We Got Reds in Our Webs!
Redbaiting is back! That's right, our political march back to the 1950s is almost complete -- now if we could just figure out a way to move those darkies to the back of the bus.
On Sept. 18, the Texas Citizens Action Network -- a coalition of right-wing groups that figures heavily in the policy formations of our state's current Republican leadership -- sent out a press release describing the liberal activist group MoveOn.org as "the activist arm of the Communist Party USA."
MoveOn.org was founded in 1998 by a pair of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs as an Internet-based protest to the Republicans' crazed determination to impeach Clinton, and after 9/11 morphed into a broader activist organization fighting for an array of progressive causes. Lately, MoveOn.org has been heavily involved in supporting the Texas Democrats' resistance to re-redistricting, and that caught Texas C.A.N.'s eye.
"It's time we lift the curtain of secrecy and ask Sen. Leticia Van de Putte and her fellow truant senators if she will tear down the wall of misinformation and answer to Texas citizens why the Communist Party is interested in funding their efforts," the press release states.
So what is Texas C.A.N.'s evidence of pinko subversion? "If you choose to go to the Communist Party USA [Web site, www.cpusa.org] and say you want to get involved and you put in your ZIP code, MoveOn.org pops up," says Peggy Venable, director of the Texas chapter of Citizens for a Sound Economy, a member organization of Texas C.A.N. "What we are saying is it's clear they are comrades [our italics] working together on issues. Whether MoveOn.org chooses to identify themselves as the activist arm of the Communist Party USA or not, it is clear they are comrades working together, and they have the same goals and objectives, or they wouldn't be all over that Web page."
That's it? A Web site link makes MoveOn.org "the activist arm of the Communist Party USA"? Surely Venable can provide some type of documentation showing a more tangible connection? "I don't think we need further documentation," she says. "I think that's documentation in and of itself."
"The McCarthy era was a long time ago," replied Glenn Smith, the Austin-based coordinator of MoveOn.org's anti-redistricting campaign, "but those tactics seem to be fresh on the minds of the radical right that's in charge in Texas."
Naked City asked Venable if, in addition to McCarthyist redbaiting, Texas C.A.N. planned to revive any other Fifties-era political strategies -- say, segregation? She responded by accusing us of "name-calling." We detected no trace of irony in her voice.