Monday, October 30, 2017

Has the Spanish Civil War Ended?

“Spain on a knife's edge as Madrid seizes control of rebel Catalonia” (Madrid, AFP)   

Deja vu isn’t what it used to be. I am confused. Hasn’t the Spanish Civil War ended? Here is a clue from the first paragraph of the AFP news release under the headline above. “Spain was plunged into crisis Friday as Madrid seized power from independence-seeking Catalonia, the first curtailment of regional autonomy since the brutal dictatorship of Francisco Franco.” Yes, let’s keep “the brutal dictatorship of Francisco Franco” front and center when we talk about contemporary Spain. Here we have the mass media slipping some virtue signaling into the mix to guide the reader, historiographically speaking, through dark, turbulent waters toward the safe harbor of cultural Marxist hermeneutics as he contemplates the current disorder.

AFP, by the way, stands for Agence France-Presse, an international news agency headquartered in Paris and the third largest news agency in the world, after AP and Reuters. Those who gaze at the world under the journalistic tutelage of the cognoscenti from AP, AFP and Reuters, should be aware that “brutal dictatorship” is one of their well-worn meta-political prescriptions, a de rigueur qualifier for right-wing dictators, living or dead. Rarely or ever do they apply it to the “liberators” of the left who grant free health care to their wards. In vein, you will scour AP or AFP coverage over the decades to discover “the brutal dictatorship of Fidel Castro.” Rather, here is another recent piece of left-wing journalism (the NYT) rhapsodic over a different Latin caudillo.  “The Socialist-inspired movement of the late President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela led to gains in education and health care, but the country has sunk into hunger, unrest and dictatorship.”  This “hunger, unrest and dictatorship” seems to be quite the mystery.  Take note of how respectful this is – “the late President” … his “Socialist-inspired movement” and so many “gains.”

The Spanish Civil War remains the 20th century prototype of the trending victim ideology. A lot of Franco’s victims were from Catalonia. Catalonia’s secessionist ambitions were a big part of the civil war, and it was, both materially and ideologically, the most vigorous region in opposition to the Nationalists. It was also an anarchist stronghold and the place where George Orwell observed for posterity in Homage to Catalonia the crushing of the non-Stalinist left (POUM) by Stalin’s NKVD. Today it offers an exotic fusion of hyper leftwing politics, academics and social justice activism. Visited now it would be sort of like a Berkeley, Madison, Ann Arbor and San Francisco all rolled together in a beautiful Mediterranean setting.  Standing in front of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia you might think you had just dropped some acid. To see today’s left rapidly decomposing, debauched pathologies proudly on an in-your-face display, go to Barcelona – a depressing contrast to conservative, still-somewhat-Catholic, Madrid.

However, to answer the question posed above: Did the Spanish Civil War really end in 1939 when the Republicans surrendered and the shooting stopped?  No. Two separate thoughts apply here. First, it was a civil war and, unlike conventional wars where the losers sue for peace and the winners, content with the terms, go home, the victors and the vanquished (for the most part) have to live together – intimately in some cases. The victors take their revenge, daily, in ways big and small. For the vanquished, the experience of resentment that never ceases to fester and is passed through the generations. Moreover, resentment, if properly nourished and managed, can become a powerful political weapon. In Spain, it has. Flip Clausewitz and you have the current Spanish Civil War as conducted by the Marxists: “Politics is the continuation of war by other means.”

Second, is that the Spanish Civil War is, perhaps, unique in the 20th century as a political rebellion where the forces of reaction prevailed against a well-organized, highly energized far-left terrorism supported by and aligned with the liberal and left-wing elites in politics, the universities and haute culture. Also unique is that the narrative of the Spanish Civil War that eventually triumphed was produced and widely promulgated not by the winners (Francoists) but by the losers (the left). Its success was due in large part to its simplicity as a tragic, but inspirational morality play. The freedom-loving, democratically elected Republicans, supported and defended by the International Brigades, succumbed to the tides of Spanish fascism under the leadership of General Francisco Franco, goose stepping in a junior partnership with Hitler and Mussolini.

