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Ellis County GOP Newsletter - January/February 2019
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Chairman's Note 
by Ellis County Chairman, Randy Bellomy


Happy 2019 Ellis County! There are only 660 days till the 2020 elections! Now that may seem a long time away but we have a lot of work to do.

As the county grows we have to identify and get registered as many new republicans as possible.

The Dems have been getting there people to become voter registers and we need to offset this. 

We have set up a class with Jana Ornyn our election administrator on Thursday Jan 31 2019 at 7:00 pm at 610 Water street Waxahachie the Woodmen Building, other classes will be schedule later in the year.

The municipal and annex votes will be coming up in May with early voting starting in late April.

We have been losing ground in our local races and we need to help those conservative that are running to get them elected.

Please invite any candidates running  in our local elections to our next meeting which is February 5th at 7pm.

We are in the process of setting up our next fundraiser which is hosted by 878 Air Soft.

We will have a full auto shoot and people will be allowed to shoot the gun of there choice. Please invite your friends! There will be a lot of good food and conversation and...you never know who might show up.  

God bless Texas,

Randy Bellomy
Chairman, Ellis County Republican Party


You are cordially invited to join the
ELLIS COUNTY REPUBLICAN WOMEN
For their Lincoln Day Dinner
With Special Guest
Congressman Ron Wright
Newly elected U.S. Representative for CD6
 
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
 
The Waxahachie Civic Center
2000 Civic Center Lane
Waxahachie, Texas 75165
 
5:30 pm ~ VIP Sponsor Reception/Photo Op
6:00 pm ~ Meet and Greet
6:30 pm ~ Dinner and Program
 
~ SILENT AUCTION ~
 
Levels of Participation
$1000/VIP Reception/Photo Op/Reserved Table of 8/Meet and Greet/
Dinner and Program
$500/VIP Reception/Photo Op/4 Tickets/Reserved Seating/
Meet and Greet/Dinner and Program
$250/VIP Reception/Photo Op/2 Tickets/Reserved Seating/
Meet and Greet/Dinner and Program
$50 per person/VIP Reception/Photo Op/1 Ticket/General Seating/
Meet and Greet/Dinner and Program
$30 per person/1 Ticket/General Seating/Meet and Greet/Dinner and Program
 
R.S.V.P
Tommie Worthy-Treasurer, 972-627-3447, 202 S FM 55, Italy, TX  76651
                            tommieworthy2@windstream.net     
Carol Bouldin, 214-405-4899, P.O. Box 1083, Ennis, TX 75120  cbouldin@aol.com
 
            Prepaid tickets can be picked up at Will Call
 
Majority of the Proceeds to benefit the Ellis County Republican Candidates, Scholarships for Ellis County ISDs Graduating Seniors and Constitution Program
 
Political Ad Paid for By ECRW (PAC)                     Attire: Business
ACCURACY OF OUR VOTER ROLLS!
 

Secretary Whitley Issues Advisory On Voter Registration List Maintenance Activity
"Integrity and efficiency of elections in Texas require accuracy of our state's voter rolls"


Janauary 25, 2019
Contact: 
Sam Taylor
512-463-6116

AUSTIN – Texas Secretary of State David Whitley today issued an advisory to county voter registrars regarding voter registration list maintenance activities, which include identifying any non-U.S. citizens registered to vote in the State of Texas.

For the past year, the Texas Secretary of State's office has worked closely with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to evaluate information regarding persons identified to not be citizens of the United States.

This voter registration list maintenance activity is being conducted in accordance with federal and state law to ensure that only qualified voters - who must first and foremost be U.S. citizens - are registered to vote in Texas elections.

Through this evaluation, the Texas Secretary of State's office discovered that a total of approximately 95,000 individuals identified by DPS as non-U.S. citizens have a matching voter registration record in Texas, approximately 58,000 of whom have voted in one or more Texas elections. Voting in an election in which the person knows he or she is not eligible to vote is a second-degree felony in the State of Texas.

Upon receipt of this information, the Texas Secretary of State's office immediately provided the data in its possession to the Texas Attorney General's office, as the Secretary of State has no statutory enforcement authority to investigate or prosecute alleged illegal activity in connection with an election.

