Over at Pajamas Media, historian Ronald Radosh reviews Glenn Beck's The Revolutionary Holocaust documentary, which aired last Friday on Fox News Channel. The hour-long show took a long look at 20th century left-wing totalitarianism, focusing on the cults of Stalin, Che, and Mao (I was one of the talking heads in the Che segment).
From Radosh's piece:
[In a Politico story about the special, Georgetown's Michael Kazin] is quoted as saying that he saw the documentary as "a classic piece of anti-Communist propaganda," which from my point of view, does not make it inaccurate and is not necessarily a bad thing. Kazin then points to a major element of the story that Glenn Beck's film leaves out. He writes, accurately, that "'the first anti-Communists were democratic socialists and anarchists like Emma Goldman' or that 'socialists in Europe after 1945 were allies of the U.S. against the USSR.'"
Kazin is correct. His point is further illustrated by the following. A major anti-Communist operative during the years of the Cold War was Jay Lovestone, head of the AFL-CIO's international apparatus, which he singlehandedly transformed into an active organization fighting the Communists in Italy, Germany, Japan and elsewhere. When some supporters of Senator Joe McCarthy attacked his outfit as working with leftists, Lovestone responded that "they don't understand that the Social-Democrats are our best allies in the fight against the Communists." Beck does not seem to comprehend that the socialists were in fact our most dependable friends in the worldwide fight against the Soviet Union and Europe's Communists. He may disagree with those who want America to move towards a European style social-democratic welfare state. But his viewers would not comprehend how these same socialists were our allies, if they ever came across this fact elsewhere.
It would have helped give more perspective and understanding to the story if Beck had in fact showed just that point, and perhaps obtained interviews with surviving participants of the old anti-Communist wars from people active in the labor and social-democratic movements. As for Kazin's claim that Beck only wants to expose "inhumanity on the left," why then did the film deal with Hitler and Nazism, which certainly Kazin does not see as a force on the Left?