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Scott Sullivan :Obama will Trump
Brazil's Lula on Communism

 

 

Doubts still exist about the merits of President Obama to qualify as the recipient for this year's Nobel Peace Prize.  Obama can clearly display his superiority as a world leader by taking on his principal rival for leadership of the Western Hemisphere -- President Lula da Silva of Brazil

Presidents Lula da Silva and Barack Obama should hold a debate on the merits of one outstanding ideological issue;   Which dynamic and beautiful city   - Rio de Janiero or Chicago -- has the most distinguished communist history?   On this basis alone, which city should hold the next Olympics?  

On these questions, Obama will bury Lula da Silva. Here is the case that Obama could present for Chicago.  

From the 1920’s to the mid-1940’s, when Harry Truman dismantled the US Communist Party, Chicago was the capital city of US Communism.  

Chicago literary revivals were underway created by the African-American geniuses James Baldwin and Richard Wright.  

A musical revival burst forth called the Chicago Blues, based on an African-American working class music that went on to inspire all od US counyty music via Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash, and then went on to create today’s rock and roll music, which won tens of millions fans for the US way of life around the world.  

Moerover, Chicago had gigantic steel mills and factories populated by a hard core pro-Stalin proletariat, in contrast with the New York city branch of the Communist Party, that was dominated by middle clas intellectuals that were highly diversified in terms of ideology.    

To illustrate, here is a well-told story about a group of Chicago’s communist leaders who visited Republican Spain in 1938 to show support for Spain’s struggle against Hitler and Mussolini.  

The Chicago communist admiration for Spain evaporated the moment that the Chicago communists arrived at the battle trenches, only to learn that every second or third Spanish Republic infantrymen was either an anarchist or Trotskyite!   From the orthodox viewpoint of Chicago’s Stalinist leadership, the world’s Trotskyites and anarchists were betrayers of the communist ideals and were to be disarmed and arrested, not provided weapons, as in Spain.

Many US Communists, by no means only in Chicago.  viewed the city of Chicago as the birthplace of the US progressive movement.  

The Chicago militants had a proud history of struggle against the bosses and the Pinkerton special police   going back over 100 years.   Moreover, Chicago communists could claim a large share of success for Abraham Lincoln’s election to the US presidency.  

The Chicago communists were also in the vanguard of advancing Northern black liberation beginning in WW II by using the resources of Chicago’s industrial unions to move impoverished African-Americans from the rural south to much-coveted industrial jobs in the North.

The Chicago Communists also played a key role in shaping US foreign policy, in the years immediately following WW II.  Chicago was the stronghold of US Communist Party support for perpetuating the Stalin-Roosevelt Alliance. This Chicago group also favored strong policies of assimilation into the US mainstream for the Jews, African-Americans and other minorities.  In contrast, many communists in New York City and other parts of the US opposed the goal of Jewish assimilation in the US in favor of creating a separate Jewish homeland in Palestine.  

This Jewish separatist faction in the US Communist Party also opposed perpetuating the WW II US-Soviet alliance.   Instead, the US Jewish separatists favored US-Soviet confrontation, especially in Central Europe and the Arab world, in the conviction that the new Jewish homeland in the Middle East would benefit by attracting immigrants from these areas.

Finally, this short history of the Chicago branch of the US communist party would not be complete without telling at least one personal story, drawn from the life of my grandmother, who was a member of the Chicago branch of the communist party during the WW II years, 1940-1945.

My grandmother was was married to a prominent Chicago attorney and been a member of Norman Thomas’s US Socialist party for fifteen years.   When the US Socialist Party took a pacifist stance at the outbreak of WW II, my grandmother immediately joined the Communist Party, to my grandfather’s dismay.  

Each year, the May Day celebrations, especially the Communist Party’s big Labor parade, were always a tense time for their marriage.  Despite my   grandfather’s strong objections, my grandmother would insist upon attending the May Day Parade and marching in the front ranks alongside the US communist leadership.  Each year my grandfather would lock her in the bedroom, and she would jump out the window to join the Red parade!

 


Scott Sullivan is a former Washington government employee and was the Senior Advisor for International Economics at the Crisis Management Center of the National Security Council, 1984 - 1986. Petroleumworld not necessarily share these views.

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Petroleumworld News 10/12 /09

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