Secretary Whitley issued the following statement:

"Integrity and efficiency of elections in Texas require accuracy of our state's voter rolls, and my office is committed to using all available tools under the law to maintain an accurate list of registered voters. Our agency has provided extensive training opportunities to county voter registrars so that they can properly perform list maintenance activities in accordance with federal and state law, which affords every registered voter the chance to submit proof of eligibility. I would like to thank the Department of Public Safety for providing us with this valuable information so that we can continue to guarantee the right to vote for all eligible Texas voters, who should not have their voices muted by those who abuse the system."

Going forward, the Texas Secretary of State's office will use information it obtains from DPS on a monthly basis to cross-reference with Texas' statewide voter registration database and match potential non-U.S. citizens who have registered to vote. Once a voter registration is identified as a match, the Texas Secretary of State's office will notify the county in which the person is registered so that the county voter registrar can take action.

The following combinations of matches between information in DPS-provided data and the statewide voter registration database are used to identify possible non-U.S. citizens registered to vote:

  • Last Name, First Name, and Full Social Security Number; 
  • Last Name, First Name, and DPS-issued Driver License, Personal Identification Card, or Election Identification Certificate Number; or 
  • Last Name, First Name, Last Four Digits of Social Security Number, and Date of Birth 
If a registered voter is identified as a non-U.S. citizen, he or she should receive a Notice of Examination (PDF) from the county voter registrar indicating that his or her registration status is being examined on the grounds that he or she is not a U.S. citizen.

The registered voter will then be required to provide proof of citizenship in order to stay registered, which may be done by submitting to the voter registrar a copy of one of the following documents:
  • A certified copy of the voter's birth certificate 
  • United States passport; or 
  • Certificate of naturalization (Citizenship certificate) 

If the person responds indicating he or she is not a U.S. citizen, or fails to respond to the Notice within 30 days, then the voter registration will be cancelled by the county voter registrar.

County voter registrars have been provided with numerous training opportunities to ensure that list maintenance activities are conducted in accordance with state and federal law so as to not affect eligible voters.

Texas voters who wish to check their registration status can visit the Texas Secretary of State's "Am I Registered?" tool online or contact the voter registrar in their county of registration.
 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

Voter Register Classes
We have set up a class with Jana Ornyn, our election administrator, on Thursday Jan 31 2019 at 7:00 pm at 610 Water street Waxahachie the Woodmen Building, other classes will be schedule later in the year.
 
Legislative Training 
Speaker: Rachel Malone,
Director of Gun Owners of America
Tuesday, Feb 12th
7pm
Republican Party Headquarters, 610 Water Street, Waxahachie
Objective: Train people on how to get involved in the legislative session this spring in Austin

 
Ellis County Republican Party Gun Shoot Fundraiser
Saturday, April 13th, 10 AM 
878 Airsoft, 4020 FM 878, Waxahachie
More details to follow!
 
Do We Need Our Country Anymore?
by Larry P. Arnn, President, Hillsdale College
 
 
Larry P. Arnn is the twelfth president of Hillsdale College. He received his B.A. from Arkansas State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School. From 1977 to 1980, he also studied at the London School of Economics and at Worcester College, Oxford University, where he served as director of research for Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill. From 1985 until his appointment as president of Hillsdale College in 2000, he was president of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy. He is the author of Liberty and Learning: The Evolution of American EducationThe Founders’ Key: The Divine and Natural Connection Between the Declaration and the Constitution; and Churchill’s Trial: Winston Churchill and the Salvation of Free Government

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on December 7, 2018, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C. 


As we reach the end of this turbulent year, the uproar of the hour is against the nation-state, and not for the first time. “World leaders” are now accustomed to call for the subordination of the nation to the good of the globe. This call is amplified by the media and intellectual elites, who march in lockstep. If the call is right, the peoples of the world will enter a new age of global peace, prosperity, and cooperation. If it is wrong, the free nations of the world will lose the remnants of democratic accountability that have kept them free. 

The occasion for the latest outburst of transnationalist enthusiasm was a grim anniversary, the 100th Armistice Day, the annual remembrance of November 11, 1918, the end of the First World War. The losses in Europe in that war were staggering: 8.5 million soldiers were killed, including 900,000 from the British Empire and Commonwealth and 1.36 million French. By comparison, the number of British military killed in the Second World War, a much costlier war overall in terms of life and treasure, was just under 400,000; that of French military killed, France’s army having been defeated quickly, 210,000. Such horrors had never been seen, and their scars are still visible all over Europe: lists of the dead on the walls of colleges, statues in town squares, national gatherings of solemn dignity. 

