Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

November 21, 2020

Soros

Filed under: Film,Soros — louisproyect @ 7:40 pm

Opening yesterday as Virtual Cinema, “Soros” is a flabby, toothless documentary that I can still recommend as a clinical study of the self-deception of one of the most powerful political philanthropists of the past half-century. I use the term political to distinguish him from the average billionaire philanthropist like Bill Gates who has little direct interest in toppling governments that don’t conform to his ideological predispositions.

Directed by Jesse Dylan, it comes across as a puff piece made to order for commemorating George Soros’s noble deeds. Nobody could be better suited to this task than Bob Dylan’s son Jesse, who did video production work for George Soros’s Open Society at one point. You can get an idea of where he is coming from by his earlier work, including a music video titled “Yes We Can,” inspired by Barack Obama’s campaign for President.

The film is most useful as an overview of George Soros’s life and career that by necessity must account for the hatred toward him from anti-Semites and fascists across the planet. As a speculator, a Jew and a political powerhouse, he naturally conforms to the stereotypes found throughout right-wing social media. To allow the right to make its case against Soros, Dylan calls upon Tucker Carlson whose complaint is that nobody should be allowed to interfere in other country’s affairs through the leverage billions of dollars afford him. Against Carlson’s rather hypocritical indictment, the scale tips in the favor of at least a dozen Open Society staff members and other NGO heavyweights who pour out their hearts on behalf of the ninety-year old potentate. Missing entirely is a single voice from the left that could flesh out the grievances briefly alluded to in the film.

For example, Viktor Orban is trotted out as a typical crypto-fascist, anti-Semitic figure who expelled Soros’s Central European University from Budapest. There is a brief mention of Soros’s sponsorship of Orban during the time Soros was cultivating a network of intellectuals and disillusioned ex-Communists as part of an effort to restore private property in the country of his birth. However, there is no explanation of why so many Hungarians turned against its benefactor. One of Soros’s fans seemed perplexed by the failure of a nation that despised Communism to appreciate someone who was key to its overthrow.

To understand the emergence of the rightwing boomerang against Soros, you have understand how he helped spawn the fascist tendencies himself doing what he does best: making money. The Hungarians probably had no idea what they were getting into when they gave Soros carte blanche to restructure their society. In 2010, Soros’s firm was fined $2.5 million for illegal trades in Hungary’s largest bank, the OTP. Through short sales, Soros made a fortune even if Hungarians got the shitty end of the stick. On April 2, 2009, the NY Times reported:

In a small walk-up apartment on the outskirts of Budapest, George Ivanyi, a founder of the Association of Bank Loan Victims, does his best to cope with an unceasing flow of Hungarians who have come to seek advice because they can no longer pay their mortgages after the forint’s collapse. Volunteer law students sip Red Bull while they counsel couples, and amid the buzz of activity a perpetually ringing phone goes unanswered.

“I feel the desperation of the people,” Mr. Ivanyi said. “The banks are responsible – but so is the government. They should not have approved these loans.”

One woman, he recounts, was so overwhelmed when the monthly mortgage bill on her Japanese yen-denominated loan from OTP suddenly soared 50 percent that she ingested a dose of rat poison and narrowly escaped death.

I first became interested in Soros around the time I began opposing how Western banks were attempting to break apart Yugoslavia. At the time, liberals everywhere were demonizing Milosevic, who I never put on the same level as Assad. Whatever his flaws, and they certainly were ample, he—unlike Donald Trump—never refused to resign after he lost an election in 2000.

Soros was trying to transform Yugoslavia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Russia into “Open Societies”, a fancy word for constitutional democracies that could save humanity from the evils of Nazism and Communism. Inspired by Karl Popper’s 1945 “The Open Society and Its Enemies”, Soros dedicated himself to overthrowing Communism since, after all, B-29s had already taken out Nazism.

After narrowly escaping the Judeocide, George Soros was encouraged by his father to enroll in the London School of Economics after emigrating to London in 1945. Failing the admission exams, he was not dissuaded. He snuck into LSE lectures over a two year period and absorbed the ideas of a school that was founded by the Fabian Society and had close ties to the Labour Party in its early days.

However, by the time Soros got there, the LSE had evolved to the right, largely under the influence of Friedrich Hayek who held roost there. Frankfurt School refugees were never considered for the faculty and headed straight to the USA where they were more welcome. Under Hayek’s stewardship, the LSE had become similar to the U. of Chicago economics department and an ideological foe of the Cambridge school that was committed to Keynesian orthodoxy. Karl Popper’s seminars were the main influence on Soros. Karl Popper was a close friend of Hayek and an ideological soulmate. Both men were traumatized by the revolutionary and counter-revolutionary upheavals of their youth and were predisposed to blame fascism and socialism equally. In a letter to Hayek in 1944, Popper stated, “I think I have learnt more from you than from any other living thinker, except perhaps Alfred Tarski.” (Tarski was a logician and mathematician.)

Like Francis Fukuyama, the author of “The End of History and the Last Man”, Popper exploited the victory of Western democracies over both fascism and Communism. They predicted a new age of political democracies where the right to assemble peacefully and vote in multi-party democracies would be sacrosanct. They didn’t think too much about the emergence of groups like Golden Dawn or other fascist parties in Europe since the economy was still expanding and jobs were relatively easy to come by. When one financial crisis after another in the past three decades began to depress the wages and welfare state benefits of both the USA and Western Europe, the liberal bourgeoisie had no answers. The 70+ million votes for Donald Trump should illustrate that.

Ironically, Jesse Dylan neglected to pay attention to Soros’s own worries about the failing economic system that he had done so much to create. In 1999, he wrote a book titled “The Crisis of Global Capitalism”, in which he wrote that what he calls “market fundamentalism” may be “a greater threat to open society than totalitarian government today.” Jeff Madrick, a liberal economist, interviewed Soros that year in the NY Review of Books. This exchange has an eerie resonance to our problems today:

JM: You call the current faith in free-market ideology “market fundamentalism.” That has overtones of religiosity, absolutism, coercion.

GS: Because we are disappointed with the policies of governments—and with plenty of justification—we tend to idealize the market as something that can take care of everything. And just as Marx claimed communism was based on a scientific theory of history, market fundamentalism relies on an allegedly scientific economic theory. Basically, I think it was Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher who were the main movers in adopting a vulgarized version of laissez-faire economics, turning it into a kind of fundamentalist position.

Neither Soros nor Madrick have a clue as to why governments everywhere are gravitating toward “market fundamentalism”. It also makes you wonder what Soros would disparage this tendency since his guru Karl Popper was a Hayek acolyte, after all. Some say that it is a function of greed. In the good old days, the bourgeoisie was kinder and more generous toward the people it ruled, a combination of noblesse oblige and tactical wisdom. Who, after all, would want to antagonize workers to the point that they vote for Donald Trump. It is not greed, however, that is driving class inequality. It is rather the logic of capital that dictates runaway shops, deregulation, union-busting and all the other characteristics of the neoliberal economy. The capitalist class is riven with contradictions. It cannot provide well-playing jobs that put it at a disadvantage with its rivals. It might have been Trump’s major “accomplishment” to push through deregulation measures that have left Americans subject to toxic air, water and food. However, it was Ted Kennedy who was the architect of the deregulation of the airline industry that serves as model for all that followed.

