Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Miseducation of Katrina vanden Heuvel

For years (long before the rise of the internet), C.I. has assured those asking that Katrina vanden Heuvel was not a Communist. Now? Other than an idiot, C.I. says, "I don't know what the hell she is."


Peace Resister Katty-van-van has been making such an ass out of herself of late that those in management at The Nation can't stop talking and, indeed, called C.I. last week to laugh about crackpot Katty. Listening, C.I. grew appalled (as Kat noted) by Katty's educational failures which led to her to speak and write of the FDR era with nothing but ignorance. However, two days after, C.I. remembered a point the late James Weinstein (founder of In These Times) used to make about the Communist Party and, in fact, makes in The Long Detour:

For the Communists this approach to politics was necessary. The party operated through single-issue movements because it could not proclaim its underlying loyalties or principles. While the party had come out from underground in the early '20s (actually, it was pushed into the open by orders from the International), it never tested its principles by exposing them to public scrutiny, by running in elections and thereby providing the public with the means of choosing them or rejecting them.

But the party developed a theory that made a virtue of this necessity. It deluded itself and its fellow-travelers into believing that a pre-ordained historical trajectory made popular exposure to its principles unnecessary. A "strong and consistent fight for democratic rights under conditions of decaying capitalism must ultimately lead the American people to the choice of a socialist path," the party proclaimed at its ninth convention in 1936. Or, as party leader Earl Browder said more mechanistically, "History marches towards socialism." Thus Communists believed that even in an open democratic society such as the United States, a tiny political party could gain power in a time of crisis simply by being strategically placed in popular social movements. The memory that the Russian party with only 17,000 members at the beginning of 1917, could pull off a revolution comforted them. If the Russians took power by seizing the moment when the tsarist regime collapsed, why couldn't they?

If Katrina vanden Heuvel isn't as stupid as those around her at the magazine think (not her coffee fetchers who assume The Devil Wears Cheap Knock-Offs Beautifully), the above passage goes a long towards explaining that: She's not stupid, she's a damn liar.

"A tiny political party could gain power in a time of crisis simply by being strategically placed in popular social movements" -- well change "popular social movements" to Panhandle Media and you have the story of how the well was poisoned and Barack was installed. And what do Closeted Communists do? They try to hide. And they try not to publicly associate with others. Which would explain Katrina's closeness with a woman she will not publish in the magazine (a woman who is a Communist and is in the political closet publicly).

So in fairness to der vanden Hovel, we'll note upfront, she may not be the idiot we all think. She may be a covert Communist and her efforts to lie (in the way described by Weinstein above) for 'change' require that she look like the left's biggest sap. Oh, the sacrifices she is willing to make!


Dealing only with her recent public stupidity (in part to avoid outing the ones who provide such entertaining Katty-van-van stories), let's turn to her supplicant James Vega who notes this apparent scribble from Katrinket:

it's worth remembering another template for governing. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was compelled to become a bolder and, yes, more progressive President (if progressive means ensuring that the actual conditions of peoples' lives improve through government acts) as a result of the strategically placed mobilization and pressure of organized movements.
That history makes me think that this is the moment for progressives to avoid falling into either of two extremes --reflexively defensive or reflexively critical. We'd be wiser and more effective if we followed the advice of one of The Nation's valued editorial board members who shared thoughts with the Board at our meeting last Friday, November 21.

History? The woman's either lying or she's a stupid fool.

"Franklin Delano Roosevelt was compelled to become a bolder and, yes, more progressive President (if progressive means ensuring that the actual conditions of peoples' lives improve through government acts) as a result of the strategically placed mobilization and pressure of organized movements"? No, the New Deal results from the Great Depression, specifically, it results from the crisis going from bad to worse between the time FDR was elected and when he was sworn in (in March, the 20th Amendment would later move the swearing in up).

