Peru and Propaganda

Dan Axtell daxtell at
Thu Feb 22 09:34:05 MST 1996

I was the one who brought up the subject of the KR in Cambodia.  I
brought it up in the context of the well-known distortion of events
there for propaganda reasons (and anyone with the least bit of
familiarity with Chomsky & Herman's work knows they do not endorse the
KR!), not to support them.  Immediately, I am tagged as a supporter of
the KR and the Gulag.  That is called Redbaiting, I believe.

Chomsky & Co. have done an excellent job of describing how propaganda
works in the corporate media: "scholars" or "experts" annointed by the
official media pontificate on "terrorism", "communism", etc.  I have
offered evidence that the same thing is happening vis a vis Peru: a
handful of "senderologists" (Tapia, Degregori, Gorritti) and their
American-based counterparts who quote them (Poole, Renique) repeat the
same attrocity stories, without detailing sources.  Left/liberal
journals like MR & NACLA (again, I find them useful and thought
provoking in other contexts) pick this up uncritically, and when I
criticize this with some detailed examples I am accused of being a
Gulag-loving, ice-pick wielding fanatic who is trying to trash
"respected" journals.  Who you respect says a lot about you.

Louis G. is portrayed as a True Believer, but I know that is not the
case.  I know him well, have serious ideological differences with him,
but respect his open mindedness.  It is folks like Leo Casey, Louis
Proyect, and Carlos who won't deal with the facts!  Proyect even stoops
to the "mine is bigger than yours" approach to his activism, as if that
is relevant to a discussion of propaganda.

One would think that Marxists would embrace a discussion about the PCP,
like what is their program, how do their strategy/tactics differ from
other Latin American insurgencies, how do they organize in the cities,
how was the PCP able to maintain its structure after top leaders were
captured.  However, I find MUCH more fruitful discussion of this issue
among reactionaries like Gordon McCormick of the RAND corporation than I
do among Marxists.  If we adhere to historical materialism, are the
above questions worth discussing?  I think they are.  Why don't Carlos,
Louis P., Leo Casey pursue their own threads about the relevance of
Trotsky and let others discuss this issue rationally?  Or is that too
"Stalinst?"  I am starting to find the "Stalinists" much more open
minded than the anti-"Stalinists".  But then, I'm just a crazy
"Stalinite" who hasn't been a bottom-feeder of the left for 30 years.

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