Communists in concentration camps

Chris Brady cdbrady at
Fri Aug 22 02:43:11 MDT 2003

I am not rising to this de-bait, but in passing it off, I am compelled
to make a couple of comments.

Bob Gould's letter provides interesting perspectives on communism in the
twentieth century.
One paragraph where my credulousness balked, however, is when he wrote:
"The opening of the Soviet archives since 1989 has led to a major
project, The Annals of Communism series, by Yale University Press, which

includes about 20 extremely useful books. Two of them are The Secret
of American Communism, and The Soviet World of American Communism,
collections of documents edited by Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes."

More is on the way from that corner.
The book is not closed.
Remember Harvey Klehr's past role,
and his utility to the anti-communist status quo.

I would add that I suspect, but I could be wrong, that Ken Loach's Land
and Freedom had such success precisely because it attacked the CP.  (You
could almost hear the gleeful liberals quack:  "See! They're all like
that!")  Not because it heralded a new and improved communist movement.
I wish!

I feel that people who have an honest, sincere and considerate interest
in our radical past might be put off by being called idiots for
attempting to learn more of our communist history.  The more I find out
about the working people who joined the Communist Party in the 1930s the
more I realize that there were many factors that led to their
radicalization, but most were reasonable under the circumstances.  And
many of them were extremely effective organizers and dedicated to the
cause of communism.  We can learn from them.  There is a tragic element
in the mix as well, but we are not going to determine anything useful by
insulting people and deriding their efforts to obtain historical
knowledge as "nostalgia."  Good contributions to the field come from
many writers but one I will mention in particular because he hails from
what I suspect to be similar to Bob's background (and many others on
this list) in the Trotskyist movement, and that would be Alan Wald.  His
more recent contributions have added much insight into how we can learn
from our failures--and from our successes.  It has come to the time when
we as communists should recognize our common heritage spans across the
entire span of communist thought, and action. Our effectiveness as
historical materialists will come from what we have learned from the
past, not living in it.

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