Agenda: A Misleading Fundamentalist Video
That Should Never Have Been Made
by Gary North: Retired
General Warns of Social Security’s Dum-Dum Bullet Purchases
a time to stop beating a dead horse. But there are full-time beaters
of dead horses who just cannot bring themselves to admit that the
horse is dead.
A recent example
of dead-horse-beating is a documentary, Agenda:
Grinding America Down (2010). It argues that Communism in
America is not only alive and well, it is about to conquer America.
In fact, we are almost out of time. Communism is about to take over.
I assume that
your initial reaction is this: "This is nuts." That was my reaction
when I first viewed it. But, believe it or not, this documentary
has begun to gain a following among fundamentalists who believe
that Jesus is coming soon to set up His millennial kingdom. This
theory of history teaches that everything must get worse and worse
until a time when Christians are about to be overwhelmed by the
forces of evil. Jesus will come and take them all to heaven for
seven years, and then Jesus, His angels, and the resurrected perfect
and immortal followers will return to set up an international bureaucracy
to run the world. This theory is called premillennial, pretribulational
The fall of
the Soviet Union in 1991 created a major crisis for this system
of Bible interpretation. The "Beast from the North," the USSR, collapsed.
This ended the USSR's supposed threat to the nation of Israel, which
is central to this theory of world history. The nation of the north
was now gone. So, how could Jesus' return to whisk away his helpless
church be imminent? I wrote a book on this topic in 1993, Rapture
here for free.
Then, in 2010,
a fundamentalist offered the answer. Communism really did not die.
Not at all. It is about to take over the USA. The visible collapse
of Communism was really part of a Communist plot.
The fall of
the USSR was not a hoax. The collapse of Communism in America immediately
followed. Hardly anyone noticed. That was because American working
class members had never accepted the idea of bloody proletarian
revolution as an inevitable way of liberation. They hated Communism.
Why would anyone
believe this documentary? Because it's slick. It is based on a complete
misreading of Communist history. It is also based on a series of
deceptions. Conservatives cannot believe that someone would deliberately
deceive them. So, they believe this message.
But what if
the deception was based on self-deception? What if the producer
is simply misinformed? What if he is a self-taught man who picked
up a few unconnected (and erroneous) bits of information and tried
to connect them by means of a thesis that seems superficially plausible?
What if his sincerity is not backed up by the facts? What if the
average viewer of his documentary is ignorant about these supposed
facts? Then the viewer becomes a victim.
I don't want
you to be a victim. That is why I am writing this report.
OF FRED SCHWARZ
is dedicated to Fred Schwarz. This indicates the degree of the writer-producer's
In 1996, Schwarz,
the anti-Communist lecturer who brought me into the conservative
movement in 1956 with one powerful speech, wrote a testament: Beating
the Unbeatable Foe: One Man's Victory Over Communism, Leviathan,
and the Last Enemy.
resonated with me. His one-hour lecture in 1956 was the most important
lecture I ever heard, before or since. I was confronted with what
seemed to be a well-organized, ruthless, and relentless enemy: international
Communism. It controlled the USSR. The USSR controlled Eastern Europe.
Communism controlled China. It had a vision of victory. It had an
agenda. It had a comprehensive theory of historical causation: dialectical
materialism. The USSR had enormous military power. It looked unbeatable.
I signed up with Schwarz's Christian Anti-Communism Crusade. I was
not yet a Christian. I even sent him $100 for a lifetime membership,
which was about $850 in today's purchasing power. I was 14 years
old. I earned $1 an hour before taxes at a local record store.
A decade later,
I began work on my book, Marx's
Religion of Revolution. It was published in 1968. Download
it here. That book goes into detail on the philosophy of Marx
and Engels. That philosophy is now dead. So is its economic analysis.
31, 1991, the Communist Party of the USSR committed suicide. It
disbursed the funds and shut down. The war was over.
that remains are North Korea and Cuba. The defeat of Communism is
best seen in the satellite photograph of the Korean peninsula.
it was over for Communism by 1996. He admitted that he was amazed
that it fell so fast.
OF DOUGLAS HYDE
had known: Douglas Hyde. He had been a major figure in Great Britain's
Communist Party in the 1930s and 1940s. He converted to Catholicism
in the late 1940s. He wrote a classic account of his years in the
and Leadership, which Notre Dame University Press published
in 1956, the year that I heard Schwarz's lecture.
In the mid-1980s,
I was given a copy of his limited-printing book, Dedication
and Leadership Techniques (1962). I wanted to publish it.
I wrote him for permission. He said no. Why? Because the Communist
Party no longer resembled the dedicated Party of his youth. He said
that the book would give a false opinion of the Party as of 1985.
dead. It committed suicide: institutionally, morally, and economically.
