Earth Day/Lenin’s Birthday hoax


One surefire way to tell an Earth Day post is done by an Earth Day denialist:  They’ll note that the first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, was an anniversary of the birth of Lenin.

Coincidentally, yes, Lenin was born on April 22 (new style calendar; it was April 10 on the calendar when he was born — but that’s a digression for another day).

It’s a hoax.  There is no meaning to the first Earth Day’s falling on Lenin’s birthday — Lenin was not prescient enough to plan his birthday to fall in the middle of Earth Week, a hundred years before Earth Week was even planned.

My guess is that only a few really wacko conservatives know that April 22 is Lenin’s birthday (was it ever celebrated in the Soviet Union?).  No one else bothers to think about it, or say anything about it, nor especially, to celebrate it.

Wisconsin’s U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson, usually recognized as the founder and father of Earth Day, told how and why the organizers came to pick April 22:

Senator Nelson chose the date in order to maximize participation on college campuses for what he conceived as an “environmental teach-in.” He determined the week of April 19–25 was the best bet; it did not fall during exams or spring breaks, did not conflict with religious holidays such as Easter or Passover, and was late enough in spring to have decent weather. More students were likely to be in class, and there would be less competition with other mid-week events—so he chose Wednesday, April 22.

In his own words, Nelson spoke of what he was trying to do:

After President Kennedy’s [conservation] tour, I still hoped for some idea that would thrust the environment into the political mainstream. Six years would pass before the idea that became Earth Day occurred to me while on a conservation speaking tour out West in the summer of 1969. At the time, anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, called “teach-ins,” had spread to college campuses all across the nation. Suddenly, the idea occurred to me – why not organize a huge grassroots protest over what was happening to our environment?

I was satisfied that if we could tap into the environmental concerns of the general public and infuse the student anti-war energy into the environmental cause, we could generate a demonstration that would force this issue onto the political agenda. It was a big gamble, but worth a try.

At a conference in Seattle in September 1969, I announced that in the spring of 1970 there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on behalf of the environment and invited everyone to participate. The wire services carried the story from coast to coast. The response was electric. It took off like gangbusters. Telegrams, letters, and telephone inquiries poured in from all across the country. The American people finally had a forum to express its concern about what was happening to the land, rivers, lakes, and air – and they did so with spectacular exuberance. For the next four months, two members of my Senate staff, Linda Billings and John Heritage, managed Earth Day affairs out of my Senate office.

Five months before Earth Day, on Sunday, November 30, 1969, The New York Times carried a lengthy article by Gladwin Hill reporting on the astonishing proliferation of environmental events:

“Rising concern about the environmental crisis is sweeping the nation’s campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam…a national day of observance of environmental problems…is being planned for next spring…when a nationwide environmental ‘teach-in’…coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson is planned….”

Nelson, a veteran of the U.S. armed services (Okinawa campaign), flag-waving ex-governor of Wisconsin (Sen. Joe McCarthy’s home state, but also the home of Aldo Leopold and birthplace of John Muir), was working to raise America’s consciousness and conscience about environmental issues.

Lenin on the environment?  Think of the Aral Sea disaster, the horrible pollution from Soviet mines and mills, and the dreadful record of the Soviet Union on protecting any resource.  Lenin believed in exploiting resources, not conservation.

So, why are all these conservative denialists claiming, against history and politics, that Lenin’s birthday has anything to do with Earth Day?

Can you say “propaganda?”

Good information:

Wall of Lenin’s Birthday Propaganda Shame:

Warn people not to be sucked in by the hoax:

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20 Responses to Earth Day/Lenin’s Birthday hoax

  1. [...] Earth Day honors Earth, our majestic home — not Lenin (2012 version) This is mostly an encore post — sad that it needs repeating. [...]

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  2. Nick K says:

    Oh I know. Earth Day was declared because it is 9 days after my birthday.

    Of course the fact that it was first declared in 1970 and I was born in 1975 makes it a bit tricky. Hmm, might have to rethink that claim.

    Hm, april 22nd 1964 was the opening day of the third world’s fair.

    The Oklahoma Land Rush began in 1889 on that day.

    It was also the day the Germans first used poison gas in WWI.

    There was a major earthquake in Greece on that day in 1928.

    The day Japan launched its second offensive in China in 1938.

    It was also the day that a live atomic blast was displayed on television for viewers to watch in 1952.

