Category Archives: Oddities

Video: Star Trek DS9 – Workers of the World, Unite!

Excommunicated Westboro Baptist Church member suggests Fred Phelps might be gay

Lauren Drain was thrown out of the Westboro Baptist Church five years ago (Image: NOH8)

Lauren Drain was thrown out of the Westboro Baptist Church five years ago (Image: NOH8)


A former member of the adamantly homophobic Westboro Baptist Church, also know as the ‘God Hates Fags’ church, has spoken out about the church’s controversial leader, and said that she thought he could be gay.

Lauren Drain, 27, became a member of the Westboro Baptist Church at age 15 when her father relocated her family to Kansas in order to join the church and live in its compound.

At first she accepted the extremely anti-gay teachings of the church and its leader, Fred Phelps. The church is known for its belief that the majority of people will go to hell, and for its pickets at the funerals of soldiers and victims of disasters in which members carry signs reading “God Hates Fags” and other inflammatory statements.

Although she originally attended pickets and supported the Westboro Baptist Church, Ms Drain began to question their teachings and was subsequently cast out at the age of 22.

Speaking in an interview with the Advocate, Drain speculated that Fred Phelps had at one point wanted to join the military, but suddenly changed his mind.

She said: “All I know is that he said he went to West Point, then all of a sudden he had a religious experience, and now he wanted to preach against sexual immorality, preach against the military, and ever since then things have kind of progressed.”

Drain went on to say that she thought his reaction to being asked by the media if he was gay himself was suspicious, in that it was particularly extreme.

“I never understood why, when [he was asked by the press], ‘Why are you so against the homosexuals? Did you have a homosexual experience? Do you have homosexual tendencies?’ And he would get so mad, he would shut down. And he’d be like, ‘I can’t talk to this person anymore, they’re stupid.’

“His reaction to that was stronger than any other question you can ask him. So I always wondered that — why does he get so mad? If I’m not gay, I’ll just say I’m not gay.”

She went on to say that speculating on the matter was all she could do, as she didn’t know the true reason for his reaction to those questions.

She said: “But something happened, and something made him change his mind about the military, and in turn have kind of a crusade against sexual immorality and homosexuals.”

In February, two granddaughters of Phelps quit the organisation, and expressed regret at “inflicting pain on others” whilst still members. 

Back in 2010, the son of Fred Phelps has broke his silence and begun to publicly speak about his relationship with his estranged father, after also quitting the church.

The church infamously attempts to picket the funerals of those deemed “fag-enablers”, including military funerals for US service members.

In a strange turn of events in December, the Ku Klux Klan stepped in to counter a protest by the Westboro Baptist Church, at a military funeral.  

The church had also announced that it intended to picket the funerals of the children killed at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut to worldwide outrage.

Also in December, the hackers collective, Anonymous, continued its battle with the church, and claimed to have changed the desktop background on its spokeswoman’s computer to gay porn, and filed a death certificate on her behalf, stopping her from using her social security number. 


Left Anticommunism: the Unkindest Cut



Despite a lifetime of “shaming” the system, NOAM CHOMSKY, America’s foremost “engagé” intellectual, remains an unrepentant left anticommunist.

In the United States, for over a hundred years, the ruling interests tirelessly propagated anticommunism among the populace, until it became more like a religious orthodoxy than a political analysis. During the Cold War, the anticommunist ideological framework could transform any data about existing communist societies into hostile evidence. If the Soviets refused to negotiate a point, they were intransigent and belligerent; if they appeared willing to make concessions, this was but a skillful ploy to put us off our guard. By opposing arms limitations, they would have demonstrated their aggressive intent; but when in fact they supported most armament treaties, it was because they were mendacious and manipulative. If the churches in the USSR were empty, this demonstrated that religion was suppressed; but if the churches were full, this meant the people were rejecting the regime’s atheistic ideology. If the workers went on strike (as happened on infrequent occasions), this was evidence of their alienation from the collectivist system; if they didn’t go on strike, this was because they were intimidated and lacked freedom. A scarcity of consumer goods demonstrated the failure of the economic system; an improvement in consumer supplies meant only that the leaders were attempting to placate a restive population and so maintain a firmer hold over them. If communists in the United States played an important role struggling for the rights of workers, the poor, African-Americans, women, and others, this was only their guileful way of gathering support among disfranchised groups and gaining power for themselves. How one gained power by fighting for the rights of powerless groups was never explained. What we are dealing with is a nonfalsifiable orthodoxy, so assiduously marketed by the ruling interests that it affected people across the entire political spectrum.

Genuflection to Orthodoxy

Many on the U.S. Left have exhibited a Soviet bashing and Red baiting that matches anything on the Right in its enmity and crudity. Listen to Noam Chomsky holding forth about “left intellectuals” who try to “rise to power on the backs of mass popular movements” and “then beat the people into submission. . . . You start off as basically a Leninist who is going to be part of the Red bureaucracy. You see later that power doesn’t lie that way, and you very quickly become an ideologist of the right. . . . We’re seeing it right now in the [former] Soviet Union. The same guys who were communist thugs two years back, are now running banks and [are] enthusiastic free marketeers and praising Americans” (Z Magazine, 10/95).

Chomsky’s imagery is heavily indebted to the same U.S. corporate political culture he so frequently criticizes on other issues. In his mind, the revolution was betrayed by a coterie of “communist thugs” who merely hunger for power rather than wanting the power to end hunger. In fact, the communists did not “very quickly” switch to the Right but struggled in the face of a momentous onslaught to keep Soviet socialism alive for more than seventy years. To be sure, in the Soviet Union’s waning days some, like Boris Yeltsin, crossed over to capitalist ranks, but others continued to resist free-market incursions at great cost to themselves, many meeting their deaths during Yeltsin’s violent repression of the Russian parliament in 1993.

Some leftists and others fall back on the old stereotype of power-hungry Reds who pursue power for power’s sake without regard for actual social goals. If true, one wonders why, in country after country, these Reds side with the poor and powerless often at great risk and sacrifice to themselves, rather than reaping the rewards that come with serving the well-placed.

For decades, many left-leaning writers and speakers in the United States have felt obliged to establish their credibility by indulging in anticommunist and anti-Soviet genuflection, seemingly unable to give a talk or write an article or book review on whatever political subject without injecting some anti-Red sideswipe. The intent was, and still is, to distance themselves from the Marxist-Leninist Left.

Adam Hochschild: Keeping his distance from the “Stalinist Left” and recommending same posture to fellow progressives.

Adam Hochschild, a liberal writer and publisher, warned those on the Left who might be lackadaisical about condemning existing communist societies that they “weaken their credibility” (Guardian, 5/23/84). In other words, to be credible opponents of the cold war, we first had to join in the Cold-War condemnations of communist societies. Ronald Radosh urged that the peace movement purge itself of communists so that it not be accused of being communist (Guardian, 3/16/83). If I understand Radosh: To save ourselves from anticommunist witchhunts, we should ourselves become witchhunters. Purging the Left of communists became a longstanding practice, having injurious effects on various progressive causes. For instance, in 1949 some twelve unions were ousted from the CIO because they had Reds in their leadership. The purge reduced CIO membership by some 1.7 million and seriously weakened its recruitment drives and political clout. In the late 1940s, to avoid being “smeared” as Reds, Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), a supposedly progressive group, became one of the most vocally anticommunist organizations.

The strategy did not work. ADA and others on the Left were still attacked for being communist or soft on communism by those on the Right. Then and now, many on the Left have failed to realize that those who fight for social change on behalf of the less privileged elements of society will be Red-baited by conservative elites whether they are communists or not. For ruling interests, it makes little difference whether their wealth and power is challenged by “communist subversives” or “loyal American liberals.” All are lumped together as more or less equally abhorrent.

Even when attacking the Right, the left critics cannot pass up an opportunity to flash their anticommunist credentials. So Mark Green writes in a criticism of President Ronald Reagan that “when presented with a situation that challenges his conservative catechism, like an unyielding Marxist-Leninist, [Reagan] will change not his mind but the facts.” While professing a dedication to fighting dogmatism “both of the Right and Left,” individuals who perform such de rigueur genuflections reinforce the anticommunist dogma. Red-baiting leftists contributed their share to the climate of hostility that has given U.S. leaders such a free hand in waging hot and cold wars against communist countries and which even today makes a progressive or even liberal agenda difficult to promote.

A prototypic Red-basher who pretended to be on the Left was George Orwell. In the middle of World War II, as the Soviet Union was fighting for its life against the Nazi invaders at Stalingrad, Orwell announced that a “willingness to criticize Russia and Stalin is the test of intellectual honesty. It is the only thing that from a literary intellectual’s point of view is really dangerous” (Monthly Review, 5/83). Safely ensconced within a virulently anticommunist society, Orwell (with Orwellian doublethink) characterized the condemnation of communism as a lonely courageous act of defiance. Today, his ideological progeny are still at it, offering themselves as intrepid left critics of the Left, waging a valiant struggle against imaginary Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist hordes.


Sorely lacking within the U.S. Left is any rational evaluation of the Soviet Union, a nation that endured a protracted civil war and a multinational foreign invasion in the very first years of its existence, and that two decades later threw back and destroyed the Nazi beast at enormous cost to itself. In the three decades after the Bolshevik revolution, the Soviets made industrial advances equal to what capitalism took a century to accomplish–while feeding and schooling their children rather than working them fourteen hours a day as capitalist industrialists did and still do in many parts of the world. And the Soviet Union, along with Bulgaria, the German Democratic Republic, and Cuba provided vital assistance to national liberation movements in countries around the world, including Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress in South Africa.

Left anticommunists remained studiously unimpressed by the dramatic gains won by masses of previously impoverished people under communism. Some were even scornful of such accomplishments. I recall how in Burlington Vermont, in 1971, the noted anticommunist anarchist, Murray Bookchin, derisively referred to my concern for “the poor little children who got fed under communism” (his words).

Slinging Labels

Those of us who refused to join in the Soviet bashing were branded by left anticommunists as “Soviet apologists” and “Stalinists,” even if we disliked Stalin and his autocratic system of rule and believed there were things seriously wrong with existing Soviet society. Our real sin was that unlike many on the Left we refused to uncritically swallow U.S. media propaganda about communist societies. Instead, we maintained that, aside from the well-publicized deficiencies and injustices, there were positive features about existing communist systems that were worth preserving, that improved the lives of hundreds of millions of people in meaningful and humanizing ways. This claim had a decidedly unsettling effect on left anticommunists who themselves could not utter a positive word about any communist society (except possibly Cuba) and could not lend a tolerant or even courteous ear to anyone who did.

Saturated by anticommunist orthodoxy, most U.S. leftists have practiced a left McCarthyism against people who did have something positive to say about existing communism, excluding them from participation in conferences, advisory boards, political endorsements, and left publications. Like conservatives, left anticommunists tolerated nothing less than a blanket condemnation of the Soviet Union as a Stalinist monstrosity and a Leninist moral aberration.