Modern eyes see these wars as the result of the nation-state and proof that nationalism cannot be sustained. But this is precisely a half-truth. It leaves out the distinction that matters more than any: what kind of nations do we mean? 
With world leaders gathered in Paris in what was to be an atmosphere of unity, President Macron of France was the keynote speaker at the Armistice Day ceremony, and his speech made a sensation in the press. He delivered it standing before the Arc de Triomphe, a monument to the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars that formed modern France. Beneath the Arc is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. As much as any place on earth, it is hallowed civic ground—a curious place to launch an attack upon the civic.

Nationalism, Macron argued, is the cause of war. Nationalism is the reason so many died in the twentieth century. The cure is to rid ourselves of nationalism. Macron spoke beautifully of the sacrifices of the soldiers who perished in World War I, of the misery in which they fought, of the lives they might have had. But as he mourned and honored them, he also conscripted them into the cause of transnationalism, for which he says they fought. 

Here is the key passage that made the news: 
In those dark hours, that vision of France as a generous nation, of France as a project, of France promoting universal values, was the exact opposite of the egotism of a people who look after only their interests, because patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism: nationalism is a betrayal of it.

What can it possibly mean to say that patriotism is the opposite of nationalism? Think of the meaning of the words. “Nation” comes from the Latin word natus, which means “birth” or “to be born.” In its root, nation is the place where one is born. Natus is also the root of the word “nature,” which means how and what a thing comes to be and therefore what it is. Nature and nation are connected terms. One might say it is the nature of man to have a nation.

The classical philosophers, and for that matter the greatest French philosophers, say that very thing. Take Montesquieu, who like many of the best thinkers sought for a law or standard of behavior among nations that would avoid perpetual war. He did not propose, however, that the nation should pass away. To the contrary, he wrote: “Laws should be so appropriate to the people for whom they are made that it is very unlikely that the laws of one nation can suit another.” 

“Patriotism” is also an interesting word. It comes from the Latin root pater. The pater is the father, thus for example “paternity” and “patriarchy.” The related Latin word patria means “fatherland.” One is born to a mother and a father. One’s nation is the land of one’s mother and father. Of course, this is not the only way one can have a nation, but it is the usual way or the natural way. 

So for Macron to say that patriotism is the opposite of nationalism is just a bit of silly wordplay. Did he mean that for a person to love his father he must despise the place where his father and mother brought him to life? In the distant past our fathers founded our nation. Are we to love them and despise their work? Are we to imagine that the patriotic founders of nations, and nations’ patriotic defenders in war, despised their nations, and that we can emulate them only by doing the same? 

Macron distorts the meaning of nationalism in order to condemn it. He calls it the “egotism of a people who look after only their interests.” Only is a cheat word: who claims that any nation, or for that matter any individual, should look after only its own interest? Even Donald Trump, who is hardly acceptable in the polite company of “world leaders” and who Macron was setting himself against in his attack on nationalism, says the opposite frequently. To have a moral duty to look after one’s children is not to have a duty to look after only them: that duty must come first, but it entails others. 

***
According to Macron, “the spirit of revenge and the economic and moral crisis [following World War I] fueled the rise of nationalism and totalitarianism.” This in turn produced World War II. This is true, but only part of the truth. The whole truth reveals that nationalism is both stubborn and, rightly conceived, necessary to many things, including the prevention of war. Nationalism is older than the people of France or of any country. It did not only result from the First World War, it also caused that war. But just as much, it caused the defeat of the aggressors. It is in fact the highest expression of human nature in community. 

France had reason to provoke the First World War, but it did not. France had been defeated by Germany in the Franco-Prussian War, launched by Germany to help unite German provinces into one nation. France was stripped of two provinces. Modern Germany was drawn up in the Palace of Versailles, the home of Louis XIV. The establishment of modern Germany was therefore also a humiliation of France. Despite this, France did not begin the next war. Neither did Belgium or Luxembourg, both places that had suffered at the hands of Germany and would do so again. It was the Germans who were again the aggressors.

From this history we learn that it is not the nation-state, but the kinds of nation-states that matter. From the birth of political philosophy in ancient Athens, it has been understood in the West that the difference between good and bad regimes, just as between lives lived well and lives lived badly, is all-important.

This difference between good and bad regimes was at stake in the First World War as much as in any war in history. The war began with an act of raw aggression: the Germans with their allies the Austrians launched an attack in August 1914 upon Belgium and France in the north and Serbia in the south. The trouble had started in Serbia, where the heir to the Austrian throne was assassinated. Germany supported Austria by attacking two nations that had nothing to do with the trouble in Serbia and lay in the opposite direction. 

