>Please read this article from American Thinker, along with its embedded article from Reason, on the evolution of Eldridge Cleaver from “insurrectionary rapist”/socialist ideologue to chastened anti-communist.
…REASON: When you were living in exile in Cuba and Algeria, what was it that started to make you rethink your view of them and their government?
Cleaver: I had a great burning desire to help enlarge human freedom and no desire at all to increase human misery or totalitarianism, so I stood up in America to fight against what I saw as the evils of I our system. Then to go to a country like Cuba or Algeria or the Soviet Union and see the nature of control that those state apparatuses had over the people—it was shocking to me. I didn’t want to believe it, because it meant that the politics that I was espousing was wrong and was leading toward a very bad situation. So, I tried to figure out what was wrong.
You know, the communists teach you that the dictatorship is a transient phase—that once capitalism is eliminated, then the state will wither away and you will have freedom. Well, when you look at those governments up close and see how they treat their own people, you can’t believe in that. You see that people are using that preachment of the withering away of the state as their excuse to justify their own dictatorial power. The way that the goods and services of the economy are distributed, the way that the power mechanism is organized and the monopoly on power by the Communist Party, the control of the Communist Party apparatus by an elite—these things struck me as dangerous. And then when I had a chance to get to know people and see what the experiences had been in these countries since their revolutions, it made me realize that a new form, a worse form, of totalitarianism was creeping into the world and that it was necessary to sound an alarm against it, stand up and protest it—without sugar-coating anything that’s wrong over here.
That’s been the mistake made by a lot of people in assessing what I have said. I have never intended to say that we can rest on our laurels or we can stay right where we are. But I wanted to point out that we had better be careful where we jump when we jump out of the frying pan…
Were that many of Cleaver’s supporters in the Sixties had such an epiphany.