At times I found myself getting annoyed with Jessica Mitford to downright angry while reading her second memoir. A Fine Old Conflict
is about her life in the America communist party, her problems with the CIA as a result and her later career as a muckraker.
The highlight of the book was her romance with her husband Treuhoff.
She shared her sister Deborah's tendency to name-drop the various famous people she knew in her life but at least she didn't thank the people who picked out tea cosies.
Her opposition to fascism was admirable but she ignored obvious civil liberty violations at the hands of communist regimes.
I couldn't help but wonder how she would've felt if she actually lived in Hungary. She decided the plight of the three individuals who came to her for help were working with fascists and that the students deserved to be killed in the uprising. Now it's possible she would not have seen a problem from being on the "right side" due to the horrid statement many explain lack of civil liberties and privacy with. The old "If your not doing anything wrong you have nothing to fear
" but her own situation in the U.S.A was very similar when you think about it. I'd go as far as saying it's eerily similar to how the East Germans were being treated.
The communist party [as ineffective as it ended up being] was filled with spies and informants.
We know from history that you could be totalitarian and communist at the same time. Decca never admits this and her own son goes to Cuba to work in the '90s well after the practices of the DDR were exposed. She had time to learn about the gulags in '96 but she still stayed to true her lifelong belief. Her beloved sister Unity's nazi party had social economic policies after all. I am stressed to find any real differences between their two political beliefs. As children they split their rooms up and decorated them with Soviet and Nazi icons.
I guess people are not just going to admit both sides were wrong.
The wiretapping scandal that came out under the Bush administration and the one about to be made legal under Obama came to my mind while reading this book. The anti communism and cold war almost landed Decca in a detention camp. After it was discovered exactly what the wiretapping was used for [to ruin political lives and find dirt on Martin Luther King] FISA was created. FISA made warrant-less wiretapping illegal. Too bad it didn't stay that way.
Now our president has made that a thing of the past and our government can [legally] spy on it's citizens for the very things they were doing during Decca's time in U.S.A history.
When she was given her cia files she discovered that JFK signed the order for her detention but she never went. GASP! It wasn't just the republicans who didn't care about civil rights.
I wonder if her sister Diana's relationship with him helped her out there. Her cousin being married to Winston Churchhill and Decca herself being the widow of his nephew probably didn't hurt shielding her from what might have happened to her. Less connected people probably disappeared at the hands of the government.
People don't seem to care that detention without trial is against our constitution.
America has come full circle. It's still both political parties who don't care and people are still operating under the delusion that it's just the republicans who don't. Republicans and southerners of course are the bad guys. A liberal would never...
That brings me to the other topic of the book that irked me.
The nasty comments about Southern Americans was especially irritating.
You can not explain the racial tensions in Oakland, California because many of the cops parents came from the South.
If you look at what has happened during the Occupy protests I'm sure it's not more people from Alabama moving to California but an issue of power vs. no power. She admits they tried to manipulate people trying to actually fight to gain civil liberties and trick them into joining the party where the end game is the party is in power. Not an improvement at all.
People aren't helping things by separating blue/red states, south/north, republican/democrat, communist/fascist, black/white etc.
On a different note....
Jessica made the comment that Americans don't like to be teased. Her own family were merciless to each other but when she moved to the states she found people couldn't take it.
I find that over here that it's really that people like to tease others but can't take it themselves. Just because an American is mad someone teased them does not mean they aren't going to tease someone else.
We have a saying that goes "He can dish it but he can't take it".
I grew up with three siblings and I was the brunt of most of the teasing. My oldest sister was quite like Nancy. She lied and exaggerated like nobody's business.