"Red Emma" and Free Speech at Berkeley
Mr. Markowitz, an associate professor of history at the New Brunswick campus of Rutgers University, is a member of the editorial board of Political Affairs, the theoretical journal of the CPUSA.
Emma Goldman, socialist, anarchist and feminist, died in exile from the United
States in 1940, as the swastika was about to fly over Europe. Twenty years earlier,
she and her longtime lover, Alexander Berkman, were deported to what was then
called Soviet Russia at the peak of the Red Scare. J. Edgar Hoover, the Justice
Department attorney who had organized the raids (named the "Palmer raids"
after Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer) was on the docks watching as Goldman,
Berkman and over 500 others were deported on the Buford, which the yellow
press dubbed the "Soviet Ark."
Emma's anarchism soon led her out of the Soviet Union--she was to publish two books, My Disillusionment in Soviet Russia, and My Further Disillusionment in Soviet Russia. This may along with her activities in pre World War I Greenwich Village, birthplace of American cultural Bohemia, explain why she was one of the very few American partisans of socialism who were mentioned positively, albeit as something of quotable comedy relief character, in American history lectures when I first went to the City College of New York in the early 1960s.
As the 21st century dawns, much has changed and much remains the same for left critics of the American establishment. To the chagrin of rightists, streets and buildings are named after Malcolm X and Paul Robeson. Robeson, persecuted by the FBI in the 1950s and 1960s, now is an object of respect at Rutgers University, where he was once class valedictorian and an All-American football player. Finally, Martin Luther King, whom J. Edgar Hoover had "categorized" as a Communist in 1962 so that the FBI could harass and hound him for the rest of his life, has a national holiday named after him.
But how much of this is merely tokenism or even what philosopher Herbert Marcuse called in the 1960s "repressive tolerance"? We don't put our dissidents in jail, but we deny them access to mass media, make sure no one will listen to them, and then use the fact that they are not in jail and can speak on street corners as evidence that we are the epitome of freedom and democracy.
We even let some dissidents who become famous be honored, but not necessarily for what they were. So American students read Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, written as an explicit Socialist agitational novel, and are taught to remember Sinclair for the passage of the Meat Inspection and Pure Food and Drug Acts. Martin Luther King is remembered as a good man who preached non-violence toward whites and, either Christ-like or Uncle Tom-like, depending on your ethnic background and point of view, died for the sins of the larger society. His concept of "positive peace," peace with social justice, opposition to the Vietnam War and U.S. military interventionism in his last years, and his campaign to unite all people living in poverty in a national Poor Peoples Movement at the time of his assassination are totally unknown to most of the people who honor him in school rituals and learn about him from the media.
Today the Emma Goldman papers are located at the University of California at Berkeley, scene of the Free Speech movement of 1964-65, which preceded and encouraged many of the youth and student protests of the late 1960s. Clark Kerr was the great villain of the Free Speech movement, but the present Cal administration did something that I am not sure Kerr would have done--censor a fund-raising appeal from the Goldman papers on the grounds that its anti-WWI and pro-free speech quotes were "political" and the university does not take political positions in its fund-raising appeals.
While Clark Kerr in 1964 had attempted to bar students from using campus space to engage in contemporary political activities for civil rights and other issues, the Cal administration today has sought to censor the statements of an historical figure whose whole life was based on politics on the grounds that this interfered with university neutrality in raising money.
First of all, this is very bad business, since no one would contribute a penny to the Emma Goldman papers, except for political reasons. That the anti-war statements may prove useful to opponents of the Bush foreign policy is another issue cited by Cal administration sophists. Of course, the Free Speech movement itself, which today is "honored" at Berkeley, was about making study relevant to contemporary affairs, confronting the ivory tower which overlay the "knowledge factory," as the students called American higher education then.
At the turn of the 20th century, Emma Goldman was blamed by a section of the yellow press and assorted yahoos for the assassination of President McKinley, because the assassin had attended one of her meetings. In subsequent years she faced assault, numerous arrests, and eventual deportation, although no one in the United States or "Soviet Russia" for that matter was able to shut up Emma, who always understood that free speech didn't mean anything unless you used it. Cal's administration doesn't seem to understand that at all--or understand that the academic freedom of students and scholars is about continuing debate, making the past relevant to the present.
The huge flap their actions produced in the press is evidence that they haven't succeeded in shutting up Emma today. Indeed, I marched with tens of thousands of mostly young people in Washington this past weekend opposing the Bush Iraq policy, echoing Emma in both their statements and their bopping and dancing along to hip drum music. But their actions deserve to be roundly condemned for what they are--an insult to both academic freedom and free speech and a Catch-22 contention that the manuscript collection of one of the most remarkable political women in U.S. history should refrain from making political statements in advertising itself.
