(U-WIRE) TEXAS, Daily Texan –The communists are taking over! What? Where’s a communist? Who’s a communist? Is he a communist? Are you a communist?Since the middle of last century, America’s political and social life has been marked by a profound paranoia surrounding communism.
Through unmatched access to this nation’s mass media, military, economic and political elites with a vested interest in spreading global market-based economies have led a highly successful anti-communist propaganda campaign. This campaign has been successful in manipulating citizens into viewing anti-communist attitudes as “common sense.” Indeed, it seems citizens are increasingly suspicious of any person or group to the left of, say, Al Gore.
Sadly, however, left-wing analysis and its potential for understanding otherwise complex social issues is indeed consistently marginalized or altogether ignored. For example, there has been much talk in the mass media and by citizens recently about a perceived cultural crisis facing the States. Daily Texan columnist Daniel Chan gave voice to this important concern in his Nov. 12 column, “Society Continues Down the Spiral of Violence, Greed.” His column gave many examples of this “spiral” of society, such as increased violence, corrupt government and the abundance of undoubtedly crass Hollywood films. Ultimately, his column was less significant for its cultural analysis and more for its general unwillingness to place U.S. culture in its proper social context: its market-based economy. Is it unreasonable to think cultural problems in the U.S. would somehow be the direct result of its ubiquitous market system, in which violence, sex, political power, even emotion, are packaged and sold for profit? The point is not that we necessarily know the answer to that question. Rather, the point is that we continually fail to ask the question.
Why? To a large degree, many citizens are unable to make a strong link between social and cultural issues and their possible point of origin.
The taboo of “class warfare” comes directly from the top of the social ladder. “I understand the politics of economic stimulus. Some would like to turn this into class warfare. That’s not how I think,” President Bush recently declared while preparing to unleash his so-called “economic stimulus” plan. And what exactly was his plan? A $674 billion payback to his corporate peers. Is this plan a form of class warfare? In Bush’s world, of course not. But to criticize the plan, unless to say it gives too little to the rich, is somehow to engage in “class warfare.”
It is time for citizens to critically examine propaganda terms such as class warfare. In truth, nobody need become a card-carrying member of the Communist Party in order to use left-wing principles as tools for ana Simply, the more tools we have to analyze the world, the greater our personal and collective freedom. Let’s divert our paranoia away from tools for freedom, and toward our unexamined “common sense.