[Marxism] Observations on Credit and Surveillance -- Antebellum Red-Baiting: When Slaveholders Accused Northerners of Fomenting Communism

Mark Lause markalause at gmail.com
Fri Feb 7 10:50:37 MST 2014

The term appeared in the 1830s in Britain and was already in some use
here.   So, too, proslavery apologists were complaining about the
abolitionists as communists, threatening property rights--that is, the
right of the slaveholders to own slaves.

After 1848, though, the most radical workers groups in America had begun to
make common cause with the abolitionists, which fueled these charges.  In
NYC, the Free Democratic League--"the" political antislavery
movement--actively participated in the Universal Democratic Republicans,
which became affiliated with the International Association (the immediate
forerunner of the First International).  In 1852-53, when they brought the
Free Democratic presidential candidate, John P. Hale to speak, he occupied
a platform with the stars and stripes on one side and the "drapeau rouge"
on the other.  And, of course, the Republican party came out of Ripon,
Wisconsin--which was the old socialist community of Ceresco.

So the slaveholders had good reason to make the connection . . . .


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