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My original title for this diary was going to be: "Calling all Communists!", but I knew that this might be fodder for Bill O'Reilly and Roger Ailes, who think that this website is a regular Commie cyber-nest.  Which leads me to the subject of this diary:  I'm TOTALLY sick of mainstream conservatives and mainstream Republicans calling Obama and any Democrats Communists!  

Oh, we could try to sit them down and explain to them the true meanings of words like Communism and socialism.  We could explain to conservatives that actually, Obama has done a lot of things to help Wall Street.  We could then hope that Republicans would see the light, and treat the President much nicer. Unfortunately, "Reason" isn't a dog who should be fighting in this fight, because he will lose.  

I personally believe that men like Roger Ailes really do know the true meanings of words like Communism and socialism.  Roger Ailes knows that the President is slightly left-of-center leaning, but corporately controlled.  The only reason that Ailes and conservatives like him call Obama and Democrats Communist and socialist is to make even the most middle of the road, least adventurous Democrats sound like raving revolutionaries who want to torch Wall Street tomorrow.  

This tactic of driving the mainstream conventional wisdom rightward has worked.  The health care reform known as Obamacare was endorsed by Bob Dole during the 1994 campaign.  Now Republicans are so far to the right, they violently repudiate ideas that they themselves were essential in forming.  As Bill Maher said, "The Democrats have moved to the right and the Republicans have moved to the mental hospital."  

How do we progressive Democrats move the "center" of political discussion further leftward?  Perhaps some of the few progressive radio and television hosts and the many progressive blogs actually could find and interview real honest-to-Godred-meat-eating Communists!  Progressive media personalities would ask these Communists what they thought of Obama and if Obama really WAS a good Communist.  

I guarantee you that I'd know what the answer would be.  I imagine that true unapologetic 100% Communists would have as much disdain for our President as Roger Ailes does.  Real Communists would say that Obama was a "Capitalist tool" and a "running dog of imperialism."  (I've met and owned quite a few dogs in my life, but I don't think I've ever met a "running dog of imperialism" or would know what one looked like!).  

I could imagine Michael Moore travelling to Cuba, North Korea and the Peoples Republic of China and asking party officials what they thought of the President and if they thought that Obama was a Communist.  (Sadly, the Chinese now make pretty lousy Communists, not that they'd admit it!)  I can only imagine what choice words North Korea's Dear Leader would have about President Obama's Communist credentials.  

I'd be typing up a diary of an interview with a Communist if I knew where to find one.  Time was, there were lots of Communists in the USA.  My mom babysat for a local Communist party official, in exchange for piano lessons.  I knew Communists in the 1960s, 70s and even 1980s (one of them even invited me over to her house to play bridge!).  

The only Communists I could find were on the radio (and I don't mean a progressive talk show, Roger Ailes).  I became re-acquainted with Radio Havana on the shortwave band.  Back in the 1970s, nerdy kids like me would tune in and listen to the fire-breathing Communist radio stations on the shortwave band.  We'd pretty much laugh at the blatant Communist propaganda, plus there was the thrill of listening to "the enemy." There was radio Moscow, radio Peking, radio Tirana (from Albania), and radio Hanoi.  Radio Havana's Communist propaganda always was in the more laidback range.  Their newspeople always would criticize the US government, but there were no loaded terms like "filthy imperialist dogs."  Let me add that all of these Communist stations had newsreaders who spoke in impeccable American or British English.  

On a whim, I decided to tune into Radio Havana last night, and found their programming rather blissfully free of Communism.  Their programming contained a lot more music than I remembered, which is pretty smart, considering that the Cuban Americans I know play music as easily as they breathe.  Radio Havana's announcers never had the stentorian tones in their voices as did other Communist announcers, but these days, they sound friendlier than ever.  The announcers' English is rather accented-- I guess Cuba no longer has the funds to educate folks overseas anymore-- but it sounds less phony.  Radio Havana's broadcast also have segments on stamp-collecting and DXing, pretty apolitical.  Other than the broadcast of speeches from one of the Castro brothers, Radio Havana is pretty propaganda free.  

Finally, it sounded as if the folks over at Radio Havana are pretty lonely.  They promised that if listeners wrote to them, they would send them baseball caps of Cuba's national team, a very tempting offer.  Another announcer claimed that the radio station kept every single letter from its listeners all over the world.  I heard one announcer suggest that if any listeners happened to visit Havana, they were encouraged to visit the radio station.  Any visitors were promised a grand tour of the studios and lunch!  

