After the fall of the Soviet Union, most Leftists in the US at least had the decency to mourn quietly over the demise of the Evil Empire. Being sympathetic to murderous communists became somewhat of a joke manifested in “CCCP” t-shirts worn ironically, for the most part. Slowly a real nostalgia started cropping up and now, as evidenced by the Occupy Movement, there are people who are wondering out loud whether the world is a better place post-USSR. There’s a serious anti-capitalist mood in the Left’s echo-chamber.
The Nation magazine is about to publish – in print, a couple of the articles are available online here and here – three articles where the authors ponder whether the world is safer, etc. without Soviet Russia. Here’s how The Nation’s editorial board introduces the series:
Virtually all American commentary about the end of the Soviet Union extols what the West is believed to have gained from that historic event. On this twentieth anniversary of the breakup, The Nation presents three writers who focus instead on what may have been lost. Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union’s last leader and first constitutional president, argues that a chance for a more secure and just world order was missed. Stephen F. Cohen, a historian and longtime Nation contributor, reminds readers of the political, economic and social costs to Russians themselves. And Vadim Nikitin, a US-educated Russian journalist, presents a new interpretation of pro-Soviet nostalgia. –The Editors
Yeah. Now go read the magazine’s “founding prospect.”
The Nation will not be the organ of any party, sect, or body. It will, on the contrary, make an earnest effort to bring to the discussion of political and social questions a really critical spirit, and to wage war upon the vices of violence, exaggeration, and misrepresentation by which so much of the political writing of the day is marred.
That was written in 1865 when the magazine was founded. Let’s just say they’ve come a long way–and considering that they’re clearly feeling the absence of the Soviet Union, one of the most violent and deceitful regimes in history, the irony is thick.
But it isn’t hard to believe, considering their publisher and editor (and part-owner) is Katrina vanden Heuvel.
Take a cursory look at her background and you get the sense she really really likes the old Soviet Union–or maybe the idea of it, not necessarily the execution. She married a USSR expert, Stephen F. Cohen, who is the author of one of the three articles in the series referenced above. She’s a real Leftist’s Leftist.
On the day the Chilean miners were rescued, while everyone was celebrating the amazing achievement, vanden Heuvel tweeted to her followers:
Rescue work of Chilean state: Private mine company seems to have made no contribution to rescue. State humane, private corporation not.
Only a hardcore lefty would write something like this down for others to see. The underlying message is anti-capitalist / pro-statist. It may have been the case that the Chilean government took over the rescue operation, but it takes effort to ignore the private sector contribution to the mission. Who built all the machinery used? It wasn’t the “state,” that’s for sure. It seems she learned much from her immersion in all things Soviet. That tweet was Propaganda 101. Along those same lines, here’s another laughable tweet:
Tonight, out of Iowa, remember how many dead economic ideas these GOP candidates hold on to & how much damage they’d do to our country.
This from someone infatuated with a dead regime and who looks longingly towards failing Europe for what we should be doing here in the US.
The bottom line here is that vanden Heuvel has taken an already hard-left magazine and is pushing it even further Left. Don’t take my word for it. These articles even caused a former (only because they were caught) Journolister, Spencer Ackerman, to shout “WTF?” on Twitter (language warning). He even wrote a scathing rebuke of the whole “Are we safer without the Soviet Union?” literary effort. Here’s a couple of highlights:
So it’s with horror and frustration that I see The Nation is running a series of essays asking if the world is really, really safer without the U.S.S.R. I’m embarrassed as a liberal by this sh*t. The liberals I know — those of my generation, certainly — have no nostalgia for an empire whose chief characteristics were slaughter and mass immiseration. The Nation would rather be Soviet Union Truthers.
Because that’s what you get from this bullsh*t package. It’s not an affirmative argument that the world was safer with the Soviet Union around. That would actually be more intellectually bracing than this dreck from Mikhail Gorbachev, who really is a titan of history
(Vulgar language is uncensored in the original)
The Juicebox Mafia member isn’t happy with the folks over at The Nation over this Soviet revisionist history.
This isn’t an essay. It’s historical-counterfactual equivalent of performative skepticism. Do we know for suuuuure that the Towers weren’t knocked down by a controlled demolition? Reaaaaally? What, you believe that was really bin Laden on those tapes…
These aren’t good-faith arguments. They’re not even forthright defenses of the Soviet Union. They’re juvenile attempts at satisfaction through reminding everyone that the world didn’t magically attain perfection after the fall of the USSR. The right response to that is to improve the world, not to cultivate nostalgia for one of the central reasons the 20th century was a slaughterhouse.
Ouch. And just in case there is any doubt Ackerman is a real liberal:
Stephen P. Cohen swipes at straw men “commentators” here, caring more about historiography than the thing-itself. He’s upset at the “triumphalist narrative” in the U.S. — because you’re being a d*ck by not shedding a tear for what truly was an Evil Empire, even if the hated Ronald Reagan said it
(Again, vulgarity is uncensored in the original article)
So there you have it. A magazine founded under a banner stating it “will not be an organ for any party, sect, or body” is now, under Katrina vanden Heuvel’s guidance, an organ for a “sect” of people pining wistfully for what could have been if the Soviet Union hadn’t collapsed.