Tag Archives: McCarthyism

Let’s not become just like the fascist terrorists whom we oppose

Updated below (on Wednesday, August 16, 2017)

“No one should get fired for his [or her] political beliefs,” writes fellow leftist Ted Rall in his latest column, adding, “Not even a Nazi.”

“I am disturbed by the news that some of the white nationalists who attended the violent ‘Unite the Right’ hatefest in Charlottesville [this past] weekend are being outed on social media,” Rall continues. “Attendees have been on the receiving end of threats and doxxing. [The definition of doxxing, if you’re not familiar with the term, is here.] It was reported that a restaurant worker in Berkeley was canned after he was exposed on Twitter.”

Indeed, I also found it at least a little disturbing to read in the news that a guy who works (well, worked) at a hot-dog restaurant named Top Dog should lose his job (even if it’s a shit job, as it sounds like it is) not for any violence or other crime that he perpetrated, but for having been present and photographed at a political event.

“Firing a worker for [his or her] politics — especially when those politics are expressed outside the workplace — is McCarthyism. McCarthyism is wrong, McCarthyism is immoral and McCarthyism ought to be illegal,” Rall opines, and I tend to agree.

“Top Dog gets plaudits for firing a fascist; next time, the victim could be a garden-variety Democrat,” Rall reminds us and further reminds us that “Nothing in our outdated Constitution prevents an employer from firing you on account of your politics. In 2004 an Alabama company even fired a woman for having a John Kerry for president bumper sticker on her car.”

The difference, of course, is that someone with a John Kerry bumper sticker is much, much less likely to ever commit violence or otherwise violate another’s rights than is an avowed neo-Nazi, but, as Rall reminds us:

We live in a capitalist society. Except for those born rich, we must work or else starve. The U.S. is the only nation with at-will employment. And jobs are hard to find.

Under these conditions, without workplace free-speech protections, employees must think twice before they attend a rally, post a controversial memo, join a party or slap a bumper sticker on their vehicle.

Are you willing to risk unemployment, poverty and perhaps homelessness — not just you, but also your spouse and children? If the answer is “yes,” God bless you. History is made by people like you.

For many others, though, the answer is “no, I can’t afford free speech.” The upsides of free expression are intangible while the downside risks are terrifyingly brutal. …

The American workplace is a fascist state. It’s time to overthrow the millions of little Hitlers who think the fact that issuing a paycheck turns their employees into slaves subject to thought control.

Just don’t talk about this around anyone who knows where you work.

Rall acknowledges that “A business has the right to control its employees’ behavior in order to protect its image. Particularly in a liberal stronghold like Berkeley, but anywhere really, no one wants a waiter wearing a swastika tattoo or spouting racist views.

“But,” Rall continues, “if Top Dog restaurant can fire a racist dude for racist views he expresses thousands of miles away, there’s nothing to prevent Google from firing a software engineer for sexism — or [your employer from firing] you for whatever you happen to believe.”

We on the left do need to reflect upon our tactics beyond how good they might make us feel in the moment. Our gleefully gathering neo-Nazi scalps might come back to haunt us, as we are persecuted for our own political views in the tit-for-tat punish-people-for-their-political-views-by-making-them-unemployed environment that we have helped to create.

We on the left need to be careful not to become just like the enemy on the right. Firing left-wingers for not toeing the right-wing line long has been an evil tactic of oppression used on the right; they can’t just execute their left-wing employees, so how about trying to destroy them financially? It’s the next best thing!

All of that said, no one who appears in public has the right to privacy. If you participate in a march or protest or gathering of any size in public, there is a good chance that someone will take a photo or photos or video of you, and perhaps post them online, and you can’t claim that your right to privacy has been violated if someone does.

And then, of course, once an image or images of you have been posted online, online warriors on the right or the left can then identify you and out you, including post personal information about you that really is no one’s business.

Unfortunately, that is the risk that we take in a highly polarized political environment in which so much is posted on the Internet.

But still we must think about the long-term consequences of our actions. Because we can do something — and because others are doing it or because we figure that if we don’t do it, someone else probably will anyway — doesn’t mean that we should do that thing.

What of the young man who lost his probably-minimum-wage job? Has his job loss at the hands of the left taught him something valuable? Is it more likely that his job loss and public shaming will only entrench him further in his neo-Nazi views or that it actually will make him rethink his political views and how they might harm others?

