The Red Menace

Our darling Wayward Boy Scout reports today that “pretty much all of the anti-war protests are organized, funded, and attended by communist organizations.”


I have a Russian minor.  I’m a hippy liberal.  Why am I being left out of the organizing and how can I get in on this “funding”?


Rich communist organizations with money enough to throw at organizing war protests, throw some money my way.  I have bills to pay.  I have a hippy liberal only semi-participant in capitalism brother to support.  Show a comrade some love!


 


 


Is it sad that I feel the need to clarify that I am not a communist and have never been a communist, nor do I have enough ambition to go to anti-war protests, let alone stage them?  This whole post is a joke designed to poke fun at Exador.  With my luck, he’ll report me to the authorities and I’ll spend the rest of my life in Cuba, but not in the communist part of the island.

67 thoughts on “The Red Menace

  1. Commies or no, I’d be happy to spend the rest o’ my days living in Cuba. The Havana Chamber of Commerce has an ad for a Hemingway impersonator to greet the touristas…

  2. Commie organizations? Christ Jesus, what’s with this "fellow traveler" Cold War crapola? I’ve been active in anti-war stuff since the early 1980s in various capacities and with various intensities — which is to say that I’ve seen the gamut of organizations, coalitions, individuals, and groups come and go. Ex will be happy to know that the RCP can’t stick their fingers in their collective asses with a multiplicity of hands for arguing among themselves. The most effective organizers are Quakers, former Catholic clergy/nuns, and (if you happen to be lucky enough to have some in the city’s mix) old black women who are vets of the civil rights movement. The least are the Trotskyites, Spartacists, and other newspaper-sellers (Nation brothers excluded). Even inexperienced college kids can do better. So no worries, Ex. If it’s organized by the Commies, it’s going to be an ineffectual mess and a press disaster. As far as attendees go, it depends. On some days, you get nearly as many plainclothes feds with notebooks and cameras as you do marchers. Oh, and what I jokingly refer to as "inside agitators" — feds posing as anarchists. (Isn’t it funny how they are always "new to the area" and a little older?)So nice try with the Red Threat, but here in OFR (that’s Objective Fucking Reality) you can want the war over and be neither a communist nor a communist sympathizer. It’s this inconvenient truth that is probably more worrisome to the government and supporters of its policies than all those non-existent boogeymen.Incidentally, there’s a good new book by Jeff Woods (*Black Struggle, Red Scare*) that argues convincingly that anti-Communist rhetoric actually worked to the protesters’ advantage during the Civil Rights movement. The hysteria fanned by Cold Warriors and race conservatives caused mainline groups to differentiate themselves sharply from Marxists and thereby gain nationwide support. Of course, it also prompted a hellaciously expensive government response to squelch a nearly non-existent communist presence, exacerbated a ton of interracial violence, and legitimated red-baiting within supposedly Left organizations — but hey. So Ex, keep going. By speaking out against the Red Menace, it appears that you’re just doing your bit for the cause.

  3. Bridgett,As my blog points out, the largest is International ANSWER, which is a front for the Workers World Party.You’re just doing what libs have been doing since McCarthy: Dismissing anybody who points out the presence of Communist organizations as a red-scare kook.

  4. As Michael Berube wrote about ANSWER 3 years or so ago: "when we talk about the WWP we’re talking about perhaps 50-100 far-leftists who have no credibility or influence among serious people, and who have already been repudiated—even by Z Magazine and anarchist groups. . . . So far, the vast majority of anti-war protestors have turned out despite the politics of ANSWER, not because of them—which is why opposition to ANSWER has grown so strong in so many quarters [on the left], and why so many leftists are now referring to ANSWER as International AOWCUTGDPF, or ‘Authoritarian Opportunists Who Cozy Up to Genocidal Dictators—for Peace.". . . In the larger scheme of things, there’s simply no need to take up torches and pitchforks against fifty foolish far-leftists; five years from now they will be the stuff of trivia questions, whereas our invasion of Iraq will have had all manner of repercussions throughout the world."And I have to say, I think he’s right. They are pretty much nowhere these days.