That many U.S. leftists have scant familiarity with Lenin’s writings and political work does not prevent them from slinging the “Leninist” label. Noam Chomsky, who is an inexhaustible fount of anticommunist caricatures, offers this comment about Leninism: “Western and also Third World intellectuals were attracted to the Bolshevik counterrevolution [sic] because Leninism is, after all, a doctrine that says that the radical intelligentsia have a right to take state power and to run their countries by force, and that is an idea which is rather appealing to intellectuals.” Here Chomsky fashions an image of power-hungry intellectuals to go along with his cartoon image of power-hungry Leninists, villains seeking not the revolutionary means to fight injustice but power for power’s sake. When it comes to Red-bashing, some of the best and brightest on the Left sound not much better than the worst on the Right.

At the time of the 1996 terror bombing in Oklahoma City, I heard a radio commentator announce: “Lenin said that the purpose of terror is to terrorize.” U.S. media commentators have repeatedly quoted Lenin in that misleading manner. In fact, his statement was disapproving of terrorism. He polemicized against isolated terrorist acts which do nothing but create terror among the populace, invite repression, and isolate the revolutionary movement from the masses. Far from being the totalitarian, tight-circled conspirator, Lenin urged the building of broad coalitions and mass organizations, encompassing people who were at different levels of political development. He advocated whatever diverse means were needed to advance the class struggle, including participation in parliamentary elections and existing trade unions. To be sure, the working class, like any mass group, needed organization and leadership to wage a successful revolutionary struggle, which was the role of a vanguard party, but that did not mean the proletarian revolution could be fought and won by putschists or terrorists.

Lenin constantly dealt with the problem of avoiding the two extremes of liberal bourgeois opportunism and ultra-left adventurism. Yet he himself is repeatedly identified as an ultra-left putschist by mainstream journalists and some on the Left. Whether Lenin’s approach to revolution is desirable or even relevant today is a question that warrants critical examination. But a useful evaluation is not likely to come from people who misrepresent his theory and practice.

Left anticommunists find any association with communist organizations to be morally unacceptable because of the “crimes of communism.” Yet many of them are themselves associated with the Democratic Party in this country, either as voters or members, seemingly unconcerned about the morally unacceptable political crimes committed by leaders of that organization. Under one or another Democratic administration, 120,000 Japanese Americans were torn from their homes and livelihoods and thrown into detention camps; atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki with an enormous loss of innocent life; the FBI was given authority to infiltrate political groups; the Smith Act was used to imprison leaders of the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party and later on leaders of the Communist Party for their political beliefs; detention camps were established to round up political dissidents in the event of a “national emergency”; during the late 1940s and 1950s, eight thousand federal workers were purged from government because of their political associations and views, with thousands more in all walks of life witchhunted out of their careers; the Neutrality Act was used to impose an embargo on the Spanish Republic that worked in favor of Franco’s fascist legions; homicidal counterinsurgency programs were initiated in various Third World countries; and the Vietnam War was pursued and escalated. And for the better part of a century, the Congressional leadership of the Democratic Party protected racial segregation and stymied all anti-lynching and fair employment bills. Yet all these crimes, bringing ruination and death to many, have not moved the liberals, the social democrats, and the “democratic socialist” anticommunists to insist repeatedly that we issue blanket condemnations of either the Democratic Party or the political system that produced it, certainly not with the intolerant fervor that has been directed against existing communism.

Pure Socialism vs. Siege Socialism

The upheavals in Eastern Europe did not constitute a defeat for socialism because socialism never existed in those countries, according to some U.S. leftists. They say that the communist states offered nothing more than bureaucratic, one-party “state capitalism” or some such thing. Whether we call the former communist countries “socialist” is a matter of definition. Suffice it to say, they constituted something different from what existed in the profit-driven capitalist world–as the capitalists themselves were not slow to recognize.

First, in communist countries there was less economic inequality than under capitalism. The perks enjoyed by party and government elites were modest by corporate CEO standards in the West [even more so when compared with today’s grotesque compensation packages to the executive and financial elites.—Eds], as were their personal incomes and life styles. Soviet leaders like Yuri Andropov and Leonid Brezhnev lived not in lavishly appointed mansions like the White House, but in relatively large apartments in a housing project near the Kremlin set aside for government leaders. They had limousines at their disposal (like most other heads of state) and access to large dachas where they entertained visiting dignitaries. But they had none of the immense personal wealth that most U.S. leaders possess.

The “lavish life” enjoyed by East Germany’s party leaders, as widely publicized in the U.S. press, included a $725 yearly allowance in hard currency, and housing in an exclusive settlement on the outskirts of Berlin that sported a sauna, an indoor pool, and a fitness center shared by all the residents. They also could shop in stores that carried Western goods such as bananas, jeans, and Japanese electronics. The U.S. press never pointed out that ordinary East Germans had access to public pools and gyms and could buy jeans and electronics (though usually not of the imported variety). Nor was the “lavish” consumption enjoyed by East German leaders contrasted to the truly opulent life style enjoyed by the Western plutocracy.

Second, in communist countries, productive forces were not organized for capital gain and private enrichment; public ownership of the means of production supplanted private ownership. Individuals could not hire other people and accumulate great personal wealth from their labor. Again, compared to Western standards, differences in earnings and savings among the populace were generally modest. The income spread between highest and lowest earners in the Soviet Union was about five to one. In the United States, the spread in yearly income between the top multibillionaires and the working poor is more like 10,000 to 1.

Third, priority was placed on human services. Though life under communism left a lot to be desired and the services themselves were rarely the best, communist countries did guarantee their citizens some minimal standard of economic survival and security, including guaranteed education, employment, housing, and medical assistance.

Fourth, communist countries did not pursue the capital penetration of other countries. Lacking a profit motive as their motor force and therefore having no need to constantly find new investment opportunities, they did not expropriate the lands, labor, markets, and natural resources of weaker nations, that is, they did not practice economic imperialism. The Soviet Union conducted trade and aid relations on terms that generally were favorable to the Eastern European nations and Mongolia, Cuba, and India.

All of the above were organizing principles for every communist system to one degree or another. None of the above apply to free market countries like Honduras, Guatemala, Thailand, South Korea, Chile, Indonesia, Zaire, Germany, or the United States.

But a real socialism, it is argued, would be controlled by the workers themselves through direct participation instead of being run by Leninists, Stalinists, Castroites, or other ill-willed, power-hungry, bureaucratic, cabals of evil men who betray revolutions. Unfortunately, this “pure socialism” view is ahistorical and nonfalsifiable; it cannot be tested against the actualities of history. It compares an ideal against an imperfect reality, and the reality comes off a poor second. It imagines what socialism would be like in a world far better than this one, where no strong state structure or security force is required, where none of the value produced by workers needs to be expropriated to rebuild society and defend it from invasion and internal sabotage.

The pure socialists’ ideological anticipations remain untainted by existing practice. They do not explain how the manifold functions of a revolutionary society would be organized, how external attack and internal sabotage would be thwarted, how bureaucracy would be avoided, scarce resources allocated, policy differences settled, priorities set, and production and distribution conducted. Instead, they offer vague statements about how the workers themselves will directly own and control the means of production and will arrive at their own solutions through creative struggle. No surprise then that the pure socialists support every revolution except the ones that succeed.

The pure socialists had a vision of a new society that would create and be created by new people, a society so transformed in its fundamentals as to leave little room for wrongful acts, corruption, and criminal abuses of state power. There would be no bureaucracy or self-interested coteries, no ruthless conflicts or hurtful decisions. When the reality proves different and more difficult, some on the Left proceed to condemn the real thing and announce that they “feel betrayed” by this or that revolution.

The pure socialists see socialism as an ideal that was tarnished by communist venality, duplicity, and power cravings. The pure socialists oppose the Soviet model but offer little evidence to demonstrate that other paths could have been taken, that other models of socialism–not created from one’s imagination but developed through actual historical experience–could have taken hold and worked better. Was an open, pluralistic, democratic socialism actually possible at this historic juncture? The historical evidence would suggest it was not. As the political philosopher Carl Shames argued:

How do [the left critics] know that the fundamental problem was the “nature” of the ruling [revolutionary] parties rather than, say, the global concentration of capital that is destroying all independent economies and putting an end to national sovereignty everywhere? And to the extent that it was, where did this “nature” come from? Was this “nature” disembodied, disconnected from the fabric of the society itself, from the social relations impacting on it? . . . Thousands of examples could be found in which the centralization of power was a necessary choice in securing and protecting socialist relations. In my observation [of existing communist societies], the positive of “socialism” and the negative of “bureaucracy, authoritarianism and tyranny” interpenetrated in virtually every sphere of life. (Carl Shames, correspondence to me, 1/15/92.)

The pure socialists regularly blame the Left itself for every defeat it suffers. Their second-guessing is endless. So we hear that revolutionary struggles fail because their leaders wait too long or act too soon, are too timid or too impulsive, too stubborn or too easily swayed. We hear that revolutionary leaders are compromising or adventuristic, bureaucratic or opportunistic, rigidly organized or insufficiently organized, undemocratic or failing to provide strong leadership. But always the leaders fail because they do not put their trust in the “direct actions” of the workers, who apparently would withstand and overcome every adversity if only given the kind of leadership available from the left critic’s own groupuscule. Unfortunately, the critics seem unable to apply their own leadership genius to producing a successful revolutionary movement in their own country.

Tony Febbo questioned this blame-the-leadership syndrome of the pure socialists:

It occurs to me that when people as smart, different, dedicated and heroic as Lenin, Mao, Fidel Castro, Daniel Ortega, Ho Chi Minh and Robert Mugabe–and the millions of heroic people who followed and fought with them–all end up more or less in the same place, then something bigger is at work than who made what decision at what meeting. Or even what size houses they went home to after the meeting. . . .

These leaders weren’t in a vacuum. They were in a whirlwind. And the suction, the force, the power that was twirling them around has spun and left this globe mangled for more than 900 years. And to blame this or that theory or this or that leader is a simple-minded substitute for the kind of analysis that Marxists [should make]. (Guardian, 11/13/91)

To be sure, the pure socialists are not entirely without specific agendas for building the revolution. After the Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua, an ultra-left group in that country called for direct worker ownership of the factories. The armed workers would take control of production without benefit of managers, state planners, bureaucrats, or a formal military. While undeniably appealing, this worker syndicalism denies the necessities of state power. Under such an arrangement, the Nicaraguan revolution would not have lasted two months against the U.S.-sponsored counterrevolution that savaged the country. It would have been unable to mobilize enough resources to field an army, take security measures, or build and coordinate economic programs and human services on a national scale.

Decentralization vs. Survival

For a people’s revolution to survive, it must seize state power and use it to (a) break the stranglehold exercised by the owning class over the society’s institutions and resources, and (b) withstand the reactionary counterattack that is sure to come. The internal and external dangers a revolution faces necessitate a centralized state power that is not particularly to anyone’s liking, not in Soviet Russia in 1917, nor in Sandinista Nicaragua in 1980.