The German plan for victory in 1914 was almost as ambitious as that of Hitler in 1939. It was drawn up by scholar and diplomat Kurt Riezler for German Prime Minister Bethmann-Hollweg, and its aims were draconian. France would cede northern territory, pay a war indemnity of ten billion German marks, and pay off all of Germany’s existing national debt, making the French economy dependent upon the German. France would demolish its northern forts, and Belgium and Luxembourg would be annexed or become vassal states. The Belgian port of Antwerp would be annexed. In the east, Poland would be placed under German sovereignty “for all time.” 

This might be called the first modern plan for the international governance of Europe. And when it was overcome, it was not overcome by principles alone. Britain and France were devoted to the idea of the rights of man, but here in this war they chiefly saved the rights of the small powers—not to mention their own—through a mighty effort.

If France had lost the First World War, its people might have suffered earlier much of what they suffered after its defeat in the Second World War. French citizens were rounded up and shot, and French officials were compelled by threats to their families to participate in this. Following the surrender of France to Nazi Germany in 1940, of course, French officials were also compelled to help round up Jews for transport to the death camps. This might have been the fate of the French people for decades if not for the sacrifices of others—Russians, British, and Americans especially—to liberate them. 

***
Macron’s account of the two World Wars as a proof against nationalism includes a quote from the greatest Frenchman of his time, George Clemenceau, who served as the prime minister of France during the later years of World War I. In his victory speech of November 11, 1918, Clemenceau said that France had fought “for what is right and for freedom, [and] would always and forever be a soldier of ideals.”

Clemenceau surely believed this, but it is not all he believed. 
At the outbreak of the war in 1914, issuing a call to arms, Clemenceau said: 
It is for the Latin cause, for the independence of nationalities in Europe, that we are going to fight, for the greatest ideas that have honored the thought of mankind, ideas that have come to us from Athens and Rome and of which we have made the crowning work of that civilization which the Germany of Arminius pretends to monopolize, like those barbarians who melted into ingots the marvels of ancient art after the pillaging of Rome in order to make savage ornaments out of them.

The “Latin cause” is the cause of Rome, of which France is one of the first and chief successors. Arminius was a commander of the Germanic tribes who destroyed many Roman legions. According to Clemenceau, the lessons that come from Rome and Athens concern “mankind” and give rise to a civilization that inspires many nations. One precept of that civilization is the “independence of nationalities,” and for that, he said, “we are going to fight.” 

It seems then that Clemenceau believed both in the nation-state and in the rights of man. We can find in Winston Churchill, who knew and adored Clemenceau, the clearest explanation of how the nation-state and the rights of man can be reconciled and why they must be reconciled. 

In 1938, as Hitler loomed, Churchill gave the commencement address at the University of Bristol, of which he is still its longest serving chancellor. His speech presented a microcosm of his thinking of a lifetime. He began: “There are few words which are used more loosely than the word ‘Civilization.’ What does it mean? It means a society based upon the opinion of civilians.”

To our ears that definition might seem too narrow. Doesn’t civilization include painting and poetry? What about prosperity, technology, and progress? What we must understand is that Churchill begins not with a narrow but a literaldefinition. The word “civilization” is cognate with the word for citizen—that is, with the word for the member of a nation. When we speak of the civilization of Europe, we are speaking perforce of the nations that make up Europe.

To base a society “upon the opinions of civilians” is a decisive step. Civilians are to be distinguished not only from foreigners, but also from the military. The military is necessarily the strongest force, if one means physical force, in a nation. Relative to the military, civilians are weak. Societies ruled by force are always ruled by, or in alliance with, the military.

Civilization, a society based upon “the opinions of civilians,” is a society that has found a way to induce the strong to serve the common good and therefore to protect the weak. 

Churchill continued: “The central principle of Civilization is the subordination of the ruling authority to the settled customs of the people and to their will as expressed through the Constitution.” There must be “a people,” and they must have “customs” and a “Constitution.” Customs are what we develop as a people when we live together in common life. Customs vary from people to people, but they are called savage when a people are ruled by force.

Civilization, on the other hand, “continually [grows] freedom, comfort, and culture.” Civilization affords “a wider and less harassed life . . . to the masses of the people.” It cherishes “the traditions of the past.” The “inheritance bequeathed to us by former wise or valiant men becomes a rich estate to be enjoyed and used by all.” 