I started fantasizing about doing an interview by mail with a friendly Radio Havana announcer and asking him about whether or not President Obama was a very good Communist.  I can't imagine that he'd say anything positive.

P.S. Let's get rid of that stupid trade embargo with Cuba! I saw pictures of Havana on the radio station's website and it looks gorgeous. If we can trade with "Communist" China, why can't we trade with Cuba?  

Originally posted to fabucat on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 09:12 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Calling someone a (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      agent, Temmoku, fabucat, sfbob, Dirtandiron

      "filthy imperialist dog" does not make one a communist. Even calling someone a "filthy capitalist dog" does not necessarily imply the speaker is communist.

      Even dictators can have propaganda that tells the truth: of course their crimes are even more heinous that those of the "dogs" they speak of. But it doesn't make the charges not true, just hypocritical, coming out of the mouths of those who enslaved billions.

      Fixing the US and world economy is easy. Tax speculation, not labor.

      by shpilk on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 09:22:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here's the largest discussion site (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lotlizard, Temmoku

      of the socialist/communist/anarchist left:

      RevLeft.

      American business is about maximizing shareholder value. You basically don't want workers. ~Allen Sinai

      by ActivistGuy on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 12:17:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I Married a Communist (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, gerald 1969, Dirtandiron

      My wife is Russian. Her late father was a Party apparatchik, and she belonged to the Oktobrists and the Young Pioneers growing up.
      (She was really upset that Komsomol disbanded just when she was old enough to join).

      So, when I ask her
      "Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party, or any of its affiliated subversive organizations around the world?"

      ...she replies, "Yes, dear."

      "She's petite, extremely beautiful, and heavily armed." -1995 Michael Moore documentary Canadian Bacon

      by Tom Seaview on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 02:44:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  No such thing as 'real Communists'. (20+ / 0-)

    Communism has never been implemented in any national scale or government ever, and it's very unlikely it ever will be.

    Every 'communist' nation has been a dictatorship: there are some municipal entities that were sort of communist, and existed in a democratically elected environment, but those are rare.

    'Communism' has been a stalking horse, a scapegoat used to inspire fear in the ignorant by fascists, blackshirts, religious fanatics and other dictators who are feel threatened: it's typically used as a dodge from being held to account for their own heinous actions.

    Fixing the US and world economy is easy. Tax speculation, not labor.

    by shpilk on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 09:18:48 PM PST

    •  "Communism" is the boogeyman (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skrekk, agent, Dirtandiron

      As you said, it doesn't exist, and never has.

      I've known people who called themselves Communists; some of them even had a reasonably clear understanding as to what the term might legitimately mean. But that still didn't make them actual Communists. And it certainly didn't make them a threat to...well, anyone.

    •  You are demonstrably incorrect. (8+ / 0-)

      There may not be as many "real Communists" as there are "real Democrats," but in fact there are many Communists and many communists both in this country and throughout the world.

      The history of the CPUSA -- let alone of the huge influence various Communist parties played in the formation of modern Europe -- is fascinating, and millions of pages have been written about the history of communism in the U.S. in the 20th century. To take just one example, the Communist Party in the U.S. were fighting legal and illegal lynching (just look at the Scottsboro Boys trial, if you don't already know about it) while Democrats and Republicans were counseling patience and states' rights. Even such liberal luminaries as John Dewey considered themselves roughly "communist" -- though not "Communist," because of the grotesque perjury of communism performed in the U.S.S.R. -- through the 1930s. The rise of fascism -- also fought by communists when capitalists were urging appeasement (did you think Hemingway was in Spain in the 1930s for his health? Ever heard of the Lincoln Brigade?) obviously changed the game, and the Popular Front changed the way that domestic issues in the U.S. such as racial equality were handled, but...

      This obviously isn't the place for a history lesson, nor an infinite number of links to words like "historical materialism," but the fact that you can make such absurd -- please, excuse me, but for those with even a modicum of a sense of history, the word is correct -- statement demonstrates just how successful McCarthy and his bastard godson, Ronald Reagan, have been.

      •  I hasten to add (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek, Dirtandiron

        No communist votes for a member of the Democratic Party, which is in the scope of history relatively right wing.

      •  I forgot to the add words (0+ / 0-)

        "in power" - that's sort of implied by the rest of my comment.

        I don't need the history lesson.

