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Expat Sees Return of Scary Times

By       Message Linn Washington     Permalink
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Victor Grossman, an expatriate American journalist now in his 80's and living in Berlin, sees ominous parallels between America's anti-Communist outrages during the 1950's and the conservative "Blame-The-Other' assaults rampant today in America, and in many European countries, including Germany.

Grossman ought to know. It was the Red-bating of the late "40s and early "50s that drove this Harvard grad to make a life-altering decision and leave America behind

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"It's the same old trick everywhere and it works so often!" the Ivy Leaguer said, warning "It is also a main concentration point of the fascist element."

A prime driver of the racial/religious intolerance roiling in America today is the FOX News cable network that employs two luminaries in the Blame-The-Other game: Glenn Beck, the broadcast agitator and Sarah Palin, the political hustler/presidential aspirant.

While FOX hosts and guests regularly rail about "threats' facing America from communism, a large advertiser on FOX is Wal-Mart, America's largest importer of goods from China, ironically the world's largest Communist country.

Beck, for example, routinely bashes persons he links to the alleged Communists and socialists he claims are undermining America. Yet, Beck doesn't demand boycotts of Wal-Mart, though the giant retail firm helps prop up the communist government of China through purchases of Chinese-produced goods averaging over $25-billion annually.

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Neither does Beck who recently staged a large rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC to restore "integrity" in America demand that his FOX employers stop accepting millions in ad revenue from that commie-country supporting Wal-Mart.

During the 1950's, top U.S. politicians spearheaded by the infamous Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy argued that Americans had to surrender their constitutional rights and liberties to ensure safety from International Communism.

History now regards McCarthy and his ideological confederates as shameless charlatans who stoked and manipulated public fear for their own personal political gain"a claim many have also made of the Bush/Cheney Administration, which four decades later fanned public fears of Islamic terrorism for political gain.

McCarthy's onslaughts ruined the innocent lives of thousands of Americans, just as Bush-era political and legal attacks on alleged terrorists or terrorist supporters have ruined innocent lives.

Earlier this year, ideological descendants of McCarthy on the Texas School Board rammed through approval of public school curriculum changes in that state so that the history taught to Texas schoolchildren now claims that McCarthy was justified in his 1950s search for Communist infiltration in America society a gross rewriting of history that academically abets intolerance.

The anti-Communist onslaught unleashed during the early 1950's ensnared Grossman, then a U.S. soldier stationed in Germany, driving him to fateful decision that ultimately left him a man alienated from his homeland for decades.

While many of Grossman's Harvard classmates in the late 1940's sought elevation into the elite circles of power, he opted to find work in the steel mills of Buffalo, NY, helping to organize workers there.

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Grossman's social-change activism before, during and after Harvard included fights against American and European racism where allies often included Communist groups.

Grossman, for example, worked against the U.S. government persecution of legendary black activist/actor/singer Paul Robeson.

American authorities had mounted an intense campaign to silence Robeson, a Columbia Law School grad, fearful of his attacks on the nation's prevailing apartheid system. After first getting him blacklisted from radio and from public performing venues in the US, the government then revoked Robeson's passport, blocking his ability to earn income from performing in foreign countries, too. (A successful lawsuit filed by Robeson to restore his passport ultimately strengthened the passport and citizenship rights of all Americans.)

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Linn Washington is a weekly columnist for the Philadelphia Tribune and This Can't Be Happening. Washington writes frequently on inequities in the criminal justice system, ills in society and failings of the news media. He teaches multi-media urban (more...)
 

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