  5. Some people ARE red-scare kooks. The presence of people dressed as witches on Halloween doesn’t make Atlanta a coven. Sure, there are communists. There are also mothers. Does this mean that you’re a mother if you march? There are also postal workers, iron workers, vegetarians, feminists, libertarians, communitarians, librarians, llama-owners, and Iraq veterans. Unless you’re ready to call me a veteran-lover, let’s quit with the whole "guilt by association" thing. But back to your fears. The WWP? ANSWER? They’re part of the publicity-grabbing opportunists about whom I spoke. They just aren’t very effective. Their membership is perceived by the anti-war folks as being more interested in being in the vanguard than they are in stopping the war. They will hitch their cart to any horse that appears to be running and have since the early 1960s. Lately, they’ve generated much ill-will by squandering resources and opportunities in major city protests. They apply for parade permits that they know will not fly (because their logistics people SUCK ASS) and make a lot of noise when they are turned down (because their logistics people SUCK ASS). Then other organizations actually have to go on and do the work. At which point ANSWER people show up and crowd to the front so that they can get on camera. It’s kind of funny to watch them, really. I could claim to co-sponsor a march. You could. Anyone can who can make a poster. You’re giving them way too much credit for work they do not do. Their internal politics boil down to "we’re anti-US imperialism at whatever cost" — they’ve a track record of supporting scumbag authoritarian regimes without regard for humanitarian or civil rights — and so they have a consistently bad rep among the anti-authoritarian Left and the predominantly moderate people of the UFPJ, WRL, and religious/pacifist organizations. They are both small in numbers and small in influence.I’m telling you. You don’t need to lose sleep over ANSWER. All ten of them will be on to the next cause soon enough. What you need to worry about is why several hundred thousand other people can be mobilized to march.

  6. bridgett,I agree with all that wrote about ANSWER, but that doesn’t mean they’re insignificant. That also doesn’t mean there isn’t a significant communist presense among the anti-war movement.Jon, that website was funny.

  7. If you agree with what I wrote, then you agree that the group that you’ve identified as being the driving force behind the American anti-war movement is in reality a fringe group of ineffectual megaphone-wavers with a nationally microscopic membership. Others have noted that the rest of the Left shows up and carries on despite them, not because of them — and in fact, ANSWER tends to mess up protests rather than make them function better. So I guess I don’t understand what you think "significant" means. If they fuck up everything they touch, the other groups can’t stand them, and they are ideologically discounted by both the anti-war movement and those who would see it fail, how can they be "significant"?

  8. Prof,I have a problem with an idealogy that has the no-one-is-even-comes-close record for slaughtering their own people.And the left uses ‘nazi’ as a slur?

  9. Yes, that is it. If they aren’t significant numerically… and they aren’t shaping the movement internally ideologically… and they aren’t (as you note) getting the media coverage they crave and thus aren’t really shaping the perception of the movement in the living rooms of America (because let’s face it, mainstream media doesn’t cover anything having to do with the anti-war movement much)…and they aren’t convincing anyone to join their ranks….and they aren’t financing or organizing successfully…and they aren’t effective behind-the-scenes…and they don’t have the logistical sense to march their dozens of supporters out of a big wet paper bag…and they don’t even sell enough papers to break even (which is a constant disheartening bummer among ISO/ANSWER true believers)…I guess I’d have to conclude that they aren’t really significant. I’m running out of ways by which one might reasonably accord them significance. I guess you’re going to have to make an argument for why they matter, beyond their propensity for giving old Cold Warriors the fantods.

  10. Exador, let’s see: if you agree that it isn’t groups like ANSWER who are organizing and funding anti-war protests, and that they don’t account for the bulk of the protesters EXCEPT at fringe functions like those supporting Hizbollah, are you going to publish a retraction, modification, or correction of the statement that "pretty much all of the anti-war protests are organized, funded, and attended by communist organizations"?No, I thought not.

