Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Of Communists, Destabilizers and Senator Joseph McCarthy

In the coming protest march this February 15, 2008 against severe corruption in the government of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (Philippines), one Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is sure to be implemented. Intelligence "reports" of Communists coming in to infiltrate and create destabilization within the ranks of the demonstrators in any protest-rally, is as certain as the sun rising from the east every morning. This is designed to give the police and soldiers "guarding" the area a thin excuse and an open hand to crackdown or forcibly disperse rallyists any time they wish and for whatever reason they want. Before this event however, it is also certain that indoctrination of police and soldiers, speeches, and even forums and blogspots would put in remarks that "Communists" will be leading rallies even if centrists and rightist forces are found to be in the majority. It is as if it is a given that violent protests and consequent crackdown is a certain thing to happen.

Surprisingly, this "communist bogey" or red scare technique was used to its fullest not in some Third World country. Incredibly it began in the United States, honed to perfection by Joseph Raymond McCarthy a US Senator who served his state of Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957. According to wikipedia;

"He was noted for making claims that there were large numbers of Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers inside the federal government and elsewhere. Ultimately, McCarthy's tactics and his inability to substantiate his claims led to his being discredited and censured by the United States Senate. The term "McCarthyism," coined in 1950 in reference to McCarthy's practices, was soon applied to similar anti-communist pursuits. Today the term is used more generally to describe demagogic, reckless, and unsubstantiated accusations, as well as public attacks on the character or patriotism of political opponents."

Wikipedia on McCarthyism:

McCarthyism is a term describing the intense anti-communist suspicion in the United States in a period that lasted roughly from the late 1940s to the late 1950s. This period is also referred to as the Second Red Scare, and coincided with increased fears about communist influence on American institutions and espionage by Soviet agents. Originally coined to criticize the actions of U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy, “McCarthyism” later took on a more general meaning, not necessarily referring to the conduct of Joseph McCarthy alone.

During this time many thousands of Americans were accused of being Communists or communist sympathizers and became the subject of aggressive investigations and questioning before government or private-industry panels, committees, and agencies. The primary targets of such suspicions were government employees, those in the entertainment industry, educators, and union activists.

For McCarthyism to be effective, a propaganda technique termed as “Labeling” is established to give an “us versus them” indoctrination and using terms such as “leftists”, “communists” and such to justify violent and unjust acts upon them. This labeling of supposed enemy forces (as indoctrinated in certain elements of the armed forces and police forces in the Philippines) have expanded from the mere Communist label to the Destabilizer label. The Destabilizer label refers to anyone who criticizes or opposed the policies of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo whose legitimacy as a President is still under question due to unresolved issues of cheating in the last Philippine presidential elections.

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