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Richard Dyke - 1/28/2003
It seems the main point is being missed. Pickering is being pilloried, when in fact his call to DOJ was a "courageous" call. The man had a brain and a conscience, and I hope he is confirmed. Too often we forget the old aphorism, "The law is a ass." Without some necessary flexibility and creative interpretation now and then, the law itself can become a system of repression and gross unfairness. Judges are often the last bastion of reasonableness, and this case cried out for something we don't seem to have enough of anymore--common sense. California's 3-strikes law--well intentioned in theory but horrific in practice--will eventually bring about its own political denouement. The politicians, for the people, envisioned that really bad criminals would be put away forever, and never again become a problem. The new problem the law created, however, was less flexibility and more certainty--even for crimes (some felonies, like drug offenses) that the "people" were not really thinking about at the time. The result? More and more people in prison for life, often for the lesser felonies. Illinois Governor Ryan's recent pardon of all of that state's death row inmates appears to have been based largely on the unfairness with which "the law" meted out what came to be seen as capricious sentences. The law and the judicial system are neverly entirely fair, and we need good common-sense judges who--apparently at peril to themselves--try to ameliorate the worst excesses of applying the law entirely blindly--and hence, unfairly.
The law by itself will never be an answer to society's woes. We need good, common-sense judges to consider cases fairly and evenly, even when it comes to punishments, and not apply their "profession" like a baking recipe.
Derek Catsam - 1/27/2003
The newest of the TNR articles does indicate the nature of the call to Hunger -- and certainly this does not place the DOJ in a good light. I still doubt we'll see eye to eye on this any time soon.
As for the New Republic, I very much like the magazine for a number of reasons even when I know it has its flaws. It at least is smart and most often well written. It has its agenda, to be sure, though that agenda has shifted often -- it no longer is the standard bearer for the left, the bastion of progressive liberalism that it once was, and in fact it teeters precariously close to neo-con thought for my purposes -- especially with the various shifts in editorial staff in the past decade or so. But on the whole, it certainly takes a particular kind of left-of-center approach. It is thought provoking, and, like, say, the National Review, it is going to tackle issues that we are not going to see in Time, Newsweek or US News, and because they are journals of opinion, they can address issues in ways that the NYT, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal cannot. I don't agree with the New republic all the time, sometimes it enrages me, and occasionally frustrates and annoys me. But Give me TNR, the National Review, and a handful of other magazines that fill this niche -- intellectual journals of opinion that still try to cater to a wider audience than a scholarly journal. I know where the biases are, but I'm smart enough to sort it out, and I'm usually not being talked down to when I read Greg Easterbrook or Victor Davis Hanson.
Derek Catsam - 1/27/2003
No problem. Some of the heat seems to have dissipated from our exchange, which I think is a good thing. I also agree that we are at a phase where we should wait for the next battle, as once the issues are laid out and arguments set down, there comes a point where two people are just able to disagree -- sometimes even agreeably.
I will reaffirm that I do not think Pickering is either a racist or even a bad person. I hope he does not pass confirmation, for reasons I've laid out and ideolgical ones to boot, but if he is confirmed, the sun will rise, the sun will set, and I'll still have lunch.
Bill Heuisler - 1/27/2003
Sorry. How embarrassing; and after I criticized Gus for doing the same thing. No excuse, sir, except carelessness.
As to Pickering, the discussion is grinding to a he said-she said impasse. That said, your quoting three liberal college professors (one of whom misstated the issue) to prove a conservative Judge unfit is about as powerful an argument as quoting me on Dershowitz' suitability for the bench.
By the way, even some of the prosecution grudgingly agreed with Judge Pickering and had regrets they hadn't tried and punished the juvenile as an adult and as a repeat Hate Crime offender.
Byron York wrote in National Review on line:
"In a February 12, 2002 letter to Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, Pickering cited the transcript of an open court session in which he told Civil Rights Division lawyer Brad Berry that he felt the Swan case was an example of disparate sentencing. Berry answered, according to the transcript cited by Pickering, that, "Perhaps the lesson — the lesson that I take from that, your Honor, is that perhaps the government should have been more tough — should have asked for a more stringent or stronger or longer sentence for the other defendants in this case."
"There are also some indications that at least one Justice Department lawyer involved in the case agreed with Pickering that the department's sentencing demand for Swan was too severe. In a January 5, 1995 memo to Linda Davis, who was head of the criminal section of the Civil Rights Division, federal prosecutor Jack Lacy recounted several sessions with Pickering on the Swan issue (the memo was made public as part of Pickering's confirmation hearings.) "The impulse to the conversation is always the same," Lacy wrote. "He thinks the sentence facing Swan is draconian, and he wants a way out. He has been careful to phrase his concern in such terms as, 'I wish you could suggest some way that this harsh sentence could be avoided.'" Later in the letter, Lacy wrote that he "personally agreed with the judge that the sentence is draconian," but said he also reminded Pickering that Swan could have pleaded guilty but instead, "the defendant repeatedly chucked our offers in our teeth."
Again, I'm genuinely sorry about misspelling your name.
Derek Catsam - 1/27/2003
Bill -- (Hey, my name appears in every one of my posts -- would it kill you to spell it right for once? -- and I know that Humphrey Bogart never actually said "Play it again Sam")
"Wrong! There was only ONE juvenile (under 18) and HE was the so-called ring leader. HE had also been convicted of prior assault on the SAME VICTIMS. Pickering objected to the 20-year-old (not the ringleader - not the prior conviction) getting a FAR HARSHER SENTENCE THAN THE JUVENILE WHO INSTIGATED THE CRIME AND HAD THE PRIOR CONVICTION. Got it? Any damn fool looking at the record would have thought far less of any judge who ignored such a miscarriage of justice. And, by the way, a State Judge usually contacts the Feds (Justice Dept.)when a Federal crime is up for sentencing. Get the facts before allowing your knee to jerk."
