peru, NACLA, MR

Daniel Axtell daxtell at
Wed Feb 21 22:34:19 MST 1996

I lost some of my messages so I can't quote them directly.

Leo Cassey assumed because I believed Chomsky's debunking of a Reader's
Digest book on Cambodia, I support the KR.  A typical distraction.  My
point was about propaganda.  Chomsky has a very credible track record on
explaining how even well-intentioned liberals (see his essay "objectivity
and liberal scholarship") can distort the facts to get their point across.

I've been reading NACLA and MR for years, and find them useful for some
things, but no matter how much "respect" they command, why are they cited
as authoritative on Peru?  I cited detailed reasons why NACLA is
"tainted", including two staunch anti-PCP members of their editorial
board, and the fact that they are the source of a vicious rumor (the PCP
kills gays) which was thoroughly debunked by Prison Legal News.  They
publish stuff by DeGregori who is a pro-government intellectual who makes
a living trashing the PCP, just like many other "terrorism experts".

MR has published virtually NOTHING about Peru, except for a very hostile
article by Hobart Spalding (one of NACLA's editors), and a reply by a
U.S. academic.  They apparently don't want to write more about it,
because they refused to publish an article by the writer of the reply.
MR published a book on Peru that didn't even footnote sources, written by
Poole and Renique (again, Renique is on NACLA's board), who are
professional PCP bashers.

How does this make NACLA and MR credible ON THIS ISSUE?

Proyect is really wierd.  Instead of dealing with evidence that suggests
NACLA is less than above-board on this issue (again: why don't they
substantiate attocity stories they publish, especially when they are
recirculating stuff by the same small group of academic PCP bashers),
Proyect gives us his activist resume!  As for me, I have been working for
Prison Legal News for years as a volunteer (we lost a grant from Resist
because we published news items on PCP prisoners that apparently
outweighed the other 99% of the material that helps prisoners) and been
active in the Mumia campaign.  I have the respect of my comrades and
that's enough.

What is revealing to me is that anyone who takes a principled stand in
supporting the PCP and tries to argue factually that there has been
serious distortion by the left press on this issue is instantly branded
as a "hard-core Stalinist".  I don't consider myself a Stalinist, I am
quite critical of him, but judging by the hysterical reaction of the
people who want to paint us with that brush, maybe I am in good company.

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