Poor George Soros must have trouble sleeping overnight seeing the rise of fascist tendencies everywhere. After spending billions on building “open societies”, he sees them closing everywhere. Now, as the scapegoat of the alt-right, Soros is blamed for funding BLM and antifa. While he certainly has not funded antifa, there is evidence that he has given money to BLM. So have other deep-pocketed liberal foundations. Even though it is only apocryphal, it is still worth paraphrasing what Lenin said. “The foundations will give us the money we will use to buy the rope with which we will hang them.’

May 16, 2018

George Soros: destroyed by the monster he created

Filed under: Soros — louisproyect @ 7:17 pm

Ever since George Soros became a major donor to Bard College, I have followed his intellectual and financial trajectory. His millions not only allowed Leon Botstein to transform the school into something much more like Swarthmore than the woolly, bohemian enclave it was when I attended from 1961-1965 but to build a satellite of universities worldwide in its image embodying the Soros/Botstein ethos. This boils down to a defense of capitalism and imperialism mixed with lip-service to democracy and human rights.

One of those satellites is the Al-Quds University in Jerusalem that epitomizes Soros’s fence-straddling approach. As someone with the guts to criticize the Likud Party’s heavy-handedness alongside other liberals like Peter Beinart and the late Tony Judt, Soros put his money where his beliefs were by creating a school that would “lift up” the unfortunate Palestinians. He even was smart enough to see that Sari Nusseibeh was hired, a well-known Palestinian academic who had spent time in an Israeli prison in 1991 for opposing the first Gulf War. Despite this seemingly radical stance, he was also widely considered in Palestinian circles for being an accommodationist.

This came to a head in 2005 when the Palestinian professor’s union called for his dismissal because of his advocacy of “normalising ties with Israel” and for “serving Israeli propaganda interests”. Taking a provocative stance against BDS, Nusseibeh earned the condemnation of Awni al-Khatib, a professor of chemistry at Hebron University who said: “He (Nusseibeh) criticised the British union boycott of two Israeli universities, but he didn’t utter a word against the routine Israeli policy of closing Palestinian colleges and universities and of erecting roadblocks that prevent professors, employees and students from reaching Palestinian campuses.”

Nusseibeh resigned in 2014 after student supporters held a rally on campus commemorating Hamas leaders Ahmed Yassin, Abdul Aziz Rantisi and Ibrahim Maqadmeh, all killed by Israel.

The other newsworthy Soros satellite is the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest that Viktor Orban has attempted to shut down. Demanding that the CEU establish a home base in New York in order to satisfy questionable Hungarian legal requirements, the university has been on the ropes for the past year. Although I have little use for George Soros, I have even less use (by far) for scum like Viktor Orban. Last April I ended an article on CEU with this appeal: Is it possible to oppose what George Soros stands for and simultaneously defend CEU’s right to exist in an increasingly repressive and barbaric Hungary? I would hope so. My advice is to go to the CEU support page and show your solidarity.

In addition to facing the ouster of CEU, Soros is also facing the eviction of his NGO’s in Hungary as the NY Times reported today:

Under intense political pressure and the threat of legal sanctions, George Soros’s Open Society Foundations said on Tuesday that it had become impossible to work in Hungary, whose prime minister has blamed Mr. Soros for the country’s problems, and that the foundations would move their operations to Berlin.

The foundations, which promote democracy, free expression and civil rights, have come under growing political and legal pressure from Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has stifled dissent and declared last week that “the era of liberal democracy is over.” The foundations have been a frequent target of the Hungarian government, and Mr. Orban himself has painted Mr. Soros as a shadowy figure seeking to undermine the country’s sovereignty.

Viktor Orban is basically the Donald Trump of Hungary. His animosity toward Soros is a function of nativist politics that are identical to rightwing governments and parties across Europe. Not surprisingly, his re-election last month was interpreted as a boost for Putin’s project of building the alt-right in Europe as the Daily Beast’s Anna Nemtsova reported:

In Russia the Kremlin celebrated Orban’s victory as its own. Senator of the Federation Council Konstantin Kosachev said on Monday that Orban’s victory showed that Hungary managed to defend its national interests in the European Union and NATO. “This [EU/NATO] line, if we slightly simplify it, means the following: We are in solidarity with our partners for as long as they do not contradict with our interests.”

If you thought that Orban was a consistent rightwing asshole going back 40 years just like Donald Trump, you’d be wrong. As it happens, he was George Soros’s Frankenstein monster who turned against his creator as Adam Lebor reported in the Intercept in 2015.

A graduating from law school in 1987, he joined the Soros-funded Central-Eastern Europe Study Group. Many intellectuals in that period were easily seduced by the deep-pocketed billionaire. In a sense, it was like knocking down an open door since the majority of Soviet and Eastern European intellectuals and academics had become convinced that capitalism would better serve their interests. In fact, all Soros needed to do was pay for some Xerox machines as Michael Lewis reported in the New Republic:

In 1984 Soros opened his first office, in Budapest, and began all manner of subversive activities for which he is temperamentally very well-equipped. “I started by trying to create small cracks in the monolithic structure which goes under the name of communism, in the belief that in a rigid structure even a small crack can have a devastating effect,” he wrote in Opening the Soviet System. “As the cracks grew so did my efforts until they came to take up most of my time and energy.” Says Liz Lorant, who worked with Soros from the start: “It was the excitement of what we got away with [that is irreplaceable]. We got away with murder. [For example] at that time Xerox machines were under lock and key. That was the way it was. In Romania you had to register a typewriter with the police. Well, we just flooded the whole damn country with Xerox machines so that the rules became meaningless.” In short, by the time the dust settled over the Berlin Wall—boom! bust!—Soros had accumulated a highly charged portfolio of gratitude. The Great White Gods of Eastern Europe—Havel, Michnik, Kis, Haraszti—were all in his debt. So were all sorts of lesser—known, highly motivated people wending their way to high political office.

Lesser-known, highly motivated people wending their way to high political office? Those words fit Orban to a tee.

Like the big bourgeoisie of the 19th century that gained their millions through shady deals as well as outright criminality in order to create universities and think-tanks dedicated to their worldview, Soros follows suit. Unlike an Andrew Carnegie who instructed Pinkerton gunmen to open fire on strikers, Soros uses less bloody tactics like insider trading. Found guilty in 2002 and 2011, he never spent a day in jail. In other transactions, he did not break the law but certainly caused widespread suffering—enough conceivably to kill even far more people than were killed by Carnegie’s Pinkertons. In 1997, Soros’s manipulation of the Thai baht led to a financial crisis throughout Southeast Asia that while being entirely legal was criminal in its impact. Indonesian was particularly hard-hit according to a UN report that noted that the Soros-triggered crisis wiped out one-fifth of non-farm jobs, driving 40 million people, a fifth of the population, into poverty.

Digging into the history of George Soros’s philanthropy and intellectual output reveals a rather sophisticated, multifaceted approach. In an article by Nicolas Guilhot titled “Reforming the World: George Soros, Global Capitalism and the Philanthropic Management of the Social Sciences” that appeared in the May 2007 Critical Sociology, you get the definitive analysis. Since it is behind a paywall, let me provide a summary of his main arguments.

To start with, the idea of a West-East collaboration such as the CEU was not Soros’s innovation. In the 1950s, the Ford Foundation was exploring the same idea as way of seducing the Soviet bloc’s intellectuals. One think-tank, the Foundation for European Intellectual Solidarity, was spawned by the CIA-backed Congress for Cultural Freedom.