Civilization also requires a constitution, which establishes “parliaments where laws are made, and independent courts of justice in which over long periods those laws are maintained.”

In the myriad places where Churchill speaks of constitutionalism, a favorite theme, he adds that the people must have the right and power 
by constitutional action, by free unfettered elections, with secret ballot, to choose or change the character or form of government under which they dwell; that freedom of speech and thought should reign; that courts of justice, independent of the executive, unbiased by any party, should administer laws which have received the broad assent of large majorities or are consecrated by time and custom. 

Churchill calls these things the “title deeds of freedom which should lie in every cottage home.” And by “every” he means in every nation. 

Churchill often points out that “parliament” means government by talking. To parley is to talk. The alternative to government by talking is government by force. It is not practical in any way to believe that a world-state, made up of people who cannot speak to each other, who do not live in the same way or have the same customs, could be anything but a despotism. The city, writes Aristotle, grows from our capacity for reason and speech. And so it must be. 

In the European Union, to cite an example of a transnational form of government, the peoples of the member states cannot speak to each other, at least not in their familiar language, except through intermediaries. Any British subject can speak with any other, and the French can speak with the French, but those peoples cannot by themselves exercise decisive influence on the politics and policy of the European Union. On this theme one might read Václav Klaus, the former president of the Czech Republic. He lived some of his life under Nazi domination and most of it under Soviet domination in the Warsaw Pact. He helped lead his country to freedom, and he rejoiced and still rejoices that at last he has a country, in which fellow citizens are able to talk and make decisions together. And he is loath to surrender Czech sovereignty to the EU.

***
At the same time Churchill believed in the nation as the first element of civilization, he was also one of the inventors of the European Union. He had believed in collective security for decades. In 1946 he gave a speech in Zürich in which he called for a “United States of Europe.” This speech is one of the building blocks of European unity, and he is counted as one of its heroes today.

Churchill however kept a clear distinction between the collective institutions formed by nations and the nations themselves. In December 1948 he said: 
We are not seeking in the European movement . . . to usurp the functions of Government. I have tried to make this plain, again and again, to the heads of the Government. We ask for a European assembly without executive power. We hope that sentiment and culture, the forgetting of old feuds, the lowering and melting down of barriers of all kinds between countries, the growing sense of being “a good European”—we hope that all these will be the final, eventual and irresistible solvents of the difficulties which now condemn Europe to misery. The structure of constitutions, the settlement of economic problems, the military aspects—these belong to governments. We do not trespass upon their sphere. 

Churchill spent much of his life trying to avoid the horrors of modern war and trying to erect structures to prevent them. But he did not seek to overturn the laws of nature or the sovereignty of nations. These cannot be rightfully overturned, and only disaster can come from the attempt. 
Toward the end of his Armistice Day speech, President Macron called upon the political leaders of the world, on behalf of their peoples, to “take the United Nations’ oath to place peace higher than anything.” Higher than freedom? Higher than justice? Higher than the lives of our children? Must we abandon “Give me liberty or give me death”? For the sake of peace, should the French have surrendered in 1914 or 1939? 

This radical statement of Macron gets near the heart of the movement toward transnationalism. The evils of the world, especially war, require that anything is justified to remove those evils—including the subordination of the nation-state, the only kind of community that can effectively represent the people. 

President Trump, much derided everywhere as unfashionable, particularly in Europe, often speaks about the importance of the nation and the duty of government to serve the will and the interest of its citizens. This idea is unacceptable in our supposedly enlightened age.

But Trump is often clear that he wishes well to other nations and thinks that respect for nationhood is key to good relations. Speaking at the United Nations in September, he said: 
We believe that when nations respect the rights of their neighbors, and defend the interests of their people, they can better work together to secure the blessings of safety, prosperity, and peace. 

On this point Trump and Churchill are agreed, and Macron is wrong. To have consent of the governed, there must be a people to give consent. Indeed, that is the first principle derived from human nature in the Declaration of Independence, and it is essential to distinguishing good government from bad.
 

 

Waxahachie City Council Anyone?
Thinking of running for City Council in Waxahachie?
Here is some info for you.

 
Waxahachie residents can pick up a packet from the City Secretary’s Office if they would like to be on the ballot for Waxahachie City Council this May.

