“Mainstream voters in both parties feel that neither major party represents them,” contends Ruth Papazian. “We have a Uniparty aligned with the administrative state to maintain a status quo that lets the good times roll for the swamp.” Marginalized voters are being pushed toward a “second civil war,” so the search is on for a brand of unity that can challenge the establishment. For this movement, the ex-Left can provide guidance.
By the late 1980s, prominent leftists had changed their minds about their role during the Vietnam war and adopted a more positive view of America itself. The 1987 “Second Thoughts Conference” in Washington D.C. was organized by Peter Collier and David Horowitz, a “red diaper baby” born to Communist parents in New York. Collier and Horowitz edited Ramparts magazine, the flagship of the New Left, with nuanced articles such as “Better Red Than Dead.” Ramparts was something of a public relations organ for the Black Panthers, heralded as “America’s Vietcong.”
Horowitz and Collier burned their bridges in a 1985 Washington Post article headlined “Lefties for Reagan.” As Horowitz put it later in Commentary, he and Collier said goodbye to the “self-aggrandizing romance with corrupt third Worldism; to the casual indulgence of Soviet totalitarianism; and to the hypocritical and self-dramatizing anti-Americanism that is the New Left’s bequest to mainstream politics.”
Jeff Herf, formerly with Students for a Democratic Society, went on to teach at the Naval War College. Joshua Muravchik had served as chairman of the Young People’s Socialist League. In the Second Thoughts session, “Where do we go from here?” Muravchik outlined a strategy for unity.
He urged the resurrection of the word “communist,” not as a tool for government committees or police raids but simply for the sake of accuracy. While not all the ex-leftists were now conservatives, differences over welfare budgets, taxes and such were of secondary importance compared to the struggle against totalitarianism. In summation, Muravchik said, “Be fraternal, promote democracy, off the commies, power to the people.”
Four years later, the Berlin Wall came tumbling down. Collier and Horowitz founded Heterodoxy, which eventually became Frontpage Magazine, a battle tank against the Left. In the academic and think-tank worlds, Joshua Muravchik has shown a keen eye for the Left’s workings in government.
In the Congressional Record, Muravchik discovered, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had once written a worshipful tribute to Harry Bridges, a leading Communist and Soviet agent. Muravchik told the story in “Pelosi’s Favorite Stalinist,” and what is going on in 2021 has a backstory the establishment media are not going to reveal.
The “composite character” David Garrow described in Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama, also had a favorite Stalinist, Frank Marshall Davis, the African American Communist who dedicated his life to the defense of all-white Soviet dictatorships. Davis shows up as the happy-drunk poet “Frank” in Dreams from My Father, which Garrow calls a novel, not an autobiography. Frank disappeared from the audio version of Dreams and makes no appearance in anything else under the Obama label.
Before the 2008 presidential election, the composite character proclaimed “we are fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” The United States had been a constitutional republic in which the people picked the president. After the composite character’s transformation, the outgoing president chooses his successor and unleashes the FBI and Justice Department to support his pick, Hillary Clinton, and attack candidate Donald Trump, the people’s choice for president.
The deep state-Democratic Party-media axis swiftly deployed the Russia and Ukraine hoaxes, and when those failed they turned to election fraud. That brought about a reactionary administration, openly arrayed against the people, now kept in fear under the white coat supremacy of Dr. Anthony Fauci, Joe Biden’s Lysenko figure. Mainstream voters in both parties don’t like it, but as Joshua Muravchik wondered, where do they go from here?
At this point, William F. Buckley’s “stand athwart history yelling ‘stop’!” would seem to come up a bit short. A better rallying cry would be something like: “Be fraternal, promote democracy, defy the oligarchy, power to the people.” As Donald Trump likes to say, we’ll have to see what happens.