The Nevada Republican Party becomes communist
Expanded from the 3-30-1997 Daily Sparks Tribune

A wise man once said that we become what we overcome, we turn into that which we despise.

George Orwell painted pretty much the same portrait at the end of his totalitarian fairy tale, "Animal Farm." The barnyard animals who had banished evil farmer Brown ended up butchering, selling and eating their fellow critters. The revolutionaries became what they despised.

"Democracy passes into despotism," said Plato some 2,300 years ago. "Does not tyranny spring from democracy in the same manner as democracy from oligarchy? The good which oligarchy proposed to itself and the means by which it was maintained was excess of wealth," Plato wrote in "The Republic," book eight.

"The insatiable desire of wealth and the neglect of all other things for the sake of money-getting was also the ruin of the oligarchy...and democracy has her own good, of which the insatiable desire brings her to dissolution...When a democracy which is thirsting for freedom has evil cup-bearers presiding over the feast, and has drunk too deeply of the strong wines of freedom, then, unless her rulers are very amenable and give a plentiful draught, she calls them to account and punishes them, and says they are cursed oligarchs," Plato said.

In other words, spread the wealth or become what you despise. The United States is quickly becoming a two-class society, ruled by a narrow, wealthy oligarchy turning us into a third world economy. The continually shrinking middle class screams, but usually attacks those below it. Those losing the American Dream despise what they most likely will become - poor.

Philosopher Eric Hoffer, in his seminal 1951 book "The True Believer, Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements," wrote "should Americans begin to hate foreigners wholeheartedly, it will be an indication that they have lost confidence in their own way of life."

Throughout this century, a very clever, corporate-funded, tax-subsidized propaganda machine has done a tremendous job of getting the struggling middle class to focus its hatred at immigrants, politicians, women, the poor, the young, the old and the alternatively procreative. We should aim higher, at the untitled super-rich who rule, and increasingly ruin, our lives.

    This country has been built on the myth of equality. "The American oligarchy spares no pains in promoting the belief that it does not exist," wrote Michael Lind in his 1995 book "The Next American Nation."

I submit the Nevada Republican Party served our rulers well on March 26. Their one-page news release dredged up the worst of red-scare McCarthyism and stirred in threats of modern terrorism. The damned thing looked so bogus that I did the GOP the courtesy of calling to find out if the smear might have been a fraud.

Alas, Charles Muth, the party's Las Vegas communications director, confirmed the document as official. "Distributed by Nevada Republican Party, John Mason, Chairman," it reads.

"The Union Label, organized labor in America today...The spirit of Khrushchev lives on. National labor boss John Sweeney said here last month 'Las Vegas will be the national standard in union organizing.' This sounds like an echo of Khrushchev's historic table pounding threat of 'we'll bury you.'"

The flyer attributes the quote to one Larry Litchfield, executive director of the Associated Builders and Contractors, a virulently anti-union organization of mostly small companies. (Mr. Litchfield and the GOP should have checked their accuracy. Former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev's famous table-pounding episode took place at the United Nations in New York. He said "we will bury you" at a reception for Wladyslaw Gomulka at the Polish embassy in Moscow on November 18, 1956.)

No matter. The message is clear. Union members are a bunch of commies in the opinion of Mr. Litchfield and the Republican Party. Mr. Muth termed the document as "not an official position from the party or from the chairman. We're just passing along what other people are saying."

That's a distinction without a difference, apparently aimed at maintaining plausible deniability for Mr. Mason in case the Red Scare tactic backfires. Mr. Muth says the flyer is a reaction to the "political threat" of the AFL-CIO's increased activity in last year's election. "Forty percent of union members are Republicans," he told me.

Zounds. The communications director of the Nevada GOP accuses Republican union members of being part of a communist organization. He's right, of course. That organization is the Republican Party.

Blind until age 15, Eric Hoffer was a self-educated longshoreman who never attended school. He spent 10 years as a migratory field laborer and gold miner. In his 1964 book, "The Ordeal of Change," he wrote "heresies have often served as vehicles for the transmission of ideas, attitudes and ways of life...Judaism impressed itself upon the world by a heresy it rejected, Christianity. Christianity itself...spread outside the core of the Graeco-Roman world mainly by its heresies" (spinoffs)"...and if Communism seems likely to become a vehicle for the transmission of Western achievement to non-Western countries, it is due partly to the fact that Communism is a Western, and particularly a Capitalist, heresy which the West rejected," Hoffer wrote.

"There is apparently no surer way of turning a thing into its opposite than by exaggerating it," he said. "Ever since Capitalism came into its own, we have caught glimpses of the Capitalist's dream of omnipotence - of a 'company state' rather than a company within a state...Only a Communist regime succeeds in making the wildest Capitalist dream come true right in the home country. A monolithic company - the Communist Party - takes possession of the whole country...It is only natural that such a 'company state' should aspire to turn itself into a holding company of the whole planet," Hoffer concluded.

The ultimate achievement of unfettered, unbalanced capitalism is also one huge corporation which has swallowed up all the others. Ronald Reagan's descendants in both major parties call it "deregulation." When everybody works for that one huge corporation, capitalism has become communism. We become that which we despise.

"It is permissible to predict that the slogan of an eventual Communist heresy will be 'Communism without the Communists,'" Hoffer said.

The GOP's 1997 edition of Red Scare thus becomes self mockery, an inwardly-directed insult. I have often quoted George Shultz, who held four cabinet positions under three Republican presidents. In 1991, he told the National Planning Association that vigorous labor unions are necessary to provide balance to an industrial society.

A healthy democracy stands on a tripod where business, labor and government are equally strong and balance each other. The U.S. has the most repressive labor laws in the industrialized world. Nevada workers have no rights. "Big Labor" is a myth, has never represented more than a third of U.S. workers and now speaks for about one-sixth.

With workers rendered powerless, the oligarchy has focused on weakening government. They're doing a hell of a job of fanning that hate. Pretty soon, big business will own not only the tripod, but the whole photo studio.

This is why I am so disturbed by Bill Clinton and Al Gore playing footsie with Red China. The U.S. de-linked trade from human rights. Corporate profit is now officially all that matters. They remind me of the last page of "Animal Farm." The barnyard revolutionaries watch aghast as their ruling animals drink wine and eat cooked critters with businessmen. As Orwell wrote, it became increasingly difficult to tell the animals from the humans.

They became that which they despised, as will the GOP if it continues to promote unfettered, oppressive capitalism toward its logical end - one megacorporation, Communism with a western brand name.

Be well. Raise hell.

Copyright © 1997, 2005 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a Reno-based syndicated columnist and 28-year Nevadan.
Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks Tribune since 1988.

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