The Communist Party USA (CPUSA) lost many votes to an FDR who absorbed their policies and platforms into his Democrat party – something which deeply alienated conservative Southerners and led to the Dixiecrat party of 1948. The CPUSA of 1932, 1936 and 1940 presidential bid was led by William Z. Foster, then Earl Browder, and James W. Ford, the first black man to be on a presidential ticket.
Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org
Writers and Journalists as Intellectual Terrorists
“As the Communists rejected the middle way which was the New Deal’s faith, so they rejected the experimentalism which was the New Deal’s method. Browder condemned pragmatism as the philosophy of “the bourgeoisie in ascendancy.” Now that capitalism was in crisis, pragmatism was in crisis too; it “has failed its class creator’s in the critical moment. It is unable to give capitalism any answer to the question, “what way is out?” And its effect in confusing the working class, Browder complained, was “very poisonous.” In place of pragmatism, the Communists insisted on the dogmatism of dialectical materialism.
All this the New Dealer’s found philosophically absurd. “Let no man,” wrote Archibald MacLeish, “miss the point of Mr. Roosevelt’s hold upon the minds of the citizens of this republic.” Roosevelt fired the world’s imagination because mankind wanted to break out of the cage of dogma; people were sick of both the great bankers and the great revolutionaries, each resting their case on the idea of immutable ideology.
And Communist dogmatism was more than absurd. It was evil in the repression and persecution to wh ich it led. “Its leaders,” said MacLeish, “the writers and journalists who shape its thought, are for the most part intellectual terrorists.”
MacLeish derided the dream of “that far, far, distant classless society which Karl Marx permitted his congregations to glimpse over the million heads of many sacrificed and immolated generations – that classless society which retreats as rapidly as communism with its privileged class advances.”
“One hears from time to time,” wrote Felix Frankfurter, “much shallow talk about the elimination of politics, as though politics – the free exchange of opinion regarding the best policy for the life of society – were not the essence of a free and vigorous people . . . We have been nauseated by “purges” both in Berlin and in Moscow.”
“Like all civil liberties people,” said Upton Sinclair, “I encounter difficulties in defending the rights of Communists who themselves repudiate freedom of speech, press and assemblage, and do everything they can to deprive others of those rights.”
The essence of Communism was revolution . . . [MacLeish wrote that] the revolutionary movement was “a movement conceived , delivered and nurtured in negatives . . . Its one convincing aim is the destruction of the existing order. Its one vital dream is the establishment of repressive control.” Its portrait of the future is cruel and sterile.”
[The CPUSA] method was to invent or penetrate organizations dedicated to a plausible cause and to use agreement on this cause as a means of implicating people in a Communist-dominated movement. Between 1933 and 1935 the Communists concentrated particularly in pushing such organizations in the field of peace, youth and culture.
By February 1935 Browder could boast before a congressional committee . . . “If you want a gage on the mass following of the Communist Party, a better gage [than party membership] would be the membership of organizations which endorse the various proposals of the party . . . which number about 600,000.”
(The Roosevelt Era: The Politics of Upheaval, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Houghton-Mifflin, pp. 192-194; 198)