  11. The problem with reflexively using the term "communist" as a pejorative is that it ignores context. Self-professed ‘communism’– as packaged into Stalinism or Maoism– is the eliminationist stuff of which Exador speaks. However, the IWW (or Wobblies) and other U.S.-based quasi-communist, anarchist, or socialist groups were at the forefront of organizing and agitating for civil rights and workers’ rights. It was U.S. commies who were responsible for keeping the Scottsboro boys from being lynched by the state of Alabama. It was U.S. commies and socialists who were largely responsible for getting us an eight-hour workday and the right to form unions. Ironically, it was the fear of socialism that forced our industry-friendly gov’t to come up with a massive compromise known as the New Deal (attaboy, commies!).Point being: in the context of massive, totalitarian, post-revolutionary government, communism (putative or otherwise) bad. In the context of an allegedly pluralistic and politically open society, communism not so bad, and sometimes even good.Besides: where in the U.S. Constitution is communism outlawed? (That’s just my semi-snide way of pointing out that "communism" is an abstract, and its practical application depends on context.)

  12. I agree Church Secretary.Communists/Marxists changed things for the better whenever they gained power, that not once in human history have they ever been democratically voted out of office.

  13. Oh, now, Lee. I’m going to have to challenge you to a duel. You have insulted my family’s honor. My great-great grandfather was a socialist, as were his sons, as was pretty damn common among midwestern railroad men.If you’re claiming that all Marxists, of which the socialists are some, don’t change things for the better and don’t leave office when voted out, I ask you to take a long hard look at Bridgeport, Connecticut; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Schenectady, New York and let me know when the troops had to be deployed to remove their socialist mayors.As for our duel, you may schedule it right after I gracefully accept your forehead kiss. That should give me time to talk Say Uncle into showing me how to use dueling pistols.

  14. Adding to the list: Sioux City, IA; Tulsa, OK (and dozens of other smaller towns in Oklahoma); Reading, PA (where they liked the guy so much they brought him back for three non-consecutive terms because he refused to serve consecutively as it was a violation of his democratic principles to stay in straight through); New Paltz, New York; and Cleveland, Ohio. In fact, Tom Johnson (of Cleveland, OH fame) was the best damn mayor they’ve ever had, bar none. Socialists, on the whole, have made some pretty fine mayors, exceptional city council members, and reasonably good legislators. You may recall that Bernie Sanders is serving as the independent representatives of the citizens of Vermont at the moment and they like him so much that they are running him for Jefford’s soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat; in fact, even the VFW calls Sanders "a true friend to American veterans." That’s characteristic of Socialists, who have gotten along surprisingly well with vets, public service employees, the business community, and everyone BUT career politicians.Contrary to your claims, none of these guys had to be forcibly ejected, nuther. Compare, if you will, with machine politicians of the Dem or Republican persuasion and I think you’ll find that they served the democratic system more creditably than clowns like Nels Rockefeller or Richard Daley.

  15. I should have clarified. Your Eugene Debbs democratic Socialists, while I disagree with them, are a different breed in nature than actual Communists. Let me clarify my smartass: Whenever a communist leader took control of a nation’s government, he made it such a proletarian paradise that they were never democratically elected out of office.

  16. I believe your clarification would be better received if you clarified with your mouth very close to my ear, one hand softly squeezing my shoulder and the other hand… apologizing.So, first, forehead kisses, then you make me sorry I have to shoot you, and then we duel.Woo hoo! All political disagreements should be settled with impertinent men whispering in my ear!I’ll bring the bourbon.

  17. And should, on the plain of honor, I am felled by you Aunt B, grant me but one wish. That as my life’s blood slowly drains from my veins, and ever cold darkness creeps insidiously round, may I have the dying comfort of your tender embrace, while saying unto me…"Sometimes Lee, the patriachy is not to blame."Oh, then I can die a happy, happy man.

