Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

April 3, 2018

An Inside Look at How Pro-Russia Trolls Got the SPLC to Censor a Commie

Filed under: Red-Brown alliance — louisproyect @ 9:43 pm

by Charles Davis   April 3, 2018

 “An Orwellian destruction of meaning and words — so many absurdities; absurdities stacked on absurdities,” Alexander Reid Ross told me. Fox News had just declared him the leader of a nasty smear campaign, aided by the “far-left Southern Poverty Law Center,” that aimed to make television personality Tucker Carlson and his guests out to be “fascists.” So far, so normal, but it was the specific charge that shocked and awed the communist author who once lived in Russia: “McCarthyism,” with white nationalists’ favorite host, and those who come on his show to agree with him, the victims.

Ross’s ironic sin, which he spoke to me about in an hour-long phone call, was writing a series of articles about a topic he wrote the book on: fascist entryism, or efforts to normalize far-right politics and infiltrate left-wing discourse. In particular, he noted the shared affinity for the Kremlin and its talking points among the fringe right and a subsection of leftists, and he detailed how Russian state media was facilitating a popular,  “anti-establishment” front against the foreign and domestic enemies of Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad, platforming right-wing nationalists alongside those who self-identify as progressive internationalists.

Max Blumenthal is a fixture in this, found almost every week defending Russian foreign policy on platforms such as RT and Sputnik, a track record detailed in Ross’ last article. The son of Hillary Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal, he has admitted to accepting a free trip to Moscow, where he attended the same RT anniversary party in 2015 as U.S. General Michael Flynn — Trump’s former national security advisor is under investigation, in part, for failing to disclose he was paid $45,000 for his appearance . In Moscow, Blumenthal spoke on a panel, “InfoWar: Will there be a winner?” with Charles Bausman, editor of the website Russia Insider and the author of articles such as, “It’s Time to Drop the Jew Taboo.”

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  1. Max Blue-Mental appearing on Fox News to diss a socialist and a civil rights organization, with the accusation of McCarthyism.

    Well … That’s rich! A rich picture of disgustingly putrid. (‘putrid’ used here not as a swear word but as a description. It means, “decaying or rotting and emitting a fetid smell.”)

    I’m still deeply puzzled (and troubled) by SPLC’s quick retraction. Have guts man, take it to the court. As Charles Davis puts it, all that Alexander Reid Ross does in the piece under attack is to report on factual actions of Blumenthal, such as his appearances at events hosted by far-right bigots, sharing platforms with far-right bigots, appearing on right-wing media, etc. Alexander Reid Ross does not say, nor imply, that Blumenthal himself is a fascist or a white supremacist. Reid Ross is just pointing out that if you’re not careful, nor wise, right-wing bigots will swallow you up whole and use you to their advantage.

    Of course, Blue-Mental is no fool, and not a good example of someone who’s being “taken advantage of”, since he’s basically a paid propagandist. He’s on the same spectrum as the thugs who get paid to torture political prisoners in Iran (or Syria) for example; he is their enabler. In that role, he is a political Thug (not a swear word, but used here as a descriptive proper noun, meaning, “a member of a religious organization of robbers and assassins in India. Devotees of the goddess Kali, the Thugs waylaid and strangled their victims, usually travelers, in a ritually prescribed manner.”)

    Comment by Reza — April 4, 2018 @ 3:48 am

  2. It’s amazing that in the whole Ross Reid furore, Max Blumenthal and his less talented scribbler comrades are positioned as victims. AFAIK, only the Kremlin, Fucker Snarlson, Bausman, etc.. are actually indicted in Reid’s articles, allowing for the ambiguity of RR’s sometimes convoluted prose and the strange diagrams. And yet Daniel Pipes can outright call MB an “antisemite” without (afaik) any retaliation or retraction at all.

    The author of this article has insulted the Beloved Leader of All the Russias. Mike Whitney will piss on his shoe. There will be blood.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — April 4, 2018 @ 10:07 am

  3. It only took $20, Blumenthal added, to pay for the threat of litigation that got the article by Ross pulled by the SPLC, the civil rights group

    I wonder whether some young and struggling law firm will take twenty dollars to defend Davis from the onslaught of demand letters and legal threats that is sure to follow the publication of this (IMHO) courageous piece?

    Mr. Davis had better have deep pockets.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — April 4, 2018 @ 10:29 am

  4. Interesting how some on the left and right have become Russia supporters. What strange bedfellows.

    Comment by niraj — April 4, 2018 @ 7:37 pm

  5. “When I spoke to Ross, he was somewhat befuddled — he, the anti-fascist author of a censored article on the threat of far-right entryism, was the one guilty of modern-day McCarthyism.”

