Re: [sixties-l] No left in America

From: Carrol Cox (
Date: Sun Jun 25 2000 - 19:52:39 CUT

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    This is a superb article. I want to comment on just one point in it.

    monkerud wrote:

    > No Left in America?


    > The backbone of the progressive, socialist movement was broken, only to be revived briefly with the depression and stamped out again with "witch hunts" for so-called subversives in the 1950s led by Joe McCarthy.

    Bill Mandel also refers to the "McCarthy Era." This is bad history, and it
    hurts the struggle to create a left where there is none by interfering with
    naming the enemy accurately. The so-called "McCarthy Era" began well
    before he had anything to do with it and lasted longer. I have met younger
    people who are actually under the impression that McCarthy was the
    chair of HUAC. But if we wish to name a personal villain, the correct
    name is Harry Truman. McCarthy was a jerk who was a mere blip,
    loud publicity to the contrary, in the huge Red Hunt which was so central
    to u.s. political and cultural life from 1945 to 1960. I was a sophomore
    at Western Michigan College in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1948. At
    one of the football games half-time entertainment, the band played
    songs "fitting" to each of the four presidential candidates. For the
    Wallace campaign they played "Red Sails in the Sunset." My memory
    is vague on the next point, but I think it was the great liberal Hubert
    Humphrey who cosponsored on of the basic legislative acts which
    was central to the repression of the CPUSA.

    The Democratic Party and its leadership, not Joe McCarthy, was
    the primary architect of the Red Hunt. And as long as those who
    aim at constituting a left in America are confused on this point --
    as long as any would-be leftist can consider for a moment that
    the Democratic Party is or can ever be a friend of the left --
    there will be no left in America.

    Carrol Cox

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