Probably half a dozen die hard extremist, red-brained, seize the means of production, Soviet Union loving, big “C” Communists remain today. And Counterpunch has located one to review TRUMBO.
While cherry-picking the history of the 1930s and 40s, he manages to avoid any hint of any problem with one Joseph Stalin. Wikipedia cites death “estimates ranging from 3 to 60 million” Russians. The totalitarian Big Brother nature of the communist state is of no concern at all to Eric Mann, who’d rather point fingers at the capitalist menace than to provide any fairness or context around these questions.
Mann provides a script improvement for the film:
“Honey, if you want to share your sandwich, seize the means of production, and smash the capitalist state yes, that would make you a communist.”
Well, that helps clarify things.
The world moved on from seizing the means of production for many reasons, some good, some bad. But we are actually quite lucky it did, because centralized state monopoly on the economy is an unmitigated DISASTER!
These big-C lads always revise the history of their own beloved communism to edit out the horrors of the past. I don’t see the need to go too deeply into it, but here is my point:
Three sectors compete in society, the people and their rights; the businesses and their raw materials, transportation and markets; and the government, which may exercise power in any number of ways.
These three sectors are in balance in a well-run society. When that balance is tipped all hell breaks loose. The fascists merge the business sector and the government sector. Benito Mussolini’s vision of the corporate state is–frighteningly–coming to fruition across the western world today. When corporations and government merge, the people suffer. Ask the residents of Flint Michigan about that.
The other imbalance is when the people and the government merge to smash the business sector, that glorious Communist revolution that Eric Mann is peddling today by way of Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. This imbalance leads to a government monopoly on the labor market, the food supply, the military, police, water, education–on everything!!! Without that third competing sphere of operations, the government becomes a behemoth that swiftly devours all and descends into an atrocious totalitarian configuration which, ironically, destroys the rights of its own people, tortures, murders and sends them off to prison work camps, and collapses from its own staggering incompetence and bureaucracy.
Thus, the only sane response to these two extremes, fascism and communism, is to keep the balance intact. Government must act as referee, not as monopoly. The people and the businesses must struggle for their interests with clear rights guaranteed by the referee. Everything else swiftly devolves into madness. Sorry, Mann, and sorry Trumbo.
We can do much better, but not what you’re selling.
by Lawrence Ware
Two years ago I sat in an almost empty auditorium waiting for 12 Years a Slave to begin. To my right, with an obligatory seat between us per the unspoken yet ubiquitous norm known as ‘man law,’ was my dear friend and brother T. E. Dancy. We arrived prepared to critically engage the film as scholars, but we underestimated the impact the film would have upon us emotionally.
Every year I screen the film on campus. I am consistently surprised by how few have seen it. They have seen movies detailing the horrors of the holocaust. They have watched violent visual narratives about the war on terror. Yet, for some reason, this film remains unseen.
White Americans have a complex relationship with the history of black people in this country. They intellectually assent to the proposition that slavery happened. They admit that it was ‘bad.’ Yet, like attempts to minimize the horror of slavery in Texas textbooks, white folks don’t want to be confronted with the lived experiences of slaves.
Black Americans don’t have that luxury. As Ta-Nehisi Coates argued, even if attempts are made to ignore the past, the shadow of slavery follows black people today. In our language, in our food, in the construction of American social institutions upon the assumption that if you inhabit a black body you possess less personhood than if you inhabited a white body, the history of slavery still shapes black life in America.
As I discussed the film with T. E. Dancy, I began to realize that this visual text powerfully communicates these truths in four ways.
Solomon Northup was an educated, cultured free black man in the 1840s. His only mistake was thinking that being born free meant he was safe from the ugliest manifestation of white supremacy in American history. Yes, he was educated; yes, he was musically talented; yes, he was petite bourgeoisie; no, that did not matter. One’s black body is always a threatened when living under white, capitalistic hegemony.
This remains true today.
Where did ISIS come from? How was it able to gain land, arms and money so quickly?
The Donald is relying on racist whites to ignore facts, history and math in order to put him in the white house.