Meanwhile ... Bernie Sanders could possibly become the Democrat nominee for president.
A reader wrote in:
My wife and I have been looking forward to a Trump/Bernie general election precisely because we could witness a national MMA fight between capitalism and communism, and finish this thing once and for all.
He called my attention to a recent Sanders column by smear artist Ronald Radosh.
First, Paul Sperry wrote a column in the New York Post arguing that "self-described socialist" Bernie Sanders was also a "communist." Small-c.
Radosh replied with a dissent posted at PJ Media arguing that Sanders was not a "Communist." Large-C.
Typo? A large-C communist is a party member -- a claim Sperry does not make. With Radosh, of course, errors are part of the MO. As redundantly demonstrated in The Rebuttal, Radosh makes errors (lies, smears); therefore he is. What I see more clearly than before is that the errors Radosh makes -- and perhaps encourages disciples to make? -- are a "bodyguard of lies" for his own line of propaganda.
Take his line against Sperry -- Sanders Is Not a "Communist" (which, as noted, is not what Sperry wrote). Regardless of what motivates Radosh to try to knock down such a "charge," he makes an argument based in error. Following the disinformation campaign against American Betrayal, many have pondered the degree to which such errors reflect sloppiness (as in incompetence) and/or conscious deceit. The point I wish to consider is the degree to which the facts, to Radosh, do not matter, period. His own party-line is the thing.
For the novice who might not understand how I have arrived a such a hypothesis, I will paste in a single page from The Rebuttal to Radosh's dumbfounding campaign of lies against American Betrayal.
[Sanders] also organized for a communist front, the United Packinghouse Workers Union, which at the time was under investigation by the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
Second, Sperry notes that Sanders organized for the United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA), which he says was being investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee. That is misleading. There were Communists in all the CIO unions, some in the leadership and others hired as low-level organizers. There certainly were Communists in the UPWA, and some were influential. But as this accurate account in Wikipedia explains, Philip Murray, head of the CIO, expelled all the Communist-led unions for violating the Taft-Hartley Act. The UPWA was not among those expelled. It certainly had a militant history of waging strikes, and took a leadership role in aligning itself with Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement. This is no evidence for including it as a Communist union.
Having thoroughly decrypted the Radosh code in my rebuttal to "McCarthy on Steroids," the opening salvo in the Frontpage-led war on American Betrayal (which, for new readers, Vladimir Bukovsky and Pavel Stroilov described as "a Soviet-style propaganda campaign against Mrs. West and her book"), this does make me laugh. It probably makes most people's eyes cross, which I believe is precisely Radosh's intent.
UPWA being investigated ... is misleading. There were Communists ... There certainly were Communists ... But ... UPWA was not among those expelled ... It certainly had a militant history ... and took a leadership role ... Et voila ... This is no evidence for including it as a Communist union.
Large-C "Communist union"? Notice again, Sperry called the Packinghouse union a small-c "communist front," which, as any Cold War buff will know, is something quite different from, say, the Petrograd Metal-Workers Union.
Meanwhile, I have on my desk Hearings before the Committee on Un-American Activities, House of Representatives, Eighty-Sixth Congress, First Session, May 5, 6, and 7, 1959 (Including Index) on Communist Infiltration of Vital Industries and Current Communist Techniques in the Chicago, Ill., Area.
It contains plenty of evidence consistent with the United Packinghouse Workers union functioning as a communist front -- as well as a communist-infiltrated, -influenced and, arguably, -controlled union. I use lower case "c" here because the committee's findings suggested that many Communists in and around the United Packinghouse Workers of America in Chicago resigned their official party membership as a tactical means to deny party membership while maintaining a Communist/communist operation.
However, to blow holes into Radosh's buttressing arguments from "this accurate account in Wikipedia" (seriously, what are the odds he didn't write/edit the entry himself?), I don't even need to begin to cite 1959 sworn testimonies.
