Having been a teen in the 1980’s I remember all of the ‘red scare’ propaganda that would bombard me on almost a daily basis. From the rhetoric of Reagan’s ‘The U.S.S.R. is an evil empire’ propaganda to not being taught a single thing about the Cold War in highschool. If you were a leftist in the 80’s you were seen as the enemy, not only by the US Government, but also by most of society.
I heavily disliked Reagan in high school in the 80’s; even now I think he was an evil son of a bitch who made the poor more destitute and whose racist dog whistles satisfied his white racist supporters. My high school was in a conservative suburb in the San Francisco Bay Area called Fremont. Back in the 80’s I would say that it was probably around 80-90% white. As of the 2019 census it is now only 28% white, which I know makes some of the white people I went to high school with angry of course. I follow maybe only four or five people I went to high school with, including one who turned left after school. Proud of you Brent! Needless to say I have not been to a single class reunion, but I find joy in the fact that I look about 20 years younger than they do. Being a weirdo in the 80’s and staying out of sun has its perks!
Needless to say I was a leftist, and I knew about the political climate of the United States. I listened to a lot of albums by The Dead Kennedys and Jello’s music definitely helped me realise that I wasn’t alone even though I was surrounded by brainwashed Reagan worshippers. My mom took me out of my school one time to go to a Dukakis rally in San Francisco. I was 3 months too young to vote in the 88 election which really bummed me out, and when Bush Sr. won I was totally devastated and I remember crying a lot about it because it made me so angry. Bush Sr. used a huge racist dog whistle in the form of Willie Horton, and made it out like all African Americans were either welfare queens or dangerous thugs. Don’t believe me? Google Willie Horton and be prepared to be disgusted. Of course those Reagan worshippers in school gave me shit since I was very vocal about being a leftist and would constantly argue with them.
I never gave into the peer pressure to be right wing, and to this day I am very proud of that. Right now I see the same type of crap again; anybody who is a leftist is being called a communist as an insult. Sometimes they will call you a socialist but they usually will just jump onto the right wing train and start in on the anti-communist rhetoric. Hell, they even call people such as Biden, who is really not leftist at all, a communist. Anybody to the left of them is an evil commie who wants to destroy either the US, the UK, or all of Europe. In the US a commie is somebody who dares to want a fully socialised healthcare system and worker rights. These right wing morons lick the boots of their corporate masters gladly and are perfectly okay with people having to go bankrupt after being hospitalized because if they haven’t pulled themselves up enough by their bootstraps then that’s their own fault . Yep, they think people deserve shit healthcare because they are poor even when they are poor themselves. It’s a total mindfuck.
It’s not only people on the right who call leftists communists. The Democratic Party is owned by corporate oligarchs just like the GOP and if a leftist, be they a progressive or a communist, fights for free healthcare or worker rights they are told that they are taking things too far and to sit down, shut up and stop behaving like a child who has been caught stealing cookies out of a cookie jar. In the UK the press, which is predominantly far right-winged, will call any leftist politician a communist and smear them with obvious lies. The Labour Party kicks out members who they deem to be too far left and instead promotes weak middle of the road leaders who answer to, you guess it, corporate oligarchs. See a pattern?
All of this pisses me off, because once again you are being attacked for wanting a better world; one in which all people are treated equally, and have the right to free healthcare and a roof over their head. If you are a young leftist reading this rant please know that you are not, and never will be, alone. There are many others out there who feel the same as you do, who want a better future instead of one in which only the wealthy are allowed to exist comfortably while everybody else has to fight over affordable food and housing. If somebody calls you a commie or a socialist answer ‘So, what’s wrong with that?’. Stand up for yourself and don’t let others bully you into submission.