Since the intention very apparently was not to induce him to see the error of his ways but only was to harm him in a retaliatory spirit and then to wave his scalp online for all to see — the person who outed him via the very presidential medium of Twitter bragged, “the first person I exposed no longer has a job” — I don’t see that the tactic will result in his rehabilitation.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a real problem with the neo-Nazis. The mere sight of the Confederate flag makes me viscerally fighting mad; my feeling is that that symbol of treason, oppression and hatred should not be displayed in public.

But many if not perhaps even most of these neo-Nazis are salvageable. Most of them are young and misguided and, let’s face it, frightened and socially awkward, and most of them are in the same boat as are most Americans, like the guy who probably wasn’t exactly getting rich working at a hot-dog restaurant.

When and if the neo-Nazis physically harm others, such as the young man who ran many people down with his car on Saturday, killing one young white woman who had been a supporter of social justice and of Bernie Sanders* — and the young man very apparently** has significant mental-health problems, as you very probably have to have to be able to mow people down in your car –– then we must process them as the criminals that they are, but if we can prevent them from getting to that point in the first place, then we should.***

And my best guess is that going after their livelihoods isn’t going to rehabilitate them, but is only going to make them worse.

P.S. The Associated Press reports that around the nation Confederate statues are being removed from public spaces, voluntarily and involuntarily, and that’s a great thing.

Again, these statues glorify hatred, oppression and treason, and tax dollars should not pay for that, and nor should anyone have to see these monuments to hatred, oppression and treason (or the Confederate flag, which symbolizes the same things) in public spaces.

Hate speech (including, of course, symbolic speech like flags and statues), speech that exists largely if not primarily in order to terrorize others (usually already oppressed minorities) isn’t, in my book, free speech. Hate speech isn’t speech that is meant to express ideas or used as artistic expression; hate speech is speech that is weaponized.

Update (Wednesday, August 16, 2017): The Associated Press reports:

The president of the University of Nevada, Reno says a UNR student who gained notoriety for rallying with white nationalists in Virginia will not be expelled or lose his university job.

Peter Cytanovic, who also goes by the name Peter Cvjetanovic, was photographed with a group of demonstrators on Friday carrying a torch on the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where a rally turned deadly the next day.

UNR President Marc Johnson said Tuesday the school “unequivocally rejects the positions and ideology” espoused by the white supremacists. But he says UNR also stands for the basic principles of the Constitution, including free speech and the right to peacefully assemble. [Emphasis mine.]

He says campus police and the Office of Student Conduct concluded there is no legal reason to expel Cytanovic or terminate his employment.

Indeed, had UNR expelled Cytanovic or fired him from his university job, he probably would have had a great lawsuit against the university, as it would be the state government of Nevada firing him for having exercised his rights under the First Amendment.

(To my knowledge, while private employers have wide latitude in violating our free-expression rights — and routinely do so with impunity — with government employers it’s something else. However, every employer should have to recognize the rights given to us under the Constitution.)

To my knowledge, there is no evidence that Cytanovic participated in any violence or otherwise broke any law on Saturday, and therefore, as UNR concluded, there was no legal cause to punish him.

We don’t get to try to destroy someone’s life simply because we don’t like his or her viewpoints, although I’m guessing that Cytanovic is now a pariah among his fellow students at UNR.

*Bernie Sanders, unlike neo-Nazi enabler “President” Pussygrabber, whose first, knee-jerk reaction was to stupidly and inaccurately blame “many sides,” Bernie was quick to put the blame where it was due; on Sunday morning, Sanders tweeted, “Our condolences go out to the family of Heather Heyer, who was killed by a terrorist as she protested neo-Nazism and white supremacy.”

**Yahoo! News reports of James Alex Fields Jr., who long has had a fetish for Nazi Germany:

… [Samantha] Bloom, a single mother who is a paraplegic and uses a wheelchair, raised Fields on her own after a drunk driver killed his father, an uncle told the Washington Post.

Records from 911 calls reveal that Bloom had called police at least twice to accuse her then-teenage son of assaulting her and wielding a knife. Records from the Florence Police Department in Kentucky show that Bloom told police in 2011 that Fields, a young teenager at the time, had stood behind her wielding a 12-inch knife. During another 2010 incident, Bloom said that Fields had hit her head and locked her in the bathroom.