It deserves a public burial.
are conservatives who still live in the past, as if it were still
the glory days of Communism and therefore also anti-Communism. Some
of them cut their teeth on anti-Communism. I was one of them. Schwarz
did, too, more than anyone I have ever known. But by 1996, he knew
that the fight was over. The West had won. He turned his files over
to David Noebel, who ran Summit Ministries for years. Then Schwarz
retired. He deserved his retirement. He died in 2003.
me back to the documentary. It unfortunately was not produced by
someone who understood the implications of what Schwarz did in 1996.
He retired, having fought the fight and having won.
I am going
to review this documentary in detail. Let me say from the outset
that the documentary is not worth reviewing for its own sake. It
is a very bad documentary. It is misleading. Most of all, it is
a documentary that will sidetrack anyone who believes it.
it is like an aging boxer who trains for an opponent he fought two
decades earlier. That opponent had a fatal heart attack in the middle
of a fight. The old boxer is making it more likely that his next
opponent will flatten him. Why? Because he never changes his defenses.
He is predictable.
GRINDING AMERICA DOWN (2010)
documentary is here. It has been online for three weeks. About
9,300 people have clicked it. I doubt that many of them stuck with
it all the way through. It is an hour and 20 minutes.
It begins with
a clip from a B&W documentary on Communism that Ronald Reagan made
50 years ago. He says that the story he was introducing might not
have a happy ending. It was a documentary on international Communism.
It was a good documentary. It is now a document of an ancient past.
The story did
have a happy ending. The Berlin Wall came down. Then the Soviet
Union committed suicide in December of 1991. It was the greatest
victory of my lifetime. The most powerful empire in history simply
shut down: no bloodshed, no revolution. Not a shot was fired. Incredible.
irrationality of socialism had been made clear by Ludwig von Mises
in his 1920 essay, "Economic
Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth." In 1989, Mises'
prediction had become clear even to Soviet economic planners. It
became visible to all in late 1991. Mises was right. Marx was wrong.
None of this
is mentioned in Agenda. It has movie clips of Soviet parades
with lots of tanks and weapons from the 1960s, as if the USSR were
still a threat militarily to the West.
It also fails
to mention declining birth rates in Russia. It mentions abortion,
but not abortion's demographic effects. The Russians are dying off.
Siberia is becoming depopulated. On Siberia's southern border is
China. At some point, the Chinese will start crossing that border.
This is Russia's #1 military problem. It has no solution short of
was made by a Bible-affirming Christian. Most of the people he interviewed
are Bible-believing Christians. Yet not one of them thanked God
onscreen for the greatest political victory of all time. Worse:
the ones he quoted said that the fight with Communism still goes
on, and that America is likely to lose unless the entire nation
turns around morally and religiously.
In short, the
documentary claims that God did not provide the victory. It says,
loud and clear, that there was no miracle, no victory. Yet they
call for God to work a miracle. To which God might well reply: "What
do you think I gave you? Are you blind? You show no gratitude."
Yes, some of
them are blind. The ones onscreen who warned that the Communists
are close to total victory are blind.
of the documentary gives this testimony. He says he attended a meeting
at the University of California, Berkeley. It was a meeting of Communists.
They were all gray heads. He thought that was significant. It was,
too. It was a meeting of old people who had visibly lost the fight
that had consumed their youth. They had wasted their lives. No one
was listening, except for the visitor, who misread the meeting.
He thought a bunch of kids at a meeting would have been silly. But,
no, these were only old people.
If there are
no kids at a meeting to plan strategy, it's irrelevant. The people
at the meeting have no future.
They were discussing
strategy. He thought this was important. When Communists discuss
strategy in a public room on campus, they are either starting over,
trying to pick up the pieces, or else it's a sham. It's then a recruiting
meeting. But it wasn't. There were no young people. No young people
at Berkeley? It's all over but the burial.
He says that
this was one faction of the CPUSA, which had split. He never asked
the obvious question: How had it split? There was an obvious reason:
the leaders were no longer getting instructions from the Communist
Party of the USSR. There was no CPUSSR. It had shut down less
than a year before. The Communist experiment in the USSR had ended
in complete failure the greatest single institutional failure
He also did
not ask this: What was the other faction doing? What was it saying?
Where were its members meeting?
He says he
gave no more thought to this until 2008. Then, out of the blue,
it occurred to him that a meeting he could barely recall had somehow
forecast all of the moral breakdown in the USA. Conclusion: the
Communists anyway, the Berkeley faction had planned
it all, organized it all, and was still pulling the strings from
behind the curtain.
There was a
curtain. There was a wizard behind it.
He then spent
two years studying everything, he said. Really? Two whole years?
I started studying this in 1956. Fred Schwarz started studying it
in 1945. In 1996, he said the Communists had lost. I have said the
Communists have lost ever since 1992. But the producer has concluded
that they have almost won. At 1:16:33 into the documentary, he announces:
"This is our last chance to push back."
me of Dorothy, the tin man, the scarecrow, and the cowardly lion
after they had defeated the witch. They were once again standing
in the grand hall, and the head was yelling at them. They were terrified
of the head.
