Climbing out of the Communist Faith


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FP: Thank you Ismael Hernandez, I appreciate you sharing these sacred elements of your life with us in such a meaningful and moving way.

So what has been your experience in black ministry and in serving the black community?

Hernandez: The black ministry is very much informed by leftist assumptions about the nature of poverty and its narrative is along the lines of oppression and victimization. White guilt and black anger remain as interpretive prisms. I see in it much of what I believed earlier as a communist. But black ministry has not done much to challenge Marxist assumptions and black liberation proposals. Additionally, it is hostage to political correctness. People like me are not supposed to be for “social justice” as it is understood in black ministry.

For example, I was appointed director of the Office of Black Catholic Ministry of my Diocese a few years ago. Because of my conservative views and reluctance to play the white guilt card, I was immediately shunned by the Florida conference and they refused to acknowledge me and to send me any literature. In a letter sent to over 20 prominent Catholic leaders around the country, I was accused of basically hating black people because I have conservative ideas and reject affirmative action and Afrocentrism.  That really hurt, but I came to understand that the tool of the Left is shame. It did not matter to them that I am black, had dedicated many years to serve my people and had married the love of my life, a south-side Chicago black woman. I was a conservative and thus, in the Left’s eyes, a non-black.

FP: Can you expand a bit on what you mean when you say that the “tool of the Left is shame”?

Hernandez: Socialism was my life. It was embedded in the very fabric of my identity. In spite of the sound electoral defeats we experienced, there was something intoxicating in knowing that we were different. Being communists brought to us an aura of mystery and exclusivity. We were an embattled community, a true enlightened vanguard whose shared values would eventually bring victory to fruition. One day, we would efface the pathologies of the present social condition and our flag would stand alone. America was the enemy of humanity and it was our sacred duty to destroy her.

The only moment of tenderness between my parents that my memory manages to retain is seeing both of them laughing and dancing with joy just after watching on TV as Alexander Belov sank a basket to give the U.S. team its first-ever Olympic basketball loss against the Soviet Union at the 1972 games. I was only ten years old. Glancing in my heart upon the interior of our tiny home, I can again see them dance, I can taste my satisfaction, and I can hardly control the emotion.

Their marriage would one day break down under the heavy weight of years of despondency and turmoil safely nurtured under the great red flag of socialism. Socialism destroyed their marriage. I, however, blamed America for the lack of love between them. Socialists see individuals with second thoughts as less than human, betrayers deserving pity at best and death at worst. And they know that they can shatter us by shunning us, for to take that leap, in socialist eyes, is akin to losing yourself.

FP: Lessons learned?

Hernandez: Stand by your convictions. When you reach a transforming truth, something possessing a renovating power, you cannot hide it from others. “Don’t be a fence-sitter” my dad used to tell me, and I have kept the family tradition of rebellious insistence. I discovered that socialism survived in me as an idea to be pursued but never attained simply because if I were serious in trying to find it in reality I had to dig under a pile of human corpses. Socialism is a utopian plan to build what cannot be built, to realize what is only illusory, and to destroy what works even if the result is chaos and death. As its analysis of reality and its anthropology is faulty, socialism fails not because the results of a given radical experiment fail but because it is false in its essential premises.

FP: Why exactly were you yourself able to see through these lies?

Hernandez: As I was faced with the reality of America’s freedom I still fought my heretical thoughts with appeals to the last of all socialist excuses: “Socialism has never been tried.” For a Communist, the embarrassment of reality must be opposed by a stubborn insistence on airbrushing history to preserve a semblance of respectability. Having been so wrong for so long about politics, life, and economics, it was excessively difficult to face the devastating truth.

One day, I finally accepted the error of my poorly crafted deception. I realized that socialism had been tried and the result had been, and will always be, the Gulag.

FP: Share with us the mission of your institute.

Hernandez: Our mission is to learn about and live freedom in the minority community. The task of bringing the truths of freedom to minorities is one that must be effected by people who are already invested in the lives of our people.  Major conservative institutes often remain foreign to the real lives of real people in minority communities, thus the ideas of freedom are associated with elites telling people what to do and how to live.

We believe in the creation of a movement of community organizers for freedom who while offering intellectually rewarding opportunities also operate from within communities. Decades after the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement there are still walls of silence, oppression and division erected in minority communities by governments, organizations and leaders invested in a government-centered vision for minority America. Such vision limits our civic engagement and prevents individuals from their right to life, liberty and property. A soft socialism threatens to suffocate our liberty and development and channels our aspirations of prosperity through narrow collectivist alternatives. We intend to change this.

