Browsing "American Marxism"

Charles A. Dana, Carefree Socialist

Charles A. Dana, who might be termed a hippie of the 1840’s, lived for a period at George Ripley’s Transcendentalist “Brook Farm” commune in Massachusetts. New York Tribune publisher Horace Greeley later employed Dana as an editor in the 1850’s who gladly published the radical articles of Karl Marx, then exiled in London. Lincoln-appointed Dana Assistant Secretary of War and had him spy on generals to ascertain their political leanings — in 1865 Dana ordered manacles placed on state prisoner Jefferson Davis’s wrists.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Charles A. Dana, Carefree Socialist

“[Charles A.] Dana, though poor, had no such hardening time of it [growing up]; he had no “riding to plough,” no tree chopping, no printer’s apprentice job. He clerked in Buffalo to save money for a term at Harvard. Opinions formed during such a youth gave way easily before the experience of later years. In their boyhood the one thing that he and [Horace] Greeley had in common was an intense fondness for reading — Greeley for the country weeklies and for any book he could borrow. Dana plumbed deeper; he was absorbed in the ancient philosophies and languages.

Both resented the oppressions of capital. The breeding ground of Dana’s socialism was Harvard — “where I learned the art of living without means” — and the lectures of Emerson. “They make me think,” he wrote to his sister.

Dana’s father dreaded what Emerson, Carlyle and particularly Harvard might do to his boy. “I know Harvard ranks high as a literary institution,” he wrote to him, “but the influence it exerts in a religious way is most terrible — even worse than Universalism . . . Ponder well the paths of thy feet lest they lead down to the depths of Hell.”

From his sister’s home at Guildhall, Vermont, Dana on April 12, 1840, told of his carefree life . . . ”here I study 8 hours daily. I am fed, warmed, lighted and otherwise cared for, for about nothing — perhaps a dollar a week — taken unwillingly.” Because of poor eyes, poor health and a poorer purse Dana did not return to Harvard for the fall term of 1841 . . . ”So genial Harvard is, and where but for the term bills and washerwomen one would never guess that there were such things as money and money-getting  in the world. Indeed I hold it an evidence of human depravity that there are such things . . . ”

The Brook Farm [commune] atmosphere therefore precisely fitted his mood. Contentedly he wrote his sister from there on September 17, 1841: “I am living with some friends who have associated themselves together for the purpose of living purely and of acting from higher motives than the world generally recognizes . . . ”

(Horace Greeley, Henry Luther Stoddard, G.P. Putnam & Sons, 1946, pp. 101-102)

 

Looking to the South for Conservative Influence

The little black cloud mentioned below matured into a dark and powerful storm in the first term of FDR’s presidency, by the 1960’s it had become an American cultural revolution with the Democrat political platform differing little from the Communist Party USA platform of 1936.

Bernhard Thuersam, circa1865.org

 

Looking to the South for Conservative Influence

“The time is coming when this [United States] Government may be put to a test more severe than it has hitherto undergone, and when it will need the utmost support of every intelligent and conservative citizen.

A little black cloud already appears above the horizon, scarcely larger than a man’s hand, but what it portends no one living can tell. How soon the crisis may be upon us, or how long delayed, we do not know, but thoughtful men are anxious and the future looks dark and stormy. We can weather the storm, but that we may do so we must, both in the North and the South, put aside all sectionalism, and rising above mere partisan politics, stand shoulder to shoulder and present a united front against the vicious and revolutionary and communistic elements which threaten the public safety.

Whenever the time comes the nation will have to look to the South in great part for the conservative influence and strength that will enable it to overcome.”

(Memorial Day Services, United States District Court Judge G. R. Sage, Address at the National Cemetery, Nashville. Confederate Veteran, June 1894, page 166)

The Cloak of Social Revolution

New York Times correspondent and CFR member Herbert L. Matthews interviewed Fidel Castro in April 1957 at his mountain retreat. In three successive front page articles he compared Castro to Lincoln, and presented him as a “peasant patriot,” “a strong anti-communist,” a “Robin Hood,” and a “defender of the people.” The State Department’s William Wieland looked the other way as Battista set the stage for a new Cuban nationalist to emerge.

Bernhard Thiuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

The Cloak of Social Revolution

“A Senate Internal Security sub-committee, on September 10, 1960, blamed US State Department officials and segments of the American press for helping bring Castro to power. Senators James O. Eastland, Democrat of Mississippi, and Thomas J. Dodd, Democrat, of Connecticut, members of the sub-committee, after hearing testimony of former Ambassadors Earl E.T. Smith and Arthur Gardner said: “Cuba was handed to Castro in the same way China was handed to the communists.”

The two Ambassadors singled out William Wieland, director of the State Department’s Caribbean division, Roy R. Runbottom, Jr., former Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs, at the time Ambassador to Argentina, and Herbert Matthews of the New York Times. The Senators charged that the State Department group “misguided the American people.”

When Wieland was in Havana during the Castro revolution, I asked him why the State Department did not tell Batista to stop torturing and killing, either oust his corrupt military men or get out and let the OAS or the UN hold elections. Wieland insisted that the United States could not “interfere.”