        Of course there are 'real Communists' - I'm probably closer to that line of thought than any other, politically myself. But communists have never held more than token political power, and that's really my whole point.

        They have influenced rights of workers, civil rights, the antiwar movement, but almost always from the outside of the political structure, looking in.

        Fixing the US and world economy is easy. Tax speculation, not labor.

        by shpilk on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 09:37:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Communism is like Conservatism (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      milkbone

      No one who supports either will admit it's every really been tried, or that it's ever failed.

      This is particularly true of some of the older Neoconservatives, who started out as Stalinists or Trotskyites, and are now Republicans.  They weren't wrong while they were Communists, and they're never wrong as Conservatives.

      All you learn from that is that some people are just deaf to irony.

      You can't govern if you can't tell the country where you are taking it. The plot of Obama's presidency has been harder to follow than "Inception." -- F. Rich

      by mbayrob on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 10:43:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  May I ask .... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lotlizard

      ... your definition of Communism?

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 02:34:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  All the people being commemorated in this musical (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek

        … weren't communists? That would certainly come as a surprise to them.

        Full length video of The East Is Red (the musical).

        The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

        by lotlizard on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 02:51:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  wow. and don't laugh. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lotlizard

          It's tempting to laugh at "communist propaganda," but if you do, you'll miss some important lessons that are not obvious.  

          I've started to watch that video, and say what you will about government-made films, but the choreography is highly impressive, and it provides a most interesting glimpse of a piece of history that most of us are wholly ignorant of.  

          Let's not forget that the people of China accomplished in a half century what has taken other countries a century or longer to achieve.  That deserves serious respect, for the ferocious difficulties they endured and for their successes.  

          •  At the expense of personal freedom of citizens, (0+ / 0-)

            and their own environment. Even the North Koreans can put on quite a show, starving as they are.

            But that's not communism speaking, that's dictatorships using the power of the boot to stamp on the face of humanity. They're so good at it, they can sometimes make it look 'pretty'.

            Fixing the US and world economy is easy. Tax speculation, not labor.

            by shpilk on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 09:44:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  You don't go from 70 people in a room in 1921 (0+ / 0-)

            … to an army of millions able to take over the entire country in 1949 (with a decade lost fighting imperial Japan), without a really good, easily understandable, motivating, and inspiring message.

            The Democratic Party and the people of North America could use a really good, easily understandable, motivating, and inspiring message right about now.

            The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

            by lotlizard on Sat Nov 20, 2010 at 01:34:56 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  That would require writing an essay, (0+ / 0-)

        which I'm not prepared to do.

        But to distill it down into a few short sentences, this is a class distinction between the lower working classes and the middle-upper 'professional' classes, and the tensions between them.

        The 'bourgeois' hold power that they don't really earn, and are dependent upon keeping down the workers. Basically, a struggle between middle management and the workers underneath them; communism attempts to short circuit the power of management using trade unions and collective bargaining to push back against the disproportionate power of the 'professional classes'.

        Communism can never work fully in any society that is centrally controlled [which is sort of hilarious, as the SU,  China, North Korea, Cuba, nearly every example of 'communism' were nearly exclusively centrally controlled anti-democratically by dictators, the very antithesis of communistic ideals.]

        Western style capitalism cannot work the same way it does in a society where trade unions and workers set the value of labor: the closest we see to this in the West is maybe in farm co-operatives, previous attempts to form trade unions in places like Poland ultimately failed. Even the socialism of most of Europe rejects the power of lower class labor, and disenfranchises and marginalizes it from political power.

         

        Fixing the US and world economy is easy. Tax speculation, not labor.

        by shpilk on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 10:00:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  My wife.... well she was (15+ / 0-)

    She was part of the sporting regime in Romania as a gymnast.  You had to be a member of the party to do that. The nice man who led the country said so. Guy by the name of nicolae ceausescu.

    To be truthful, though, I'm more of a socialist than she is.  There's nothing in the Demcratic party even close to communism.  The media elites and conservatives know that. They just use it to get support from their base.

    A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

    by dougymi on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 09:19:19 PM PST

  •  my dads extended family in india (8+ / 0-)

    are mostly members of the local communist party. my dad was the odd one out which is a big part of why he took the risk of moving to america instead of taking a plum party assignment.

    but that doesn't make them real communists. it just makes them party members and officials.

  •  Call Me When You Teach Them "Theory" 's (5+ / 0-)

    meaning.

