What Explains Falling Confidence in the Press? Help me figure it out. Here are five explanations, each of them a partial truth. That is my question here.
In regard to the history of American communism the essay demonstrates a significant shift by two major left historians; but in regard to the history of American anticommunism, however, little has changed.
The two issues are inextricably mixed and as welcome as movement on the first matter is, the immobility on the second shows the still yawning gap between their perspective and mine.
Isserman and Schrecker are leading figures of the revisionist view of American communism that has dominated academic history from the s to the late s. To the extent the issue was even addressed, and often it was not, the CPUSA as an institution was judged as not involved in Soviet espionage and, at most, only a few individual Communists cooperated with Soviet intelligence.
Revisionists treated most of those accused in the late s and s of participation in Soviet espionage as innocents maligned by wicked perjurers egged on by American security agencies eager to frame Communists for crimes they The patriots original writing essay not commit.
Schrecker and Isserman recognize that the evidence that has emerged since the collapse of the USSR has rendered this view untenable. This is to their credit in as much as too many historians, including leading figures in the profession and its chief journals, corrupted by a combination of ideological myopia and partisanship along with a measure of incompetence, have averted their eyes and pretended that the new evidence changes nothing.
For better and worse-- it was the vehicle through which hundreds of thousands of Americans sought to create a more democratic and egalitarian society. Most party members lived in that public world of American communism. They had no connection with, or even knowledge of, another world.
From the party's inception, several hundred thousand Americans have joined out of a deeply felt belief in the necessity of overturning America's economic and political order and establishing a new society based on Marxism-Leninism.
In her Many Are the Crimes: They insist that we "reduce the entire history of That aside, Isserman and Schrecker's new position is a major advance over the "uncritical filiopietism," to use their own term, that too often permeated the revisionist version of the history of American communism.
There still remain, however, issues both of fact and interpretation regarding the history of American communism that Schrecker and Isserman avoid confronting.
The factual issues that need to be directly addressed are several, of which only a partial listing includes the following.
The CPUSA's abandonment of hundreds probably more than a thousand of former members who had emigrated to the USSR in the s and early s and who fell victim to Stalin's terror in the mids, either secretly executed or imprisoned in the Gulag. This abandonment was more than the passive act of pretending it didn't happen but actively justifying the purges and seeking to discredit those who tried to tell the truth.
The party's practice of sending infiltrators into rival organizations of both the left and right in order to manipulate or disrupt their activities.
The party's use of its members who were college faculty and students to harass faculty who actively supported Trotsky, and its use of its influence in liberal advocacy groups to deny forums and lecture venues to those did not accept the party's views on Trotsky.
The party's use of its adherents in trade unions to support the party's political tactics and adjusting collective bargaining goals to conform to party political strategy. Confronting these facts also requires an assessment of what it says about the nature of the Communist party and of Communists themselves.
What does it tell about the mentality of American Communists that when family member of the emigrant Communist Finnish-Americans who had been imprisoned and murdered in the hundreds by Stalin's political police were, when they returned to the U.
These matters of fact and what they say of the nature of the American Communist movement and of American Communists are serious matters.
But there is also a basic matter of ethical perspective that still separates Schrecker and Isserman's views from mine. They write in all seriousness of Communists working to "create a more democratic and egalitarian society. Democracy is a concept with varied meanings but at bottom it is a term for popular self-government and the procedures that allow a people to ensure that rulers are answerable to the ruled.
Democracy recognizes the only legitimate government as one that receives the freely given consent of the governed.
This nation was founded as a democratic republic and much of our history revolves around the expansion of the democratic polity and democratic liberties to include excluded groups. Most Americans regard the basic requirements of democracy, free elections, free press, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion and conscience, as essential American characteristics.
America's creation and sustaining of a far from perfect but nonetheless working political democracy on a national scale is its greatest achievement and a triumph of human history.As you can see from the chart, the percentage of Americans who had a “great deal” or a “fair amount” of trust in the news media has declined from over 70 percent shortly after .
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