‘The Nation’ of Tyranny Lovers

In 1951, Chinese and North Korean forces had captured a charred Seoul, the atom bomb spies were sentenced to death and Clement Greenberg was the leading art critic in America.

As The Nation’s art editor, Greenberg had helped put American art on the map. And as the war with Nazi Germany gave way to the war with the Soviet Union, he began to take a leading role in the cultural struggle between America and the Soviet Union.

Operating from the American Committee for Cultural Freedom, Greenberg denounced the magazine that he had worked for, accusing it of echoing Stalin’s interests. And The Nation responded by suing its own former editor for libel.

The Nation’s editor, Freda Kirchwey, who would act as advisor to Soviet spy Alger Hiss, had good reason to be sensitive to those charges.

In 1936, as the Great Purge was underway and the Moscow Trials were getting started, the leftist magazine had declared that “[t]here can be no doubt that dictatorship in Russia is dying and that a new democracy is slowly being born.”

It was a long and bloody birth that The Nation had attended to since its gory inception, always predicting that the sun would come out from behind the gulags.

In 1946, after even much of the American left had broken with the Soviet Union, Walter Duranty used The Nation’s pages to describe Stalin’s latest purge as “a general cleaning out of the cobwebs and mess which accumulate in any house when its occupants are so deeply preoccupied with something else that they have no time to keep it in order.”

People, unlike cobwebs, scream when they are cleaned out, but Duranty had adopted a tone that was indistinguishable from Nazi propagandists describing their mass murders as cleansing and reordering. Despite clear evidence of where such rhetoric led, The Nation excused mass murder so long as it was red mass murder.

When the Soviet Union began to gobble up Eastern Europe a second time, Kirchwey said that America should accept the fall of Europe into darkness. “Peace and prosperity will be more than secure in America if we accept the process of revolution in Europe and the East instead of subsidizing resistance to it.”

Nor did The Nation and its editors limit themselves to promoting and covering up the crimes of only one Communist regime. Maxwell Stewart served as an editor at The Nation and as chairman of the American Friends of the Chinese People, a Chinese Communist front group. Stewart had been described by Earl Browder, a leader of the American Communist Party, as “one of the reliables of the Communist Party.”

After Stalin’s death, The Nation published an essay on Stalin by Browder praising the bloody tyrant for “overcoming all obstacles whatever the cost, driving the entire nation along the marked path, imbuing it with his will, mercilessly sacrificing the laggards.”

This was nothing new for The Nation which had also printed Maxim Gorky’s eulogy which proclaimed, “Lenin is the hero of a legend, a man who had torn the burning heart out of his breast in order to light up for mankind the path which shall lead it out of the shameful chaos of the present, out of the rotting bog of stupid current politics.”

Freda Kirchwey was equally willing to endorse the atrocities of the Greek Communist guerrillas during the Greek Civil War, which included the destruction of villages, the mass execution of civilians and the kidnapping of children. In the pages of The Nation, Kirchwey praised them as having the backing of the suffering Greek people. Left unanswered was the question of why the Greek Communists had to kill so many of the people if they had their backing. But The Nation had never asked that question of the USSR.

As the decades passed, The Nation’s ugly track record remained unchanged. In the 70s, Chomsky’s denial of the Cambodian genocide appeared in The Nation. “In the first place, is it proper to attribute deaths from malnutrition and disease to Cambodian authorities?” he asked.

Chomsky’s question embodied The Nation’s attitude toward every Communist atrocity. Why should the Khmer Rouge be blamed for the deaths of millions when Stalin and Mao weren’t?

When the Soviet Union fell and China slowly turned away from the true red faith, The Nation did not fundamentally change. The Nation had always been attracted to totalitarian entities and leaders who would “overcome all obstacles whatever the cost” and lead the world “out of the rotting bog of stupid current politics.”

And staying true to totalitarianism to the last, when Chavez died, an article in The Nation suggested that “the biggest problem Venezuela faced during his rule was not that Chávez was authoritarian but that he wasn’t authoritarian enough.”

If only Chavez had been more like Stalin.

But as the red star sank beneath the horizon, the green crescent moon of Islam rose in its place.

