In this article we will examine a very peculiar direction toward which Hallinan’s radical ideology leads him. For simplicity, we will leave citations aside if they appear elsewhere in this website.
If you do not believe that Berkeley’s local Marxists would embrace Islamic fundamentalism, you are wrong. Look at the May 21, 2009 issue of the Berkeley Daily Planet and you will find a loving ode to Mahmoud Ahmedinajad written by apparent Marxist, Carl Shames (for Shames’ connection to Marxism see, for example, http://www.autodidactproject.org/other/sn-9-10-activity.html).
After closely reading many of his columns we can compile a telling pantheon of his heroes.
Russia: As one would expect, we find Mother Russia at the top of his list. Hallinan spent years as a leading member of the CP USA and at one time was the editor of its weekly magazine. The CP USA was very closely aligned with the Soviet Union. It was essentially Stalinist. Russia today is no longer Communist in the strict sense, but it can be reasonably argued that it is actually closer to being Stalinist than it has been in many years. In any event, Comrade Hallinan feels right at home. That is why he defends Russia’s invasion of Georgia, and exonerates Russia in the polonium poisoning murder of Alexander Litvineko, despite overwhelming evidence of Russian guilt.
Syria: Hallinan exists in a kind of Soviet time warp. He seems to be stuck in the mid-70’s or thereabouts. As he embraces Russia today, he also embraces former Soviet satraps like Syria.
FARC: There are not many Marxist-Leninist guerrilla groups remaining in the world. Colombia’s FARC is one of the very few left—and Hallinan loves these guys. The United States, Canada, and the EU have deemed the FARC to be a terrorist group. But Hallinan, unmoved by years of their murdering, kidnapping, and drug smuggling still seems to think they are terrific, and, of course, he loathes the duly elected “right wing” president of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe (March 14, 2008). Uribe has gone after the FARC in its sanctuaries in Ecuador, has managed to rescue many of their foreign and Colombian hostages, and has reduced the FARC to a remnant of what they once were. This has thrown Hallinan into a complete tizzy. Hallinan is fundamentally dishonest, so do not look in his columns for a straightforward statement such as “I am a Marxist-Stalinist, so lay off the FARC, ‘cause these are my kind of folk.” Rather, he feigns a humanitarian concern for FARC’s hostages and defends the territorial integrity of Ecuador (though he cared nothing of the territorial integrity of Georgia when Russia invaded). On these grounds, he pleads that Uribe must leave the FARC alone.
North Korea: In the July 2, 2009 issue of the Berkeley Daily Planet Hallinan begins by allowing that North Korea is repressive. But here, as often, Hallinan is being fundamentally dishonest, for he is merely allowing the obvious in order to lower our guard. For the real point of his column is to blame the West for the failure of negotiations with North Korea and most particularly to beg the West to lay off poor misunderstood North Korea: “In short, more sanctions, more threats, and searching ships on the high seas is likely to make the situation worse, not better.”
China and Cuba: We suspect that Hallinan, while sitting on his mother’s knee, heard the old saw, “if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all.” Remarkably, although Hallinan has written almost 100 columns for the Berkeley Daily Planet, and has heaped repeated scorn on democratic Israel, he seems to have nothing to say about China and Cuba.
Hallinan’s good guy list does not, though, end with Communists or former Soviet client states. Oddly, it also includes Islamists such as Hamas, Hizbollah, the Taliban, the Janjaweed, and Somalia’s Islamic Court Unions.
Hallinan vainly attempts to thinly veil his illicit lust after these Islamists. He is like a pedophile, who knows his impulse is wrong, but cannot help himself. So do not expect to read any out and out praise for them. However, by reading other articles in this section (and of course by going to Hallinan’s columns themselves) you will find that Hallinan believes that the Taliban should be made a partner in the government and integrated into the Afghan army; that the Islamic Court Unions is a force for stability in Somalia; that Darfur is a second rate tragedy (nothing compared to Gaza), thus exonerating the Janjaweed; that Hizbollah won a great and glorious victory over Israel; and that while Israel is guilty of every crime imaginable in Gaza, he has only words of comfort for Hamas. In sum, over many columns he shows only succor for Islamic fundamentalist. What gives?
The key, we believe, is to remember that Hallinan is not just a Marxist, but also a Stalinist. He stuck with the Soviet Union until the very day it died, long after the truth about Stalin’s gulag was completely known.
Here is our theory. In a world almost devoid of Hallinan’s beloved Marxism-Stalinism, the next best thing is Islamic fundamentalism. It has:
Totalitarianism—it may not be the dictatorship of the proletariat, but at least it is a dictatorship with lots of good old fashioned mind control.
Religion—It may not be Marxism, the true religion, and it may not have Das Capital or Mao’s Little Red Book, but at least the Koran is scripture.
Revolution and Mayhem—In a world without Che and soon to be rid of the FARC, at least bin Laden fights on.