Klehr, Historiography

CKates at aol.com CKates at aol.com
Wed Feb 21 13:04:09 MST 1996


In a message dated 96-02-20 19:23:58 EST, you write:

>Historians like Klehr and Theodore Draper represent the earlier
>generation of historians who try to depict the CP as a puppet of
>Moscow. Klehr is a reactionary scumbag while Draper is an
>anticommunist liberal. Historians such as Maurice Isserman, Mark
>Naison have a much more nuanced view of the CPUSA and pay close
>attention to the ability of the CP to lead grass-roots struggles.
>Moreover, they are Marxists, and this can only help their work as
>historians.
>

Isserman, however, along with other writers like Helen Camp and Ed
Johanningsmeier, often falls into the Stalinism trap, which is obscuring the
real issues. This is particularly evident in writings related to the
factional struggle 1956-59. In Ellen Schrecker,  Camp and several other
"liberals" there is a tendency to claim that the CPUSA really stopped
existing in '56. This is obviously ridiculous, however it is still put forth.
Such historians as Roger Keeran, Gerald Horne and Robin D.G. Kelley. I find
preferable in that they don't see '56 as the cornerstone of CP history,
unlike Klehr, et.al. One interesting footnote about Klehr's associate Ronald
Radosh--yes, the one who -once wrote a book condemning American unions for
their conservatism--he came to a nearby college to speak about the Rosenberg
case, and when the question period started and all the Rosenberg defenders
began to speak up, he started actually screaming at us and calling us
Stalinists. One man who had lived through the period of repression got up to
speak and couldn't think of the right words and Radosh began yelling at him
too. He couldn't handle any opposition. Ah, those defenders of democracy.
Would anyone here be interested in discussing the historiography of not only
the CPs (not just USA) but also the labor movement and otherprogressive
movements and of the 1930's decade? I think it could be very interesting and
informative.
>
>






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