Radosh is correct, according to Wikipedia, that Philip Murray did indeed expel a roster of Communist-controlled unions from the CIO in 1949 and 1950. But whatever Murray did, he did it about a decade before the 1959 HCUA communist investigations into the Packinghouse union that precede Sanders' early 1960s college years in Chicago.
Radosh's argument about what Murray did or, rather, didn't do in 1949-1950 (when Bernie Sanders was still 8 or 9 years old) regarding the Packinghouse union has nothing to do with House investigations into Communist/communist control of the same union undertaken ten years later. It was after these hearings that Bernie Sanders, college student, would sign up as a Packinghouse union organizer.
In other words, Radosh has not presented evidence that contradicts Sperry or clears Bernie -- or, for that matter, the Packinghouse union.
As I have come to interpret Radosh, his careless or faulty grasp of the facts is secondary to his message. The point here is not to "correct" Radosh -- as if he cares about being correct. (See above illustration.) The point is to see through the smokescreen of errors to the message: Nothing Communist/communist to see in Sanders' activities, or in the Packinghouse union, either.
When manipulation, not illumination, is the historian's goal, the facts are only so many dust particles.
I hope to expand on this theory in Part 2.
Meanwhile, there is still more to see in the Packinghouse union and perhaps even Bernie Sanders' reportedly brief involvement with it, regardless of the Radosh "nothing to see here" line.
First of all, the 1959 House record shows the union was beset by communists in this period preceding Bernie's arrival on the Chicago scene.
And, looking to the union's history, not just any communists.
This is where the story gains some old-time and current-day heft.
In 1948, shortly before Philip Murray did not expel the United Packinghouse Workers of America from the CIO, Big-C Communists and Frank Marshall Davis and Vernon Jarrett came together on behalf of this same Packinghouse union, as Paul Kengor and Trevor Loudon have uncovered.
In shortest, as Kengor explains: "Vernon Jarrett and [Frank Marshall] Davis teamed up on the small publicity team of the communist-controlled Packinghouse Workers Union; incidentally, Frank Marshall Davis publicly wrote a column calling for the nationalization of the meat industry."
And, yes, that would be Obama's mentor Frank Marshall Davis, and Valerie Jarrett's former father-in-law. (Valerie's father and maternal grandfather were also Communists under US investigation. See Judicial Watch's report on the family's FBI files here.)
With hardened Communists Davis and Jarrett, it's seems unlikely they would have joined the Packinghouse union cause because the union would be retroactively given a clean bill of non-Communist health by Radosh sixty-odd years later.
But that's not all. As Kengor also notes, "Harry, David and Frank all did work for the Packinghouse union."
That would be Harry Canter, former Communist Party leader in Boston, David, his Communist son and David Axelrod's mentor, and, of course, Obama's Frank Marshall Davis. Kengor further notes in his Davis biography, The Communist, that David Canter, a college journalist (also at University of Chicago, like Bernie, like Axelrod), would edit "the Packinghouse Workers Union newsletter, titled Champion." (See here for more of Canter's long life of links to Communists and lefties, including Axelrod, of course, and Barack Obama.)
Any way you cut it, the United Packinghouse Workers of America was a great American all-Communist/communist mid-century pitstop, including for Obama's closest political mentors; and later, Bernie, too.
Far from being a dead end, we are looking at puzzle pieces that require more study.
Trevor Loudon dates Canter's Packinghouse newsletter days to 1958, the year before the HCUA's Chicago hearings. Additionally, in 1962, David Canter would go before the House committee to answer, or at least be asked, questions about disseminating Soviet propaganda through an entity he founded with another Communist, LeRoy Wolins, called Translation World Publishing. Despite both men's lack of cooperation, the Committee was able to demonstrate the outfit received Soviet funding and disseminated Communist/anti-American propaganda in the 1960s against U2 pilot Gary Powers, NATO, and the like, and, as Herbert Romerstein much later discovered, Barry Goldwater.
I have always liked this next puzzle piece: At the time of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, David Canter appears to have been Ramparts magazine's Chicago angel, credited with setting up the California publication's local production facilities for that riot-and-mayhem-marked convention week.
It's a small, Red world.