Three individuals: Swan, the 20 year old (whose truck was used to drive the three, which is what led some to call him the ringleader, though in fact even the National Review's piece in support of Pickering says they cannot say for certain who was the leader); Mickey Herbert Thomas, a 25 year old (mae culpa on calling both of the others juveniles) who was borderline retarded. And the 17 year old whose name was unreleased. You can use your CAPS LOCK key all you want to express outrage, these are the facts. I got these from three independent sources, the National review online, the New Republis (1-17-03) and a press release from the Human Rights Campaign.
The reason for the disparate sentencing was the plea bargain. When the 20 year old (Swan) rejected a plea, he opened himself up for whatever sentence he received. That is where the disparate sentencing comes in. Had Swam been willing to take a plea, none of this would have happened -- I only wish they had decided not to let any of them plea out, but then who knowws what sort of case they would have had.
You say that any judge would have done what he did? How's this for a countervailing opinion, or actually, three:
John Leubsdorf, Professor of Law and Judge Lacey Distinguished Scholar, Rutgers University:
"In the course of his attempt to avoid imposing a criminal sentence prescribed by Congress, the Judge inappropriately: intimated that if the Government failed to cooperate he would hand down a sentence adverse to it on another issue; proposed an untimely new trial motion that he lacked jurisdiction to entertain; and sealed an opinion without adequate grounds to do so. He also initiated ex parte contacts with Government lawyers, in violation of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges. Whatever Judge Pickering's motives may have been, this was no way for a judge to behave.... [His conduct] was a plain violation of Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(e)(1).... I cannot escape the conclusion that Judge Pickering departed from the proper judicial role of impartiality in the Swan case to become an advocate for the sentence he considered proper.... His actions were inappropriate and violated rules governing judicial conduct."
Stephen Gillers, Vice Dean and Professor of Law, New York University:
"Judge Pickering's conduct was wrong. ... [T]he Court had no choice but to sentence Mr. Swan according to law for the crimes for which he was convicted. Judge Pickering used the powers of his office to avoid this duty. He asked the Justice Department to agree not to oppose a motion for a new trial although it appears that one could not then be timely made and the defendant had made no motion. Judge Pickering offered no legal basis for granting such a motion other than his discomfort with the sentencing disparities .... The Judge's actions, which should have been accessible to the public, have remained secret for seven years and might never have been known were it not for the confirmation hearing. The Judge's explanation for secrecy is hard to fathom."
Steven Lubet, Professor of Law, Northwestern University; Co-Author, Judicial Conduct & Ethics:
"The ex parte discussion of sentencing was a manifest violation of Canon 3A(4) [of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges].... [The Judge] might understandably attribute the ex parte contact to a momentary lapse in judgment. It is considerably more troubling that Judge Pickering attempts to rationalize the conduct, since that suggests he would endorse similar communications by other judges in the future.... [I]t appears that he took exceptional steps to circumvent or disregard the law, in many ways becoming an advocate for Mr. Swan more than a judge in the case.... Such conduct is not ?faithful to the law,' since it blatantly ignores the [court's] own legal conclusions in favor of the judge's preferred outcome.... Such conduct does not evince respect for the law.... Such conduct by the court can be said to undermine public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary."
Three law professors who agree with me on the ex parts communication. I suppose that's knee jerk too.
Bill Heuisler - 1/26/2003
Since the Markowitz articles cast such disrepute on the American system - and because Judge Pickering's name has been dragged into the mud-fest, it might be informative to see what really happened to cause the Judge's so-called improper "ex-parte" communication with a friend in the Clinton Justice Department.
This account is from a January 9, 2003 news source and is agreed to by everyone involved in the incident.
"Pickering set a sentencing date of January 3, 1995. As the date approached, he waited for an answer from the Justice Department. He asked in November, 1994 and received no response. He asked again in December and received no response. He asked again on January 2, the day before the sentencing, and still received no response. He delayed sentencing, and on January 4 wrote a strongly-worded order to prosecutors demanding not only that they respond to his questions but that they take the issue up personally with Attorney General Janet Reno and report back within ten days.
"Shortly after issuing the order, Pickering called assistant attorney general Frank Hunger, a Mississippian and friend of Pickering's who headed the Justice Department's Civil Division at the time (Hunger was also well known as the brother-in-law of vice president Al Gore). Pickering says he called Hunger to express "my frustration with the gross disparity in sentence recommended by the government, and my inability to get a response from the Justice Department in Washington." Hunger told Pickering that the case wasn't within his area of responsibility. It appears that Hunger took no action as a result of the call. (Hunger later supported Pickering's nomination to the federal appeals courts.)"
Did The New Republic report the matter properly? Of course not, they have an agenda that would suffer from the truth.
Bill Heuisler - 1/26/2003
Your words in the last post make me wonder about your connection to the real world.
Now try to stay in my universe for just a moment:
1) You wrote - "The two juveniles were offered a plea bargain and took it. The 20 year old, the ringleader, as you say..."
Wrong! There was only ONE juvenile (under 18) and HE was the so-called ring leader. HE had also been convicted of prior assault on the SAME VICTIMS. Pickering objected to the 20-year-old (not the ringleader - not the prior conviction) getting a FAR HARSHER SENTENCE THAN THE JUVENILE WHO INSTIGATED THE CRIME AND HAD THE PRIOR CONVICTION. Got it? Any damn fool looking at the record would have thought far less of any judge who ignored such a miscarriage of justice. And, by the way, a State Judge usually contacts the Feds (Justice Dept.)when a Federal crime is up for sentencing. Get the facts before allowing your knee to jerk.
