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When the New Left Shilled for North Korea

In an official statement addressed to “Esteemed Mr. Eldridge Cleaver and Madame” and “Esteemed Mr. Robert Scheer,” an unnamed North Korean official -- most likely Kim Il-Sung himself -- wrote to his “Comrades,” greeting the “Anti-Imperialist Delegation of the American People.” The statement thanked them for their solidarity “in the struggle against U.S. imperialism, the common enemy.” The American system, it continued, was “headed by war-maniac Nixon” and was “running amuck to find a way out of their acute crisis” by waging a war “for aggression and war externally,” and carrying out “plunder and repression of the people internally.”

It ended with a toast “to the health of Eldridge Cleaver and his wife” and “to the health of Mr. Robert Scheer.”

No wonder they received such a toast. Cleaver and Scheer came back filled with enthusiasm, and dedicated to spreading North Korea propaganda back home in the United States. As a lengthy statement says, perhaps written by either of the two:

It will be with the greatest joy that we will tell the American people of the glorious victories of your socialist revolution, of the miraculous economic construction that has built a paradise … In the capitalist United States, technology is highly advanced, but serves only to exploit and murder people … But in [North] Korea we have seen and felt how socialist technology works for the liberation of people.

The statement ends quoting the “brilliant, iron-willed commander, Marshal Kim Il Sung,” who told them that his country was not afraid of war, should the imperialists unleash it against them.

Today, the New York Times reports that Korean officials have said:

Now that the U.S. is set to light a fuse for a nuclear war, the revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK will exercise the right to a pre-emptive nuclear attack to destroy the strongholds of the aggressors and to defend the supreme interests of the country.

With Kim Jong-Un threatening a nuclear attack against the United States if the new UN sanctions against North Korea are put into effect, and with his announcement that his regime will abrogate the 1953 truce with South Korea, the grandson is following in his ancestor’s footsteps.

What new-generation Robert Scheer and Eldridge Cleaver will follow their example and organize a new trip to defend the socialist paradise against American imperialism?

Will Michael Moore rush to North Korea to make a new film telling the truth about their wonderful medical care?

Or will even Dennis Rodman prove he knows how to read, look over Eldridge Cleaver’s diary entries and letters, and realize he is providing the evil regime with a post-modern version of Cleaver’s earlier homage?

What really would be wonderful: if, at Truthdig.com Mr. Scheer would own up to his embarrassing past and apologize publicly for his foolish early years of revolutionary bravado. I look forward to such an article.