[Marxism] Fwd: The Congress For Cultural Freedom’s Ultimate Failure | New Republic

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Sep 10 07:37:59 MDT 2016

Iber begins in Mexico, where the post-revolutionary government put 
cultural workers in an important political role, most famously 
sponsoring leftist muralists such as Diego Rivera and David Alfaro 
Siqueiros. Then, in the 1930s, President Lázaro Cárdenas made Mexico a 
haven for radical émigrés. The most famous, Leon Trotsky, was not only 
leader of socialist opposition to the USSR but also the author of 
Literature and Revolution and an associate of André Breton. One famous 
socialist muralist (Rivera) helped bring Trotsky to Mexico, while 
another (Siqueiros) personally tried to assassinate him.

Trotsky succumbed to another assassination attempt in 1940. His 
surviving associates weathered World War II, during which Communists in 
Mexico and the United States joined up with their governments in the 
name of Allied victory. The end of the war, and the onset of the 
diplomatic Cold War, brought a startling change of fortune for dissident 
leftists, some of whom followed their bitter anti-Stalinism into the 
arms of the U.S. government. These “anti-Communist entrepreneurs,” as 
Iber calls them, responded to the activities of the Soviet-backed World 
Peace Congress movement by offering to take up the franchise of the 
Congress for Cultural Freedom in Latin America.

Iber’s decision to start his chronology early makes it easy to see 
things from the point of view of CCF collaborators like Julián Gorkin; a 
revolutionary socialist, he escaped the radical fratricide of the 
Spanish Civil War only to suffer permanent physical scarring from an 
assault by Stalinists in Mexico City, and then became a major CIA 
collaborator in the Latin American CCF. Besides showing the reasons for 
collaboration, the meaning of collaboration is itself complicated. 
Consider that Leon Trotsky actively tried to testify before HUAC, the 
congressional anti-Communist panel that would come into its own under 
McCarthy. But Trotsky planned to use his address to denounce Stalinism 
and also to incite the workers of the United States to revolution. In 
the event, the committee, far from seducing him, refused him even the 
ability to enter the U.S. to testify.


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