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Marxism

Politics/World

Christopher Hitchens: Premature Anti-Castroite

Nearing the end of his life, Christopher Hitchens no longer considered himself a Trotskyite, or even a socialist. But he never repudiated his Vietnam-era politics, and to his dying day praised the “heroic” Vietcong, despite Ho Chi Minh’s obvious Stalinist-style politics and how said politics were murderously applied after Saigon fell (Hitchens, like others in the New Left, blamed Minh and Pol Pot’s savagery on America’s relentless bombing campaign). But Hitchens departed from the New Left from the very beginning by criticizing one of their sacred cows: Fidel Castro. Like Lee Harvey Oswald (who, as a gun-brandishing Marxist-spouting deadbeat, would have fit easily into the Weathermen), the New Left lauded the Cuban dictator for his scrappy opposition against “fascist” American imperialism and for his “purer” form of Marxism over the Soviet syetem. For them, Castro was worthy to stand beside their other idols, Ho Chi Minh (many of the violence-practicing New Left proclaimed themselves “America’s Vietcong”) and Mao. But Hitchens kept his head about Castro. Like many of his… Keep Reading

Culture/History

George Orwell: More Astute Than Edmund Wilson

Biographers of literary critic Edmund Wilson have asserted that the writer who bears the closest resemblance to Wilson, who reigned as America’s premier man of letters from the 1920s—1960s, is George Orwell. Writing of his subject, Lewis Dabney sought to validate this trans-Atlantic connection by stating that, like Wilson, Orwell was “a social critic who’d digested Marxism, a satirist and autobiographer until 1984 better known as a man of letters than for his fiction.” Dabney noted that both men, rarely praiseworthy of their contemporaries (although Orwell inexplicably lauded Henry Miller), were so toward each other. Orwell lauded Wilson’s essay on Charles Dickens, and Wilson praised Animal Farm even more, calling it “absolutely first-rate” and Orwell worthy to stand beside “Swift and Voltaire.” With this review, Wilson, stingy with praise, made Orwell’s reputation in America, and, according to Dabney “helped sell many thousands of [Animal Farm] copies in United States.” During a largely cordial meeting, Wilson, nevertheless, was angrily critical of the British author for blaming the damage done to… Keep Reading

History/Politics

Helen Gahagan Douglas: The Hillary Clinton Of The 1940s

As Hillary Clinton continues her “excuse” tour regarding her decisive loss to Trump, ranging from the now well-worn Russian collusion thesis to weak support from Obama during the campaign to an ineffective and shattered DNC, many Democrats have sought to acquaint her with the painful reality that she was simply a bad candidate. Such frankness, however, has not attached itself to a cherished liberal history lesson regarding an eerily similar 1950 California Senate race between Republican Congressman Richard Nixon and Democratic Congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas. For liberals then and now, Nixon’s victory was achieved by his métier of red-baiting and character assassination, with a heavy dose of misogyny thrown into the mix. To encapsulate all of Nixon’s admittedly thuggish attacks on Gahagan, liberals have cited his infamous mixture of anti-feminism with anti-communism, when he bellowed about Gahagan’s politics, that “she is pink right down to her underwear” (a statement the Nixon campaign borrowed verbatim from Gahagan’s Democratic primary opponent, Sheldon Boddy). Although Nixon’s dodgy at best character, ruthlessly dishonest… Keep Reading

News

Drexel University Professor Bucks Hate Speech

Once upon a time when professors, no matter how homicidal their statements, or writings, or today, their tweets, could always avoid career trouble by hiding behind the tried-and-true protection of claiming their comments were “satirical.” And college administrations, composed of former professors, often closed ranks behind one of their own, particularly if the professor was a leftist, and was expressing politically correct sentiments, no matter how homicidal the content. But bring money into the mix in the form of donors and prospective students, and sometimes such protection only goes so far. Such is the case with Drexel University. Back in December, when George Ciccariello-Maher, an associate professor of history and politics, tweeted “All I Want for Christmas is White Genocide,” the professor claimed that the Drexel administration supported his right to “vigorous public debate.” And such was the impression, as, although the University denounced the tweet as “utterly reprehensible” and “deeply disturbing,” nothing else was done. Maher took the familiar route of claiming the tweet was simply engaging in… Keep Reading

Politics

Indoctrinating And Organizing At “Socialism 2017”

Once upon a time, far-left professors responded to those who called them “Marxists” with the dread charge of McCarthyism; a buzzword whose encoded meaning was that the charges against said professors were baseless. Meanwhile, these same academics openly advocated for the very collectivism they were accused of promoting. But that was then. Today, leftist academics are up front about their Marxism, a frank admission almost exclusive to the age of Trump. A case in point is the upcoming conference entitled “Socialism 2017,” which will be held on July 6-9 in Chicago. The advertisement for this conference, which is organized and will be attended by tenured radicals, is clearly to ground non-academic and un-indoctrinated audiences in socialist theory and tactics, in essence, to “build the left” and “fight the right.” Keep Reading

History

On Our Soil: The Liquidation Of Juliet Poyntz

To this day, anti-anti-communists from the Cold War period and their tenured academic counterparts scoff at the idea that Soviet communists liquidated their American agents on US soil. While grudgingly admitting that Stalin did carry out wet work against those who dared to oppose him (I’ve heard professors actually defend it), they argue that such actions were exclusively conducted overseas–i.e, Leon Trotsky pickaxed in Mexico or the death-by-torture of loyalist soldier Bob Simile in Spain. But on at least one instance, Stalin used a Soviet assassination squad to undoubtedly kidnap and murder an American agent in New York City for the “crime” of defecting from the spy ring. The victim was Juliet Stuart Poyntz, who spied for the Soviets, but later defected because of Stalin’s Purge Trials. While in Russia, she witnessed firsthand the frame-up and subsequent murder of those she knew to be innocent, and refused to engage in any more espionage work for the Soviets after returning to the United States. On June 3, 1937, a year… Keep Reading

Economics/Politics

Donald Trump Is No Hugo Chávez

The rise of Donald Trump’s candidacy has generated a strong degree of backlash among the chattering classes worldwide. No stranger to controversy himself, his campaign’s unconventional style has led various experts to draw parallels between Trump and the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. While both Chávez and Trump never shied away from throwing verbal haymakers towards their opponents, the actions that these men have taken in their respective political careers could not be any further apart. The age-old axiom of “actions speak louder than words” is now more relevant than ever in this discussion. These comparisons are not only specious, but they overlook important historical nuances that have separated the distinct political cultures of the United States and Venezuela over the years. A Tale of Two Wars of  Independence To understand the Chávez phenomenon, one must go back to Venezuela’s very foundation to get a comprehensive overview of its political underpinnings. Starting from its war of independence, Venezuela has exhibited very anti-liberal tendencies. Taking advantage of the disarray brought… Keep Reading

Philosophy

Freedom Is Everything

Although there is very little on which we agree, Marxists and socialists have provided me with some excellent philosophical discussions.  One such person recently wrote this article in which he attempted to take to task the libertarian concept of freedom.  The piece starts out well enough as he does a decent job describing how libertarians view the concept: “What the libertarians mean by freedom is that the government does not interfere in the lives of private citizens.  If we were freed from government coercion, people would have a good life, because the free market would regulate our lives, and we would need no bureaucrat to tell us how to live wisely.” Nothing there that I take issue with.  The rest of the piece, though; is littered with logical fallacies and false conclusions.  His primary thesis is that if an individual must work in order to survive, then he is not free; true freedom is to choose leisure over labor.  Throughout, he draws on his personal experiences in education and… Keep Reading

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