Media Criticism of the Day

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From Lew Rockwell:

The Communist Party's Daily Worker had a sports column called Out of Left Field. It was actually less offensive, and less pro-state, then today's establishment media.

Headline's not bad, either.

NEXT: Last of the Realists

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  1. And chance of a link? I’d be interested to read what TDW had to say about professional sports.

    In a strictly bourgeois, ironic, unreliable intelligensia kind of way.

  2. next thing you know they will be be making apple pie out of Ritz crackers instead of apples!!!!!

  3. The Daily Worker played a key role in agitating for baseball to break its color barrier….

  4. Not surprised. The SP held the first sit ins at segregated lunch counters.

    In Chicago.

    In the 40s.

  5. “it was Wolverhampton Wanderers who beat Lester 3-1.”

    Leicester

  6. Sorry about that, anal! I cut-and-pasted the dialogue directly from the web site on which I found it. Having been a recent visitor to old Blighty, I shoulda known better. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

  7. For an interview with Lester Rodney, see the CP’s “theoretical” journal *Political Affairs*:

    http://www.politicalaffairs.net/article/articleview/157/1/33

    “His contributions to sports history and to the working-class movement is detailed in Press Box Red: The Story of Lester Rodney, the Communist Who Helped Break the Color Line in American Sports by Irwin Silber (Temple University Press, 2003).”

    There are two annoying errors people can make about the Communist Party USA. One is to say, “they did some good things (for African Americans, trade unionists, etc.) so we should ignore that they were apologists of a monstrous dictatorship.” The other is to say “They were apologists of a monstrous dictatorship, so let’s ignore any good things they did.”

  8. Did Lester Rodney know who won the English Football Cup in 1949?

    I agree with you, David. It’s easy to stereotype people with communist leanings. They’re not bad people, just hopelessly naive.

  9. Ahem…

    Leicester Rodney please.

  10. Oh, you son of a bitch! 🙂

  11. …a group of men who have actually contributed to society, baseball players.

    I was with him up to here.

  12. Matt Welch,

    For what its worth, communists were instrumental in the freeing of the Scottsboro Boys (the case lead to a whole slew of new procedural rights for criminal defendants).

  13. Nothing beats today’s San Francisco Chronicle headline for pure naked irony:

    Congress slams baseball’s integrity

  14. Oh well, they are not much different then todays media- spin the news to meet their agenda

  15. Man, Commies sure are innovative and forward thinking. How’d that whole Soviet Union thing work out?

  16. It would have made it if the rest of had given them a chance–by kissing their butts and supporting them.

  17. Mike:

    Baseball players contribute to society by entertaining tens of millions, who willingly pay for such entertainment. Is this not a social good? I know many people whose lives are enriched by the enjoyment of the sport–and this passion has informed numerous books and films about the game (and its fans).

    Given the choice, I’d rather watch a well-executed double play than parse Kant any day (and I’ve done both). Don’t be a frigging snob about makes the world go ’round….

  18. It always brings a tear to my eye when I think of what a misunderstood man Stalin was.

    He loved us, man, he really did.

  19. Ah, c’mon guys. Stop giving joe such a hard time. I mean, the Berlin Wall, the Iron Curtain, and the entire anti-emigration regime of the Soviet Bloc was merely a choice made by Professional Planners exercising their Professional Competence, not to be second-guessed by mere amateurs. They had degrees from Moscow State and everything!

    Kevin

  20. The great thing about the commie push for civil rights is that everyone would have had an equal chance to go to the gulags, had they obtained power.

    – Josh

  21. Finally, Brian et al, I wonder if you’d care to apply your oh-so-strict moral code to the political system responsible for the genocide of the American Indians.

  22. Just to make sure I’ve got this straight…

    We’ve got people who everybody acknowledges did things that were positive, even admirable and heroic, in the advancement of freedom and democracy. But because they believed some wrong things, we’re not supposed to acknowledge their contributions. In fact, acknowledging those contributions in any way is to be interpretted as an endorsement of their flawed ideology.

    I gotta say, I’ve seen this movie before. And with the magic of Photoshop, it should be even easier to crop the deviationists out of old photographs.