This is the widely promulgated Manichean version of the Spanish Civil War – the forces of Good, advancing democracy, equality and freedom, confronting Evil in the form of fascism with its instinctive brutality, militarist atavism and racial bigotry. It is wonderfully free of any moral ambiguity – the losers as heroes and martyrs in opposition to tyranny and oppression, abandoned by the Western democracies; the winner, a cretin mediocrity who took his revenge, built his dictatorship and finally drifted into senescence.

In 2012, the British Marxist, Paul Preston, published a massive tomb, The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition and Extermination in Twentieth-Century Spain. Just the title and sub-title alone are a vicious smear; of course, the Catholic Church meets Auschwitz. Preston, a prolific and erudite Spanish Civil War historian, is widely read and admired in Spain. His Spanish Holocaust, however, is in keeping with the left’s reductio ad hitlerum approach to modern history. In the Prologue he writes: “I thought long and hard about using the word ‘holocaust’ in the sub-title of this book. I feel intense sorrow and outrage about the Nazis’ deliberate attempt to annihilate European Jewry. I also feel intense sorrow and outrage about the lesser but none the less, massive suffering undergone by the Spanish people during the Civil War of 1936—9 and for several years thereafter, I could find no other word that more that more accurately encapsulates the Spanish experience than ‘holocaust’.” I also feel intense sorrow and outrage reading this book, but many words could be found to show how tendentious, dishonest and outrageous Preston’s choice for his title really is, but suffice it to say that he is entirely consistent in playing the left’s tiresome game of the brown smear and preserving the fiction of the Spanish Civil War as fascism crushing democracy.  

Relieved of its romantic For Whom the Bell Tolls mythology, however, the historiography of the Spanish Civil War, thanks to the herculean labors of researchers like Burnett Bolloten and Stanley Payne, gives way in large part to the contemplation of communist (Stalinist) duplicity and treachery heavily cloaked in the rhetoric of democracy, equality and freedom.  While contributing human and material assets to the Spanish Republicans ostensibly to resist the fascist rebels, Stalin’s NKVD agents were moving through Spain rounding up, torturing and murdering dissident communists, like Andreu Nin, taking control of the Army and insinuating themselves deeply into positions of governmental power. Stalin’s Trojan horse modus operandi in Spain was a dress rehearsal for how the communists would operate to support the unfolding of “democracy” in devastated counties like Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Poland at the end of World War II, countries that we all know became models of social equality and so bursting with confidence, prosperity and opportunity that no one was allowed to leave.

During this civil war, Stalin’s assassins were also chasing his former revolutionary colleague, Leon Trotsky, around the globe and killing his family members until the Soviet-trained Spaniard, Ramon Mercader, murdered him in Mexico City in 1940. Mercader’s mother, incidentally, was Caridad del Río Hernández, an ardent communist who fought in the Spanish Civil War and doubled as a Soviet agent.The Leon Trotsky of Stalin’s invention and dissemination was supposedly in league with Franco and the fascists. In historical retrospect, it is difficult to conceive how such a preposterous fiction could have taken hold with anyone, but Stalin’s dramaturgical skill in service to his jealousy and megalomania was second only to the eager gullibility of his acolytes and fellow travelers.
“Fascist” in Stalin’s lexicon was his preferred term of abuse for whomever at the moment he saw as a competitor for power, his enemy du jour. Stalinists reserve their resentment for those who compete with them for power. Inside the Soviet Union from 1936 through 1938, Stalin purged the bulk of the old Bolsheviks like Bukharin and the senior officer corps, men who, like Trotsky, were supposedly in league with the fascists. These were individuals, most of whom were deeply committed communists, revolutionaries from the early days of the Bolshevik revolution. But Stalin feared and loathed them because he viewed them as competitors for his own power base within the party. Into Spain with the support of Santiago Carrillo and his Spanish communist followers, he exported his signature calumnies, purges, show trials with the accompanying tortures and executions. His agents moved against Francisco Largo Caballero and the socialists with a ferocity and ruthlessness that was directed against the forces of Franco in lesser proportions.  All of the non-Stalinist left in Spain at one time or another during the civil war were linked to or tarnished with the label of fascist.
With “fascism” being so protean and flexible, how absurd to try to render the Spanish Civil war as a battle of democracy against fascism when in many ways it more resembles a replay of French Jacobins against the ancien régime. However, the resemblance is imperfect. Franco did manage militarily to crush the Republicans and punish and purge all the Spanish leftists he could get his hands on. He also tried mightily to make 20th century Spain into an earlier Catholic Spain, not exactly a strictly fascist sort of obsession, evidenced also by his marginalizing of the Falange. But his 36 year-long “brutal dictatorship” was largely a bust. The Spanish Jacobins came roaring back, literally. After Franco’s death in 1975, the legendary Spanish Communist and devout Stalinist, La Pasionaria, Deloris Ibárruri of “No pasarán fame returned to Spain from exile in the Soviet Union and eventually took an elected seat in the Spanish Parliament.  General Secretary of the Spanish Communist Party (PCE) Santiago Carrillo also returned to Spain from the Soviet Union. Carrillo, a Stalinist errand boy and butcher, had supervised the Paracuellos massacres by a Republican faction in 1936. He also arranged for the murder of those Spanish communists who had incurred Stalin’s disapproval. Back in post-Franco Spain, Carrillo joined Ibárruri in Parliament. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Autonomous University of Madrid in 2005. La Pasionaria and Carrillo, both very old, with bloody hands and unrepentant, died, so to speak, in the “odour of sanctity” in the crumbling remnants of Franco’s Spain.

