This is an old document that was prepared by the California state government back in the 1950s during the height of the Cold War. It predictably contains the usual hysteria of the time but the description it provides of Marxist-Leninist organizational strategies and tactics is largely accurate. Take out the word “Communist” and put in “neocon” and much of US politics can be explained.
Calisphere, University of California
The front tactic was conceived by Lenin and implemented by Willi Muenzenberg. In 1902 Lenin advocated the use of this device, calling the non-Communist groups “transmission belts” through which the Party will was adroitly imposed upon the masses without their knowledge. Stalin carried on the idea, and in 1926 the Executive Committee of the Comintern encouraged the establishment of fronts throughout the world.
Both Marxists and radical libertarians like Antony Sutton pointed out how Roosevelt was not a “traitor to his class” but a friend of the power elite who wished to preserve the position of the ruling class against insurgent populist, labor, farmer, socialist, communist, and fascist movements that were developing on the margins of US politics at the time. He merely represented the reformist and nascent managerialist wing of the capitalist class. Roosevelt is generally disliked by Marxists because he blocked the achievement of socialism in the US, by reactionary conservatives because he presided over the overthrow of the old bourgeoisie by managerial capitalism, and by libertarians because he was a statist.
This is a pretty good discussion of populism in the US during the late 19th century.
Author Thomas Frank joins the show to discuss his latest book ‘The People, NO: A Brief History of Anti-Populism.’ Katie Halper and Matt Taibbi dissect Biden’s most-stoned moment ever.
On this day 75 years ago, the US became the only nation in history to use nuclear weapons.
By Simon Denyer
HIROSHIMA, Japan —On the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of his city, the mayor of Hiroshima planned to warn the world about the rise of “self-centered nationalism” and appeal for greater international cooperation to overcome the coronavirus pandemic. Thursday morning in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park — near the center of the Aug. 6, 1945, blast that destroyed the city — Kazumi Matsui was set to renew a “Peace Declaration” on behalf of the city and appeal to Japan’s government to ratify a 2017 U.N. treaty proposing the elimination of nuclear weapons, he told a news conference
The main problem with this article is that the US already passed through the republican phase during the colonial period and first two centuries after the revolution, and entered the imperial phase in the 20th century, with US presidents being elective monarchs that act in a managerial capacity on behalf of the broader power elite. A major problem that American historians have is they are too influenced by the myths of “American exceptionalism” to the point that they have problems properly situating the role of the USA in wider world history. The modern USA is just a continuation of the British Empire, the Atlanticist counterpart to the ancient Mediterranean empire that emerged in the medieval period. The US managed to achieve global hegemony simply by inheriting the former European empires after WW2. The republican phase in Anglo-American history was between the 17th and 20th centuries, from the time of the achievement of parliamentary supremacy (with antecedents going back to the late Middle Ages) to the rise of postwar Pax Americana. We’re in the full-fledged imperium now.
By Jason Daley
The U.S. Constitution owes a huge debt to ancient Rome. The Founding Fathers were well-versed in Greek and Roman History. Leaders like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison read the historian Polybius, who laid out one of the clearest descriptions of the Roman Republic’s constitution, where representatives of various factions and social classes checked the power of the elites and the power of the mob. It’s not surprising that in the United States’ nascent years, comparisons to ancient Rome were common. And to this day, Rome, whose 482-year-long Republic, bookended by several hundred years of monarchy and 1,500 years of imperial rule, is still the longest the world has seen.
By Ilena Peng
Two crosses burned in Robeson County, North Carolina, on January 13, 1958. One was outside the home of a Native American woman who was dating a white man, the other outside the home of a Native family who had moved into one of Lumberton’s all-white neighborhoods. The blazing signs were clearly the work of Klansmen — not that the Ku Klux Klan’s presence in the county had ever been subtle. Caravans of Klansmen had been driving around the segregated county (where the local population included blacks, whites and Native Americans) every Saturday night, terrorizing the Lumbee Indians.
“They wanted you to see them. They wanted you to be afraid of them,” Lillie McKoy, who grew up watching the KKK drive by and later became the mayor of Maxton, a small town in Robeson County, told The Fayetteville Observer in 2008.
The county had been split in three since the 1880s, after the Lumbees resisted North Carolina’s post–Civil War efforts to segregate its citizens into two racial categories. The county had three sets of buses, three separate water fountains and three school systems.
James Lindsay on the theology of the new theocracy. The two most important things that are happening in the developed world at the present time are the re-feudalization of class relations and the growth of totalitarian humanism as the self-legitimating ideology of the rising ruling class. Just as neo-feudalism is reinstating the kinds of class societies that existed in the premodern world, totalitarian humanism is resurrecting premodern caste systems based on ascribed status, but within the technocratic framework of modern totalitarianism. The principal differences between totalitarian humanism and the 20th-century models of totalitarianism are two things: 1) the commercial values of capitalism require a certain degree of cultural openness that is not possible in a Stalinist type of system (hence, “soft totalitarianism” rather than “hard totalitarianism”) and 2) contemporary methods of propaganda and ideological control are far more sophisticated than those of 20th-century totalitarians, more Edward Bernays than Joseph Goebbels.