Engels offers an apposite account of an uprising in Spain in 1872-73 in which anarchists seized power in municipalities across the country. At first, the situation looked promising. The king had abdicated and the bourgeois government could muster but a few thousand ill-trained troops. Yet this ragtag force prevailed because it faced a thoroughly parochialized rebellion. “Each town proclaimed itself as a sovereign canton and set up a revolutionary committee (junta),” Engels writes. “[E]ach town acted on its own, declaring that the important thing was not cooperation with other towns but separation from them, thus precluding any possibility of a combined attack [against bourgeois forces].” It was “the fragmentation and isolation of the revolutionary forces which enabled the government troops to smash one revolt after the other.”

Decentralized parochial autonomy is the graveyard of insurgency–which may be one reason why there has never been a successful anarcho-syndicalist revolution. Ideally, it would be a fine thing to have only local, self-directed, worker participation, with minimal bureaucracy, police, and military. This probably would be the development of socialism, were socialism ever allowed to develop unhindered by counterrevolutionary subversion and attack. One might recall how, in 1918-20, fourteen capitalist nations, including the United States, invaded Soviet Russia in a bloody but unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the revolutionary Bolshevik government. The years of foreign invasion and civil war did much to intensify the Bolsheviks’ siege psychology with its commitment to lockstep party unity and a repressive security apparatus. Thus, in May 1921, the same Lenin who had encouraged the practice of internal party democracy and struggled against Trotsky in order to give the trade unions a greater measure of autonomy, now called for an end to the Workers’ Opposition and other factional groups within the party. “The time has come,” he told an enthusiastically concurring Tenth Party Congress, “to put an end to opposition, to put a lid on it: we have had enough opposition.” Open disputes and conflicting tendencies within and without the party, the communists concluded, created an appearance of division and weakness that invited attack by formidable foes.

Only a month earlier, in April 1921, Lenin had called for more worker representation on the party’s Central Committee. In short, he had become not anti-worker but anti-opposition. Here was a social revolution–like every other–that was not allowed to develop its political and material life in an unhindered way.

By the late 1920s, the Soviets faced the choice of (a) moving in a still more centralized direction with a command economy and forced agrarian collectivization and full-speed industrialization under a commandist, autocratic party leadership, the road taken by Stalin, or (b) moving in a liberalized direction, allowing more political diversity, more autonomy for labor unions and other organizations, more open debate and criticism, greater autonomy among the various Soviet republics, a sector of privately owned small businesses, independent agricultural development by the peasantry, greater emphasis on consumer goods, and less effort given to the kind of capital accumulation needed to build a strong military-industrial base.

The latter course, I believe, would have produced a more comfortable, more humane and serviceable society. Siege socialism would have given way to worker-consumer socialism. The only problem is that the country would have risked being incapable of withstanding the Nazi onslaught. Instead, the Soviet Union embarked upon a rigorous, forced industrialization. This policy has often been mentioned as one of the wrongs perpetrated by Stalin upon his people. It consisted mostly of building, within a decade, an entirely new, huge industrial base east of the Urals in the middle of the barren steppes, the biggest steel complex in Europe, in anticipation of an invasion from the West. “Money was spent like water, men froze, hungered and suffered but the construction went on with a disregard for individuals and a mass heroism seldom paralleled in history.”

Stalin’s prophecy that the Soviet Union had only ten years to do what the British had done in a century proved correct. When the Nazis invaded in 1941, that same industrial base, safely ensconced thousands of miles from the front, produced the weapons of war that eventually turned the tide. The cost of this survival included 22 million Soviets who perished in the war and immeasurable devastation and suffering, the effects of which would distort Soviet society for decades afterward.

All this is not to say that everything Stalin did was of historical necessity. The exigencies of revolutionary survival did not “make inevitable” the heartless execution of hundreds of Old Bolshevik leaders, the personality cult of a supreme leader who claimed every revolutionary gain as his own achievement, the suppression of party political life through terror, the eventual silencing of debate regarding the pace of industrialization and collectivization, the ideological regulation of all intellectual and cultural life, and the mass deportations of “suspect” nationalities.

The transforming effects of counterrevolutionary attack have been felt in other countries. A Sandinista military officer I met in Vienna in 1986 noted that Nicaraguans were “not a warrior people” but they had to learn to fight because they faced a destructive, U.S.-sponsored mercenary war. She bemoaned the fact that war and embargo forced her country to postpone much of its socio-economic agenda. As with Nicaragua, so with Mozambique, Angola and numerous other countries in which U.S.-financed mercenary forces destroyed farmlands, villages, health centers, and power stations, while killing or starving hundreds of thousands–the revolutionary baby was strangled in its crib or mercilessly bled beyond recognition. This reality ought to earn at least as much recognition as the suppression of dissidents in this or that revolutionary society.

The overthrow of Eastern European and Soviet communist governments was cheered by many left intellectuals. Now democracy would have its day. The people would be free from the yoke of communism and the U.S. Left would be free from the albatross of existing communism, or as left theorist Richard Lichtman put it, “liberated from the incubus of the Soviet Union and the succubus of Communist China.”

In fact, the capitalist restoration in Eastern Europe seriously weakened the numerous Third World liberation struggles that had received aid from the Soviet Union and brought a whole new crop of right-wing governments into existence, ones that now worked hand-in-glove with U.S. global counterrevolutionaries around the globe.

In addition, the overthrow of communism gave the green light to the unbridled exploitative impulses of Western corporate interests. No longer needing to convince workers that they live better than their counterparts in Russia, no longer restrained by a competing system, the corporate class is rolling back the many gains that working people have won over the years. Now that the free market, in its meanest form, is emerging triumphant in the East, so will it prevail in the West. “Capitalism with a human face” is being replaced by “capitalism in your face.” As Richard Levins put it, “So in the new exuberant aggressiveness of world capitalism we see what communists and their allies had held at bay” (Monthly Review, 9/96).

Having never understood the role that existing communist powers played in tempering the worst impulses of Western capitalism, and having perceived communism as nothing but an unmitigated evil, the left anticommunists did not anticipate the losses that were to come. Some of them still don’t get it.

Charlie Chaplin’s final speech in “The Great Dictator”


Tears Behind the Mask


Ending all religions
Changes yet to come
Whole new situation
Fear became too strong
Send a spark of hatred
To where I cannot rest
My fate’s depending on me
Pushed to the test
Depression unrest
As I watch the sky

 – Krayzie Bone, “Depression Unrest”

Resurrection of the Metal Mask: the Iron Curtain Lifts


After months on hiatus, the Espresso Stalinist is back.

UNITA Leader Jonas Savimbi to appear in reactionary game “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2”

This just goes to show how American media and culture under the bourgeoisie whitewashes reactionaries. The degeneration of the “Call of Duty” series is a testament to this.

— E.S.

Jonas Malheiro Savimbi was an Angolan anti-communist guerrilla leader who was backed by the CIA and apartheid South Africa. According to the Wiki linked below, he will be seen during flashbacks in 1986 Angola during the Angolan Civil War.


Review of “Animal Farm” (1954 & 1999 Films)


Hailed by capitalist literary critics, Trotskyites and anarchists as a masterpiece, the mediocre book Animal Farm has served a very important role in distorting the history of socialism in the Soviet Union. Modern editions of the book hail author George Orwell’s selfless journalistic integrity in producing the work, which is said to be a totally accurate portrayal of life under socialism.

But a close examination tells differently. Especially important in understanding the true reason Animal Farm is still crammed down the throats of the public are the two film versions of Animal Farm.

“The CIA obtained the film rights to “Animal Farm” from Orwell’s widow, Sonia, after his death and covertly funded the production as anti-Communist propaganda. Some sources assert that the ending of the story was altered by the CIA (in the book, the pigs and humans join forces) to press home their message[.]” [1].

The CIA agent Howard Hunt, who bought the film rights, also helped set up production of the 1984 movie, which also changed the ending of the original book to be more anti-communist.

“The head of the CIA operation to obtain the film rights was none other than E. Howard Hunt, later famous as Nixon’s Watergate burglar. As part of the deal, Sonia Orwell requested that she get to meet her idol, Clark Gable; this was arranged. A large portion of the budget ($300,000 out of a cost of over $500,000) was supplied by the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency, Office of Policy Coordination, through one of its shell corporations, Touchstone Inc” [2].

Animal Farm has become a classic of capitalist propaganda. First published during World War II, it conveniently packages decades’ worth of lies about socialism in the U.S.S.R., and more specifically the leadership of Joseph Stalin, into an easy-to-understand book small enough to fit in your pocket. Animal Farm is supposed to be a classic satire and critique of socialism; however, George Orwell never went to the U.S.S.R., and received all the information he knew from anti-communists. The book is not journalism at all, and should not be considered the be-all end-all of learning about Soviet socialism.

Plot Summery

The original book and the two films have roughly the same basic plot. Subtitled “a political fable,” Animal Farm tells the tale of the poor and ill-run Manor Farm, managed by the drunken farmer Jones, who abuses the animals. The neglected creatures are called to a meeting by a wise old pig named Old Major, who tells them that if they will rise up together, they can overthrow Jones and create a new world where all animals will be free and equal. Led by a clever pig named Snowball, the beasts run Jones off the farm and take all his property for themselves, proudly renaming the plot Animal Farm.

Conditions improve at first, but the pigs (smartest of the animals) begin to keep certain luxuries, like apples, for themselves. The greedy and mediocre pig Napoleon uses a gang of trained dogs he has brainwashed to run Snowball off the farm and institute a new, terrifying society not at all like the one envisaged by Old Major. Life for the pigs gets better and better, but the other animals are murdered and starved and battered into an oppression worse and more horrifying than existed when Jones ran the farm.

Orwell made no attempt at subtlety – even children can see without much difficulty that Animal Farm is a crude metaphor for the Soviet Union – Napoleon is Stalin, and Snowball is Stalin’s rival Leon Trotsky, who was justly exiled from the U.S.S.R. in the mid 1920s.

Review of Both Films

The first of the two films based on the book, released in 1954 and made possible by funding from the notorious American Central Intelligence Agency, is a dark and gloomy cartoon that, true to the book, paints a disgusting picture of Animal Farm and the struggle between the white pig Snowball and the black and conniving Napoleon.

The second film, released in 1999 and produced by Hallmark, is a live action film boasting a cast of stars including Patrick Stewart, Seinfeld’s Julia-Louis Dreyfus and Fraiser’s Kelsey Grammer. Both of these films have been made easily available to anyone with a computer, with the first film streaming for free on Hulu and the second on services like Netflix and YouTube.

What makes these films important is the way they deviate from Orwell’s book, especially when it comes to the endings. In his original work, Orwell closes the novel with a scene in which the animals realize that they are no longer able to tell their bloated pig leaders from the human farmers who oppressed them. It is a closing of cynical misery, driving home Orwell’s anti-revolutionary idea that any attempt by the workers to create a better world for themselves would only end in the same kind of tyranny they overthrew.