2) You wrote in your last post: "I've gone over the past posts, and though i surely could have missed it, i do not see one of your posts where you sais the "results" were the same,"
You couldn't have looked very far. The word "results" is in each of my posts asking you to state differences in the historical results between National Socialism and Marxism...the one before last, for instance.
Parallel universe? Nah. When reality trumps ideology you get all confused and judgmental.
Bill "Jackass" Heuisler
Derek Catsam - 1/26/2003
Once again, I appreciate your post, but have a few more cavils. I was wrong to say "practiced" with regard to Marx, though clearly there were some trying to implement some versions of their interpreatation of it. Mae Culpa.
As for South Africa -- a few points. First, given that the SACP was committed to the liberation of South Africa and to rights for all, its commitment to civil liberties seems self evident. Furthermore, the SACP was obviously part of the coalition that drafted arguably the most civil-liberties oriented constitution on earth. Would I want the SACP in charge in South Africa alone? No, though not becauise I think they'd become a murderous regime, but rather because it would be an economic and possibnly social disaster.
On the topic of Mugabe -- he used to be a Marxist/communist. But in fact soon after he took control he disavowed most of that and embraced free market capitalism, annoying many in Zimbabwe. That country is a disaster and Mugabe is an awful, dangerous man, but if anything, blame his shift away from communism, not his current embrace of it. Rhetorically he can still appeal to his "comrades," but no serious student of African politics and history that I know of sees Mugabe as a marxist these days. The "Big Man" model in Africa has, alas, become its own type, worthy of its own differentiation.
I also want to be very clear here. I am in no way, shape, or form a Marxist, communist, socialist or communitarian. But I do think that when discussing these things it is too easy to lump it all into one congealed mass, rather than take into account the fact that particularity matters, that things manifest themselves ina time and place because of particular conditions, and that lumping, say, socialism, communism, Marxism and Nazism together is intellectually sloppy and conceals more than it reveals. I am not sympathetic to the marxist endeavor, but I don't think that Stalinism and Marxism are effectively the same thing. And I also, historically, would dispute that Fascism and nazism are the same thing, though obviously they dropped from the same branch of the same tree.
Tom Jones - 1/25/2003
Your words concerning Marx's take on Marxism were that he "later claimed not to be a Marxist as he saw it practiced," which does give the strong impression that it was put in "practice" as a practical matter during his lifetime. Of course, with the collapse of the International in the 1860s and 1870s, and the fragmentation of the socialist movement into sectarian groups, some of which described themselves as "Marxist," Marx strongly objected to a number of them on the grounds, among others, that they contained ideas that he didn't subscribe to. Many battles over dogma took place at the time, but this is not the impression you give by "practiced."
As for the South African Communist Party and its leaders, I don't have enough knowledge about this subject to pass judgment on their commitment to civil liberties. So far, as members of the ruling party, the South African Communists have not attempted, as far as I can tell, to impose their statist ideology on the governing coalition. But who knows what the future might hold? Already, dissatisfaction with the government among many former supporters has led to calls for the appropriation of property, etc., and its redistribution. I could easily see the South African Communist Party moving down that road, with all the disruption and violence that will ensue, which might result in another Zimbabwe, heaven forbid, headed by committed Communists. If so, we might once more see another sad example of Soviet style Communism in "practice."
And yes, Nazism was unique to Germany under Hitler, but fascist states also existed in Italy, Rumania, and Spain, the latter for quite a few years under Franco, and Peron's Argentina.
Some have argued, that fascism as practiced under Franco was a viable system, though certainly I would not have liked to live there. But if given a Hobson's Choice, I surely would have chosen Spain over Kim Il Sung's North Korea or Mao's China, or Stalin's Russia -- or any other Communist state. Indeed, the fairly easy transition from Franco to the present democratic and prosperous Spain, speaks to the nature of its fascism. It was far less dehumanizing, destructive, and totalitarian than any state organized under Communism. In that respect, it was less "evil."
Derek Catsam - 1/25/2003
I appreciate both of the last two posts. And I am familiar with much of the literature on this, though I know of none of this literature that would disavow difference between the two, that would say that they are "the same". One of the most prominent conflations of these recently was in the introducvtion to the Black Boopk of Communism -- though that book differentiates Communism and Marxism. But they do make compelling comparisons as well -- of course regimes that end in mass slaughter or total subjugation are evil, but so too was capitalist apartheid South Africa.
As for what Marx said about being a Marxist, that he died before the Soviet Union was created does not mean that there was not an intellectual and political movement known as Marxism and that he did not disavow it -- again, the difference between Marxism and Communism.
I am curious what those who wholly condemn communism have to say about the South African Communist Party, which is not only still part of the governing coalition in South Africa, but which also was essential to the successful liberation struggle. Was Chris Hani really evil?
Totalitarian regimes are evil. Communist regimes have been evil. Nazism can be condemned as evil simply because it was an ideology centered in one nation-state and with one manifestation. We don't have alternative examples of it. But to claim that all Marxists are "evil" and that they are the same as Nazis does not wash with me.
