Karl Marx Was Black?!

At the risk of beating a dead horse of no specified color, one byproduct of this campaign will be to rob the word racism of what’s left of its power.  Lewis Diuguid, a Kansas City Star columnist of whom I’ve never previously heard, is getting significant blogospheric attention for a piece titled “Shame on McCain and Palin for using an old code word for black.”

The “socialist” label that Sen. John McCain and his GOP presidential running mate Sarah Palin are trying to attach to Sen. Barack Obama actually has long and very ugly historical roots.

J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI from 1924 to 1972, used the term liberally to describe African Americans who spent their lives fighting for equality.

Those freedom fighters included the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who led the Civil Rights Movement; W.E.B. Du Bois, who in 1909 helped found the NAACP which is still the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization; Paul Robeson, a famous singer, actor and political activist who in the 1930s became involved in national and international movements for better labor relations, peace and racial justice; and A. Philip Randolph, who founded and was the longtime head of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and a leading advocate for civil rights for African Americans.

Now, I’m not sufficiently familiar with the economic philosophies of the highlighted folks to comment on whether it was fair to describe them as socialist and insufficiently interested to do the research.  Jules Crittendon believes Dubois, Robeson, and Randolf “were socialists” and King “had a fondness for socialist ideas.”

Whatever.

The fact of the matter is that, as I noted in a much Googled post entitled “Barack Obama the Socialist,”

Obama’s a liberal Democrat who wants more government regulation of the economy, more redistribution of wealth, more deference to international institutions, more nationalization of medicine, and so forth and so on. Some of his policies — although probably none of his goals — are indeed “far to the left … of mainstream America.” He’s as close to a socialist as it gets in serious contenders for the presidency; but that’s not very close.

Of course, I wrote that before George W. Bush signed into law, with John McCain’s backing, the biggest government bailout of the financial system in history.  We’re all socialists now.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Race and Politics, US Politics, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Steve Verdon says:

    Sooo…I’m black now too?

    Everyone, we are heading to Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles for lunch!

    All kidding aside, they do make some fantastic food there, and if you do find yourself in the LA area, you can do much, much worse than going to Roscoes.

  2. We’re all socialists now.

    Living under a socialist regime does not make me a socialist. I realize it’s sarcasm, but as you say, whatever.

    A little OT for Alex – Here’s a link via Instapundit to some of that non-existent voter fraud happening in real time.

  3. At the risk of beating a dead horse of no specified color, one byproduct of this campaign will be to rob the word racism of what’s left of its power.

    Considering the increasingly flippant accusations of racism, one can only hope this is true. But I doubt it.

  4. angellight says:

    It is time to pass the torch, it is time to turn the page to a new Generation of Leaders exclusive for these time — that would be Barack Obama!

    PA has suffered just like states all accross this country. Hospitals have closed down because Bush economics have closed off money to states for health and education, that is not a GOP priority, but it is a Barack Obama priority. And if PA and this country wants to get back to the American Dream than they better run to Barack Obama, a soul, truly committed to change and unity all accross thsi country and around the world. You see, Barack has been tested since day one he has announced his run for Presidency. But it is how one handles a crises which separates Barack from McCain and has generated tremendous support for Barack from established leaders all around the world. We are not living in the old world of might and fight. The world is interconnected now and we must all work together to sovle the problems facing all countries together such as energy, climate and economics. So you see, I think it is a good thing for America to embrace socialism — to be social — that is not a bad thing.

  5. Others have noted before that if, somehow, Senator Obama loses this election, it will be because of his friends.

  6. Davebo says:

    Karl Marx was not black.

    But then again, Martin Luther King was not a Communist…….

  7. markm says:

    The first thing that comes to mind when the word “socialist” come up is dead white guys…hmmph. Anyhow, to get the crux of the matter I did what all serious people do…consulted the urban dictionary:
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?page=1&term=socialist

    Nothing about race that I saw though def #8 was a new to me.