  23. joe, say what you want about what admirable work some people in various communist organizations may have done – I wasn’t denying that you could find something that I might agree was good. The whole point of my initial problem with your post, which prompted the Marge Schott quote you mocked, was your connecting what some individuals did with the implication that therefore Communism wasn’t all bad – which seemed to be the meaning of the snide “Uhhh…commies are bad. Mmmmmm-kay?” If what you meant was some people associated with that ideology did some good stuff, fine, just like some Nazis did some good stuff too I’m sure. If you are saying it’s wrong to just call communists bad because of that, I disagree. The ideology itself is immoral in theory and evil every time it has been attempted in practice. So yes, Uhhh… commies are bad. Mmmmmm-kay, Kenny?

  24. “you should learn to take a stance between incandescent hatred and total acceptance.”

    Heh. Good one joe, I do appreciate the rhetorical force of that sentence – can I use it sometime? However, I think I’ll keep my incandescent hatred for ideologies that try to strip the very essence of humanity from the individual. But for other things I can easily find some other place on my spectrum of annoyance – for example, I feel only mild disdain for most of your posts. 🙂

    Look, I was thinking more along the lines of the ideology and if I misinterpreted your post, fine, my mistake and I take it back. It happens. I’ll concede your general point on this one? Sure there were communists that were good people, I don’t deny that. I’m sure many were good people. But as for the legacy of the ideology, I’ll keep my hatred.

  25. Brian, it does seem from your posts that you are confusing people with ideologies, recent attempts to backtrack notwithstanding. Communism as a system is unsustainable and doomed to failure,as we all know. But even people who espouse Communism, mistaken as they are, are actually capable of doing good things as individuals, and can do so without necessarily trying to advance their political agenda.

    You and joe need to calm down. Have some dip.

  26. SPD, I think I conceded as much… wouldn’t a beer would be better 🙂

  27. “But even people who espouse Communism, mistaken as they are, are actually capable of doing good things as individuals”

    See, this is where it gets tricky. Marxists marching for civil rights or racial equality in the 40s-70s weren’t always acting “as individuals.” In most cases, political action to advance those goals was carried out as part of an organized program.

    “and can do so without necessarily trying to advance their political agenda.” Again, in most cases, they WERE trying to advance their political agenda. In some cases, the racial justice or civil liberties were the agenda – opposition to Jim Crow, for example, was genuine and heartfelt in many cases. In other cases, they were preliminary objectives to advance the agenda of the glorious workers blah blah blah. Sometimes, efforts to support other goals were cynical attempts to gain allies; other times, they were genuine efforts to redress an injustice. Most commonly, the partisans in the marches were, on an individual level, motivated by a combination of both, with the degree of each varying from person to person.

    But regardless, an SP member marching against sedition laws, and in favor of free speech and Eugene V. Debs’ release from prison, was in the right, and the democratic capitalists who opposed him were in the wrong.

    Mmmm…beer.

  28. joe: “It is not ok to conclude that someone is bad because some of what they believe is bad.”

    Well it certainly is to the extent that they have the *power* to implement their beliefs. In retrospect u.s. commie sympths never had such power of course.

  29. There was an obituary in the Boston Globe last year of a woman who was a famous communist. In the 1920s, she stood on a crate in front of the Lowell Silk Mills and started to read the Bill of Rights. The cops pulled her down, beat her bloody, and arrested her.

    Yadda yadda yadda, she ends up in the CPUSA, and remains loyal. She had to go into hiding during McCarthyism.

    Her journey led her to some wrong beliefs, but I can’t say she was a bad person.

  30. joe,

    But surely the advancement of civil rights was not exclusively a Marxist cause. You didn’t have to be a Communist to know that segregation was an evil deserving of oblivion.

    Liberal, capitalist democracies are usually far ahead of their ideological counterparts in actually advancing and implementing the causes of liberty (neocon double-speak notwithstanding), and not merely paying it grandiose lip service and then establishing “central committees” that do little but breed corruption and suppress dissent.

    To rate someone simply by their political views is like filtering out friends based on similar criteria, which I remember was advocated by a poster on a previous board. Personally speaking, I find such a method to be disingenuous, counterproductive and not the least bit distasteful.

    Brian — beer’s good. joe, you’re joining us. My treat. 🙂

  31. Your treat? Well then, I’m on my way… Guinness please! 🙂

  32. Oh, and Sprecher Black Bavarian is excellent!

    Kevin

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