I pointed out that the United States was interfering all over the world – so why not in Cuba before the United States had something worse to contend with there?

This idea of “social revolution” has a great appeal for our so-called “liberals,” who do not realize that social revolution is the cloak under which the Communists hide.

About that time an old Cuban friend came into the office much excited over a book on Communist brainwashing. He had been a devout follower of Castro and now was completely disillusioned.

“I haven’t read the book,” I said, “but I can tell you the American who is the easiest to brainwash. It is the educated person who has usually gone through college and is trying to be a liberal. He is frightened by any talk of conservatism and really doesn’t know what he believes. You were one of them when Castro got hold of you.”

The Cuban grinned and said, “You are right, that is about what the book said. Now tell me, who is the hardest to brainwash?”

“A person, not too well educated perhaps, but one who has been raised by a God-fearing family, who has been taught honesty and respect of property and all the virtues we are supposed to have in the United States.”

“How right you are,” he said. “The book points out that the Communists were unable to brainwash the Southern Negro prisoners they captured in Korea who had been raised in such religious families as you describe.” Then he added, “There must be something wrong with the American education.” He [the Cuban] was a graduate of one of the United States great universities.”

(The Cuban Dilemma, R. Hart Phillips, Ivan Obolensky Publishing, 1962, pp. 251-252)

 

Deconstructing Historical Memory

Like Russian Bolsheviks before them, the African National Congress regime in New South Africa renamed established cities and roadways for heroes of the communist revolution. In post-revolution Russia, the Society of Marxist Historians “demanded a review of all existing historical literature, and students of the Institute of Red Professors were formed into brigades preparing assessments of large portions of the existing literature for publication in the press.” This trend continues in New South Africa, and the United States.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Deconstructing Historical Memory

“It may be a trifling issue to deracinated sophisticates, but landmarks in the country’s founding history are slowly being erased, as demonstrated by the ANC’s decision to give an African name to Potchefstroom, a town founded in 1838 by the Vortrekkers. Pretoria is now called Tshwane. Nelspruit, founded by the Nel family (they were not Xhosa), and once the seat of the South African Republic’s government during the first Boer War, has been renamed Mbombela. Polokwane was formerly Pietersburg. Durban’s Moore Road (after Sir John Moore, the hero of the Battle of Corunna, fought in 1808 during the Napoleonic Wars) is Che Guevara Road; Kensington Drive, [now] Fidel Castro Drive.

Perhaps the ultimate in tastelessly hip nomenclature is Yasser Arafat Highway, down which the motorist can careen on the way to the Durban airport.

The Afrikaans tongue, in particular, has come under the ANC’s attack, as the government attempts to compel Afrikaans schools to adopt English. Afrikaans-speaking universities have been labeled as “racist” in the New South Africa, and have been forced to merge with “third-rate black institutions so that campuses may be swamped by blacks demanding instruction in English.”

On the supplanting of the Afrikaans language, Dan Roodt relates: “Not so long ago, and Indian employee at my local branch of the Absa Bank demanded to know if I was a legal resident in South Africa upon hearing me speak a foreign language, Afrikaans.”

The ANC’s attempt to tame and claim South African history mimics the effort by American elites to deconstruct American history and memory, documented by Samuel Huntington in “Who Are We?.” Wishing to purge America of her “sinful European inheritance,” bureaucrats, mediacrats, educrats, assorted policy wonks and intellectuals trashed the concept of America as melting pot.

In its place, they insisted on ensconcing multiculturalism, inherent in which is a denunciation of America’s Western foundation and a glorification of non-Western cultures. This mindset does not permit pedagogues to reject faux Afrocentric faux-history outright. They dare not – not if the goal of education is to be achieved, and that goal is an increase in self esteem among young Africans, in particular.

Other self-styled victim groups, notably natives and women, have had their suppurating historical wounds similarly tended with curricular concessions. Thus, of the 670 stories and articles in “twenty-two readers for grades three and six published in the 1970s and early 1980s . . . none had anything to do with American history since 1780.” The trend, documented by Huntington, accelerated well into the year 2000, when Congress, alarmed by the nation’s historical Alzheimer’s, made an anemic effort to correct decades of deconstruction. It allocated more funds to the Department of Education, which is a lot like letting the proverbial fox guard the historical henhouse.”

(Into the Cannibal’s Pot, Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa, Ilana Mercer, Stairway Press, 2011, pp. 80-81)

Nov 22, 2014 - American Marxism    No Comments

American Reformers and Communists

New England reformers intent upon abolishing sin in all its forms were for the most part responsible for driving the South to seek independence. Despite their dislike for foreigners they needed immigrants for factory labor, western settlers, and to become dependable Republican voters.  With those immigrants came revolutionary European socialism, future labor strife and a sea-change in American political traditions.

