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Remembering Marc Raskin (1934-2017): A Progressive Leader Whose Legacy Outlives His Death


Remembering Marc Raskin (1934-2017): A Progressive Leader Whose Legacy Outlives His Death

Phyllis Bennis

"We'll keep working in your name—challenging the new threats, stopping the next wars, transforming the new world, finding the new leaders."


Note that Raskin left the Kennedy Administration a year after the departing POTUS Eisenhower warned us of the power and danger of the military industrial complex (MIC) that has since morphed into the military industrial media infotainment complex (MIMIC). Raskin saw the expansion of Viet Nam involvement by the US as MIC’s first jackpot before others saw it coming.


I sure wish some of the tin-foil hat types on the current-day left would lose their “gauzy illusions of Camelot” too.


Marc Raskin will be sorely missed. We certainly need more like him, especially going forward.


His creation, IPS, is continuing the work with John Cavanaugh leading activist scholars like Phyllis Bennis, Sarah Anderson, and Chuck Collins mentoring a new generation. Read their work and support them as you can in Marc’s memory.


A moving, terribly interesting and - in the present context - poignant vignette of the U.S. left.

One quibble. Bennis writes, “McCarthy had been officially rejected, but McCarthyism was still influential, so anti-communism remained powerful in public discourse.” I would reverse the terms: an entrenched political culture of U.S. anti-radicalism had long dominated; McCarthyism was the specific form anti-communism took after WWII. Thus, after WWII, anti-communism remained fundamental to U.S. liberal politics, extending its basic, McCarthyist expressions of liberal consensus, state and private enterprise led loyalty tests, and a job and political culture of rebaiting threatening any that might venture beyond that consensus - even after McCarthy’s censure.

Hope there is a symposium and/or reader on Raskin and the history Bennis touches on.


I note that Stalin and the USSR, practicing power politics to take over rule of Poland, Hungary, Romania, and Czechoslovakia, to blockade Berlin and invade Korea, reminded too many people of what Hitler and Nazional-Sozialisce-ism had done before World War II. Even a ‘fan’ like Henry Wallace felt obliged to take several steps away from Soviet-style communism.


“reminded too many people”

I guess your point is that U.S. anti-communism and its McCarthyist version were not just the creation of domestic right wing forces that had historically used ‘Bolshevism!’ to attack organized labor and a range of domestic progressive goals, but were enabled - if not caused - by Communist Russia’s demonstrably ruthless and undemocratic postwar takeovers?