'slanders' and 'cults'

glevy at acnet.pratt.edu glevy at acnet.pratt.edu
Mon Feb 19 04:46:04 MST 1996

Lisa Rogers wrote:

> Sure Jerry, only trick is how to decide what is 'unjust' and
> 'baseless'.  After all, you and I and others here have been accused
> of 'slandering' a left group in the US.
> Right?

Knowing "the truth" can, of course, be very difficult in practice.
However, when we do _know_ that some individual or group is being
unjustly maligned to discredit that individual or group, I believe we
must *say* so.

There are two kinds of problems that I find especially needy of response
given the political history of those problems  on the Left. The first is
described in the previous sentence. It, the deliberate fabrication of
charges and malicious misrepresentation of others' perspectives, is a
trick practiced by many groups and individuals. Many lives have been
ruined as a result of both the charges themselves and the unwillingness
of others to defend those individuals publicly.

The second kind of problem stems from the "logic" of the "an enemy of my
enemy is my friend" thesis. The USSR was opposed by US imperialism.
Therefore, the charges against Stalin are all imperialist lies. The same
"logic" was applied towards Mao in China, Pol Pot in Kampuchea, Saadam
Hussein in Iran, ... and the Shining Path in Peru. In this case, a
response is necessary because of the *lives* that are lost and
"justified" with this form of apologetics. Do we not owe something to
the memory of those who have either been murdered or persecuted without
cause in the name of "socialism"? Should we not speak the truth, when we
know it, in order to stop other lives from being lost? This is not a
pedantic question. This is a burning political and moral question of our

> BTW, aren't slander and libel technical, legal terms, implying
> potential State intervention?

Many words have multiple meanings, as you know. The meaning in which I
used those terms in the section of my previous post that is reproduced
below does not imply potential state intervention. It means, instead that
*we* confront those false and malicious statements.


> ... I believe it is a requirement for serious political  activists to
> defend others on the Left from slanderous and libelous  charges.  I
> also believe that it is a simple but  essential act of solidarity to
> speak up for others who are unjustly  attacked for political
> positions that those individuals (or groups) do  not hold and to
> defend a person (or group) from baseless charges that  are intended
> to discredit that individual (or group). Do others agree?

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