Mission for Moscow
Better dead than read is the verdict on the literary left.
by Ron Capshaw
4/28/2007 12:03:00 AM , WS, Volume 012, Issue 32
Trinity of Passion
The Literary Left and the Antifascist Crusade
by Alan M. Wald
North Carolina, 344 pp., $34.95
During the Cold War there emerged a peculiar type of Communist apologist who, amidst all the admissions of purges, invasions, and gulags, desperately searched for and usually found some type of evolution in the system. Alan Wald undertakes the same quest with American Communist writers of the 1930s and '40s: He desperately wades through all the pseudonyms and minor novels to find chartable growth from knee-jerk Stalinism to mature ambivalence. But the writers he studies experience their most complex moment before they sign the Party card, when they register an uncomfortable premonition that artistic searches for truth might be subordinated to political propaganda. For many, it is their last wise and independent thought.What strikes you about the writers collected here is their rigidity of thought, and how, even in moments when their artistic conscience from older days reasserts itself in print, their worldview--a cultural lag of Black Belt nationalism, heroic heterosexual Loyalism (as opposed to effeminate fascism) and string-pulling fascism in America--makes it impossible for a return to artistic freedom. Communists like Harry Haywood advocate the Internationale's policy of black nationalism in the 1930s, and return 30 years later with all ideological baggage intact, to approving applause from younger comrades. Alvah Bessie, nicknamed the Errol Flynn of the left because of his military service with the Loyalists in the Spanish Civil War, revealed a lifelong obsession with promoting the theme of the effeminizing nature of capitalism ...
Richly ironic. A Weekly Standard writer talks about communists as rigid in their thinking... I recommend readers take a look at Wald for themselves and ignore WS's "high" standards for cultural production.
In a fit of rigid thinking earlier this week on Fox, Weekly Standard editor William Kristol lashed out at Republican members of Congress who seem to be wavering in their support for Bush's war on Iraq.
So is WS in a position to comment on rigidity? Or is it typical right-wing hypocrisy?