Bloom also told police Fields was taking medication to treat temper issues. …

***No, my viewpoint is not that we should coddle them. In fact, my own strong preference is to not have anything to do with anyone who I know is a white supremacist/white nationalist, and I don’t know anyone who is one.

But at the same time, I don’t have to try to identify people online and then ensure that they lose their jobs.

I don’t have to associate with these people, and I don’t, but I don’t have to try to go after their meager livelihoods, either, and I don’t.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

McCarthyism redux is a best-seller

Cover Image
Wow. The jihadists and I are colluding and I didn’t even know it!

So I thank one Andrew C. McCarthy (a descendant of Joseph McCarthy, I wonder?) for bringing this fact to my attention.

McCarthy’s book, titled The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America, is at No. 34 on amazon.com’s top 100 best-selling books list as I type this sentence.

McCathy might argue that he’s not conflating fundamentalist Islamists with us members of the American left — I’ll probably never know his arguments, because I’ll never read his wingnutty book(s) — but clearly that’s what he has done.

But there is plenty about fundamentalist Islam that I, a rabid fucking moonbat, oppose.

For starters, I don’t even fucking believe in God.

When you talk about God, I have to ask you: Where, exactly, does God live? On Fantasy Lane right next to the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus?

I don’t care if you’re Muslim, Christian or Jewish, if you believe in a God as some sort of male entity that is omniscient and omnipotent and favors your team over all of the others, I think that it’s time for you to grow the fuck up and to start thinking for yourself.

Then there’s the fact that I’m gay, and that gay men are routinely killed and otherwise persecuted by fundamentalist Islamic extremists.

One of the many things that the fundamentalist Islamist extremists and the American right wing have in common, in fact, is their shared belief that non-heterosexuals should be persecuted — because that’s what the non-existent God wants.

What else? I disagree with patriarchy and misogyny, which, along with the persecution of non-heterosexuals, puts the American right wing a lot more in league with the fundamentalist Islamic extremists than it puts the American left wing.

I also vehemently oppose theocracy, and the fundamentalist Islamic extremists are all about theocracy — as are the American wingnuts, who, to give just a partial recitation of their theocratic wish list, want prayer in our public schools, want it taught in our public schools that evolution is just a “theory” and that bullshit creationism is at least equal to the “theory” of evolution, want abortion outlawed based upon their religious beliefs, and want same-sex marriage outlawed based upon their religious beliefs. 

McCarthy cites Muslims as “sabotaging America,” yet if the American right wing had their way, we’d be living in a theocracy just like the fucking Taliban, something that I and my fellow leftists vehemently oppose. 

About the only thing that I can think of that a jihadist and I would agree upon is that the Muslims and the Arabs of the world have been getting the shitty end of the stick at the hands of the Jews and self-proclaimed “Christians” for some time now.

But even then, to me it’s solely an issue of fairness and evenhandedness, whereas to your jihadist it’s an issue of his (or her) belief that Islam is the Only One True Religion of the World, as the Jews and the “Christians” believe their religions are.

So if McCarthy has insinuated that the American left and the jihadists are in league, as it strikes me that he has, that claim is easily fucking annihilated.

Perhaps what McCarthy is really getting at is that if you aren’t a “Christian” and if you aren’t a right-wing nutjob, then you aren’t a real American, and thus you are trying to “sabotage America.”

This bullshit sells, very apparently.

We have all of these dumbfuck white people all throughout the nation, but mostly in the red states, polluting the gene pool, worried that those who have (in no certain order) different religious beliefs, different political ideologies, different nationalities, different languages, different physical appearances and/or different sexual orientations or gender identities are ruining! the! nation! when, in fact, it’s the stupid white men — the George W. Bushes and the Dick Cheneys and the British Petroleum CEOs and the Glenn Becks — who are responsible for the fact that the American Empire is teetering on collapse.

I imagine all of these self-righteous white fucktards buying books like The Grand Jihad thinking that they’re actually accomplishing something by consuming wingnutty media that only already confirm their ignorant, whacked-out beliefs, when, in fact, all that they’re accomplishing is to make McCarthy and his ilk richer and the nation dumber.