    And the day that Fidel Castro made his first public announcement since the Bay of Pigs invasion a week earlier. That was back in 1961.

    Curiously those trying to tie earth day to Lenin never tried tying it to any of those historical events.

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  3. [...] This is mostly an encore post — sad that it needs repeating. [...]

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  4. Ed Darrell says:

    Gee, Steven, can you explain any logic to saying the two events are connected? Did you even read my post? Did you follow the links?

    Earth Day was designated on April 22, because in 1970, April 22 was the Wednesday in the third week of April. That was after spring break on most college campuses, so there would be plenty of students, and it was in the middle of the week, so most students would be on campus.

    Which part of that do you claim Lenin planned? Maybe Lenin was the driver behind spring break? Maybe Lenin’s mother planned his birth so the anniversary fell on a Wednesday, a century later? (Was Lenin delivered by c-section?)

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  5. Nick K says:

    Since I’m pretty sure the ones claiming there is a connection between Lenin’s birthday and Earth Day don’t know what Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc since knowing what it is would require..you know..an education and they think that’s “elitist” I’ll explain.

    Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc is latin for “After this, therefor because of this.” It means that if Event B happened after Event A then naturally Event B must be because of Event A. Except that is hardly ever the case. Just because one something happened after a second something doesn’t mean the two are related. It’s not evidence that they are.

    And considering the Soviet Unions complete lack of environmental stewardship the claim that the two are connected is really stupid. And it’s extremely stupid considering the ones making the claim have no other actual evidence.

    Or to put this bluntly…since the ones who hate Earth Day and all it stands for have no valid reasons for opposing it..they’re making stupid **** up in the hopes of, in effect, character assassinating it.

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  6. Nick K says:

    Steven writes:
    Erm… this the best logic you can come up with? Don’t you think rather people are thinking Earthday was place where it was BECAUSE of it being Lenins Birthday? What a no-mind argument you have there.

    This is the best logic you can come up with? A case of Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc? A known logical fallacy?

    The Boston Tea Party happened on December 16th 1773. Mao had his “Little Red Book” published on the same day in 1966. The current day “Tea Partiers” also claim to hold December 16th imporant.

    *gasp* The Tea Partiers are really Communists!

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  7. Steven says:

    “It’s a hoax. There is no meaning to the first Earth Day’s falling on Lenin’s birthday — Lenin was not prescient enough to plan his birthday to fall in the middle of Earth Week, a hundred years before Earth Week was even planned.”

    Erm… this the best logic you can come up with? Don’t you think rather people are thinking Earthday was place where it was BECAUSE of it being Lenins Birthday? What a no-mind argument you have there.

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  8. Nick K says:

    Trying to discredit Earth Day by linking it to facetiously like that is nothing more then the blatherings of people who have no actual viable objections to it.

    Guilt by association is the hallmark of such countries as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

    So pray tell..why are you fools engaging in such behavior?

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  9. Ed Darrell says:

    Einhorn’s being MC in Philly hardly qualifies him as one of the national organizers.

    Other, real organizers, included Denis Hayes and Mo Udall. Claiming Earth Day to be “Leninist” because of Einhorn’s involvement is less rational than calling it Mormon because of Mo Udall’s involvement.

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  10. jwallen says:

    Quote “Maybe long-time Earth Day advocate Ira Einhorn took the whole “recycling” thing a little too far when he “composted” his girlfriend’s remains in a trunk in his closet…

    Back in 1970, Earth Day was a grassroots hippie event. The organizers chose April 22 – which just “happens” to be the birthday of their Soviet Communist hero, Lenin:

    “One of the self-identified ‘founders’ of Earth Day, Bay Area activist John McConnell, has written that in 1969 he proposed to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors a new holiday to be called Earth Day on the first day of spring, the Equinox, around March 21. But, he writes, in 1970 local anti-Vietnam War and Environmental Teach-in activists ‘who were planning a one-time event for April 22, also decided to call their event Earth Day.’

    “And what was this unnamed ‘one-time event’ in 1970? It was the 100th birthday celebration for Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, known to history as Lenin…”

    (Amusingly, the Soviets marked Lenin’s 100th birthday with – a massive tree planting in Siberia. The trees spell out a congratulatory message to the late dictator when seen from above. How “green” of them! Alas, the Soviets normally weren’t so environmentally savvy; their factories typically expelled exponentially more pollution than those in the West, but few Leftists like to dwell on that “inconvenient truth. )

    That very first Earth Day in Philadelphia, Ira Einhorn — local leftwing activist and self-promoting gadfly, a would-be Abbie Hoffman — served as the event’s Master of Ceremonies.” Look it up.

