Culture Wars/Current Controversies

The CIA Left vs. the CIA Right? The Culture War as Blowback

I’ve been looking further into the role of the CIA in postwar US politics. It seems that much of the New Right and New Left that emerged in the postwar period were controlled opposition movements created by the intelligence services, although in collusion with different internal factions. It is well-known that the New Right, led by William F. Buckley, himself a former CIA employee, was an intelligence-connected operation in collusion with Sunbelt capitalists who wanted to challenge the hegemony of the northeastern capitalists within US capitalism, and which was more anti-New Deal than the “northeastern establishment” and Rockefeller Republicans had been. It is also well-documented that the CIA had connections to the New Left. A few examples include the fact that Gloria Steinem was a former employee of the CIA, the CIA helped popularize LSD, and there is a crossover between the Congress of Cultural Freedom (a faux leftist CIA front group) and the New Left. The New Left was also easily coopted by the Democrats’ Dutton strategy in the 70s.

The more I trace all this the more it looks like the present US “culture war” is largely rooted in divisions created by the intelligence services. The Buckleyites were the CIA Right and the CCF was the CIA Left. The CIA Left eventually fractured into the New Left and the right-wing social democrats/neocons. The neocons merged with the Buckleyites and became modern conservatism (e.g. FOX News), and the New Left emerged with the neoliberals (mostly recycled Rockefeller liberals) and became the modern progressives (e.g. MSNBC). So the present cultural and political fragmentation of the USA is the intelligence services’ Frankenstein’s monster.

All of this was done to marginalize the influence of anti-imperialism or anti-capitalism from the Left (like actual Communists and, later, the Black Panthers),  and right-wing radicalism from the other end. Buckley’s main fixation during his entire career was purging “too far right” sectors from the “conservative movement” particularly antiwar rightists (like the John Birch Society and libertarians) or those with  “revolutionary right” sentiments (like neo-fascists and white nationalists, e.g. Revilo Oliver). But now it’s coming back to bite them in the ass like their backing of the Shah of Iran in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, or the mujahideen and Saddam Hussein in the 80s. Blowback.

Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire | Understanding Empire: Technology, Power, Politics

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