An overlooked anniversary
With China much in the news, the establishment media missed a chance to recall America's greatest promoter of the communist regime, who died 50 years ago.
"Anna Louise Strong, the American who spent most of her life writing books and articles extolling the virtues of communism, died today of a heart attack in Peking, where she had lived for the last 12 years," the New York Times reported on March 30, 1970.
In China, the Nebraska-born Strong championed Mao Zedong, whom she first interviewed back in 1946. The Communist Party chairman set up Strong with an apartment, automobile, secretary, cook, and maid. Strong dutifully recycled the regime's propaganda in her monthly "Letter from China," but the American felt bound to carry out other duties.
Chairman Mao deployed "Red Guards" against anyone who might be at odds with his revolutionary goals. As some veterans of the group recalled in 2014, the Red Guards were "shock troops" and "executioners," who "persecuted, tortured, or even killed millions of Chinese, supposed 'class enemies.'" This did not trouble Mao's favorite American journalist.
"Strong joined the Red Guard movement," the New York Times obituary noted. For that task, the American socialist boasted previous experience in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics during the reign of Josef Stalin.
"One must not make a god of Stalin, he was too valuable for that," wrote Strong in her 1935 I Change Worlds. Stalin was then collectivizing agriculture in the USSR, and the independent farmers known as "kulaks" stood in the way.
Stalin sought to abolish the kulaks "as a class," and to that end he planned a famine in Ukraine, which claimed millions of lives. For Strong, "Stalin had merely authorized what farmhands were already instinctively doing."
From her post on the Moscow News, Strong defended Stalin's purge campaigns and show trials. She also wrote for the Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, and The Nation and prided herself on fooling American readers.
Daughter of a Congregationalist minister, Anna graduated from Oberlin College and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, writing her thesis on the psychology of prayer. She quickly converted to the socialist faith, which does not hold truth in high regard.
Strong practiced the "saintly mendacity" and "heroic lies" that British historian Paul Johnson charted in Modern Times. Strong deployed in defense of the Soviet Union and Communist China during the reigns of the worst mass murderers in human history, the nadir of the regimes' depravity. In all of American history, it's hard to think of a more loathsome, evil person than Anna Louise Strong.
If American news anchors knew her record, perhaps they wouldn't be so eager to amplify the propaganda of China's communist regime, which charges that the United States launched the coronavirus crisis.
Lloyd Billingsley is a policy fellow at the Independent Institute.