The last day to turn in your packet is Friday, 2/15/19, but it’s risky to wait til the last day since the office has to check your petition signatures and give you a chance to correct it and notarize new ones before the deadline if there is a problem.

Here is a link to the portion in the city charter which addresses council requirements, elections and more. https://library.municode.com/tx/waxahachie/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=CH_ARTIITHCO_S2.01COELELTE
 
Here is the link to the city secretary’s portion of the city website that deals with elections: http://www.waxahachie.com/departments/city_secretary/elections.php
 
The link for people to see when current meetings and their agendas are is: http://www.waxahachie.com/government/city_council/agendas_and_minutes.php  
From this link, you’re also able to see the video links from the meetings that the city live-streams and past meetings and minutes. 
 

 

Why Democratic Socialists Support Totalitarian Regimes
History: In Venezuela, Echoes of Nicaragua
by Ronald Radosh, January 28, 2019 


When it comes to understanding the crisis in Venezuela, the new self-proclaimed democratic socialists revert to the old trope of Stalinist era lefties. In the old days of the Cold War, the horror that emerged after the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe—discussed in great depth in Anne Applebaum's Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe—was "explained" in this manner by the fellow-travelers of the Old Left: The purge trials, arrests of dissidents, their torture and years of imprisonment may have been harsh, but were all necessary to preserve socialism and prevent a "fascist" takeover from occurring. And if people they knew to be innocent were caught up in the net, they told everyone they were guilty because the "people's democracies" only arrested the guilty.

In the '60s, the New Left acted in the same way as their descendants, justifying the brutality, the firing squads, and the torture of prisoners engaged in by Fidel Castro's revolution by noting the hostility of the United States to an independent people's revolution against the tyrannical Batista regime. Whatever subsequent infringements on freedom took place, they too were necessary to protect the revolution from CIA attempts to destroy it. Any criticism was unjustified, since it too helped America's imperialist agenda.

The old democratic socialists and social-democrats of that era, however, never went along with that warped logic. True to their belief in democracy as the only system of government worth preserving, day in and day out in their small publications, such as Partisan Review and Dissent magazine, they did what they could to bolster the opposition to Communist tyranny and did not let cries that they were helping "McCarthyism" stop them. So, when it came to the Cuban revolution and Castroism, unlike the New Left, they had no illusions about the supposedly wonderful socialist paradise Castro was creating in Cuba.

And this brings one to Venezuela today, and the reaction of the new socialists and the left in general. As Noah Rothman points out in Commentary, almost in unison, the response of the democratic socialists—from Bernie Sanders to AOC and Ilan Omar and Rashida Tlaib—has been shameful. Even worse is The Nation magazine, which has always been steadfast in defense of left-wing totalitarian regimes, from the Soviet Union on to today.

They highlight a column by historian Greg Grandin, who is not the slightest bit satisfied with what he sees as a weak response from the base, and shock that the liberals by and large are with the Trump administration in opposition to Maduro. Bernie Sanders "botched his response," because before opposing U.S. policy, he correctly called Maduro an illegitimate president. The left of the Democratic Party, he proclaims, "needs to sharpen its crisis-response message." Even Grandin, however, gives the cat away when he says the subdued response occurs because "the Maduro government is hard to defend except in the abstract."

His Nation colleague George Ciccariello-Maher, a longtime supporter of the Chavista revolution, condemns the United States for its "attempted coup underway in Venezuela." And he refers to Juan Guaido as a "relatively unknown second-string political from the right-wing Popular Will party," which as Venezuelans well know, is a centrist social-democratic party affiliated with The Socialist International.
Today's young and historically illiterate American socialists and leftists do not realize how they are echoing the apologias for Stalin's defenders so many decades in the past.

They take pride in their reflexive anti-Americanism, tweeting and arguing that America is trying overthrow a revolutionary democracy. Ilhan Omar tweeted:
The U.S. has a history of disastrous interventions in Latin America. Glad to have colleagues who are willing to speak up so that history doesn't repeat itself!

The link to one of her "colleagues" is to none other than The Nation article by Greg Grandin, a man who, as Bret Stephens informs us, wrote in his Nation obituary for Hugo Chavez, "the biggest problem Venezuela faced during his rule was not that Chavez was authoritarian but that he wasn't authoritarian enough."

