Saturday, December 8, 2007

New books on Cuba

Right Out of the Right Wing Republican Playbook

Eric Green

When Hillary Clinton recently admonished her campaign colleagues that some of their comments against her were coming right out of the "Republican Right Wing Playbook," she is certainly on target. It is good that she formulated that attack that way.

Now, in a very different venue, the NY Times Book Review, Sunday, December 9, 2007, has done the very same thing. The combination of a book written by Patrick Symmes, "The Boys From Dolores," with its reviewer's, Guy Martin, review title, "Children of the Revolution" has attempted to benignly put forward a totally ultra right wing attack on Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution. This is the NY Times, not the Washington Times or the NY Post.

I have not and will not read the book. Sorry, I have better things to do. But, the Guy Martin review clearly says it all. Martin focuses on and attempt by Symmes to heroize and remove the negative stigma from key exile Cuban players in the CIA attack on the fledging Cuban government at the Bay of Pigs. That's right, the Symmes book, and the Martin review, are trying to their their part in another revisionist writing of what everyone knows is a clearly CIA imperialist attack on the sovereign government of Cuba.

The Symmes book can be seen as just another right-winger trying to make money off of the shrinking ultra right Cuban refugee community. So be it.

But, to have the NY Times choose another apparently fledging anti-communist writer as the reviewer, and not the many objective historians of that period, is quite another thing.

Get ready, Guy Martin, according to the NY Times Book Review, is a senior correspondent of Conde Nast Traveler who is working on a history of the former East German Ministry of State Security, or Stasi. The film, "The Lives of Others" will be small potatoes in the historical revisionism that is high on the agenda of Wall Street ideologues seeking to rub out any and all socio-economic and peaceful remnants of 75 years of the Socialist experience. Those are Martinis only credentials, working for a commercial magazine.

Why this new interest in socialism? Easy to answer. With the growing failures of the capitalist ideology in providing health, education, housing, jobs, a living wage and a hope for the future we can expect more attempts to cast the 75 years of the Soviet and socialist experience in its worse possible light.

Their view is that Socialism didn't work. You're stuck with capitalism. Clearly, workers and unions are not listening.

We can only hope that the few remaining objective writers and editors in the NY times and other mass media will see fit to allow for a broader interpretation of the world we all lived, live and will live in. We won't hold our individual or collective breath.

It goes with saying that the working classes of the world are not waiting for the NY Times to tell them which system works best.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am posting a comment in agreement with Eric, not with the commercial on blog. In my writing, I refer to writers like Martin as professional anti-Communists of the "HUAC school" of scholarship, namely, the examination of documents the way police usually interrogate those whom they assume are guilty.
But this really isn't new for the New York Times. Where the the Communist movement or socialist countries are involved this has been standard for decades, however other topics are sometimes reviewed by centrists or even(rarely) progressives.
Sure capitalism is producing more misery, poverty and war on a world scale. Sure, socialism is the only rational solution. But not for the NYT and the class it has always served.
Norman Markowitz
P.S. Although I don't think this is central, one might remember that Sam Tannenhaus, whose great claim to fame was the writing of a rather odd(to me) HUAC school book on the Hiss-Chambers case, using "new evidence" to support Chambers and reconvict Hiss, is the editor of the New York Times Book Review