    These people are morally opposed to reason. There are no issues, debates, problems, there is only conquest, containment or defeat.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 09:23:01 PM PST

    •  "communist", an interchangeable word of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, Dirtandiron

      derision, a quick replacement for racial descriptions, religious epithets, sexual put downs and of course attacks on those Godless folks.

      For best effect, see the expression  'Godless Communists'. That really inspires everlovin' fear in the hearts of these ignorant pig fuckers.

      Fixing the US and world economy is easy. Tax speculation, not labor.

      by shpilk on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 09:30:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  what you say is true (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek, lotlizard, Dirtandiron

        But the corollary isn't that there are no communists; there are lots of them (some of my best friends, etc.). A parallel: even though there are lots of execrable people who use the word "gay" as an insult, as a tool of political deception, as a way of demonizing a minority group in order to accomplish political goals that have nothing to do with sexuality (see: GOP), does not mean that there are no gays.

      •  In the context of it's use by Teabaggers (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek, lotlizard, Dirtandiron

        It's certianly a pejorative term and a dog whistle, but these are people who have no concept of the princples of Communism.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 02:43:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  know any servicemen? pretty much a communist (5+ / 0-)

    system there, no? central healthcare, central exchanges & commissaries - all government run stuff.
    know any priests or nuns? another communist system as far as i can tell.

    Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues. The Gita 3.21

    by rasbobbo on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 09:31:37 PM PST

    •  Not to mention the U.S. Congress, . . . (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rasbobbo, G2geek, blueoasis, Dirtandiron

      . . . a community of 535 whose sole purpose is to advance, mutually, the material well-being of the community of 535, and which has its own state-run, socialized health-care system and everything.

      "Americans are a wonderful people: They will always do the right thing--after exhausting every other possible alternative."--Winston Churchill

      by keikekaze on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 11:00:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sure.... (8+ / 0-)

    Grew up in Europe -- tons of communists....

    "Proud to proclaim: I am a Bleeding Heart Liberal"

    by sara seattle on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 09:37:58 PM PST

  •  funny about cuba, they were the first modern (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mint julep, G2geek, skrekk, fabucat, keikekaze

    americans in the 50s.  And that spirit is still there. very nice people, even many of the state authorities, though that govt is beyond a waste of time and talent.

    you can hire a tour sailboat (~18 hrs) out of key west to drop you off and wander around until a scheduled pickup back at Hemingway marina.    and a good way to see the country and skirt both the cuban and US regimes as the latter figure it's not worth roping you into an expensive hotel since you're visiting on a boat, and the coast guard wants to keep this market under the radar so they don't have to play immigration's draconian b.s. game (at airports)

    I like this Lean Forward campaign - renaissance is around corner

    by rasfrome on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 09:40:31 PM PST

  •  I killed a few of them... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, agent, fabucat, Dirtandiron, marsanges

    ...about forty years ago. In was inconvenient to set down with them to discuss theory at that time as they seemed quite angry with me and my associates.

    I did have a Marxist professor I liked in the early sixties, he wasn't aggressive, was eminently reasonable and very well learned.

    The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

    by Bobjack23 on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 09:42:48 PM PST

  •  There are a few left in (11+ / 0-)
    the Bay Area. They are very old, very passionate,  and very committed to making our world a better place. Communists have never been a threat to this country. They were a threat to war profiteers, corporations, authoritarians. And who gained a stranglehold on our culture?

    "Looks like we got ourselves a reader" - Bill Hicks

    by blueoregon on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 09:50:38 PM PST

  •  I knew quite a few (5+ / 0-)

    in various countries where I worked, just not in the U.S.  :)

    (Sadly, in Kathmandu no longer.)

    by American in Kathmandu on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 09:50:59 PM PST

  •  So far as I know, the only true "communists" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    agent, Dirtandiron

    left are in North Korea and Cuba.  If we weren't such assholes, the Cubans would be well on the way to the Chinese hybrid.  Do we even have a name for what they have become?  

    "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

    by lakehillsliberal on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 09:51:21 PM PST

    •  Don't confuse governments with people. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mint julep, Euroliberal, chuckvw, koNko

      There are Communists in many places, and in far more than the two countries you named.

      Same shit, different year.

      by BentLiberal on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 10:15:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  capitalists (5+ / 0-)

      Do we even have a name for what they have become?

