[Marxism] Pacifica network fifth column on board of directors (from FB)

Jeff meisner at xs4all.nl
Wed Jan 15 13:30:42 MST 2014

On Wed, January 15, 2014 15:34, Marv Gandall wrote:
> [From original post:]
>>  By pandering to the anti-government sentiment of Pacifica’s
>> left-leaning listeners, stressing the legalization of pot and
>> opposition to foreign wars, “stealth” right wing libertarians like Alex
>> Jones and Summer Reese count on gullible Pacifica listeners not to
>> notice their real agenda. They are careful not to mention their
>> obsession with government plans to take away their guns and that we can
>> do away with government altogether and have the Koch brothers run
>> America.

This is at least the third time I can recall such a struggle to acquire
power at Pacifica by an outfit clearly hostile to the political
orientation that normally predominates at Pacifica (recognizing that
Pacifica involves a diverse group of programmers and listeners with
somewhat shared values but nothing like a common political program). Each
time, the conspiracy-theorist residing in the back of my mind wants to
point to the real evil force behind that attempt, but of course I know to
shut him up until some real evidence emerges! But this sounds very
serious, and I hope the challenge can be beat back as it was in previous
times. I'm really worried this time though, given the disarray of the left
in the US (and elsewhere) and in particular the increased strength of what
might loosely be called a "left-right" alliance, exactly as referred to by
the above quote by Ian Masters.

I surely agree with Marv on the essential aspects of this issue and I'm
not writing to dispute his post except for his use of one word (but as we
know, misuse of a single word can lead to disaster when that word is a
label applied to others!). So:

> As we know, there's an anti-statist affinity between anarchism on the left
> and libertarianism on the right, each of which appeals to today's young
> anti-Establishment rebels, particularly in the absence of a mass socialist
> movement.....

I just want to point out that "anarchism" does not very well apply to the
left-right convergence involved in the Pacifica struggle, or more
generally involving such issues where there is more than a superficial
concurrence between a section of the far right and far left. Or more
specifically, although I'm not there to witness it, I really doubt there
are many people calling themselves "anarchists" who'd be taken in by the
sort of appeal referred to above. Of course the field of "anarchists" is
at least as wide as those calling themselves "Marxist," so this isn't an
absolute statement, but I find that among activists, those sporting the
"anarchist" label are much less likely to be fooled into cooperation with
the right wing than many other leftists including "Marxists" -- referring
in particular to ones I often call "Stalinists," still a very inexact

The article Marv points to involves the term "Libertarian" which indeed
spans right and left. Because of its association with the right, I would
always avoid that specific term, but I have no problem with some
anarchists or syndicalists who may call themselves "Libertarian
Communists." That is NOT a term that any right-wingers would be using! And
among the "liberty" issues cited in the article, none really "bring
together" right and left in practice, even when there is total agreement,
say, on legalizing drugs among both the far-right and left, as opposed to
most bourgeois parties.

Or the far right's favorite "libertarian" issue of opposing gun laws, so
that white racists can arm themselves to the teeth in preparation for the
predicted "race war" etc. Even leftists who feel the right to own guns is
a big issue (I don't) almost always understand the difference between
their concerns and those of the far right. When the Black Panthers armed
themselves, I don't recall a single right-winger coming to their defense,
nor do I recall panthers joining the NRA to fight for that right. It was
two sides coming to a similar position for quite opposite reasons! None of
these "liberty" issues actually unite left and right in practice.

Rather, where you DO see a blurring of the lines is when it comes to
issues involving anti-war and anti-imperialism, promotion of conspiracy
theories (usually pointless, except to discredit the government), NSA and
government spying on citizens, decrying "globalization" and so-called
free-trade deals, anti-zionism -- and also anti-Islam! -- among others.
Many of these are legitimate issues of the left but where we can find
similar rhetoric on the right. Or more to the point, these are issues that
the far right sees will have traction among people in the left
constituencies and, I believe, have consciously targeted our base using
rhetoric that is barely distinguishable from our own.

But again, I do not see "anarchists" as being particularly vulnerable in
this regard. I am much much more worried about those on the left who
learned to hate the Mujahideen fighting against the soviets in Afghanistan
and have continued that hate for 30 years against any force that looks
vaguely similar. Or ones who learned to hate Israel and sloppily become
complicit in anti-semitic discourse promoted by a section of the right.
While superficially opposite, both of these feed an "anti-imperialist"
position in which the whole point of anti-imperialism, namely promoting
self-determination and national liberation, is absent. Those are examples
where I see the left-right danger. Not in "distrust of government" or
"defense of personal liberties" which we all support and don't need help
from the right doing it.

- Jeff

More information about the Marxism mailing list