Re: Not 'rescue Stalin,' but rescue the truth and the future

Wed, 1 May 1996 14:05:42 -0400

Grover posed a number of telling points in his long post re. the
anti-communism blanket. I, for one, am very interested in the literature
(Chomsky, Herman, Parenti, etc.) which has convincingly demonstrated the degree
to which the mass media, and the intellectual structure (academia), have
perpetuated a hegemonic view of the U.S. system at home and abroad, almost
totally obscuring and therefore marginalizing any criticism of capitalism or
imperialism. Others like Doug Kellner have written extensively on this system
and its roots in a capitalist economy (and corporate media). I find this
literature completely persuasive, though explaining HOW the "censorship"
occurs is sometimes problematic. For those not versed in this literature, a
good starting point is Herman and Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent which
provides a kind of framework of "filters" as well as some damning case studies
and hard evidence. (See also the video "Manufacturing Consent").

[The distinction between my perspective to date and Grover's is that he claims
that some "truths" about the Soviet Union are excluded by this propaganda
system, leaving even the relatively-aware of us in the dark and thus
susceptible to anti-communist propaganda. I'm open to this possibility, given
that I have not seen the Slavic studies literature (etc.) that he cites; so I
plan to investigate this further. It's just that the claims seem SO contrary
to things I have read by people I trust, that I approach them with skepticism.]

A related piece of this propaganda system, and one that I am writing about
these days (with an eventual book in the offing, I hope), is the way the
combination of (a) ideological propaganda that has sought out the craziest
excesses of the 60s and used these as a way of demonizing, blaming, dismissing
the 60s and winning converts to that position, and (b) the overall mass media
system's often-trivial, sentimental, ahistorical, and decontextualized
treatment (& commodification) of 60s movements (see, for example, Renny's
recent posting about the Vietnam war cashmere sweaters), has virtually erased
the truly oppositional, democratic, and radical meaning of the 1960s from
public consciousness (it remains only in private memory, exchanges like this,
and the largely marginalized academic/left books on the era. The potentially
empowering lessons of the 60s are therefore obscured for today's young and the
disenfranchised & oppressed.

Ted Morgan