Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Analysis of History By The Methods of Hollywood Westerns

In yesterday's exercises I did come to one conclusion and that is that there is a definite coercion on the left to answer, as the song demands, "which side are you on."   That might have been an easy question to answer about the terrible Harlan County War in Kentucky in the 1930s, most questions are not as clear cut as that but the insistence of those who are more lefty than thou is that you declare yourself and that you declare yourself on "the right side".  Even before you know any actual facts in the case.

In specific cases in and around the red scare period there seems to be a demand that anyone who was prosecuted for espionage or on charges related to that must immediately be deemed innocent of whatever wrongdoing they were accused of, even those cases you have never read anything about.  That has been an ongoing theme on the American left since the 1950s but it is rather stupid and in no way does it serve learning the truth.   But, Marxists, as most ideologues, aren't especially interested in the truth, especially if it is inconvenient.

In particular, in the activities of the communist hunters in New York State in the 40s and 50s, it revolves around the conviction and execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg whose entire innocence was a required article of faith on the literary, theatrical, musical and journalistic left for most of my life.  The names of the people defending them were held up as heroes, those involved with their prosecution and execution were the lowest of the low.  You had to maintain that those involved were either angels of light or the worst of demons.  Only, as even their own children now admit, Julius Rosenberg was just about certainly the spy he was convicted of being and it is quite likely that Ethel Rosenberg at least knew of his espionage activities.  That he was a spy on behalf of Stalin, one of the most horrible and genocidal murderers in human history, a man whose legal system railroaded many thousands of actually innocent people, whose system acknowledged no rights of anyone who fell under suspicion or even of the casual, almost random system of state police terror which kept him in power, was certainly not to be considered.   Of course, if he had spied on behalf of Hitler, the white and black hats would have had to change heads.

There are two issues involved, first, the question of whether or not some particular person is guilty of having committed a crime, in many cases a serious crime or, as in the case yesterday, one that may have covered up the commission of a serious crime.  The only way to know actual guilt or innocence is through a fair and impartial trial.  That isn't always done in a formal court of law with all of the fact gathering apparatus, the opposing councils, rules governing fairness, etc.  And if they can't do it reliably, I sure as hell am not going to pretend I'm equipped to do it on the basis of dislike of Roy Cohn and Irving Kaufman*.

The other issues are more general and political and on that, the pro-communist side is as sleazy and dishonest as the anti-communists were.  The hypocrisies of American Communists, who lock-stepped support for Stalin and, later, other equally horrible dictators, are as massive as those of the Red Channels creeps.  I DON'T HAVE TO CHOOSE IN FAVOR OF EITHER SIDE. THEY BOTH STINK.  

Yesterday, I proposed a hypothetical scenario for consideration, what would have happened in a United States that adopted the desideratum of the Communist Party that the Rosenbergs, the people who were prosecuted in the cases discussed yesterday, and so many other American lefties who got into trouble in the red scare had, in fact, supported.  What if the United States were run under the same rules that these American Communists were entirely willing to have the people in the Soviet Union and the states they occupied live under.  

In the Soviet union the police and much of Stalin's legal-terror apparatus were under the control of the sadistic murderer, Lavrentiy Beria. Among the casual, random arrests of people who were tortured into confessing, given a for-show trial, if that, then murdered, were girls he would choose during curb crawling sessions to be abducted and brought to him where, if they wouldn't agree to have sex with him, or, perhaps, if they did, he would rape them and murder them.  When his home in Moscow became the Tunisian embassy, the bones of young women were dug up from his garden. Some of the girls who resisted being raped by him were later arrested by his terror police.   The full range of the crimes of the Stalin regime, not to mention those of Lenin and other Communists, the identities switched, look not much different from the crimes of the Nazis.

That, dear lefties, was what those idealistic American Communists really supported.  Those who didn't elect to live in their workers' paradise that many tens of millions had to experience, personally. The ones who, here, in this hell hole, sometimes, in a relatively few cases, got things like two-year sentences some in country club prisons and some in far less hellish conditions that prevailed under Stalin.  And, who, then, sometimes had the same trouble that plain old ex-cons had when they stole something they needed or who were really railroaded by police and prosecutors.  Believe me, being an ex-con on a minor charge while being poor or black or Latino was far harder than anything the Hollywood 10 suffered.  The Rosenbergs stand out because they were the only ones who were killed for espionage - which, of course, they shouldn't have been**.  That they were likely convicted for crimes they'd actually committed for one of the worst and most oppressive dictators in human history, is a separate question.   Under the Stalinist regime they favored, you can multiply those two by a huge factor to come to a comparison.  And a lot of those represented by that far larger number were entirely innocent.

I am becoming increasingly interested in how much damage the communists did to the American left and how that damage persists, this kind of crap, the kind of mental straight jacket that by gentle coercion, often, entirely cinematic propaganda based, not even read, is one of the things that discredits the real left on behalf of the romance for an ideology which is now extinct except among the keepers of the foul, stinking, polluting flame in their dilapidated club house.  The American left paid an enormous price for us being conned by the communists, it is entirely irresponsible to keep that up now.  Our responsibilities are to poor people, to people who are discriminated against, to the environment we all depend on.  Not to the stooges of Stalin.

*  One thing I got out this was finding out that Irving Kaufman was appointed by Truman and, years after the Rosenbergs were executed, elevated by Jack Kennedy.  If everything he touched is to be considered corrupt, the right to parody (Berlin v. E.C. Publications, Inc.), the rights of foreign torture victims to sue in American courts (Filártiga v. Peña-Irala) and John Lennon avoiding deportation would have to be suspect.  In the last case Kaufman said that the government had singled out Lennon for political reasons and that invalidated their case.  I would certainly not say that Kaufman's record exonerates him for what he did in the Rosenberg case but life hardly ever gives us the same uncomplicated characters that hack writers produce for Hollywood.

Roy Cohn, now he was a total piece of scum, as was Thomas Dewey.  About the only time I can remember my mother ever commenting on someones' appearance was when she said Thomas Dewey was " a nasty man with a nasty moustache".

**  If you want an example of a guy whose railroading by the legal establishment in New York State is a total travesty of justice, you should look at the largely forgotten Isidore Zimmerman who was framed for murder by Thomas Dewey to further his political ambitions, put on death row, nearly executed, held in horrific conditions in hell holes for decades, before he was entirely exonerated on the charges, with no questions about him being railroaded.  Then, after the state legislature voted to give him compensation for his indisputably wrongful conviction and incarceration, Governor Nelson Rockefeller vetoed the bill, three times.

"It is difficult to sue the state, however, because of the doctrine of sovereign immunity. The state will waive that right for tort claims such as damage caused by a pothole in the road, but for wrongful imprisonment it will not. For that, you need an act passed by the state legislature. We have that bill before the legislature now. As a matter of fact, such a bill has been passed on his behalf three times before, in 1969, 1970 and 1971. It was vetoed each time by Gov. Rockefeller. We believe that this bill will pass, and that Gov. Carey will not veto it, and that we will win our suit for damages."

If you can find a copy of it, his long out of print book, The Guardians: The True Story of The Saints of Dannemora, is entirely worth reading.  Only, if you're like me, you'd better take it in short spurts with time for rage to dissipate in between.  I won't demand you make up your mind about the case until you read it.

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