Thus, the CIA financed the Congress for Cultural Freedom in which many European intellectuals participated. The Central Intelligence Agency thinks otherwise. Later, Chalmers Johnson edited a book called. Both “totalitarian” and ‘dictatorship” are emotionally loaded “vice” words designed to narrow political thinking into an “either – or” choice between and a vice word (dictatorship, totalitarian) and a virtue word “democracy”. Modernization theory is the systematic repression and denial of the notion that military dictatorships are a creature of oppressive international power plays on the part of core-capitalist countries to keep peripheral countries dependent on the international institutions like the World Bank or the IMF. Hannah Arendt bagan to write Origins of Totalitarianism in reaction to the realization of the scale of the death camps and the systemization of the killings of the Jews. It is in this context that the masked mandarins commend and support the relentless critique that a new generation of anti-Marxist thinkers like Bernard-Henri Levy, André Glucksmann and Jean-François Revel unleashed on “the last clique of Communist savants” (composed, according to the anonymous agents, of Sartre, Barthes, Lacan and Louis Althusser). Instrumental in the revised typology of totalitarianism was Jeanne Kirkpatrick. After all, many of the activities of the Agency in that era are among those that we now regard as particularly discreditable. As far back as 1943, Orwell realized that England was lacking in concentration camp literature, including secret police forces, censorship of opinion, torture and frame-up trials. The book’s chief concern is communism, not Nazism. Following the  Ramparts disclosures, when 12 former presidents of the NSA issued a press release defending the covert relationship with the Agency, Lowenstein did not sign. Karen Paget’s new book, Patriotic Betrayal, is the most detailed account yet of the CIA’s use of the National Student Association as a vehicle for intelligence gathering and covert action. Besides the state, the other element of fascism was monopoly capitalism. One fruit of their collaboration was a book called Totalitarian Dictatorship and Autocracy (1956). Your email address will not be published. As we know from the research on the CIA’s program of psychological warfare, the organization has not only tracked and sought to coerce individuals, but it has always been keen on understanding and transforming institutions of cultural production and distribution. Whatever one thinks about the importance of having had such means to wage the battles of the Cold War, it seems difficult to justify the deception that was central to its operation. They were dragged kicking and screaming into using the word democracy at the end of the 19th century when working class white men got the vote. His recent books include Counter-History of the Present (2017), Interventions in Contemporary Thought (2016) and Radical History & the Politics of Art (2014). He asked what do communist and industrial capitalist societies have in common in terms of bureaucracies. Countering communism, I believed at the time and still do today, was the right thing to do. Hannah Arendt’s book begins in 1945 and was the first book to suggest that the origins of totalitarianism originated in the 19th century. The NSA’s members could not debate whether to enter into the relationship, and those opposed could not express their views because they were not in on the secret. Follow on twitter: @GabrielRockhill. (See author’s endnote.). However, the theoretical practices of figures who turned their back on what Cornelius Castoriadis called the tradition of radical critique—meaning anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist resistance—surely contributed to the ideological drift away from transformative politics. the claim that expansive radical movements aiming at profound social and cultural transformation only resuscitate the most dangerous of traditions—are perfectly in line with the espionage agency’s overall strategies of psychological warfare. There was both open and some secret collaboration among foundations, universities, the CIA, the FBI and the State Department to develop Soviet Studies and keep it free of pro-Soviet personnel. Chances are very good that you are being played by the Yankee anti-communist campaign. Talmon saw the French Revolution as a political, religious revival which covered Europe with its apostles, militants and martyrs. It is inevitable that countries of industrial capitalist governments must form alliances with countries who have more heavy-handed rulers because they do not have complete control over world affairs. In direct opposition to the spy agency’s cultural strategy of fragment and polarize, by which it has sought to sever and isolate the anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist left, while opposing it to reformist positions, we should federate and mobilize by recognizing the importance of working together—across the entire left, as Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor has recently reminded us—for the cultivation of a truly critical intelligentsia. We also need to band together in order