Derek Catsam - 1/25/2003
Facts are stubborn things Bill. Here is what you wrote re: Pickering:
What are you talking about? There were three people involved -- a juvenile, a 20 year old, and a borderline mentally retarded adult. They were accused not of assault, but of cross burning on the lawn of the interracial couple on Improve, Mississippi. The two juveniles were offered a plea bargain and took it. The 20 year old, the ringleader, as you say, was also offered a plea he would have gotten 18 months in jail. He refused it. He rolled the dice. Oops. he was convicted and faced some 7 1/2 years (two and a half for racial intimidation, five for using a fire in a federal felony). At that point Pickering went through several machinations to reduce the sentences, including unethical (and possibly illegal) ex parte conversations with a friend of his at the Justice Department, threatening to call for a new trial, and harassing federal prosecutors in private meetings. The prosecution, fearing Pickering's reaction to the full sentence, dropped the arson charge, and the 20 year old (Daniel Swann) is serving a 27 month sentence.
Meanwhile Pickering has been reversed by the Fifth Circuit court 26 times -- 15 of them for "violating well settled priciples of law." This is not a good record.
Zinn: How does this contradict me? You said he disdained the taxpayers of this country. You then show evidence of him disdaining the electoral system as it now stands. These are not the same things -- and given that an appalling 50% (at most, usually) of Americans vote in Presidential elections, forfget about the midterms, Zinnis not alone. Do I agree with him? No. Not at all, as I disagree with much of what Zinn says. But I support his right to say it. BU is a private school. Evidence that Zinn or Markowitz would send us to reeducation camps. please? Or is it just slander, especially given that Zinn has spent more thqn enough time condemning just that sort of thing (ie the japanese American internment camps, etc.)
Marxism/Nazism: I've gone over the past posts, and though i surely could have missed it, i do not see one of your posts where you sais the "results" were the same, whereas I see at least two where you ask me flat out what the differences between the two are, period. You seem not to disagree with my rendering of just a smattering of differences, so I'll assume that we are dealing with semantics.
Tom Jones - 1/25/2003
I want to thank Mr. Heuisler for the statement quoting Howard Zinn. I was unaware of it. It is highly relevant and highly disturbing. It clearly reflects his contempt for representative democracy, as well as his Leninist approach to politics.
One point, however. Neither Zinn or Chomsky are on the public payroll. Boston University, where he taught -- he's now retired -- is a private institution. The same is true of MIT, where Chomsky still teaches. Both institutions, of course, get some public funds for student loans, research projects, etc., but their main source of income is their endowments, alumni fundraising, and student fees and tuition. Rutgers, of course, is state funded.
Bill Heuisler - 1/25/2003
You have a problem.
Up 'til now your non-responsive responses could be put off on haste or misreading, but there has been a discernable pattern of Catsum posts from Bellesiles, through Colonialism vs hunger, to the whole world claiming our Bill of Rights, to similar results from National Socialism and Marxism, to Judge Pickering and now to defending the indefensible Communist leech, Markowitz.
In each case you first respond to a conservative post with a Left-of-Center declaration; then you tend to answer any counter by whining about non-existent or mild ad hominum attacks and ignoring or misstating the conservative rebuttals.
Three recent examples:
1) You were asked about the similar RESULTS of National Socialism and Marxism in historical context. "Results", Derek.
2) You twice repeated the TNR stance that Pickering's legal
disqualifications trumped any racial problems without addressing the specific of the juvenile ring-leader's being convicted of TWO ASSAULTS ON THE SAME INTERRACIAL COUPLE and receiving nothing in comparison to the other man's sentence. Judge Pickering properly objected to the plea-bargain and the harsh sentence. He questioned both on record. You ignored the whole matter and complained about name-calling. A pattern, Derek.
3) Markowitz, Zinn and Chomsky would tear down our system of Government and send most of us to reeducation camps or worse. Most people feel this is threatening; most taxpayers don't want to pay for their own demise. You ignore the obvious, call Zinn a reductionist and say he's not a threat to the people paying his salary. Oh really?
Read this, Derek:
Howard Zinn, January, 2001 - Interview with Joe Lockard
"It's a bad move for progressive organizations to tie themselves to the electoral system because the electoral system is a great grave into which we are invited to get lost. For progressive movements, the future does not lie with electoral politics. It lies in street warfare -- protest movements and demonstrations, civil disobedience, strikes and boycotts -- using all of the power consumers and workers have in direct action against the government and corporations. To sink too much of our energy into electoral politics is a mistake."
Now think about it, Derek. This guy is paid quite well by Massachusets taxpayers to undermine their country. Tenure is supposed to protect free discourse, not bestow license on bomb-throwers whose first act on taking power would be to jail most teachers and quell free speech. Respond, Derek.
But apparently expecting you to respond with meaningful argument has become futile. Your pompous, whining misdirection has become an obvious ploy to avoid engagement. Since you're in training to be a teacher, perhaps some lessons in technique are in order.
Just trying to aid your career. Don't bother thanking me
Bill "The Jackass" Heuisler
Tom Jones - 1/25/2003
One addendum: Derek Catsam claims that Marx once said that he was not a Marxist as it was "practiced." Marx died in 1883, long before the Soviet Union, the first Communist state, was established in 1917. Communism as an organized system of government was "practiced" nowhere when Marx was alive. He could not have made the statement attributed to him.
