McCarthyism: Past or Present?


Hooray for Katha Pollitt [“It’s Not McCarthyism,” May 8/15]! After reading articles in which Nation writers I have historically admired accused critics of Trump’s potential ties to Putin of “McCarthyism,” I was starting to think that The Nation had become totally irrelevant.

The Putin regime has nothing in common with the adherents of democracy in Russia, like Mikhail Gorbachev, let alone progressives in Russia or elsewhere. All of Trump’s links to this murdering autocrat are fair game, and it is the role of the left to push for complete, thorough investigations into them, whatever it takes, not just to echo the Republican protectors of Trump like Devin Nunes, who says, in effect, “There is nothing there. What does it matter?”

What is happening here, Nation? Keep it up, Katha!

Mark Lurinsky
montclair, n.j.

Thank you, Katha Pollitt! You have restored my faith in The Nation. Having been a victim of McCarthyism in a much smaller way than the many who lost their livelihoods, I’m as concerned as anyone about baseless charges. (We were denied security clearance based on our membership or association with the ACLU, The Nation, and a progressive radio station, according to a friend who was interviewed by a government agency—all of which were probably considered “commie symps.”) But we should await the results of these current investigations and not resort to undermining the seriousness of the charges that a foreign government interfered in our elections by labeling them another form of McCarthyism.

Theresa H. McGowan
santa monica, calif.


It was a relief to read Katha Pollitt’s column, in which she criticizes her fellow Nation contributors for their defense of Vladimir Putin and their disparagement of those who think Russian interference in the US election is important. I, too, have found it puzzling that The Nation seems to think we have returned to the McCarthy era.

It is true that there were other reasons Trump won the election besides Russian meddling, not least that his opponent was so roundly and rightly disliked. But the Russians were up to something, and it wasn’t good. We on the democratic left have every reason to dislike Putin and his regime, which, behind the flimsiest facade of democracy, allegedly murders its critics, bans “undesirable organizations,” has been accused of setting fire to bookstores, and has slaughtered Chechens. We need to know about these things, and compiling evidence for impeachment is not the only reason we need to.

That the United States has interfered in many foreign elections; that Putin may well have legitimate fears about the eastern expansion of NATO; that domestic factors were more decisive for the outcome of the election—these may be true, but let’s find out what else was afoot. A tyrannical and murderous regime with advanced technological powers was meddling in one of our few remaining democratic procedures. That’s pretty serious.

Michael Ferber
strafford, n.h.

Much of the left has gone completely bonkers on this issue. There is now an unholy alliance between the Cold War neocons in Congress and the Trump haters on the left in regard to Russia. Katha Pollitt’s legitimate animosity toward Trump because of his attitude toward women has unfortunately clouded her judgment vis-à-vis Russia. However, there is a substantial segment of the left that wants to see better relations with Russia and is dismayed and disheartened by the relentless hyping of the alleged Russian hacking, Trump’s ties with Russia, etc. The neocons are laughing all the way to a military confrontation with Russia. Bravo to Victor Navasky and Stephen F. Cohen for continuing to speak truth to hysteria. And bravo to The Nation for doing the same in its editorials.
Peggy Karp
sebastopol, calif.

Implausible Deniability


Re Sarah Esther Marlin’s “El Salvador’s Ghost Town” [April 17]: In the early 1990s, I was a member of a peace delegation to El Salvador. We met with an official of the US Embassy to discuss the role of the US military in supporting the murderous Salvadoran regime. When we brought up the massacre at El Mozote, he said that if it occurred, the US government condemned it.
Richard Rabin
arlington, mass.

Lessons From Carrier


I write to express my appreciation for the thoughtful, insightful essay penned by Sarah Jaffe [“The Workers Trump Forgot,” May 8/15]. I especially want to call out her explanatory parenthetical defining “bearings” as “machine parts that reduce friction.” This tacit admission that there may be Nation readers who don’t know what bearings are—something that the industrial working class knows—was music to the ears of this lifelong, working-class small farmer. And it is just this willingness to extend understanding that is so missing in the dismissive attitude of Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Ed Rendell, who seem to wish to swap the working class for “wealthier Democrats.” Her sentiment seems to extend an invitation to the working class to join an economy that recognizes contributions from all classes. Thank you!
Jim Van Der Pol
kerkhoven, minn.


I’ve been in both the Carrier plant and the Rexnord plant, and once worked for Link-Belt, the predecessor of Rexnord. The decline in manufacturing employment began before offshoring, but that speeded things along. The issues of a changing manufacturing world are too complex for one single comment, but suffice it to say that the nostrums of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump don’t address them. They go to the core of what a company is and what it’s supposed to do and be. If a company is dominated by the principle of gain for investors before anything else, you get these kinds of moves that are not only cruel in human terms, but don’t make the best sense in operational terms, either.

We need to think about creating a very different kind of economy, one capable of coping with all the problems of the 21st century. We’re still fighting the battles of the 20th century.

Robert Hall

An Admiring Bog 


Stuart Klawans’s review of the films “A Quiet Passion” and “Karl Marx City” [April 17] was masterfully written and illustrative of the top-level film critic that he is. His continuing passion for excellent cinema is evident in his writing and inspiring to boot. I just hope the films themselves do justice to such praise. I hope to see them both soon.
Steev Beeson
los angeles

Electing the Future 


Steve Phillips is right to raise the need for Democrats to embrace and promote diversity among our candidates but he characterized Emily’s List unfairly [“Georgia Can Elect the First African-American Governor in History,” May 17, online only]. Emily’s List is dedicated to ensuring that women’s voices are at the table because we believe that diverse perspectives make for better policy. Since our founding in 1985, Emily’s List has elected over 800 women to state and local office, 12 women governors, 116 women to the House, and 23 to the Senate. Forty percent of the candidates Emily’s List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color, and we’ve helped elect every Democratic congresswoman of color currently serving.

Emily’s List has a long relationship with Stacey Abrams. We have been proud to stand with her as she’s built her career in the state legislature. In 2014, Emily’s List presented Stacey with our first-ever Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award to recognize her exceptional accomplishments and dedication to public service and to position her in front of our community of activists and donors (which is now more than 5 million members strong) as a woman to watch and a candidate to invest in. Emily’s List generally does not endorse candidates until they officially launch their campaigns, and we are encouraged by Stacey’s exploration of a gubernatorial bid.

In the last few months, over 13,000 women have reached out to us wanting help to run for office from every state in the nation, including thousands of whom are women of color. We are committed to harnessing the power of these women to create and expand our political pipeline, and continuing our work to ensure that our party and our leadership looks like the face of America.

Leila McDowell
Vice President of Communications
Emily’s List

Washington, DC