There was no progressive movement per se nationally. The Socialists were largely gone from national politics and the Communist Party was a dying force. Demonstrations did matter but the context of when they took place and what took place are left out in Katrinket's docudrama approach. The economy was crippled and that was before FDR won the election. It immediately got worse (specifically the banking sector) and the New Deal was quickly cobbled together (and criticized in real time by many for not going far enough -- which it did not, FDR refused to explore, for example, collective ownership and went so far to help cut off a Democratic gubernatorial nominee who was running on that issue).

The Russian Revolution was not ancient history, it was recent history and there was fear -- among the establishment -- that something similar could happen in the US. That's what the New Deal was about.

Mobilization and pressure? When does Katrinket believe the New Deal was cobbled together and what pressure she can cite -- real pressure that can be historically documented -- on FDR? It is true that the Communist Party -- a small party at that time -- threw their support behind FDR. It is true that they think they moved mountains. Their actually having moved mountains, however, has never been historically established.

Now here's Katrinket (same source) offering 'historical' 'examples':

It will take large scale, organized movements to win transformative change. There was no civil rights legislation without the [civil rights] movement, no New Deal without the unions and the unemployed councils, no end to slavery without the abolitionists. In our era, this will need to play out at two levels: district-by- district and state-by-state organizing to get us to the 218 and sixty votes necessary to pass any major legislation; and the movement energy that can create public will, a new narrative and move the elites in DC to shift from orthodoxy. The energy in the country needs to be converted into real organization.

Again the question is: Stupid or a liar?

The labor laws? What won those? She's telling you that we can repeat that today. Before you say, "Yea!" -- ask her to explain what the hell she's talking about.

What's she's not telling you (because she's a liar or stupid) is that the moment she wants to recreate requires workers being killed. Requires them being shot in the back as took place in Minneapolis in 1934. That is what pushed through the labor laws. The non-stop attacks on workers and the fear of these worker demonstrations, as The New York Times' Louis Stark told FDR, "From coal it will spread to steel and autos."

Horror, revulsion and fear is what pushed FDR (and the establishment) but Katty would have you believe it was instead people just gathering and saying, "Hey, let's all hope!"

There is no movement behind Barack. There was none in 2008. There were Front Groups. That's not stating, "Barack's a secret Communist!" He's not. As we've always warned you for two years now, he is a War Hawk Corporatist. However, a lot of Front Groups sprung up to pimp him. And they kid themselves that they now have some pull and basically make like Daisy Clover insisting, "You're going to hear from me!"

Uh, no, actually not.

Katrinket should grasp this. They wasted the least twenty years -- her and her ilk -- doing nothing. Like the Communist Party in the last century, they skipped around from issue to issue without ever offering a framework for public consumption. During the bulk of that period, they really had no audiences to speak of true, but even a small audience should be informed. Once Bully Boy went to war on Iraq, The Nation hit a peak it's never seen before (and won't see again for decades if it doesn't fold first). It used that over 160,000 member audience by? Doing nothing.

By doing nothing.


She could have been building a movement from 2004 on (when she became both editor and publisher of the magazine). Instead, she dithered. If you wanted to know about reality TV, she was your one-stop. Katty, what did Trump do tonight? Who do you think will win American Idol? But if you wanted to define (or redefine) liberalism? Forget it. Maybe if it could be turned into a trashy 'reality' TV program, she'd have some interest in the topic.

In fact, Katty should consider making herself "host" (Katty Seacrest!) of webisodes: What Is Liberalism? Weekly, she tosses out a question and applicants video themselves and upload it. Each week, Katty sends one person packing and at the end of the process has 'defined' modern-day liberalism! Without having to break a sweat because that is, after all, how she likes it. She'd farm out her hired help for activism if she thought she could get away with it.

Which brings us back to what pushed FDR, what Katrina won't get honest about. Should things get that bad and those conditions return, might we suggest that first on the 'redistribution' lists be Harlem mansions from all White owners?

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