    Give me a brake. Ross wasn’t issuing a friendly warning to his friends of the left, he was smearing them with association. That piece was pure piece of guilt-by-association hit piece. SPLC did the same thing with the 1999 Seattle WTO uprising as well. Morris Dees and co. make a lot of money from rich guilty liberals who need a worse enemy — i.e. basement-dwelling nazis — to make them feel like the good guys as they exploit and degrade workers and the planet. It’s like Harvey Weinstein fighting the NRA.

    McCarthyism doesn’t sit neatly on the political spectrum. It’s a method. It can be used by any dominant faction (cold war liberals, Stalinists, fascists) against any other faction (left, or right).

    Man, you posh, dozey farts need to up your Ginko script.

    Comment by Rojo — April 4, 2018 @ 8:52 pm

  6. Well, it is a bit odd to see the bromance between Tucker Carlson and Max Blumenthal. Just compare George Ciccariello-Maher’s appearance on this scumbag’s show to that of Blumenthal and you’ll get an idea of the convergence of interests between the Kremlin, Assad and people like Beeley, Blumenthal, et al.

    Comment by louisproyect — April 4, 2018 @ 9:31 pm

  7. Since when is Max B. on the left anyway? He’s certainly not a socialist.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — April 4, 2018 @ 10:16 pm

  8. I agree with Ron Paul on the Patriot Act. So the hell what?

    Comment by Rojo — April 4, 2018 @ 11:03 pm

  9. Rojo, don’t be stupid. It is labeling White Helmets as terrorists, etc. that is the problem. Anybody who believes this should be horsewhipped.

    Comment by louisproyect — April 5, 2018 @ 12:02 am

  10. Ross wasn’t issuing a friendly warning to his friends of the left … .

    Who said he was? When Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII went to Germany and made public appearances with the Fuehrer, it wouldn’t have been “guilt by association” to report that in the press together with a catalog of the crimes for which the Nazis were even then known to be responsible. There’s a lot of territory between libel and “friendly warnings.”

    Only a moron or a Nazi would mix the two up.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — April 5, 2018 @ 9:58 am

  11. The SPLC article barely mentioned the White Helmets. Ross could’ve focused solely on that and Assad’s propaganda plays. Instead he continues, breathlessly, paragraph after paragraph, to tie the left with far-right ghouls.

    Comment by Rojo — April 5, 2018 @ 10:00 pm

  12. Whatever. You brought up Ron Paul, not me. Maybe if you spelled out your shitty politics, we can have a productive debate.

    Comment by louisproyect — April 6, 2018 @ 1:08 am

  13. May be of interest that Verso have picked this time to publish a book about Syria by Max Blumenthal.

    Comment by John Gamey — April 6, 2018 @ 5:36 am

  14. I think this explains Blumenthal’s “turn” (if it really was anything new). He has to sell books. He can’t churn out another overwritten personal narrative about Israel, so he has to turn the great bag of wind in another direction. Where is the trendy pseudoleft marketplace today? You guessed it—popular fiction about Syria. the Evil Islamists, and deep state conspiracy.

    Everyone will buy this thing–including Fucker Snarlson and the rest of the subhuman right, probably a good many cod socialists, Democrats, Rojo if he has thirty bucks to blow in, and many more who do not love each other but will be drawn like moths to the proverbial flame. If it isn’t a best-seller, that will only be because Max’s writing–always far from the undeniable zip and zing of papa Sidney–will have declined past the point where anyone can stand to actually read it.

    Pretty good for a struggling author who can’t spend more than twenty bucks on a lawyer. All those sixteen-dollar cocktails add up.

    What we’re looking at here appears to be a brilliantly orchestrated campaign of literary self-promotion that stands to reap millions–myth of “McCarthyism” and all.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — April 6, 2018 @ 12:18 pm

  15. “You brought up Ron Paul, not me. Maybe if you spelled out your shitty politics, we can have a productive debate.”

    The point is that you can agree with a political foe on any given issue without being in bed with them.

    Now back to checking for Russians under your bed.

    Comment by Rojo — April 8, 2018 @ 10:05 pm

  16. Rojo, you are really fucking dense. I agree with Ron Paul that the USA should stay the hell out of Syria but I do not agree with him that the sarin gas attacks are false flags. Until you can distinguish between the two kinds of agreement/disagreement, why don’t you piss off?

    Comment by louisproyect — April 8, 2018 @ 10:24 pm

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