Most of the best-selling political titles on amazon.com are wingnutty titles, and this used to be more distressing to me than it is now. Now, I tend to view it as evidence of the right wing’s death throes. They’re desperate. Things are changing and they can’t handle it. They’re faced with an increasing number of people in the United States of America who don’t look, act, speak and believe like they do, and they’re so fucking insecure that this drives them batty. The Great White Arizonan Freakout is just one example of this.

I sure hope that we on the left are a danger to the continued existence of the American right wing. But Muslims?

Estimates on the number of Muslim Americans range from 1.3 million to 7 million. That’s not a lot of people in a nation of more than 300 million. The 7 million estimate comes from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which one might argue has a reason to inflate its figure of 7 million, since it’s a Muslim advocacy group. I tend to think that the actual number lies somewhere between the Pew Research Center’s estimated 2.5 million and the U.S. News & World Report’s estimated 5 million.

American Jews are estimated to be around 6.5 million, yet, as I have noted, they are overrepresented in both houses of Congress and elsewhere in Washington, such as on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Um, there is one (1) Muslim American in Congress, Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, who in 2006 became the very first Muslim elected to Congress

So we hardly have an Islamo-Manchurian Congress or D.C., as amazon.com’s description of McCarthy’s sad and pathetic little book seems to suggest.

If we really want to be paranoid about a special interest group having a grip on Congress and D.C., we’d be better off pointing a finger at the Jews rather than at the Muslims. But the Zionist/Israel-first lobby busily slanders the Muslim and Arab communities and feigns victimhood (I guess that you can call it a perpetual Holocaust) in order to divert your attention from the fact that the Zionist/Israel-first lobby actually is quite powerful within the United States of America, even driving its foreign fucking policy, for fuck’s sake.

If Muslims drove the United State’s foreign policy, the American right wing would be up in arms, but they’re strangely quite perfectly OK with the Zionist/Israel-first lobby driving the nation’s foreign policy.

And as far as a dangerous left wing goes, Barack Obama is horribly disappointing to us on the left, and a series of news articles, such as this one, have been appearing on this subject lately.

Obama a “socialist”?

Oh, I fucking wish! He’s not even a Democrat — he’s a corporatocrat, a Repugnican Lite.

Obama’s party controls the White House and both houses of Congress and has for more than a year now, and what’s he doing right now? He’s practicing how to appear to be angry! And today he actually said, more than a month into the British Petroleum debacle, that he’s now researching “whose ass to kick.”

Oo!

Obama said he’s going to “kick” “ass”!

I’m so moistnot!

While I wish the president the best of luck with his Mr. Spock- or Data-like attempt to display human emotion, he has a long way to go to get my vote again in November 2012. If I could do it over again, I’d have voted for Ralph Nader instead of for Obama in November 2008.

Fact is, the greatest danger to the United States of America remains the American right wing, which has brought us such wonderful things as 9/11 (Osama bin Laden himself has stated that U.S. military intervention in the Middle East and U.S. support of Israel were major reasons why he masterminded the 2001 attacks [Google it]), the Vietraq War (which was sold to the nation by the unelected Bush regime as retaliation for 9/11, even though Iraq had had nothing whatsofuckingever to do with 9/11, which the Bush regime knew fully well) and the British Petroleum debacle, the latter two of which Dick Cheney’s Halliburton had a strong hand in. Oh, and Hurricane Katrina. And the largest federal budget deficit in the history of the nation (and Halliburton, with its no-bid war-profiteering contracts, had a hand in that, too — fuck, and even a hand in Hurricane Katrina, since Halliburton is a part of Big Oil, which contributes to global warming, which contributes to stronger hurricanes).

Fuck. The America-hating fundamentalist Islamic extremists only wish that they could inflict just a fraction of the damage on the United States of America that the American right wing has over the course of the past several years. The illegal, immoral, unprovoked, unjust and wholly unnecessary Vietraq War, to give just one example, not only has overextended our military and driven up our federal budget deficit, but it has resulted in the wholly unnecessary deaths of more than 4,400 of our troops since the treasonous Bush regime launched it in March 2003.

My guess is that Osama bin Laden is somewhere in a cave thinking: “Mission accomplished!”

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized