Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

August 31, 2012

Mad Russians and the American Left

Filed under: crypto-Stalinism,Russia — louisproyect @ 6:41 pm

Mad Russians and the American Left


Soon to be a contributor to CounterPunch and Dissident Voice.

Back in the 1930′s, there was a radio comedian named Bert Gordon, who was billed as the Mad Russian. His tagline was “How do you dooo!”, which you can hear in some Warner Brothers cartoons from that period. Gordon was enormously popular in his time, but, alas, he is largely forgotten today. Yet, the spirit of the Mad Russian lives on at some left-wing websites. At CounterPunch, Israel Shamir has become their resident authority on Russia, the Dreyfus Affair, and conspiracy theories.

Not to be outdone, CP’s rival, Dissident Voice, have their own mad Russian, Andre Fomine. His latest article is entitled Pussy Riot, the CIA, and Cultural Terrorism. In this article, we learn the shocking truth about Pussy Riot:

    No doubt it was not a single spontaneous act by a group of dissolute individuals but an episode of a much wider global campaign to shake and eventually ruin traditional societies and institutions. It is being carried out by the same powerful circles which inspired — e.g. offensive caricatures of Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper in 2005.

Oh, my. From Pussy Riot to Danish cartoons. Who could possibly be behind this fiendish global conspiracy? Need you ask?

    It is an open secret that avant-gardism became popular in the West in 1950-1960s thanks to unprecedented support from the CIA and was used by the United States as a powerful ideological weapon.

The CIA. Why, of course! Aren’t they behind everything?

read full post at the Spanish Prisoner

8 Comments »

  1. You have managed to take me back some 65 years sitting on the living room floor looking at and listening to the big wooden radio console blasting out “The Eddie Cantor Show” featuring the Mad Russian and Parkyakarus (Harry Einstein who’s son is Albert Brooks). The show was a staple from the mid thirties to about 1950 although I only started listening after WWII. The Mad Russian was so popular a late 30’s/ 40’s Cub outfielder named Lou Novikoff was also given the sobriquet “The Mad Russian” after Bert Gordon. He also was zany to say the least, one of his foibles was he was afraid of the ivy covering the outfield walls at Wrigley so many routine outfield flies would bounce off the warning track as Lou shied away from the ivy. As for Dissident Voice’s take on Pussy Riot that also takes me back to 1950 when the right wing labeled “The Weavers” as part of the Communist conspiracy. Now we have Dissident Voice claiming Pussy Riot is a CIA cospiracy. The more things change the more they stay the same, with the major exception of what passes for “Leftist” thought in this day and age. Today the working class of the United States is more backward and has less leadership than it did in the late 1800’s. Despite there obvious limitations the AFl along with the SLP led the fight for a national 8 hour workday and set May 1, 1886 as the last day for the bosses to comply with the workers demands. Even when Gompers led the expulsion of the SLP from the AFl he wrote letters to both Engels and Sorge trying to justify himself. For all his weaknesses Gompers is superior to the leaders of the AFL-CIO today. Furthermore, Daniel DeLeon towers over the sorry collection of what purports to be the leftist thought of our present epoch, Counter Punch and Dissident Voice being among the most ludicrous and bizarre.

    Comment by Michael Tormey — September 1, 2012 @ 12:23 am

  2. Fomine’s phrase “No doubt it was…” basically translates as “I am making this up…” It should be possible to look at the covert shenanigans of the national security state in relation to culture (see http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/modern-art-was-cia-weapon-1578808.html for Frances Stonor Saunders’s work) without abandoning methodology or conspiracy-mongering.

    Comment by MB — September 1, 2012 @ 6:15 pm

  3. I find it interesting, Louis, that, aside from reviewing movies, the only things you seem to consider worth critiquing are the writings of those who present themselves, rightly or wrongly, as anti-imperialist leftists.

    I guess we’ve reached a point in history when capitalists and their crimes aren’t a problem worth writing about. Oh, well, I guess I can spend what’s left of my life watching movies then. But before my retirement from writing about the no-longer-existent menace of capitalist devastation of the planet, I’ll ask why your criticism of CounterPunch for its article about the Pussy Riot brouhaha didn’t include any attempt to analyze why that relatively minor instance of repression has gotten so much more attention than, for example, the brutal treatment of Bradley Manning or the other draconian attacks on civil liberties being prepared in the U.S..

    Comment by Red Snapper — September 4, 2012 @ 8:48 am

  4. I find it interesting, Louis, that, aside from reviewing movies, the only things you seem to consider worth critiquing are the writings of those who present themselves, rightly or wrongly, as anti-imperialist leftists.

    Why don’t you present us with a Microsoft Excel pie chart of what I cover here. I am sure my readers would find that most edifying. PS, why don’t you include a pie chart of Pussy Riot versus Bradley Manning coverage while you are at it. If you need technical assistance, just give me a shout. I only charge $65 per hour.

    Comment by louisproyect — September 4, 2012 @ 12:44 pm

  5. In a way this is kind of reassuring. For all those days on which I feel that the left is under siege and its very existence is threatened, it’s nice to know that reactionaries also sometimes feel the same way and concoct mad fantasies to give form to their fears.

    Comment by Christopher Powell — September 4, 2012 @ 6:09 pm

  6. It’s interesting how prescient the Terry Gilliam’s nuevo noir movie “Brazil” was where the only meaningful resistance to the Orwellian Uber State was Robert De Niro’s guerilla character who swooped in to save the day — that and the more subtle resistance of office workers who stopped working when they could tell the boss couldn’t see them.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 6, 2012 @ 1:03 am

  7. Proletarian Resistance aka Class Struggle at The Ministry of Information in Terry Glliams movie BRAZIL (1985):

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 6, 2012 @ 1:21 am

  8. Me @3:

    […] I’ll ask why your criticism of CounterPunch for its article about the Pussy Riot brouhaha didn’t include any attempt to analyze why that relatively minor instance of repression has gotten so much more attention than, for example, the brutal treatment of Bradley Manning or the other draconian attacks on civil liberties being prepared in the U.S..

    Louis @4:

    PS, why don’t you include a pie chart of Pussy Riot versus Bradley Manning coverage while you are at it. If you need technical assistance, just give me a shout. I only charge $65 per hour.

    A google search for “bradley manning” turned up “About 5,430,000 results” while a search for “pussy riot” turned up “About 80,500,000 results”, more than 14 times the number for “Bradley Manning”.. (I used double quotes around the name in both cases.) Add to that the fact that Bradley Manning has been imprisoned since May 2010 while Pussy Riot has only existed under that name for a bit over a year and was virtually unknown in the West until maybe a couple of months ago. One doesn’t need a pie chart or the services of retired computer professional Louis Proyect to see the bias in global media coverage.

    Comment by Red Snapper — September 7, 2012 @ 5:14 am


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