To be sure, some Marxists say that the Soviet Union -- and other self-proclaimed Communist societies -- were corrupted versions of true Marxist utopias. But the reality is that such totalitarian societies are the only examples of "dictatorships of the proletariat" outlined by Marx. He might have been revolted by the way they turned out but we will never know. He never saw one in "practice."
Tom Jones - 1/25/2003
I think you were too quick to brush aside Bill Heuisler's claim that Marxism and Fascism are essentially the same. I could submit a long bibliography on the subject but a good place to start for those interested in it is A. James Gregor, The Faces of Janus: Marxism and Fascism in the Twentieth Century.
Prof. Gregor has written quite extensively on the subject, emphasizing the similar natures of both systems: totalitarianism, the cult of personality, collectivism, and nationalism. As he and others have pointed out, despite the emphasis on internationalism in Communist dogma, in practice all Communist systems were and are strongly "nationalistic," as one can see, for example, in Cuba today as well as North Korea and Vietnam. To be sure, in theory, Communism and Fascism do diverge on various points. But the similarities, as Gregor makes clear, are far more important and both are the antithesis of liberal capitalism and both have roots in a similar tradition hostile to the emerging liberal capitalistic democracies of the 19th and 20th centuries, of which the United States today is the most vigorous and prominent example. That, in fact, helps explain why we are so hated by the far left as well as the far right and why they often converge in such organizations as A.N.S.W.E.R., which is an amalgam of people comfortable in supporting North Korea, Milosevic, and Saddam.
One other interesting point. I don't know whether Markowitz supports Kim Jong Il and his Communist/Fascist totalitarian state. But the late Chairman of the party he's an official of -- the Communist Party of the USA -- Gus Hall, went to North Korea shortly before he died in the mid-1990s, and returned singing its praises, saying it was a perfect example of a working, efficient, Communist state. Maybe the current theoreticians of the CPUSA, of whom Markowitz is one, have changed their tune but I doubt it.
Derek Catsam - 1/24/2003
Yes, Bill, touchy because you continue to mount personal attacks in lieu of arguments.
You say I "can't understand applications of the law to second offenders" : what do you mean "can't understand?" When did I ever deny that this was an issue. To refresh your memory, I was quite clear that the whole point in the TNR article I pointed you to was that the questions of law right now are adequate enough without race coming into it.
You say I "can't describe the difference between National Socialism and Marxism." No, you asserted that they were the same thing, that there were no differences. I said that self evidently that was not so. Examples of differenfce? OK -- there are differences on views of race, class, religion; one took the viewpoint of the nation state above all the other wanted to eradicate lines of Nation States; one refers to a specific place and time (Nazi germany 1933-1945) the other to an uintellectual stream dating to Marx (who later claimed not to be a Marxist as he saw it practiced). These are just a few differences. The study of history is about the particular, and to say that two things are the same, that there are no differences is, simply, wrong.
You say that I know damned well what the situation is withj markowitz and that tenure and the First Amendment are irrelevent. I would say that those of us who disagree with you disagree with you because we feel that tenure protects any professor's right to speak, write and think what he likes. "Taxpayers are the targets of the Zinns et al" -- what does that even mean? I think Howard Zin is reductionist and overdoes it, but to say that somehow your viewpoint represents "the taxpayer" better (or worse) than his is pretty audacious. I am a taxpayer, Zinn is a taxpayer. Who are you to speak for all taxpayers? And who are you to take away the right to protest from any other taxpayers?
As for arguing properly, well, I guess we all can't have your laser focus on right and wrong, not to mention your graceful debating technique and unabashed respect for the vies of others.
Tucson? So that is where one goes to see "the real world."
Derek Catsam - 1/24/2003
Gus -- you're right, of course. I should have taken to heart the old Southern aphorism -- when you hear a jackass braying in the field, it doesn't mean you should start braying back.
Gus Moner - 1/24/2003
By the way, what's a FAT salary? How much are we talking about, Mr. Heuisler? What do you earn? Does it matter? Some 20% of the working US population has a government related job. Should they all just stop practising their political rights to please you?
Gus Moner - 1/24/2003
Mustn't bite on Bill's lures. You play his game. Stay with yours.
Gus Moner - 1/24/2003
I never denied, Mr. Heuisler what leftist people may preach. I simply question the relevance you give these extremists and wonder why you are not as worked up over right wing and racist extremists. It takes nothing away from all the normal, non-extremist people who marched, regardless of the participant’s political beliefs. Nor does it subtract from the meaning of the demonstration for peace.
What government employees do after they have finished work is their business. There are plenty of right-wing professors and literature to balance any leftist extremist. Plus, communists have history against them. No one wants them. Seeing all the angles to US policies and history enriches our youth and prepares them to make the tough decisions when their turn comes. It’s a pity our leaders failed to get that diversity.
Thanks for your sympathy and Christian charity. I defend everyone who wants to express a viewpoint. Including you!
Gus Moner - 1/24/2003
You are right! I do have a disability with spelling. I am sorry, no offence intended!
Bill Heuisler - 1/24/2003
My, my, Derek, aren't we touchy. You don't care for the tags, naive or righteous, can't understand applications of the law to second offenders, can't describe the difference between the results of National Socialism and Marxism. And finally you can't respond to an argument without straying into irrelevancy. You're beginning to sound a little shrill. Can't take criticism?