Soros avoided being connected to the CIA even though for many on the left, he is just as evil. Whatever you want to say about Soros, including the suffering he caused through the baht manipulation, I doubt that the Open Society would have ever gotten involved with waterboarding.

After narrowly escaping the Judeocide, George Soros was encouraged by his father to enroll with the London School of Economics. Failing the admission exams, he was not dissuaded. He snuck into LSE lectures over a two year period and absorbed the ideas of a school that was founded by the Fabian Society and had close ties to the Labour Party in its early days.

However, by the time Soros got there, the LSE had evolved to the right, largely under the influence of Friedrich Hayek who held roost there. Frankfurt School refugees were never considered for the faculty and headed straight to the USA where they were more welcome. Under Hayek’s stewardship, the LSE had become similar to the U. of Chicago economics department and an ideological foe of the Cambridge school that was committed to Keynesian orthodoxy. Karl Popper’s seminars were the main influence on Soros. Karl Popper was a close friend of Hayek and an ideological soulmate. Both men were traumatized by the revolutionary and counter-revolutionary upheavals of their youth and were predisposed to blame fascism and socialism equally. In a letter to Hayek in 1944, Popper stated, “I think I have learnt more from you than from any other living thinker, except perhaps Alfred Tarski.” (Tarski was a logician and mathematician.)

In a nutshell, Popper’s philosophy was anti-systemic in the same way that other Cold War philosophers and sociologists were. The ideas were similar to Daniel Bell’s “The End of Ideology” and what I heard from Heinrich Blucher at Bard College who urged us to read Albert Camus’s “The Rebel”, another anti-systemic work. Guilhot sums up the role of such ideologies:

Popper’s conception of the social sciences was perfectly in line with the strategy that the foundations were pursuing at the same moment: it made possible the normalization of the social sciences around an empirical and experimental model, and it legitimated the struggle against historicism, and therefore Marxism, thus linking this scientific project with the defense of freedom. By theorizing the idea that nothing less than the nature of social reform was at stake in the development of the social sciences, Popper provided a powerful rationale for the philanthropic management of the latter.

The Austrian school of economics resonated with Soros because it was deeply entrenched in the Austrian-Hungarian empire that for men like he and his father was a beneficent haven for freedom of thought and of enterprise. When the 20th century gave birth to warfare and economic collapse, systemic movements vied to replace the dying remnants of fin de siècle liberalism. There was no possibility of putting the genie back in the bottle. What Soros obviously does not understand is that we are living in an identical period today when the center cannot hold, as W.B. Yeats put it.

To some extent, the Austrian school understood that its economic principles rested on shaky grounds. You get a sense of that when Alan Greenspan told a congressional committee in 2008 that “I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organisations, specifically banks and others, were such that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms.” But instead of abandoning capitalism, Soros and like-minded liberals sought to strengthen political institutions that could help an economic system that had begun to wobble precariously on its feet.

The post-WWII mission to conjoin capitalism with strong democratic institutions based on human rights—the basic goal of the Open Society—was bound to collapse under the weight of what some call a Great Recession. Its impact on working people has been to drive some to the left and others to the far right. Soros is obviously concerned about this, even though for the time being it is being expressed as Orban’s toxic brand of reactionary populism.

To guard against such an eventuality, Soros undertook the creation of a university that would culminate in the CEU. Its goal, according to archives Guillhot gained access to at the university, was to “train the next generation of economists”. The CEU was conceived as “a high-level vocational school to train privatizers and democratizers, people who could immediately go into real life after they finished their studies and translate their knowledge into practical action”.

With this goal in mind, the CEU was established in order to create a world-class economics department that was based on the Washington Consensus. Guest speakers from the IMF and the World Bank were commonplace. Larry Summers was a regular, bring with him the expertise that helped him gain the top post at the World Bank. The World Bank created seminars on privatization and student programs on corporate governance. Its aid, including financial, was solicited when the CEU created a business school.

Guillhot describes the fashion in which free market intellectuals came off the assembly line at CEU:

The creation of a Westernized elite by philanthropic foundations that identify emerging young leaders and expose them to mainstream economic doctrines is a process that can be illustrated by following the career of a political science professor at the CEU. Prior to 1989, trained as an economist and not affiliated with the Communist Party, he worked in a research institute linked to the Hungarian reform movement. In 1988, this position qualified him to become department head in the Institute of Economic and Market Research, and then to join the Liberal Party as an advisor for economic affairs. It is among this pool of young reformers that US foundations, following a well-tried strategy, identified emerging young leaders and coached them. In this case, the benefactor was the conservative Pew Charitable Trust, which offered a six-month exchange program in the USA at Georgetown University. Seminars in political science, international relations, and economics were intertwined with selective meetings during which the fellows conferred with high-ranking politicians and advisors (such as, in his case, Ronald Reagan, Madeleine Albright, or Jeffrey Sachs), thus expanding their own international networks of contacts. Th e last two months of this fellowship were spent as an internship within an international institution – United Nations, USAID, IMF – in this case, the fellow opted for the World Bank.

It has been such elites that have created the fertile ground out of which Viktor Orban has risen. Although I reject the idea that Donald Trump can ever impose a fascist regime on the USA, there are worrying signs that Orban seeks to rule Hungary with an iron fist. He has recently stated that he has replaced a shipwrecked liberal democracy with a 21st-century Christian democracy. In 2015, Orban threatened to create work camps for immigrants and has made speeches repeatedly about preserving European identity. Right now, the world economy seems to be crawling slowly out of the crevice it fell into in 2008. But what happens if a new economic crisis, even deeper than the last, comes to pass?

As Rosa Luxemburg once said, the choice is between socialism and barbarism. You can find the phrase in the Junius Pamphlet that also describes what the USA, Hungary and other countries poised on the knife’s edge are facing:

Violated, dishonored, wading in blood, dripping filth – there stands bourgeois society. This is it in reality. Not all spic and span and moral, with pretense to culture, philosophy, ethics, order, peace, and the rule of law – but the ravening beast, the witches’ sabbath of anarchy, a plague to culture and humanity. Thus it reveals itself in its true, its naked form.

 

January 25, 2017

Is George Soros promoting a color revolution against Donald Trump?

Filed under: conspiracism,Soros — louisproyect @ 8:18 pm

George Soros

Recently one of the trolls who visits my website on occasion presented a rather unique interpretation of why the Kasama Project came to an end, differing with my analysis that it was a surfeit of Maoist sectarianism that was the cause.

Interestingly, the site flded [sic] quickly after the trolls began making connection between Kasama, BLM and George Soros. It’s interesting to note Kasama’s involvement with Occupy which is another Soros project. This helps to confirm the trolls assertion that Kasama (and RCP) are Soros fronts.

Could Occupy Wall Street have been a “Soros project”? Well, the first thing that came up when I googled Soros and Occupy Wall Street was an article in RT.com titled “Is George Soros behind Occupy Wall Street?” dated October 14, 2011 and strongly implying that the answer was yes. Meanwhile, Russia Insider went one step further. It published an article titled “George Soros: The Ugly Face Behind Many Protest Movements” that posed the question:

What do the “Arab Spring”, the “Maidan Protests”, “Black Lives Matter”, “Occupy Wall Street”, “Open Borders” and many other movements have in common? George Soros.

