The first thing I note is that there are no reviews by conservatives in todays issue of the los Angeles Times book review. Nor are there likely to be any such reviews on any given Sunday. Last December, the review ran a feature on the 100 best books of the times for the year. It was a selection from actual reviews that had appeared in the times during 1997. There were 87 Times reviewers represented in the feature, some having reviewed more than one book on the list. There were many, many left-wing reviewers represented, including far-left propagandists like saul Landau, a lifetime flack for Fidel Castro. On the same list, however, i was only able to locate one reviewer, walter Laqueur, who could reasonably be defined as conservative, although he is an academic writer rather than a political author in the sense i defined above. Laqueur writes for The new Republic and The new York review of books, rather than the three conservative publications, but also, if Im not mistaken, has written on occasion for Commentary. Though I should probably know tree better, i find this virtual exclusion of political conservatives shocking and, if not calculated, inexplicable.
I am writing this in the spirit of our earlier conversation, and my understanding that the times aspires to be the voice of the entire los Angeles community, including those of us who are politically conservative. I am taking the liberty of copying this letter to michael Parks and leo wolinsky, with whom I have shared my concerns on this or parallel matters. On this particular Sunday, i open my book review and typically find four of the six major reviews identified on its cover to be written by leftists: Scheer, davidson, Breines and Langer. For the purposes of this discussion, i will define leftist as someone who either writes regularly, or could write comfortably, for The nation, the village voice or the la weekly. The same person probably is suspicious of the economic market and believes that real socialism hasnt yet been tried, and that, while bill Clinton should be defended against Republicans, he generally has sold out to the corporate ruling class. Thus, in this Sundays book review, bob Scheer claims that the professional journalists of the times itself have career needs resume and class ambitions that coincide with the moneyed interests of the conglomerates and privileged families who pay their salaries. Im sure this will come as news to you (and to michael and leo). And I wonder how the times can have such confidence in an insider Scheer was a national correspondent for the times who should know better, yet who can write such stuff with a straight face. A conservative writer, by contrast, would be someone who writes regularly (or comfortably) for National review, The American Spectator or The weekly Standard.
When Wasserman was first hired to edit the book review, he had asked me to write a letter defending his appointment, since an interview I had given which mentioned his youthful radicalism caused him some trouble. I did so and we then had a lunch at which i expressed my concerns about the virtual exclusion of conservative viewpoints from the times. I hoped I had persuaded him of the merits of a pluralism of views, particularly in an institution like the book review. I was sorely disappointed in these hopes, and was not really prepared for the degree to which Wasserman actually turned the review into an ideological journal of the left. The manifesto episode was the final straw, prompting me to take my concerns to the timesnew publisher, mark willes, a former ceo of the kellogg Corporation. As a very infrequent Timesop-ed page contributor, i had been invited to a christmas Party at the op-ed editors house where i was one of only two conservatives present. I cornered Willes and told him my concerns and said that I would write to him. The futility of this exercise became evident when Willes turned my letter over to wasserman for a reply. Dear Mark willes, i would like to share with you my recent experience with the sunday book review section of your paper.
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Seventy years and 100 million deaths later, Eric Hobsbawm and Steve wasserman have learned little from the experience. Steve wasserman may not be ready to review mount the barricades tomorrow and attempt to implement the vision laid out in this intellectual trash. But many, younger than he, will. I did not call Wasserman when the times symposium appeared; I wrote him a note instead. February 16, 1998, dear Steve, the 75th anniversary of mein Kampf is coming. Its too bad that heidegger and paul de man are dead, but Im sure you could get david Irving or david duke to come up with a 3,000-word spread telling us why, even english though it was written so long ago and has resulted in nothing.
You might also try that French Holocaust denier whom Chomsky likes so much. For my part, Ill be glad to provide you with 250 words of balance again. Of course, if you should need more room for the fascists, feel free to cut whatever I send you in half. How embarrassing, my friend. Letters to the publisher of the los Angeles Times. The letter that follows wasnt merely revenge for the treatment my review of Marxs Manifesto received.
According to him, it correctly analyzed the dynamics of industrial capitalist societies and provided a vision of the social future. The one concession he was willing to make to what actually had transpired in the last 150years was that it did not correctly predict that the proletariat would be the carrier of its revolutionary truth: However, if at the end of the millennium we must. It is now evident that the bourgeoisie has not produced above all, its own gravediggers in the proletariat. But for Hobsbawm this error was of no consequence since the manifestos central theme is correct: democratic capitalism must be destroyed or it will destroy. According to hobsbawm, even Communisms failure only strengthens this Marxist idea: The manifesto, it is not the least of its remarkable qualities, is a document that envisaged failure.
