Michael Gaynor
Elena Kagan's senior thesis and socialism
By Michael Gaynor
May 19, 2010

Amazingly, General Kagan described "U.S. Socialism's demise" as a "critical problem" (p. 128) instead of welcome news, and she seems to have been trying to clarify what kind of socialist she was.

More and more Americans have come to realize that "Joe the Plumber" was right when he said that then presidential candidate Barack Obama's unscripted comment about "spreading the wealth" "sounded like socialism." Obamacare is a massive wealth redistribution plan and most Americans disapprove. But "stealth socialism" is insidious and the liberal media establishment has not scrutinized President Obama himself or his political correctness soulmate, Supreme Court nominee and Solicitor General Elena Kagan, so she is sailing toward confirmation. Barring a surprise (such as the Obama Administration apparently fears General Kagan's brother Irving might provide), she will be confirmed this summer.

BUT, surprises happen! Just ask Connecticut Democrat Senatorial hopeful Richard Blumenthal, whose despicable lies about serving in Vietnam suddenly were exposed. Now a Senate seat from Connecticut thought to be safe for the Democrats (after Senator Chris Dodd did his party a great favor by deciding to retire) is very much in play on Election Day 2010.

It behooves concerned Americans to demand that Supreme Court nominees be thoroughly scrutinized and confirmed only if they demonstrate that they will follow the United States Constitution and laws, not rewrite them the way they want them.

It behooves General Kagan to try to obfuscate her decision as Harvard Law School dean to disrespect the United States military and hamper its recruiting efforts.

It behooves United States Senators who will vote to confirm or not to confirm General Kagan to read her college thesis (which is more revealing of her radicalness than her few legal writings).

Socialist Norman Thomas: "The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of 'liberalism' they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened."

That's stealth socialism and Thomas was insightful.

In the spring of 1981, with Ronald Reagan in the White House and the Cold War far from won, then Princeton senior Kagan addressed what she called the "critical problem" (p. 128) of "U.S. socialism's demise" (p. 128) in a 130-page thesis titled "To the Final Conflict: Socialism in New York City, 1900-1933." That thesis reveals Kagan's unabashed radicalness as well as relates socialist history in the United States obviously of special interest to her.

Note: General Kagan is not her family's only radical. In that thesis she thanked her brother Marc, "whose involvement in radical causes led [her] to explore the history of American radicalism in the hope of clarifying [her] own political ideas."

Amazingly, General Kagan described "U.S. Socialism's demise" as a "critical problem" (p. 128) instead of welcome news, and she seems to have been trying to clarify what kind of socialist she was.

General Kagan (p. 126) attributed the (for her, sad) decline of the Socialist Party to its (1) appearing "quicker to see the sins of Communism than the sins of capitalism" (quoting "[e]ven Norman Thomas"] and (2) adopting "a sterile program, suited to a sterile party," resulting in the socialist movement in New York City being "dead in all but name" by 1933.

After distinguished the "constructavists" and the "revolutionaries" (p. 10), General Kagan reported that "articulate" Marxist Louis Boudin "derided those New York 'revisionists' who expressed such fear of radical change" (p. 36).

The socialist dispute was over means. The constructavists feared violence, and General Kagan described the constructavists as "practical" (p. 49).

General Kagan explained that (1) "perfection of American society, the constructive socialists believed, would result from a long series of economic and political reforms, each of which would add a bit of socialism to the nation" and "the evolutionary socialists of New York recognized that no capitalist government would go far as to institute the cooperative commonwealth itself," so "members of the Socialist Party...needed to gain elective office and, eventually, government control," but the Socialist Party "would not use its power to socialize the economy immediately" since "socialists could not take such action 'without causing grave industrial dislocation'" and "[i]nstead, the socialist government would initiate still further reforms, each of which would represent another gradual — indeed almost imperceptible — step along the road to a completely socialist order" (pp. 35-36).

That's "stealth socialism" (the kind of socialism that IS a threat to America).

General Kagan (p. 127): "In our own times, a coherent socialist movement is nowhere to be found in the United States. Americans are more likely to speak of a golden past than of a golden future, of capitalism's glories than of socialism's greatness."

"[S]ocialism's greatness"???

General Kagan continued:

"Conformity overrides dissent; the desire to conserve has overwhelmed the urge to alter. Such a state of affairs cries out for explanation. Why in a society by no means perfect, has a radical party never attained the status of a major political force? Why, in particular, did the socialist movement never become an alternative to the nation's established parties?"

General Kagan, who is Jewish, noted that in the United States Jews were attracted to socialism while Italians, Catholics, were not, but rejected the idea that religion might explain the difference.

Kagan stated (pp. 21-22):

"Not surprisingly...the Jews of the New York City sweatshops turned almost instinctively to socialism," but even though "Italians suffered much the same economic conditions as Jews did in the early days of the twentieth century," the Socialist Party "could not interest Italian workers in party life," but General Kagan deemed it "[m]ore likely" "because their Old World traditions had not prepared them to do so," and added that "[t]he Irish, too, generally steered clear of the New York Socialist Party."

Fittingly, the Obama nominee's concluding paragraph (p. 138) included the words "hope" and "change": "Through its own internal feuding, then, the SP [Socialist Party] exhausted itself forever and further reduced labor radicalism in New York to the position of marginality and insignificance from which it has never recovered. The story is a sad but also a chastening one for those who, more than half a century after socialism's decline, still wish to change America. Radicals have often succumbed to the devastating bane of sectarianism: it is easier, after all, to fight one's fellows than it is to battle an entrenched and powerful foe. Yet if the history of Local New York shows anything, it is that American radicals cannot afford to become their own worst enemies. in unity lies their only hope."

A reading of that thesis explains why copyright law was invoked to have it taken down after Redstate oisted it.

What Wendy E. Long, as general counsel of the Judicial Confirmation Network (now the Judicial Crisis Network (www.judicialnetwork.com), wrote in a Washington Times op-ed published on April 15, 2005 remains true and timely.

Mrs. Long:

"A liberal minority needs federal judges to advance their agenda — allowing child pornography as free speech, mandating same-sex marriage, removing 'under God' from the Pledge of Allegiance, banning school prayer and preventing the death penalty for murderers and terrorists — because they can't win these issues at the ballot box. Mr. Bush promised to nominate judges who will apply the law as written and stay out of politics....

"The American people want senators to do the job our tax dollars pay them to do. Senators who fail to do their jobs — either by failing to show up for their committee meetings, by voting against restoring the Senate tradition of up-or-down votes for judges, or by halting the work of the federal government — might find themselves out of work when they really need the consent of the governed: at their next election."

President Bush's Supreme Court appointees, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel A. Alito, have proven themselves worthy of the trust placed in them.

President Obama's Supreme Court nominees — Justice Sonia Sotomayor, La Raza's favorite, and General Kagan, a homosexual community favorite for effectively banning military recruitment at Harvard Law School when she was dean and then signing a liberal activist/revisionist history brief ridiculously claiming that the Solomon Amendment really was intended to permit institutions like Harvard to take federal funds and still ban military recruiting if they ban recruiting by all "anti-gay" employers are not worthy.

The people need to know!

© Michael Gaynor


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Michael Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member... (more)


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