Monday, May 21, 2018

Speaking of combating anti-communism at the DSA camp out- part 1

By SJ Otto
This past weekend I had a great time at the Democratic Socialist of America (DSA) camp out. Along with enjoying the great outdoors, I got to sleep in a small but dry tent through a very rainy night, at Eisenhower State Park. I came in Friday night. I hung out with people from all over Kansas, Kansas City and Nebraska. We all had dinner, drank some beers and socialised. That is what most people do on a camp out.
Saturday afternoon we had four speakers and/or discussions.  After all, what is a DSA camp out without some discussions on politics? The group was small, about 25 people, but these are the dedicated folks who plan to take what they have learned back to their prospective cities and inspire others. It was also just a good way for DSA people to get together and talk about what we are doing in our prospective cities and states.

First speeker: Combating anti-communism

Phil Brown, Omaha, Nebraska, gave a speech on "Combating anti-communism."
"Anti-communism is part of the US ideology," Brown said. "At every level of our culture anti-communism is pervasive. It's Orthodox American ideology. Communism is featured as an evil force. A threat to the American way of life, to the American dream."
Brown explained how the US created this climate of anti-communism which was obvious during the red scare years, but also pushed in more subtle ways.
" Leftist Groups have distanced themselves from communism," Brown continued. "They stress they are not communist. None of those attempts worked. If you challenge the bourgeoisie they will label you a communist.  A democratic socialist runs for office, he is labelled a communist. Red baiting doesn't help us. "
Much of Brown's speech was about all the ways the corporate leaders of this country have associated any challenge to their authority as communism.
"Even Medicaid could be labelled communism," Brown added.
He pointed out some of the absurdities of anti-communism.
"Many Americans see themselves as millionaires who are temporarily removed from that class by the fact that they just don't have their money yet," he added.
All of this creates the kind of class confusion that has protected the wealthy classes from the working class. It has created a kind of hostility to working class ideas while not being hostile to the upper classes.
Brown said that  anti-communism is a form of intervention and some leftists take part in it.
" Intervention in Korea, Vietnam, Latin America, Central America, regardless of what we think of these other countries some progress is made," he added.
Brown pointed out that most of the countries that have been labelled as authoritarian, un-democratic and anti-freedom, (common catch phrases) may fall short of the progressive values we want to see, yet they  began as movements that people supported for legitimate reasons. He used the fall of the Soviet Union as an example of a cause that many leftist supported, but in the end that support worked against a lot of them.
" If we are pressing for social change it doesn't help us too be red baiting," Brown added. "It makes a liberal or progressive agenda easy to shoot down."

I only stayed Friday Night, while others stayed clear through Sunday. Besides drinking beer and sleeping under the stars (sort of) I swam in the lake. A lot of people were there from Wichita. Jim Phillips spoke on the history of DSA. That story will be in part 2 of this story.

To be continued=>

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