But both of the films go a step further. The 1954 animated ends quite differently than the book. The mistreated animals from many farms join together and, instead of attacking their human owners, march defiantly to Animal Farm and kill Napoleon. We must bear in mind who it was that funded this change – the CIA. The message is simple, and directed at the Soviet peoples – “Not only is your new government atrocious, you can and must overthrow it now!” The CIA, of course, was ever working for this to happen, but failed miserably during the Soviet Union’s time as a socialist country.

The 1999 live action version was made decades after the Stalin era, and does not bother leaving the plot and end open to interpretation. In the ending sequence, in a clumsy attempt to be poetic, a heavy rain “washes away” Napoleon’s government, the animals welcome a loving new human family to the farm to boss them about, command them, consume them and exploit them. The film closes with a shot of the sickeningly stereotypical family driving up to what was once Animal Farm, their smiles suggesting that the problem all along was just that Jones was a bad owner. All the animals really needed was to be owned and exploited by a family more like the Cleavers.

In these films, the biased and deceitful nature of Animal Farm is laid bare. Going a step further than the slanders of Orwell’s book, they openly call for violent counterrevolution in the Soviet Union.


The films themselves – taken as art – are as bad as their message. It is a real chore to sit through the creepy “Dr. Dolittle” talking animals of the 1999 Hallmark film or the poorly animated and clumsily sinister tone of the 1954 release. The dialogue is absolutely painful, and the voice performances, even Patrick Stewart as Napoleon, are phoned-in and uninspired.

The artistic elements are secondary, both for us and for the people who made them. What is important to understand about films like Animal Farm is why they are made – for propaganda. Both films, as well as the original book, have no appeal as art whatsoever other than their obvious metaphor for the Soviet Union. Without that, the films are hollow.

The pseudo-history of the U.S.S.R. presented in Animal Farm is junk, but we are pushed to accept it as fact. Many people do, since Animal Farm is a fictional work, there is no need for citations and it can be difficult for the defenders of socialism to argue against its more specific, ludicrous claims because they are hidden within a fairy tale. Worst yet, many people accept the attitude of Animal Farm, believing like the film’s donkey Benjamin that no matter what they do or how hard they fight, things will only end up worse than before.

The two Animal Farm films are worth seeing only as a way to get to know what you’re up against and as a great glimpse into how the capitalist media uses popular culture to promote its ideological objectives. But as films in their own right, they are contrived and soulless. Anyone looking for a good film to relax with for an hour or so should look elsewhere.





Are Guns the Problem?

Once again, in the wake of a shooting spree, bourgeois media makes the issue about gun control rather than the social pressures and problems that make people go over the edge and go on a rampage. Here’s an article from the Red Phoenix helping to wade through the murk of a debate that ultimately (and purposefully) misses the point.

— Espresso Stalinist

Intro: Tragedy, Violence and Bourgeois Discourse

Your average American is no stranger to murder. Periodically, we hear of another senseless crime, another mass murder, another tragedy taking innocent life. Like clockwork, whenever a high-profile shooting takes place in America, two sides of a ceaseless debate seize upon the broken pieces of the aftermath, opportunistically using these pieces in an argument related to legislative policy concerning firearms. On the one hand, you have a side advocating the restriction and prohibition of firearms, on the tightening of laws which confine the ownership and use of firearms, the capacity of their magazines, the level of government scrutiny in their purchase, sale and ownership. On the other hand, you have a group that resists these measures, seeing as the solution the total liberalization of firearms, arguing that the problems associated with firearms are the moral and cultural backwardness of those who use them for murder.

Both sides make themselves red in the face with emotional appeals, with one side envisioning the other as the face of pure evil, of being the side that puts handguns in the hands of children, or the side that burns the constitution and its protection of firearm ownership.

While this debate crops up, and while pop-psychology and cultural scapegoats are used to paint shooters as coming from another planet, the solution-oriented among us aren’t given much to go on as we endeavor to understand and change the phenomena of tragic violence. Sure guns are involved, but why are they picked up in anger for the purpose of homicide? Sure these mass murderers appear unstable, but is there something in the organization of our society that brings them to the breaking point, rather than into a situation where they can be treated? The gun debate will not, and cannot, begin to answer these questions. The reason for this is that the gun debate is a distraction, which purposefully ignores systematic understandings of our society for a convenient yet petty squabble. It is a squabble that ultimately serves power by ignoring the systematic violence and injustice inherent in capitalism.

The Gun Debate’s Two Utopias

Let’s examine the two positions of our “gun debaters” and their solutions for violence. The “anti-gun” crowd would endeavor to get rid of the means which people use to shoot one another by increasing the difficulty for shooters to procure firearms utilizing legal routes. By making it harder to get one’s hands on a gun, the argument may go, one makes it difficult to successfully commit a murder spree, and if the police and military are the only people able to have and use firearms, the would-be murderer may be easier to stop. If “guns are the problem,” then the society of the anti-gun utopians would be one where no civilian has had the opportunity to even touch a gun, let alone own one and use one, and thus be a safer society for the lack of the means to commit murder using firearms. This society, “free of gun violence,” is unlikely. The reason for this is simple: creating legal barriers will not prevent the illegal ownership of firearms. Even if firearms are outlawed, the main users of firearms will still be able to procure them, still find opportunity to use them and still have at their disposal a massive industry which exists to place guns in their hands.

The other side, when we examine the position of gun lobbies like the NRA, has it that guns are not so much a “problem” as they are a “solution.” The argument is that gun violence is the fault of “criminal elements” and that the solution is allowing more “good people” to own and carry firearms to protect themselves from “bad people.” They also argue that any infringement on the right to bare arms, as outlined in the second amendment to the constitution, violates their “freedom,” and as such, is reprehensible. Ignoring the “freedom” argument for a moment, and the implied racism of the “bad people” argument which we will explore more deeply later, let’s consider the “good people” “bad people” analysis and the implications of firearms on this equation. If the “good people” and “bad people” both have equal access to firearms, what necessarily is changed here? In his study on the correlation between gun ownership and gun violence, Gary Kleck found no strong positive correlation between gun ownership and rates of gun violence (meaning no strong trend suggesting that more gun ownership = more gun violence) yet on the same token, there was no evidence of a strong inverse relationship (meaning more gun ownership = less violence). So, despite the implied notion that more guns owned by everyday people will equate more safety for the rest of us by means of deterrence, we’ve no reason to suggest that this will be the case.

Essentially, what these two positions whittle down to is unrealistic “ideal worlds” and emotionalism, ineffective policies for curbing violence and purposeful ignorance of the essence of the problem. The anti-gun crowd will continue to bellow their simplistic analysis of the “gun problem” and the pro-gun position, as put forward by many a reactionary, say the problem is the “criminal element,” which will be solved by a combination of an expansion of our already bloated prison system and allowing those wealthy enough to afford an arsenal of guns to defend themselves from the “criminal element.” None of this solves anything or answers the harder questions. Rather, it regurgitates two ultimately tame and docile positions that are palatable for political discourse in capitalism.

An Argument that Ultimately Avoids the Issue

Let’s apply the logic of the gun debate to the issue of vehicle related death in the United States. In 2010, 32,885 people were killed in car accidents, compared to the 14,748 who were murdered in the same year. What if we had this debate every time a 20 car pileup killed a number of people? Let’s consider our hypothetical belligerents: the “anti car” and “pro car” side. The anti car side might want to raise the driving age to 25, place speed limiters and breathalyzers in every car, have cars guided by rails and rarely driven. The pro car side might find some constitutional argument, may argue that if more people drove cars, less pedestrians would be involved in accidents, and the problem is not cars but irresponsible drivers. Here’s the question that’s ignored, however: why do we have so many cars on the road to collide with one another in the first place?

The answer is several-fold. For one, urban flight and demographic shifts have lead to longer commutes for many workers, necessitating the use of automobiles to get to work. Powerful oil and automotive interests have worked tirelessly to protect their hegemony over transportation by battling efforts at improving public transit, supporting neo-liberal economic practices that prop up these enterprises and drain funding from programs which might offer solutions. Our transportation system, relying on cars as the chief means of getting people to and from work, is incredibly inefficient, pollutes the environment, drastically raises the cost of transportation for individuals through the need for regular vehicle maintenance and is profoundly unsafe, yet persists because of the profitability this system allows for a number of industries who play a key component of our economy. A “pro” “anti” debate in the realm of bourgeois political discussion is never going to result in the serious criticism of our political and economic system, of capitalism’s fault in the social problems that bring about the death and destruction that homicide and car accidents bring about.

The “Usual Suspects” – Scapegoats in Capitalist Discourse

Rather than viewing tragedy as the natural result of systemic problems, bourgeois analysis and debate has prepared a number of scapegoats for us to attack and scrutinize. Outside of firearms, violent video games and violent music culture and movies are blamed as a cause for motivating to action and desensitizing those people who end up shooting others. If it isn’t one of these, it’s the problem of one individual’s psychology, or it’s a problem of a neighborhood, bad parents or bad schools in bad communities. When racial chauvinists want to use tragedy as a pretext for spreading their bile, they’ll say its immigrants, blacks or other groups stereotyped as being “thugs.” The previously mentioned “bad people” are the seen as being culturally, morally and intellectually backward, unwilling (but not unable) to take advantage of “the American dream.” In addition to these, the scapegoats are the sides of the “debates” themselves, whether its “gun-control liberals” attempting to “criminalize self defense” or “gun nuts” trying to “flood our streets with weapons.” The daily controversy as presented within bourgeois media unravels and is engaged with precise choreography, like a well-rehearsed scene in a soap opera.

Each of these scapegoats is taken from an ideological disposition that benefits capitalism. Individualism, racial chauvinism, “politicians” being the problem (as opposed to the class they inevitably serve), “freedoms” being threatened (and a subtle nod to nationalism) – the cards being shuffled in this deck every time a tragedy becomes the topic of debate are as old as the United States itself. Every time this happens, there is a similar result: much talk, some bills shuffled around in the legislature, a protest or two followed by silence in the wake of the next tragedy or issue. A new day dawns on each and every issue, while the true causes remain obscured and the true solutions lie out of reach. This is a function, not a malfunction, of bourgeois democracy. Deeper questions are perceived as the realm of “out of touch” radicals, because the answer to the problems of a system do not lie within the preservation of that system.

The Unquestioned Guns and their Sanctioned Body Count

To illustrate this point, let’s consider some of the boundaries of the “gun issue” as observed by its debaters in the public realm. When Staff Sgt. Robert Bales murdered 17 Afghan civilians in an act of unprovoked, pre-meditated murder in cold blood, the debate didn’t turn to the idea that having the weapon was the problem. Hell, the question of what he and his fellow soldiers were doing in Afghanistan wasn’t taken as seriously as it must, despite a recent poll which suggests that 53% of Americans think we shouldn’t be there, and 68% who see the endeavor going “badly.” Though, the reason that this issue didn’t turn into a gun issue is that it is assumed that, for soldiers and police, gun ownership and use “isn’t the problem,” whether they commit murder or not.

