Ron Radosh

Merriment at the NYT: Visit the Marxist Center for Real Fun!

You have to hand it to the  New York Times. Its editors know their audience. Hence the little would-be humor column about informing its readers “Where Marxists make Merry” detailing where the unrepentant NYC communists of all sects evidently go to get their fill of propaganda combined with evening poker games. Harmless and funny, right?

But not so fast. Just pause a moment and re-write the same column substituting “fascist” for Marxist, as in “Where Fascists make Merry.” Readers would respond in fury. How dare their beloved daily paper trivialize the crimes of the fascists, who supported Hitler’s death camps, the attempt to make war on the world and take over Western and Eastern Europe, the Russian empire, and even Great Britain — upon which it regularly bombarded London with Werner Von Braun’s new rocket bombs.

Let us take and re-write, for example, the following paragraph:

But there is also the monthly Game Night, when regulars put down their copies of Das Kapital and immerse themselves in table tennis, football and a complicated Marxist version of Monopoly called, appropriately, Class Struggle. In a city known for cynicism, the Brecht, which survives on donations, is a surprisingly open and idealistic place.

Below is the new version you might have seen had they extolled the happiness of local fascists:

But there is also the monthly Game Night, when regulars put down their copies of Mein Kampf and immerse themselves in table tennis, football and a  Fascist version of Parchesi called, appropriately, Juden Raus. It was a children’s game published in Germany by Günther & Co. in 1936, just one year after the Nuremberg Laws were put into effect. The game was advertised as “entertaining, instructive and solidly constructed. The game’s equipment includes a pair of dice, a game board, and several game piece figurines with large pointed hats meant to represent Jews. Players take turns rolling the dice and moving their “Jews” across the map toward “collection points” outside the city walls for deportation to Palestine. Written on the game board, it says “If you manage to see off 6 Jews, you’ve won a clear victory.”

When British comrades join the merriment, they shift instead to playing Bomber über England (“Bombers over England”) a bagatelle (or pinball) style game that featured a map of England and part of Northern Europe. The map contained holes in the location of key cities such as London, Liverpool, and Newcastle, as well as various points representing targets in the North Sea. Players shot spring-driven balls representing “bombs” at these targets and were awarded various points for hitting the enemy targets. “Players were awarded a maximum 100 points for landing on London, while Liverpool was worth 40. If players bombed locations under the control of Nazi Germany such as Brussels and Amsterdam, players would be deducted points.

We also learn that the director of the Marxist center, a 34-year-old New Yorker, “is a child of mainline Democrats, but Mr. Balagun said he was attracted to Marxism because it offered ‘a way to understand the world, and understand how the world could be different.’” Not so surprising; some would say in these days it’s a rather short ride from being a mainline Democrat to a fringe Marxist.

I suppose people like Mr. Balagun and plenty of his friends name their children after famous Marxists; with first names like Ninel (Lenin backwards), or even Che, or Leon, or Fidel. Yes, the truth is I know plenty of people who have done just that. Recall “Chesa Boudin,” the birth name of the child born to Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert who was raised by Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers while the birth parents were in jail. That kid did fine. He wrote a book about his wonderful time with Hugo Chavez, after getting a coveted Rhodes fellowship.

Compare how he was treated with the poor young kid in New Jersey whose parents named him after Adolf Hitler, and ordered a cake with his name on it for his birthday. The child was promptly removed from his home by social services. The kid who had Che as his name was only given honor after honor and a path to Yale and onwards. Good thing the Weather Underground leaders only served Marx and Lenin instead of Hitler and Mussolini.

But don’t worry. We are assured that “no test of ideological purity is administered at the door.” So when you are in NYC, you too can go to the Brecht Forum whenever you please. Just tell them when you arrive with your Tea Party slogans and banners that the New York Times assures you that “even the rare Republican is welcome.” However, when you ask for free admission, since the article says that admission is based on whatever “visitors say what they can afford,” remember that the gatekeeper will not believe that any conservative is anything but very wealthy. So you will undoubtedly be assessed a high tax, so that your wealth is immediately redistributed to those who run the Marxist center. But then, do you really want to attend forums like “Child Welfare From the Crack Era to the Age of Obama”?

I guess only one conclusion can be reached. Conservatives have no sense of humor, and don’t want to have a really fun evening.