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  11. [...] day … and I had trouble making sense of the first sentence. What does it mean to be a “denlalist” of a new-fangled faux [...]

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  12. [...] day … and I had trouble making sense of the first sentence. What does it mean to be a “denlalist” of a new-fangled faux [...]

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  13. Ed Darrell says:

    Brower had zippo to do with the designation of Earth Day. One might as well wonder why Groucho Marx picked April 22 for Earth Day, or why Richard Nixon picked it.

    Funny how any group that advocates clean air and water — key values of all Americans for the previous 80 years — suddenly become unsavory “socialists” to you, regardless their philosophy, politics, or advocacy.

    As Patrick Henry would have said, if cleaning your yard and saving the planet be socialism, make the most of it.

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  14. Squidly says:

    Hmmm, let us take a moment to reflect upon David Brower, shall we?

    Founded Friends of the Earth (FOE) in 1969 (activists, even banned from Copenhagen)

    Found of the John Muir Institute for Environmental Studies (ties to Human and Community Development (Socialist group) and Environmental Justice Project (Socialist group). Advocates of “Ecocritical Theory”, and “Environmental health and justice” (WTF is that? more justice, justice, justice … those are Socialist words!))

    Executive director of the Sierra Club (another radical activist group)

    Founded League of Conservation Voters (supporters of people like Harry Reid, Carol Browner (Socialist), Van Jones (Communist), ACORN (Bertha Lewis just spoke to the Democratic Socialists group the other day, embracing and advocating their Socialism) and many other hardcore leftists that are not very environmentally friendly, just look at their history. It’s not about environment, it’s about “Social and Environmental Justice” – Van Jones)

    Founder Environmental Policy Center (leftist group)

    Founding of FOE International in 1971 (spreading out round the world)

    He was removed from the board of FOE for insubordination, but was reinstated when he threatened a lawsuit.

    In 1980, FOE led the opposition to Interior secretary James G. Watt’s efforts to sell and lease public lands in the West and develop land (sounds like land grabs to me, just look at how much land in the west is owned by the Feds, take a look at Utah (72% owned by Feds) but Utah is fighting back and taking their land back .. good for them!)

    Founded Earth Island Institute (rather extreme eco-group. Very controversial as they have pushed for policies that have caused tremendous damage to forests in the West through forestry mismanagement, such as Yellowstone National Park)

    Brower flew to Denver in June, 2000, for the Green Party (ultra progressive political party (Socialist/Communist)) convention and cast his absentee ballot for Nader the day before he died.

    The FACT of the matter is, Brower was indeed a Progressive, a rather extreme Progressive (one might argue, Socialist). He was a promoter of “Environmental Justice”, which is a red flag for Progressivism (Socialist). Did he purposely select Lenin’s birthday for Earth Day? I don’t know that anyone could really answer that question definitively either way. Judging by the history of the groups that he associated with and the groups that he founded, I can see how it could raise question. Quite a coincidence.

    To call people “denialists” and such, just degrades your credibility. You can call conservatives what you want, but your admomen attacks just make you look bad. Hard for me to take you seriously when you begin by attacking people. You seem like a typical “Progressive” to me. In which case, I won’t be listening to you anyway.

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  15. Carl Becker says:

    I really enjoy reading most all of what you write every day; and I would love to share your work with a larger audience, draw more people in.

    As despicable as some aspects of Facebook are, it’s still a great mass networking site. Do you have any plans to add a “share” button in the near future?

    Would love to be able to repost your columns, like today’s, with some of my like-minded appreciative friends.

    (Food for thought perhaps.)

    Thanks for listening.
    =]
    Carl “BoyGenius”
    ;-)

    Like

  16. Nick Kelsier says:

    Curm writes:
    While it may be a mere coincidence that the two dates are the same on the calendar, I wouldn’t be so sure, given that David Brower, one of the big promoters, came right out of the Radical Left and went on to go visit the Sandinistas and fellate them politically.

    Oh you mean how like how George W Bush’s grandfather was politically fellating Hitler and his father was politically fellating Hussein? And how Cheney and Rumsfield was doing more then politically fellating Hussein?

