Monday, January 26, 2009

Redbaiting Obama's Climate Czar

From the (always reactionary) Washington Times:
Stephen Dinan

Until last week, Carol M. Browner, President-elect Barack Obama's pick as global warming czar, was listed as one of 14 leaders of a socialist group's Commission for a Sustainable World Society, which calls for "global governance" and says rich countries must shrink their economies to address climate change.

By Thursday, Mrs. Browner's nam
e and biography had been removed from Socialist International's Web page, though a photo of her speaking June 30 to the group's congress in Greece was still available.

Socialist International, an umbrella group for many of the world's social democratic political parties such as Britain's Labor Party, says it supports socialism and is harshly critical of U.S. policies.

[...] "
Yes... 'global governance'. What a frightening idea! That governments might join together in halting the unbrideled quest by the barons of global capitalism to ravage the environment and burn down the last tree on the planet to enable their stock to increase by 1%.

Socialist International says it 'supports socialism'. What a revelation! *An accusatory, balding old white man's voice snarls*: "Carol Browner, are you or have your ever been a member of the Communist Party? Are you a member of the Screenwriters Guild of America?"

The sort of 'socialism' supported by the Socialist International is the most tepid, third-wayist, reformist incarnation of European labor/social-democratic parties on offer in the world. (Like most social-democratic european parties, their statement of principles is more attractive than the actual (neoliberal) policies they support).The group does have a few semi-radical parties as members, but these are not to be found on the Continent. The German SPD (who is now in a coalition with the CDU and whose leadership leans more toward the CDU than Die Linke, the only serious leftist party in Germany), the pathetic Parti Socialiste Francais, the Blair-ized British Labour Party and the now powerless Italian Democratic Party (formerly Democrats of the Left, formerly the PCI (the party of Gramsci) back when Italian Eurocommunism was a serious movement) are all members of the Socialist International. How ignorant would you have to be to think that Browner's membership in this organization was in any sense subversive (nevermind that subversive should be a term of praise rather than rebuke!)?

"Mr. Obama's transition team said Mrs. Browner's membership in the organization is not a problem and that it brings experience in U.S. policymaking to her new role."
Gasp! You mean he didn't find her when he found out that she was a Stalinist agent!?

"Her name has been removed from the Gore organization's Web site list of directors, and the Audubon Society issued a press release about her departure from that organization."

Good thing. Gore and Audubon sure wouldn't want to have to admit that they had a dirty Stalinist thug in their organizations.

Most Americans don't have any clue what socialism is. And how would they? Our culture, history books, etc. are all saturated with Cold War tropes... meanwhile the tradition of home-grown radical movements (like the IWW, the Socialist Party under Debs, the Black Panthers, etc.) is completely occluded from most mainstream sources of information.

Even in graduate-level political theory courses, you can frequently hear 'progressive' students wondering out loud why anyone would mention Marx anymore given that we've "been there and done that". The equation of Marxism with Stalinism and Socialism with the Soviet Union didn't emerge from thin air... neither did it emerge from any particular student's 'individual critical faculties.' Tropes of this kind represent the most crude legacy of Cold War ideology, pure and simple. Flavor-of-the-month fans of gentrified versions of post-structuralism (itself born of a reaction against a particular kind of Marxism and the experience of post-68 Maoism) would do well to canvass the history of ideas once in a while.

Seriously though, the WT article is truly disgusting... this sort of Redbaiting makes my stomach turn. When will this kind of garbage end? The Washington Times is famous for this kind of trash, but it would hardly surprise me if this had been printed in the Washington Post or the New York Times.

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