Further research revealed that among the other schemes Soros has hatched deep within the bowels of his Open Society, which for websites such as Russia Insider assumes the character of the villain’s lair in a James Bond movie, is the protests that took place in the USA on January 21. It was, as conspiracist Michel Chossudovsky par excellence put it, a “colored revolution”. He repeats the arguments of the Russian Insider as if they had been written by the same person:

What is at stake is a “color revolution” Made in America which is marked by fundamental rivalries within the US establishment, namely the clash between competing corporate factions, each of which is intent upon exerting control over the incoming US presidency.

The OTPOR-CANVAS-CIA model is nonetheless relevant. Several foundations involved in funding color revolutions internationally are involved in funding the anti-Trump campaign.

Moreover, while CANVAS’ mandate is to oversee “color revolutions” internationally, it also has links with a number of NGOs currently involved in the anti-Trump campaign including The Occupy Wall Street Movement (OWS). OWS launched by Adbusters was funded via the Tides Foundation which in turn is funded by a number of corporate foundations and charities, including the Ford Foundation, Gates Foundation and the Open Society Institute. Ford is known to have historical links to US intelligence.

Iran’s PressTV was in sync with Professor Chossudovsky and Russian Insider. They ran an article titled “Soros orchestrating color revolution against Trump: Analyst” that began “Jewish business magnate George Soros has orchestrated a ‘color revolution’ against US President-elect Donald Trump, says an American political analyst, pointing to nationwide anti-Trump protests as evidence.” Very important to get that “Jewish” thing going on except most of these types of commentaries are a bit more discreet about their anti-Semitism like when RT.com published an article about a trip Soros made to the Ukraine: “Soros, born György Schwartz in Hungary, fled in the 1940s for the UK and later became an American citizen.” How can anybody trust someone with a name like György Schwartz, I tell you.

The “analyst” referred to in the PressTV article is one E. Michael Jones, the editor of Culture Wars Magazine, who asserted: “What we are seeing here now is George Soros once again intervening in the internal politics of the United States by creating a color revolution.” Wow, very radical. Succumbing to my insatiable curiosity, I visited Culture Wars Magazine and learned that it is behind a publishing company called Fidelity that includes titles by Jones and like-minded deep thinkers. One by Jones is titled “The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit and Its Impact on World History” that according to one sympathetic critic makes the case that “when Jews rejected Christ, they rejected Logos in all its forms and became enemies of the social order”. I confess that sounds a bit like me.

Jeff Rense, an anti-Semite second to none, wrote a glowing review of the book that includes these intriguing insights:

The true “Jewish revolutionary spirit” is “to overturn” God and replace Him with Lucifer who represents the self-interest of the Illuminati (i.e. central bankers, Organized Jewry and Freemasonry.) This also was confirmed by Christian Rakovsky in his KGB interrogation.

 This also was confirmed by Christian Rakovsky in his KGB interrogation. “Christianity is our only real enemy since all the political and economic phenomena of the bourgeois states are only its consequences,” Rakovsky, says. Peace is “counter-revolutionary” since it is war that paves the way for revolution.

It’s not every day when you run into something like this. A convergence of Iranian clerical reaction, anti-Semitism and a defense of the legitimacy of the Moscow Trials. But then again after 6 years of deepening insanity on the left about the role of Iran and Russia in the world, I suppose anything is possible.

Turning to the question of “color revolutions”, I admit to originally having the same kind of Pavlov dog’s reaction as most people on the left, especially when I was writing about the Balkan Wars. Just mention the word Soros and I’d begin to salivate. But when I saw some on the left defending Putin’s invasion of Chechnya in 1999, I was sickened by the response. The carpet bombing of Grozny that became the template for the disaster in East Aleppo was unacceptable and no amount of “anti-imperialism” could justify it.

One of the first color revolutions took place in Ukraine in 2004. At the time, as far as I can remember, I was not quite a supporter of either the Orange movement as it was called or the Kremlin, largely a result of lingering concerns about NATO’s role in Yugoslavia. But it never occurred to me to look too deeply into what drove people to demand a break with Russia.

It was the “Green Revolution” in Iran in 2009 that helped me clarify my thinking. By that time I had become a friend and comrade of Reza Fiyouzat, an Iranian living in the USA who was part of the Iranian revolutionary movement. He was blogging at http://revolutionaryflowerpot.blogspot.com/ at the time, a website that is no longer active but that still can be accessed for a first-rate introduction to Iranian Marxist thought. Unlike most of the left, Reza was able to stake out a position that was distinguished from both Ahmadinejad and his opponent in the 2009 elections, Mir-Hossein Mousavi who was a leader of the Green Revolution supported by Nicholas Kristof, George Soros and all the other usual suspects. He wrote an article for CounterPunch in 2009 that could serve as a guide to all of these “color revolution” scenarios:

Where Ahmadinejad has made loud claims of victory — e.g., pushing forth Iran’s nuclear program — the ‘reformists’ hit back with the assertion that the nuclear program started some 25 years ago (when the ‘reformist’ candidate, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, was the prime minister), and that Ahmadinejad should stop pretending as if he was the sole creator of the nuclear program.

Where the ‘reformists’ have piled on the accusations of economic mismanagement, topped with a 25% inflation, Ahmadinejad has hit back with (I’m paraphrasing here): “It does not take a mere four years to be in such economic mess. Did it all just start with my government? Was there no unemployment before my government? Were there no addiction problems? Was there no inflation? Was I handed a spotless Garden of Eden created by you (Mousavi) and your reformist colleagues, which has now turned into ruins?”

If you see the conflict between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi as analogous to the current polarized situation in the USA, it is necessary to make distinctions that would be lost on conspiracist minded figures such as Michel Chossudovsky and other pro-Kremlin websites that have been propagating the nonsense about a color revolution taking place in the USA (including such Assadist strongholds such as Zero Hedge, 21st Century Wire, Signs of the Times and the Wayne Madsen Report).

It is certainly true that Soros is funding groups that are opposed to Trump but they would exist without his money, which seems to be rapidly vanishing. Apparently, Soros has lost a billion dollars on a gamble that the market would plummet after Trump took office. That’s on top of another two billion he lost betting against the possibility of a Brexit. People haven’t gone to Washington to protest Trump because Soros has funded them. It is because he is deeply unpopular as this graph would indicate:

screen-shot-2017-01-25-at-2-44-57-pm

Soros’s goal is not to foment a coup. It is to throw his weight behind an emerging movement that is clearly designed to channel discontent into supporting Democratic Party candidates in Congressional elections, culminating in a recapture of the White House in 2020.

What is the role of the left in all this? As was the case in Iran, we should be for channeling that discontent into specific issues where the Democratic voter might be moved to rally around a struggle that has a class dynamic such as the pipelines that Trump has given the green light to, the right of a woman to have an abortion, his ban on immigrants from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, the proposed wall separating the USA from Mexico, etc.

Some on the left are wary about the Women’s March because so many Democratic Party officials were involved with it. I have some experience dealing with such issues as a socialist and Vietnam antiwar activist. In 1969, David Hawk and Sam Brown, two staff members of the unsuccessful 1968 Eugene McCarthy campaign, proposed a Moratorium as a deliberate alternative to the coalition that the SWP had been part of. If we had taken a sectarian position, we would have denounced it and kept our distance. Instead we embraced it and joined the organizing drive to make it as big and as successful as possible. So instead of a watered-down and pro-DP festival, the Moratorium turned into one of the most powerful protests of the 1960s.

