Victim of McCarthyism
|The Wall Street
Journal has just run a moving story about Arturo Sandoval,
a distinguished musician and Cuban refugee who has been denied U.S.
citizenship by the infamous Immigration and Naturalization
reason? Mr. Sandoval is technically a Communist.
The author of the article calls this decision a McCarthyite outrage, because Mr. Sandoval, as a subject of Fidel Castro, had to join the Communist Party in order to get permission to travel abroad. But he hated Communism, and when he got the chance, he fled to this country only to find his constrained membership in the party used against him.
I sympathize. I would have sympathized anyway, but I have special reason to sympathize. For last month, after having been vociferously anti-Communist all my life, I too became a victim of McCarthyism.
In a review of my new book about who wrote the plays and poems traditionally ascribed to Shakespeare, Professor Paul Cantor of the University of Virginia accuses me of holding a Marxist view of literature.
I trust that my faithful readers will realize that Professor Cantor, in his disagreement with my chief thesis, has gone a little overboard. Ive been called many things, but never a Marxist.
As a matter of fact, anti-Communism was my first political passion. For most of my adult life I was a Cold Warrior. Ive written countless columns and articles denouncing the Soviet Union and Red China.
But all for nought. The damage is done. My reputation has been blackened, my career blighted, my future darkened. From now on my name will be indelibly associated with the word Marxist. Old friends will drop me. My children will be shunned, my grandchildren shamed.
In short, its time to write my memoirs. Thats how we victims of McCarthyism have always made ends meet. When youre exposed as a Communist, your next move, if you have any sense, is to exploit the opportunity by going to a big publisher and writing about how youve been persecuted for your ideas. You can hold out for a lot of money.
And dont forget the movie rights! Hollywood loves stories about people who have been picked on just because their ideals led them to work secretly for Stalin. I want to be played by Robert De Niro or Robert Redford, with Vanessa Redgrave as my mother.
I never actually finished grad school (I just hung around for several years, like most grad students), but as a known Marxist I should be able to land a good job teaching in a major university. I cant wait to see the look on Professor Cantors face when I turn up as his colleague in the English Department at the University of Virginia! Ill be the darling of the faculty.
And then, woe to Professor Cantor! Ill have him hounded out of the university for having led the witch-hunt that left me a broken man. And thats not all hes done. He also accuses me of holding Romantic notions of poetry and places me in the camp of todays multiculturalists. I didnt even realize you could hold Romantic and Marxist views at the same time.
But this man will stop at nothing. He says I believe that authors are the captives of the class into which they are born, and their works are merely the ideological superstructure of their class interest. Well, yes. Does anyone disagree with that? Its just common sense. Marx said it, I believe it, that settles it.
My experience has given me a new sympathy not only for my fellow accused Marxists, but for the underdog, the minority, the dissenter, the Other in short, for all who are oppressed or marginalized by bourgeois society. I try to keep my chin up, but it isnt easy, as people like Mikhail Gorbachev, the Chinese leadership, the Clintons, and now Tony Blair co-opt the working classes and betray the revolution.
My only hope lies in the internal contradictions of capitalism. That, and the fact that progressive-minded people still control the universities. Plus, my agent thinks we can get a decent book and movie package.
|Copyright © 2006 by the
Griffin Internet Syndicate,
a division of Griffin Communications
This column may not be reprinted in print or
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of Griffin Internet Syndicate
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