October 9, 2007
The evidence for NeocommunismBy James Lewis
There is a compelling factual case to be made that the contemporary radical Left can properly be called "Neocommunist." The Hard Left is grounded in Marxist vision of creating a "new man" under a system led by a vanguard that knows best what the rest of society needs. And Neocommies behave in patterns with startling parallels to Old Communist tactics.
The Neocommies are not members of a Communist Party, and are part more of a movement than a conspiracy. They are utterly different from traditional liberalism in America and Europe. Traditional liberals were democratic -- people like Hubert Humphrey, Scoop Jackson and Harry Truman. They fought passionately against the Totalitarian Left, as Ronald Reagan did when he was president of the Screen Actors Guild. Reagan started as a democratic liberal, and became the most famous conservative of the 20th century. As he said so often, he didn't leave the Democratic Party -- it left him.
Over time, the Democrats became more totalitarian in spirit and practice after the first wave of the New Left started its takeover of the Party in the 1970s and 80s. Half a century ago, true liberal Democrats like Harry Truman told Americans the truth about Stalin and the new Cold War -- and were hated for it by the Hard Left. The American Labor movement was dominated by true liberals like George Meaney, who earned their positions by expelling Communist infiltrators, and in some cases throwing out entire Stalinist unions like the Longshoremen's Union.
Today's Labor movement has gone back to Leftist bosses. As the old industrial unions implode, victims of the burden their high wages and benefits imposed on private businesses, the leaders of the fast-growing government employee unions find politics their literal bread and butter and are pillars of the Left.
True liberals drew a bright line in the sand to separate themselves from Communists, including the Communist Party USA (CPUSA), which literally took its orders from Moscow. Combined with strong Democratic support for the national defense, the purge of Communist elements is precisely why liberals earned credibility and trust from the American people. In much of the 1950s and 1960s, "liberal" was not a dirty word, it was a boast.
Had the true liberals given in to the Communists, they would have been marginalized by American voters. A Democratic Party with a strong anti-military, anti-victory wing would never have supported a strong national defense, and would not have been trusted in the face of the obvious menace of Stalin and his heirs.
Today the voters have not yet caught on to the real radicalism of the Left. If they do, Democrats will once again have to choose between the totalitarian impulse and being small d-democrats. Because our Democrats are emphatically not small-d democrats. They will use and manipulate their voters, but they don't listen to them. Whenever possible, they accomplish unpopular policy initiatives through the courts, our least democratic government mechanism, one never designed to lead in formulating social policy.
The NeoCommies may not be conspirators, but they are heirs to an international political movement that was built on conspiracies.
The Historical Communist Conspiracy
We now have a great deal of factual evidence about the Communist conspiracies that were part of longest struggle against totalitarianism in the 20th century, much longer than the war against the Nazis. The struggle against Soviet Communism was a seven decade Long War. There was ample time to develop covert networks.
The new evidence comes from Communist archives that were opened after the fall of the Soviet Empire around 1990. It shows that the anti-Communist Right was quite accurate in its diagnosis of the disease. Former Communists like George Orwell, Arthur Koestler and Whittaker Chambers were telling the truth.
Today, former Boomer Leftists like David Horowitz are giving us the same bad news. They are the most reliable sources we have, because they are the most intimately familiar with the disease. There are political, intellectual, and spiritual descendants in positions of power and influence. It's just that most of us don't really want to believe the bad news.
Yes, there really was an international Communist conspiracy, controlled by Lenin and Stalin and their successors, with tens of millions of sucker-followers in the West. Today the average liberal is not a knave, but a sucker; but there are knaves aplenty on the Left. We can see them acting out in the noisiest way.
The KGB and its predecessors really were incredibly successful in penetrating American and European academia and government. Harry Hopkins, FDR's right-hand man, really did report at times to Soviet agents, riding in a car so they couldn't be bugged. Harry Hopkins was perhaps under the illusion that he was doing that in good faith to FDR and the country. The human capacity for self-delusion is very great, and among liberals it becomes fathomless. But Alger Hiss is now widely acknowledged by historians to have been a Communist spy in the State Department, just as William F. Buckley and Whittaker Chambers said in the Fifties.
Senator Joe McCarthy may have been a demagogue who took advantage of alarm about the Stalinist danger. But Joe McCarthy flourished in an atmosphere in which Stalin had conquered half of Europe, had exploded his first A and H Bombs, and possessed vastly greater armies than the West. Stalin did have agents all over the West and was helped immeasurably by millions of Leftist dupes. After all the immense US sacrifices of World War II, no wonder Americans were outraged by the Stalinist threat. They were absolutely right to be angry.
