How Communism Came to America

Frank Chodorov


If all the card-carrying members of the Communist Party in the United States were put in jail or deported, it would have little or no effect on the growth of communism in America. True, members of the party are especially dangerous because most of them have pledged allegiance to a foreign government. But so far as advancing the principles of communism is concerned, they are not nearly as effective as the average Republican or Democrat who professes to hate communism and all it stands for.

That's a strong statement! Proof? Reach for your dictionary and turn to communism: "Any system of social organization involving common ownership of the means of production, and the equal distribution of the products of industry." This, of course, is to be done by the authority and force of the government.

How much communism do you believe in and support? The so-called average American is currently demanding that about one third the nation be communized, when measured by the government's tax take: one fourth when measured by government's ownership of land; more than one fourth when measured by government's ownership of total national wealth other than land; almost one fourth when measured by government's production of electricity; about nine-tenths when measured by government's ownership of school and subsidies to education; better than one half when measured by government's share of earnings from industry; and so on and so on.

Ah! You say, but democratic ownership and controls by government in America aren't true communism; when you say communism, you mean the dictatorial program laid down by Karl Marx in his Communist Manifesto in 1848.

Okay, reach for that document and read: "We have seen … that the first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of the ruling class; to win the battle of democracy. The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie; to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the state."

Mark well the phrases. ' to win the battle of democracy' and ' to wrest, by degrees, all capital'. No revolution there! While we have been passing laws against those who might advocate the violent overthrow of the government, the real threat to freedom in America -- democratic government ownership and controls - has leaped to new heights.

But let us refer again to the communist program as laid down by Marx and Engels in their Communist Manifesto. "These measure will, of course, be different in different countries. Nevertheless, in the most advanced countries the following will be pretty generally applicable." Then they list the long-time objectives of communism. Among them are government ownership of land, a heavy progressive income tax, abolition of inheritance rights, a national bank, government ownership and control of communication and transportation facilities, a government program for soil conservation, and free education.

How many of these planks of the Communist Manifesto do you support? Federal Reserve bank? Interstate Commerce Commission? Tennessee Valley Authority? The Sixteenth (income tax) Amendment? The Inheritance Tax? Government schools with compulsory attendance and support?

Did the card-carrying communists bring any of these to America? Remember, these ideas were generally repudiated in the United State of 1848 when Marx recommended them. Would any of them disappear if the party members were imprisoned or deported?

But maybe you would prefer to consult the works of a modern American communist rather than a European one. Well, how about Earl Browder, the former leader of the Communist Party of America? In a 1950 pamphlet, Keynes, Foster, and Marx, he lists 22 items which 'express the growth of state capitalism… an essential feature of the confirmation of Marxist theory.' Among them are the following governmental actions: deficit financing, insurance of bank deposits, regulation of installment buying, guaranteed mortgages, price controls, farm price supports, agricultural credits, RFC loans to business, social security, government housing, public works, tariffs, foreign loans.

How many of these measures - which a leading communist identifies as Marxist - do you oppose? All of them? Half? Would any of them disappear as the result of the jailing of the communists?

Te opening sentence of this editorial is: If all the card-carrying members of he Communist Party in the United States we re put in jail or deported, it would have little or no effect on the growth of communism in America. Government ownership and government controls have come to America because we have demanded them, not because the communists brought them from Russia. We can rid ourselves of the communism of government ownership and government controls -- and return to private ownership and a free market -- at any time we want to.

That's the question! Do the American people want to return to the responsibilities of freedom of choice? Do many of us really desire to return to the original concept of a strictly limited government? I believe we do - fundamentally - and that we will yet turn back before it's too late. But if I'm wrong in this hope and belief, at least let's not blame the communists for our own rejection of freedom and responsibility. Let's put the blame where it belongs - and you and me and other Americans who have avidly accepted the subsidies of a paternalistic government while self-righteously professing to detest the communistic principle of government paternalism.