      Very good capitalists. And one wants to note: we have a higher percentage of our population in prison than the Chinese do. And, as Amy Goodman pointed out way back in the 2000s, "If all the media in the U.S. was state-run and state-owned, how would the coverage of WMDs and Iraq been any different?" The answer? Exactly.

      •  U.S.A. = a new form of totalitarianism that works (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Swill to Power, Dirtandiron

        … so well, many of its main victims either deny they're being victimized at all, or blame the relatively powerless segments of society the media tells them to blame, rather than seeing who is really pulling the strings.

        If all the media in the U.S. was state-run and state-owned, how would the coverage of WMDs and Iraq been any different?

        The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

        by lotlizard on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 03:00:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  For the Chinese... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      catdevotee, G2geek

      I've taken to calling them Authoritarian Capitalists...

      They're on their way, in my opinion, to creating a system that resembles Fascism, yet is not, as it is coming from the Left of the political spectrum, rather than the right.

      The North Koreans are simply batshit insane.  They are Totalitarians, through and through, and don't really even call their system communist anymore, referring to it instead in an almost quasi-religious manner as Juche, with the military as the drivers of society, rather than the proletariat.  Additionally, the government divides everyone into a rigid class system, with over 40 or so divisions, based on multiple factors such as relations in the South and family history in the Korean War.  Only certain top classes are allowed to live in urban areas, whereas certain of those on the bottom are essentially declared political enemies permanently.

      "If you don't stick to your values when tested, they're not values! They're hobbies" - Jon Stewart

      by LivingOxymoron on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 11:28:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  re. DPRK, think of it as a theocracy. (0+ / 0-)

        A theocracy in which the leadership are basically father-figures who become ancestral God-spirit figures, thus Gods.  

        What's interesting is that a decent plurality or perhaps even a decent majority of North Koreans appear to fully believe in this "state religion."  If you compare the videos made by visitors: both the approved videos such as of public pageants, and the not-approved videos, what you see is that a very substantial number of North Koreans appear to truly believe, in the same manner in which members of other theocratic states truly believe in their own countries' official religions.  

        This is observable in things such as facial expression and tone of voice, and spontaneous expression of emotions, all of which can be faked up to a point but not beyond, and what you see is beyond the level that humans are capable of faking.  

        In that case, the best possible solution for DPRK (and other theocracies) would be if they were able to simply let the dissenters leave and never come back.  Then the people who were left would be perfectly happy with things as they are, in which case who are we to try to shake them out of it?   Over time they may change, but they are no more of a threat to us than any other small country with a theocratic government.  

  •  My kids pillaging the food in our fridge. LOL (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Euroliberal, koNko, agent, BentLiberal

    Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance
    and conscientious stupidity. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by Robert Davies on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 09:51:23 PM PST

  •  I think the big picture here (7+ / 0-)

    is this: Movement Conservatives, war hawks, and corporatists all miss the Cold War desperately in their own way.

    Star Wars. The Soviets having MegaDeath at the push of a button gave schilling for it meaning.

    A guy who delivers a nuclear bomb by a donkey cart? Not so much.

    The world made more sense to them.
    The Villains were easier to identify, and easier to sell.
    The narratives were plentiful, cheap, and easy.

    Movement Conservatism is tailor-made for a simplistic, black and white world.

    Terrorism is a poor substitute for the Iron Curtain.

    Nobody but the truly dense actually believe that Sharia Law is coming. Outliers and extremists who long to live in the 12th century and whose primary tactic is also as self-defeating in the long run as it is effective in the short run, institutionalized random acts of violent cowardice from the safety of distance from the sucker they conned and they blasts they carry out.

    Commies had the bomb.
    They had goose-stepping military parades.
    They had uniforms that were intimidating.
    The KGB.
    Spies. Sputnik.

    Talking about Liberals now, like they once talked about 'secret Reds' and 5th columns then, is like carob. Sweetened with Nutrasweet.

    They crave chocolate. Buttery rich sugar-sweetened.  

    I truly believe that the fall of the Soviet Union was initially seen as a great climax, but, over time has come to be more like coming too soon and having hours of sex left with your lover for the Right.

    They loved the Soviets.

    It gave them an ultimate justification for things they have to lie and bullshit about now.

    Everytime you hear a wingnut talk about Hugo Chavez and reference Stalin, you should know that it's pathetic, and it's pathetic because they know it's pathetic to go there too.

    But you go with what history leaves you to work with.

    •  You can't have the boogyman you want (6+ / 0-)

      You have to contend with the boogymen you have.

      Great comment.