Many of the people who were called to testify before Congress were Communists, as they boasted long afterwards, and yes, it's true, they really were taking orders from the local Party bosses, who were taking their orders from Moscow. We all wish it wasn't so. It was a nasty, dangerous time. But wishing doesn't make the truth go away.
For just one alarming example: nuclear bomb secrets really were stolen from the Manhattan Project by Klaus Fuchs, who was rewarded for it by a high position in the East German Communist government. American Leftwing scientists like Robert Oppenheimer, the Director of the Manhattan Project, were incredible suckers, allowing gaping security holes, and ended up giving Stalin the Bomb -- much to the surprise of the CIA (natch).
In the Post-Soviet world, of course, things are very different. There are no puppet masters in Moscow. But still, the parallels and resonance with what's going on today are chilling.
Today's Neocommunists prefer to call themselves Marxists, which has again become a respected word on college campuses. But Marxism is Communist ideology. What else could it be? If you read carefully, Neocommunism is really out there, only slightly disguised. Just as Soviet propaganda insisted America was rotten to the core, so does the Hard Left and the institutions it controls parrot the line. The People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn, now a favorite history textbook in the colleges, is proud to "revise" everything we think we know about America, from the true people's point of view.
The heroes of today's aging New Left are the Old Communist Left, not the democratic liberals of the past. Karl Marx is considered the most important "philosopher" in Britain according to the BBC's Radio 4, polling its own audience. Guess how the captive BBC audience learned respect for old Karl? From the BBC itself, one of the biggest neo-Marxist Organs of Propaganda, paid for by the suckered British license holders.
(The big secret is that Marx was a brilliant agitator and political propagandist, but a third-rate philosopher, economist, political scientist, historian and prophet. He was just wrong all the time. But his followers only read his propaganda, which appeals to their romantic desires to be Prophets of the Future.)
Along the same lines, famous Communist thug, hero, martyr, and poster-boy Che Guevara just received an adoring tribute from Reuters, the big European news service, for "Che Guevara's ideals." For the real Che, see this book.
Jew-Hating: Seems like old times
A new Stalin-Nazi alliance is alive in Europe and parts of the US, as Leftists openly ally themselves with Islamic Fascists. Islamists worship Allah and the Leftists worship atheism, but the ideological differences are not that big compared to the Hitler-Stalin Pact. Common enemies and common goals overcome doctrinal differences, to be worked out later.
The difference becomes even smaller when you put a sharp sword at the throats of the Left.
(It's a kind of a public secret that the Left has always had the hots for men of violence, of any brand. It was Hitler who held that Communists made good Nazi recruits, but not the Social-Democrats of his time, who were too much like real liberals. Political violence really has its own groupies and junkies.)
Conversions to Islam are now common in Britain, especially among "alienated youths." That's where the Nazis made their converts in the 1920s and 30s. "Alienated youths" are always the easiest targets for any totalitarian creed. It's another sign of political danger.
Today's resurgence of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic propaganda is yet another cultural alarm bell shrilling, kicked off by the new "Red-Green" alliance. (Green is the color of Islam.) London's mayor "Red Ken" Livingstone was elected by a Red-Green alliance. Even Britain's Prince Charles likes to parade around in a Lawrence of Arabia costume, according to Mark Steyn's recent column. Prince Charles is an empty-headed fool, but Mayor Red Ken Livingstone is a true knave and demagogue. Totalitarians need both knaves and fools.
Anti-Americanism has come roaring back like a bad rash, flaring up after years of remission. Anti-American rage is pervasive on our Left and the dominant media. (But I repeat myself, as Mark Twain might have said).
In Europe most of the major media --- Der Spiegel, Stern, Le Monde, the Guardian, the BBC News -- make a specialty of slamming America, with Israel thrown in as the Little Satan.
Why do they hate us? It's truly not our fault. The Euro-Left hates us for winning the Cold War, and for showing capitalist democracy to be far more beneficial and compassionate than any State-controlled society. It still drives them to rage -- as you can see in the most recent novels of John Le Carre, who was in the British spy services when the KGB-controlled Cambridge Spies were allowed to punch gaping holes in Western security. Cambridge University was a major indoctrination and recruitment center for the KGB between the world wars, because it was populated by Left ideologues. Today, John Le Carre is a very, very angry man, and in his recent novels his Anti-American rage comes out with unmistakable clarity. (For some reason, he especially hates Mormons.) It's really too bad, because he's also a top spy novelist.