  18. Of course, Brave Lee. It’s true, sometimes the patriarchy is not to blame. For instance, try as I might, I can’t figure out how to blame the patriarchy for me being unable to train my dog not to act like a doofus when other dogs are around. I think that’s squarely on my shoulders.

  19. Wow. You guys conveniently skip over the times when communism was actually in power:Stalin’s soviet unionCambodia’s killing fieldsCastro’s cubaNorth KoreaChinaVietnamYou may find a few people who don’t think (if they were still alive) that communism changed things for the better.To quote PJ O’Rourke, "These were people who believed everything about the Soviet Union was perfect, but they were bringing their own toilet paper."The tragic flaw in communism is that, when you eliminate the importance of the individual, it’s very easy to eliminate dissenters ‘for the common good’.By the way, the Great Depression would have resolved itself without the New Deal. WW2 ended it.And please, people. Renaming communism into socialism, pluralism, or the democratic party, is a smokescreen. It’s slight of hand, trying to hide the fact that it’s communism.

  20. Sarcastro: "You can’t get good chinese takeout in China"Really? Every travel writer I read raves about the food there, both in the cities and in the countryside.Of more interest to me is that you can’t get good Chinese takeout in Nashville. You can’t even get good eat-in Chinese food in Nashville. Is that a reflection on capitalism? The free market is supposed to provide everything consumers want, isn’t it?

  21. nm, your masquerade is over. Everyone now knows you are really Kay West hiding behind the anonymity of the Interweb.Which travel writers do you speak of? Do they proclaim knowledge of American preferences regarding Chinese food or just what the native guides told them about Sino-cuisine?If us poor bourgeois masses would quit eating at the buffet, stop ordering General Tso’s at the mall, and could only submit to our "intelligentsia betters" ideas of what constitutes good Chinese food, the world would be a worker’s paradise, wouldn’t it?Sorry if the free market of Nashville restaurants isn’t providing you all the fried chicken’s feet and five-spice beef tripe your little heart desires. Try Golden Coast over on West End. They serve an authentic buffet on the weekends.

  22. It is exceedingly difficult to carry on an intellectual discussion when people insist on ignoring what you say and ‘responding’ to what you don’t say.Perhaps the problem is one of comprehension; perhaps the concept of ‘context’ is too esoteric for some to grasp. I will attempt to simplify:Stalin’s and Mao’s versions of communism: bad.The Communist Party of the United States of America: not so bad, often very good.I would get into Cuba and Pol Pot, but I’m afraid the subtleties and intricacies may be too deep for some to be willing to handle.It will suffice to say that "communism" is nothing more than a concept, as are "capitalism" and "socialism." One person’s interpretation of any one of those concepts will likely differ from another person’s. The same is true of governments, especially in practice. It depends on your definition and on the context.

  23. Sorry to belabor this, but an interesting thought just occurred to me, and I will express it in the form of a trivia question: Who drove the Khmer Rouge from power in Cambodia?

  24. Try this one on for size: Socialism is a different ideology than Communism. They have different social aims but some related suppositions about how the economic world works. They share some root philosophies, but in practice produce different institutions, different socio-cultural values, different economies, and different sorts of governments. For example, 1960s Sweden was pretty unlike the USSR of the 1960s. This isn’t a smokescreen but a statement of fact. To be fair to Exador, he is right insofar as the historical jury’s still out on the efficacy of the New Deal. Classical liberal economic historians are very critical, new social historians think it was absolutely necessary, and there’s a lot of people in between. The historiography has been trending more critical than it was in the past couple of decades. Alan Brinkley would argue that the recession of 1937, not WWII, killed the New Deal. (See his *End of Reform* published in 1996.)

