Friday, April 13, 2012

MSM & Double Standards: NYT Obit Describes Committed French Marxist as a Student "participating in left-wing politics"

In that part of the double standards department where every person on the right is an extremist, if not a far-right extremist, while every leftist, however extreme, is nothing but a regular good ol' guy (or gal) — and a principled one at that — we can add Douglas Martin's New York Times obituary for "a storied leader of the resistance effort in Nazi-occupied France during World War II." Here is the way Raymond Aubrac's 1930s activism is described (or rather, the way it is hardly referred to):
Raymond Aubrac … born Raymond Samuel … met Lucie Bernard while participating in left-wing politics in Paris.
As noted in No Pasarán's obituary of Raymond Aubrac, what Douglas Martin glosses over as simply "participating in left-wing politics" (and what Maïa de la Baume, in the International Herald Tribune, describes, just as hurriedly, as being "involved in leftist wing politics before the war") refers in fact to being an unapologetic Marxist. ("Leftist wing politics" instead of, simply, "left-wing"? Might that be an euphemism for the more extremist variety?)

It should in no way take away from Aubrac's World War II heroics against the Nazis to point out that in the 1930s, this student of Harvard's Joseph Schumpeter was a Marxist — which is confirmed by the fact that, in an interview with Le Monde's Philippe Dagen and Thomas Wieder last year, he spends long parts detailing his Marxist leanings, both before and after the war.
I was very influenced by Marxism. It was a big help, because Marxism explained both society in the present and the sense of history.
This, at a time when Joseph Stalin was at the helm of the Soviet Union — and of the international communist movement. Later, Aubrac claims that he lost faith in "Marxism in general" (albeit not "certain points of Marxism", like "Marxist analyses" of the repartition of profits). Still, that did not prevent him from calling a mass murderer his "friend", as — to his credit — Douglas Martin acknowledges later in the obit (although at the same time he seems to be totally unfazed by the Vietnam connection; wonder if the New York Times would have reacted the same ho-hum way if some VIP had claimed Augusto Pinochet to be his friend and the godfather of his child…).
When Ho Chi Minh, the North Vietnamese leader, came to Paris in 1946 to negotiate independence, he stayed in Mr. Aubrac’s home, explaining that he would have missed having a garden if he had stayed in a hotel. In 1967, as was later widely reported, the United States secretly enlisted Mr. Aubrac to travel to Hanoi to negotiate an agreement to end the Vietnam War. He failed, but an agreement similar to the one he helped fashion led to peace talks.

… De Gaulle was the godfather of Mr. Aubrac’s daughter Catherine Vallade, while Ho Chi Minh was godfather of his other daughter, Elisabeth Helfer Aubrac. (Ho, an atheist, was said to prefer the term sponsor.)
Interestingly, after telling Le Monde's Philippe Dagen and Thomas Wieder that "Marxism explained both society in the present and the sense of history", Raymond Aubrac adds that
Today, things are infinitely more complicated and anguishing, because no system allows the present to be decoded and the future to be imagined.
Doesn't that sound like a leftist (extreme or other) bowing to reality (while realizing it or not)? The reality that not everything can be explained by simplistic fairy tales, à la Karl Marx et al, and by other similar "narratives"…