Post-Franco, it seemed like only minutes before Spain joined the rest of secularist, consumerist, western Europe with all the once-forbidden goodies – liberated women, no-fault divorce, gay rights, abortion (eventually).  With the fading of a Catholic Spain and the Iberian embrace of secular hedonism, you might think that the Spanish Marxists would be happy. But, no. Leftists everywhere are unhappy and resentful.  Resentment brings victims (as subjects of political patronage) and targets victimizers (as objects of proscription and revenge). In the U.S. the victims are “people of color” and the victimizers are white racists, committed to the retention of their “privilege” and the pursuit of their “supremacy.” In Spain, the left has Franco as the great victimizer, having achieved, per Paul Preston, Hitler status.  When you have yet another Hitler in place, there are ample victims for consideration and no place to hide for those who cannot quite grasp the new reality. Franco, unlike Hitler, won his war, and the Spanish, unlike the post WWII Germans subjected to de-Nazification, have eluded a de-Francoization. But the left persists. In 2007 the Socialist Party passed the eerie sounding “Law of Historical Memory” which, formally condemned the Franco regime and began the process of the dismantling of all things Franco in Spain – statues, street names, etc.  – and someday, Franco’s memorial and tomb, Valle de los Caidos. The Spanish Civil War is not over, at least not for the left in Spain.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

From Ted Kennedy to Harvey Weinstein, or, How the Lecher became the Lion

Image result for fat teddy kennedy on his yacht 

Image result for harvey weinstein
Let us cut to the chase. Edward “Teddy” Kennedy was one miserable, contemptible excuse for a human being. But dead he has been for eight years, so why bother now sifting through the sordid details, the mountainous offal strewn in the wake of his long and epically degenerate life? Two words: Harvey Weinstein. The recent outing of this bloated, debauched full-time Hollywood kingpin and moneybags man for Democrat politicians like Hillary and Obama and part time rapist raises the obvious question: how do they get away with it? The libertine, John Kennedy, splashing in the White House pool with prostitutes and shagging mob molls, still occupies his station in Camelot; yes, and Bill Clinton, a serial womanizer, sexual predator and suspected rapist who liked to fly on theLolita Express with his good buddy, convicted, child rapist, Jeffrey Epstein.  Bills wife, who covered for him and attacked his victims (slut  and looney tunes), then gets rewarded with a carpet bag Senate seat, the 2016 Democrat Presidential nomination, and 66 million votes. 