  8. markm says:

    PA has suffered just like states all accross this country.

    That’s because they are all racist rednecks who put batsh*t crazy people in positions of power…not because of some economic policy.

  9. Michael says:

    Karl Marx was a Socialist?!

  10. Karl Marx was a Socialist?!

    As Sheriff Ed Tom Bell would say, “There’s a question, whether he stopped being and when?”

  11. sam says:

    I’ll wait and see about that “voter fraud” in Nashville, Charles. But I sure do approve your taste in books.

  12. FireWolf says:

    We’re all socialists now.

    James? What do you mean “now”? Any one who is a product of either public education and/or post secondary education are products of socialism.

    They are taxpayer funded! Hence Socialist.

  13. Brett says:

    “Socialist” means state ownership of any property (although it is usually used to refer to means of production), so yes, technically the school systems, public parks, government offices, and so forth – all socialist. That’s the problem with the Socialist label; a lot of conservatives throw it around as a slander but don’t really know what it actually means.

  14. G.A.Phillips says:

    James? What do you mean “now”? Any one who is a product of either public education and/or post secondary education are products of socialism.

    Do not forget the 50 million murdered babies WHO ARE TOSSED INTO THE TRASH , also products of socialism, all be it they never had a choice in the matter, products of it none the less, VOTE FOR LIFE-STOP THE EVIL!

  15. Alex Knapp says:

    Charles,

    I can’t seem to find any cooboration for that Nashville incident (which is extremely troubling if true) except for a bunch of websites which lead back to the website linked.

  16. Bandit says:

    That’s because they are all racist rednecks who put batsh*t crazy people in positions of power

    Ed Rendell is the Gov. of PA, no? It’s always amazing when libs look so far and wide for racists when all they have to do is look in the mirror.

  17. Alex, I know nothing more than what I linked, but generally have faith that Professor Reynolds rarely has to backtrack on information he puts forward. Presumably we will hear more about it one way or another as time goes on.

  18. yo says:

    Someone’s confusing Karl Marx and Frederick Douglas, again.

  19. C-Red says:

    “Socialist” means state ownership of any property (although it is usually used to refer to means of production), so yes, technically the school systems, public parks, government offices, and so forth – all socialist. That’s the problem with the Socialist label; a lot of conservatives throw it around as a slander but don’t really know what it actually means.

    Please don’t forget Fire Departments, Police Departments, some Hospitals, Roads, waterways deeper than 3′, the entire Broadcast Spectrum and the Military, among any number of other things.

    It is a fact of life that if you are going to define Socialism as government ownership then we are all partly Socialists. That is pretty much the function of government to “own” and regulate things for the common good of the citizens.

  20. Alex Knapp says:

    Presumably we will hear more about it one way or another as time goes on.

    I suppose, but I find it suspcious that there are no other accounts to be found. I just scoured all the local news sources for Nashville. There is zero mention anywhere but this one blogger, who is not detailing his own eyewitness acouunt, but rather an account he heard on a radio show from one member of the elections commission. No proof was offered. No cooboration was offered. If this is happening, why hasn’t Lynn Greer gone with this to other media outlets? Why has he just gone on a right-wing talk radio show? (An extremist talk radio show that, I might add, hawks a DVD explaining that all Muslims want to kill all non-Muslims. Classy.)

    I don’t find this to be the most credible of all stories. Obviously, evidence will change my mind but right now I have to say it doesn’t really pass the smell test.

  21. sam says:

    Alex that was the reason I held off. In fact, the only real case of alleged voter fraud I could find in the local Tennessee news was in this story.

  22. anjin-san says:

    Lets see. McCain wants me to pick up the tab for the the guy down the street who bought a house he could not afford. Sounds like some kind of socialistic wealth spreading scheme to me…

  23. FireWolf says:

    Sounds like some kind of socialistic wealth spreading scheme to me…

    No Anjin-san, it’s an Enron inverted pyramid scheme, no socialism involved…