The National Lawyers Guild, born in resistance to political witch-hunts, seems to have neutered itself in the face of the new wave of manufactured hysteria.
“The Guild has ‘a sort of hip neoliberal mindset: anti-Russia, anti-China, anti-Syria etc.’”
I recently returned from a delegation to Russia, and now smell McCarthyism more clearly.
The delegation was organized by the Center for Citizen Initiatives, an invaluable 32-year old citizen diplomacy organization, but CCI said it would not to print the article I wrote about the delegation because it needed to say something critical of the Soviet period, not just praise. The article is titled Russian Pride and US Exceptionalism. A political decision was made that, in order to have access to some highly placed people, CCI needs to be "balanced" about the Soviet period and acknowledge the gulags. That could be a good strategic decision, but I was surprised. [Two weeks later, after the article was published widely with a very positive response, CCI did publish it.]
A few days after my article was printed, my nephew, who helped me edit the piece and works for corporate America, told me he's afraid to open certain websites on his work computer -- off the clock -- because he could be flagged as “suspicious” and questioned. McCarthy was limited to phone taps and other dirty tricks. Edward Snowden is in Russia because he told us the state has access to everything. My nephew is pragmatic, not paranoid. When I told members of the delegation about him, several said they weren't surprised about his concern, and one called it tragic. I told them they were all extremely cougeous to go to Russia at this frenzied point in history. One elder, seasoned member, said McCarthyism is certainly here and she's very careful. I am not very careful because I hold on to the belief that since I'm not doing anything illegal, they can't get me. History proves otherwise.
“Edward Snowden is in Russia because he told us the state has access to everything.”
I have been a proud member of the National Lawyers Guild for 35 years, but since Trump's election I have repeatedly challenged how it has become a partisan organization for the Democrats. The Guild's Democratic Party loyalty, exposed in a Black Agenda Report article, is reflected in its resistance to support for Julian Assange. A recent article by Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, exposes how Assange is being tortured before our eyes, with no pretense of the rule of law. Assange had support when he went after Bush’s war, but is now publicly brutalized because he went after the Democrats, so is apparently a Russian asset responsible for Trump, as Tulsi Gabbard and Jill Stein are also “Russian assets.” MSNBC claimed that because Gabbard didn’t deny she was a Russian asset, she clearly is. Does that sound like McCarthy?
After I publicly exposed the partisan liberalism of the Guild in the Black Agenda Report, I was both chastised for airing dirty laundry and told I raised valid, important concerns about the political compass of the 82-year old organization. There was talk of the need for elders to provide political context, to help the current ahistorical political climate, which believes it’s all Trump’s fault. However, a third annual convention has occurred since Trump’s election and none have addressed the new McCarthyism, or Assange, who is the victim of one of the most egregious cases of legal abuse in history and should be of grave concern to a legal organization such as the Guild.
“Assange had support when he went after Bush’s war, but is now publicly brutalized because he went after the Democrats.”
Recently, a former Guild president posted an article to the International Committee from Forbes with the ominous title: Russia Attempts To Take Over Venezuelan Oil, Creating A Challenge For The U.S. I responded to the committee and asked if I was missing something, but why can't Russia and Venezuela trade? Within minutes, a Guild member since 1974 asked to be taken off the list because of what he saw as “foolish ultra leftism (an infantile disorder to coin a phrase)” that was a “stupid discussion.” Another said I was “lacking in ethical grounding.”
One who thought my question was valid, said “I personally support any sovereign nation’s ability to make alliances. Russia is not my enemy. Russia was invited into Venezuela just as it was invited into Syria. When I started law school in 2002, at the ripe old age of 52, the only thing I cared about was joining my school’s Guild chapter. I have found a good deal of disappointment in the Guild ever since.” Others added that the Guild has “a sort of hip neoliberal mindset: anti-Russia, anti-China, anti-Syria etc.,” and that “If it’s ultra-left to call out the Democrats, I wear the badge ultra-leftist as a badge of honor.” One member cautioned, “as Riva said recently, being aware of source is very important.” But the discussion has been shut down, with no plans to discuss the implications of the Guild helping to fan the flames of anti-Russia sentiment, let alone the need to quell them.
“If it’s ultra-left to call out the Democrats, I wear the badge ultra-leftist as a badge of honor.”
A long-time Guild comrade who is now all about anybody but Trump, and knows my nephew, said his story is just anecdotal. “I don’t see an across-the-board ‘new McCarthyism.’ To rise to that level, what I'd need to see is a major concerted effort by the government to destroy the lives, careers and reputations of people accused of being insufficiently hostile to Russia.” Are we waiting for the first obvious suicide of this McCarthy period?
An article about the recent conviction of seven Catholic peace activists for a Plowshares action generated this comment: “The greatest risk of nuclear war today comes from Trump Derangement Syndrome. The fact that the leadership of the Democratic Party would use Russia-gate, a pile of absurd lies, for political advantage, at the risk of initiating a nuclear war with Russia is beyond despicable.”
The fear of exposing the depth of the rot is pervasive, counter-revolutionary and jeopardizes life itself. That Trump is the only anti-endless war candidate, other than Tulsi Gabbard, exposes the Democrats as the war party they are. Many hope that Trump is the wrecking ball that will knock it all down. Hopefully before somebody pushes the button.
Riva Enteen edited the book Follow the Money, interviews by Flashpoints producer Dennis J. Bernstein. She can be reached at [email protected].
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