    •  To me (9+ / 0-)

      I think it's laughable that American liberals, who probably wouldn't be considered anything stronger than moderate capitalists in Europe, get tarred successfully by wingnut smear campaigns as 'radical leftists'.

      Let's take the "most extreme leftwing radical" the Right could probably offer up: The Dreaded One.

      Michael Moore.

      Gun owner. NRA member. Union supporter. Documentary film maker whose work is dripping with love of America and pride in his home country, who only criticizes the nation in a quest to drive America more towards the ideals it was founded on and made it great.  

      Michael Moore. Who personally begged Ralph Nader to get a list of concessions from Al Gore, and then widely and loudly endorse him for President. You get better policy, and you get it without trading good policy for bad. And he was right, and Nader was wrong.

      The only difference between Michael Moore, and a Reagan Democrat, is that he didn't fall for the Culture War conjob that was unleashed after the Goldwater blowout, he paid attention, he took notes at who was actually screwing who, and not who he was told be believe was really at fault.

      That, to me, is wise and useful pragmatism, not what Heath Shuler and Ben Nelson does, a worldview that gains you more progressive policy in the process of confronting unreasonable and unjust things.

      I think things like that, as well as the content in documentaries like "Capitalism: a Love Story" is the real reason the Right loves to hate Michael Moore.

      There is no radical leftwing in America.

      It's a myth, like tax cuts to the wealthy trickle down and benefit the poor.

      The American Green Party openly conspires with the hardest rightwing Movement Conservatives to get on the ballot in some states. Just to be a spoiler, just to feel relevant.

      I think what truly hurts my heart is that most of what passes for politics in America is Kabuki theatre.

      When the Right tells you to denounce somebody, it's because they are afraid as hell you will listen to them or embrace them.

  •  I absolutely agree with you (0+ / 0-)

    on the subject of normalizing the U.S. relationship with Cuba.  That we have not (yet) is testimony to American political stupidity...and the influence of older Cubans, especially the RW version in Florida, where (or so I've read) they wield a lot of political clout.

    Ptoomey: the greatest cause of hairballs in humans. gag, hack, spit. repeat.

    by Youffraita on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 10:39:14 PM PST

  •  I've been called a "left puritan" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Euroliberal, lotlizard

    I think that must the same thing a being a communist, because it sounds like I'm a very bad person.

    Unemployment: 9.5% Receiving food assistance: 25%

    by badger on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 10:43:20 PM PST

  •  I haven't, no. (0+ / 0-)

    I worked with an anarchist once (he was about as crazy as you'd think).

    I've worked with a couple wiccans.  a really sweet bipolar lady.  I've worked with a lot of former marines too (yah, yah, there's no such thing).

    No Communists though.

    Will vote for Pie.

    by DawnG on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 10:46:27 PM PST

  •  I heard the damned evil Communists (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, lotlizard, milkbone, keikekaze

    Did things like transferred the people's wealth to a small party elite. And under Communism, you could be snatched off the street and tried for an unspecific and unspecified crime, without even benefit of habeas corpus. In truly horrible cases, you might even be shipped off to a distant prison land where your guilt or innocence was immaterial. Torture might be openly approved by party leaders as a necessary action to protect the homeland's security.

    The worst? Under Communism, the leaders did things like invade Afghanistan to impose a form of government that the people there demonstrably did not want.

    Phew. Communism, right?

  •  Only me. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koNko, blueoasis

    But I haven't received any orders over the bright red telephone marked "Kremlin Hotline" in years now!  ; )

    "Americans are a wonderful people: They will always do the right thing--after exhausting every other possible alternative."--Winston Churchill

    by keikekaze on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 10:50:57 PM PST

  •  We had a vital and vibrant Left in the 1930s... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Euroliberal, G2geek, lotlizard, Cofcos

    ...the result was FDR's New Deal, meant as a way of forestalling a Bolshevik revolution in the US driven by the Great Depression. It succeeded in preventing that from happening.

    The Left of the '30s were attacked mercilessly in the '50s and '60s. By the time the '70s rolled around the CPUSA was a shadow of its former self. And "revolution for kicks" types like the Weather Underground and the SLA drove the last coffin nail in.

    Right now the original "Red Diaper Baby" wave is elderly and dying off. The closest thing to a Left still left is the Deep Ecology/Earth First types and Anarcho-socialist anti-globalist holdovers from the Punk Rock days. And they are a tiny, tiny fringe.