People who have not become radicalized always tend to follow the cues of bourgeois politicians. When I was 21 years old, I kept hoping (and even praying) that a peace candidate could be elected and end the war in the same way people today hope that a liberal Democrat could replace Trump and be a far better keeper of his or her promises than Barack Obama. While Bernie Sanders might run again in 2020, I expect that the candidate will be someone much more in the Elizabeth Warren mold. Soros is pumping money into groups that are promoting such hopes. It will be up to the left to figure out a way to exploit the rising discontent with Trump to channel it into mass actions that can have the same kind of impact that the Standing Rock protest did. Condemning this ferment as “reformist” would be a mistake but none so nearly as rotten as those on the far reaches of the American “left” that have the low political IQ to take Michel Chossudovsky, PressTV and RT.com seriously.

September 14, 2015

Syrian refugees, Hungary and the “axis of resistance”

Filed under: Hungary,immigration,mechanical anti-imperialism,Soros,Stalinism,Syria — louisproyect @ 5:41 pm

Viktor Orban: member in good standing of the “axis of resistance”

It seems that a week does not go by without some incident in Eastern Europe involving the inhumane treatment of people who have fled Baathist terror in Syria.

For example, in the Czech Republic, cops wrote numbers on the arms of refugees in order to identify them, a chilling reminder of how Nazis tattooed such numbers on the arms of Jews in the death camps.

But it is Hungary that takes the cake apparently.

  • It put a razor-wire fence on the border with Serbia to keep refugees out.
  • It put up billboards (in Hungarian no less) warning anybody who made it through the razor-wire fence that “If you come to Hungary, don’t take the jobs of Hungarians!”
  • A TV news photographer kicked and tripped refugees running away from the police. The station she worked for was connected to the far-right Jobbik party that lines up with the “axis of resistance” on Syria, opposing “the systematic attempts of the West to find a casus belli for an armed intervention against the Assad government.”
  • At an internment camp for refugees in Hungary, cops threw bags of food to them as if they were hungry animals.

Since the refugees are only interested in making their way to Germany or Britain, the xenophobia is likely a strategy to mollify Hungary’s burgeoning ultraright groups like Jobbik and their voters. Key to success is the ability of President Viktor Orban to exploit simmering discontent over dire economic conditions. In fact this is exactly how German fascism succeeded. When economic disaster ruined Eastern European Jewry, the largely working class and impoverished small proprietors fled to Germany. Hitler then blamed “the Jews” for taking away German jobs.

It must be noted that Viktor Orban has recently joined the “axis of resistance” after the fashion of Jobbik. All across Europe ultraright parties with zero exceptions have showed solidarity with the Kremlin in its ostensibly “anti-imperialist” struggle against NATO, the EU, and Washington. This Red-Brown alliance is a revival of the National Bolshevist tendency of the early 1920s when a faction of the German CP advocated a united front with the incipient fascist movement.

Orban is now Putin’s closest European ally. While the bonds involve mutual economic interests, including Hungarian access to Russian natural gas at bargain prices and a willingness to back Putin’s pipeline project that would bypass Ukraine, there are also ideological affinities. He has nationalist pretensions casting himself as an enemy of neoliberalism. He has also followed Putin in cracking down on NGO’s and pressuring Hungarian media to follow his strong man rule.

For a fascinating account of Orban’s political evolution, I would recommend the Intercept article by Adam LeBor titled “How Hungary’s Prime Minister Turned From Young Liberal Into Refugee-Bashing Autocrat”. It seems that early on he was not kindly disposed to Russian domination, speaking at a Budapest rally in 1989 commemorating the death of Imre Nagy, the leader of the failed 1956 revolution. In his speech he demanded the immediate withdrawal of all Soviet troops from Hungary.

You don’t have to understand Hungarian to know that he was lambasting “Communist dictatorship”. Understanding which side of the bread was buttered, Orban hooked up with George Soros just before this speech was made. LeBor reports;

Orban was born in May 1963 in Alcsutdoboz, a small village 31 miles from Budapest. After graduating from high school he moved to Budapest to study law at Eötvös Loránd University. There he co-founded Századvég, a dissident social science journal.

He graduated in 1987 and joined the Central-Eastern Europe Study Group, which was funded by George Soros, the financier who had emigrated from Hungary after World War II. The following year Orban became a founding member of the Alliance of Young Democrats, known in Hungarian as Fidesz. The outspoken radicals quickly became the darlings of the Western media. They were young, smart and scruffily photogenic – Tamas Deutsch, another founding member of Fidesz, was a model for Levi’s jeans. Fidesz in its early years was a broad coalition, from near anarchists to nationalists. They all had one aim: to get rid of the Communists. Once that was achieved, like all revolutionary groups, the party began to fracture.

Having been born and raised in Hungary, Soros took a particular interest in his native land. He spent millions on cultivating a following among ambitious young politicians like Orban, paying for airfare and hotel costs in the USA where they were afforded red carpet treatment at Soros’s Open Society conferences. Soros was also shrewd enough to pay for photocopying machines that anti-Communist activists found crucial in their attempts in the late 80s to create a liberal pole of attraction against the Stalinist bureaucracy. Michael Lewis, by no means a critic of neoliberalism, traced Soros’s steps in a 1994 Guardian article:

IN 1984 Soros opened his first office, in Budapest, and began all manner of subversive activities for which he is temperamentally very well-equipped. “I started by trying to create small cracks in the monolithic structure which goes under the name of communism, in the belief that in a rigid structure even a small crack can have a devastating effect,” he wrote in Opening The Soviet System. “As the cracks grew, so did my efforts until they came to take up most of my time.”

Says Liz Lorant, who worked with Soros from the start: “It was the excitement of what we got away with [that is irreplaceable]. We got away with murder. [For example] at that time Xerox machines were under lock and key. That was the way it was. In Romania you had to register a typewriter with the police. Well, we just flooded the whole damn country with Xerox machines so that the rules became meaningless.” In short, by the time the dust settled over the Berlin Wall – boom! bust! – Soros had accumulated a highly-charged portfolio of gratitude. The Great White Gods of Eastern Europe – Havel, Michnik, Kis, Haraszti – were all in his debt. So were all sorts of lesser-known, highly motivated people wending their way to high political office.

For most people on the “anti-imperialist” left, Soros is a kind of archenemy symbolizing globalization, neoliberalism and all the rest. He is also a convenient symbol of liberal ignominy for the far right as the supposed puppet master behind Obama and the secret plans to transform the USA into a European-styled socialist state. Of course that is the paradox of George Soros. Like Fay Dunaway telling Jack Nicholson in “Chinatown” that a woman was both her daughter and her sister, Soros is both a neoliberal shark and someone favoring European style socialism, which is in reality nothing but a welfare state and incapable of being realized today.

With Soros’s record of intervening in Hungarian politics through his well-funded NGO’s, it is easy to understand why Orban would have a free hand in cracking down on them. Many Hungarians must have gathered that Karl Popper’s philosophy probably had more to do with a fast buck then it did with promoting civil society and equal opportunity.