FP: Why do you think the leftist lie is so powerful among minority communities? The Left, which pretends that it wants to empower minorities, in truth only seeks to disempower them further, correct? What in your view is the most effective way for minority groups to empower themselves?

Hernandez: A truly oppressed community often appeals to commonality as a defense mechanism. Minorities needed to bind together around common goals and common ideas as a way to survive. However, absent meaningful oppression, such commonality becomes a tool of oppression. The Left knows how to use that tool of commonality as it moves towards the true goal: socialism. Socialism masquerades as the good society where our historic commonality finds a place. But it is a mirage.

Marxist German poet Bertolt Brecht once wrote that “art is a hammer with which to shape reality.” For socialists, race is, in similar fashion, a forum for political battles. In a class society, all aspects of culture are partisan and instrumental, as they bare, as all of reality does for them, the indelible mark of class struggle. Similarly, race and ethnicity become hammers with which we shape reality– or deny it. They are a means toward the ultimate end of a classless society, the only true end. Race, ethnicity and culture are simply scenes in an “epic form” drama, as Brecht would say.

Race is the “dialectical theater” of class warfare enabling the archetypal characters to stage humanity in interaction with the “supra-personal dynamics at work in history.” Simply put, race is a weapon of class struggle. Those who believe in the irreducibility of race are welcomed on the path of “the struggle” as useful idiots. What is the answer? The personal, the individual. The great new phase of the Civil Rights Movement is an uncompromising affirmation of our individuality as persons. We must reject the mask of race consciousness as a totalism, to cite Shelby Steele.

FP: Final thoughts?

Hernandez: The job of becoming who we are destined to become is not transferable to entities, labels or groups. The human person, not the racial group, has the task of participating in his own development and growth. It is in the perilous journey from racial identification to individuality that true participation in the molding of our true self will find the end of racialism.  Only in such discovery will our racial identity find its rightful place — as collective entities are only discernible through the action of individuals. It is to assist in that discovery that the Freedom & Virtue Institute is dedicated.

FP: Ismael Hernandez, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.

Hernandez: Thank you Jamie for this opportunity. Maybe one day I will get to meet you and my hero, David Horowitz.

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  • Chezwick_Mac

    Powerful interview. Hernandez may be prone to a degree of rhetorical excess – perhaps a hangover from his days as a Marxist, but his analysis on race at the end of the interview is both penetrating and profound. I wish him all the best in his endeavors.

  • therealend

    The only thing you can tell about a person by their race is which continent their ancestors came from. Period. Secondly, leaving something you believed in deeply can be depressing. You go from believing to having your beliefs shattered. Just because Marxism sounds so perfect doesn't mean it is, or will be. It means you haven't heard an adequate analysis of its true nature or, you aren't ready to hear one.

  • tagalog

    Too bad that, in all his studying, he didn't read Richard Wright's essay and the rest of the book The God That Failed. He might have saved himself some time.

    Reading The Gulag Archipelago probably would have helped too.

  • wesley69

    "Socialism is a utopian plan to build what cannot be built, to realize what is only illusory, and to destroy what works even if the result is chaos and death." This is one of the most telling statements Mr. Hernandez makes in this interview.

    Mr. O. had similar experiences as he grew up. He was given opportunities by this country and took advantage of them achieving success in politics. But, his journey lead him to become the most radical leftist president in our history. Mr. Hernandez, when exposed to the "flag of freedom" began to question his beliefs, which he eventually reject.

    Two journeys – two different paths chosen. What is interesting is Mr. Hernandez's description of the fall of the Berlin Wall as another nail into leftist thinking. It seems that Mr. Hernandez learned the lessons of history, whereas Mr. O. refuses to and continues to push the US down the socialist path, believing, I suppose, he will succeed where all other have failed. A very compelling interview!

    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Thomas Jefferson

  • wesley69

    "Mr. Hernandez’s most telling statement is that Marxism is “ a utopian plan to build what cannot be built, to realize what is only illusory, and to destroy what works even if the result is chaos and death."

    Thinking about Mr. Hernandez’s reflections on his own life, I realized that Mr. O. had similar experiences as he grew up. He was given opportunities by this country and took advantage of them achieving success in politics. But, his journey lead him to become the most radical leftist president in our history. Mr. Hernandez, when exposed to the "flag of freedom" began to question his beliefs, which he eventually rejected.

