface of the wanton devastation caused by these domestic terrorists. Their approach, premised in part on Marxist-Leninist values, radically differs from my generation’s non-violent approach to highlighting racial injustices through peaceful non-violent means. Our actions, premised in large part by a commitment to religious moral values, succeeded in dramatically impacting societal values.

Today we are in a fight for the hearts and souls of our nation. Less than thirty years ago, the 102nd Congress passed a joint resolution recognizing “the historical tradition of ethical values and principles which are the basis of civilized society and upon which our great Nation was founded”; further, that these ethical values and principles “have been the bedrock of society from the dawn of civilization, when they were known as the Seven Noahide Laws”; and that “without these ethical values and principles, the edifice of civilization stands in serious peril of returning to chaos.”

These Seven Noahide laws are predicated upon a belief that humanity was fashioned in the Divine image. Lev. 19:1 explains that because the human being is “created in the image of G-d,” we should strive to “imitate G-d” through our daily actions.

Unfortunately, many of today’s progressives, indoctrinated by Marxist-Leninist values, choose to ignore these religious commandments and instead focus on grievances and resentments that can return civilization to chaos. By so doing they are eroding our national confidence and self-respect while proving the validity of Bezmenov’s thesis concerning the gradual subversion of America’s political system.

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Arthur Goldberg is the former Co-Director of the American based Jewish Institute for Global Awareness,and JONAH, Inc. JIFGA sponsored www.fundingmorality.com, a crowd-funding site for those committed to...