Liberals Descend from Munzenberg’s “Innocents’ Club” — May 16, 2014

Willi Munzenberg. Click to enlarge

Willi Munzenberg, (1888-1940) ranks with Edward Bernays and Josef Goebbels as one of the three great masters of propaganda in the twentieth century.
At a time when Communism has little remaining formal influence, Münzenberg’s techniques of propaganda and disinformation pervade our lives.
Why did Western governments tolerate this Communist subversion?  The answer is simple: they are subverted themselves.
Willi Münzenberg, inter alia German, French, Communist, founder of the Communist Youth Association, built up his “Münzenberg group” during the Weimar period with numerous daily and weekly newspapers, film corporations and book clubs, including Welt am Abend, Berlin am Morgen and Arbeiter-Illustrierte. Residing in Paris in 1933, he became the propaganda chief of the Comintern using the cover name: “International Aid Committee for the Victims of Fascism.”

by Michael Newland — The Life and Influence of Willi Münzenberg

How did it come about that much of the British intelligensia, for decades, was persuaded of the moral superiority of Communism, and of its inevitability as the future political system of the world? One man, virtually unknown and unnoticed, can claim the dubious distinction of being the prime mover.
Willi Münzenberg was born in 1888, the son of an alcoholic innkeeper in Thuringia, Germany, who killed himself cleaning a gun while drunk. Unlike most of the leading early German Communists, who were upper-middle class, he could claim to be a genuine proletarian.
During the First World War, Münzenberg was a young left-wing radical living in Switzerland. Talent-spotted by Trotsky, he soon became part of the Bolshevik circle around Lenin, as they waited their opportunity to return to a revolutionary Russia. It was to Münzenberg that Lenin turned as the famous sealed train left Zurich for Russia in 1917. “Six months from now we will either be in power or hanging from the gallows” he said.
Trotsky chose well in Münzenberg. Following the rise to power of the Bolsheviks, he pioneered most of the manipulative political techniques which are a feature of life in the West today. Ad hoc committees for endless causes, politicized arts festivals, mock trials, celebrity letterheads, disinformation stunts and protest marches all sprang from Münzenberg’s sheer genius for propaganda.
Stephen Koch, in his book Double Lives: Stalin, Willi Münzenberg and the Seduction of the Intellectuals, calls this “righteous politics.” Political issues are turned into a quasi-religion, which brooks no debate – witness the ‘no platform’ antics of left-wing students who can tolerate no outlook besides their own.
During the 1920’s and most of the 1930’s Münzenberg played a leading role in the Comintern, Lenin’s front for world-wide co-ordination of the left under Russian control. Under Münzenberg’s direction, hundreds of groups, committees and publications cynically used and manipulated the devout radicals of the West.
Most of this army of workers in what Münzenberg called ‘Innocents’ Clubs’ had no idea they were working for Stalin. They were led to believe that they were advancing the cause of a sort of socialist humanism. The descendents of the ‘Innocents’ Clubs’ are still hard at work in our universities and colleges. Every year a new cohort of impressionable students join groups like the Anti-Nazi League believing them to be benign opponents of oppression, rather than the Trotskyite fronts they really are. The old tricks certainly are the best!


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