“A Latino friend of mine pointed out today that what we are seeing in Portland is a light version of CIA operations in El Salvador, Columbia, Chile and other Latin American countries in the 70s and 80s. The US propped up dictators and organized coups. The US helped train paramilitary death squads that disappeared people off of the streets. We’re not at that level, thankfully, but don’t give an inch or they’ll take a mile.” -Vince Rinehart
That is exactly right. Read my book on the civil war in El Salvador if you want to know how these things work. As class relations in the US continue to more closely resemble those of Latin America, it is likely Latin American models of repression will become more commonplace as well.
I disagree that the existence of the Electoral College or the bicameral Congress is the main thing that is wrong with the current system. It is not unreasonable to have institutional mechanisms to prevent mob rule. The main problem is that, if you read the enumerated powers and examine the context in which they were written, it is clear the US was always intended to be a plutocracy of industrialists, merchants, landlords, and bankers.
Todd Lewis is joined by Keith Preston to interview Aleksey Bashtavenko, a Russian expatriate about his thoughts on Russia and global politics.
A great critique of American culture and politics is contained in this, along with an examination of the retrograde character of Bolshevism and a debunking of the view held by many on the Western far-right and far-left that Russia is any kind of viable alternative. Neither Russophilia nor Russophobia.
And there is still six more months to go!
By James West Davidson
History never ends. But history textbooks must. As deadlines for new editions loom, every textbook writer lurches to a sudden stop. The last chapter always ends in uncertainty: unfinished and unresolved. I’ve experienced this many times myself, as a co-author on several history textbooks.
By now it seems clear that we are all living through a major turning point in history, one that will be studied for years to come. Future textbook authors will write entries on the year 2020, revise them, and revise them some more with each new edition. What follows is an attempt at—literally—a first draft of history: what I might write if I were wrapping up the last chapter of a high-school history textbook right now.
A somewhat interesting review of Abimael Guzman’s autobiography. For quite some time, I have held the view that the Shining Path developed what is arguable the most advanced critique of imperialism on the Marxist “far-left,” although it’s not substantially different from what anarchist anti-imperialists were saying in the 19th century. Marxists still held to a generally pro-imperialist line at the time. Marxist anti-imperialism really begins with Lenin (at least as far as major theorists). It’s also interesting how the Shining Path’s emphasis on recapturing a supposedly glorious Inca past resembles the primordialism found in aspects of fascist thinking. Pol Pot’s emphasis on reclaiming Angkar was similar.
By Frank Beyer
“Mao Zedong Thought” was a major global ideology at a time when China didn’t have much to offer the world economically. Chairman Mao influenced a wide range of groups, such as the Black Panthers in the United States and revolutionary movements in Nepal, India, and the Philippines. Mao was also a guiding light for one particular Peruvian revolutionary: Abimael Guzman. This acolyte’s revolution caused radical waves long after Mao’s death in 1976 – and ultimately ended in failure.
In 1965, a philosophy professor at Peru’s University of Huamanga named Abimael Guzman — also known as “Chairman Gonzalo” — travelled to China with seven other Peruvian communists; he would return to become the most famous Maoist in Latin American guerrilla history. While in Beijing, Guzman got to see Chairman Mao, but only from afar.
Some do, some don’t. Stereotypes, while sometimes rooted in fact, also contain many, many variations. My maternal grandmother’s father was Cherokee, and their family was Methodist. I’ve personally known Native Americans whose politics ranged from far-left anarchist to conservative Republican, to admiration for George Lincoln Rockwell’s American Nazi Party.
By Dennis Zotigh
How do Native Americans observe the 4th of July? This year, many people’s plans reflect their concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. But the answer has always been as complicated as America’s history.
By Don Fitz
If you look at a US $20 bill, you might notice Andrew Jackson nervously watching statues of Columbus and Robert E. Lee coming down and wondering if his face is going to disappear from currency. As Democrats ponder which militarist they wish to glorify in the next round of monuments, it is critical to realize that statues which go up are at least as important as the ones that come down. Perhaps the best nominee for a new statue is Hatuey.
A few years ago, while visiting my daughter and grandson in Havana, I learned that his favorite playmate was Hatuey. “I recognize a lot of Spanish names,” I told my daughter. “But I’ve never heard that one.”
It’s important to remember that the modern American Empire is really just an extension of the British Empire, only the capital was moved from London to Washington. I’d argue (in fact, I think it’s indisputable) that the Anglo-American (Atlanticist) Empire is simply the Roman (Mediterranean) Empire of the Christian and post-Christian era. Conventional historians typically argue Rome began with the period of Etruscan dominance around 900 BC, that the Roman monarchy began around 753 B.C., that the Roman Republic began around 509 B.C., that the actual Roman Empire began between Julius Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon in 44 B.C and 27 B.C. with the rise of his son Octavian as the absolute dictator of Rome.
