[Marxism] Red-baiting in the 21st century

Anthony Boynton anthony.boynton at gmail.com
Wed Feb 26 08:27:01 MST 2020

*Red-baiting in the 21st century*

The expected red-baiting of Bernie Sanders has begun in earnest, but don’t
expect it to succeed.

The cold war ended a long time ago.

Most of Sanders’ supporters were not even born when it ended. And, how many
people in the United States care about Nicaragua, Venezuela or Cuba,
anyway? And, those who do – including those who hate the current
governments of those countries, are likely to know that those countries
have all been victims of the United States.

Sure, red-baiting will get to the aging cold warriors, but face it – a lot
of them do not clearly understand that the Soviet Union does not exist, and
that today’s Russia is capitalist country governed by a right wing
kleptocracy. In fact, there are a few lunatics on the left who still think
that Russia is some sort of workers state.

The demise of the Soviet Union and the cold war, and the long decline of
the traditional reformist Communist and Social Democratic Parties has had
an unforeseen but easily understood side effect of diminishing the
reservoir of mass anti-communism that had been so carefully built up over
decades by capitalist ruling classes.

Donald Trump is fully aware of this. He is brazen about his corrupt embrace
of Vladimir Putin. He survived impeachment because the Republican Party
coldly calculated that Trump’s corrupt ties to Russia and other countries
would not be seen as treason by the right in the United States.

Their calculation was correct, but it makes their red-baiting problematic.
After all, Sanders visited Russia a long time ago, Trump loves Russia today.

There is also the issue of China to be considered. China, as capitalist as
it is, is still ruled by a Communist Party. China is the rising power in
the world today. It is a great success story! And, Mr. Trump admires Xi
Jinping almost as much as he admires Vladdy.

How this plays out in the popular mind will depend in part on how Sanders
et al. respond to the attacks.

Will the red-baiting be nothing more than water off the back of a duck?
Will it back-fire against the red-baiters and burn their hands? Will it put
a big enough dent in Sanders’ momentum to deny him the Democratic Party’s
presidential nomination?

We will see shortly, but one thing that it probably won’t do is stop the
growth of the reformist social democratic mass movement that Sanders now

A very likely result will be that some of the more serious minded among his
youthful supporters will go back and study what happened in Russia, China,
Cuba, Nicaragua and even Venezuela.


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