Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

September 8, 2019

How the Communists viewed FDR

Filed under: CPUSA,New Deal — louisproyect @ 2:10 pm


  1. Why are you posting this report of CP third period politics without explanation?

    Comment by Anthony Boynton — September 8, 2019 @ 6:24 pm

  2. At least an aspect of ‘the point’ is probably that someone would mistakenly think this June 1936 report was a manifestation of “third period” CP politics when in fact the third period had been officially concluded at the 7th Comintern Congress in the summer of 1935, a year before.

    Comment by Dayne Goodwin — September 8, 2019 @ 11:46 pm

  3. Browder’s explanation of how he came to run ‘against’ Roosevelt as part of the CP strategy of supporting Roosevelt is interesting. Browder talked about it in his presentation about “The American Communist Party in the Thirties” given to an extended conference held in 1965-1966 at the University of Illinois:

    “Some months thereafter I headed a delegation to Moscow to consult with the Comintern about the elections.  Upon arriving we were informed by Georgi Dimitrov, the Bulgarian who had become General Secretary at the Seventh World Congress…that the Comintern leaders were all firmly of the opinion that the American Communist party should endorse Roosevelt’s candidacy and put up no candidate of their own…After two weeks of discussion I remained obdurate, and advanced my final argument that if we really wished to assure Roosevelt’s re-election we would not endorse him because that would cause him to be labeled ‘the Communist candidate’ by the newspapers…This would lose him many times as many votes from the ‘Right’ as it would bring him from the ‘Left,’ for a net loss that might mean his defeat if the vote were close.  On the other hand we could put up our own candidate but conduct such a campaign that would assure Roosevelt all votes under our influence except the diehard opponents of all ‘capitalist’ candidates who without a Communist candidate would switch to Norman Thomas or even the Socialist Labor party.  Thereupon the discussion was suspended, while the issue was being re-evaluated by the Russian Polburo – which we learned later meant Stalin.  The final conclusion of the Comintern was ‘to leave the matter to the decision of the American comrades,’ where I had no difficulty in carrying the decision my way.  Thus I became the logical Communist presidential candidate and made my ambiguous campaign in favor of ‘my rival,’ Roosevelt.  The more the newspapers puzzled over this tactic, the more effective it became.”

    AS WE SAW THE THIRTIES edited by Rita James Simon, University of Illinois Press, 1967
    Browder’s transcribed text is one of the eight lectures in the series entitled “Leaders of Social and Political Movements in the 1930’s”

    Comment by Dayne Goodwin — September 9, 2019 @ 12:27 am

  4. forgot to include that the quote is from pp. 233-234 of AS WE SAW THE THIRTIES

    Comment by Dayne Goodwin — September 9, 2019 @ 12:30 am

  5. Interesting to see Morris Childs mentioned as a leader of the CPUSA in this 1936 NYTimes article.  Childs was a CP Central Committee member and briefly editor of “The Daily Worker.”  Childs was a student at the “Lenin School” in Moscow from 1930 to 1933 where he was recruited as a secret intelligence agent for the OGPU.  In the early 1950s he became a ‘double agent’ working for the FBI.  From the later 1950s until 1982 Childs was a crucial operative in cooperation between the CPUSA and the CPSU, this included the participation of his wife Eva from 1962 on.  This is according to the book “Operation SOLO: the FBIs man in the Kremlin” (Regnery 1996) by Morris Child’s friend and anti-communist author John Barron.  Morris Childs died in 1991; his widow Eva supplied Barron with a photograph (used in the book) of Morris Childs in a meeting with Brezhnev and others at the Kremlin in 1973.

    Comment by Dayne Goodwin — September 9, 2019 @ 1:09 am

  6. Silly superficial me. I thought it was from 1932, but I guess they ran William Z. Foster that year.

    Comment by Anthony Boynton — September 9, 2019 @ 1:19 am

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