[Marxism] George Packer on the Spanish Civil War

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Oct 24 07:25:40 MDT 2005


This moron has been showing up all over the place this week (Charlie Rose, 
Meet the Press) to hype "THE ASSASSIN'S GATE: America in Iraq." As I 
pointed out, Packer only parted company with people such as Paul Berman and 
Kenan Makiya when the uppity Iraqis began to make the occupation look 
untenable. If the invasion of Iraq had succeeded as well as that of Panama 
or Grenada in the 1980s, then this character would have never had developed 
second thoughts. In the latest copy of the New Yorker Magazine, he reviews 
some books on the Spanish Civil War that really tip you off how shitty 
these "liberal hawks" are.

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Since the fall of the Soviet Union and the opening of state archives in 
Moscow, scholarship has considerably darkened the view of the Communist 
role in Republican Spain. Moscow’s subversion of the Spanish government, 
especially after May, 1937, when the pro-Communist Juan Negrín became Prime 
Minister, turns out to have been more extensive than most of the Republic’s 
defenders ever knew, and more Machiavellian. The historian Stanley G. 
Payne’s “The Spanish Civil War, the Soviet Union, and Communism,” published 
last year, portrays a Spanish government that was in no serious sense 
democratic: though elected by a small plurality, it was composed largely of 
revolutionary parties that showed no willingness to allow the right wing a 
political future in Spain, and it was extremely brutal in its treatment of 
clerics, landowners, and suspected Fascists. In other words, Payne 
suggests, the elected Spanish government was probably headed toward 
Soviet-style totalitarianism before Franco ever launched his rebellion. 
Nor, according to recent scholarship, was the Republic forced to turn to 
the dubious embrace of the Soviet Union only after the Western democracies 
imposed their embargo; Stalin was among the Spanish government’s first arms 
suppliers of choice. Such discoveries have been enough to persuade some 
writers on Spain that the right side won.

full: http://www.newyorker.com/critics/books/articles/051031crbo_books

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