You know damn well what my point is about Markowitz and New Jersey taxpayers. To obfiscate about the First Amendment and how tenure really doesn't protect rabble-rousers is specious and you know it. What you fail to address is the main point: Taxpayers are the target of the Chomskys, Zinns and Markowitzes. The electoral process, private property, accumulation of wealth and freedom from overweening government are all under attack from the Marxists in academe. Like an executioner demanding payment, they insult the very people who give them employment.
Derek, if you can't argue this obvious point properly then you don't belong in an institute of higher learning.
As to your mill town dance, come to Tucson. I'm in the book.
Derek Catsam - 1/24/2003
Why do I bother? Seriously, why do I bother to get worked up about the namecalling and not so subtle or clever personal attacks from you, Bill? But I do. Naivete? How dare you? Who do you think you are? What about my life, praytell, do you know that makes you fit to judge whether or not I am "naive" about my profession? About the world? About anything? I'm curious? Interestingly, of course, in between the snideness from Mr. Heuisler, our arbiter of the worldly, he illustrates exactly why tenure exists -- to protect professors from being fired for expressing unpopular views. this is why we go through a probationary period, to see if we are good at what we do -- teaching, writing, etc. -- and then to provide an outlet for the protection that tenure provides -- a protection nowhere near as universal as Heuisler, the wise one, seems to think. Someone with tenure can be fired. "Fomenting revolution," would fall under that category, as would commiting a crime, being demonstrably derelict in one's duties, and a whole range of other offenses. Do we have more protections than some professions? Perhaps -- if we get that far. Do we have more protection than, say, judges? No. And I'll tell you, if I break a law, I'm out and would be if I had tenure. But to espouse a view that Bill, or that lots of people, or that the majority of people oppose and lose my job? To attend a political rally (to exercise the most rudimentary of our Constitutional rights?)and get fired? that's the very pusrpose of tenure. No one needs to agree with Markowitz to question seriously the rationale you have for claiming that the taxpayers of New Jersey are being fleeced.
Finally, (once again) -- if someone has a contract to do a job, and they do that job, it is no longer someone else's money. It is the compensation owed that person under the conditions of the contract.
I might be naive for fathoming the rudiments of contract law, of tenure, or of the First Amendment, and for fundamentally agreeing with them. Nonetheless, my guess is that Bill has lived a bit more sheltered life than he would like us to believe, because in my little old mill town where my dad and before him my grandparents ran a little dairy farm, talking to people the way he does would have him spitting teeth before too long. Despite my apparent lack of real world experience, in most places I've been, that would be the case. In my naivete, there is a part of me that misses those days.
Bill Heuisler - 1/24/2003
You must have led a very sheltered life. Allow me to edify.
Markowitz has tenure. Markowitz can say anything he damn well pleases and New Jersey taxpayers must grit their teeth and keep paying his fat salary.
A cop who foments revolution or threatens his community will be fired. A congressman, Senator or President can be removed by the people who elect him. Marxist Professors have no restraints.
Without tenure Markowitz would have been thrown out long ago. That's the problem. The fact you don't understand something so basic about your own rarified world makes me wonder about you.
Bill Heuisler - 1/24/2003
You have such trouble spelling my name I'll simply assume you suffer a learning disability. With your sad infirmity in mind, my Christian duty is clear: carefully acquaint you with three acolytes of Marxism who preach lies and spread their poison in our colleges. There are many more, but we mustn't overburden you.
Markowitz (Rutgers) tells students to get out on the streets and protest. In a post on a German web site he called "Marxism lives" he scoffs at successful Americans saying they won't have the West to flee to when his beloved Marxists take over.
Zinn (Boston U.) in a long hate-America-filled interview with Joe Lockard urges his young American students not to participate in elective politics, but to get out on the streets and start the revolution.
Chomsky (MIT) on his web site and in his books connects the Oklahoma City bombing with the CIA and uses his Cognitive Revolution Theories to indoctrinate students into hatred for the "Evil the US routinely practises."
These three professors use their U.S. taxpayer-funded positions to teach revolution and hatred for the United States - for the very taxpayers who pay their sumptuous salaries. Excuse if you like, but denying illustrates dissonance or immaturity.
Gus, you have my sympathy. One who strains so mightily to defend Communists, Marxists and haters of his country to readers on a History site has obviously forsaken all connection to reality.
Derek Catsam - 1/24/2003
Plus, when taxpayers pay the salary of a professor (or a police officer, or the president or a Congressman, or, for that matter, a member of the military) they pay for that person to do a job. Once the person has done that job, how they spent what is then their, and not the taxpayers', money is their business, assuming that what they do with the money is legal, of course. Everyone pays taxes for things that we don't like -- I have never met anyone who supports everything that their local,state, and federqal governments are doing, so to throw out an argument about "using taxpayers' money" strikes me as not a little bit of a red herring. It's one thing to disagree with someone's actions. It's quite another to hint that they are somehow stealing from or mosusing the money of taxpayers.
Gus Moner - 1/24/2003
Well, Mr Huisler, we are back to fear mongering about Stalinism, are we?