Who the Hard Leftists are
The history of NeoCommunism is well known. It starts with the 68'ers in Europe -- les Soixant-huiteurs, named after the 1968 student riots, which served as the major agitprop opportunity. Radicalized youth were created and went on to careers in poltiics. People such as former German Socialist Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who now literally works for the Russians, bought by the giant oil monopoly Gazprom. German anarchist and Green politician Joschka Fischer actually has now turned against his old comrades. Where have we seen this before?
In the US, of course, the NeoCommunists were the Sixties Radicals who decided to carry on a "Long March through the Institutions." That means the college faculties, the high schools, the media, Hollywood, and government. Today, major foundations started by Henry Ford and Andrew Carnegie have turned Hard Left. Capitalist money is turned against the very engines of prosperity.
Hillary Clinton's puppy love for Saul Alinsky, when she was a college student in the Sixties, is symbolic of the way the "new" radicals fell in love with the old, hard-line Communists. Hillary Clinton started her adult life as a millenarian zealot, following the old prophet of radicalism. It's anybody's guess what she believes today, but I suspect it's not the Methodism of her youth. The methods of the Democratic Party today are taken straight out of Saul Alinsky's playbook.
Today The New York Times celebrates the passing of old Communists with lavish obituaries. The NYT Editorial Page has now turned into a mud-throwing gallery for the nasty Left, as shown last week by Gail Collins' weird column on Newt Gingrich's decision not to run for President. It was titled "Ah, Newtie, we hardly knew ye!" Gail Collins is actually the Op-Ed Page Editor of the New York Times, one of the most sought-after jobs in American newspapers. She is engaging in juvenile mudslinging, which is frankly idiotic, because Newt Gingrich happens to be a real history professor, a highly successful electoral politician, a novelist, and one of the most creative policy thinkers in the country. But the Grey Lady will publish such childish rants without hesitation.
(Collins also enabled the disinformation team of Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson to dump blatantly false agitprop into its Op-Ed pages about the Iraq invasion, triggering a massive Leftist assault on George W. Bush, and ending with the sentence of Scooter Libby now under appeal, in lieu of bigger scapegoats.)
The aging New Left has simply become the Neocommunist Left. If you don't believe it, just ask them politely what they really believe. Or check out Moveon.org and many other locations on the web. It's not a secret.
The methods of Neocommunism parallel those of Old Communism to an astonishing degree.
The routine use of orchestrated group lying (so that many different people are suddenly making the same accusation);
The constant use of innocent-sounding front groups like MoveOn.org and Media Matters;
The use of stooges (like military retirees, both real and phony);
The need to whip up the rage of the faithful with constant disinformation about the enemy (i.e., America and conservatives);
The infiltration of media and government. Members of the seventies left are sprinkled throughout these institutions, carrying out the long march. These tricks are all straight out of the old, old playbook. Karl Marx really was a genius agitator and revolutionary plotter, though nothing else. Marx is still the model.
In the Democratic Party, the former radical Henry Wallace wing now controls the Party under a different label, because adopting different disguises is the essence of revolutionary konspiratia. (Konspiratia has been one of the biggest Russian indoor sports since Ivan the Terrible. Americans are just pikers by comparison.)
The worst example of PC re-labeling is what the Hard Left has done to the word "liberal." Our current Left is anything but "liberal." They are not concerned with liberty. They have nothing good to say about John Locke, John Stuart Mill, or Thomas Jefferson. Instead, they impose PC speech control wherever possible, including in the mainstream media. They try to intimidate anyone who disagrees, and have purged professors in universities by accusing them of the current smear labels: Racist, Sexist, Homophobe. A distinguished older scholar I know was harassed some twenty years ago when the PC Police took over his college. His scholarly journals were thrown into the garbage and his office was trashed. He was attacked verbally by radical students in his classes, who were openly encouraged by old-style Marxist professors. My friend ended up resigning from his tenured job, had a heart-attack, somehow survived it and retired. These radicals are not liberals, no matter how much they try to use that label.
There are many similar stories from the Putsch period of the New Left -- starting roughly in the 1970s, when the Boomer Lefties were graduating from the colleges where they had been radicalized. That's when the PC Commissars started to take over, often by simply harassing their enemies.
Today, they're in charge on the campuses. President Lawrence Summers lost his job at Harvard, and was recently blackballed at UC Davis, for offending against Politically Correct Orthodoxy. Larry Summers came to fame as a Clinton Administration official -- a liberal, but not ideologically Stalinist enough for the Hard Left.
