July 20, 2019
Right-wingers sometimes like to paint anyone to the left of them with a wide brush. I always drew a line between the true believers on the left and the Judeo-Liberal shills that work at institutions like the NY Times though.
The Cold War was fought as much on an ideological front as a military one, and the Soviet Union often emphasized the sexism and racism of its capitalist opponents — particularly the segregated United States. And the space race was a prime opportunity to signal the U.S.S.R.’s commitment to equality. After putting the first man in space in 1961, the Soviets went on to send the first woman, the first Asian man, and the first black man into orbit — all years before the Americans would follow suit.
The Americans had to send their blacks into space only after Glorious Stronk Soviet Socialist Empire did.
So this begs the question: is the New York Times now unironically pro-Soviet?
Being pro-Soviet has never been popular. I mean, being a Marxist and a Communist and a Leninist-Maoist or a Trotskyist, has always been popular. But that’s not the same thing as being pro-Soviet.
The only people who were pro-Soviet were unironic Tankies.
But now, the NYT, that bastion of liberalism, is finally giving the authoritarian Bonopartist USSR – that subverted the promised revolution, mind you – its day in the sun?
What in the world is going on here?
Beginning in 1967, the Soviet Union and its socialist allies collaborated on space missions through the Interkosmos program. In July 1980, Vietnamese pilot Phạm Tuân became the first Asian and the first person from a developing country to travel to space.
Just two months after Phạm’s voyage, the Cuban Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez became the first person of African descent to go to space, while it would take the U.S. three more years to send an African-American. Like Tereshkova, Tamayo Méndez had impeccable socialist credentials. Orphaned as a baby, he grew up poor and was apprenticed to a carpenter at age 13. He became a revolutionary as a teenager and eventually a pilot in the Cuban Revolutionary Guard. When Tamayo Méndez returned to Earth, Fidel Castro delivered a lengthy speech stressing the cosmonaut’s African ancestry.
Cosmonaut diversity was key for the Soviet message to the rest of the globe: Under socialism, a person of even the humblest origins could make it all the way up.
Unironically promoting the Communist bloc because of their forced diversity programs… I never thought I’d live to see the day.
This is an exceedingly strange timeline.
Conservatives in the US will no doubt knee-jerk against this latest NYT line of attack by demanding that the president launch more blacks into space than ever before. An entire conveyor belt space elevator of blacks just being ferried round the clock up into orbit.
I say we bite our tongues and just let them.