Let’s recall Oscar Grant, who was shot in the back and killed by a police officer while he was cuffed and laying on the ground. The gun isn’t the issue for a cop, even if the cop decides to make an innocent person a murder victim. The United States is a leading manufacturer and exporter of weapons, giving guns to the Libyan rebels which they promptly used to murder blacks in Libya. Is there a gun problem there? No, of course not, since the United States is a “beacon of freedom and democracy” and anyone receiving weapons from them has to be a good guy, whether they are the armed forces of Suharto’s Indonesia, Nicaragua’s Contras, Mobutu Sese Seko’s Zaire, South Africa under Apartheid, Israel (who has used US made white phosphorus to murder civilians of any age). The list goes on.

The gun debate knows certain boundaries because, were it to cross these boundaries, sides in this debate may end up upholding a position that is against the interests of the US government and the ruling class. If we look at the profits of and spending on the U.S. arms industry, making weapons large and small, and how those weapons are spread all over the world and are used in genocide, state repression and general crimes against the world’s people, wouldn’t we have to question the very system that the United States is built on? Wouldn’t we have to question imperialism, colonialism, chauvinism and exploitation? The answer is that we would, and it is for this reason that we can’t ask certain questions within capitalist discourses’ “polite discussion.”

Conclusion: Systems of Violence, Alienation and Oppression are the Problem

In order to understand the problem, and move in the direction of a solution, we need to understand these larger systems which cause the problems, and understand the role they play in protecting the capitalist system and its profits.

Poverty, which is a product of our system and is necessary for the preservation of a reserve army of workers essential to keep wages down, is a major component in violent crime.

Racism is also a force that motivates violence, which we can see from the recent example of Zimmerman’s murder of Trayvon Martin for being black, young and in the wrong neighborhood.

Imperialism requires weapons and munitions of all sizes to expand its hegemony, and the industries themselves have a profit incentive to put weapons in the hands of anyone who can afford to buy them, regardless of their intentions.

The alienation and pain that our capitalist system brings about leads people to act out, whether they do so by harming others, or by using a gun to end their own life, like Dimitris Christoulas, who killed himself in in public while carrying a suicide note detailing the pain that Greece’s austerity measures had brought him. These forces aren’t things you can legislate away, can’t break by having a new suit in the White House, can’t ignore, and most certainly, can’t solve by having more or less guns.

Understanding the origins of a problem are where we must begin. It might not give us a simple or convenient answer, but it will point us in the right direction. Gun violence doesn’t happen in a vacuum, where the only factor bringing about or preventing violence are guns themselves. Our world is not a world of floating independent issues, opinions and actions divorced from everything else. Larger systems, be they economic, political, ideological or cultural, have bearing on what happens in our world. If we pretend that this is not the case, that a utopia can be found by implementing the right reform, or preventing a legislative effort, we blind ourselves to the mechanisms behind everything. When we do the opposite, when we work to understand our world for its component parts, for its class nature, struggles and change, the solutions to problems come into view.

Further Reading


On the Day of American Independence

Today is the 4th of July, a holiday celebrated all over the nation as the date of American Independence from the British crown. I was considering burning an American flag to protest US foreign policy, imperial aggression, indigenous holocaust, sponsorship of terrorism, slavery and discrimination of minorities, etc., and promptly began wondering if flag-burning on public property is considered to be a fire hazard. Today is a holiday that is spent trying to spread patriotic feelings among our people, and thus in effect to try and goad them into flag-waving, chauvinism, jingoism and xenophobia. Patriotism, the way the imperialists see it, means love for their government and love for their class of oppressors. It means love for the police, the prison complex, the courts, the army and the ruling class dictatorship. It means love for the exploitive system of capitalism and the settler-fascists that have run it from the start.

On this celebrated day of the creation of the American state, it is time to take a look back at our long, star-crossed history, and it is time to present a challenge to ourselves—what has American really been about all this time? As Frederick Douglass famously said about this particular holiday in 1852:

“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanks-givings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.

He continues,

“Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the old world, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.”

There are those who might say that Douglass’s words no longer ring true because of the Obama presidency, and then there are those who know that a change in the ruler’s skin color does not abolish racism and oppression overnight. In addition, Major General Smedley Butler from the US Marines speaks about what real role the US military has been playing over the years:

“I spent 33 years and 4 months in active service as a member of our country’s most agile military force – the Marine Corps… And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect money in. I helped in the raping of a half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street… I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-12. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped get Honduras “right” for American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I feel I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was operate in three city districts. We Marines operated on three continents.”

These revelations are by no means new, since they have been given by many anti-imperialist and anti-colonialists since the beginning of the domination of American imperialism, which started after World War II and strengthened itself through the selling-out of the Soviet Union during the Cold War and the collapse of socialist Albania.

To give a more detailed or complete account of American foreign policy, which has always been driven by nothing more and nothing less than the capitalist system’s desire for global hegemony under American leadership, would take many pages and several lifetimes of research into the history of the modern-day Roman Empire. But this 4th of July, and keeping with our challenge to ourselves, a few examples taken from the recent history of the United States alone should serve to give an idea of what this class dictatorship has really been about since the beginnings of its foundation.

A History Lesson

In 1945, the US invades the Korean peninsula and declares a “temporary” partition of Korea. America installs an illegitimate American-friendly regime in the South, backed by a force of 50,000 troops. After 2,617 troop incursions in the Northern Pro-Soviet half, sometimes with as many as a few thousand troops, a war ensues when North Korea finally invades South Korea in response. A three-year war takes place and millions are killed. Thousands of American troops remain in South Korea to this day.

In 1966, a US-backed coup ousted President Sukarno of Indonesia and replaced him with the fascist butcher Suharto. Over a million people were hunted down and killed, including thousands of popular leftist leaders, whose names were given to the military by the American Embassy. Suharto would go on to rule Indonesia with an iron fist for decades. Newly-liberated East Timor was then invaded by Suharto’s Indonesia the day after President Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (both butchers of the Vietnam War) gave them permission. By 1989, over one-third of East Timor’s 700,000 people had been killed. Indonesia had US backing, including armaments, throughout its 24-year occupation.

In 1967, a US-backed military coup took place to prevent Greek politician George Papandreou being elected Prime Minister. The colonels declared martial law, implemented torture, beatings, arrests, leaving 8,000 dead in the first month. The coup leaders were fiercely anti-communist and pro-American, working closely with the CIA. The colonels held power until 1974.

In 1970, Marxist reformist Salvador Allende was elected as President of Chile. He nationalized the giant US companies. Soon, the right-wing, backed by the CIA and US foreign policy, engineered a 1973 coup lead by the infamous General Augusto Pinochet. Allende was overthrown and replaced by a fascist military dictatorship that used mass executions and torture. Thousands were murdered and disappeared. Chile became an economic experiment that led to economic growth for the richest while leaving many homeless and greatly decreasing economic equality.

In 1978 in Nicaragua, the popular and progressive Sandinista movement overthrows the US-backed dictator Anastasio Samoza. The US then launches a military occupation in order to prevent “another Cuba.” A program of terrorism and economic sabotage is begun, which leads to the US support of the infamous Contra death squads. The Contras prove to be one of the most brutal fighting forces Latin America has ever seen, infamous for burning down schools, churches and hospitals as well as using mass murder, rape and torture. The Contras massacre whole villages though to be sympathetic to the Sandinistas. Over 60,000 die. President Reagan labels them as “freedom fighters.”


From these examples alone—Korea, Indonesia, East Timor, Greece, Chile and Nicaragua, which are merely the most prominent of many dozens more ready-made examples including the Vietnam War—we can see that United States foreign policy has never been driven by a devotion to any kind of morality, nor by any kind of longing for freedom or democracy. From the start, the United States has been driven by the necessity to make the world safe for investment by capitalism, to enrich US armaments who contribute generously to Congress members, to prevent the development of any society which becomes an example of an independent alternative to the capitalist model and to extend its political and economic control over as much of the globe as possible.

Everyone alive today remembers the media immediately after the events of 9/11. “Why Do They Hate Us So Much?” the newspapers asked. Gee, I don’t know. Perhaps dropping bombs really pisses some “less civilized” people off. This is a simple list of the nations bombed since World War II:

China 1945-46, Korea 1950-53, China 1950-53, Guatemala 1954, Indonesia 1958, Cuba 1959-60, Guatemala 1960, Congo 1964, Peru 1965, Laos 1965-73, Vietnam 1961-73. Cambodia 1969-70, Guatemala 1967-69, Grenada 1983, Libya 1986, El Salvador 1980s, Nicaragua 1980s, Panama 1989, Iraq 1991-2002, Sudan 1998, Afghanistan 1998, Yugoslavia 1999, Afghanistan 2001 and Iraq 2003 (1).

It is worth noting that violence and exploitation are also not limited to outside the US borders, either. Of all western nations, the US has the greatest income inequality. 40% of the wealth is controlled by 1% of the population. The US has the greatest discrepancy in the world between the wealthy and the poor when it comes to health care, and also when it comes to life expectancy.

Finally, the Land of the Free has the highest number of its population in prison than any other state in the world (2). And all this is without mentioning the minute details of the oppressive structure of the class society as it exists for us every day. These sorts of atrocities will continue until this capitalist system is done away with through struggle and revolution in the US.

On the day of American Independence, among all other days, this is a fact for all of us to remember.


(1) Taken from Australian Options Quarterly No. 31, Summer 2002.

(2) From Scientific American, Dec. 2005


Game Over: Scans of Over 50 Ron Paul Newsletters

For a certain segment of the Ron Paul fanbase, no evidence of his disseminating hateful, paranoid material will ever be enough. Citing James Kirchick’s piece in The New Republic wasn’t sufficient, because Kirchick could have just been “making everything up.” Then, when I and others posted copies of “The Ron Paul Political Report Special Issue on Race Terrorism,” that too wasn’t convincing.

“Proof that he said/endorsed racist things? Hardly. Doing it repeatedly in one document isn’t enough to prove that he did it. Now, if there were many documents…”

Well, now there are many documents. Over fifty. Right here.

As I said in my rundown on the Paul platform over at Vice, reasonable fans of Dr. Paul now must accept that there’s no way Paul could have been ignorant of the content [of] 8-12 page newsletters published under his name for over ten years. Paul supporters face three losing propositions:

• He lacks the competency to control content published under his own name for over a decade, and is thus unfit to lead a country.
• He doesn’t believe these things but considers them a useful political tool to motivate racist whites, which makes him fit to be a GOP candidate, but too obvious about it to win.
• He’s actually a racist, which makes him unfit to be a human being.

Further, you can’t dismiss this in the name of higher political or socioeconomic aspirations. Since Paul has no chance of winning — seriously, no chance at all — his only value is as a voice, a conduit for principles. And if your only hope is to change the discourse by amplifying ideas, you can do that via many voices and avenues. As I said in my Vice follow-up, acknowledging some of Paul’s good ideas,

when you opt to support anti-imperialist and civil liberties ideals by supporting Paul the Candidate, you end up supporting everything else about him. That includes those newsletters and the unambiguous message to those who enjoy them: You can write these things and succeed; this works. The other good ideas to which he’s signatory can’t erase the fact that he put his name to those words printed above. The moral weight of those newsletters drags down even the most high-minded aspirations he has about civil liberties, and everything crashes down on all of us.

