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Woland
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Landmark,

One other point, or footnote, regarding the relative respectability of Communism and National-Socialism: on almost every college campus in the USA today, you will find faculty members who proudly and unashamedly identify themselves as Marxists or Communists. They are accepted, respected, and taken very seriously indeed. I would bet you a chocolate milkshake that there is not a single self-proclaimed National-Socialist faculty member on any faculty of any college or university in the USA today. Q.E.D.

Woland
landmark
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Embedded in the National-Socialist philosophy was among other horrors, the explicit extermination of Jews. That is not a part of Marxist philosophy. Perhaps that is why there is more of one than the other on college campuses. Can the evils of so-called Marxist states exist apart from Marxist philosophy? My guess is yes, but as we've seen in Chile, Nicaragua, The Congo, Venezuela, Cuba, Costa Rica, and Grenada the Western States will do everything in their power to destroy any attempt at socialism, let alone Communism. I think it still remains an open question.

Can the theory of capitalism be separated from the evil of its states actions? While there may not be National-Socialists on campus, the Fascist supporters are still in supply there. The general/torturers of Argentina and Chile were cheered on by the Friedmanites; In Haiti, South Africa, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran, dictators of the worst sort were supported by the Western elites, the Best and Brightest. The populations of these countries were subject to many deaths as a result of that support. There are many who would make the argument that capitalism as a theory inevitably leads to that kind of killing. I think it remains an open question.

But back to Seeger. Because the Soviets believed in something, doesn't make it automatically wrong. Seeger did important important civil rights work in the US; and in this, he was at times heroic, and a model to follow. As for vitiating the Western will to fight communism, if you're talking about Vietnam, I only wish he and Ochs were more successful. There'd be 50,000 more Americans and 2 million Vietnamese who wouldn't have had to die needlessly. My discount store racks are filled with shirts made in Vietnam.

May I ask, when was it when you realized your parents were wrong?
Al Angello
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As a life long music lover I must interupt both of you to ask. Do either of you remember this one?


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pQa44Ied9o
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
landmark
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Yes, that's one of his "hits" that Woland mentioned before.
When Ochs moved from Elektra to A and M records, he wrote more personal songs that were given more production values.
Here's one that some think is over-produced, but I think is quite beautiful:
Pleasures of the Harbor
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnD_ZdALLdY&NR=1&feature=fvwp
Woland
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Al,

Thanks for remembering that Phil Ochs did write some nice music, even if the ideology he represented was objectionable.

landmark,

A couple of responses to your observations.

1) Racism and anti-Semitism are not explicit parts of marxism, or Marxism-Leninism, but as shown in their private correspondence, Marx & Engels were vicious racists and anti-Semites, and anti-Semitism has been a prominent feature of Stalinism in the Soviet Union and the Eastern European states that were dominated by the Soviet Union. You may argue that this was something inherited from Russian culture, and not an intrinsic part of Soviet communism, and it is true that many of the "old Bolsheviks" were descendants of Jews, although more often than not, raised in circumstances in which they had no connection to Jewish culture or religion.

Be that as it may, Soviet and Chinese communism were every bit as murderous as National-Socialism, and in fact are responsible for tens of millions of more senseless, brutal deaths than National-Socialism. One need only remember the deliberate starvation of the Ukraine during the 1930s, a man-made famine that killed perhaps 5 million. And the "Great Leap Forward" which killed as many as 45 million Chinese in circumstances of almost unimaginable barbarism and ferocity.

Not to mention the excesses of Pol Pot. I swould suggest that "eliminationism," the idea that the problems of society can be solved by eliminating a class or a race of people, is an integral part of the left-wing paradigm, whether National-Socialist or Communist.

2) Which brings me to your next observation, in which you conflate Fascism and National-Socialism with a free-market advocate such as Milton Friedman. It is high time to face the facts, which have been obscured in the West by almost a century of Communist propaganda: Fascism and National-Socialism are left-wing, socialist ideologies. They are not "right wing," and do not advocate a free market - in goods, or in ideas, or in anything else. Take the trouble to re-read the National-Socialist program, it is widely available on the World Wide Web. Read Mussolini's writings, remember that his party was a splinter from the Socialist party in Italy, not from the right. (By the way, his socialist father named him "Benito" in honor of Benito Juarez!)

3) Specifically with respect to the counter-revolution by which Augusto Pinochet saved Chile from a marxist-leninist hell: according to the best estimates, approximately 2,000 people were killed by Chilean forces during and after Pinochet's coup d'etat -- the majority of them during the first weeks of fighting. I challenge you to identify a single marxist-leninist revolution anywhere in the world that did not kill ten or 100 times as many. Chile is a free country today, as a direct result of the counter-revolution against Allende (who by the way was a member in the same Masonic Lodge as Pinochet) - and I say that as someone whose parents know a survivor of the attack on Orlando Letelier.

