Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Elena Kagan: An Alinskyite Trojan Horse?

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks." - Queen Gertrude, Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 2.

Saul Alinsky, a Communist/Marxist who is considered to be the founder of modern community organizing, wrote the following in his "Rules for Radicals": "True revolutionaries do not flaunt their radicalism. They cut their hair, put on suits and infiltrate the system from within." Alinsky was greatly influenced by Antonio Gramsci, an Italian philosopher and political theorist who was a founding member and one-time leader of the Communist Party of Italy. Gramsci proposed gradualism, infiltration and the dialectic process rather than bloody revolution, a transformational Marxism which would infiltrate a host in a subtle manner in order to defeat it from within. This tactic of infiltration was encapsulated in a speech given by Communist International General Secretary Georgi Dimitroff to the Seventh World Congress of the Comintern in 1935:

"Comrades, you remember the ancient tale of the capture of Troy. Troy was inaccessible to the armies attacking her, thanks to her impregnable walls. And the attacking army, after suffering many sacrifices, was unable to achieve victory until, with the aid of the famous Trojan horse, it managed to penetrate to the very heart of the enemy's camp."

But until the revolutionary can perform his task as a Trojan horse, he must not flaunt his radicalism. If he is to infiltrate the system from within as Alinsky taught, he must at least appear to be part of that system. Elena Kagan's history professor, Sean Wilentz, who assisted her on her senior thesis "To the Final Conflict: Socialism in New York City, 1900-1933," has responded to those who are rightly concerned about certain passages in Kagan's thesis by trying to downplay the significance of what she wrote. He has been quoted as having said that, "Sympathy for the movement of people who are trying to better their lives isn't something to look down on...Studying something doesn't mean that you endorse it. It means that you're into it. That's what historians do."

Let's examine this defense for a moment shall we? Professor Wilentz is asserting that Elena Kagan was merely "studying something" (Socialism in New York City during the first third of the 20th century) and this doesn't necessarily imply that she endorses Socialism. Why then did Ms. Kagan lament the fact that "Americans are more likely to speak of a golden past than of a golden future, of capitalism's glories than of socialism's greatness"? Referring to Socialism as being great isn't an endorsement? In heaven's name then, what is it? Kagan continues, "Why, in a society by no means perfect, has a radical party never attained the status of a major political force? Why, in particular, did the socialist movement never become an alternative to the nation's established parties." Kagan extols the "greatness" of Socialism while noting that her host society is "by no means perfect." She then adds, "The story [of Socialist Party internal feuding] is a sad but chastening one for those who, more than half a century after socialism's decline, still wish to change America." And is Kagan herself one of those who would like to ""change America"? Why else would she describe the fracturing of the Socialist Party in the early 20th century as a "sad" and "chastening" story while adding that if Socialism is to defeat the "entrenched and powerful foe" radicals must remember that "In unity lies their only hope"?

These are not the words of an impartial historian. They are the words of one who possesses a bias in favor of Socialism. For Ms. Kagan, America is "a society by no means perfect" (and who could argue this) but Socialism is defined by its "greatness." Kagan has said her brother's "involvement in radical causes led me to explore the history of American radicalism in the hope of clarifying my own political ideas." And her history professor was quoted as having said that, "Elena Kagan is about the furthest thing from a socialist. Period. And always had been. Period." (See here).
The lady doth protest too much.


Michael Cole said...

Elena Kagan is a disturbing individual:

Ted Loiseau said...

Does professor Wilentz believe that by saying "Elena Kagan is about the furthest thing from a socialist. Period," everyone will simply let the matter drop? It's not nearly that easy. There are difficult questions which must be answered.

I'm beginning to think of Elena Kagan as a sort of Manchurian Candidate for the Supreme Court. Her views are chilling.

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