Jason Y writes:
How does this relate to the neocons, as some have said they had Trotskyite roots? I always had a hard time understanding this. I mean, how could W. Bush, the furthest thing from a leftist or communist you can think of, could be in with communists?
I am not sure. Many of the Trots were Jewish. For whatever reason, many Trots turned into neocons. They began turning away from Communism with the revelations about Stalin and Stalinism, including Khrushchev’s secret speech.
A lot of them simply left Communism and formed the anti-Communist Left, or became anti-Communist liberals like my later father. The CIA set up a number of organizations and journals to work out of starting in the 1950’s. One was called the Congress for Cultural Freedom.
It was during the 6-Day War that many really turned against the Left. As I said, most were Jews, and Jews the world over who had never cared much about Israel rallied round the Israeli flag in 1967. This was the start of this group’s big break with the Left.
The Vietnam War was going on too at this time, and many of this group were pro-war. They were sickened by the pro-Viet Cong and what they saw as anti-patriotic attitudes of the antiwar crowd. Many of this crowd were older conservative Jewish guys, and they were disgusted and sickened by the counterculture, especially by the fact that many of its leaders were Jewish, which they saw as bringing shame on the Jews.
This group began to merge with Jewish conservatives who had always been around but had not been very common. This goes back to the time when Jews first came here and many were poor and living as renters. Many of their landlords were rich Jews. A lot of these poor Jewish renters became leftwingers and specialized in taking their Jewish slumlords to court all the time. This caused a major split in Jewish society and the Jewish landlords saw the Jewish leftwing tenants as some sort of treasonous
“enemies of the people.”
This group nevertheless stayed with the Democratic Party, but they had started to become the rightwing of the Democratic Party. In the 1970’s, they began to congregate around Henry “Scoop” Jackson’s office. Jackson was known as “the Senator from Boeing” and he was widely known as a super hawk. He strongly supported Israel and the Vietnam War. Support for Israel and the Vietnam War became intertwined in this crowd.
In the 1970’s, some early proto-neoconservative publications came out, mostly published by Jewish rightwing Democrats.
When the Reagan Administration came around, many of these proto-neocons got jobs in the Reagan Administration. Most of them specialized in Cold War politics where they become wild, crazed, fanatical Cold Warriors. Particular focus was on ramping up military spending and opposing nuclear arms reduction.
They made alliances with such characters as Frank Gaffney, a wild-eyed Cold Warrior. This was the trajectory of characters like Richard Perle who cut their teeth as Cold Warriors under Reagan. Paul Nitze was another proto-neocon from this era. Jean Kirkpatrick can also be seen as a proto-neocon. Really Reagan’s foreign policy was already a neocon activist foreign policy as we supported fascists and mass murderers the world over in the name of opposing the USSR.
I am not quite sure what happened to the neocons during the 1990’s. I think they may have formed a lot of their classic neocon organizations. Some of them worked closely with Israel’s rightwing government during this period.
With Bush’s selection and theft of the election in 2000, many neocons ascended into power. After 9-11, they gained a lot of prominence.
Both Trotskyites and neocons could be seen as radical revolutionaries. Generally conservatives are supposed to be cautious folks. The Trotskyite plan was always “world revolution.” Since socialism in one country was not possible, Communist revolutions the world over would have to be sparked in order to ensure that large states like the USSR could succeed. The neocons are also wild revolutionaries like the neocons and they also believe in a sort of world revolution involving attacking and undermining their enemies all over the world and instituting regime change in many enemies of the US.