The Cause that Failed...
..and continues to fail.
I just published my review on Guenter's Lewy "The Cause that Failed." It is a long review looking at a book which exhaustively describes the "virus-like" qualities of Communism. This is from my review:
From reading this book one can discern a recurrent pattern of what happens when the traditional left deals with the disciplined cadres of Communism. The template of such interaction is fairly routine: leftists begin by cooperating with Communists, expecting leftist good faith and solidarity, then the Communists secretly pack meetings with their members, who are indefatigable in their willingness to outwait people with jobs or to engage in the grunt work of the organization; alternatively, the communists engage in unmitigated fraud, such as by setting up shell organizations to gain leverage over umbrella organizations far in excess of their actual numbers; then the Communists divert the organization to Communist ends, skimming members' dues, co-opting naive non-Communists who cannot imagine such a "play to win" strategy among their "comrades, and making the organization mirror the zigs and zags of Soviet policy; then the whole fake structure collapses as everyone realized what was happening, and members withdrew from the organization and outsiders came to realize that the organization was simply a front for Moscow. The final chapter would leave a shattered hulk of an organization, no longer useful to Communists, but still under their control, with fellow travelers insisting that there was really nothing to see. To use a medical metaphor, Communists acted as a kind of virus, lacking the ability to create their own structure, but well adapted to taking over other organizations and sapping their vitality.
But with the capacity for self-delusion, the New Left student movements believed that they were immune to Stalinist capture:
"Haber's sense of sureness that SDS could not be taken over was based in part on SDS's decentralized and highly informal mode of organization which spurned all structure as a manifestation of "elitism.""They can't take us over because they can't find us" was the standard joke. When SDS president Oglesby addressed the annual dinner of the National Guardian on November 20, 1965, he argued similarly that SDS had no need of loyalty pledges or detectives in order to keep out undesirables. It is hard to see, Oglesby declared, "how a group could be `taken over' unless it has handles of power that can be seized, some `central apparatus' that can enforce orders. SDS has no such apparatus--only a beleaguered hot-spot in Chicago--and it is a main hard point with us that it never shall."19
The red-diaper babies of the New Left were part of the anti-anti-communist wing of the Left:Central apparatus or not, the struggle for SDS got under way just a few short months after these words of bravado had been uttered. In February 1966, the Progressive Labor party dissolved the May Second Movement and directed its members to enter SDS. Thus began what later SDSers were to call the invasion of the body-snatchers.20 At about the same time, the Communist party urged members of the Du Bois Clubs of America, an organization controlled by the Party, to join SDS in order to recruit suitable cadres or at least "save" SDS from the Maoists.21 Yet when the issue of "Communists in SDS" was discussed at the SDS 1966 convention, held in late August at Clear Lake, Iowa, a motion that anyone belonging to a disciplined party declare so before running for office in SDS was defeated by a resounding vote of 41-3. The idea that Communists could take over SDS was still regarded as a joke.22"
"As Harrington later related in an autobiographical work published in 1973, his anticommunism, shaped by years of sectarian strife and traumatic events like the Soviet suppression of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, "was not simply a theory, but an emotion as well." For Tom Hayden and his fellow SDS activists, on the other hand, the American Communist party was a discredited remnant, and for these young people the recent Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba was much more alive than memories of Hungary. Hence, Harrington wrote, "my notion of a progressive, Leftist anti-Communist made as much existential sense to them as a purple cow. For them, anti-Communism was simply the excuse American reactionaries used whenever they wanted to masquerade their own vicious-ness in some noble rhetoric.""
The New Left, however, was predictably captured and wrecked:
The Soviet Union may be gone but the New Left learned from the Communist playbook:"The climax came when the Weatherman-RYM II forces decided to expel PL and its allies for being "objectively anticommunist" and "counterrevolutionary." The expulsion question, it was determined, should not even be put to a vote of the plenary meeting, for it would have meant that "counterrevolutionaries" had the right to vote on their "counterrevolutionary nature." Instead, Bernardine Dohrn declared in a lengthy speech, the "Progressive Labor Party, because of its positions and practices, is objectively racist, anti-communist, and reactionary.... It has no place in SDS, an organization of revolutionary youth." This move led to a split in which each faction for a time claimed to be the real SDS.35 The end of SDS as an effective political organization had come. Many chapters collapsed, its members adopting a "plague on both your houses" attitude. SDS-PL continued to exist as a front for the Progressive Labor party until 1972, but it had lost its following and had become a mere shadow of its former self. In October of 1969, the Weathermen staged their "Four Days of Rage" in Chicago, in which two to three hundred people, equipped with helmets and armed with baseball bats and pipes, stormed through the streets of Chicago in order to "bring the war home." Cars and store windows were trashed, some seventy-five policemen were injured, and more than two hundred fifty of the self-styled revolutionaries were arrested."
If one looks at the places the Left controls, e.g., the universities, the media and other organizations, one sees all the dysfunction - the demand for ideological purity, the hijacking of organizations to other purposes, the paralysis and destruction of previously healthy organizations - that constitutes the history of American Leftism."The New Left of the late 1960s embraced Marxism-Leninism, but its members were candid about their political agenda and proudly called themselves revolutionary Communists. They would have been embarrassed by being accused of concealing their radical beliefs or, even more, by being seen as anything but revolutionaries. By contrast, many segments of today's radical Left deceitfully present themselves as defenders of international morality and peace and hide their true political agenda. Indeed, much of the effectiveness of these groups is due to the fact that they pass themselves off as "progressives," champions of human rights and social justice. The Communist party itself continues to rely extensively on secret cadres. As reported at a recent Communist party conference and mentioned earlier, a full 80 percent of the Party's membership is secret; only 20 percent are allowed to appear openly as Communists. "The Party makes important contributions for which it cannot take credit," noted its organizational secretary in July 1989. "Often Communist trade union leaders, elected officials and cultural figures express their frustration about not being able [read: allowed] to be more open."41 Both Old and New Left thus continue the tactics of secrecy and duplicity used by the Communists during the days of the Popular Front in particular. The damaging consequences."
So, we see in academia a commitment to Stalinism.If one looks at the places the Left controls, e.g., the universities, the media and other organizations, one sees all the dysfunction - the demand for ideological purity, the hijacking of organizations to other purposes, the paralysis and destruction of previously healthy organizations - that constitutes the history of American Leftism.
And, speaking of following the pattern, this article suggests that the Maoist Academy is in its final stage of viral infection.