January 14, 2007

Quaker Picnic Talk From an Unrepentant Marxist

Of course, some of us who have quaint ideas about right and wrong and international law might quibble over the right of the U.S. Marines to invade and occupy such countries, an act that Marine General Smedley Butler once described as a “racket”."

-- Louis Proyect
Louis Proyect, of course, self-defines as "The Unrepentant Marxist."

It's quaint that a Marxist revolutionary cites "right and wrong" and "international law" to support his criticism of U.S. policy.

If I remember right, in most varieties of the Marxist glass bead game, "right and wrong" is merely the expression of class interest, and "international law" the operating rules of the tyrants' cartel.

In this calculus, blaming a bourgeois government for violating international law is like blaming a rattlesnake for being venomous.

There's a whole tradition in this country, of course, of leftists trying to wrap themselves in the flag. "Communism," said Earl Browder, "is 20th Century Americanism," and when Stalin sent American Communists to die for the Spanish Republic, their expeditionary force was styled the "Abraham Lincoln Brigade." And who can forget the "Ballad for Americans?"

In 1935 the Comintern proclaimed a Popular Front policy that downplayed revolution and emphasized alliances with reformers and other leftists against the common menace of fascism. Embracing this stance with the slogan "Communism is twentieth-century Americanism," the CPUSA shifted to support of Roosevelt and sought a cooperative role on the left of the broad New Deal coalition. Communists achieved a limited but nonetheless significant presence in main stream politics through their participation in New York's American Labor Party, the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party, the End Poverty in California movement, the Wisconsin Farmer-Labor Progressive Federation, and the Washington [state] Commonwealth Federation. Two members of Congress, Representatives John Bernard (1937–1938) of Minnesota's Farmer-Labor Party and Hugh De Lacy (1945–1946), a Washington State Democrat, became secret members. Two open communists won election to the New York City Council.

Communists also took leading although usually secret roles in numerous liberal-left advocacy groups such as the American League for Peace and Democracy, National Negro Congress, American Writers Union, and American Youth Congress. Communists had no role in founding the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), but in 1936, after secret negotiations, CIO leaders hired more than fifty communist organizers and brought into the CIO several small communist-led unions.

Source: here.
Years ago, a friend of mine, a "red diaper baby," told me of going to a Youth Congress in Russia. The slogan of the day was "Mir e Druzhba!" or "Peace and Friendship." They went around Mir-and-druzhbing. This, of course, was the language of a Quaker picnic, not class struggle.

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