Perhaps the strongest opposition to U.S. policy and a defense of Maduro came from the now ineptly named Democratic Socialists of America. The organization posted on its website its official statementon Venezuela, which it released on Jan. 24. The very first paragraph reads like a parody of leftist gibberish from the past:
Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) categorically opposes any and all efforts by the US government to intervene in the domestic politics of Venezuela. The US has a long and bloody track record of actions to overthrow democratically elected governments, stop the spread of socialism, and maintain US imperial dominance in the region. This includes the US government's support of the 2002 Venezuelan coup that led to the temporary ouster of the legitimately-elected president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez. These imperial interventions must stop immediately; the future of the Venezuelan people, and the broader prosperity of Latin America depend on it.

Now that there is a legitimately elected new president, who won the leadership of the National Assembly and is opposing a leader who won a fraudulent election, DSA stands with the oppressor of the people of Venezuela. Like others, DSA repeats the canard that Juan Guaido is part of "the right-wing Voluntad Popular (Popular Will) party," and accuses him of using a "legitimacy crisis" to proclaim himself president. They note "reports of repression on the part of the Venezulean security forces," as if these are false, and without informing its membership that these security forces are led and often manned by Cuban state security agents operating in Venezuela to keep Maduro in power.

As for U.S. policy, DSA accuses the administration of "using Venezuela as a boogeyman to show the dangers of socialism than in playing a constructive role in resolving the crisis." They fail as one would expect to outline what they think a "constructive" policy should be. They are opposed to sanctions against Venezuela, to which they assign the blame of Venezuelans not getting food and medicine into the country. Maduro evidently has nothing to do with the shortages and inflation. Ditto for the country's problem with oil. Instead of corrupt cronies of Chavez and then Maduro destroying the industry, the failure to maintain necessary levels of production is explained by U.S. "sanctions against the oil sector."

So, the DSA statement concludes, it is the duty of socialists (they leave out the term "democratic" before socialists, implying that those who aren't democratic but are socialists would approve of their position) "to do everything we can to stop US imperialism and make the world safe for democracy and socialism." Their role is to help Venezuela's people "defend the gains made during Hugo Chavez's presidency." They end by calling on the United States "to immediately cease and desist all attempts to intervene in the internal politics of Venezuela."

Do those in DSA who wrote this statement not realize that their stance is the same as that used by the apartheid government in South Africa during the '80s, when the left was calling for sanctions against the regime and regime change? When did socialists stop favoring intervention on behalf of human rights? Their ending is the stale old call: "Solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution."

In articles I have written for the Daily Beast, (here and here) I wrote about how DSA's adoption of the BDS campaign against Israel was a vast departure from the strong pro-Israel views of the organization's founders, Michael Harrington and Irving Howe, as well as their overall concept of what kind of socialism they favored.

On the question of support to left-wing authoritarian regimes leading to full-scale totalitarianism, as Venezuela is quickly moving, or as Nicaragua developed during the Sandinista revolution in 1979, today's DSA leaders are actually following the path of DSA's founders. The current DSA policy began when both Harrington and Howe moved away from their old anti-communism and opposition to Marxist-Leninist regimes, and proclaimed that the Sandinista Revolution was in effect "something different," as Howe put it to me, or a "new third force" between imperialism and Soviet style communism.

During the Vietnam war, Howe and his comrades searched unrelentingly for a "third force"—a social movement that would provide a way to reject both capitalism and communism. He hoped for such a development in Vietnam, only to find it nonexistent or incapable of political success. The effect was to blind his judgment when it came to a new epoch and events in Central America. The man who once endorsed his friend Joseph Buttinger's writings against Communist and French imperialism in Vietnam now was saying, as he said to me, "I have learned there is no third force." The implication for Nicaragua was that there was no choice but to support Daniel Ortega and the comandantes who took over the country in an armed coup. He and Harrington had now endorsed the "wisdom" of the New Left they had earlier rejected.

Howe was at odds with his friend, the late Mexican writer and the most esteemed man of letters in Latin America, Octavio Paz. The winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990, Paz had written many essays on the failure of the Castro Revolution and the growing drift towards totalitarianism in Nicaragua. Howe had always cited Paz as his comrade, as a social-democrat who opposed communism as he did. He completely ignored, however, what Paz was writing about Nicaragua.

That allowed Howe to reconcile with those very New Leftists he once had dismissed as extremists and potential competitors for the title of America's Lenin. In an approving article about him in the New Yorker, it explained that once-radical students had supposedly become "a little older and saw the value of a more tolerant, less dogmatic, more democratic approach to the remaking of society." Therefore, Howe was now willing to "welcome his young critics back."

