Saturday, July 21, 2007

Containment, Neocons and other words

It was Howard Hunt who broke the story that the CIA funded Animal Farm, John Halas and Joy Batchelor’s 1954 version of George Orwell’s political allegory...
(11 Jul) From the London Review of Books. I dropped a comment on the blog lilarajiva.wordpress. It's still a good film, though, apart from the ending.
"the much encouraged and subsequently abandoned Hungarian uprising.”
What exactly could the CIA or anybody else outside have done to support the rising? I don't agree with the point made about containment. Surely containment included continuing the battle of ideas with a view to Communism collapsing from its own internal weaknesses? And 1956 did virtually destroy the appeal of Communism in western Europe. Hard on the Hungarians, of course.

Jeff Weintraub posts about various scare-words ...
the threat posed by the "very liberal Communists"
Of course, "liberal" has a specific usage in American English. Its meaning is different in British English, not to mention in French.
Historically ... the correct term is "Trotskyist." "Trotskyite" was a derogatory slur...
Stalinists, for their part, used to call anyone they didn't like either a "Trotskyite" or a "fascist"--and sometimes both.
In Spain, the Communists, in complete disregard of the facts, accused the trotskyists of conspiring with the fascists. The following passage from Antony Beevor's 2006 book refers to "the anarchists", but exactly the same line was taken towards trotskyists. (The POUM, who Orwell fought with, were trotskyist in tendency, although they were not "pure" enough for Trotsky himself).
On 17 July [1936], just as the anarchists were preparing to defeat the generals' rising in Barcelona, the Comintern 'advised' the Spanish communist politburo: 'It is necessary to take preventative measures with the greatest urgency against the putschist attempts of the anarchists, behind which the hand of the fascists is hidden.' (p36)
Going back to Jeff's main subject, I heard on the BBC World Service last week a Business review or something, on the question of Murdoch taking over the Wall Street Journal, where the presenter described how the WSJ's opinion pages are a forum for the neo-conservatives and asked whether Murdoch could actually take it to the Left.

I would have thought it more accurate to say that the WSJ is a forum for opinion that is, quite simply, conservative. "Neo-conservative" is used here as an antonym of "on the Left", both terms being perhaps equally meaningless.

Incidentally, I tend to agree with the interviewee, who said that Murdoch is probably happy with the WSJ's opinion pages as they are.

Update (20 Jul): Another word that is being bandied about in the US is "libertarian", in connection with the Republican candidate, Ron Paul. From what I gather watching C-Span, his views can be described as "old conservative" (or paleo-con): isolationist, given to conspiracy theories (from what I remember, many of the old CTs, such as Pearl Harbour, came from the paleo-cons originally, before being taken over by "the Left").


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