4) Perhaps the most significant factor in my gradual understanding that marxism-leninism is a profoundly evil and false ideology was the time I spent living in South Korea. I may have mentioned elsewhere in one of the discussions on this forum, but the Koreas are one of the most perfect "experiments of nature" in the world's history. Take a small country, with the most genetically homogeneous population on earth, with a shared historical and cultural development for 2,000 years, and divide it in half. Put one half (the more developed, more christianized, more industrial part) under communism, and put the other half under a military dictatorship that allowed the gradual development of a free market and a free politics. Now draw the curtain closed. Remember than South Korea, as late as 1965, was destitute. I don't mean poor, I mean destitute, on the economic level of, say, the Sudan. Now come back 50 years later. North Korea is starving, a hell-hole, a gulag masquerading as a country, and South Korea is the world's 11th or 12th biggest economy, with a standard of living superior in some respects to that of Japan, even. If that doesn't open your eyes, I don't know what will.

5) And that also informs my view of the war in Vietnam against which Phil Ochs campaigned so vigorously. I was brought to my first anti-Vietnam-war protest in the spring of 1963, when JFK was still President, and the Unitarian activist Homer Jack was booed for suggesting the United States should negotiate the best settlement possible. The "peaceniks" who booed him wanted a communist victory, as became apparent as the antiwar movement became more radical and more violent. Although the antiwar movement eventually involved hundreds of thousands, even millions of honest, pained Americans, it was directed by self-proclaimed "small c communists" who were attempting to be a part of the VC-NLF war-fighting machine.

Despite their (our!) efforts, the Vietnam war was almost won by 1973, when the last American combat troop was withdrawn and the fighting was completely "Vietnamized." It wasn't until 2 years later, when the Democrats in Congress, seizing upon the chaos of the Watergate Scandal, de-funded South Vietnam, that the communist tanks rolled into Saigon.

When you consider the holocaust of mass murder that followed that communist victory, with 2 or 3 million refugees taking to the seas as desperate "boat people" victimized by pirates in crimes of unimaginable cruelty, with tens of thousands of Vietnamese patriots imprisoned, tortured, and killed, and with the entire country condemned to decades of unnecessary poverty under a communist controlled economy, you will see how the example of South Korea illuminates another path that could have been taken.

The Americans who died in Vietnam did not die needlessly, and neither did the Vietnamese patriots who died trying to keep their country free. They stalled the worldwide spread of communist tyranny, protected the nascent freedoms of other nations in Asia, and weakened the Soviet and Chinese regimes. For the Soviet Union and China, Vietnam was a pyrrhic victory.

Peace Out.

Woland
Whit Haydn
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Great history! I wish I had one like that, Woland.
Woland
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I am sure that you do, Mr. Haydn. But it is very nearly a "Rashomon"-like history, with many facets, that appear differently in different lights.

Woland
Whit Haydn
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That is evidently very true... Smile
landmark
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Woland,

Thanks for your detailed responses, I understand a little more of where you're coming from. But really, my side of the elephant looks very different from yours. In my world, military dictators who overthrow democratically elected Presidents, and who are international pariahs for leading torture regimes, are not to be lauded. And people who want to get rid of colonial powers dominating their countries have every right to do so. So I guess I'll just leave it at that for now, because our basic assumptions are just too different.
Al Angello
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Phil Ochs died for several reasons. They were partly alchol, drugs, mental problems, but most of all Phil Ochs died because people stopped buying his records. Other musicians of his time adapted, but Phil was unable to adapt.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lVzK_JR66Q&feature=fvst
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Woland
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Landmark,

Well I don't disagree with your basic sympathies. I think our "basic assumptions" are actually very congruent.

But the realities are, that despite the fact that Pinochet was treated as a pariah by the socialist world, he saved Chile from hell; and despite the fact that they were ostensibly acting to rid Vietnam of colonial powers, the communists plunged their country into hell.

Results matter.

Al,

You know, I don't think that Bob Dylan ever intended to remain a folkie. He was planning his trajectory into the rock & roll mainstream from the get-go. Phil Ochs may have felt left behind. Certainly he was less able to adapt, less able to create in another format or with another underlying subject.

Woland
nucinud
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I have a connection to Phil Ochs, I loved his songs also and played them on guitar with my friends, etc.
My wife took pictures of Phil at his last public appearance in Greenwich Village, while playing a guitar he borrowed from my friend Bruce. Unfortunately, Phil was sort of drunk at the time. It was just a short time before he committed suicide .
We gave some pictures to Michael Ochs after Phil died. My wife also took guitar lessons from Phil's sister Sonny years ago before she met Phil.
It was a tragedy loosing a man like Phil Ochs. We still play his songs all the time. Smile
"We are what we pretend to be" Kurt Vonnegut, jr.



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Harry Mandel

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nucinud
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As far as Pete Seeger, I did a show with him last year, he played the banjo, I did magic. It was a festival in upstate New York. What a nice man. Misunderstood in those days. But he was not just a part of history, he made history.
"We are what we pretend to be" Kurt Vonnegut, jr.



Now U C It Now U Don't

Harry Mandel

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