It’s fine to have convictions about things he believes in. But when you voluntarily whitewash his record or choose to ignore it and champion him anyway, you are complicit in supporting the idea that racism and homophobia are morally inconsequential to the process of running for President of the United States. And, while many Paul supporters consider racism a social injury subordinate to extra-legal military conflict, there are just as many who disgustingly handwave at racism because it’s an inconsequential burp on the way to more tax cuts, Free Markets, Free Money, Free Black Peop — stuff for me!

And still, for the faithful, this will not be enough.

Below, I’ve tried to give helpful general (bold) titles to each excerpt of the various Ron Paul newsletters available. These come courtesy of a zipfile of scans sent to me by reader Heresiarch, who, along with others, compiled it from various sources — although the lion’s share, if not all, come from James Kirchick, who wrote the original, big Ron Paul story in The New Republic, in 2008. (You can see many of his highlights on the scans.) I have omitted the over 65 pages of scanned federal earmarks Ron Paul requested for his district, in a fit of States’ Wants pique. I have also omitted the scans of Von Mises Institute brochures about a Secession Conference at which Paul spoke.

No attempt has been made to organize these via topic, since pages of each newsletter are apt to feature mini-articles on multiple topics, making organization futile. (My summaries don’t indicate all that go on in the scans, so please click away.) Finally, below some of the scans, I’ve offered some comments in plain text. Those within quotation marks are direct quotes from the text appearing in the newsletter scans. Those without quotation marks are my own observations.

Ron Paul Newsletter—April, 1993: The New York Bombing

“Whether it was a setup by the Israeli Mossad, as a Jewish friend of mine suspects, or was truly a retaliation by the Islamic fundamentalists, matters little. The cities have become centers of violence, whether through the daily and routine terrorism of crime, political bomb terrorism, or the terrorism of mob behavior as in Los Angeles.”

Ron Paul Newsletter—August, 1990: Those Lucky Minorities and the Straight-Seducing Gay Bush Junta

“And Stanford, Michigan, and many other universities have banned speech that offends privileged groups. Anti-white, anti-male, anti-heterosexual or anti-Christian remarks are perfectly OK, of course.” You can imagine, then, what a relief it must be to minorities, homosexuals, women and non-Christians to find themselves the privileged people of America. The rest of this page and part of the second details a cabal of homosexuals in the Bush administration who like to lead “the young” astray.

Dr. Ron Paul’s Freedom Report—April, 1978:

This is instructive because, if someone else was writing Ron Paul’s newsletters for him, they’ve been doing it for 33 years, with a remarkable tonal consistency. Even in 1978, the patterns of paranoia about American government capture by international secret interests are apparent. To wit, “I can believe that a non-conspiratorial President, if we had one….”

“The Trilateral Commission is no longer known only by those who are knowledgeable about international conspiracies, but is routinely mentioned in the daily news…. Jimmy Carter’s membership in the Trilateral Commission is hardly a coincidence.”

“I believe, in reality, the [Panama] Canal is now “owned” by facist-oriented [sic], international banking and business interests and is merely managed by the Marxist-oriented Torrijos dictatorship, with the bills being paid by the American taxpayers….”

Ron Paul Investment Letter—May 1988: Say No to the New World Order

The first of many existentially terrifying revelations about a coming global disaster that Ron Paul will gladly share with you, for the good of all true Americans, assuming they will pay. This theme appears again and again: in the greatest fight you can imagine for the lifeblood of liberty and American history, there is no time to waste in making sure that you send Ron Paul money. That’s how much Ron Paul loves America—for $1, if you buy 25 copies and $6.95 for a single copy.

Ron Paul Newsletter—December 1990: MLK

After beginning with an objection to the “statism” of the Smithsonian Institution including a civil rights exhibit about homosexuals (without objections to the “statism” of having, say, historic American flags on display), the piece includes a bit about Martin Luther King’s plagiarism problems with his doctorate. That poor scholarship on Dr. King’s part is actually true, but the newsbite here is merely a peg on which to hang more (and repeated) King-hate. For instance, on the following page:

“[King] was also a Comsymp, if not an actual party member, and the man who replaced the evil of forced segregation with the evil of forced integration. King, the FBI files show, was not only a world-class adulterer, he also seduced underage girls and boys…. And we are supposed to honor this ‘Christian minister’ and lying socialist satyr…?”

Ron Paul Newsletter—February, 1990: The Coming Race War and Shame of MLK Day

“Boy, it sure burns me to have a national holiday for that pro-communist philanderer, Martin Luther King. I voted against this outrage time and time again as a Congressman. What an infamy that Ronald Reagan approved it! We can thank him for our annual Hate Whitey Day. Listen to a black radio talk show in any major city. The racial hatred makes a KKK rally look tame.”

Ron Paul Newsletter—February, 1991: The X-Rated Martin Luther King

As if everything else about the communist pedophile Martin Luther King weren’t bad enough, apparently he couldn’t stop fucking Ralph Abernathy.

Ron Paul Newsletter—January, 1988: AIDS and Great Crabcakes, Two Things Made in Maryland

“Dr. Douglass believes that AIDS is a deliberately engineered hybrid of these two animal viruses cultured in human tissue, and he blames World Health Organization experimentation at Ft. Detrick, Maryland…. Could the government have experimented with it in the civilian population, as it did in the 1950s with LSD, and had things get out of control? I don’t know, but these sure are interesting questions.” See? He’s just asking questions.

Ron Paul Newsletter—January, 1990: SODOMY EQUALS DEATH

“A well-known libertarian editor just back from New York told me: ‘The ACT-UP slogan, on stickers plastered all over Manhattan, is “Silence = Death.” But shouldn’t it be “Sodomy = Death”?'”

Ron Paul Newsletter—January, 1991: MLK, World-Class Philanderer

“St. Martin was a world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours (‘non-violence’ didn’t apply in all spheres, I guess).”

This second page soft-sells the idea that MLK wished he could be like Castro but was prevented because a violent revolution wouldn’t work in the U.S. So, rather than this being an indication of his own good judgment about the best course of seeking equality, it’s proof that he was basically a murdering revolutionary thwarted by indifference. It also describes the civil rights movement as “bad from the beginning,” because overturning Jim Crow and then refusing to accept that glorious market happiness would elevate blacks to equal status in the United States represents a social injustice.

Ron Paul Newsletter—June, 1990: The Pink House?

“What an outrage that, for the first time in our nation’s history, the organized forces of perversion were feted in the White House.” Here, “organized forces of perversion” means “gay people hoping to be spared dehumanizing violence.”

“President Bush invited the heads of homosexual lobbying groups to the White House for the ceremony. As Congressman Bill Dannemeyer (R-CA) noted, ‘It’s a tragic message that is being sent,’ that normality and deviance are equal. I miss the closet. Homosexuals, not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities. They could also not be as promiscuous. Is it any coincidence that the AIDS epidemic developed after they came ‘out of the closet’ and started hyper-promiscuous sodomy? I don’t believe so, medically or morally.”

Ron Paul Newsletter—May, 1990: When Blacks Kill Whites

“When blacks kill whites, however, it’s not defined as news.”

Ron Paul Newsletter—November, 1990: David Duke

“To many voters, this seemed just like plain good sense. Duke carried baggage from his past, but the voters were willing to overlook that.” Fun words, fun ideas: “baggage” that some voters “overlooked.”

Ron Paul Newsletter—October, 1990: AIDS, Gays, Blacks and Rapetown

A sales pitch for None Dare Call It Conspiracy, one of the finest modern history books you can find at your local Army surplus store, next to the “$3 Bills (Clinton)” and the IMPEACH BILLARY stickers, as well as something about Obama Muslim Hussein NOT RACIST.

“A mob of black protestors, led by the ‘Rev.’ Al Sharpton, occupied and closed the Statue of Liberty recently, demanding that New York be renamed Martin Luther King City ‘to reclaim it for our people.’ Hmmm. I hate to agree with the Rev. Al, but maybe a name change is in order. Welfaria? Zooville? Rapetown? Dirtburg? Lazyopolis? But Al, the Statue of Liberty? Next time, hold that demonstration at a food stamp bureau or a crack house.”

This page includes a bunch of frankly nutty ideas about how everyone should deal with people with AIDS, followed by, “No kissing, since AIDS can be transmitted by saliva.”

This page offers a mixed vote of support for jury nullification (almost always invoked in these pages as a right for a jury to exonerate anyone who refuses to pay federal taxes), while also implying that a jury and city were influenced by black demonstrators for Marion Barry. “There were constant anti-white demonstrations outside the courthouse.”

Ron Paul Political Report—March, 1990: Homophobes for Andy Rooney

“CBS forced him into an apologotic [sic] interview with The Advocate, a homosexual magazine filled with classified ads for pervert prostitutes. The reporter–who certainly had an axe to grind, and that’s not easy with a limp wrist….” It goes on to claim that the reporter for The Advocate made things up about Rooney, as part of the devious homosexual agenda.

“The liberals promised us relief from guilt, points out Murray N. Rothbard, of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and they did abolish sexual guilt (and gave use widespread sodomy, AIDS, promiscuity, illegitimacy, and abortion in the bargain). But they imposed a thousand new guilts over racism, sexism, speciesism, ageism, and homophobia (the dread belief that normal sexual conduct is superior to abnormal).”

There it is in a nut, kids. It was liberalism that foisted on human beings the idea that you should feel ashamed by unwarranted “superiority,” malicious exclusion, self-satisfied exploitation, dehumanization, disregard and violence. The nemesis that liberalism visits on libertarianism — and, thus, libertarianism’s proof of liberalism’s great authoritarian imposition — is that the human race is not your basement rec room array of toys; you are not the sole arbiter of value, and you don’t get to have all the coolest things because you are you and because others have failed in terms of that singularly pointless achievement.

Ron Paul Political Report—July 1992: Blacks, Riots, ACORN

“Perot cannot fix the welfare state any more than Gorbachev could fix Soviet socialism. To achieve even a semblance of success, Perot may resort to authoritarian means. Maintaining order may be the number one priority, especially as the race riots grow…. Just after a basketball game ended on June 14, blacks poured into the streets of Chicago in celebration. How to celebrate? How else? They broke the windows of stores to loot, even breaking through protective steel shutters with crowbars to steal everything in sight…. (Is this why Hollywood tells us White Men Can’t Jump?).”

“Of all the stores that were looted, only one had its goods simply thrown on the sidewalk rather than stolen: a bookstore.” Ahahaha, I get it. It’s because black people don’t read! “Jury verdicts, basketball games, and even music are enough to set off black rage, it seems.”

“What does it say about a party when its candidate can’t criticize those who advocate killing white people without upsetting its core voters? What does it say about blacks that they would find it upsetting to hear this criticized? My guess is that Jesse Jackson and friends talk like this in private.”

