School of Darkness — Or How I Discovered That I Was Wrong About Everything!

I keep talking about this book, so–for today’s Thursday Throwback–here is my write up of School of Darkness by Bella Dodd, a book I learned about on a Superversive SF Chat.

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On a recent Superversive SF, Peter Bradley recommended a book called School of Darkness by Bella Dodd, a woman who had been active in the Communist party in the 30s through 50s, before returning to the Catholic Church.

School of Darkness

I grew up in New York. My father came from the Bronx. My mental image of Labor Unions was quite a rosy one. I had been told that businessmen were greedy. Working conditions were terrible. Workers spontaneously rose up, of their own accord, and demanded better conditions. This worked.

Halleluiah!

I knew people who thought modern Labor Unions were corrupt, but I thought that, if true, it was something that had happened once they were no longer really needed.

In high school, one of the most chilling things I learned about was the Red Scare in Hollywood. I had a mental picture of Communists sympathizers as sweet helpful souls who wanted to help the less fortunate. I figured artists and actors are often taken in by such things, and thought that the blacklisting of Communists in Hollywood was one of the most terrifying things I had heard of…because I saw myself likely to be part of the blacklisted group.

Because I thought that the actors were just innocent dupes, I figured the other people targeted by the Senate UnAmerican Activities Committee were probably equally innocent or unimportant.

After all, it did not say otherwise in anything I read in school.

Later, I heard that when the KGB opened their documents, the people called before the Senate UnAmerican Activities Committee were actually Communist Party members, many in the pay of the Soviets—actually working for the downfall of America.

I guess, at some level, I had not actually believed it. Or I had pictured them as ineffective intellectuals with glasses sitting around a table somewhere discussing politics and accomplishing nothing.

When I thought of the Communist Party, I pictured, basically, the Libertarian Party. A small party of idealistic intellectuals, devoted to a cause on principle and tirelessly working toward it despite very little success.

I could not have been more wrong.

Bella Dodd was an Italian-born American (she was an American accidentally born in Italy, who grew up there until she was about six,) who went on to become a teacher. Influenced by the young free thinking teacher at her college (who later committed suicide, so empty was her life), Bella became interested in labor rights and was targeted by the Communists.

To my utter astonishment, at that time, the Communists were a huge, well-organized group with fingers in every single pie.

Because they had many of their members stay secret, not reveal that they were actually Communists, they could be members of every group. They formed Fragments, as I think they called them, in every political party, every labor union. Because if this they knew what all the different parties and groups were up to, and could organized coordinated attacks to get their policies across.

In the various teachers unions, their main goal was getting schools to 1) accept federal aid and 2) emphasize separation of church and state.

They had as an avowed goal: designing public schools so as to break up the family and make the children idea future Communists.

The Communists attacked the Church, demonized it, and tried to separate workers from their priests at every turn. Bella saw this over and over and gave some examples. She also admitted to helping over 1,100 communists get into the Roman Catholic Church, with plans to alter and destroy it from within.

They also attacked race harmony in America. Word came from the Soviet Union that America’s racial peace and its morality were its strength, so these things had to be destroyed.

All these things, these things we all complain about but think is just ‘part of life’, this highly-organized, secret group were deliberately attempting to orchestrate.

And they were really clever at it. Whenever anyone came up with a logical argument to make the bad thing sound like the moral high ground, they quickly shared it. Suddenly, that argument was the accepted view.

Here is another person, Mallory Millet,  on the same subject.

http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/240037/marxist-feminisms-ruined-lives-mallory-millett

It was 1969. Kate invited me to join her for a gathering at the home of her friend, Lila Karp. They called the assemblage a “consciousness-raising-group,” a typical communist exercise, something practiced in Maoist China.  We gathered at a large table as the chairperson opened the meeting with a back-and-forth recitation, like a Litany, a type of prayer done in Catholic Church. But now it was Marxism, the Church of the Left, mimicking religious practice:

“Why are we here today?” she asked.
“To make revolution,” they answered.
“What kind of revolution?” she replied.
“The Cultural Revolution,” they chanted.
“And how do we make Cultural Revolution?” she demanded.
“By destroying the American family!” they answered.
“How do we destroy the family?” she came back.
“By destroying the American Patriarch,” they cried exuberantly.
“And how do we destroy the American Patriarch?” she replied.
“By taking away his power!”
“How do we do that?”
“By destroying monogamy!” they shouted.
“How can we destroy monogamy?”

Their answer left me dumbstruck, breathless, disbelieving my ears.  Was I on planet earth?  Who were these people?

“By promoting promiscuity, eroticism, prostitution and homosexuality!” they resounded.

Of course, that failed. We haven’t seen any increase in any of those things…

But back to School of Darkness:

Many, many young people flocked to the Communist Party, because they were idealistic and wanted to help their fellow man. They were impressed by the idealism and lack of material goods of many of the inner circle members.

BUT…their goal was revolution. They thought that the Capitalist system had to be overthrown, so that the new better system could come, through violent war.

Everything they did was intended to disrupt America, to destabilize it, to break up the peace and cause discontent.

