Soft-peddling Socialsm During the War of Northern Aggression

By Al Benson Jr.

Over the years I have picked up some historical fiction books about the War of Northern Aggression. Though not completely accurate historically they often do contain a large measure of truth if you know what to look for. Some do briefly hint at certain truths, but usually not enough to catch the attention of the average reader.

I am reading one now, which I have read previously, called The Last Full Measure by Jeff Shaara. It was a New York Times bestseller, which may explain why some of the history has been soft-peddled. If Mr. Shaara had told his readers more about some of what he hinted at it probably would not have gotten published by his publisher, Ballantine Books and it might have interfered with the New York Times picking it as a best seller.

I’ve read several of Mr. Shaara’s books and they are entertaining and readable and he does give you some accurate history, but he also leaves out some things that the regular history books leave out, and if he did research for the books he has written on the War of Northern Aggression I can’t believe he didn’t run across some of this.

On page 2, in his introduction, he talks about some of the people that fought the war on both sides. He says: “From the North came farmers and fishermen, lumberjacks and shopkeepers, old veterans and young idealists. Some are barely Americans at all, expatriates and immigrants from Europe, led by officers who do not speak English.” You would have thought his finding of this kind of information would have piqued his interest enough to give at least brief commentary on who these officers in the Union army were that could not speak English—but no, he says not a word more. If you know the accurate history you have to realize that “those people” he refers to are, in the main, the Forty-Eighter socialists that Donnie Kennedy and I wrote about in Lincoln’s Marxists.

On page 88 he makes another rather trite comment about Franz Sigel, one of the more notable of the Forty Eighters.  He comments on Sigel’s defeat in the Shenandoah Valley in 1864 (Sigel was far from the greatest general in the world) and he says of Sigel that: “He was a graduate of the German Military Academy, an experienced fighter who had emigrated himself because he happened to pick the wrong side in a brief revolution.” Oh come on, Mr. Shaara—there’s a lot more to Franz Sigel than that and I’m sure you realize it. The 1848 socialist revolts in Europe may have been brief, in that they only lasted  a bit more than a year, but they were hardly insignificant. Revolts during that time went on in something like fifteen different countries and they shook all of Europe, plus they had lasting ramifications that went beyond that time, not only in Europe but also here. Many of the leaders and regular participants in those revolts ended up in this country, in the Republican Party and in the Union armies because they recognized that they could readily identify with what Lincoln was promoting—centralism and collectivism. I would have thought Mr. Shaara could have devoted at least a brief paragraph to those people, but no, nothing more than what I have quoted. Again, this is history the general public is not supposed to be aware of.

He did make an interesting comment about the Yankee general Joshua Chamberlain which is generally not mentioned, so I wonder if he let something slip here unawares. He said on page 7 that: “…Chamberlain accepts a prestigious Chair at Bowdoin, formerly held by the renowned Calvin Stowe, husband of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Her controversial book Uncle Tom’s Cabin, inspires Chamberlain.” I’ve heard over the years that Chamberlain wasn’t a abolitionist. He may not have been, but he was inspired by one of the movers and shakers of the Abolitionist Movement. Interestingly enough, when Ms. Stowe wrote her book she had no firsthand personal knowledge of the South or of conditions in the South. She was a Unitarian who had been dabbling in spiritualism. Of course Shaara didn’t mention that—another no-no!

I wouldn’t discourage folks from reading Shaara’s books. They are entertaining and, as I said, very readable and you will get some history from them. You just won’t get everything you need to give you an accurate picture of what the War was really all about. Admittedly they are fiction, though I’ve seen some “history” books that have about the same amount of truth in them. I would, however, encourage people reading them to do some homework yourselves to find out just what has been emphasized and what has been mostly left out. That might be an interesting exercise.

“Socialist Feminism”

by Al Benson Jr.

At present, I am working my way through an excellent book written by Stanley Kurtz back in 2010 and entitled Radical-In-Chief. It is a history of the deep socialist background of the present occupier of the White House and it is available on Amazon.com

I will have more to say about Mr. Kurtz’s book in future articles because he brings out an amazing amount of documentation about the “stealth socialist” movement in this country, in which our president has been and is a major player.

On page 140 of his book, Kurtz deals with something called “Socialist Feminism” and he goes on to show that socialism has been a major part of the Feminist Movement in the 1970s. He notes: “Yet Heather Booth’s chief efforts in 1971 were devoted to organizing for socialist feminism. Booth and her early collaborator at the Midwest Academy, Day Creamer, were involved in both the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union (CWLU) and the Action Committee for Decent Childcare. The juxtaposition of the explicitly socialist CWLU and the less ideological daycare project–open to all women, not just committed socialists– exemplifies the strategy Booth and her collaborators had laid out in 1969’s Socialism and the Coming Decade, in which small, consciously socialist groups quietly build and guide less openly ideological mass movements. Booth’s developing ideological and strategic perspective is presented in her 1971 pamphlet, written with Day Creamer and a small group of others, Socialist Feminism: A Strategy for the Women’s Movement. This pamphlet was reprinted by the Midwest Academy ‘for historical purposes,’ and was sometimes used in the Academy’s training sessions.” So you can see here, in recent times, the socialist involvement in the Feminist Movement. Sadly, this is not a new development.

