CPUSA: Moscow's stooge
TimW333521 at AOL.COM
TimW333521 at AOL.COM
Sun Apr 23 22:12:36 MDT 1995
I own a copy of the book in question. It is The Secret World of American
Communism and it is co-authored by Harvey Klehr, John Earl Haynes and a
Russian, Fridrikh Igorevich Firsov. It is published by Yale. As far as I
can tell the documents within the book (and the book is mostly documents)
I agree with Justin that the aim of the book is to make Theodore Draper's
case that the CPUSA was ONLY an extension of the USSR. In my opinion it does
not make that case. The CPUSA was, in my opinion, ALSO the most effective
left organization in the U.S. since Debs.
The evidence falls into two categories. The first is the funding the USSR
provided the CPUSA. There is nothing particularly new here except for the
extent and duration of it. It appears that Gus Hall was receiving millions
right up to 1987!
It is the second type of evidence which is the most disturbing. It appears
to be quite conclusively proved that there existed within the CPUSA a
separate "secret organization" which operated without the knowledge of
members and outside all party statutes. This secret group reported directly
to Dimitrov in Moscow. Browder and a few other top officials were well aware
of its existence and organized independent funding for the group. Its first
head was Peters, mentioned in the Whittaker Chambers Case, later replaced by
This group acted to purge the CP itself of dissident elements, keep tabs on
and penetrate rival communist groups (Trotskyists and Lovestoneites) and, it
appears, collaborate with the GPU/NKVD/KGB on matters of concern to the USSR.
However, the book is based on Comintern files and, while the information
within it meshes with information from other sources, there is nothing in it
that conclusively proves the secret police angle. We should not be surprised
if additional information will eventually come out of KGB files.
I found particularly interesting, and worthy of condemnation even at this
point in time, the penetration of the left by this CP group. For instance a
report from Baker boasted that "highly successful efforts are being made to
infiltrate the New York Trotskyist organization." The authors suggest, and I
believe they are right, this refers to the placing of Sylvia Caldwell as
James P. Cannon's secretary as well as the work of Ruby Weil in helping to
set up the assassination of Trotsky. The penetration of the Lovestoneites was
even more extensive and Lovestone's entire archives were purloined and sent
to the USSR.
Also disturbing was the lengthy report on "suspicious individuals and
deserters" in the Abraham Lincoln Brigades. These include accusations of
Trotskyism and we can suspect those so accused could actually have been
killed while in Spain by Soviet secret police!
It is not a pretty picture but there is no reason for the left to gloss over
it. This state of affairs certainly set the CP and the whole left up for
the kind of witchhunting which took place. Of course such witchhunting would
have taken place anyway but it pisses me to learn that the witchhunters had
even half a case!
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