Red-baiting muddies the waters


More than anything, American public opinion is galvanized in its revulsion to the horrific crimes committed in Tucson, Ariz.

Because of this, the tea party and right wing hate radio hosts have no choice but to obscure what they know to be true - they are primarily responsible for the atmosphere of hate that fueled this act of violence. So they are using one of their favorite big lies: anti-socialist, anti-communist red-baiting.

Right-wing bloviators and their supporters are spinning myths about leftists, equating socialism with fascism. The two have nothing in common. Nowhere do Marx and Engels, nor those who honestly embrace their philosophical tenants, advocate wholesale terror against elected officials and democratic institutions. American Marxists are advocates and staunch defenders of democracy, democratic institutions and movements.

But such lies and mythologies aren't limited to Limbaugh, Beck or Palin, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat accomplishes the same logic by invoking President John F. Kennedy's assassination in his Jan. 11 column.

Correctly stating the extreme right-wing atmosphere of 1963 Dallas, Texas, Douthat writes:

Dallas was "awash in right-wing anger - over perceived Cold War betrayals, over desegregation, over the perfidies of liberalism in general. Adlai Stevenson, then ambassador to the United Nations, had been spat on during his visit to the city earlier that fall. The week of Kennedy's arrival, leaflets circulated in Dallas bearing the president's photograph and the words 'Wanted For Treason.'"

But then, Douthat resurrects a planted story that was long ago proven false. Douthat claims Lee Harvey Oswald was a "Marxist of sorts."

This statement is such a bald attempt to use anti-communism to cover up the political and ideological toxic brew feeding both crimes in Dallas and Tucson. It's a complete fabrication lifted from the early post-JFK assassination reports, which no credible JFK assassination expert accepts today.

All evidence points to the big lie about Oswald being carefully cultivated by the CIA and the right wing as a means to divert attention from the real source of the crime. This has been exhaustively laid out with the most recent evidence in "JFK and the Unspeakable: Why he died and why it matters" by James W Douglass.

Far from being a left-winger, Oswald was under the employ of the FBI and had been trained by Naval Intelligence and sent to the Soviet Union as a spy. Leading up to the assassination, Oswald was carefully handled by the CIA and those involved in the conspiracy. His so called ties with the Cuban Revolution were a total fabrication.

Far from being "an activist on behalf of Castro's Cuba," as Douthat writes, Oswald was an anti-Communist embedded in the "vast right-wing conspiracy" to kill the president.

The effort to connect the assassination to Castro was a blatant attempt to divert attention from the real killers and foment national outrage leading to an armed invasion of Cuba or worse yet a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. The right wing conspirators, including those in the military industrial complex, sections of corporate capital, anti-Castro Cubans and the American Mafia were all united in their vitriol against Kennedy for his desire to change relations with the Cuban government and end the Cold War.

President Lyndon Johnson saw through this and refused to go along.

Douthat is making a desperate attempt to obscure the connection between the criminal acts of Jared Lee Loughner and toxic political climate he fed off - the anti-government rantings and call to arms of the extreme right wing, the tea party and hate radio.

There is no evidence what-so-ever that political violence (especially over the last two years) in any form has been instigated by the left, progressive movements and media.

Just as those who tried to link the Kennedy assassination to left, progressives, socialists and communists failed, so too will all efforts to paint Loughner as someone inspired by the humanistic and democratic ideals of socialism.

Photo:  John F. Kennedy's motorcade Nov. 22, 1963. (Public Domain)

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  • The comment below is by E.E.W.Clay

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 01/18/2011 3:05pm (5 years ago)

  • Brother John Bachtell thank you for this timely article.
    How correctly you point out the democracy which is,contrary to imperialist and capitalist lies,central to the revolutionary theory from Marx/Engels,to V.I. Lenin,to our own W.E.B. Du Bois,as they consistently fought for peace,and a peace defined by the working class,of all continents and all national and international governments.
    In truth,it is no great mystery why the imperialists and the war mongering capitalists hunt,hound,slander and libel the communists.
    It is because the communists,by definition are the catalysts in their political parties especially,but also as revolutionary personalities,who fight to defend democracy and the unique forms it appears in,in each nation-state,and proceed thereby to make authentic international connections.
    The communists manifested,present the most dangerous opponents of the ruling classes,and simultaneously,the most beneficial proponents of the working peoples and the historically oppressed peoples,stressing that humanity must not be its own worst enemy. Communists insist that peace and democracy must prevail,if we are to survive and thrive as humanity.
    It is in this context that we can more fully understanding the classic quote-habitually misquoted- by the great Pastor Neimoller experiencing German and holocaust fascism :

    "First they came for the Communists,
    and I didn't speak up,
    because I wasn't a Communist.
    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn't speak up,
    because I wasn't a Jew.
    Then they came for the Catholics,
    and I didn't speak up,
    because I wasn't a Catholic.
    Then they came for me,
    and by that time, there was no one left to speak up for me.

    This 1945 version,maybe better than the 1968 version,is for sure closer in time to the entombment of 100,00 Communists into fascist holocaust death camps of 1933.
    From the persecution,banishment and exiles of Marx,to the arrest,mugging and trying of the dean of American scholarship,W.E.B. Du Bois-as "an unregistered foreign agent"the ruling classes,the authors of the mythical but nonetheless terrorizing and brutal notorious first and second bloody Red Scares in the "democratic"United States of America,our shameless,tyrannical rulers,have hunted communists,to kill the working class.
    They have not been sucessful,and they will not be,but they have not only muddied,but bloodied the waters trying to do so.

    Posted by , 01/18/2011 2:56pm (5 years ago)

  • A good reply, John. But I think the simplest refutation of red-baiting diversions is the targets, the victims. Republicans weren't murdered. Democrats on the opposite side of the hate-rhetoric-saturated anti-immigration campaigns were targeted. Nuts he may be, but these were political targets picked by the shooter. On top of whatever mental chaos this individual may contain --- there will be a political motive too. The right wingers are trying to runaway from the stink of this as fast as possible, in every direction, but the stench is sticking to them. Doesn't mean they will quiet down yet, judging by Palin, but some are taking heed --- David Brooks, in his op-ed today, voted yes on the president's pitch at the service.

    Posted by John Case, 01/14/2011 12:05pm (5 years ago)

  • Thanks for the article, John. @Jim Williams, for a good account on Oswald's background, read:'s article on JFKAssassination.
    I never believed that Oswald was involved, and I still don't. Too much doesn't add up here. Noone wants to be called a conspiracy theorist here, but there are ACTUAL conspiracies, and I think this was one.

    Posted by Brad, 01/14/2011 12:03am (5 years ago)

  • I highly recommend the book mentioned above. But that's not the only investigation that's come to that conclusion.

    Posted by John Bachtell, 01/13/2011 6:22pm (5 years ago)

  • is there a cite for this assertion?

    "Far from being a left-winger, Oswald was under the employ of the FBI and had been trained by Naval Intelligence and sent to the Soviet Union as a spy. Leading up to the assassination, Oswald was carefully handled by the CIA and those involved in the conspiracy"

    Posted by Jim Williams, 01/13/2011 1:17pm (5 years ago)

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