During the Iranian hostage crisis, The Nation had praised Carter’s policy of “reasoned restraint” and warned against a “Mayagüez-style punitive action,” referring to the American attempt to rescue the crew of a container vessel captured by the Khmer Rouge. Instead The Nation urged some form of appeasement that would meet the Ayatollah’s demands.

Much later The Nation would look back on “Those heady days of revolution, when a brave coalition of secular and religious groups, led by Ayatollah Khomeini–the obstinate imam with the audacity to challenge the all-powerful Shah–inspired Iranians to dream of an equitable, free society.”

When it came to Iran’s nuclear program, The Nation took the same appeasement line that it did on the hostage crisis insisting that the threat was overblown and that it could only be met through negotiated appeasement. Anything else was jingoism and war fever.

The same magazine that urged the United States to hand over Eastern Europe and China to the Communists for the sake of peace has been urging the acceptance of a nuclear Iran for the sake of peace. When it comes to dictatorships allied with the left, The Nation always has only one solution. Appeasement.

With Iran’s nuclear program approaching a red line, the latest word from The Nation just last month is that “despite years of war-whooping and crisis-mongering on Iran, it’s beginning to sink in that Iran’s nuclear program doesn’t represent much of a threat.”

And this month The Nation showed that it was as committed to whitewashing monstrous tyrannies as ever, when it ran an article claiming that most Iranians love living under an Islamist regime and that the Green Movement did not fail because it was brutally suppressed, but because it was unpopular. The shootings, arrests, beatings and rapes had nothing to do with it.

The same magazine that minimized the death toll in the USSR and Cambodia claimed that “fewer than 100 people had died in the clashes.” Returning to The Nation’s tradition of printing straight propaganda, the piece went on to claim that the Iranian economy is doing just fine and the Arab Spring’s Sunni Islamist ascension has not set back Iran in any way. Even if Assad loses Damascus, the article assured readers that he will still control Syria. Even Baghdad Bob could not have done a better job.

Nearly a century after the Bolsheviks began their campaign to seize Russia; The Nation showed that it had learned nothing from the past. Instead it repeats history as farce, stumbling from one tyranny to another in the hopes of finding progress somewhere among the corpses.

The Nation aided the Soviet plan for world domination. Now it is doing the very same thing for the Islamists. A century later its only skill lies in acting as the messenger boy for mass murderers.

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  • espersemper

    The staff of the “Nation” all wear Che Guevarra t-shirts, chime to the same anti-american chorus we still loathe.

    The. “presstitutes”. Have destroyed millions of lives . A “black book of the media” would be burned still today in many universities. While broken families and tortures continue, media thrives. Thanks to likeminded people like D. Horovitz. , Glasgov and Kutnicki , hope lives on.

    • John

      "The staff of the "Nation" all wear Che Guevarra t-shirts"

      Really? Are you saying it or is it true. I am sure the sentiment is there.

      Are there pictures? I would like to see pictures. First, fix them in place. Second, fix Che's reputation in place for the worse. That is tell the truth.

      • John

        "I am sure the sentiment is there."

        Be sure I dislike the staff of the Nation. They are destructive.

        But as to the assertion that they wear Che Gueverra shirts, let's document this & then pummel them with this fact.

    • tagalog

      And their mothers all wear combat boots!

  • MikeWood

    The left will always indulge in fantasy and facetiousness while more responsible people try to deal with reality.

  • jacob

    It would be interesting to find out how does such disgraceful publication survives….
    And then again, in these times, anything goes and therefore, there is nothing to wonder…..

    • John

      "Circulation peaked at 187,000 in 2006 but by 2010 had dropped back to 145,000 in print, though digital subscriptions had risen to over 15,000.[4] Print ad pages declined by 5% from 2009 to 2010, while digital advertising rose 32.8% from 2009–10.[5] Advertising accounts for 10% of total revenue for the magazine, while circulation totals 60%.[4] The Nation has lost money in all but three or four years of operation and is sustained in part by a group of more than

      30,000 donors called Nation Associates, who donate funds to the periodical above and beyond their annual subscription fees. This program accounts for 30% of the total revenue for the magazine.