  25. Bridgett: whether or not the Depression would have been ended by WWII is almost beside the point. The New Deal was not a forward-thinking, progressive action as it is often characterized by the neo-feudalists amongst us. The New Deal was a compromise forwarded by pragmatic elements of a U.S. gov’t, elements that were aware of the festering and boiling discontent among the working and poor masses. This discontent was personified in the likes of Huey Long, who– regardless of your opinion about his authenticity– managed to gain quite a following with his fiery message of populist class warfare. For a southern Democrat to gain a following by preaching that wealth distribution was more important than racial segregation must have scared the big capitalists shitless. It was in this environment that the New Deal was hammered out. Ironically, WWII came about partly because some of those same international big capitalists were nurturing and bankrolling fascists in order to contain or redirect the energies of the angry working classes of Europe. So if it hadn’t been for the New Deal, who knows how the U.S. might have entered WWII. Perhaps it would have been a nation embroiled in a bloody pseudo-Marxist revolution, or perhaps it would have been a state in the grip of its own openly fascist dictatorship.

  26. Sarcastro, if you’re going to "prove" that Communism doesn’t work by talking about the lack of good food in China, you’d better have an idea about what the Chinese think is good food. I’m sorry if it’s a shock to you to learn that Chinese ideas about good food can not be satisfied by what’s available in Nashville (including the Gold Coast). But it’s true, they can’t be. You don’t have to be an elitist foodie to know that, just be a food lover lucky enough to have lived in a city with lots of Chinese immigrants cooking food. There is good food in China, by the standards of both the Chinese and food lovers everywhere. According to your syllogism, that indicates that Communism is a successful system. And the lack of what both the Chinese and food lovers everywhere consider to be good Chinese food in Nashville ought, by the same token, to prove that capitalism is a failure.Could it, just possibly, be your standard of proof that’s at fault?

  27. True dat, CS. Just trying to give Ex a chance to feel right about something, since I’ve been patching the poor guy’s ass all day long. Frith and all, y’know?

  28. That would explain all the Chinese people eating at Golden Coast on the weekends. They don’t know good Chinese food and are eating there out of spite in order to strike a blow against communism and food snobbery. Crafty, inscrutable devils!Clearly, those fortunate enough to live in cities with large Chinese immigrant populations know better. How foolish we poor hicks are with our subjective tastes and provincial attitudes.All hail our Maoist Foodie Comrades! May their wise leadership and culinary superiority not lead to a famine in which over 20 million people die! With their wise Socialist wisdom filling the larder, there will be no need to dig up freshly buried corpses for that authentic Great Leap Forward foodie experience that the cognoscenti crave.

  29. Golly Thanks, bridgett. Generally, getting a woman to patch my ass costs extra.CS, your defence of american communism brings up an inherent fact: communism’s success is inversely proportional to the size of the group.The key to a happy marriage? communism.Communism works great for a small group of hunters/gatherers. This is what sucks in so many stupid college kids."Gee, my vegan co-op works great. We should run the whole country that way."Notice how all your examples are of isolated small towns? And that’s not even communism. So some mayor with communist tendencies got elected. Big whoop.

  30. All right, I take back the part about isolated small town, but the rest is true. Just because a mayor with communist tendencies gets elected, it’s nothing. He (or she) is still working within a capitalist system.

  31. The patch itself is free. It’s the Lidocaine that costs extra.What are you arguing again? First it was that communism was dominating the anti-war movement. Then, when that fell apart, it was that communists were a significant force in the anti-war movement. Then that fell apart. Then there was the list of admittedly anti-humanitarian regimes, which I think everyone can agree offered little to defend, but none of which were germane to your critique of American communism. It was demonstrated that American communists and socialists (who are different and have different political agendas) actually had a lasting positive impact on American society and politics. They worked directly (through their political office-holding) and indirectly (through fueling the need in the mainstream parties to come up with pragmatic OFR responses to their very popular social policy proposals). And now you’re arguing that this doesn’t count, somehow, because you’ve convinced yourself that nothing good can come from what you broadly and incorrectly label "communism" despite the abundant evidence that you’re wrong about that in the American context. Perhaps industrial democracies can use a good kick in the ass sometimes and maybe, on occasion, the American left has done a good job of providing that kick.

