Skip to comments.THE FULL MARX / WHO IS MARK ROSENZWEIG?
Posted on 06/29/2003 2:00:55 PM PDT by William McKinley
We should, I suppose, be grateful that the American Library Association does not actually support the burning of books, but, as Jay has written before now, its shilly-shallying over Cuba's independent libraries reveals a dismaying tendency amongst its members to put ideological affiliation before freedom of speech. The New York Times has more on this squalid little story today.
Amongst the people interviewed are Mark Rosenzweig, the director of the Reference Center for Marxist Studies, something that is blandly described by the Times' reporter as a "research center in New York City". That's true so far as it goes, but it might have been helpful to add that this reference center ("the official designated depository of the papers of the CPUSA") leans, shall we say, somewhat to the left. Reading their newsletter from Winter 2002 we learn that:
"The RCMS [the center] joined with libraries across the country in celebrating "Banned Books Week", an annual event celebrating the '"freedom to read". Our exhibit was unique however, in emphasizing something which has been for the most part expunged from the history of the fight against censorship in the US. That is the role the Communist Party of the United States played from its founding onward in fighting tirelessly against laws meant to stifle free speech, freedom of association and discussion, freedom to publish and read. "
That is, to put it mildly, an interesting spin on the CPUSA - an organization variously dedicated to Lenin, Stalin and other 20th Century butchers. What's more, it's instructive to contrast those fine-sounding words with Rosenzweig's contemptuous dismissal of the Cuban dissidents as "a ragtag bunch of people who have been involved on the fringes of the dissident movement."
If Rosenzweig is an important player in this controversy it would be interesting to know why. If not, it raises another question. Why did the Times choose to give quite such prominence to his views?
[WM's note: Here are my blog entries about this. I had also mailed Mr. Stuttaford most of this information.]
On the Corner, Andrew Stuttaford pointed out this story in the NY Times over the American Library Association assisting the cover-up about "persecution of people in Cuba whose only crime is to have opened libraries". The Times interviews Mark Rosenzweig in the piece, and Stuttaford asks if "Rosenzweig is an important player in this controversy". The answer is YES, as is made clear in this FrontPage Magazine article.
The ALA claims that it disqualified the independent librarians from its Toronto program because the funding grant stipulates "professional" exchanges. According to Michael Dowling who heads the ALA's International Relations Committee, the ALA could not include those who are not "professionals," presumably anyone lacking Fidel's imprimatur. Yet the lack of "professional" training won't keep Eliades Acosta, Cuba's director of the Jose Marti National Library, off the program. When I mentioned to Mr. Dowling that Mr. Acosta is not a librarian, he said: "Well, neither is the librarian for the U.S. Library of Congress." That answer contradicts the ALA assertion that the librarian title is crucial to library work.Rosenzweig is the chief archivist for the Reference Center for Marxist Studies and the CPUSA.
All of which suggests that the ALA's attitude toward the Cuban independents has more to do with the politics of some of the ALA's activist members than with professional credentials. A January 2001 report on Cuba by the ALA's Latin American subcommittee relies heavily on the testimony of Ann Sparanese, who "asserted that she has seen no evidence of censorship or confiscation of books on her many visits to Cuba." The operative word here is "many" since Ms. Sparanese, who is influential in ALA policymaking toward Cuba, is a longtime member of the Venceremos Brigade. U.S. brigadistas have been traveling to Cuba for 32 years to promote Fidel's agenda.
Rhonda Neugebauer, another ALA member and an important source for subcommittee findings, testified in the report that she saw no government censorship in Cuba either. Last month she signed Fidel's May Day petition designed to counter criticism of his crackdown on dissidents from such former loyalists as Nobel Prize winner Jose Saramago.
A third activist ALA council member is Mark Rosenzweig, who is also the director of reference for the Center for Marxist Studies in New York, the repository of documents of the Communist Party U.S.A. Mr. Rosenzweig staunchly opposes ALA support for the independent libraries and has accused Mr. Hentoff of seeing the problem through "the eyes of the imperialist power," meaning the U.S., of course. In a telephone interview this week he told me: "We cannot presume that all countries are capable of the same level of intellectual freedom that we have in the U.S." After all, he added, "Cuba is caught in an extremely sharp conflict with the U.S." And finally, "I don't think [Cuba] is a dictatorship. It's a republic."
Keep the previous story about the American Library Association and its influence from within by hard core Marxists in mind when revisiting this story from earlier in the week regarding the Supreme Court ruling on Internet Filters. The ALA was challenging the law, in which Congress mandated that libraries receiving federal funds must provide anti-pornography Internet filters on public computers; the law also stated that adult visitors can request the filters be disabled for them. The court rightly ruled that this is not a supression of free speech; after all, any adult could ask to browse the web without the filters.
But anyone who has to wonder why hard core Marxists desire children to have unfettered access to porn needs to study Marxists and their methods a bit more. Marxists desire the destruction of the family; the family is an impediment and threat to the power of the state and to their egalitarian ideals.
A passing thought- why did the NY Times not mention that Rosenzweig is a Council member of the ALA?
[WM's note: Then today I see this.]
It turns out that Mr. Rosenzweig is a member of the Council of the American Library Association. Thanks to blogger William McKinley for directing me to this piece from the WSJ.
Here are comments on freedom attributed to Rosenzweig in the piece:
We cannot presume that all countries are capable of the same level of intellectual freedom that we have in the US.
A few years ago, a huge cache of records from the Communist Party USA was discovered in Siberia. The party sued to have its "property" returned (and to keep what was in the records secret, no doubt). Never heard how this turned out. Does anyone know?
I also will bet you that he won't tell you or me.
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