    The difference between the Great Depression and Depression 2.0 is that there is nothing pulling the Overton Window leftward. It's only going righter and righter and righter, to where now the GOP is cozy with neo-Nazis, unreconstructed neo-Confederates, and cuckoo-bananas mofos who want nothing less than the Christian equivalent of Sharia law, and masquerade as "constitutionalists."

    Welcome to the "new normal" as we slouch towards the end of history, into the wasteland of the Road Warrior wet dream of rugged individualists who secretly want to be the new Genghis Khan.

    In defeat, defiance. -- Winston Churchill

    by Pris from LA on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 10:58:27 PM PST

    •  Yep, the standard Republican platform today (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pris from LA

      is pretty much identical with the John Birch Society platform of the '70s, except the JBS were a bit more isolationist - current Republican policy supports hard imperialism (invade their countries, kill their leaders, convert them to Christianity).

      The largest part of the Democratic platform is more or less in line with the pre-Reagan Republican platform.

      Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

      by milkbone on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 06:31:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Obama isnt left of center. (6+ / 0-)

    Ican say that with authority, because I´m a European, where we actually do have socialist and communist parties and know what´s what.

    Obama would classify as a moderate liberal (which is slightly right of center). A liberal also isnt what Americans have been led to think it is, it is a axtually the antithesis to socialists and communists: because liberals want to minimize the role and influence of the state instead as using it as a primary tool to shape the society as socialists would want. Liberalism is in fact the political expression of capitalism - more so than (true) conservatives actually who tend to have, or propose, an independent binding of what humans may be allowed to do according to some system of religion ethic or other authority: which is anathema to capitalism which says that everything (everything up to and beyond sex with donkeys) is allowed if it makes money.

    That Obama isnt a socialist in any sense of the word is shown merely by his insistence that a health system should be run by private companies and to the profit of them. In reality, this makes him, possibly still a right wing social democrat, certainly nothing left of there.

    the republicans to me seem to be also absolutely misnamed as "conservatives": nothing seems further from their ideology than a genuine desire to conserve things and respect true authority. I would call them anarchists, if I didnt know that there are honorable left wing anarchists who would feel pretty insulted. Someone (a great American, I think, Hanna Arendt?) once called nazis a coalition between the mob and the elite, and that seems to characterize the Republicans better.

    Ici s´arrète la loi.

    by marsanges on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 11:02:22 PM PST

    •  Totally concur on the definitions being so... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, lotlizard

      ...different. I have had to explain many times that liberal in Europe and in the U.S. do not mean the same thing. Nevertheless, neo-liberalism, in the European sense, seems to have made somewhat of a comeback. Even the socialist party in Spain feels more like a neo-liberal party than a socialist party. For historical purposes, if I remember correctly, the first ones to label themselves liberals where monied class individuals with a political agenda in Britain in the 19th century.

      "Capitalism has defeated communism. It is now well on its way to defeating democracy."
- David Korten

      by basquebob on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 11:40:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I new a girl in college who claimed to be (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, Temmoku

    for a few months.  Then she was a radical feminist.  Then she was dedicated to saving some isolated watershed.  Then I think she was some self-published comic book artists girlfriend.  She might have fallen into the vegan crown for awhile. The last I heard, she followed Phish around for a spell.

  •  I know lots of ex-Communists (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Temmoku

    Are there any real ones left?

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. --Bertrand Russell

    by denise b on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 11:23:08 PM PST

  •  A far too common mistake (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catdevotee, terhuxtim, G2geek

    that everyone seems to make is failure to distinguish between systems of economic distribution and systems of government.

    Communism is a system of economic distribution that takes place within a system of government called "democracy."  As others have mentioned, nothing resembling it has every existed on this planet.

    Capitalism is another system of distribution.  Similar to Communism, nothing resembling Capitalism has ever existed on this planet.  However, in this country, a system of government called "plutocracy" likes to lie to us and claim Capitalism is it's system of distribution.

    •  Agree! (0+ / 0-)

      Karl Marx favored democracy as a form of government
      In the communist Manifesto, he specifically states that Communists should always align themselves with the democratic (small d) parties of countries.
      He also said "Democracy is the path to socialism"
      Communism can't be imposed on a society from above, rather is the end state of a society where the vast majority has taken control of a economy and crafted it  to benefit the vast majority, unlike Capitalism which creates a small oligarchy who shapes the economy to favor itself.

