The “discovery” that some children are separated from their parents following the parents’ arrests for illegal border crossing is much too conveniently timed to convince anyone of the discoverers’ sincerity.
Equally lacking in spontaneity are the protests that have sprung up since the discovery. Indeed, the “family separation” protest operation gives all appearances of coming right out of the Comintern playbook.
In the way of background, the early Soviets absorbed not just Marx’s economics but also his amorality. In their pursuit of the larger truth – pravda – they scorned any petty factual truth – istina – that stood in its way.
The man who brought this new system of power, the so-called “lying for the truth,” to the West was an unlikely German Communist named Willi Munzenberg.
Munzenberg worked his wonders in all manner of subjects in all media, both in Europe and in America, and among a wide range of opinion makers.
He had a good base in his own network of left-wing publications and willing accomplices in a wider network of progressive media outlets. His essential challenge was to sculpt their opinions to his own designs and then to conceal his own handiwork in the sculpting.
Lenin had made Munzenberg’s task a good deal easier when he launched the Communist International – or Comintern – in the early days of the revolution. This was the network through which Lenin exercised political control, and Munzenberg cultural control, over the worldwide left.
Always the cynic, Munzenberg described the idealists who unwittingly hewed to the party line as “innocents.” The fronts to which he guided them he called “Innocents’ Clubs.”
In fact, Munzenberg may be the person most responsible for a phenomenon that plagues us to this day: the political radicalization of the cultural elite.
In 1924, Lenin died and Stalin replaced him. Always the realist, Stalin had no illusions that the Comintern or the fledgling Communist Party in America could inspire an American revolution.
With Stalin’s blessing, Munzenberg focused instead on undermining the idea of America, which at the time held great sway throughout the world.
For the Soviet experiment to prevail, the American experiment had to yield. The world had to see America through fresh, unblinking eyes, not as the great melting pot but as a simmering stew of xenophobic injustice.
Munzenberg and his colleagues set out to find a test case in America on which they could work their diabolical marriage.
In 1925, they found their way to Sacco and Vanzetti, a pair of Italian anarchists found guilty in the 1920 murder of an Italian American payroll clerk in Massachusetts.
Working with the Comintern, Munzenberg set up an organization in Chicago called the International Labor Defense and gave it, as a first assignment, the creation of a worldwide myth around the fate of Sacco and Vanzetti.
Almost immediately, “spontaneous” protests sprung up throughout the world. Europe’s great squares filled with sobbing, shouting protesters, declaiming the innocence of the immigrant martyrs and denouncing the vile injustice of their persecutors.
These protesters, many of them poor and most of them sincere, donated hundreds of thousands dollars to the cause, almost none of which found its way to the real Defense Committee.
The casting call for the Sacco and Vanzetti protests attracted a who’s who of literary leading lights. Prominent American authors Upton Sinclair, Katherine Ann Porter, John Dos Passos and Edna St. Vincent Millay not only protested the seeming injustice but also created literary works around it.
All their efforts failed. On the night of the pair’s execution in 1927, an outpouring of rage and grief swept the world’s capitals – London, Rome, Paris, Berlin – and left common sense buried in its wake.
Munzenberger had pulled all the right strings in this international puppet show. True, Sacco and Vanzetti were executed, but it had never been his job to save them.
In her memoir, “The Never-Ending Wrong,” published on the 50th anniversary of the pair’s execution, Pulitzer Prize winning author Katherine Ann Porter relates how she first came to understand this.
As the final hours ticked down, Porter had been standing vigil with others artists and writers in Boston. Ever the innocent liberal, Porter approached her group leader, a “fanatical little woman” and a dogmatic Communist, and expressed her hope that Sacco and Vanzetti could still be saved.
The response of this female comrade is noteworthy largely for its candor: “Saved? Who wants them saved? What earthly good would they do us alive?”
The activists behind the family separation protests are surely plotting along the exact same lines.
“Reunited?” one could all but hear them think. “What earthly good would these families do us if the Republican Congress prevented their separation?”