“Another good example is a study just released by ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) called ‘Take the Money and Run: The Siphoning of Deposits from Minority Neighborhoods.’ It alleges that banks take deposits from blacks and then don’t grant them loans. They say that for every dollar on deposit, only 4 cents goes [sic] back to blacks. Ever vigilant against economic differences that express themselves in racial terms, the American elite are busy instituting race quotas in lending. ACORN called for a summit meeting with bankers to ‘work out the differences’–meaning that banks fork over the cash…. They all agreed to fork over more money–so long as the regulators don’t notice that they are not paid back.”

This last page emphasizes the sinister nature of equal lending by describing Jack Kemp’s support for the idea of having a black person see if he can get a loan, then report back. It’s just like the Thought Police, but with numbers and other objective measures employed against thoughts. Tremble, tremble, tremble, Middle America.

Ron Paul Political Report—November 1992: Bobby Fischer, Jew Victim

“It turns out that the brilliant Fischer, who has all the makings of an American hero, is very politically incorrect on Jewish questions, for which he will never be forgiven, even though he is a Jew. Thus we are not supposed to herald him as the world’s greatest chess player.”

Note two things here. One, even at the time, nobody disputed that Fischer was one of the greatest in chess history; nor does anyone dispute that today. Two, even at the time, Fischer disavowed his own Jewish ancestry, openly admired Hitler, blamed the Jews for ruining his reputation and chess ranking in the world and considered the State of Israel to be a spider manipulating the press and intelligentsia of the English-speaking world. To consider Fischer anything other than a raving loon and, further, to consider him persecuted only opens very reasonable lines of inquiry as to why anybody would sympathize with him at all, unless his lunacy was coeval with one’s own.

Ron Paul Political Report—November, 1989: Bohemian Grove

“The annual Grove encampment began with the pagan ‘Cremation of Care’ ceremony, with Druid priests dressed in tight, multicolored robes. Even stranger, says Weiss, ‘vaguely homosexual undertones suffused this spectacle, as they do much of the ritualized life in the Grove.’ Indeed, there’s sex at the Grove: female prostitutes outside the camp (and inside, in past years, we’re told) and–says Weiss–a young man on his own gets ‘frequent invitations from gay Bohemians.'” Once again, the real horror of international conspiracy and political capture is vivified not by policy decisions but because dudes might kiss each other or have sex after marriage or engage in some mindless, meaningless ritual that is non-Christian.

“In his speech to fellow Bohemians, Reagan advocated the old Trilateralist agenda item of four-year terms for Congressmen… and more government regulation of the media, to keep articles like Weiss’ out of print…. When a Time reporter and photographer tried to do the same sort of story in 1982, it was spiked by Time’s Trilateral publisher.” In classic conspiracist narrative, any dislike of the media is explicit dislike of conspiracists’ contribution to media, and their failures to appear in mass media indicate a systemic muzzling, rather than a — to take a free-market example — bottom-line-minded publisher passing on something that nobody with a brain, checkbook or an absence of heavy-metal poisoning will read or care about.

This last page could have been a good point about the USS Liberty and American newspapers’ paralytic fear of offending the State of Israel with accurate reportage of Israeli military overreaction, but the end of the page sabotages that with even more DREAD HOMO CONSPIRACY. As is the case with everything else Ron Paul, a decent idea is ineluctably subsumed by totally crazy nonsense.

For instance: “Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) said that if he were drummed out of the House, he would take many others with him, including five Republicans he says are closet homosexuals. This threat apparently led the House ethics committee to try to call off further inquiries into the sex lives of Congressmen, and in early October, the Washington Post said that there would be no more talk of sex in Congress. By the end of the month, however, the Washington Times was reporting that ‘senior Democratic officials’ say the Congressional gym has become a hotbed of homosexual activity, presumably by Republicans.”

Ron Paul Political Report—November, 1992: Buy My Book! Buy My Book! Buy My Book on Abortion! Abortion and Property Rights Are Essentially the Same. They’re a Matter of Privacy, Unlike Abortion, Which is Not Privacy but Property. We Cannot Legislate Property at the Federal Level, However… (Votes for Every Federal Abortion Ban Available) Property and the Person Theoretically If Von Mises and Things, Cogito, Then…

“Make no mistake: if our culture is not willing to recognize the value of life, it can never be persuaded to recognize the derivative obligations to respect private property, limited government, sound money, etc. That’s why the opinions of the medical elite are a threat to our entire civilization. (Want a copy of my latest book on abortion? It’s available for $10 from our office.)”

Ron Paul Political Report—October, 1992: Carjacking: A Hip-Hop Thing to Do

“If you live in a major city, you’ve probably already heard about the newest threat to your life and limb, and your family: carjacking. It is the hip-hop thing to do among the urban youth who play unsuspecting whites like pianos. The youth simply walk up to a car they like, pull a gun, tell the family to get out, steal their jewelry and wallets, and take the car to wreck. Such actions have ballooned in the recent months. In the old days, average people could avoid such youth by staying out of bad neighborhoods. Empowered by media, police, and political complicity, however, the youth now roam everywhere looking for cars to steal and people to rob. What can you do? More and more Americans are carrying a gun in the car. An ex-cop I know advises that if you have to use a gun on a youth, you should leave the scene immediately, disposing of the wiped off gun as soon as possible. Such a gun cannot, of course, be registered to you, but one bought privately (through the classifieds, for example).”

Now try reading that quote again, but replace the word “youth” with “nigger.” Let’s not pretend it’s meant to be anything else.

Ron Paul Survival Report—January 1993: A Youth Culture of Ghetto Values

“Nearly every other group but whites are allowed a certain degree of cultural autonomy. Blacks have black schools, clubs, and neighborhoods. The same is true of Hispanics. It is human nature that like attracts likes. But whites are not allowed to express this same human impulse. Except in a de facto sense, there can be no white schools, white clubs, or white neighbor hoods [sic]. The political system demands white integration, while allowing black segregation. The youth culture is already driven by ghetto music and ghetto values…. And the sexual ethics of our youth are also degenerating to the level of the ghetto.”

Ron Paul Survival Report—January, 1994: Gay People Enjoy Getting AIDS

“They enjoy the attention and pity that comes with being sick. Put it all together, and you’ve got another wave of AIDS infections, that you, dear taxpayer, will be asked to pay for.”

Ron Paul Survival Report—January, 1995: Ten Militia Commandments

“You can’t kill a Hydra by cutting off it’s head.” “Keep the group size down.” “Keep quiet and you’re harder to find.”

“Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket. If you have more than one rifle, store it in a hideaway spot.” “Hide your best eggs from prying eyes. Destroy any documents or discs that become unnecessary.” “Bojangles Robinson ain’t the only one who can tap. Avoid the phone as much as possible.” “Remember you’re not alone.”

Ron Paul Survival Report—July, 1994: America Has Less Crime Than Europe When You Take out All the Black People

The analysis from “Criminologist Jared Taylor” comes from a man who believes in white supremacy and eugenics laws and is featured as an interviewee on websites like this.

Ron Paul Survival Report—March, 1993: Clinton’s Illegitimate Children

“During the presidential campaign, black activist Robert ‘Say’ McIntosh of Arkansas distributed a list of Clinton’s illegitimate children, black and white: ‘woods colts’ in the backwoods slang…. Why? ‘Bill Clinton told me he would get my son out of prison,’ McIntosh said in an interview, according to a front page story in the Washington Times.”

You, too, should be stunned to see a Ron Paul newsletter alleging that Bill Clinton fucks black people, according to a black person connected to a black person in jail, printed in the ridiculously far-right Moonie Times. The only thing this story lacks is the idea that Clinton himself is secretly black. Not that insinuating that would have any resonance with people who like Ron Paul solely for freedom’s sake and who cannot be racist because “racism is a form of collectivism.” No, of course not.

This first page hysterically predicts the worst tax rises in history, ignoring actual history. That’s par for the course. The second page keeps elaborating on fantasies that wouldn’t even be nightmarish to any American in 1955. But, just for good measure, it includes, “You Can’t Fire a Freak,” in which being a transsexual is not only deviant but also the first sign of runaway lawsuits!

Ron Paul Survival Report—November, 1994: Militia Movements, A Magnificent Sign!

“This radical new movement is a magnificent sign of the times, one of many indications that the central state faces massive resistance from average people and is losing its grip on political power…. It’s the domination of the country by Washington that is driving the militia and other heroic movements around the country.”

“If you belong to one of these groups, be careful not to let down your guard too easily if at all…. Big government is forever, says the Beltway elite. But don’t believe it. If people form their own communities of internal protection, the central state becomes an even more obvious parasite. It is an encouraging sign that the end of government as we know it may be near.”

Ron Paul Survival Report—September, 1994: Those Who Don’t Commit Sodomy, Who Don’t Get a Blood Transfusion and Who Don’t Swap Needles Are Virtually Assured of Not Getting AIDS Unless They Are Deliberately Infected by a Malicious Gay

The above title is the money quote from this piece. Coming in second: “On sharing needles: this is one of the customs among dopers. They use the same needle out of addict solidarity. Sterile syringes would be just as available on the black market as illegal drugs if the demand were there. Addicts want to share needles. Too bad they have to die so expensively at taxpayers’ expense.”

Ron Paul Political Report—December, 1989: Needlin, Jesse Jackson, Homos, Reverse Racism and Washington FOR BLACKS ONLY

Paul writes, “My old colleague, Congressman Bill Dannemeyer (R-CA), speaks out despite the organized power of the gay lobby…. Here are some excerpts from one of his recent speeches:

“AIDS was ‘originally known as GRIDS–gay related immune deficiency syndrome.’ For political reasons, it was changed to AIDS. “A whole political movement has been created and sustained on a single notion: homosexual sodomy.”

“The average homosexual has 1,000 or more partners in a lifetime, and the average homosexual has only one sexual enounter per partner and never sees the person again after that encounter.”

It goes on, and it’s ridiculous, and no assertion made in it passes a laugh test or any clinical rigorousness, which you’d think would matter to someone billing himself as “Dr.” Paul.

“To be white in Washington, however, is to experience a culture that is anti-white and proud of it…. Professors teach that whites are committing genocide against blacks and invented crack and AIDS as part of the plan.”

Agreed. That’s just nutty. Everyone knows that AIDS was invented by the WHO, at an Army base in Maryland, as part of a massive federal government control plan. Look at all these blacks: they even try to steal conspiracies against whites.

“Today only a race-obsessed society will do, with State power enforcing official discrimination in favor of blacks. Of course, there are racist whites. But outside of a miniscule band of KKK members, there are few whose racism is the defining fact of their lives. Too many D.C. blacks, on the other hand, are charter members in what we might call the BBB. Washington–with its racist government, racist radio, racist ministers, racist universities, and racist attitudes–is the black New Jerusalem, so no white is supposed to question it. Or so says William Raspberry. Excuse me for not buying it.”