      "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle"

      by terhuxtim on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 07:03:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The most communist policy I hold is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CherryTheTart

    that of having a minimum income. Does that count?

    "All I have left is pain and hope-- Hope that the pain will fade away..."

    by Cofcos on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 11:35:53 PM PST

  •  I know quite a few (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Euroliberal, G2geek, CherryTheTart

    Including my Mom, 84. But then, I live in China and we have lots of old Commies so that's nothing remarkable.

    What about my Daughter's future?

    by koNko on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 01:22:49 AM PST

    •  hi KoNko- (0+ / 0-)

      I don't know if I've asked you this before, but:

      What do you think of the hypothesis that the leadership in China are doing capitalism by way of the theoretical historic progression from agriculture to capitalist industry to socialism?  And that they're really thinking of for-real socialism just as soon as they can accumulate enough industrial capital resources?  

      From time to time I see things that give vague hints that this is what's going on, but I may be mistaken.  

      It would be most interesting if it happened that way, and would make for some serious surprise on this side of the pond.  

  •  I know a couple of red diaper babies. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron

    Does that count?

    I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

    by CherryTheTart on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 03:01:00 AM PST

  •  I have a cousin in China whose home was ransacked (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, Dirtandiron, BigAlinWashSt

    … by Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution, when he was a kid. Does that count?

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 03:11:25 AM PST

  •  Calling people "Communist" is easier than (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fabucat

    having an actual discussion about where we want our country to be in the future. So expect lots more red-baiting, especially in an election year.

    Where are all the jobs, Boenher?

    by Dirtandiron on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 05:10:25 AM PST

  •  I have family in Laos (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    agent

    Know tons of commies, all shapes, sizes, and ages.

    "slip now and you'll fall the rest of your life" Derek Hersey 1957-1993

    by ban nock on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 05:25:38 AM PST

  •  My husband delivered the local papers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    milkbone

    when he was a kid...riding on his bicycle.
    In his weekly pile of papers, he would receive about 2 dozen or so Daily Worker papers to deliver in Berwyn, IL. But they never were delivered, no one was ever on the list to receive them. He asked why he always received these copies but never had anyone on his list that subscribed and his supervisor told him that the FBI subscribes and forces us to have them on hand even though we have no subscribers. He added that the paper(Daily Worker) would go under if the Government didn't buy them all. So all those Daily Worker papers ended up in the trash heap. No recycling in the 1950s.

    The Communist Threat has been replaced by the Terrorist Threat only now the Government gets a feel!

    Courage is what you are in the dark. Emilio Lazzardo in Buckaroo Bonzai

    by Temmoku on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 05:44:44 AM PST

  •  I am a Communist (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terhuxtim, fabucat

    I believe we should aspire to the goal:  From each according to his or her ability; to each according to his or her need.

    But I'm willing to compromise with the Republicans if they meet me half way -- say, having the workers themselves own and control most of the major means of production.

    I guess that makes me an aspirant to bi-partisanship.

    This aggression will not stand, man.

    by kaleidescope on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 06:12:29 AM PST

  •  My mother was a Young Communist (0+ / 0-)

    or whatever they called the youth groups in East Germany.

    Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

    by milkbone on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 06:34:46 AM PST

  •  Actually, you couldn't be more wrong. (0+ / 0-)

    I guarantee you that I'd know what the answer would be.  I imagine that true unapologetic 100% Communists would have as much disdain for our President as Roger Ailes does.  Real Communists would say that Obama was a "Capitalist tool" and a "running dog of imperialism."  (I've met and owned quite a few dogs in my life, but I don't think I've ever met a "running dog of imperialism" or would know what one looked like!).

    I was invited to a Communist Party USA meeting recently.  These are the "real deal," tracing their lineage back to Gus Hall and the old Stalinist CP of yesteryear.  Out of curiosity, I went.

    There were half a dozen folks there, none under 50 and a majority over 65.  Their whole purpose and goal was to support the Democratic Party.  They viewed anyone who criticized Obama and the Democrats as a Fascist collaborator or dupe.

    The leader of the meeting handed me a booklet before I left.  I was written in 2004 and lays out the CPUSA program.  They now consider themselves to be in a "Popular Front" with the Democratic Party, and support anything and everything the Democratic Party does.  There is absolutely no criticism of the DP from the CPUSA these days.

    It's ironic that they want to be in a "Popular Front" with Democrats again, considering how that whole HUAC thing worked out in the late 40s.

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