A Bunch of Stuff....

Owen Byrne owen@permafrost.net
Mon, 27 Jan 2003 03:04:44 -0400

Tom Sweetnam wrote:

> Owen Byrne wrote:
> "The question here is why the right is so comfortable with red 
> baiting. Aren't you ashamed to be in such close proximity to it?"
Pretty sure I didn't say that.

> Red-baiting in the US is a hapless exercise at any rate, since such 
> criticism is almost always aimed at a general gaggle of losers, the  
> foppish left, and Marxist college faculty -pretend communists the 
> whole bunch of them, with majorettes like Christopher Hitchens and 
> Noam Chomsky leading the parade, spinning their pinkish twaddle 
> instead of batons. Apparently such people have never read Orwell's 
> 'Homage To Catalonia', Robert Conquest's 'The Great Terror', nor  
> Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's 'The Gulag Archipelago' trilogy and The First 
> Circle. If they had, they'd know when communists seize power anywhere, 
> it isn't the capitalists and land owners they go after first, rather 
> it's the pansy left and Marxist intellectuals who sit atop their hit 
> list in position #1.

A book in there I have read recently (since I was living in Catalonia at 
the time) - and apparently you haven't. First of all most of the book is 
a long narrative involving fighting alongside communists against Franco, 
and his criticism of communists is for seling out the revolution, and 
just doesn't match his criticism of "red-baiting" - namely taking all 
the various flavours of left wing politics that were involved in 
fighting the fascists in Spain, and calling them "Communists"
 From the book:

...In particular the Communist Party, with Soviet Russia behind it, had 
thrown its whole weight against revolution. It was the communist thesis 
that revolution at this stage would be fatal and that was to be aimed at 
in Spain was not workers' control, but bourgeois democracy. It hardly 
needs pointing out why "liberal" capitalist opinion took the same line...

... We are all socialists...

> When the communists seized I Corps and other areas of South Vietnam 
> during the 1968 Tet Offensive, murdering civilians in their tens of 
> thousands while scorching their way across the landscape, it wasn't 
> capitalists and land owners they went after first. Commissars would 
> get around to such people eventually, but only after their most 
> important mission of genocide had been tidied up forthwith. They 
> executed first and foremost, those people who in America we've 
> traditionally regarded as liberal/left: Marxist intellectuals; 
> university faculty; Catholics, nuns, priests, and vociferous 
> religionists of other theological stripes; homosexuals and other 
> "degenerates"; pacifists; turncoats; military service evaders; 
> socialist freethinkers; etc. etc. Any commissar worth his daily bowl 
> of rice would regard such people a dire threat to ideological 
> conformity, since these people had already demonstrated a propensity 
> for dissent, that particular trait of character intolerable above all 
> others to any of history's totalitarian regimes.

Thats a good way to put it - seized I Corps. .. and other parts of 
Vietnam that weren't so important. Whereas the first thing the US did 
when they arrived in Vietnam??? Instigate a coup leading to the 
assasination of the President, no? And "scorchinng their way across the 
landscape?" Going for big lie debating tactic there I guess.

> Communists always clean their own house first. Anywhere communists 
> have seized power over the century past, it's a pattern as predictable 
> as the tides. The example in Vietnam was repeated in Cambodia where 
> Pol Pot filled his torture chambers with his own commissars and army 
> cadre first, not with capitalists and land owners. Only after he'd 
> eradicated this "internal" threat did he murder those two million five 
> hundred thousand others he'd suspected of being tainted by Western 
> liberalism.

Wait, I don't remember any big american war to stop Pol Pot. Americans 
didn't jump in to do anything about that, perhaps because, hmm, they 
also instigated a coup in Cambodia not so long before. Here's a quote 
for you:

"Under Prince Sihanouk, Cambodia had preserved neutrality during the 
Vietnamese civil war by giving a little to both sides: Vietnamese 
communists were allowed to use a Cambodian port to ship in supplies, the 
USA were allowed to bomb - secretly and illegitimately - Viet Cong 
hideouts in Cambodia. When US-backed Lon Nol took over, US troops felt 
free to move into Cambodia to continue their struggle with the Viet 
Cong. Cambodia had become part of the Vietnam battlefield. During the 
next four years, American B-52 bombers, using napalm and dart 
cluster-bombs, killed up to 750,000 Cambodians in their effort to 
destroy suspected North Vietnamese supply lines."


Perhaps - here's an anticommunist tip - Don't occupy foreign countries, 
bomb the crap out of them and overthrow their leaders. It tends to 
"radicalize" them.

And just for reference, what ever happened to Pol Pot - hunted down and 
killed by righteous American, wouldn't  you think? No. In fact,

"In 1978 Vietnam invaded Kampuchea and overthrew the Khmer Rouge. The 
guerrillas were driven into the western jungles and beyond to Thailand. 
Vietnam (now a communist republic forging links with the Soviet Union) 
set up a puppet government composed mainly of recent defectors from the 
Khmer Rouge. This new socialist government was comparatively benign, but 
found it hard to organise the necessary reconstruction programme: Pol 
Pot's policies had ruined the economy, there wasn't much foreign aid; 
all the competent professionals, engineers, technicians and planners had 
been killed.

The Khmer Rouge in retreat had some help from American relief agencies - 
20,000 to 40,000 guerrillas who reached Thailand received food aid -and 
the West also ensured that the Khmer Rouge (rather than the 
Vietnam-backed communist government) held on to Cambodia's seat in the 
United Nations: the Cold War continued to dictate what allegiances and 
priorities were made.

The Khmer Rouge went on fighting the Vietnam-backed government. 
Throughout the 1980s the Khmer Rouge forces were covertly backed by 
America and the UK (who trained them in the use of landmines) because of 
their united hostility to communist Vietnam. The West's fuelling of the 
Khmer Rouge held up Cambodia's recovery for a decade."


You should try reading this piece by Orwell - I am sure he would suggest 
the same thing after hearing "Homage to Catalonia" being used to attack 
the "left".