  32. Woo hoo! After Lee is done "clarifying" and then dying in our bloody duel, I trust you’ll be willing to explain how you didn’t really mean to insult lovely midwestern cities very quietly in my ear. I like scruff, so please don’t shave the morning of your "explanation."As for your larger point, I’m still not clear about how a handful of communists with no real power ruin the anti-war movement, but a mayor of a major city is "nothing."I guess I don’t understand the Libertarian Scale of Things to Panic About.

  33. You’re twisting my argument, so I will try to be clearer.I agreed with you that ANSWER often tries to make their numbers appear larger by hijacking other organizations’ demonstrations, and that this has pissed off many other leftwing groups.I disagree with you that communists are a tiny part of the anti-war movement. I think they are a significant part of it. Somebody is buying all those Che t-shirts. (that’s a joke. I know that a lot of dopes who buy che t-shirts are not communists)What you call ‘anti-humanitarian regimes’ all had a common thread. Any guesses?Just because communism hasn’t become our form of government, doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. See above.I am against communism gaining ANY ground in this country for two reasons: 1) It has been a human rights disaster everywhere that it IS the dominant form of government. 2) It is wrong to take other peoples’ labor by force, because you are making a slave of that person, which I’m against.Just because I concede one of your points, doesn’t mean I’m contradicting my argument.

  34. You must be mistaken. A man busy defending "poor hicks […]with our subjective tastes and provincial attitudes" has no time for a secret life of regular management jobs.

  35. The restaurant in question was in the Rivergate area, so I think that the characterization of "poor hicks with subjective tastes and provincial attitudes" was valid.

  36. Aunt B., how can I possibly make you self-conscious? First, I adore you and you could not possibly do wrong in my eyes, so you sort of have a free pass. Second, a woman who challenges Lee to a love duel and has pictures of her boob freckle on the web has no reason to be nervous about little old me.Exador, you are the only one "Renaming communism into socialism, pluralism, or the democratic party". You’re right, it "is a smokescreen. It’s slight of hand, trying to hide … fact[s] …". Sort of as if I were to accuse you of renaming Naziism into fascism, conservatism, or the Republican Party. Those are all different things with different definitions, histories, goals, and adherents.Sarcastro, I lived in and around NYC for about 20 years. You can’t get edible Mexican food there for love nor money. You can get something that is called Mexican food: it includes blue drinks, blue chips, and spinach burritos that are bigger than the plate they’re served on. You get the idea. I can give you a looooong list of places that serve this swill, some of which are so popular that they have lines out the door. It doesn’t mean that they serve good Mexican food; it just means that people in NYC don’t know any better.You also can’t get good barbecue there. (At the time I lived there, this didn’t bother me nearly as much as the lack of decent Mexican food, since I was used to eating Mexican but not barbecue.) First, the locals don’t know any better. Second, when on a couple of occasions southerners moved to town and announced their intention of teaching the locals better, they were welcomed with open arms and reminded that it’s illegal to operate a smoker within the city limits. I used to eat at a place called Virgil’s, which seemed to me at the time to be pretty decent. Having been in Nashville for years now, I realize that what I was eating was, comparatively, teh suck. But I went to Virgil’s because all the southerners went there, and that included relatives and friends. They were never enthusiastic about anything there except the greens. I now realize that they went there and complained to each other about how it wasn’t anything like what they could get at home, and what a damn shame it was that this was the only barbecue in town. And that, I’m pretty sure, is the Chinese conversation going on at the Gold Coast on the weekends.

