Here’s how to oppose Cold War rhetoric and still be an internationalist who supports democracy and human rights.

By Dan La Botz, Stephen R. Shalom, Foreign Policy In Focus

A petition titled “McCarthyism Is Back—Together We Can Stop It” is currently being circulated by a number of organizations and individuals on the left. It is motivated by a recent New York Times article that describes relationships between the multi-millionaire Roy Singham and a variety of left organizations (particularly the ones circulating the petition). Much of the information in the Times article had been discussed previously in the award-winning, left-of-center New Lines journal, but the Times provided additional reporting. The South African left journal amaBhungane also previously discussed Singham’s role. The petition accuses the Times and the media in general of encouraging a new Cold War, engendering racism toward Chinese Americans, shutting down critics of U.S. foreign policy, and menacing the left and society in general with a new period of McCarthyism.

usa china competition

The essence of the reporting is that Singham, a long-time Maoist who supports the Chinese government, uses his fortune to influence and sometimes to control other organizations. Singham, who doesn’t need or, as far as is known, receive Chinese government funding, gives his money to other organizations that share his support for China and pro-Chinese policies. As in other cases where the rich provide financial backing to politicians or political parties, it is not obvious whether the money caused a change in political position on the part of the recipient. But either way, the money increases the political weight of views aligned with the donor, in ways unaccountable to the progressive community or anyone else. What Singham has been doing seems a mirror image of U.S global disinformation and media manipulations over the decades.

Though we object to the lack of transparency and accountability of Singham’s largesse, our principal objection is to his politics. That is, we oppose his uncritical support for China. And this is not because we support a new Cold War.

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