So, while the left now is on a cultural rampage with our public spaces – the statuary, monuments, the names of buildings, schools, streets, etc.  – purged of any historical references, symbols or imagery that might offend the delicate sensibilities of social justice warriors, the assault and abuse of women by big shot men of the left, both living and dead, get written off as weaknessand addiction.They are  quick to be forgiven because, as principal players in the ruling cult-Marx decadence of American culture, what they actually do is secondary to what they pretend to be – everything is the opposite of what it is said to be. The reality of Hollywoods pretend superior virtue is the rampaging sodomizer of actresses, Harvey Weinstein; the reality of the Democrats pretend abhorrence of hatred and violence is Bernie Sanders supporter, James Hodgkinson, trying to gun down Republican congressmen.
How then does the defunct Teddy, “the Lion of the Senate” Kennedy fit into this scene of ruinous hypocrisy where real victims get displaced by abstract ones? Ted Kennedy was the national standard bearer over a generation for left-wing profligates, a man who managed to set the bar lower than anyone could imagine. But this answer leads to a more complicated and fundamental question. How did he pull it off? How was this arch hypocrite, a man so intellectually mediocre, so personally dissolute and debauched able to rise to this pinnacle of political power, eulogized at his death as a champion of the disadvantaged and downtrodden, officially “lionized” as a great Senate statesman?  

Chappaquiddick was for Edward Kennedy his defining moment both as a man and as a politician. The decades that followed were merely exposition and commentary on this shameful episode of moral immolation. As a man? A coward, a libertine, a liar, a fraud, complicit in manslaughter from one of his countless alcohol fueled, philandering escapades. He abandoned a young woman in his submerged Oldsmobile he had driven off of a bridge, then fled the scene and sobered up. She could have been rescued, but the Senator was busy huddling with his handlers and the more important task of concocting a story to evade the law and to salvage his political career, letting his girlfriend of the moment slowly drowned. As a politician? He used the wealth and influence of his family and the power of his office to suborn the local authorities, buy off the Kopechne family and ultimately to evade responsibility for actions that would have sent any other man to prison.

He was never completely able to escape the shadows and shame of Chappaquiddick, but the voters of Massachusetts had to have a Kennedy in Washington, perhaps to keep the women in the Bay State safe, and with the passage of time and the crafting of a fashionable leftish championing-the-underdog image, his abandonment of Mary Jo to die became a mere peccadillo, collateral damage of the sort happily overlooked so as to keep a playboy with a magic name in a high place. Here then is the beginning of the answer to the question posed above: how did the lecher become the lion?
With gusto Kennedy positioned himself firmly on the left embracing its antinomian trends and leading the charge of American identity politics. Rewarded with the unconditional support of its pandered-to beneficiaries, he was thus in large part able to immunize himself from the sharper edges of the contempt he deserved. Teddy never came to endure what should have been an outpouring of disgust and repudiation for a man with the moral fiber of a bunko artist and the life-style of Caligula.

The easy life of a protected, rich wastrel and reprobate was, however, not enough for Teddy. He was, after all, a Kennedy, committed to what he liked to call “public service” a laughable, crude piece of unintended irony for someone wholly self-indulgent in his gross personal conduct and self-serving in his public role. A life devoted to beakers of Johnny Walker and whoring was not going to, as they say, “make a difference.” Kennedy needed to inflict himself on the nation. And so he did … make quite a difference. Two of his signature pieces of mischief, that pushed the country toward its current state of misery, deserve mention here.  First, his support and active selling of the Hart-Cellar Act of 1965 which produced the opposite of what he promised.

From the Center for Immigration Studies
 Although the 1965 bill was intended only to end discrimination, some people feared a major increase in immigration and a change in the source countries of immigrants. Supporters of the measure assured doubters that this would not happen. Senate immigration subcommittee chairman Edward Kennedy (D-MA.) reassured his colleagues and the nation with the following:
“First, our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually. Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same ... Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset ... Contrary to the charges in some quarters, [the bill] will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area, or the most populated and deprived nations of Africa and Asia ... In the final analysis, the ethnic pattern of immigration under the proposed measure is not expected to change as sharply as the critics seem to think.” [emphasis added]