  37. Ex, you still haven’t told me what you think "significant" means. If they aren’t large in number (either absolute or expressed as a percentage of the total population of the mainline protests), they don’t wield ideological influence, they aren’t successful at organizing, etc, then how are they significant, exactly? I understand what you allege. I do not understand on what grounds you believe it to be true. Anti-humanitarian regimes come in all flavors. Just ask the Lakota (attacked by a imperial democratic republic). Or the Filipinos (subjugated by a monarchy, then an imperial democratic republic). Or the Kongolese (monarchy). Or Indians (Hail Brittania). Or German Jews, who certainly weren’t killed by the millions by Communists. The common denominator on the long long inclusive list (you know, the broader one that has included, from time to time, the US, England, Germany, Belgium, Canada, etc…) is "states that treat certain humans like shit." If you want to argue that Communism predisposes states to trivialize individual human life, then go for it. But it looks to me that every type of state (by the nature of state-formation, identity-creation, and boundary-making) does that.

  38. That is exactly what I claim: Communism’s trivializing of the rights (and life) of the individual predisposes any communist state to become a human rights disaster.The regimes I indicated were not inconsistencies caused by ‘not doing communism correctly’ (as has been alleged, though not by you), but are the natural result.Which is why I’m against it.Now, with that said, I do not have numbers on how many of the anti-war crowd are communists. My following of the protests, IndyMedia, and the blogs, leads me to believe that it is significant.As for communism vs socialism, it’s my understanding that, at best, socialism is an intermediate step on the way to communism. Depending on your definition, the two words often describe the exact same thing.

  39. For anybody out there, could you please name any communist state that would allow us to even have this conversation without fear?

  40. Come on! First, through what channels are you following these protests? Because if I went to only Kos and Olberman (as much as I love him) for my ideas about right wingers, I’d think y’all were basically developmentally disabled superstitious freaks who cannot wait to lock me in a kitchen and force me to have all the babies I can to insure the future of the white race.Second, even if the anti-war movement is filled to the brim with communists, they aren’t about to take over America, so your outrage over them seems to far surpass the actual "threat."As for you, nm, woo hoo! You’ve made my day.

  41. Lee,No one here is advocating that we should live in a communist state. Argh! That’s my pet peeve about you righties. If I want to have any kind of impassioned discussion with y’all, I can’t ever just assume you’re going to give me the benefit of the doubt.Really, everyone here could start out "Well, by god, I hate Castro and Communism as a way to run a country and I love the U.S.A. and want what’s best for it and for it to continue to prosper and be a beacon of hope to the world, especially because there’s no other country in the world where I could have this conversation without being afraid. And I love men. Woo hoo. Unless, I am a man, in which case, I only look upon men with manly appreciation and not the slightest bit of unnatural lust. And even when I disagree with George Bush, I still wish him the best. All that said…"Or you could just trust that most of us, even when we vehemently disagree with you, are coming from that position and save us all some time.I trust you. I disagree with you, often, obviously. But I trust you. I hope you feel the same in return.

  42. A common problem that arises in many discussions of this type, espeically when the dreaded C-word (no, not that one, "communist") comes up, is that most people fail to distinguish between economics and politics. Of course there can be no society without both, but they can be distinguished and picked apart and put back together in various combinations. So, socialism is not only a step on the way to communism.And, democracy doesn’t require capitalism. Etc …

  43. Exador, I an entertained by watching you reasserting your orginal claim over and over and over again. But, you need to understand that few peole agree with you, have explained why they don’t agree with you, and expect that you’ll either 1) change your mond, 2) provide new and better evidence to support your belief in the face of such discussion, or 3) realize that your belief is based on bias and fear and just let it go (the attempt to persuade us or defend yourself, not the belief itself, we can all see that’s not going anywhere).

  44. Exador: "As for communism vs socialism, it’s my understanding that, at best, socialism is an intermediate step on the way to communism. Depending on your definition, the two words often describe the exact same thing."I think your understanding may be flawed. If you had the humility to, say, look up the histories of socialism and communism, you might find that out. It’s true that some people use the two terms to describe the same thing. Those people, though, are usually those who have decided that hysterical rejection suits some purpose of theirs better than reasoned argument. Lee, you can find discussions just like this one going on in pretty much any socialist state (i.e. any state with a ruling party called "Labor" or "Social Democrats" or something similar). That’s just one of the many things that distinguish them from the Communists you are attacking.