    You want to argue there’s a connection between Earth Day and Lenin? Seriously? Have you seem the environmental damage that the Soviet Union caused? If there was a political group less concerned with the environment then the Communists I can’t think of any.

    You might want to figure out that Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc is a logical fallacy.

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  17. Ed Darrell says:

    Denialist? Loaded?

    How is it not accurate? Hoaxers, like those who try to invent ties between honest working people or American patriots, and generally despised communists, are denying their own case. If the truth can’t make the case for them, they are denying the truth.

    What possibly could be more accurate than to call them denialists? Should I instead call them liars? Which term is more loaded? More accurate?

    David Brower had no love for Lenin, and he had nothing to do with the “Radical Left” of any time in his life. Why would anyone repeat such a bizarre, easily-falsified claim?

    Brower went to Nicaragua for the Fourth Annual Congress on the Fate and Hope of the Earth, a gathering of environmentalists from around the world. Some Reaganistas might try to change our memories, and claim that the government was something other than it was at the time — a freely-elected government with full standing in the Americas (Reagan officials did their best to bring it down, unsuccessfully). The legitimacy of the elections were made manifest in the following election, which Daniel Ortega lost to a U.S.-backed opponent.

    Travel to Managua cannot be seen as any radical, left-affirming move by any fair person. Brower did nothing more.

    America’s conservation and environmental movement has always had roots in the conservative, super-capitalist wing of the U.S. Republican Party, and similar capitalist-minded groups. Early conservationists were almost exclusively capitalist — including the Robber Barons — including people like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, U. S. Grant, Andrew Carnegie, Teddy Roosevelt, Stephen Mather, Calvin Coolidge, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Franklin Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot, John Muir, Laurance Rockefeller, Nelson Rockefeller, David Rockefeller, John F. Kennedy, David Brower, Horace Albright, William Penn Mott (of the GM fortune), the Folgers, and countless others. To accuse even one of these people of being a non-capitalist is of the greatest error or highest humor. But in no case is it a correct or accurate depiction.

    What property seizure has ever been advocated by environmentalists? I think you would do well to acquaint yourself with the history of land stewardship in the U.S. Property seizure by government is a mark of local governments building roads, or of drug enforcement officers seizing autos used to transport illegal drugs. It is not a common action in any environmental move. Quite the contrary, our nation has sold off at lower-than-bargain-basement prices millions of acres of land, including some of the most prime real estate of our nation’s breadbasket.

    I did not say anyone in the environmental movement is devoted to the idea that capitalism is destroying the world. Considering the sources of funding for much conservation, that’s laughable, too. Environmentalists have been in the forefront of those decrying the environmental sins of the Soviets and communist Chinese. I think you’d do well to read some of that history, too.

    So, we’re not talking about assigning no value to land or other environmental assets. Our environmental movement was born from and grown by people who knew values probably better than most — and who practiced aggressive capitalism, even crushing any Marxist leanings (yes, the same Andrew Carnegie who broke the steel workers’ union at the Homestead Strike).

    It’s a complete fictional account to claim our environmental movement came from or has any significant ties to Marxism, or Lenin, or communism, and unbelievable fiction at that. There is no communist conservationist of any renown. There is almost no conservationist anyone can name who was not an ardent capitalist, and there were several among the Robber Barons. You can’t claim the Robber Barons as followers of Karl Marx and expect people not to laugh heartily.

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  18. maitri says:

    Just like Barack Obama was really born in Kenya and his guardians falsified his birth certificate because they knew he’d run for president some day. Those sneaky commies!

    Like

  19. Curmudgeon says:

    “denialist”? Why use such a loaded term, if not for propaganda yourself?

    While it may be a mere coincidence that the two dates are the same on the calendar, I wouldn’t be so sure, given that David Brower, one of the big promoters, came right out of the Radical Left and went on to go visit the Sandinistas and fellate them politically.

    The radical left “envirnomental” movement has more than a little Leninism in it, in terms of property seizure.

    And as you point out, so many of these “environmentalists” are devotees of the notion that “evil” capitalism is destroying the world and melting glaciers and the polar icecaps, never mind the abysmal record of the Soviet Union and other communist states.

    And the abysmal environmental record of the Communists really is no surprise, if you think about it. When you don’t put a price tag or assign property rights to commodities, the commodities get squandered, whether the comodities are beautiful scenic views or coal.

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  20. Nick Kelsier says:

    I share the same birthday as Thomas Jefferson.

    Obviously I should run for President.

    Same mentality.

    Like

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