In the “final analysis,” we are talking about the word of Teddy Kennedy. Most apropos is a single phase – Kennedy “reassured his colleagues and the nation,” the same sort of reassurance, perhaps, he gave Ms. Kopechne in watery bowels of his Oldsmobile – “don’t worry, honey, I’ll get you out of here.” He lied with the verve of a true Bolshevik – “everything is the opposite of what I say it is.” The country wasflooded with millions of immigrants” who dramatically changed “the ethnic mix of this country.” America, thanks in large part to his man, has been transformed, ethnically, culturally, economically by this law. California, once a competitive and healthy two-party state is now because of the immigration influx unleashed after 1965 entirely controlled by a single party. Hillary Clinton’s margin of nearly three million votes over Donald Trump in the 2016 election came out of California, Democrat clients of Kennedy’s creation. Her plan, upon election, was to turn the rest of the country, politically, into California.
Catering to a burgeoning, resentment-laden set of victim classes and importing lots of needy people into the country along with the extraction and redistribution of resources from its largely middle-class citizens to support them creates a cultural and political backlash that threatens the power structure and its overseers. Thus, the second piece of the Teddy Kennedy’s nefarious legacy: “hate” legislation.  From a peroration in the Senate in 2007, “Standing Against Hate.” 

I'd like to speak … regarding the Hate Crimes Amendment -- at a time when our ideals are under attack by terrorists in other lands, it is more important than ever to demonstrate that we practice what we preach, and that we are doing all we can to root out the bigotry and prejudice in our own country that leads to violence here at home. Now more than ever, we need to act against hate crimes and send a strong message here at home and around the world that we will not tolerate crimes fueled by hate…..  Since the September 11th attacks, we've seen a shameful increase in the number of hate crimes committed against Muslims, Sikhs, and Americans of Middle Eastern descent…..  Hate crimes are a form of domestic terrorism…. Like other acts of terrorism, hate crimes have an impact far greater than the impact on the individual victims. They are crimes against entire communities, against the whole nation, and against the fundamental ideals on which America was founded. [emphasis added]

What a vapid collection of useless abstractions and non-sequiturs from a man who ceaselessly preached but never practiced. “At a time when our ideals are under attack from by terrorists in other lands”? Terrorists do not attack “ideals”: they attack and kill defenseless people, which is what makes them so terrible. Not clear as well is why terrorists would be attacking our ideals in other lands, but this is Ted Kennedy talking, oblivious to minimal standards of evidence and coherence. Why, a rational person might ask, do we need to send this “message” to the world that “we will not tolerate crimes fueled by hate”?  Since there was absolutely no evidence that we did tolerate such crimes, why was he talking like this? To distract people from the obvious fact that so much of the terrorism going on around the world was being done by people of “Middle Eastern descent,” and to hope people might not wonder why politicians like Kennedy were so eager to put more of them in their neighborhoods. No one in the political establishment from President Bush after 9-11 on down was speaking of Islam as anything other than the “religion of peace.”

One has also to ponder: how America had managed to stave off collapse until 2007 by ignoring these crimes, now morphed into “domestic terrorism” against, first, “entire communities,” then, “the whole nation” and then, yikes! America’s foundational “fundamental ideals.” Once again, we are supposed be traumatized by terrorists attacking those wonderful “ideals” – what specific ideals he doesn’t bother to say, but the more nebulous and vague the abstractions, the easier it was to keep his multicultural scam going. And the scam?  Import millions of third world people, many of whom are resistant to assimilation, some of whom are hostile to American norms. Then, stigmatize the resentment of the American hosts who bear the cultural, financial burden as “bigotry and prejudice.” Gotcha! Welcome to twenty-first century America where lechers are lions and where the politicians have christened half of the citizens as “irredeemable” racists, xenophobes and bigots because many of them believe that it is not a good idea to let anyone and everyone into the U.S. who simply wants to come.

The mumbo-jumbo of “Standing Against Hate,” late in a career of pretending to be a statesman was one of Teddy’s many signature incoherent episodes of Senate oratory. Since his death in 2009 it can be said in fairness to him that he did leave his mark; he did make a difference: to the American people he did figuratively what he did literally to Mary Jo Kopechne fifty years earlier.
Teddy was also a pioneer in the field of career advancement for left-wing politicians and “socially conscious” Hollywood celebrities who now so eagerly excoriate Trump and his bigoted supporters. The winning formula: affect a self-righteous persona that exudes compassion, pander to the right victim groups for support and adulation while smearing the opposition as racist, sexist, or, as Hillary Clinton whined, “you name it.” Lots of choices. Then … enjoy your escapades. No restraints should apply to those voices of the voiceless, and no one will give much thought or sympathy to the casualties of their making. They are merely collateral damage, just not the right sort of victims.