Think of me
In the documentary,
a book is referred to repeatedly, Toward
Soviet America. It was written by the head of the CPUSA
in 1932. The author was William Z. Foster. We are assured that this
book holds the key to understanding what is happening today. It
doesn't. The book refutes everything in the documentary relating
argues that today's Left-wing movements are an extension of Marxian
Communism. They aren't. No book proves this more effectively than
Toward Soviet America.
reflected Soviet opinion, meaning Stalin's opinion, in 1932. What
did Foster say about all Left-wing reform movements in capitalist
nations? Exactly what Marx said, Engels sad, and Lenin said. They
are all parts of the capitalist system. In Chapter 3, "Attempts
to Liquidate the Crisis," in the section The Movement for Capitalist
Planned Economy, we read the following.
on the one hand at the breakdown of the chaotic capitalistic economy
in the crisis and on the other at the forging ahead of the Soviet
Union with its planned Socialist economy, defenders of capitalism,
especially in the United States, are raising a great clamor for
a planned capitalist economy. "Give us a plan," they cry in every
key and in manifest confusion. Many of them frankly state that it
is a case of either a planned capitalist economy or Communism (p.
What are these
people really doing? Opposing Communist revolution. This includes
the A.F.L. (American Federation of Labor).
is characteristic that the Social Fascist and Fascist leaders of
the Socialist party and A.F. of L., together with many liberals,
are advocates of capitalist "planning." They try to prove that the
revolution is not necessary for an ordered economy and prosperity
for the workers. As agents of finance capitalism, these elements
always manage to find "progress" in every new step that the capitalists
find necessary for the exploitation of the workers. The A.F. of
L. leaders' demand now for "planning" and the abrogation of the
anti- trust laws is just as much in the service of the employers
as their support of the tariff, the rationalization of industry,
the present wage-cut drive, etc.(pp. 163-64)
of Communism, Foster said, is the proletarian revolution.
MAJOR social contradiction of the capitalist system is the conflict
in interest between the owning capitalist class and the producing
working class. This gives rise to class struggle, the capitalists
always seeking to more intensely exploit the workers, and the workers
struggling to retain the products of their labor. The class struggle,
as we have already seen, becomes ever sharper with the intensification
of the general crisis of capitalism, and it eventually culminates
in the proletarian revolution (pp. 172-73).
nothing but contempt for these people. "Adapting themselves to the
needs of the employers, the reformist Socialist and trade union
leaders have developed their movement into an organ of the bosses
for the Fascist repression and intensified exploitation of the working
class" (p. 176). He hated the far-Left non-Communists most of all.
the most insidious and dangerous to the workers of all this crop
of demagogues are the so- called "left" Social Fascists. The substance
of their activities is, while giving practical support to the right
Social Fascists, to criticize them in the name of the revolution.
They are the radical phrase-mongers par excellence. Their objective
task is the confusion of the most advanced elements of the workers
and therefore the breaking up of serious movements against the capitalists
and their reactionary labor henchmen (p. 195).
What are Communists
true Communists in favor of? This:
COMMUNIST PARTY bases its activities upon the principles of the
class struggle, both with regard to its every-day struggles and
its ultimate revolutionary goal. It relentlessly fights against
the policy of class collaboration practiced by the Socialist party
and the A.F. of L. leaders. Worldwide experience has fully demonstrated
the fact that the workers cannot go along with the bosses as "friendly
partners." The capitalists and the workers are class enemies, with
mutually hostile interests. The exploiters and the exploited are
natural political foes. The relations between them depend upon the
question of power. The workers can get from the employers only what
they have the power to take. The A.F. of L. theory (which corresponds
to the Socialist party practice) of the "harmony of interest between
capital and labor" is the theory of the surrender of the working
class to the bourgeoisie (p. 252).
is their final goal? World Soviet government.
American Soviet government will join with the other Soviet governments
in a world Soviet Union. There will also be, very probably, some
form of continental union. The American revolution will doubtless
carry with it all those countries of the three Americas that have
not previously accomplished the revolution (p. 272).
December 1991, the USSR committed suicide. It no longer exists.
This is why
those gray-heads at Berkeley in 1992 were having a public meeting.
There was nothing left to conceal. They had hit the Communist equivalent
of the brick wall. The Communist movement was dead in Russia. Someone
needed to write Toward Soviet Russia. No one ever has.
If you believe
the message of Agenda, I suggest that you take the documentary's
advice. Read Toward Soviet America.
the rest of the article
North [send him mail]
is the author of Mises
on Money. Visit http://www.garynorth.com.
He is also the author of a free 31-volume series, An
Economic Commentary on the Bible.
2012 Gary North
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