Five years ago Soros’s firm was fined $2.5 million for illegal bank stock transactions in Hungary (a mere slap on the wrist.) It was his exploitation of short sales and other shenanigans from 2007 to 2010 that prompted the billionaire and major donor to my alma mater to confess that he was having “a very good crisis”, referring to the stock market crash that is still impacting countries like Hungary.

Like Greece, Hungary had huge debts when the crisis broke and like Greece has been scrambling to nurse the country back to health—a dubious prospect given the world economic situation. In late 2008 Hungary pleaded with the International Monetary Fund for $25 billion in emergency financing. In 2010 unemployment reached 11.4 percent while the economy shrank by 6.3 percent. It was such suffering that convinced voters to back Orban’s party that promised to wave a magic wand and make things right.

For those who think that a Grexit would solve Greece’s problems, it is worth mentioning that Hungary’s failure to be part of the Eurozone was no silver bullet as the NY Times reported in 2012:

Zoltan Zsoter, an 80-year-old retiree, would seem to be about as far from the world of currency speculation as a person can get. Yet he is an example of how the workings of the global financial system, amplified by the policies of a single political leader, can have a devastating effect on ordinary people.

Mr. Zsoter is one of hundreds of thousands of Hungarians who took out home loans that must be repaid in Swiss francs or other foreign currencies like the euro. Such loans offered seductively low interest rates when times were good. But then the Hungarian currency plunged, causing Mr. Zsoter’s monthly payment to almost double.

“I live day to day,” Mr. Zsoter said. After defaulting on his loan, he pays 40,000 forints, or about $163, out of his monthly pension of 51,000 forints to stay in his modest Budapest apartment as a renter. “Sometimes I have to choose between buying either food or medicine,” he said.

Hungary serves as a cautionary tale for those who argue that Greece could regain competitiveness by reintroducing its currency. The drachma would plunge against the euro, the theory goes, and allow Greek products to compete on price with countries like Turkey.

So if Viktor Orban is facing intractable economic problems, why not scapegoat Syrian refugees or the Roma who have been the target of persecution for a number of years now? And meanwhile, the left that admires Putin would have all the reasons to back Orban who after all is sticking it to the EU.

According to anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, our species homo sapiens has a tendency to think in terms of binary oppositions like life and death or good and evil. This would likely explain the eagerness for so much of the left to divide the world between those forces aligned with the West and those with the East. Like a plot out of a Tolkien novel, the Evil West is always seeking ways to destroy the Good East. Instead of elves with bows and arrow, we have people like Pablo Escobar, Mike Whitney and Eric Draitser rallying around the “axis of resistance” to the fire-breathing dragons of the West. And god help any decent folk in the East who managed to get on the wrong side of an elite in their neck of the woods. Everybody had to understand that it was their half of the world, love it or leave it.

Ironically, Hungary was a symbol of this binary opposition way of thinking in 1956 when the population rose up over Russian domination. In the same way that sections of the left make all sorts of excuses for Assad today, the CP justified the invasion of Hungary in order to “defend socialism”.

But in fact it was Russian tanks that created the animosity in Poland, Czechoslovakia, East Germany and Hungary that made it possible for George Soros, NATO, the CIA and the US State Department to get a foothold. By reinforcing bureaucratic rule in the name of “socialism”, ordinary people began to think positively of its opposite. In the most extreme example, Ukrainians regarded Stephen Bandera as a hero for opposing Soviet domination even if he was a fascist.

The bottom line is that the encroachment of NATO at the doorstep of Russia is a direct outcome of the encroachment of the Red Army on nations throughout Eastern Europe.

There was one Communist who was able to see through the lies. The Daily Worker, the British CP newspaper with the same name as the American paper, sent Peter Fryer to Hungary in 1956 fully expecting him to write articles that echoed the party line that Russia needed to quell a CIA-inspired plot. In other words, he was expected to write the same kind of crap that Max Ajl, Patrick Higgins and Adam Johnson are writing about Syria today. But Fryer obeyed his conscience rather than party bosses and filed reports that any radical journalist would be proud of. You can read Peter Fryer’s “Hungarian Tragedy” here. This excerpt shows that it doesn’t take much effort to see the similarities between Hungary in 1956 and the Arab Spring in Syria in 2011, no matter how it has been slandered in places like Jacobin, WSWS.org, MRZine and elsewhere:

But the crowds spoke also to me of their lives in this small industrial town, of the long years of grinding poverty, without hope of improvement, of their hatred and fear of the AVH [Hungarian secret police]. ‘I get 700 forints a month,’ said one. ‘I only get 600.’ said another. [1] They were ill-dressed, the women and girls doing their pathetic best to achieve some faint echo of elegance. They spoke to me about the AVH men. ‘They were beasts, brutes, animals who had sold themselves to the Russians.’ ‘They called themselves Hungarians and they mowed our people down without hesitation!’ ‘We shan’t leave a single one of those swine alive – you’ll see.’ They asked me what the West was doing to help, and some asked outright for arms. I for one do not regard these as counterrevolutionaries. If after eleven years the working people, goaded beyond bearing, look to the West for succour, whose fault is that? If the Americans are guilty of seeking to foster counter-revolution with the Mutual Security Act, surely the Rákosis and the Gerös are a hundred times more guilty for providing the soil in which seeds sown by the Americans could grow.

There was a general movement in the direction of the hospital, where an immense crowd had gathered, clamouring more and more insistently with every minute that passed for Stefko to be brought out to them. The German journalist and I were admitted into the hospital, where we met the director’s wife and a French-speaking woman who had volunteered to help with the nursing. It was here that I got for the first time reasonably accurate figures of the number of wounded. There had been about 80 wounded brought here, of whom eleven had died, and about 80 had been taken to the hospital at Györ. The need for plasma and other medicaments was desperate if lives were to be saved and so was the need, said the director’s wife, to end the tumult outside. A deputation from the revolutionary committee was interviewing her husband to demand that Stefko be handed to the people.

A few minutes later the director was forced to give in, and we saw a stretcher carried by four men appear out of a hut in the hospital grounds. On it lay Stefko, wearing a blue shirt. His legs were covered by a blanket. His head was bandaged. He was carried close enough to me for me to have touched him. He was fully conscious, and he knew quite well what was going to happen to him. His head turned wildly from side to side and there was spittle round his mouth. As the crowd saw the stretcher approaching they sent up a howl of derision and anger and hatred. They climbed the wire fence and spat at him and shouted ‘murderer’. They pushed with all their might at the double gates, burst them open and surged in. The stretcher was flung to the ground, and the crowd was upon Stefko, kicking and trampling. Relations of those he had murdered were, they told me, foremost in this lynching. It was soon over. They took the body and hanged it by the ankles for a short time from one of the trees in the Lenin Street. Ten minutes afterwards only a few people were left outside the hospital.

I wrote later in my first, unpublished, dispatch:

After eleven years the incessant mistakes of the Communist leaders, the brutality of the State Security Police, the widespread bureaucracy and mismanagement, the bungling, the arbitrary methods and the lies have led to total collapse. This was no counter-revolution, organised by fascists and reactionaries. It was the upsurge of a whole people, in which rank-and-file Communists took part, against a police dictatorship dressed up as a Socialist society – a police dictatorship backed up by Soviet armed might.

