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July 07, 2002

Did Communists Support Soviets

The Right continues with their breathless revelations that Communists in America actually wanted Communism to win out in the world. As a leftist (although not particularly fond of the Soviet Union), this is shocking stuff. Almost as shocking as finding out that the US funded allies in Italy to defeat the Communists after World War II, or that dissidents in the East Bloc had heavy contacts with US officials. While there are a few new revelations of nuclear espionage by a few individuals, these revelations are used as guilt by association for those who committed no illegal activity.

Yes, many Americans and even government officials believed that the US would be a better country if it emulated the Soviet Union. That was their political right. The crime of McCarthyism is sometimes pictured as the unfortunate targetting of innocent people. But the real crime was the targetting of the "guilty" where democratic debate was suppressed on what kind of economic and political system should exist in this country. Union leaders, government workers and artists lost their jobs on orders or threats by the government, as if conservatives had little confidence they could win their arguments based on the facts rather than force. But then, they shared that view with their Soviet counterparts-- while the US was less repressive at home, both would butcher democracy in countries ranging from Chile to Czechoslovakia.

The difference is that the new leadership in the ex-East Bloc regrets its post-war democratic subversions. The conservative movement in the US is still looking to justify its attacks on dissent.

Posted by Nathan at July 7, 2002 10:03 AM

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