As for Michael Harrington, he was completely smitten with the Sandinistas. He became the U.S. representative to the Socialist International's so-called Committee to Defend the Nicaraguan Revolution. Using the metaphor of the Vietnam era "domino theory"—when U.S. officials argued that if Vietnam fell to the Communists, other non-Communist nations would also proceed to fall—Harrington called the Sandinistas "the good domino," and painted the FSLN as a democratic dictatorship that was an alternative to either a right-wing regime or a leftist Stalinist one. It was a model, he argued, for a Central America that could be truly independent and free to determine its own destiny.
He led a three-day delegation of DSA members to the country, and after a private meeting with the top comandantes, (the Revolutionary Directorate,) he wrote that he was "deeply moved by the sincerity and passion of those with whom I talked." Not since George Bernard Shaw was impressed in the same way during his two-hour visit with Stalin in the Soviet Union in 1931 has perhaps another Western socialist been so duped about a revolutionary leadership's true intentions.

Of course, Harrington acknowledged that the Sandinistas had committed excesses—a euphemism for the drastic repression of their political opponents—but he explained that could be attributed to the policies of the United States, which should have given them aid and political support. The Sandinista revolution, he proclaimed without any real evidence, was "democratic and pluralist" by nature, and if its leaders moved to left-wing extremism, it was the fault of the American response to their taking power. Or, as a comedian once put it, the devil made me do it.

Harrington refused to listen to those who sought through careful observation to explain the totalitarian drift taking place in Nicaragua and was anything but the humane democratic radicalism he thought he witnessed.
The last straw for me was personal. I had written four reports on Nicaragua from 1983 to 1987 for the New Republic and other papers and reported on how within a few years of my first visit the country had taken a darker turn. After a trip to interview some of the thousands of refugees who had fled the country in Costa Rica and Honduras, I reported on the types of abuses of power taken against those citizens who differed with the revolutionary agenda. Later in 1987, I traveled through Central America, including Nicaragua, with the late New York City mayor Ed Koch , who had put together a small delegation of representative New Yorkers to assess the situation in the different countries.

All of this activity made me a target of the democratic socialists. Howe was so upset about my trips and my writing about events in Nicaragua that he convened a small meeting of top editors from Dissent as well as some DSA leaders, who one by one condemned me for what I had written. The educator Deborah Meier was the angriest. "You may be right about what you say about the Sandinistas," she told me, "but while they are under attack by the American empire, we have a responsibility to extend our solidarity to them." The whole meeting appeared to me as a copy of the "criticism and self-criticism" sessions of the Chinese Communists during the Cultural Revolution. As Howe concluded the meeting, he told me, "We have agreed that you cannot write on Nicaragua in the pages of Dissent." My dissent, obviously, was too much for Dissent to bear!

I tried to respond by handing Howe a letter written by a Nicaraguan social-democrat and trade-union leader to workers in Nicaragua on May Day, describing how the comandantes had suppressed strikes and forbidden dissent and thrown union leaders who were not going along in jail. It was reproduced in the United States as a pamphlet with the title, "A Message from a Nicaraguan Dissident." Howe and his comrades had often published such messages from Soviet dissidents, at a time when they had no other voice. Howe looked at the letter and noticed that it was being distributed by the AFL-CIO's American Institute for Free Labor Development. The group was devoted to trying to help create democratic trade unions in Third World countries. Howe glanced at it without reading the letter, and said, "This man is probably a CIA agent." America's leading social-democrat intellectual had now adopted the traditional Stalinist response to any descriptions of repression coming from Soviet dissidents. It was the equivalent of Angela Davis refusing to support imprisoned Czech dissidents after the Soviet invasion of their country, and her reply that they were traitors to socialism who deserved imprisonment.

So those who correctly disdain the obtuse and wrongheaded view of Venezuela taken by DSA members and others on the left—people who still see Maduro as a genuine leader of a democratic revolution—should realize that today's DSA is only extending the pattern begun by the group's very founders back in the late '70s and throughout the '80s. In this regard, the new New Left of the 21st century only replicates the foolishness of its predecessors. As the refrain of an antiwar song sung by the late Pete Seeger put, "When Will They Ever Learn?"

Ronald Radosh is the author of many books, including his memoir, Commies: A Journey Through the Old Left, the New Left and the Leftover Left, Professor Emeritus of History at CUNY, and an opinion columnist for the Daily Beast.
 

 



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