Mustn’t keep flashing back to old nightmares. I fail to see where anyone is “teaching young Americans to hate their country.” I doubt our children would tolerate it. As usual, people discern opposing views they cannot defend properly as threats and hide behind a patriotic flag to avoid dealing with the issues.
A critical review of US politics and history is not anti-patriotic nor hate. It merely prepares youth to face the issues their forefather’s politics and history have bequeathed them in today’s world. I doubt that many young citizens are as gullible as you would have us believe. Do you know any who entered university loving their nation and left hating the USA? I know none.
Taxpayers, sir, support ALL demonstrations. Directly or indirectly, the preparations and security arrangements cost money. It’s part of exercising freedom of expression, you know?
Many people contribute to the diatribe on many topics, and it is up to us to educate our children to listen, analyse and choose, not to indoctrinate our children. I reckon nearly all the people who heard that comment were turned off to the quote rather than bought into it. Why are you so afraid of what kooks say? If our children are properly educated, the more these fringe elements speak, the less they will be followed.
Get rid of could also mean getting shipped off to Guantanamo incognito and incommunicado. It’s just a question of who is left holding the gun, isn’t it?
Question: Why is it that you want all those who do not agree with you to move elsewhere?
Remember, Emma Goldman was in many ways, FORCED to act on her beliefs.
Jim Schmidt - 1/22/2003
Mr. Perkins, what would you have Mr. kates write?
Mr. kates does have a view and he does share his view with us on this site. This means that Mr. kates is contrubuting to that variety of views on this sit that makes it more fun. If Mr. kates were to take the advice of Mr. Perkins, would not this reduce the variety of views on this site and thus make it less fun?
Then again, maybe Mr. Perkins is more clever than it first appears. Mr. kates refers to the phrase "repressive tolerance" as being oxymoronic and 1984ish. Maybe Mr. Perkins is trying to rebut Mr. kates's mistaken views on "repressive tolerance" by providing an example of this difficult to understand concept.
Mark Newgent - 1/22/2003
I am opposed to any war with Iraq given the current status of the situation. If Iraq is found to be in material breach, then Hussein should get what's coming to him. I oppose the war for strategic and legitimate domestic reasons. That is why I refused all inivatations to join the peace demonstrations. I could never consciously join with any group that share the philosophies and political values of Stalin, Mao or Kim Jong-Il. ANSWER and the other fringe left groups sponsoring the protests have given dissent a bad name. Dissent if you want, but leave your assinine notions of revolution at home.
Mr. Markowitz, if you put so much stock in Emma Goldman try to follow her example. However, I think you value your nice Rutgers salary too much.
Also, why do people still believe communism can work? Its a usefull tool of analysis, but as system of government it brings about much more repression than a capitalist democracy.
Garry Perkins - 1/22/2003
Lefties are Americans too. They constant complaints help us sharpen our arguments and keep us on the enlightened path. Dissent has its place. If they all left Ronald Radosh and that FrontPageMagazine guy would be unemployed and extremely bored. Think of how bad Yale's Annals of Comunism series would be without the CPUSA stuff. John Earl Haynes would die of boredom. Let's celebrate these folks. They are so much fun.
Garry Perkins - 1/22/2003
Play nice! We all like having various views on this site. It makes it more fun. Furthermore, your style makes Marxist propoganda look elegant. Try using some normal prose.
don kates - 1/21/2003
You refer approvingly to "philosopher" Herbert Marcuse's term "repressive tolerance." I guess that is the up-dated equivalent to "war is peace" and the other oxymoronic slogans from 1984.
Then you write: "We don't put our dissidents in jail, but we deny them access to mass media, make sure no one will listen to them, and then use the fact that they are not in jail and can speak on street corners as evidence that we are the epitome of freedom and democracy."
Who is the "we" here professor? I don't do any of those things. I think what you really mean is that "we," the American people, don't pay attention to the pathetic nitwits who spout your line. In the world you would design, government would force us to listen to them.
But if you really want to see them get their opportunity to speak, all you have to do is watch the Fox Cable Channel. Its right-wing talk show hosts made a habit of inviting extremist nitwits like you on so they can claim that they are "fair and balanced" because they present "both sides" -- i.e., they make their more or less rational conservativism look good by pitting it against howling nitwits who are their straw man versions of liberals.
Bill Heuisler - 1/21/2003
Your pretense that Emma Goldman shared your beliefs is pathetic.
She believed in academic freedom and free speech; she renounced your Stalinist friends in two fine books; morever, she wouldn't approve of your teaching young Americans to hate their country while collecting a fat salary from a State-supported University.
By the way, did New Jersey taxpayers pay for your march in Washington? Do Rutgers-supporters and alumni know the hatred for America you applauded? Do they know about Imam Mussa's diatribe to the crowd?
"We won't get any justice as long as that criminal Congress is up there. We're calling for revolution. It's revolution time, brothers and sisters. We have to get rid of greedy murderers and imperialists like George Bush in the White House."
Revolution? "Get rid of...?" Maybe taxpayers don't know about you, but Imam Mussa sounds like the "Marxism Lives" piece you wrote last July for the Communist Party USA on that Kalaschnikow web site in Germany. Oh yeah, does "get rid of" mean kill...or just ship us all to concentration camps?
Question: If you hate the US so much, why not do us all a favor and give up the taxpayer-dole? Move to Cuba? North Korea?
Or are you all about words?
Remember, Emma Goldman acted on her beliefs.