Imagine

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Lew, rather than the old Stalinist anthem of the USSR sung by Paul Robeson or The Internationale sung by Pete Seeger, this is the universally beloved song that was most appropriate for the Nelson Mandela final send-off. Here is what John Lennon himself said about his legendary anthem:

The song ‘Imagine,’ which says, Imagine that there was no more religion, no more country, no more politics is virtually The Communist Manifesto, even though I am not particularly a communist and I do not belong to any movement. You see, ‘Imagine’ was exactly the same message, but sugar-coated. Now ‘Imagine’ is a big hit almost everywhere; anti-religious, anti-nationalistic, anti-conventional, anti-capitalistic song, but because it is sugar-coated it is accepted. Now I understand what you have to do.

There you have it from the man himself. So the idea that Imagine was based on The Communist Manifesto cannot be written off as a paranoid, right-wing conspiracy theory. It’s a fact.

 

Imagine there’s no heaven

It’s easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us only sky

Imagine all the people

Living for today…

(No more concept of God/Heaven/Hell)

 

Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace..

(No more national sovereignty or religion)

 

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will be as one

(Who is the hell is “us?” Communism = New World Order)

 

Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger

A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people

Sharing all the world…

(Abolition of private property)

 

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will live as one

 

Several poems from Yoko Ono’s 1964 book Grapefruit inspired Lennon to write the lyrics for “Imagine” — in particular, one which Capitol Records reproduced on the back cover of the original Imagine LP titled “Cloud Piece”, reads: “Imagine the clouds dripping, dig a hole in your garden to put them in. Lennon later said the composition “should be credited as a Lennon/Ono song. A lot of it—the lyric and the concept—came from Yoko, but in those days I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho, and I sort of omitted her contribution, but it was right out of Grapefruit.” 

One of the most disturbing and challenging books I have ever read is Stephen Koch, Double Lives: Spies and Writers in the Secret Soviet War of Ideas Against the West, The Free Press/Macmillian, Inc., 1994 (republished as Double Lives: Stalin, Willi Muzenberg and the Seduction of the Intellectuals, Enigma Books, 2004).

Professor Koch meticulously details the manipulation by the Soviets’ master propagandist Willi Munzenberg of thousands of European and American progressives in the inner-war period of the 1920s and 1930s by his vast publishing network and interlocking front organizations under the covert direction of the Communist International (Comintern) and the Soviet secret services of the NKVD and the GRU. He particularly concentrates upon the intellectual elite that fell under Munzenberg’s sway in this cultural war against the West. This includes such persons as Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Andre’ Malraux, Andre’ Gide, Pablo Picasso, Dorothy Parker, George Grosz, Lincoln Steffens, John Dos Passos, Bertolt Brecht, Lillian Hellman, Dashiell Hammett and Sidney and Beatrice Webb.

This volume shatters myth after historical myth of this critical period.

Munzenberg, Koch states, “developed what may well be the leading moral illusion of the twentieth century: the notion that in the modern age the principal arena of the moral life, the true realm of good and evil, is political.” The notion that – the ethical is the political – and that the highest form of ethical expression was “anti-fascism,” – with the Soviet Union as the publicly-identified, ideologically most dedicated opponent of fascism, thus holding the moral high ground. This myth was actually built upon the basest of lies.

As Koch demonstrates, from the earliest days of the National Socialist regime in Germany, beginning with the Reichstag Fire less than a month after Hitler became Chancellor, a sinister covert relationship between Nazi secret intelligence and their Soviet counterpart existed.

This clandestine cooperation continued throughout the decade. Hitler’s massacre of Ernst Rohm and his S. A. leadership in the Night of the Long Knives, Stalin’s terror purge of CPSU party members, feckless intellectuals, military officers (most notably Field Marshal Tukhachevsky’s betrayal by documents forged in a Gestapo laboratory), and the murder of tens of millions of ordinary Soviet citizens, reaching its culmination in the Hitler-Stalin Non-Aggression Pact of August, 1939. Publicly the Soviet Union and their international Popular Front network (of what were secretly designated “useful idiots” or “Innocents’ Clubs”) preached “anti-fascism.” Covertly Stalin sought accommodation, appeasement, and eventual alliance with Hitler.

Besides fascinating details dealing with the duplicitous Reichstag Fire trials, the Cambridge Five British espionage scandal, the Spanish Civil War as an international component to Stalin’s Great Terror, and finally Muzenberg’s own mysterious murder, one of the most intriguing aspects of Koch’s study involves the use of women espionage agents.

“Many of the ‘Muzenberg-men’ were women. The Russian writer and historian Nina Berberova writes with astringent authority about a cohort of agents or near-agents, the women whom she calls the ‘Ladies of the Kremlin.” These were women who became influential figures in European and American intellectual life partly on their own, but above all through the men in their lives. The men, most often, were famous writers, ‘spokesmen for the West,’ Meanwhile, the consorts whom they most trusted were guided by the Soviet services.

“Leading this list were two members of the minor Russian aristocracy: the Baroness Moura Budberg, who was mistress to both Maxim Gorky and H. G. Wells, and the Princess Maria Pavlova Koudachova. Moura Budberg’s links to the Soviets were shadowy, and remained secret for decades, until they were at last exposed by the Russian historian Arkady Vaksberg in his 1997 book, The Gorky Secret. We have more certain knowledge about the Princess Koudachova, who first became secretary, later mistress, wife, and at last widow to the once enormously celebrated pacifist novelist Romain Rolland.

“Maria Pavlova Koudachova was an agent directly under Soviet secret service control. There is some questionable evidence to suggest that she was trained and assigned to Rolland’s life even before she left Russia after the Revolution. . . That she was a secret service operative, however, and one expressly planted in Rolland’s life, cannot be doubted. Babette Gross (common-law wife of Willi Munzenberg) put it to me plainly in the summer of 1989. ‘She was an apparatchik,’ she said flatly. ‘And she ran him.’” (Koch, page 28).

Koch proceeds to discuss other women deep within the Communist apparat, such as the American Ella Winter, and their distinguished men of distinction. In Winter’s case, the men were pioneer muckraking journalist Lincoln Steffens, and upon his death, Hollywood screenwriter Donald Ogden Stewart, part of Hemingway’s circle immortalized in The Sun Also Rises. Stewart was the Academy Award-winning author of The Philadelphia Story, and one of the highest-paid screenwriters of the day, notes Kenneth Lloyd Billingsley in Hollywood Party: How Communism Seduced the American Film Industry in the 1930s and 1940s, Crown Forum, 1998. He was also one of “the most vociferous guardians of the Party line,” especially through the vexatious days of the Nazi-Soviet Pact (Billingsley, page 82).

Upon reading these various accounts a pattern soon develops. The profiles were remarkably similar. The men were all internationally known novelists, artists, playwrights, etc. celebrated for their independence of mind, their supposed integrity of spirit, but in actuality men who were manipulated by their muses.

The technique proved very successful in this inner war period.

There is no reason to believe that the Communist intelligence services ceased to use these agents of influence during the years of the Cold War.

“Yoko Ono, please phone your office when you get back from South Africa.”

5:40 pm on December 10, 2013