to contribute to or further develop alternative media, different models of education, counter-institutions and radical collectives. For Burnham, both the Soviet Union and the Western capitalists were both moving towards a managerial ruling class. Using loaded language in politics supports narrowing the thinking process to heroes and villains, gods and devils, dictators or democrats. Overview of the history of the use of the word “totalitarian”. For more information:, France: Defection of the Leftist Intellectuals, as Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor has recently reminded us. This perception of masses was a conservative one, right out of the playbook of Le Bon and Tarde. In Hans Kohn’s typology, Germany and Russia were ethnic, rather than civic nationalists. Steinem then told Newsweek: “In the CIA, I finally found a group of people who understood how important it was to represent the diversity of our government’s ideas at Communist festivals. One of the book’s virtues is that we get a clear picture of how well-educated and successful young Americans got involved in clandestine activities, and how they conducted themselves. He did not think that Trotsky or Bukharin offered any serious alternative. Modernization theory as propaganda to deny core countries’ creation of right-wing states. Neither Germany or Russia came close to fulfilling all her criteria. Thomas W. Braden, the former supervisor of cultural activities at the CIA, explained the power of the Agency’s cultural assault in a frank insider’s account published in 1967: “I remember the enormous joy I got when the Boston Symphony Orchestra [which was supported by the CIA] won more acclaim for the U.S. in Paris than John Foster Dulles or Dwight D. Eisenhower could have bought with a hundred speeches.” This was by no means a small or liminal operation. First of all, it should be a cogent reminder that if some presume that intellectuals are powerless, and that our political orientations do not matter, the organization that has been one of the most potent power brokers in contemporary world politics does not agree. The positions that one defends in the classroom or publicly are important for setting the terms of debate and charting the field of political possibility. Early theories of totalitarianism were economic in origin and only about fascism. As a religious-leftist, neither side likes, nor reads my stuff. The intelligence agency understands culture and theory to be crucial weapons in the overall arsenal it deploys to perpetuate US interests around the world. Disclosure would have killed the program. Although it is certainly the case that the French nation-state and cultural apparatus provide a much more significant public platform for intellectuals than is to be found in many other countries, the CIA’s preoccupation with mapping and manipulating theoretical and cultural production elsewhere should serve as a wake-up call to us all. In this era, the Bureau relied extensively on informers to accumulate its vast dossiers on the political associations and personal lives of millions of Americans. Several factors seem to me to have played a part. Third, to counter this institutional assault on a culture of resolute leftism, it is imperative to resist the precarization and vocationalization of education. He studied Jacobin dictatorships during the French Revolution at the same time the Moscow trials were reaching a climax in 1938. After Stalin’s pact with Hitler it was used to describe both fascism and communism. Almost overnight the term greatly diminished as the United States and the Soviet Union fought on the same side. Gabriel Rockhill is a philosopher, cultural critic and political theorist. We have a Wester Culture to sustain. Change ). Irving Kristol, writing in the New Leader at the end of WWII was Involved in Cold War liberal journals such as Commentary, the Reporter and Encounter. ( Log Out /  Paget discusses only how Kiley as a student leader cooperated closely with the CIA and subsequently went to work directly for the Agency, playing a leading role in identifying Africans who might collaborate with it. But, there is a Realist Streak in me that cuts like a Angel’s Knife! Most of this article will be based on a book Totalitarianism: The Inner History of the Cold War by Abbott Gleason. The term totalitarian did not even include other fascist countries such as Italy or Spain. Gloria Steinem went from willing CIA accomplice to feminist icon. The CIA even names one of its international programs to overthrow socialist governments “National Endowment for Democracy”. The “sovietologists” had centers at Columbia University, Harvard, UC Berkeley and the University of Washington. At least one leading academic figure’s undisclosed youthful relationship with the CIA could be considered relevant to his later published work. However, it wasn’t until the election of Reagan that the neoconservatives both inside and outside government began a sustained drive for hands-on political influence. The CIA’s reading of French theory should give us pause, then, to reconsider the radical chic veneer that has accompanied much of its Anglophone reception. Thomas Lengyel, in his book, The New