Berkeley's Marxist establishment

By

Earlier this week, I thanked Representative Steve King (R—IA) for defeating a measure to name Berkeley's Main POst Office after former Berkeley City Councilwoman Maudelle Shirek. One of the matters Rep. King brought to the attention of the House of Representatives was her service on the board of the Niebyl—Proctor Marxist Library.

A local giveaway newspaper, The Berkeley Daily Planet, was predictably outraged, as were most of the Berkeley political establishment. Plans are now afoot to find a local public facility to name after Shirek. Even the normally sensible Chip Johnson, a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, thought that local values ought to hold sway in such a matter. I wrote Chip an email about his column, but haven't heard back yet, if ever.

But the Daily Planet, a paper which has steadily become more and more extreme in its leftism, couldn't resist running a glowing profile of the Marxist library, one which makes clear the library's unashamed commitment to Communism, a dogma and political system whose followers have slaughtered scores of millions of victims in the name of their power to "liberate" the masses. That anyone would defend this belief system is a testament to what the Catholic Church labels "invincible ignorance," a phrase I find coming to mind more often these days.

Here are some excerpts from the Daily Planet profile of the library, with my comments interspersed:

At Niebyl—Proctor, Brezhnev is presented as a matinee idol, North Korea has the makings of a utopian society and heroes carry union cards and always fight for the working man.

Surely this is ironic. No? Read on.

'We're preserving the history of people who led valiant struggles and have just been erased,' said the library's Executive Director Bob Patenaude. 'We keep their memory alive.'

Niebyl—Proctor's holdings include about 15,000 books, more than 20,000 pamphlets and dozens of cardboard boxes filled with oral histories of progressive activists from the early 20th century.

So, what's the difference between a "progressive" and a "communist"?

Pamphlets were a common tool of communist governments and their allies abroad to promote Marxist views across the globe, Patenaude said.

'Sure this is pure communist propaganda, but it was to counter U.S. propaganda, which is just as misleading and sometimes even more vile,' he said.

This assertion seems to require no evidence. It certainly reveals a mindset.

Although Marxism might not be the potent political force it once was, its adherents across the country are organizing to save relics of past glories in hopes that a new golden era [emphasis added] might not be far away. There is a Marxist reading room in New York City, Patenaude said, and Marxist libraries were being planned in Sacramento and Chicago.

'I'm cautiously optimistic,' said Patenaude. He argues that U.S. policies aren't sustainable and if the political tide turns, Niebyl—Proctor will be around to let people know about library's its roots.

'We're maintaining the history of our class,' he said. 'The working class and their fight against the bad guys.'

Anyone still think the communist menace is a joke?

Thomas Lifson   10 01 05

Earlier this week, I thanked Representative Steve King (R—IA) for defeating a measure to name Berkeley's Main POst Office after former Berkeley City Councilwoman Maudelle Shirek. One of the matters Rep. King brought to the attention of the House of Representatives was her service on the board of the Niebyl—Proctor Marxist Library.

A local giveaway newspaper, The Berkeley Daily Planet, was predictably outraged, as were most of the Berkeley political establishment. Plans are now afoot to find a local public facility to name after Shirek. Even the normally sensible Chip Johnson, a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, thought that local values ought to hold sway in such a matter. I wrote Chip an email about his column, but haven't heard back yet, if ever.

But the Daily Planet, a paper which has steadily become more and more extreme in its leftism, couldn't resist running a glowing profile of the Marxist library, one which makes clear the library's unashamed commitment to Communism, a dogma and political system whose followers have slaughtered scores of millions of victims in the name of their power to "liberate" the masses. That anyone would defend this belief system is a testament to what the Catholic Church labels "invincible ignorance," a phrase I find coming to mind more often these days.

Here are some excerpts from the Daily Planet profile of the library, with my comments interspersed:

At Niebyl—Proctor, Brezhnev is presented as a matinee idol, North Korea has the makings of a utopian society and heroes carry union cards and always fight for the working man.

Surely this is ironic. No? Read on.

'We're preserving the history of people who led valiant struggles and have just been erased,' said the library's Executive Director Bob Patenaude. 'We keep their memory alive.'

Niebyl—Proctor's holdings include about 15,000 books, more than 20,000 pamphlets and dozens of cardboard boxes filled with oral histories of progressive activists from the early 20th century.

So, what's the difference between a "progressive" and a "communist"?

Pamphlets were a common tool of communist governments and their allies abroad to promote Marxist views across the globe, Patenaude said.

'Sure this is pure communist propaganda, but it was to counter U.S. propaganda, which is just as misleading and sometimes even more vile,' he said.

This assertion seems to require no evidence. It certainly reveals a mindset.

Although Marxism might not be the potent political force it once was, its adherents across the country are organizing to save relics of past glories in hopes that a new golden era [emphasis added] might not be far away. There is a Marxist reading room in New York City, Patenaude said, and Marxist libraries were being planned in Sacramento and Chicago.

'I'm cautiously optimistic,' said Patenaude. He argues that U.S. policies aren't sustainable and if the political tide turns, Niebyl—Proctor will be around to let people know about library's its roots.

'We're maintaining the history of our class,' he said. 'The working class and their fight against the bad guys.'

Anyone still think the communist menace is a joke?

Thomas Lifson   10 01 05