In our book Lincoln’s Marxists Walter Kennedy and I deal with the Feminist Movement in this country, and in Europe, in Addendum 3, on page 307, in a section called Feminists and Forty Eighters, which was originally published in my quarterly newsletter The Copperhead Chronicle back in the fourth quarter of 2006. We observed: “Modern historians with what appears to be a selective historical bias seldom examine or mention the close connections between individuals with strong communist connections and other left of center personalities. For example the outright influence of communists in the Roosevelt administration was seldom brought to light until well after his death. Likewise, the connection between socialists and outright communists and the founding of the Republican Party, or the connection between the radical feminists and the Forty Eighters in Europe is seldom if ever reported. Radical Feminism was not something new in France and Germany during the turbulent years of the 1848 socialist revolts in Europe. When the socialist (it should be noted that the terms socialist and communist were equivalent at that time) revolutions erupted in Europe in 1848, the majority of the feminists supported and otherwise aided those revolutions. Many of these women were supporters of St. Simon and Charles Fourier, both of whom were well known for their socialist philosophies.” The article then goes on to name names. Some of them you may have heard of, such as Margaretta Meyer Schurz, the wife of the well known Forty Eighter Carl Schurz who became the Secretary of the Interior during the Hayes administration. Mrs. Schurz established the first kindergarten in this country at Watertown, Wisconsin in 1856. Interestingly enough, the government in Prussia, only two years after the socialist revolts in that country had ended, outlawed kindergartens. The Prussian government was on record as viewing these schools as places of radical indoctrination for children. Given what goes on in public schools nowadays, can one really say they were wrong? Or were they remarkably prescient?

In her book Freethinkers–A History of American Secularism Susan Jacoby notes another well known feminist, “Red Emma” Goldman. She says: “At the same time there was a politically radical agnostic minority supported by European Marxist, socialist and anarchist thought and quite willing to challenge American institutions. ‘Red Emma’ Goldman was the most fiery, persuasive, and visible representative of that minority, an outspoken atheist and feminist as well as an anarchist’…Another early “Women’s Libber” over on the left! Goldman had a strong influence on Margaret Sanger, although it’s not known if Sanger ever openly acknowledged her leftist indoctrination from “Red Emma.” Sanger is reported to have been the one that invented the term “birth control.”

Back in 2003, Henry Makow, Ph.D. wrote an article that appeared on http://www.savethemales.ca called Betty Friedan: Mommy was a Commie. In part, Dr. Makow stated: “Betty Friedan, the ‘founder of modern feminism’ pretended to be a typical 1950s American mother who had a ‘revelation’ that women like her were exploited and should seek independence and self-fulfillment in career. What Friedan (nee: Betty Naomi Goldstein) didn’t say is that she had been a Communist propagandist since her student days at Smith College (1938-1942) and that the destruction of the family has always been central to the Communist plan for world government…Friedan dropped out of grad school to become a reporter for a Communist news service. From 1946-1952 she worked for the newspaper of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, (UE) ‘the largest Communist-led institution of any kind in the United States.’ In 1947, Congress targeted the UE as a Communist front and its membership began a steady decline.” This is hardly the background for most ordinary 1950s mothers. Friedan obviously did not want lots of folks to be aware of her radical leftist past. If they had been, her book The Feminist Mystique might not have sold over five million copies. One has to wonder, seeing that the Communists are opposed to filthy rich “capitalists” making all manner of filthy lucre, who got the royalties from five million copies of Friedan’s book? Did she donate it all to the Communist Party USA? Actually, the Communists don’t really have a big problem with profit–as long as it’s their people making it and not the rest of us.

It’s important that we realize that the Feminist Movement, the Women’s Liberation Movement, or whatever brand of feminism you happen to run across swimming in your soup, is all steeped in socialism, communism, or some other brand of aberrant leftism. They are not, nor have they ever been, really concerned about helping women–they are concerned about helping their women into positions of power and influence here and around the world, so they can help to shape the socialist agenda in various countries, and tell the rest of us how we should live. They are interested, and have a vested interest in tearing down every Biblical truth regarding women and replacing it with their socialist dogma and rules. That’s something Christians need to become aware of because, today, not nearly enough are.