Deal in Europe, included US economic policies as similar to Russia, Germany and Italy. He teaches at Villanova University and Graterford Prison, and he directs the Critical Theory Workshop at the Sorbonne. Nevertheless, the word democracy today is a virtue word. Those who were in on the secret were an elite, deriving satisfaction comparable to that provided by membership in an exclusive club. Lastly her definition of totalitarianism was too strident. Now a Impeachment Group goes to work. If strong leftists cannot secure the material means necessary to carry out our work, or if we are more or less subtly forced to conform in order to find employment, publish our writings or have an audience, then the structural conditions for a resolute leftist community are weakened. Neo-cons such as Melvin Lasky and Irving Kristol were part of this wave. He seeks to restore the myth of love to its original integrity and concludes with a philosophical perspective on modern marriage. Though some have previously speculated that Lowenstein initiated the NSA relationship with the CIA, Paget’s research does not support this view. Indeed, its study on French theory points to the structural role universities, publishing houses and the media play in the formation and consolidation of a collective political ethos. Suggesting that there has been a relative ideological balance between the left and the right in the history of the French intellectual world, the report highlights the monopoly of the left in the immediate postwar era—to which, we know, the Agency was rabidly opposed—due to the Communists’ key role in resisting fascism and ultimately winning the war against it. For Schlesinger, totalitarianism arises when anxious 20th century human beings seeks to escape their anxiety (referring to Fromm’s Escape from Freedom) by throwing themselves into a totalitarian whole, a night in which all cows are black. He was particularly known for his many books and articles on Latin America, especially Chile. Neo-conservatives began to speculate about the origins of totalitarianism to a larger public, by-passing the academic totalitarian theorists. I know my Family Trees! That depends on the politics of the country. Conservatives wanted to use totalitarianism to paint with broad brush-strokes, attacking not only communism, but even socialism and liberalism. Arendt also thought that totalitarianism had a great deal to do with nationalism. The problem is she didn’t specify what kind of nationalism it was. I had an advantage. The political world consists of a spectrum of rule going from more liberal to more authoritarian. Finally, intellectuals of the world should unite in recognizing our power and seizing upon it in order to do everything that we can to develop systemic and radical critique that is as egalitarian and ecological as it is anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist. He claims “we” must give the lonely masses a sense of individual human function away from politics. In a lengthy article in the January 1974 Foreign Affairs, he attributed the September 1973 coup to Allende’s misdeeds. His role included drafting a plan for a six-week summer seminar conducted by a front group through which the Agency could screen other students who might be enlisted in its activities. In the case of Russia, a distinction needs to be made between Russia under Stalin, Russia under Lenin and Russia under Khrushchev. It was these neo-cons who reintroduced “totalitarianism” into the US political vocabulary. The reinvigoration of totalitarian exclusively to the USSR served to switch powerful anti-German sentiments in the United States into the growing anti-communist movement. Talmon takes aim at Soviet politics rather than Germany. In contrast, the State Department, which had been the main target of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s attacks on those he accused of being communist sympathizers, probably would not have risked involvement with many of the young people who collaborated with the CIA. The CIA funded their original meeting in Berlin and within three years, through Lasky, was supporting the Congress itself. Lastly, by 1948 she came to believe it was the systematic reliance of terror, institutionalized in the concentration camp that linked Russia to Germany. (133). More specifically, the undercover cultural warriors applaud what they see as a double movement that has contributed to the intelligentsia shifting its critical focus away from the US and toward the USSR. In his book The Origins of Soviet Autocracy British scholar, Leonard Schapiro argued that unlike Tucker’s claim, the origins of totalitarianism in Russia do not begin with Stalin, but with Lenin. These must be distinguished from left-wing ones that were dangerous to western capitalist interests and so are classified as totalitarian. The tide began to change in 1960 when political scientist Robert Tucker pointed out three problems with the totalitarian model: Up until now political scientists were content to compare dictatorships with other dictatorships while treating industrial capitalist systems as if they were a different species. Because if the US was allied with the Soviet Union, the war could not be described as a war against totalitarianism. It is these countries that are called “emerging democracies” at best, and “authoritarian” at worst. Paul Sigmund, a longtime professor of politics at Princeton, died last April at the age of 85. What we can surmise, however, is that some would have been strongly opposed. No amount of foreign assistance can be a substitute for these, and no amount of foreign subversion or economic pressure can destroy them if they exist.”