They caused strikes or lengthened them. They urged workers to join labor unions. American workers were fairly content. Their wages were rising. The Communists had to use propaganda to convince them they were unhappy.

And, boy, did they!

People all over the media and advertising were secretly Communists. They decided how America would see a whole series of things, starting with the idea that fascists and communists are opposites, when both sides were controlled by the same organization. During the Soviet-run Spanish Civil War, they spun the whole thing to make the Church look bad and the rebels look good.

And, they all…this entire movement, took all their orders directly from Moscow, and the moment Moscow said “Jump.” They jumped.

They courted the rich, and money poured into their coffers.

They courted the young and used them up. Bella reported that young people would come into the movement and pour their whole life into the cause in a desire to make the world a better place. The Party would encourage them, use them up, and spend their lives, without much concern for any of them.

Bella Dodd

Bella discovered that the same highly-organized group who put the Communists into power in Russia also helped support Hitler. At one period, during WWII but before Yalta and Bretton Woods, the Communists were told to make peace between the factions.

And, boy, were they effective!

They had a finger in every pie! They stopped all strikes, got the different unions and parties to work together. They had enough control in enough places that they became the go to power to get things done.

But then orders came from Moscow to go back to pushing revolution and business as usual.

This was where it all started to fall apart. These orders included turning on the man who had been running the party all this time in America. He was not necessarily a good man, he had had people beaten and killed, but he was organized and effective. After he was forced out, it began fracturing.

It wasn’t too much longer until Bella, who was a person who spoke up against some of their more foolish actions, was forced out, too.

She remained a long and lost for some time, her husband had left and her parents had died during her quest for Communism.

Eventually, however, she met Bishop Fulton Sheen and found her way back to the Catholic Church.

At the end, do you know what they did, even back then, to throw her out of the party? They called her a racist. They spread about that she was “against the Negro”. Considering that she had spent years living in Harlem among people of all nations and advocating for them, this was the worst blow to her.

It was eerie to see them doing then the exact same thing that crybullies do now: call people racists when they are not racists.

Every time I see this happen—the internet hoards descend on someone and call them out as a racist, someone who is not a racist, I think of all the real racists in the world. I think two things:

One, I think of the story of the man who is looking for a quarter under a street light, instead of where he dropped it, because the light is better under the lamp. They go for the easy targets.

The other is the story of the Boy Who Cried Wolf. Every time anyone attacks a fake racist, they open the door a little farther for the real racists. Because, already, I notice people who have reached the point that they just shrug and turn away at the cry of “racist,” because, in their experience, it is always a lie.
The more people realize that “racist” is just a pejorative for “we hate you,” the more they ignore it.

Which means that the real racists—and there are real racists out there—when they come will be ignored and will get away with much more than they could have in a sane society.

The most horrible part of all, to me, is that this is not a new book. Not at all. In fact, it was written ten years before I was born.

Which means, my whole life, I could have known all this…but I did not.

In case you wish to listen to Bella Dodd speaking:

Comments

 

Lyonesse is LIVE!

New Science Fiction and Fantasy magazine Lyonesse is now LIVE!

Their opening announcement: We have 23 stories live in our back catalog at the moment, all available in EPUB, MOBI, and PDF format – or readable for subscribers straight from the web site itself. Our first new story, The Dreaming Wounds by Anya Ow, will go out later this afternoon.

Base subscriptions start at only $6.99 per year, so don’t wait – get yours today!

Visit Lyonesse!  The best fiction on the web*

 

*(Until Superversive SF’s new magazine Astounding Frontiers goes live!)

Signal Boost: Writing Down the Dragon

Another in our series of posts about the books of essayist extraordinaire, Mr. Superversive*, himself!

Print

‘This book is not for the Wise, but for my fellow beginners in the craft of Fantasy, who are trying to learn some of the master’s techniques and want to compare notes.’ — From the introduction

There are shelves full of books about the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, most written from the perspective of academics and literary critics. Here is one from the point of view of the working fantasy writer. How did Tolkien produce his effects, and what can we learn from his methods? In this collection, Tom Simon investigates topics from the uses of archaic language to the moral philosophy of Orcs.

The book contains eleven essays on Tolkien:

The Riddles of the Wise
The Tolkien Method
The Rhetoric of Middle-earth
Frodo’s Vaunt
The Method and the Morgoth
What Is Elf?
The Terminal Orc
Writing Down the Dragon
Moorcock, Saruman, and the Dragon’s Tail
The Abyss and the Critics
Lost Tales, Unattained Vistas

Some of these pieces have previously appeared on the author’s website in slightly different forms.

For more of Tom Simon’s writings, visit his blog.

* — For those who do not know the history of Superversive, Tom Simon is the one introduced the term Superversive to the rest of us.

Signal Boost! The Stone Soldiers Series

Guest Signal Boost by Nate Winchester

If you’ve read much of my blog and my thoughts on the show, Supernatural, you’ll know I sometimes discuss how the show ends up being a parable on the patterns civilization and anarchy. The most common being when citizens are in danger, ordinary folks will have to step up to do the necessary tasks. If this becomes common enough, society institutionalizes the job. Example: Laws must be enforced in a society – people have better things to do – ergo the society creates the institution of “police” to enforce the norms of that society.

