Comments: If all Else Fails, Call 'em Commies!!

I don't think calling the "activist arm" of the CPUSA is called for, but either is your "Red-baiting" shot. The CPUSA site's most prominent link is to - on each and every page of their web site. Granted, has no control over the CPUSA web site linking to them, but it is an indication of "fellow traveling" if that 1950s term does not frighten you too much.

More disturbingly, we see that (or at least their predecessor,, which opposed action in Afghanistan beginning 9/12/01) has no problem citing and linking to CPUSA policy positions favorably:

The Reagan-era vision of Star Wars has been resurrected by the current administration. Indeed, the program has been given a huge shot in the arm due to the war on terrorism, despite the fact that Star Wars-type systems would be utterly incapable of defending against a terrorist attack. According to critics, "Now is the time for people around the world to act in order to keep space for peace. War in space will mean more war on earth."

Posted by Mark Harden at September 18, 2003 05:41 PM

CPUSA links to MoveOn, "therefore" MoveOn is pinko? Now there's some logic for you! And MoveOn happens to agree with some CPUSA positions on star wars that just about everyone left of Ronald Reagan espouses, "therefore" MoveOn is a bunch of commies? Gimme a break!

Byron calls it Red-baiting, and indeed, Red-baiting it is, Red-baiting of a sort I haven't seen since many decades before Byron was born. Haven't we all got better things to do than attempt to reconstitute the political landscape of the Fifties?

Posted by Steve Bates at September 18, 2003 07:13 PM

Mark Harden's a Communist!

See how it feels?

Posted by omit at September 18, 2003 08:29 PM does not have a predecessor really, it was founded long before 9/11 in 1998 as a reaction to the GOP-led impeachment of Pres. Clinton.

Posted by Andrew D at September 19, 2003 12:37 AM

Mark Harden's a Communist!

See how it feels?

Sorry, I must have missed the post where I linked favorably to a policy of the Communist Party of the United States - as did does not have a predecessor really


NOTE: These pages are an archive of MoveOn Peace, formerly Some links and pieces of content are probably out of date. See to find out what is doing today.

That would seem to make them a their own words.

Posted by Mark Harden at September 19, 2003 07:27 AM

So let me get this straight. No policy, or argument against a policy, is valid if a socialist or communist group supports it.

Because the highly controversial Star Wars/missile defense program is knocked by the CPUSA, and also doesnt like the program then: A) is a commie stooge and B) the missile defense program must be a good thing just by the fact that the CPUSA doesnt like it. Sounds reasonable to me...

Posted by Charles at September 19, 2003 09:58 AM

The CPUSA site's most prominent link is to
Wow. So I, too, have the power to make someone a communist?

Watch it guys! I HAVE THE POWER!!!

{what a seriously dim bulb}

If that's the case, this retroactive guilt by association, then the post's "red baiting" comment is not sinking to their level, it's entirely accurate.

Posted by Grand Moff Texan at September 19, 2003 10:27 AM

Texas Citizens Action Network is part of the Freeper network, if one judges them by their associations (just google 'em and see who shares their press releases).

Just the usual right-wing suspects.

As far as I can see, they don't have any PAC filings (at least not that the machine will spit up for me today), although there is what looks like a now-defunct "Texas Citizen Action Network".

Posted by precinct1233 at September 19, 2003 11:58 AM

If only someone created a place where one could go to fact check information ... perhaps if we called it "the internet" ...

In their own words:

MoveOn was started by Joan Blades and Wes Boyd, two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, with their family and friends. Although none of us had experience in politics, all shared deep frustration with impeachment and the lack of congressional leadership toward quick resolution. We all heard this same sentiment from a diverse group of friends and colleagues. On September 18th 1998, we decided to do something. Three of us with background in Internet software worked on the website. Others have worked to put together materials and start the ball rolling through their personal contacts. We are located all over the country, but most of the web work took place in Silicon Valley.

The MoveOn Peace campaign was founded independently as "" by Eli Pariser, a Maine native and recent graduate of Simon's Rock College of Bard. In the days following September 11th, 2001, he launched an online petition calling for a peaceful response to break the cycle of violence, which was quickly signed by more than one hundred thousand people in the U.S. and almost half a million worldwide. Eli joined forces with MoveOn soon afterward, and is now our International Campaigns Director.

Now ... much as I despise both MoveOn and the right wing cranks that redbait in this day and age, I'm still just a little shocked that nobody referred to TCAN as fascists given their link to the Texas State Senate on their site.

Posted by Greg Wythe at September 19, 2003 12:51 PM

So let me get this straight. No policy, or argument against a policy, is valid if a socialist or communist group supports it.

So, equally then, if someone holds a position which happens to coincide with one espoused by Nazis, it is perfectly find for that person to cite the Nazi article in support of their own position.


There was a multitude of anti-Star Wars opinion out there to cite by Their choice to select the CPUSA article as one of the handful to include is therefore significant. Either it shows they are political naifs, or that they were inciting a reaction - either way, they deserve to be called on it.

Posted by Mark Harden at September 19, 2003 02:19 PM

I get Mark's point. But the whole "fellow traveler" concept is just kind of dated after the collapse of the USSR, when anyone or anything that the accused is "traveling with" isn't frankly very threatening. These days, I'm more concerned about our "friends" the Saudis or even the French than I am about someone who is merely a "communist sympathizer."

And TCAN probably does the conservative cause more harm than good in slapping the "Commie" tag on Certainly is at the far end of the left side of the spectrum, but nobody needs TCAN to point that out. I especially disapprove of their race-baiting tactics. I keep thinking that "Surely, this patronizing racism (minority votes only are 'meaningful' if they're cast for Democrats) is so obvious and blatent that it's going to end up alienating its target market." Maybe not, I dunno. And I think they're clearly exploiting the Texas Democratic senators for national fundraising and attention that's only marginally related to redistricting. (Some say that was a factor in Sen. Whitmire's decision to return from New Mexico, in fact.)

Yes, Glenn W. Smith's recent op-ed in the Houston Chronicle, for instance, reads like it was written by Lenin: ... But when they're that hysterical, MoveOn becomes pretty funny, actually, and probably not very effective.

Regardless, the term "communist" has heavy historical connotations that, frankly, MoveOn can't live up to on its best (worst?) day. Nor could TCAN live up to the genuine article when it comes to "fascists." I hate to see those terms thrown around so casually because by the time you get far enough out on either the left or right margin that they even arguably begin to apply, you're talking groups whose actual impact and importance is just trivial in modern American politics.

And heck, for the target audiance either TCAN or MoveOn is trying to reach, "left-wing" and "right-wing" are virtual swearwords anyway, the same way "Yankee" and "Republican" were swearwords when I grew up out in the prairies of West Texas. Having been called by either of those names could probably get you acquitted of an assault charge on grounds of "irresistable provocation" in my hometown when I was a boy.

Posted by Beldar at September 20, 2003 06:28 AM
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