AMAC Exclusive – By Ben Solis
Only a few short weeks after the thwarting of the attempted assassination of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and as the world continues to mourn the death of Shinzo Abe, Japan’s great statesman who was assassinated at a campaign event on July 8, it is worthwhile for Americans increasingly concerned about the threat of political violence here at home to reflect on the fact that history has much to teach us about political violence. Americans, of course, immediately think of Lincoln, but in modern times of John F. Kennedy in Dallas, or his brother Bobby in Los Angeles. We often forget that with both Kennedys, their killers were deeply motivated by Marxism-Leninism and were sympathizers with and believers in that ideology. The media too often finds that fact inconvenient to reflect on, and so rarely does. But another example of Marxist-inspired political violence from the 1970s, though perhaps less well-known, also drew considerable attention at the time and has essential lessons for us now – the kidnapping and murder of Italian Premier Aldo Moro. A brief description of Moro’s life and legacy is instructive for how this pattern of Marxist violence is a truly global phenomenon that democratic nations everywhere must be watchful of.
Moro rose to prominence during a turbulent time in Italy in the decades following World War II. Born to a family of five in the small, impoverished town of Maglie in the country’s southeast region, he learned an ethos of hard work, respect for the dignity of human life, and appreciation for education early from his father, a school inspector, and his mother, a teacher.
Moro studied law in the city of Bari, graduating in 1939. Throughout his time in school, he intensified his devotion to his Catholic faith and developed a friendship with Father Giovanni Battista Montini – the future Pope Paul VI.
With the outbreak of World War II, Moro served in the Italian military before helping to bring about the downfall of the regime of Benito Mussolini in 1943.
Following Mussolini’s ouster, Moro, along with other Christian democratic political leaders, helped form the Christian Democracy, a Catholic-inspired political party determined to rebuild Italy on a solidly Christian and democratic basis after the destruction wrought on the country by radically secular fascism and war. Moro would eventually rise to become the leader of the party and serve as Premier of Italy five separate times, the first in 1963.
As Italy’s top politician, Moro based his governance around the principles that he and Montini had discussed so many years ago. Both Moro and Montini shared Pope Pius XII’s view that the Marxist doctrines of class warfare and the abolition of private property were an insidious threat to the moral and spiritual base of society, indeed with destructive potential akin to fascism.
Moro’s philosophy is perhaps described best in his lecture titled “The Problem of Life,” which explores the freedom of the individual, a topic fascists and Marxists avoided. The Problem of Life discussed the concept of natural law, which Moro called the “profound law of truth.” As Moro explained, the law of truth is ingrained in every person’s conscience, urging them to abandon their ego and focus on the good of others. Through this, every person realizes that he or she is free to do good. The only authentic freedom, he concluded, was the freedom derived from this truth, which was directly opposed to the evils of Marxism.
With this philosophy as a guide, and through pragmatic decision-making and commitment to traditional religious principles, Moro became a crucial political force who helped weaken Marxist influence in Europe, paving the way for the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union.
Throughout his time in power, Moro decried Soviet persecution of Catholic figures in particular – something which earned him the ire of a small but militant faction of Communists in Italy known as the Red Brigade. From the group’s inception, their goal was to destroy Christianity and Christian Democrats in particular, whom they believed to be the foremost obstacle to the “formation of the revolutionary state.”
On March 16, 1978, a group of Red Brigade members stopped a two-car convoy that was carrying Moro on his way to discussions about the formation of a new government. After killing his five bodyguards, they kidnapped Moro and held him hostage. The group made demands that the government release 13 members of the Red Brigade who were on trial in Turin. The government refused. The terrorists conducted a show-trial to portray Moro as a fascist and restated their plan to initiate class warfare across Europe according to the tenets of Marxism. After 54 days in captivity, Moro was murdered, and his body was abandoned on the streets of Rome.
Pope Paul VI – Moro’s old friend – remarked after his death that the tolerance of Marxism in the public square would turn Western societies, once the teacher of civilization, into a helpless witness of revived barbarism. His remark – and the lessons of Moro’s killing – resonate today, as the world continues to confront the threat of Marxist violence.
Just as the Red Brigade targeted Moro in large part for his religious philosophy, religious institutions in the United States have come under relentless attack from left-wing elements in recent years. Following the leaking of a Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, churches and pro-life organizations and crisis pregnancy centers – the majority of which are affiliated with Christian groups – experienced a wave of violence, suffering at least 40 such attacks.
The Justices who signed on to the decision were also subject to threats of violence, many specifically citing the supposed religious basis for their decision. At least two organizations, “Ruth Sent Us” and “ShutDownDC,” searched with social media for information about their location. ShutDownDC even offered a bounty for the location of justices in public, even after Justice Kavanaugh was the target of an assassination attempt.
The BLM organization – which has explicit Marxist roots – also fueled the summer riots of 2020, which saw the lives of conservative politicians threatened and dozens of church firebombings, religious statue demolitions, and anti-Christian graffiti. It is no stretch to say that BLM riots were in many ways a reflection of what the Red Brigade hoped to accomplish in Italy through their terrorist acts.
These acts of violence have one purpose – scaring religious groups and individuals into silence so as to remove the greatest barrier to the spread of Marxist ideology within a society. Those who would tear down religion in the United States hope to turn the country from one based on Judeo-Christian values and principles to a radically secular society completely alien to the American Spirit.
In whatever form it appears, Marxism inevitably leads to suffering, violence, and the destruction of civilized society. That is why all freedom-loving peoples – especially the Christian churches – should continue to guard against the pernicious spread of this ideology, lest these acts of violence become more widespread in the years to come.
Ben Solis is the pen name of an international affairs journalist, historian, and researcher.
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