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American Communist Party

Between the Lines: Uncle Sam's Half-forgotten Purge

Uncle Sam's half-forgotten purge

In Russia it is now common for many people to feel guilty about their complicity with Stalinism. After all, oppressors are only as strong as they are allowed to be by those who stand by passively. In Germany the sense of self-blame for passive collaboration with the Nazi monstrosity has haunted a generation and appears to be playing its part in a grotesque recidivism in a new one. Guilt gets nobody anywhere; it is a pain felt rather than a lesson learned. But worse perhaps than guilt is that complacent incomprehension of past atrocities which accompanies historical ignorance.


Our Comrades of the World Socialist Party of the United States received an inquiry from a group of Liberals in London about McCarthyism. The following is an extract from the reply which will be of interest to readers of the S.S.

Dear Sir:

The National Administrative Committee at its latest meeting noted your communication of July 14th, and has designated me to furnish a reply.

First off, it must be difficult for European workers to understand the persecution and prosecution in the United States of not only the Communist Party, but also of those whose only crime was to participate in Communist Party "front" organizations.

Lessons from the American Elections

The results of the elections for President make interesting reading. The Communists, masquerading as the Workers' Party, had a programme of immediate demands or reforms running into considerably over 100 and calculated to sweep the country. They polled 40,000 votes, or less than half the membership they claimed when they began in 1919 and before they adapted their name and programme to appeal to the masses.

The Socialist Labour Party polled 21,000 votes, against 30,000 four years ago. Their periodicals were full of "Electionitis," although the S.L.P. believes that "only the trade unions can set on foot the true political of labor," a claim which they have fathered on to Karl Marx, but can't find where and when he said such a thing.

Police Spies and the Communist Movement

On March 6th the American Communists organised a demonstration in Union Square, New York City. The police were ordered to clear the streets on the ground that the Communists had not obtained a permit for a parade. Five Communist leaders were arrested and the crowd were beaten up by the police with great brutality.

That, of course, is a common story. There is, however, an additional feature of some interest. The Police Commissioner, Mr. Grover Whalen, declared on the following day that he had his agents inside the Communist Party keeping him informed as to all their plans and the movements of their leaders. He was greatly amused because the uniformed police, in order not to give away the spies to the Communists, cracked their heads along with the others. Mr. Whalen has also supplied to employers the names of workers who are members of the Communist Party.

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