I’d argue the Norman Conquest of what is now England in 1066 A.D. is comparable to the beginning of the Etruscan Period. The period between the Magna Carta and the Hundred Years War is comparable to the rise of the Roman monarchy. The Cromwellian Revolution is comparable to the rise of the Roman Republic. And the emergence of the US as a unipolar global hegemon in the post-WW2 era is comparable to the beginning of the Roman Empire.
This is important stuff.
I recently put a couple of questions concerning current events to a well-known intellectual historian, a Jewish man whose parents fled Hungary during the rise of Hitler, and who is a specialist in the history of 20th-century totalitarian movements. His responses confirmed my suspicion that both the bizarre de facto alliance of the far-left, liberals, neocons, and Bush Republicans which has emerged in opposition to the Trumpists, and the seeming acquiescence of the state to both the iconoclasm spree of the far left and the lumpenproletarian insurrection, represents efforts by the capitalist class, the new clerisy, and the Deep State to weaponize both the far left and the insurrectionists against the Trumpists, subsequently purging or co-opting both, while restoring neocon dominance of the military-industrial-intelligence complex. In other words, it’s all about putting the neocons back in charge of US foreign policy. Remember that the neocons started out as Trots, and this is exactly how Bolshies do things.
A somewhat interesting interview with a leading black conservative.
I would be inclined to argue that, at present, substantial sectors of the capitalist class (including some major capitalist entities) along with their allies in the new clerisy/new class that dominates the “ideas industries” are fueling anti-racism hysteria in order to deflect attention away from the class-based nature of the insurrection. They do this because a race war is less antithetical to their interests than a class war. However, contra the Marxists and left-anarchists, it doesn’t stop at class either. Even a class war is more co-optable than a direct war against the state itself.
All of this follows an easily identifiable pattern in US history.
If recent events are a foreshadowing of events to come, which they may well be, it would seem that the lumpenproletariat faces five primary dangers when it comes to future revolutionary activity.
In the future, we can have war games between ancap/transhumanist Athens and ancom/primitivist Sparta. The Greeks managed to keep from becoming an empire for centuries. What can we learn from them?
By Tyson Ford
Mostly it has to do with geography. The terrain in Greece is broken and mountainous, making it difficult to travel from one region to another. So each polis developed its own customs and sense of identity. A good analogy might be that of Afghanistan. Many groups in Afghanistan are practically cut off from the world due to the terrain. This results in them being fiercely independent and resistant to authority.
For an extreme contrast, check out Ancient Egypt. This was an extremely homogenous place, where the Nile fed the agriculture like clockwork. The terrain was flat as a pancake, and it was very easy to travel up or down the Nile. The vast majority of people lived alongside this highway, and they still do today. So it was very easy for a single authority to impose his will on the entire population, and lay down the law very early in their history.
Unlike the “Union,” whose principal task was Westward expansion and Native American genocide. The Unionists didn’t want the Confederates to take their slaves westward because northern industrialists employing wage labor didn’t want to have to compete with slave labor. And there were plenty of Unionists who didn’t want any blacks in the country period, not even as slaves.
Of course, we have a thriving decentralized, direct democracy in the US today, which is downright Bookchinite if not Kropotkinist. It figures an article this stupid would appear The Atlantic, the Voice of Latte Liberalism.
By Stephanie McCurry
Americans are now debating the fate of memorials to the Confederacy—statues, flags, and names on Army bases, streets, schools, and college dormitories. A century and a half of propaganda has successfully obscured the nature of the Confederate cause and its bloody history, wrapping it in myth. But the Confederacy is not part of “our American heritage,” as President Donald Trump recently claimed, nor should it stand as a libertarian symbol of small government and resistance to federal tyranny. For the four years of its existence, until it was forced to surrender, the Confederate States of America was a pro-slavery nation at war against the United States. The C.S.A. was a big, centralized state, devoted to securing a society in which enslavement to white people was the permanent and inherited condition of all people of African descent.
In this video, we explore what might happen in the short and long term if our civilization met the same fate as Ancient Rome.
“That will stopping the bombing in Yemen.” -post on social media
During the French Revolution, actual persons were hung from the lamp posts. “Les aristocrates à la lanterne!”(meaning “aristocrats to the lamp-post!”) was a popular slogan in the revolution. I guess this is the wimpy, watered-down American version of a Cultural Revolution. Efforts to purge the past aside, Americans are still English liberals at heart.
Protesters pulled down the bronze soldiers on the 75-foot Confederate monument at the state Capitol Friday night, then hung the statue of a cavalryman by its neck from a streetlight.
The other statue, an artilleryman, was dragged through the streets to the Wake County courthouse, and later carried away by police in a golf cart.
At one point, a protester pressed a knee into the neck of the statue at the courthouse, a reference to George Floyd, who died May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer took the same position for more than eight minutes. Protesters put a Black Lives Matter sign listing the names of black people killed by police on the statue’s chest.