The Communist Experience in America: A Political and Social History

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Transaction Publishers - History - 277 pages
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Arguments about whether distinctive features of American society, culture, political structure, economic system, or population account for the relative weakness of American radicalism have engaged historians, sociologists, and political scientists for decades. Influential concepts such as "frontier theory" have been linked with the absence of class conflict in America. Other analysts have attributed the failure of the American Left to fierce repression, giving red scares and the McCarthy era as illustrations. Some have linked the American Left's failure to American immigration, winner-take-all elections, and the cultural values of individualism. The Communist Party, one of America's largest and longest lasting radical groups, offers many lessons about how radical political groups can take advantage of-or squander-their opportunities. Klehr focuses on the theme of American exceptionalism and problems that America's capitalist society raised for Marxism and other radical groups. The Communist Experience in America deals with dissident communist formulations. Such groups included a number of talented men who went on to a variety of political and literary careers. Klehr also deals with fellow travelers, some of whom wrote fascinating essays on American exceptionalism and the decline of political extremism. In part, Klehr hopes to inspire the same moral outrage about Communism that fuels those dedicated to ensuring that Nai crimes are never forgotten or obfuscated. Communism, in practice everywhere in the world, also came at enormous human cost. Regardless of their other virtues or qualities, those who supported or defended Communism from the safety of the United States must be called to account. This work does just that; in detail and depth. Harvey Klehr is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Politics and History at Emory University. He is the author of numerous articles and books most recently Early Cold War Spies: The Espionage Trials that Shaped American Politics; Communism, Espionage and The Cold War: A Curriculum Unit of Study for Grades 9-12; and In Denial: Historians, Communism and Espionage.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Marxist Theory in Search of America
9
Leninist Theory in Search of America
25
Leninism and Lovestoneism
39
Leninism Lewis Corey and the Failure of American Socialism
55
Immigrant Leadership in the Communist Party of the United States of America
65
American Communism and the UAW New Evidence on an Old Controversy
83
SelfDetermination in the Black Belt Origins of a Communist Policy
91
A Vigil Against Totalitarianism
147
Seeing Red Seeing Red
153
Fellow Traveling is Alive and Well The Rosenbergs New Apologist
159
On the Waterfront without a Clue
163
Radical History
167
The Myth of Premature Antifascism
177
Historiography of American Communism An Unsettled Field
187
Professors of Denial
209

Moscow Gold Confirmed at Last?
101
Letter to the Editor FollowUp on Moscow Gold
113
Communists and the CIO From the Soviet Archives
117
The End
123
The Communist Party of the United States and the Committees of Correspondence
127
Comrades in the Takeover Wars
139
The Case of the Legless Veteran
141
Reflections of a Traditionalist Historian
213
Reflections on AntiAnticommunism
221
The Strange Case of Roosevelts Secret Agent
233
Spy Stories
243
Reflections on Espionage
247
Index
273
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