I am the first Communist journalist from abroad to visit Hungary since the revolution started. And I have no hesitation in placing the blame for these terrible events squarely on the shoulders of those who led the Hungarian Communist Party for eleven years – up to and including Ernö Gerö They turned what could have been the outstanding example of people’s democracy in Europe into a grisly caricature of Socialism. They reared and trained a secret police which tortured all – Communists as well as nonCommunists – who dared to open their mouths against injustices. It was a secret police which in these last few dreadful days turned its guns on the people whose defenders it was supposed to be.

I wrote this under the immediate impact of a most disturbing and shattering experience, but I do not withdraw one word of it. Much of the rest of the dispatch was never received in London because the call was cut off after twenty minutes, and the first ten had been taken up by three different people giving me contradictory instructions as to the ‘line’ I should take. Mick Bennett insisted on reading me a long extract from a resolution of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers’ Party. I had had enough of resolutions. I had seen where eleven years of terror and stupidity had led Hungary, and I wanted to tell the readers of the Daily Worker the plain unvarnished truth, however painful it might be. But the readers of the Daily Worker were not to be told the truth. The day after I had sent this dispatch they were reading only about ‘gangs of reactionaries’ who were ‘beating Communists to death in the streets’ of Budapest. The paper admitted in passing that ‘some reports claimed that only identified representatives of the former security police were being killed’. Next day Hungary disappeared altogether from the Daily Worker’s front page.

November 14, 2010

Glenn Beck, George Soros and the Judenrats

Filed under: Fascism,Jewish question,Soros — louisproyect @ 7:23 pm

George Soros

On November 9th Glenn Beck alleged that George Soros was a Nazi collaborator:

His childhood is shocking, traumatic. He grew up in Nazi Europe. Fourteen years old, he had to help the government confiscate the lands of his fellow Jewish friends and neighbors. He didn’t grow up in a Jewish household. His mother was a strong anti-Semite — George Soros’ words, not mine.

But when he had to go over and take the lands from the people, his Jewish friends and neighbors who were being sent to the gas chamber, I can’t imagine what it would do to a teenager, anybody, an adult.

Well, what did it do to George Soros?

In an interview with Steve Kroft, Soros was asked if he felt guilt at all about taking the property from the Jews as a teenager. He responded, “No.” He also said, quote, “I don’t deny the Jews their national existence, but I don’t want to be a part of it.”

Last night, phone calls came in to FOX already before the show even aired. They were saying that they were Soros people, saying that I am an anti-Semite because I was going to report this. I mean, I’m probably more supportive of Israel and the Jews than George Soros is. But that’s neither here or there, I don’t believe pointing the man’s tragic begins makes you anti-Semite.

The Kroft interview aired on a Sixty Minutes episode from December 20, 1998:

KROFT: (Voiceover) To understand the complexities and contradictions in his personality, you have to go back to the very beginning: to Budapest, where George Soros was born 68 years ago to parents who were wealthy, well-educated and Jewish.

When the Nazis occupied Budapest in 1944, George Soros’ father was a successful lawyer. He lived on an island in the Danube and liked to commute to work in a rowboat. But knowing there were problems ahead for the Jews, he decided to split his family up. He bought them forged papers and he bribed a government official to take 14-year-old George Soros in and swear that he was his Christian godson. But survival carried a heavy price tag. While hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews were being shipped off to the death camps, George Soros accompanied his phony godfather on his appointed rounds, confiscating property from the Jews.

(Vintage footage of Jews walking in line; man dragging little boy in line)

KROFT: (Voiceover) These are pictures from 1944 of what happened to George Soros’ friends and neighbors.

(Vintage footage of women and men with bags over their shoulders walking; crowd by a train)

KROFT: (Voiceover) You’re a Hungarian Jew…

Mr. SOROS: (Voiceover) Mm-hmm.

KROFT: (Voiceover) …who escaped the Holocaust…

(Vintage footage of women walking by train)

Mr. SOROS: (Voiceover) Mm-hmm.

(Vintage footage of people getting on train)

KROFT: (Voiceover) …by–by posing as a Christian.

Mr. SOROS: (Voiceover) Right.

(Vintage footage of women helping each other get on train; train door closing with people in boxcar)

KROFT: (Voiceover) And you watched lots of people get shipped off to the death camps.

Mr. SOROS: Right. I was 14 years old. And I would say that that’s when my character was made.

KROFT: In what way?

Mr. SOROS: That one should think ahead. One should understand and–and anticipate events and when–when one is threatened. It was a tremendous threat of evil. I mean, it was a–a very personal experience of evil.

KROFT: My understanding is that you went out with this protector of yours who swore that you were his adopted godson.

Mr. SOROS: Yes. Yes.

KROFT: Went out, in fact, and helped in the confiscation of property from the Jews.

Mr. SOROS: Yes. That’s right. Yes.

KROFT: I mean, that’s–that sounds like an experience that would send lots of people to the psychiatric couch for many, many years. Was it difficult?

Mr. SOROS: Not–not at all. Not at all. Maybe as a child you don’t–you don’t see the connection. But it was–it created no–no problem at all.

KROFT: No feeling of guilt?

Mr. SOROS: No.

KROFT: For example that, ‘I’m Jewish and here I am, watching these people go. I could just as easily be there. I should be there.’ None of that?

Mr. SOROS: Well, of course I c–I could be on the other side or I could be the one from whom the thing is being taken away. But there was no sense that I shouldn’t be there, because that was–well, actually, in a funny way, it’s just like in markets–that if I weren’t there–of course, I wasn’t doing it, but somebody else would–would–would be taking it away anyhow. And it was the–whether I was there or not, I was only a spectator, the property was being taken away. So the–I had no role in taking away that property. So I had no sense of guilt.

One of the main boosters of the 14-year-old George Soros as Nazi collaborator is Martin Peretz, the hate merchant who was in the news lately for rousing Harvard students and faculty into action against a social studies chair being endowed in his name.

After citing the passage from the Kroft interview above, Peretz discharges this burst of venom:

So this is the psychodrama that has been visited on American liberalism. We learn Soros never has nightmares. Had he been tried in a de-Nazification process for having been a young cog in the Hitlerite wheel, he would have felt that, since other people would have confiscated the same Jewish property and delivered the same deportation notices to the same doomed Jews, it was as if he hadn’t done it himself. He sleeps well, while we sleep in Nazi America.

It is of some interest, as I have pointed out before, that Peretz is on the board of trustees at Bard College while Soros is one of the school’s major donors. I imagine that Leon Botstein makes sure to never invite them to the same function for fear of an alter kocker donniebrook.

The story is not one of collaboration but survival. After George Soros’s father had put together false identity papers for his son as a Christian named Sandor Kiss, the fourteen year old was sent off to live with a Hungarian named Baumbach who had the job of inventorying Jewish property. Soros/Kiss followed him around in his rounds, as one might have expected in such a relationship. One wonders what Peretz or Glenn Beck would have expected from this 14 year old, for him to announce to the Nazi authorities that his real name was Soros and that he was a Jew? There were real collaborators with the Nazis during WWII but George Soros was not one of them.

The Judenrats, or Jewish councils, were composed of leading figures in the ghetto who decided to collaborate with the Nazis rather than resist, even to the point of supplying slave labor.

For people like Beck and Peretz, Soros becomes a Judenrat type figure because he is too liberal for their tastes and because he is slightly to the left of Netanyahu. Soros has had the temerity to write something like this in the prestigious New York Review of Books:

One explanation is to be found in the pervasive influence of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which strongly affects both the Democratic and the Republican parties. AIPAC’s mission is to ensure American support for Israel but in recent years it has overreached itself. It became closely allied with the neocons and was an enthusiastic supporter of the invasion of Iraq. It actively lobbied for the confirmation of John Bolton as US ambassador to the United Nations. It continues to oppose any dialogue with a Palestinian government that includes Hamas.