  45. Snippy snippy.How about…ohhh…a dictionary.Would that suffice?socialismn 1: a political theory advocating state ownership of industry 2: an economic system based on state ownership of capital [syn: socialist economy] [ant: capitalism]so·cial·ism ( P ) Pronunciation Key (ssh-lzm)n. 1) Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy. 2) The stage in Marxist-Leninist theory intermediate between capitalism and communism, in which collective ownership of the economy under the dictatorship of the proletariat has not yet been successfully achieved.

  46. Interesting dictionary you have. You seem to be cherry-picking definitions.Here’s the definition from Encarta:"so·cial·ism or So·cial·ism"noun "Definition:"1. political system of communal ownership: a political theory or system in which the means of production and distribution are controlled by the people and operated according to equity and fairness rather than market principles"2. movement based on socialism: a political movement based on principles of socialism, typically advocating an end to private property and to the exploitation of workers"3. stage between capitalism and communism: in Marxist theory, the stage after the proletarian revolution when a society is changing from capitalism to communism, marked by pay distributed according to work done rather than need"

  47. Wow. Now, to me, that seems like a very biased/opinion-laced definition. ‘Equity and fairness’? "an end to the exploitation of the workers"?!What, did Karl Marx write that?I’ll have to check my Encarta at home.My definitions came from dictionary.com and Wikipedia.

  48. http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_1861709575/socialism.htmlWikipedia? OK, you win. Nothing could be more accurate or unbiased than that. And in view of the undying devotion I recently expressed to Aunt B., I resolve not to take this tu quoque stuff any further on her blog. I maintain that "Communism" has a much more restricted definition than you ascribe to it, and that the idea that "Communists" dominate the anti-war movement (or even anti-war marches) is ludicrous. I further maintain that you’ve been given lots of evidence to support that view, and that you have given none to support yours. If you want to have the last word with me, go right ahead.

  49. Just as a side note, can we now end every skirmish here with someone expressing undying devotion to me? Sincerely. That’s so nice.

  50. OK, I know I said I was leaving this thread, but I just re-read it, and I’ve noticed that no one has presented any actual facts to refute what I originally said. That includes me, but then again, I was stating an impression anyway. We have bridgett’s experience with anti-war groups, which I suppose is proof to her, since she was there, but that’s not exactly documentation.Ha! Last word!

  51. No! The last word is supposed to be something about someone’s undying devotion to me.Rats.Oh, great. Exador and his "I’m from the 40s" slang has infiltrated my vocabulary. Next thing you know, I’m going to be running around calling folks "Toots."

  52. Ok, numbers for Mr. Red Menace…and then some undying devotion and then I let this drop.CPUSA says they have 15k members. That’s crap, but that’s what they say. Let’s take them at their (fullofshit, no fucking way) word.ISO took a huge hit in membership in an internal squabble in 2001 and maybe MAYBE had 3k active members nationally in 2003 and 2004.WWP might have had 1k, but probably less.So that’s the three biggest national commie groups active at the time of the 2003/04 UPJ marches. 18k, at a generous outside, card-carrying dues-paying paper-selling megaphone-waving black and white checkered scarf wearing fucks. Remember that some of these guys have cross-over memberships too…but I’m not going to worry about double-counted people for this simple calculation.In 2003 and 2004, depending on who was counting and the day and all that, marches around the US were pulling 500k or so. (We’ll set aside the 2 mil guesses…I’m deliberately going lowball for the crowd counts and highball for the commies, to give you the most favorable possible numbers.)So, if every single commie marched and chanted his or her egalitarian heart out, the march would be at best composed of 3.6% self-identified communists. And 96.4% not.Not numerically significant. Not ideologically significant. Not logistically significant. Not. Significant. Now go redeploy, like you promised.You’re all things beautiful, B. Stars go dark when you close your eyes.

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