The New Left utilized "affirmative action," Black Studies and Women's Studies to bring in new indoctrinated troops, and to drive out objective scholarship from humanities departments. Science and engineering departments tended to be a little more resistant, because they had to deal with facts in the real world. The same seems to be true in business and economics departments. For honest humanities scholarship the Left substituted frauds like "post-modernism," "deconstructionism," and "Critical Theory." Those were just new labels for the old vinegar. While those hot new ideas are now dying of ennui, their true believers are going back to the old Marxist gospel. What's that song about the old-time religion? Well, the Left is going back to the old-time religion of Communism. The best proof is that the very word "communism" is now strictly Verboten by the PC Commissars, who don't want to be exposed.
Will the Evil Empire Strike Back?
The biggest difference between Old and New Marxism today is that NeoCommunists don't control the Soviet Empire. The Left has turned that to its advantage, however. It is no longer possible to accuse them of being run by the Soviets. They will tell you they are patriotic Americans, which is very true, if you adopt their belief that America must be subjected to a Leftist regime for its own good. What's good for the international Left is good for America. Just ask them, very politely. It's not a secret.
We can't even rule out a possible revival of Moscow Center for the worldwide Left, because as Putin becomes ever more authoritarian in Russia, he has also revived the KGB spy network in the West. It was Gorbachev himself who warned about the rise of Stalinism in Russia last week. That is why the Russians used traceable radioactive polonium to kill their traitor Litvinenko in London -- so everybody would know that KGB "wet affairs" were back in the business of killing. They wanted to send a message to their enemies, and the Western media did the job for them. Now everybody knows, except for The New York Times.
Putin is an old KGB spook, and represents the old KGB network who have taken power positions in Russia. Well, if you're Vladimir Putin and want to rebuild a spy network in the West, who would be easier to suborn than our militant Leftists? Western Leftists already hate America and adore our enemies. How easy are they to buy off? You don't even have to pay them, except for purposes of blackmail. Putin would simply be following the very successful Soviet espionage routine. He made his KGB career in East Germany at a time when the Soviets were highly successful in penetrating the West German government and media. It worked like a charm before, so why not do it again?
The ideological goals of NeoCommunism have not changed one bit, which is why the term "communism" is so accurate. The sucker goal is to create Paradise on Earth by overthrowing democratic capitalism. The real goal is to enable the rise of a new ruling class with huge power over ordinary people. One reason that NeoCommunists have so much in common with Islamic Fascists is that both fantasize about the same millenarian end: Islamists also hate democratic capitalism, and they also want to take over the world for a purer, more idealistic tyranny. Check out Saudi Arabia and Iran for some good examples.
After the fall of the Soviet Empire, the Left changed tactics but not goals. In Europe the result was called the "Third Way," and it is the controlling ideology of the European Union today. The "Third Way" claims to be a compromise between capitalism and Communism, but it comes down to sucking resources from relatively free markets for the sake of centralized State power and control. EU propaganda is just recycled socialist propaganda. You can easily see it on the web.
It is no accident that the United Kingdom today is surrendering its national sovereignty to the European Union as fast as possible: The socialist ruling classes in the UK know they will merge seamlessly into the EU elites, at higher salaries, bigger perks, and much more power. The UK elites are simply planning to join the new ruling class of the emerging European Empire. It's a promotion they just can't turn down.
Down the road it's quite possible that the EU will turn Hard Left, and junk soft socialism. And it's not impossible that it will turn Hard Right, like the Nazis. It all depends on circumstances. In France, Dominique de Villepin certainly celebrates a Napoleonic Empire for the future, as he makes clear in his writings.
The most ambitious aim of the European Union, one that is not disguised, is to become part of a world government, a far more powerful United Nations perhaps, to unify control over the world. Sounds paranoid? Yes, I know. But just listen to what they say. This is a case of paranoids having real enemies.
I'm afraid America has real enemies today. They are totalitarians who shout to the world that they are bound and determined to bring us Paradise on Earth -- as long as it's under their collective thumb. It doesn't really matter whether they are Islamists or Stalinists. They are not hard to figure out, since they proclaim their message from the rooftops. It is an ancient disease flaring up again.
Americans and other civilized countries have a record of winning out over tyrannical ideologies, at least over the longer term. But winning is by no means guaranteed. It's like a Twelve-Step Program -- first you have to recognize that the disease has gone too far. Then you can do something about it --- gently, factually, and in a persuasive way.
Winning against Neo-Communism is a matter of reaching hearts and minds, as it always is. Yes, you can love the sinners, just don't fool yourself about the sin. It all starts with telling the truth that is right in front of our eyes.
James Lewis blogs at dangeroustimes.wordpress.com/