Of course, New Leftists were critical of the policies of the Soviet Union (as, at various times were Khrushchev, Castro, and Ho Chi Minh). But their true, undying enemy was always democratic America—their hatred for which was never merely reactive (as is sometimes suggested), never truly innocent, and remains remarkably intact to this day. The world-view of this left was aptly summarized by the adoring biographer of the journalist I. F. Stone, who approvingly described Stone’s belief that “in spite of the brutal collectivization campaign, the Nazi-Soviet Pact, the latest quashing of the Czech democracy and the Stalinist takeover of Eastern Europe . . . Communism was a progressive force, lined up on the correct side of historical events.”
Berman, Gitlin, and now Talbot have mounted a preposterous last ditch effort to save leftists from the embarrassments of their deeds by attempting to appropriate moral credit for helping to end a system that the left had aided and abetted throughout its career It may be, as Berman and Talbot claim, that East European anti-Communists drew inspiration from anti-government protests in the West. But this was a reflection of their admiration for a democratic system that embraced dissent and promoted freedom, not the anti-western agendas of the New Left protesters. Even in its best moments, the western left still disparaged the threat from the Communist enemy as a paranoid fantasy of the Cold War right.
– Telling it Like it Wasn’t, Left Illusions
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