The Stone Soldiers series runs with the question: What if the USA institutionalized dealing with the supernatural? Or for the show’s fans, “What if hunters were deputized?”

But this series isn’t some philosophical treatise or navel-gazing, no sir. It’s pure pulp slathering on action & coolness over its questioning. This isn’t Law & Order: SPN (though I would pay to watch that) but Hawaii-five-O: SPN. This is Sam & Dean going on hunts with the US government backing them up. (Which, yes I will admit that the government being efficient or effective at anything is probably the most fantastical part of the books – and I’m counting the shapeshifters.)

Of course if you gave Sam & Dean all the backing of the USA government, you’d also have to up the threat and that is certainly done here as the books set up a beastie so nasty, even the Predator would hesitate going after one of these. Yes, that movie was brought to mind a few times since one can see Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime playing the lead role of this series.

Anyway, if you have an enemy too mean, it becomes questionable whether the heroes can win at all. This brings us to my second favorite part of the series. See, in his review for the X-files episode “Fresh Bones” Chuck of SF Debris proposed the question: If, in the XF universe, “everything is real” what if humans fought aliens with things like… voodoo? Or to put it another way: what if invading aliens landed on an ancient Indian burial ground? In this series, the defenders of humanity run with that very question of mixing & matching supernatural features. If Medusa’s gaze only affects males, what happens to a shape-shifter that can be male or female? Could we partially infect soldiers with werewolfism to make them stronger without the curse side effects? (There weren’t aliens in the first two books, but they may show up later given the titles of later volumes.) This book series runs with those challenges and even answers them with logic and consistency – no really, I can’t express my gratitude for how well this world keeps things working. The only thing I appreciated more was its general appropriate use of religion without being insulting or stupid like some modern fiction.

Any cons to the books? Well the prose style isn’t quite to my taste but it does its job well enough and shouldn’t be a hindrance to less snobbish readers though some parts can end up being repetitive. The character work is pretty light with the protagonists painted more with broad brushes than nuance. I was informed that the first book was adapted from a screenplay submitted for a contest and it does show (for example, the “rednecks who mug the monster” bit) while the 2nd book at least works far better under the strictures of the novel format.

But all in all, it’s a quick, light read. You can check out the first book for free at the link below, and get the 2nd one (for only a dollar) if you want.

Summery – It’s an 80s action movie mixed with the supernatural in book form.

Colonel Mark Kenslir is the last of the Cold War supersoldiers–and he’s just come back from the dead. 

Sent to Arizona to hunt a heart-devouring shapeshifter, Colonel Kenslir and his team of supernatural-smashing soldiers thought it was just another mission. But instead of stopping the monster’s murderous rampage, the Colonel and his team became the latest victims in a trail of carnage blazed across the Southwest.

Suffering from partial amnesia, with no weapons and no support, Kenslir must rely on two reluctant teens to help him remember his past, complete his final mission and avenge his men.

(Warning! Contains extreme violence and pulp action that may be too intense for some readers.)

Colonel Mark Kenslir, a cold warrior cursed to live forever, is rebuilding his team of stone soldiers after a campaign to stop a rampaging shapeshifter in the American southwest. But word soon arrives that someone, or something, is again on the loose, ripping out and consuming human hearts to steal the memories and forms of civilians.

Kenslir enlists the help of one brave teen and an FBI postcognitive empath to track down the new killer–only to discover there are now two prehistoric shapeshifters loose in the modern world.

Falling back to their headquarters to regroup and replenish their numbers, the Detachment soon find themselves under assault from the ravenous shapeshifters–who are intent on pillaging the military’s greatest supernatural treasures.

Can a new generation of stone soldiers and a girl struggling to understand her new cryokinetic abilities turn the tide of battle, or will Colonel Kenslir die at the hands of a shapeshifter again?

The Stone Soldiers are America’s secret weapon against the forces of darkness. A small detachment of psychics, supernatural soldiers and men turned to living stone, they respond to threats conventional forces are not equipped to handle. Battling myths, monsters and magic around the world, the men and women of Detachment 1039 stand ready to do whatever it takes to stop evil in its tracks.

 

Science Blast! Zombie Organs Are Only The Beginning!

Re-animated organs with their own agendas, hijacking their new body at midnight to carry out their nefarious plans, definitely deserve a place in the Pulp Revolution!

 

Reviving Frozen Organs: Nanotech May Pave the Way

Credit: Syda Productions/Shutterstock

Frozen organs could be brought back to life safely one day with the aid of nanotechnology, a new study finds. The development could help make donated organs available for virtually everyone who needs them in the future, the researchers say.

The number of donated organs that could be transplanted into patients could increase greatly if there were a way to freeze and reheat organs without damaging the cells within them.

In the new work, scientists developed a way to safely thaw frozen tissues with the aid of nanoparticles — particles only nanometers or billionths of a meter wide. (In comparison, the average human hair is about 100,000 nanometers wide.)

Read more…