A Personal Letter from Ron Paul About How You Can Give Him More Money

We return to the nut of all this, Ron Paul, who allegedly made millions off these newsletters, bilking the undereducated, paranoid and racist for more “unreal” paper dollars, has one last appeal:

Dear Supporter,

As a special thank you, if you subscribe before the Presidential Convention on September 5, you may have my newsletter for an unprecedented 50% off ($49.50)!

– Ron

And we arrive at the beginning.

The is the nugget and the nugatory fact of the Ron Paul experience: everything inspirational and aspirational about the Ron Paul candidacy is as nakedly fungible as every word above. When he was not in office, for $49.95, you could buy his book about how to be scared shitless about government and invest in the same gold mines he already had shares in. Now that he’s in government and angling for a higher position, you are even more compelled to stave off categorical economic collapse by investing even more than $49.95 in his campaign. And if his campaign goes nowhere, try googling something other than “RON PAUL” and whether candidates can pocket donations.

Still, on any map of moral behavior, this is a man who merits no one’s esteem. To return to a comment above, he either believes these paranoiac, divisive, racial and sexually malicious things and wrote them himself, or he recognized the cynical political value in trading in them, or he was so stupid that not a word above was written by him, yet it carried his name anyway.

There is no win here. There is no good here. Any bargain you strike where the above doesn’t matter is a bargain you strike by saying, “I accept the above. I accept it and consider it immaterial to my wants going forward.” There are precious few and very slender platforms on which that kind of thin-sliced appreciation can stand without wobbling and falling into a ditch. For almost everybody, that bargain trades away your own goodness. That bargain shelves your credibility as a human being. It means you lose.



The Night Zhou was Drunk Under the Table

By Ian Williams

As we approached the 60th anniversary on Thursday of Mao Zedong’s declaration that the “Chinese people have stood up,” I trawled through the memories of my time in China straddling 1970 and 1971, and found, with all the accuracy of retrospective prophesy, that there were more auguries of the current China than one might suspect.

Although my putative memoirs would be called “I was a Teenage Maoist”, by the time I landed in Beijing I was a callow 21-year-old, a month older than the People’s Republic. In fact, Zhou Enlai, the first premier, from 1949 until his death in 1976, repeated to us his dictum that it was too early to tell whether or not the French Revolution had been a success, let alone China’s. Forty years later, I wonder what Zhou, one of the more sophisticated and cosmopolitan of the Chinese leaders, but nonetheless a devoted communist, would have made of present-day China.

I was part of a delegation from an obscure British party that enjoyed unprecedented access to the Chinese leadership, including a drinking competition with Zhou – and a very risky argument about literature with Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing, who had, after all, instituted the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) by demonizing all but a tiny group of writers and artists. It was so long ago that even the Chinese used the old Wade-Giles Romanization system for the Mandarin language. We were in Peking (Beijing), and read the Peking Review every week. In fact, our visit featured in it.

Our sessions with the Chinese cadres were often like negotiations, conducted over innumerable cigarettes and a constant flow of tea. The idea was that whoever called for a bathroom break was conceding the field of battle. Sadly for Chinese pride, our side had been brought up on a diet of gallons of tea and bitter beer and had formidable resistance to such diuretics.

Even at the time, I had a sense of bewilderment at the relative isolation from the world outside, of the top leadership. They provided us with a daily English press summary of world affairs and the difficulties of a binary view of the world became apparent. For example, Pakistan was an ally of China, therefore it was socialist and progressive – which the Pakistanis themselves would hardly claim, while social-democratic governments, like the British Labour Party, were reactionary and capitalist to the core.

As for our visit: I suspect that Zhou had hoped that it would provide information and encouragement for his planned opening to the West. We were there before British premier Edward Heath, or former secretary of state Henry Kissinger and president Richard Nixon from the United States. Indeed, as almost the only gweilos (foreigners) in town, we could attract crowds just by peering in a shop window. In those far-off days, my hair was red, which was almost like having eyes on green stalks for some people. However, enlisting us as a resource for global realpolitik confirms the naivety of their approach.

We were a sectarian groupuscule with fewer members nationally than the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee. Our contact with the working political system in Britain was minimal and our knowledge of other countries tended to be based on contacts with equally out-of-touch groups. It would be nice to think that we changed the course of history, but there is absolutely no basis for thinking so. Our input probably pointed in the opposite direction to what they did. When we asked why they did not walk in and take Hong Kong, which was then ruled by Britain, Zhou suggested it was better to lessen the economic disparities between the two sides first.

Despite their own sectarian squabbles, despite the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese were at least dealing with some aspects of the real world. For example, they had built a state-of-the-art metro system in Beijing. Even though it was as yet unopened, Zhou took us for a ride on it, which tangentially introduced yet another paradox.

They told us, with almost schoolboyish glee at their boldness, that they were calling the metro station for Tiananmen Square “Zhuxi [Chairman] Station.” It was a paradox even then, that in the midst of history’s biggest-ever personality cult, no physical location was named after Mao, let alone any of the other revolutionary personalities. I can only presume that it was intended as a gesture of superiority to the Soviet proclivity for churning out city names in honor of top people.

This saved a lot of sign-painting during the various rectification campaigns, the Cultural Revolution and its aftermath. Not many of the leadership stayed in power throughout.

Apart from Zhou, we met the full Gang of Four – Jiang Qing and her close associates, Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan and Wang Hongwen – but we noticed the omissions. Lin Biao, the powerful military commander who rose to political prominence in the Cultural Revolution and whose picture and introduction was at the front of hundreds of millions of Little Red Books, was absent in name and person. In a seamen’s club in Shanghai, I noticed a book on sale by Chen Boda, Mao’s personal secretary. Our minders immediately took it out the case and said it was too old and faded to sell.

Our party chairman, Reg Birch, an old communist trade unionist, asked to meet his old chum, Kang Sheng. They brought along his wife instead, explaining that the head of the security and intelligence apparatus was indisposed. In fact, along with Chen Boda, it now seems as if he, and indeed Lin Biao, were at that time in the process of being purged.

Lin shortly afterwards died in a plane crash. Kang resurfaced long enough to ensure that the People’s Republic put its weight behind Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. In retrospect, I am glad I never had to shake his hand. Kang was posthumously accused of sharing responsibility (with the Gang of Four) for the Cultural Revolution. The Gang of Four had effectively controlled the power organs of the Communist Party through the latter stages of the Cultural Revolution.

In contrast with all the mass campaigns and circus antics of the Cultural Revolution, which resulted in widespread social and political upheaval and and economic disarray, these purges were being conducted in secrecy with no word of them leaking out from the leadership.

A case in point was a bizarre Christmas feast with an elderly American couple, old-style communists who had moved to China and taken up citizenship and party membership. They were brought out because they knew several of the delegation, who had asked about them.

The turkey dinner was odd in several ways. The couple were Jewish for a start, and although our Chinese hosts were trying to be hospitable with the seasonal bird, they obviously found something alien about the idea of cooking an intact animal: it came as a sort of turkey construction kit, disassembled, cooked and then reassembled. As for the couple, it was only many years later that I heard that their goose had been well and truly cooked. They were languishing in prison, brought out and dusted off for us, and then returned afterwards. But nothing they said gave any of us any grounds for suspicion.

The full Gang of Four came along to join Zhou for talks and a banquet on New Year’s Eve. Jiang Qing stood out in a sea of nondescript cotton Mao suits. The still striking woman, who had reduced the repertoire of a huge nation to a handful of revolutionary Beijing operas, one ballet, the Red Detachment of Women, and pretty much one classical sonata, flounced in, every inch the imperial consort. The former actress’ cotton greatcoat was draped around her shoulders like a cape, and she carried herself like an imperial consort.

When she discovered that I had been studying English literature, she immediately pronounced that Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Charles Dickens’ Hard Times were the only two English proletarian novels. Even as I blurted out a negative, I was thinking hard. I saw the rest of the senior leadership of the party withdraw a little in expectation of the thunderbolt to come. Jane Eyre was clearly a bit too close to home. A governess who marries the boss had too much resonance with the career of a Shanghai starlet who married the chairman. I concentrated on Hard Times, pointing out that its hero was in fact a strikebreaker – a traitor to his class in Marxist terms.

Through narrowed eyes, Jiang delivered her ultimate riposte, “You have long hair. It makes you look like a girl.” There was a barely concealed sigh of relief around the table. At least it was not “Off with his head!” or “Counter-revolutionary scum”.

The evening, after a banquet fit for an emperor, ended with drinks for us and Zhou and his entourage. The Gang of Four did not, as I remember, hang around. It became a drinking match, with shots of mao tai, the ferocious-smelling sorghum-based overproof liquor that had become the official drink of the party.

As the youngest there, but already with a reputation as a determined drinker, I was moved forward as the champion on going glass-for-glass with Zhou, a man with an iron constitution. But I saw how he stayed ahead. He only drank half his, while I was drinking the lot. Even so, he gave up first, as I remember – allowing for the fact that after large amounts of the stuff, memories can be unreliable.

Despite the Moscow-style purges going on behind the wainscoting, economically, China’s development was more balanced than that of the Soviets. We could go on a pub crawl through the streets of Beijing, pijui – beer, being one of the early accessions to our Mandarin vocabulary and although, for example, cotton was rationed, consumer goods seemed in adequate supply. In the covered market, locals looked superior as Aeroflot pilots came rushing through stocking up on things from soap to razor blades to tomatoes that the Soviets’ heavy industrial base couldn’t provide.

The variety of cigarettes, from coffin nails to the crush-proof packs of the most expensive brands, has always made me wonder about the role of tobacco in industrialization – selling the peasants highly profitable cigarettes was a financially painless way of raising state funds compared with expropriation. The other aspect was the amount of collective entrepreneurial activity that was taking place, even after years of disruption from the Cultural Revolution, which had not officially finished by then.

For example, in the countryside, communes were making cement boats for sale, while in Shanghai we visited a back-street factory that was etching silicon chips – almost state-of-the-art at the time. Even then, I remember wondering about the flue that vented the hydrofluoric acid fumes from the process onto the street. In a microchip, it encapsulated the future environmental problems of reckless development, even as it demonstrated the entrepreneurial urges that Deng Xiaoping was later to unleash.

I returned to Britain puzzled. The Cultural Revolution had not visibly destroyed the economy, as was sometimes claimed. But it was difficult to know what it was all about. It was bad enough when party leaders were denounced for esoteric sins of culture and ideology during the Cultural Revolution, but these silent purges and behind-the-scenes disappearances reduced the struggles to personalities and power-plays. Mao himself seems to have been playing off the leaders against each other.

So perhaps that was the twin legacy of the first 20 years. It developed the ground for the upsurge of economic activity in which China seems not only to have stood up but appears to be racing ahead. But it also has left the Communist Party totally committed to clinging onto power, without much in the way of ideology, while its leadership changes behind closed doors, with only the faintest pretence of consulting the masses. And by all accounts, party leaders at every level are still fond of banquets and mao tai.

Ian Williams is the author of Deserter: Bush’s War on Military Families, Veterans and His Past, Nation Books, New York.

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Kasama Project Interview IV

Kasama Project Interview III

Kasama Project Interview II