Seeing Red: Huffington Post debates Communist influence in U.S.

debate pic

Is communism still relevant to American politics?

This question was debated live online yesterday in 20-minute discussion hosted by the Huffington Post. Debate moderator Alyona Minkovski noted that the words "communism" and "socialism" have become once again commonplace since the 2008 election of President Barack Obama, as right-wing politicians have accused the Democrats of moving the nation toward these types of societies. (video below, or visit Huffington Post here.)

Additionally, polls have shown that Americans are increasingly favorable toward socialism and communism, at least in theory.

"It's very silly and a desperate attempt to try to smear Democrats because of the history of anti-communism in this country," Communist Party USA Vice Chair Libero Della Piana said of the charges against the Democrats. "The right wing in this country has always used anti-communism as a way to shut down progress and to shut down positive legislation and to shut down discussion. It goes back to the McCarthy period and long before that."

Dr. Norman Markowitz, a professor of history at Rutgers University also spoke in defense of the communists. Opposing him and Della Piana was Benjamin Shapiro, a syndicated columnist and author of Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism is Corrupting our Youth and Bullies: How the Left's Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America.

Between the left and right was Truthout contributor Sam Sacks.

The debate spanned the history of Marxist ideas in the United States and capitalism - for better or worse - in American society now. Shapiro argued that American progress derived from its free market fundamentals, while Markowitz and Sacks pointed out that the U.S. has had some planning and a mixed economy for much of its existence. Della Piana and Markowitz argued that the emergence of an American middle class was a result of a center-left coalition.

According to Markowitz, the most successful left organization in the United States is the Communist Party USA. Della Piana discussed the role of his party and its feelings toward the Obama administration.

Photo: Screenshot from the debate.

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  • This did sound like a fair debate. Good. I say that because I once saw a PBS program in the late 1990s comparing capitalism and communism. It started off giving the impression of an objective debate.

    However, it became clear this was blatantly contradicted. The three panelists who "debated" were all pro-capitalist, including the economically "bloodsucking" Milton Friedman. Similar to "promoting" freedom and democracy worldwide, this "comparison" talked the talk, but didn't walk the walk. Not surprising.

    Posted by , 01/13/2013 2:45pm (1 year ago)

  • The "soul of the soul" (to borrow from the poetic notion of the great Communist, W. E. B. Du Bois) of the entire national and international and burgeoning working class, it can be forcibly argued with both Della Piana and Markowitz, of humankind can be traced to the historic efforts of the C P U S A and with its connection with Karl Marx's First International.
    Du Bois, almost single handedly posited that the inception of the United States came only with the birth of hated(by colonialists and oppressors)Haiti, led by the magnificent anti-slaver-liberationist Toussaint L'Ouverture. The mid-wife of the American Revolution was the Haitian Revolution-ushered in by the female/male intelligence and tenacity of erst-while human chattel.
    These self-liberated slaves, under the leadership of the great L'Ouverture, are the true and unsung heroes of the American Revolution.
    Parallel and commensurate, and even before, with this movement was the magnificent anti-racist international movement against slavery, fueled by, not least, the institutions named in W. E. B. Du Bois's seminal John Brown, like:
    "..Benezet, Garrison, Harriet Stowe; Sumner, Douglass and Lincoln, these and others, but above all, John Brown."
    On the other side of the Atlantic and earlier were the efforts of Gustavas Vassa, Thomas Clarkson, William Wilberforce, William Wordsworth, supplying meat to the movement of human freedom, which the theory of the communists predicted and heralded and helped organize, with the strong crowning support of the European Marx, who lobbied president Lincoln, demonstrating the position of the communists on human liberation, anti-racism and progress, that today the CPUSA continues in a sacred past, present, and future legacy.

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 01/11/2013 4:16pm (1 year ago)

  • CAPITALIST COUNTRY LIKE AMERICA PEOPLE ARE REALISING AFTER 2008 CRISIS ABOUT THE CREDIBILITY OF MARXISM. EVEN ONCE LAUDED ABOUT PRIVATISATION ECONOMIST FUKIYAMA ALSO U TURNED AFTER CRISIS. CHANGES ARE ALSO SHOWN IN EUROPE TOO GIVES SOCIALISM IS THE ONLY ALTERNATIVE.

    Posted by murugamkrishnaraj, 01/11/2013 7:56am (1 year ago)

  • "It [labeling in progressive ideas as communist] goes back to the McCarthy period and long before that."
    Yeah, Marx mentioned it in the first paragraph of the Communist Manifesto written in 1848.

    Posted by John Wester, 01/10/2013 4:37pm (2 years ago)

  • Glad to hear this report. I notice that younger people don't seem to have any anti-communist disease at all.
    --jimlane

    Posted by jim lane, 01/10/2013 4:01pm (2 years ago)

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