  • wesley69

    Two journeys – two different paths.. Another interesting point was Mr. Hernandez's description of the fall of the Berlin Wall as another nail into his radical thought process. It seems that Mr. Hernandez learned the lessons of history, whereas Mr. O. refuses to and continues to push the US down the Marxist path, believing, I suppose, he will succeed where all other have failed. A very compelling interview!

    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Thomas Jefferson

  • bubba4

    The Horowitz is strong in this one…

    How old is this guy because Puerto Rico became a Commonwealth of the United States in 1947…and at least 20 years before that people born in Puerto Rico were citizens of the US.

    It sounds like he suffered child abuse, not political persecution. He woke up one day and discovered he had been a free citizen all along. Happy ending!

    • Minaka

      Yep. The father he still adores was abusive in a way, keeping his kids shackled to his own discredited belief system (the same father who roared to his wife that he would sacrifice those kids in a minute for his communist cause). It's like one of those aging Japanese soldiers who emerged from the jungles decades after WWII ended and hostilities ceased.

    • winoceros

      I think he was, of course, a citizen of the United States, but his family and associate perspective was that of separatism and denial of the United States. When he speaks of coming to "America," I think he just means coming to the mainland.

      Many people have no idea how different it is culturally and nationalistically living in a place like Hawaii or Puerto Rico and what a sense of "other" mainlanders are. Obama never set foot on mainland soil until he was 17. He was surrounded by either leftists or Muslims his whole life before that.

      It's why he can't get his colloquialisms right.

  • Rifleman

    Using "Horowitz" as a synonym for "truth" was brilliant bubba.

    I guess you've never heard of PRNP, PSP, FALN, or Los Macheteros?

    • bubba4

      It was actually kind of a Star Wars joke…but whatever.

      • Rifleman

        I know, but that was too easy ;-)

    • winoceros

      Rifle, rifle…you are hereby sentenced to watching the holy trilogy, Episodes IV-VI only, and getting back to us.
      :)

  • Indioviejo

    Puerto Rican marxism, runs deep and for a very long time. The Independentistas" under Pedro Albizu Campo were totally marxist, just as Lolita Lebron, would be assasin of HST, (Pardoned by Clinton), and as recently as Ana Belen Montes, convicted spy. The fact that so many Puerto Ricans are, and have been very loyal Americans, is a torn in the heart of the marxist everwhere. No other group has a higher percentage of people serving selflessly in our military in proportion to the Island's population. They know Freedom and they defend it.

  • Ralph N.

    Re: final quote: ". . . true participation in the molding of our true self will find the end of racialism. Only in such discovery will our racial identity find its rightful place . . . " And as Columbus might have said, "Only after circling the globe will we be able to finally prove the earth is flat."

    A bit less Mario Salvio – and more Moses, would have given hope for optimism. Freedom can lead to democracy just as easily as to demagoguery. Marx himself found it necessary to live in the freedom of the U.K. to publish his ideas.

  • truebearing

    Leaving an ideology you have been indoctrinated into is hard, but not as hard as displeasing your father by rejecting the ideology he taught you. That takes courage and strength.
    Obama chose to follow the ideology of a father he didn't know, and who abandoned him, in part because of his ideological mission in Kenya. Obama adopted his father's ideology and forged an identity as a leftist ideologue, never apparently having the courage or clarity to question the beliefs of a man who would callously abandon his children.

    Of the two men, one would think Hernandez would be the one least likely to change, but his father did teach him to have courage. Obama desperately clings to his ideology and the hollow personality he has cobbled together, and his weakness makes him dangerous.

  • hijinx60

    This is one of the most touching and powerful interviews that I have ever read. Thank you Front Page Mag.

  • Rik

    What else can you say about this article? Revelation from an incredible life story. Thank you Ismael Hernandez for sharing your pain personal story.

  • http://www.teacheconomicfreedom.org sjhaessler

    I admire Mr. Hernandez striving to practice the virtues of fortitude and prudence. What a moving account of the transcendent power of love. This interview inspires me to do more. Thank you Mr. Hernandez for sharing this story. Thank you FrontPage for making it available.

  • ile ramos

    Love you Ismael!! so happy to have met you over a year ago – all of us her at SWFL912 in Naples – keep fighting the good fight – and opening the eyes of our youth -God is honored & pleased – :)

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