Bernhard Thuersam, Circa1865

 

American Reformers and Communists:

“From the colonists hoping to establish a Biblical commonwealth in New England, to nineteenth century reformers planning the abolition of sin, the Americans have always exhibited a strain of millennial thinking. During the [First] World War, dreamers who were busy reconstructing the social and economic order and the architecture of the Versailles Treaty aspired to inaugurate a “permanent and just peace.”

But during the decade that followed the Armistice the torch of idealism that had kindled the revolt of the American conscience at the dawn of our own century seemed to have pretty well burned itself. The returning soldiers were disillusioned about the crusade they had been sent off on.

The newly-formed American Legion became one of the chief exponents of the identification of patriotism with opposition to social, political, or economic reform of any kind. In some cases its members were even used against [labor] strikers. Foreigners began to seem a dubious lot anyhow; those from east and southeastern Europe were almost completely barred in 1924; American enthusiasm for the League of Nations petered out.

In the United States, there was neither a revolutionary movement nor a political party representing labor. The Socialist party, whose influence had been growing for years, notwithstanding the fact that it seemed foreign to the nature of Americans, suffered considerable defections when it decided not to support the war. The split with the Communists further weakened it. Eugene V. Debs, who was re-nominated for the presidency in 1912, gathered a vote of 897,000 and found himself jailed.

In 1919 the first serious strike in many years was launched to organize labor in the steel industry, which was traditionally anti-union….the [American Federation of Labor, the AFL] was poorly prepared [financially] to challenge this industrial giant whose treasury was filled to overflowing from far war contracts.

In order to cope with this situation, the Federation’s convention in 1918 passed a resolution introduced by William Z. Foster to form a steel workers organizing committee…One of the central body’s potent influences, [Foster], then posing as a regular trade unionist….went ahead with his plans [for a strike and] effectively shutting down the steel districts.

Ironically enough, management regarded the Federation as dangerously radical, along with the Communists and the “Wobblies” who were closely akin to the Russian Bolsheviks. They associated all unionism with collectivism. The object of all three, the Communists, the International Workers of the World, and the American Federation of Labor, was the over-turn of free enterprise. They believed the unions had no business in their plants.

As for William Z. Foster, he emerged shortly as a militant Communist leader, whose ultimate revolutionary objective tended to undermine the American labor movement as well as to discredit its leaders.

The steel and coal strikes….frayed the nerves of the industrial leaders, to whom the spectacle of the Bolshevist overturn of capitalism in Russia was frightening. Lenin and his fellow revolutionists were a far distance from American shores, but the basic theory of Marxism was one of world revolution and already there were stirrings of unrest on labor on this continent.

While communist Russia was relatively weak in 1919 and offered no threat to the United States, it succeeded in establishing a Fifth Column in the American trade unions and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters was not wholly immune from it.”

(Portrait of an American Labor Leader, William L. Hutcheson, Maxwell C. Raddock, American Institute of Social Science, 1955, pp. 118-123)

Nov 13, 2014 - American Marxism    No Comments

Advancing the Collectivist Revolution

Though corrupted by the new Northern regime and the “New South” of industrial progress to match the North, Southern Democrats until the mid-1930s were a conservative element in Congress.  The increasingly socialist bent of FDR pushed many Southern Democrats into the Dixiecrat party of the late 1940s.   The reader is encouraged to read the official platforms of the 1936 CPUSA and today’s Democrat party — and note the minor differences.

Bernhard Thuersam, Circa1865

 

Advancing the Collectivist Revolution:

“Although the Communists repeat the familiar Marxian indictment of modern society, they give greater emphasis to another criticism. The essential fault in capitalism, they say, is neither the inequality in distribution nor the inadequacy of production of the necessities of life. The fatal evil is the inequality of power, and the goal to be striven for is an equality not of wealth but of social status and cultural opportunity.

The achievement of that goal involves the destruction of a political as well as of an economic system. For the state, in any of its typical contemporary forms, is inextricably associated with the capitalist order. It historical role has been to serve the interests of those who own property, to support them in their domination of the property-less, and to suppress all attempts to shake off that domination. Thus the modern state is an agency for the maintenance of the status quo.

However democratic the structure of government, the real repositories of political authority are the owners of wealth, who, by their possession of the main organs of propaganda and education – the schools and colleges, the churches, and the press – control the political and social opinions of the workers.

How, according to the Communists, is the modern political and economic system to be ended? Its dissolution, they say, in the orthodox fashion, will come about partly through its own development and degeneration. Marx explained this to mean that capitalism must prepare the way for socialism, both destructively, by creating those conditions of concentration, overproduction, unemployment and poverty that make the workers in every way ready for a socialist revolution; and constructively, by developing the instrumentalities of large-scale production to a point where the proletarians can use them for socialist purposes.

The conditions prerequisite for the success of a revolution in a particular country are, according to Lenin, as follows: first, there must be an organized group of aggressive and resolute revolutionists, clearly conscious of their objective; and secondly, although the group will inevitably be small in numbers, it must be supported by an active discontent among the people generally; finally, the revolution must be undertaken when the defenders of the old order are weak and divided.”

(Recent Political Thought, Francis W. Coker, D. Appleton-Century Company, 1934, pp. 162-164)

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