. The purpose of this article and the next one is to challenge you to try purging from your vocabulary the words totalitarian dictatorship or democracy. This contradiction, as more and more students came to oppose the Vietnam War, led to the eventual rupture of the NSA and its CIA patrons. For the Soviet Union, fascism was understood as a manifestation of capitalist society in its imperialistic stage. The split between the Popular Front left and the emerging Cold War left occurred roughly in the same year. Yet doing so by covertly manipulating domestic organizations compromised American freedom of association. For a while it was the most influential and authoritative treatment of totalitarianism ever written, a careful scrutinization of Nazi and Soviet politics and economics. A vice word is one in which it is impossible to think or act neutrally. Certainly, it should be incumbent on someone like Sigmund to disclose his covert connection to the CIA. Her connection has long been known. Loading the language with “virtue and vice” words which narrows thinking. The disclosures about the CIA’s ties to the NSA were the most sensational of a number of revelations in that era that exposed the Agency’s involvement in such institutions as the Congress for Cultural Freedom; the International Commission of Jurists; the AFL-CIO; Radio Free Europe; and various leading philanthropic foundations. Among the most distinguished ones were Raymond Aron and Michel Crozier. Democracy had been associated with “mob rule” and among conservatives, behind closed doors, it still is. Among those rumored or confirmed to have covertly collaborated with the CIA, Lowenstein stands out in Paget’s book as the principal figure whom she clears of suspicion. Anti-communists organized themselves as the Americans for Democratic Action. We learned a long time ago that the Nixon administration primarily relied on the CIA to promote the overthrow of Allende. For Max Lerner, fascism and Nazism derived from inflation and middle-class fears of proletarianization. This meant she was in no position to compare their similarities and differences systemically. There are no characteristics unique to Germany and Russia. In order to make sure the labor and land markets in the peripheral countries remain cheap, international capitalists cannot afford to have political rulers in the periphery of the system in power who have their own ideas of how to organize their economy. Paget describes SLID as “fiercely anticommunist.” Yes, but we were also civil libertarians and vigorously opposed the college bans on communist speakers prevalent in that era. It was the fault of the totalitarian theorists that Bolshevism and Stalinism became blurred. The concept of totalitarianism also became a staple of college textbooks and sometimes books for high school students, However, by the 1960s there began a rebellion in academia against the totalitarian model. They choose to ignore me – or hate me! American isolationists argued Roosevelt’s domestically aggressive policies contained the real danger of totalitarianism. Secondly, Russia at the time of the Tsar, was not an imperialist country, though anti-Semitism was very prevalent. She interviewed him and says, “He explained his willingness to cooperate with the CIA in pragmatic terms: ‘It kept me out of Korea.’” Whatever his motivations, the question arises whether Sigmund’s relationship to the Agency in the 1950s affected his subsequent scholarly work. We would have been a Rogue Covert Operation – for real! In this article I will focus on the history of the use of the word “totalitarianism”. The Bolshevik Party was more open and, in some ways, democratic than had been generally admitted. “Even more effective in undermining Marxism,” the moles write, “were those intellectuals who set out as true believers to apply Marxist theory in the social sciences but ended by rethinking and rejecting the entire tradition.” They cite in particular the profound contribution made by the Annales School of historiography and structuralism—particularly Claude Lévi-Strauss and Foucault—to the “critical demolition of Marxist influence in the social sciences.” Foucault, who is referred to as “France’s most profound and influential thinker,” is specifically applauded for his praise of the New Right intellectuals for reminding philosophers that “‘bloody’ consequences” have “flowed from the rationalist social theory of the 18th-century Enlightenment and the Revolutionary era.” Although it would be a mistake to collapse anyone’s politics or political effect into a single position or result, Foucault’s anti-revolutionary leftism and his perpetuation of the blackmail of the Gulag—i.e.


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