It hoped that the outcome of capitalist development would be a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, but, as we have already seen, it did not exclude the alternative common ruin. Many years later another Marxian rephrased this as the choice between socialism and barbarity. Which of these will prevail is a question which the 21st century must be left to answer. In this Marxian fantasy the democratic postindustrial society we inhabit, with living standards higher and living conditions better for the mass of its citizens than available to any other people since the beginning of time, is no more than barbarity, a common ruin. And the only alternative is the socialism that Marx envisioned. This, in 1998, is what for the timeseditor—and in fact the academic establishment that has showered Hobsbawm with its highest honors—is the epitome of progressive thought. Of course the slogan socialism or barbarism was coined by rosa luxemburg at the end of the first World War, when Communists like hobsbawm set out to destroy the liberal societies of the west and to create a marxist utopia in the ruins of the.
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But in the meantime was ser man had changed his mind and cut the first 126 words of the piece, so that that the finished copy available to one million Times readers began with the sentence in the middle paragraph that reads, since the manifesto. The first part of the paragraph, which described the sinister message of the manifesto as a call to war, and therefore why so many people had been killed, did not appear. When the actual newspaper copy appeared, however, i hippie saw the extent of Wassermans betrayal of our friendship, such as it was, and also of his readers. The symposium of the six mini-pieces, of which mine was one, was actually appended to a two-page spread with a picture of Marx, a poem by the german Communist Bertolt Brecht, and a fatuous 3,000-word lead essay by the unreconstructed Marxist Eric Hobsbawm, a man. This was the impression of the marxs Manifesto the times editor really wanted to make on his readers. For leftists like hobsbawm, my comments about the hundred million people the communists killed were beside the point, even though Marxists like hobsbawm did the killing or justified it to fellow travelers and credulous audiences in the west. For Hobsbawm, the manifesto was not a historical document nor a wrongheaded and destructive one. It was a living prophecy.
It was therefore of some interest to me how Wasserman would treat the manifesto now that he was an editor of one of the largest metropolitan newspapers in America. After the failure of the revolutionary hopes the 60s had encouraged, wasserman had entered the literary world to become the editor of Times books, and then of the. I kept in touch with him from a distance over the years, and knew him to be of the same mind as many other radicals, chastened by the failures of that revolutionary and destructive left but not willing to give up the intellectual traditions and. So i was both curious and ready to respond when he called me to this task. Wasserman requested a piece assessing the manifesto and its impact in 250 words. Yours will be one of six such statements, he explained. Well thats a challenge, steve, i said to him halfjokingly. The article i actually wrote and submitted developing was 255 words, just five over his specification.
have been killed in its name. Between ten and twenty times that number have been condemned to lives of unnecessary misery and human squalor, deprived of the life-chances afforded the most humble citizens of the industrial democracies that Marxists set out to destroy. Marx was a brilliant mind and a seductive stylist, and many of his insights look reasonable enough on paper. But the evil they have wrought, on those who fell under their practical sway, far outweighs any possible intellectual gain. It would be a healthy development for everyone, rich and poor alike, if future generations put Karl Marxs manifesto on the same sinister shelf as mein Kampf and other destructive products of the human soul. The above paragraph was written for the 150th anniversary of the publication of The communist Manifesto in response to a request by Steve wasserman, the editor of the los Angeles Times book review. Wasserman was an old radical friend from Berkeley who had been a political protégé of Tom hayden and Robert Scheer, two comrades who at the time were"ng mao and Kim Il Sung, and attempting to organize guerrilla fronts in American cities, with which they. Inspired by texts like the manifesto, haydens troops practiced with weapons at local firing ranges and planned for the day when they would seize power, abolish private property and take over the means of production.
" in The new York times. With its ninth and final volume now complete, the paper Black book of the American Left a collection of Horowitz's conservative writings, stands as the most ambitious effort ever undertaken to define the left and its agenda. Here.) we encourage our readers to visit m which features Horowitzs introductions to volumes 1-9 of this series, along with their tables of contents, reviews and interviews with the author. karl Marx and the los Angeles Times. The opening statement of Marxs famous Manifesto, that the history of mankind is the history of class struggle, is really the essence and sum of its message. This message is above all a call to arms. According to marx, democratic societies are not really different in kind from the aristocratic and slave societies that preceded them. Like their predecessors, liberal societies are divided into classes that are oppressed and those that oppress them. The solution to social problems lies in a civil war that will tear society asunder and create a new revolutionary world from its ruins.
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Want to help us make our next event better? Username, emma coleman, overall, how satisfied were you with our Workshop? Any additional comments or suggestions? I can't wait for the next event. Editor's note: The following essay is an excerpt from of david Horowitz's "The Black book of the American Left, Vol. V: Culture wars" and is intended as an answer to the April 30, 2018, publication of the article ". Happy birthday, karl twist Marx.