March 01, 2011
a stealth narrative, encased in reactive armor
While I don't have the time to check out the details behind every article I see in the local newspapers, something I saw the other day aroused my suspicions, and sure enough, it turned out to be a classic illustration of the persistence of a very ugly, self-enforcing narrative mechanism.
The front page of Sunday's Detroit Free Press featured a picture of an elderly Detroit woman who has braved the trip to Madison, Wisconsin. It was a lead-in to a story obviously meant to move hearts and minds about her tireless crusade fior justice, headlined "A Detroiter in Wisconsin -- Every worker has sacrificed more than enough."
Kind of makes you feel ashamed not to be driving through winter blizzards in solidarity with union workers, no?
The Freep saw fit to mention that this sweet little retiree has been arrested, and that she has "history with union activism":
Perhaps it was the look of steely-eyed determination in her picture, and perhaps I'd seen the name "Cheryl LaBash" before, but it occurred to me to Google her, and I saw immediately that she is a lot more than a retired union activist. She is a national organizer for the Workers World Party, and she writes for the Workers World paper, co-authored the book Gaza: Symbol of Resistance, (described as "the story of the most heroic resistance since 1948 to unrelenting Israeli oppression and violence designed to drive Palestinians from their homeland"), travels the country to speak at various rallies like these, and has written countless anti-U.S. articles.
A devoted Communist.
As to her organization, the Workers World Party is an unapologetically Stalinist revolutionary communist party:
Great. So her group consists of Maoists who supported Khruschchev's Stalinist invasion of Hungary!
Naturally, the Free Press would never point out that this woman is a hard core Communist, so the task is left to bloggers like me to attempt to make that pertinent fact public.
Does her Communism matter? Here is why I think it does matter. Communists are not ordinary people. Unlike liberals or conservatives, if they had power, they would kill people. A lot of people. Right of center bloggers like yours truly, Tea Party activists, people with money or who belong to the productive classes would all be targeted. And of course, they make no apologies for the crimes of Communism, because they believe it is right.
As detailed here, the WWP supported the Tienanmen massacre, North Korea, Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic, etc. A small but truly malevolent outfit.
But neither the WWP nor Cheryl LaBash is the point here, for she is merely an illustration of a particularly nasty narrative mechanism, which has been in place for far too long.
The fact that she is a Communist means that if that were known, she would not fit the narrative, which is that the devoted hordes of tireless activists who brave the cold and travel all about in solidarity with union workers are really just ordinary folks like you or I, and that we should join them. That revolutionary Communists do not fit this narrative means that their Communist status must never be mentioned -- even if they are open and notorious Communists like Ms. Labash. They are thus enshrouded and protected by a deliberate and mandatory media silence which enables them to operate with impunity.
I think it would be fair to call this a stealth narrative.
What makes the stealth narrative unlike other narratives is that it carries its own reactive armor which protects it against invasion by means of a built in personal attack against all invaders.
Anyone who says, points out, reports, or so much as mentions that someone is a Communist -- especially if that is factually correct -- is immediately liable for this line of attack. The attack is built in, and is no accident, but an integral feature.
By my act of writing this post, I am chargeable with "red baiting."
And to tell the truth, it isn't especially pleasant to have to publicly cop to being a red baiter. But I did so in the hope of shedding a little light on why Communists are almost never identified as Communists in your local newspaper.
posted by Eric on 03.01.11 at 01:34 PM
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