After the Bolshevik Revolution, reverberations were felt the world over. Here in the U S of A, a series of roundups, of dubious legality, detained various leftists, and deported as many as could be legally deported. Emma Goldman was deported to Russia. You may remember that from the Warren Beatty film Reds. These were the “Red Raids” of Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, in the administration. Of Democratic President Thomas Woodrow Wilson. A chap by the name of J. Edgar Hoover got his start at this time, along with the FBI.
How well did that work? Folk heroes like Goldman, Eugene V. Debs, and “Big Bill” Heyward were created. It quelled the “Red Scare” for a few years, but it did very little to thwart the growth of Communist movements in the United States. The Communists were back in business and visible again by the 1930’s.
And, as if to further bolster the hypothesis that draconian responses are ineffectual in thwarting political movements, the McCarthy era actions of blacklists and exposing actual Communists (like Alger Hiss) did little to quell Marxist influence in our culture. After a decent interval, those blacklisted found work again, people like Dalton Trumbo, Jules Dassin.
The 1960’s and 70’s saw a resurgence of Marxist teaching in universities. There was the Free Speech Movement at UC- Berkeley. Columbia University had its own unrest centered on campus expansion into a minority neighbourhood,
Then The Frankfurt School and “critical theory” gripped Liberal Arts teaching.And we now have race theory, gender theory, queer theory. (Remember theories are theories, they can be disproven.) And what is known as ” Cancel Culture” has, all of a sudden, flowered, like a dandelion in a cow chip.
What did Cancel Culture, and the recent Twitter, Facebook, Google and Amazon bans and deplatformings learn from A. Mitchell Palmer’s deportation of Emma Goldman, or the McCarthy Era blacklisting? Apparently NOTHING. President Trump and his allies have gone from annoyances to martyrs in the span of a news cycle.
Real smart, Jack Dorsey, Zuck (Mark Zuckerberg). Real Smart.