While not quite in the Mearsheimer/Walt category, this is fairly nervy points being made by one of the Democratic Party’s largest donors. Too bad that they have found such advice all too easy to ignore.

Another wealthy and politically powerful Jew has also been accused of being a latter-day Judenrat leader, namely Michael Bloomberg. Because Bloomberg had the guts to defend the Islamic cultural center being built near the WTC, he has come under the same kind of attack from Mark Williams, a former tea party leader.

How many times do I have to tell you….  the Ground Zero Mosque is a chest–Tell me again how the Ground Zero Mosque is about “peace” and “understanding”–beating pile of lies being perpetuated by people who want nothing more than to pour salt into an open gash and those fools who would collaborate with them. Politically correct Judenrats* like New York Mayor Michael Boomberg and Scott Stringer (Manhattan Borough President) and domestic enemies who are supporting the mosque – with open ties to Islamic Terrorist organizations and supporting states are doing nothing more than erecting a giant middle finger to be thrust at the victims of 911… which includes all of civilized Mankind.

* “Judenrats“:  Were Jews in Nazi occupied Europe who collaborated with the Nazis to turn in other Jews (like as happened to Anne Frank) in return for promises of  Nazi favor (always revoked via killing the Jedenrat).  In the Camps they were known as “Sonderkommando” and were tasked with leading the other Jews into the ovens before being machine-gunned down and incinerated themselves by their Nazi masters.  Only the 8th Sonderkommando (Auschwitz) rebelled, they were mowed down.  The closest American term for what they are is one that I believe arose in New York…   “Rat Bastard” and in some circles comes with the same attached open season on the holder of the title.

It should not come as any great surprise that Mark Williams was a leader of the tea party who was forced to step down after writing a “satirical” letter to Abe Lincoln in the name of NAACP leader Ben Jealous that included this:

Perhaps one of the most racist point of all in the Tea Parties is their demand that government ‘stop raising our taxes.’ That is outrageous! How will we coloreds ever get a wide-screen TV in each room if non-coloreds get to keep what they earn? Mr. Lincoln, you were the greatest racist ever. We had an great gig. Three squares, room and board, all our decisions made by the massa within the house. Please repeal the 13th and 14th Amendments and let us get back to where we belong.

Despite Soros’s challenge to the Israel lobby, the ADL’s Abe Foxman, a figure as detestable as Martin Peretz, has come to his defense, issuing this statement:

Glenn Beck’s description of George Soros’ actions during the Holocaust is completely inappropriate, offensive and over the top.  For a political commentator or entertainer to have the audacity to say – inaccurately – that there’s a Jewish boy sending Jews to death camps, as part of a broader assault on Mr. Soros, that’s horrific.

While I, too, may disagree with many of Soros’ views and analysis on the issues, to bring in this kind of innuendo about his past is unacceptable.  To hold a young boy responsible for what was going on around him during the Holocaust as part of a larger effort to denigrate the man is repugnant.

The Holocaust was a horrific time, and many people had to make excruciating choices to ensure their survival.  George Soros has been forthright about his childhood experiences and his family’s history, and there the matter should rest.

So what is going on here?

While I do not subscribe to the theory that people like Glenn Beck are the leaders of a burgeoning fascist movement, there are ample signs that his words represent an escalation in the ultraright’s war on liberal America. The fact that Fox-TV, speaking on behalf of owner Rupert Murdoch, a key player in the Republican Party, has refused to dissociate itself from Beck indicates that the polarization is sufficient to make Obama and Jon Stewart’s pleas for “civility” look ridiculous.

Here’s the opening of Beck’s November 9th show that focused on Soros:

The topic tonight and tomorrow night: George Soros.

The things that are happening in this country that don’t make sense — Van Jones said something that bothered me over the summer. I mean, he said a lot of things over the years that have bothered me, but one comment in particular over the summer stuck with me. And it was this:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VAN JONES, FORMER GREEN JOBS CZAR: You handle the top down. But it’s also the bottom-up and inside-out — top down, bottom-up and inside-out. So, now, your challenge as you leave here, our challenge, is to take care of that bottom-up part and that inside-out part — the hard part.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BECK: That’s not — that bothered me because I know who this guy is. He’s a communist revolutionary. A guy who pined for the days of Stalin, the Iron Curtain went down. Something is wrong there. Well, it really bothered me until recently when I started looking into all the George Soros connections and the size and the scope of his reach.

And let me tell you something — I said to you, read up on George Soros. There is plenty of ways to read about him. These are all books about George Soros, many of them written by him. So, there is no shortage of information. Read them. Read them.

The comment doesn’t bother me anymore, I understand what it means. And that’s why that comment now frightens me. And I will put it in perspective tonight and tomorrow. Pull back the curtain and reveal what that actually means and it will terrify you.

There are a couple of other things that you’ll understand. First of all, in 2003, Soros and a partner funded the new $5 million liberal group MoveOn.org. Well, MoveOn.org, what exactly is that?

Well, you remember it. This is the group that originally called General Petraeus, “General Betray Us.” It was despicable.

Well, who had they tapped for the executive director of MoveOn.org? This guy, Zack Exley. I never heard of him before. Do you know who he is?

Well, he previously had trained activists for the anarchist group, the Raucous Society. These are the riots in Seattle helped orchestrated by this guy — more on that in just a minute.

Oh, by the way, he’s also a blogger for “The Huffington Post,” which is interesting because “The Huffington Post” gets money from George Soros. Oh, and he’s also a fellow with the George Soros’ Open Society Institute.

Violent radicals. Oh, and by the way, it’s just not that phrase that came — George Soros has been following him as he originally funded the Ella Baker Society, or the Center for Human Rights. And then, of course, he was on the Apollo Alliance. And then, when he got fired from the White House, he went to Center for American Progress, which is also funded by George Soros. Radicals. Radicals.

Oh, the Open Society Institute, in case you don’t know what this is — don’t worry, you will in the next couple of days. The Open Society Institute is George Soros’ most important group. It is really spectacular. It’s his philanthropist arm. This is where he really — he looks for Mother Teresa to give out his precious money. And, boy, did he find Mother Teresa?

Well, not actually. He found to head this organization the founder of the violent activist group SDS, Students of Democratic Society. You don’t know what they did in the ’60s? You will.

One string, $425 million every single year — the strings that are being pulled by the puppet master.

I would make this prediction. If in a few years the attack on the working class begins to provoke a massive resistance such as the kind seen in Greece and France, there will be efforts on the part of tea party funders like the Koch brothers and people like Rupert Murdoch to foster forms of direct action far more violent and extreme than anything being seen today. It will rely on Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and company to supply these shock troops with the ideology they need to harden them for street battles. And just as was the case in the 1930s, there will be efforts to demonize Jewish bankers like George Soros and many others in the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. While giving no quarter to the Democratic Party, the left will be obliged to tell the truth about who Soros really is and what he really stands for—namely the continuation of the kind of class rule that will be driving the middle class into deeper and deeper frenzies. And it will be up to our class to prevent American society from succumbing to the madness that brought down European civilization 80 years ago.

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