      An annual cruise also generates $200,000 for the magazine.[4] Since late 2012, the Nation Associates program has been called Nation Builders"

  • dadmar

    This article clearly shows that "Durantyism" lives through the years, that there is continuity in their obfusications, and that we can expect more in the future. The fight for truth in media will get increasing more difficult because the left has been so successful in removing those subjects in our schools that form a basis for understanding the political movements of our times. Nevertheless, those that do understand are compelled to do their duty for God and Country.


    This BRAINWASHING can be traced to the 1980's when the Soviet KGB and the Communist Party USA teamed up to take over Central America using their front groups like the U.S. Peace Council which was an affiliate of the WORLD PEACE COUNCIL run by the KGB.

    They recruited UNIVERSITY STUDENTS but what's important was that the university newspapers were taken over too and it continues today and in the MSM who were college editors and reporters too.

    I'm sure if I researched the editors and reporters of The Nation, as well as many other leftist news, I'd find their connections to a Peace Council front. Today there are tens of thousands of groups and all have their roots in the Peace Councils. ONE OF THOSE STUDENT DUPES WAS BARACK OBAMA!

    • mlcblog

      Way before that, too, even into old Europe…which is why I tend to think of it as the age-old fight between good and evil.

      I have been reflecting once again how America manages to stand even to this day in light of all the onslaught from the commies, particularly with the hijinks in the State Dept during the 1950's (McCarthy was right. It was full of them, who were in fact plotting to overthrow our govt….and yet, we stand!!) I just thank God and pray for more grace to enjoy our beautiful freedom and way of life, though it has been and is being subverted at every turn. Some things are barely recognizable, yet we go on.

    • Sean

      The Soviets were in our sh_t back in the 1930s subverting people in academia & elsewhere.

      It is the classic age-old fight between good & evil.

  • Jack

    This is going to be one of my screen savers. I am going to bludgeon the left with the truth.

    “In the first place, is it proper to attribute deaths from malnutrition and disease to Cambodian authorities?”

  • http://www.clarespark.com clarespark

    The Nation had organic (conservative) politics in the crucial year of 1919. I spent a half year researching just the first 8 months of that year, and then was not permitted to include my findings in my doctoral dissertation. But it made my book on the Melville revival. See http://clarespark.com/2009/09/19/populism-progres…. "Populism, progressivism, and corporatist liberalism in The Nation, 1919."

    • Jack

      "In 1900, Henry Villard's son, Oswald Garrison Villard, inherited the magazine and the Evening Post, selling off the latter in 1918. Thereafter, he remade The Nation into a current affairs publication and gave it an anti-classical liberal orientation"

      Which is why I am attempting to follow individual reporters/writers & not periodicals. Periodicals can change over time. Writes can also change, so one needs to check the facts also.

      • http://www.clarespark.com clarespark

        It is certainly true that The Nation’s outlook in 1919 was progressive and anti-classical liberal. But  you should read the blog I posted, for it is very concrete about the blend of populism, progressivism, and protofascism in its longing for a top-down, leader-led Nation.

    • 11bravo

      Clare, what is your bag man? You post everywhere, and I go to some of your links. If you haven't been picked up yet, will you ever?

      Don't stop!! I am just sayin.

      • http://www.clarespark.com clarespark

        What do you mean by being “picked up yet, will you ever”? Do you think I want some patronage that I don’t have? I am doing what every writer does: seeking  readers. I don’t get paid for these efforts, but have a strong sense of mission.

  • trickyblain

    Greenfield offers a direct quote:

    “Those heady days of revolution, when a brave coalition of secular and religious groups, led by Ayatollah Khomeini–the obstinate imam with the audacity to challenge the all-powerful Shah–inspired Iranians to dream of an equitable, free society.”

    Note the period, suggesting a complete thought. He's lying, of course. This is the actual quotation, without Greenfield totally dishonest insertion:

    " Those heady days of revolution, when a brave coalition of secular and religious groups, led by Ayatollah Khomeini–the obstinate imam with the audacity to challenge the all-powerful Shah–inspired Iranians to dream of an equitable, free society, soon gave way to a more sobering reality: violent power struggles, the deadly 1980-88 war with Iraq, economic mismanagement and decline, continued social and political repression, international isolation."

