Democrats’ neo-McCarthyism echoes red-baiting attacks on civil rights movement of the 1950s
17 November 2017
A 21st century McCarthyism has emerged in recent months, in the form of a frenzied campaign spearheaded by the Democratic Party alleging that “Russian meddling” is responsible, not only for the defeat of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, but also for instigating or deepening social, racial and political divisions in the US.
The language of leading Democrats today bears more than a passing resemblance to that of Wisconsin Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy more than 60 years ago. Then it was “reds under the bed” that posed an imminent threat to the “American way of life.” Today we are told that Putin’s Internet trolls are responsible for working-class anger over inequality, political corruption and police violence. In the 1950s, McCarthy demanded that the media root out subversives. Today, top Democrats in Congress are demanding that Facebook, Google and YouTube turn over information on users and censor content.
According to the Democrats, Moscow is subverting American democracy, including by meddling in elections that are supposedly models of popular sovereignty—this some seven years after the Citizens United decision of the US Supreme Court made explicit what was already well known: that American bourgeois democracy is an empty shell, in which elections are reduced to a choice between the candidates of two officially entrenched right-wing parties that are equally controlled by a financial oligarchy.
Another ingredient in the anti-Russia campaign is the recent charge that Russia-linked individuals and web pages posed as supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement and of the protests against police violence. The Baltimore…