    I'm not a fan of the Nation, but this is downright slimy.

    • defcon 4

      Um, the complete quote doesn't make the BS quote from the Nation any better. The "secular" groups, at least the Communists, were exterminated by the audacious Khomeini. "Continued social and political repression" is hyperbolic at best and mendacious at worst considering the MASS exterminations carried out by the Ayatollah. More people were murdered in the first few years of the Ayatollah's regime than in the entire HISTORY of the Shah's reign.

  • Martin

    As a believer in the slogan "Know your enemy," I have been a Nation subscriber for about 20 years. I regard them as the stopped clock that's accurate twice a day. To my disbelief, their Washington editor David Corn wrote a three-part essay, a couple of years ago, denouncing Global Warming as a hoax. He got canned a half year later, after many years employment with them. A recent example of their intellectual dishonesty is their intense criticism of the Supreme Court's "Citizens United" decision because it allows unlimited political contributions by corporations. They never mentioned the fact that it also allows unlimited political contributions by unions.

  • http://shugartpoliticalaction.shugartmedia.com/uncommonsense/ Chris_Shugart

    The Left's romance with communist regimes is an ideological luxury they can easily afford. They've never had to live under a Marxist tyranny. Not yet anyway.

    • http://twitter.com/Enubus @Enubus

      Just give Obozo another 2 years and we will be singing the Communist National.

  • JacksonPearson

    The Nation Magazine = Leftist Propaganda Rag, Boycott It!

  • defcon 4

    It's always strange how leftist academics admire totalitarian dictatorships from the long distance safety of the democracies in which they reside.

  • Drakken

    The left is always a constant in their trying communism, they just think that it has never worked because they did it wrong. No matter what stripe of communism that is tried, it always leaves a stack of dead bodies in its wake, that is why the liberal/progressives are on the same path in their pursuit of utopia of the masses.

  • 11bravo

    Thanks Dan,
    Most people have no idea.

    If only to be king for a day!!

  • Infovoyeur

    I recall that The Nation, last summer (early July?) gave most of a whole issue, maybe six articles, to the discriminations, prejudices, persecutions, etc.,claimed to being visited upon American Muslims…. Perhaps many readers were impressed… EOM "End of Massage" TTFN


      Did The Nation cover how Muslims persecute Coptic Christians in Egypt, Jews in general, Bahais, Hindus, wahabbist mosques and madrassas in the US?

  • Len_Powder

    That "The Nation" has survived as long as it has is both telling and disturbing. Unless it's being subsidized by George Soros one has to deduce that there are many people in the US whose minds are as delusional as those of the writers on its staff. I always believed that madness was confined to individuals or small cult groups but have concluded that it can include millions of people in a large country like the US, like the 51% who voted for Obama. Of course, like cult members, they have no idea of their intoxication, and proceed with their agendas as if they were 'normal' people – until tragedy strikes to prove otherwise.

  • Liam

    Just call them STALINAZIS!

  • Liam

    "The Nation" = Counterpunch Lite

  • drew

    Boring old militant Marxist Farts
    who blather on, in fits and starts
    about class war and revolution
    (demonstrably a failed solution)
    rather than pitied should be scorned;
    their weblogs tapped, subscribers warned.
    Such talk begins as plodding fodder
    dull as lead – yet even odder:
    people read this wretched dreck!
    History ought to hold in check
    their pawn-shop plans to topple kings
    they talk a good game – till it brings
    armed madness, rage, the peasant wars
    thugs and riff-raff looting stores,
    death-camps, purges, civil chaos
    union dues, returned to pay us
    bloody end to a treacherous story –
    guns for butter and guts for glory.
    Maoist flowers, Trotsky's pick
    Stalin's bearhug – lies as thick
    as honey dripping on a corpse.
    Centralized control that warps
    a free man's mind – and yet they find
    their audience loaded, pumped and primed…

    Stay tuned for the rest of this epic poem @ CONNECT/HOOK !

  • mlcblog

    Thanks for a frank exposure of this commie rag which has never changed its spots but I see being quoted as credible more and more.

  • Ghostwriter

    I've rarely read "The Nation." After this article,those times are going to be even rarer.