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Communist Front was originally the term used by the Communist Party USA (CPUSA), and then later by the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) and the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee (SISS) to label Comintern (Communist International) organizations found to be under the effective control of the CPUSA, with special emphasis on those groups most active during the Great Depression of the 1930s. The term also refers to organizations not originally Communist-controlled which after a time became so, such as the American Student Union.

In 1955, the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee published a list of what it described as the 82 most active and typical sponsors of Communist fronts in the United States; some of those named had literally dozens of affiliations with groups that had either been cited as Communist fronts or had been labelled "subversive" by either the subcommittee or the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

Perhaps the best-known - and, in the short run most successful - 'Communist Front' in the United States was the Progressive Party which nominated former Vice-President Henry A. Wallace for President in the 1948 election. The party was on the ballot in 45 states, though under various names. For instance, in California it was known as the Independent Progressive Party. In New York State, it was the American Labor Party, founded a number of years earlier, which repeatedly elected Vito Marcantonio and, in a by-election in the Bronx in February, 1948, Leo Isacson, to Congress. Isacson was defeated by a coalition candidate in November, 1948. Marcantonio was re-elected then, the only Progressive candidate to win office, but was defeated in 1950.

Wallace himself was neither a Communist nor a fellow traveller. A devout Christian and believer in capitalism, he was the wealthiest presidential candidate in 1948.

At the time, the conservative and largely Republican American press was hostile to the party and regarded it as a Communist front. But some scholars have challenged the view that his Progressive Party was Communist-dominated. Karl M. Schmidt, in Henry Wallace: Quixotic Crusade 1948, argues that the question cannot be answered: the ideas of the true Wallace supporters and the Communists coincided until the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950. This event produced a crisis in the party. Wallace supported the American side in the war while the other Progressive leaders did not. Curtis D. Macdougall, in his three-volume work, Gideon's Army, argues in meticulous detail that not only most Progressives but also most of the Progressive leaders were not Communists. Both authors were active in the party in 1948, Macdougall as its candidate for the U. S. Senate in Illinois, and their scholarly diligence cannot be gainsaid, however one judges their conclusions.

The Progressive Party, having lost the overwhelming bulk of its support, lasted through the 1952 election, in which it ran Vincent Hallinan for President. Hallinan received few votes, and the Progressive Party was soon disbanded.

Contents

Alleged CPUSA front organizations, circa 1944

Alleged CPUSA front organizations, circa 1980

By late Cold War, Soviet intelligence has infiltrated many peace movements in the West, most importantly, the World Peace Council.[1] In addition to WPC, important communist front organizations included its affiliate the U.S. Peace Council, the World Federation of Trade Unions, the World Federation of Democratic Youth, and the International Union of Students.[2] Somewhat less important front organizations included: Afro-Asian People's Solidarity Organization, Christian Peace Conference, International Association of Democratic Lawyers, International Federation of Resistance Movements, International Institute for Peace, International Organization of Journalists, Women's International Democratic Federation and World Federation of Scientific Workers.[3] There were also numerous smaller organizations, affiliated with the above fronts such as Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs.[4][5] Numerous peace conferences, congresses and festivals have been staged with support of those organizations.[6]

Australian Communist Front Organisations

Further reading

See also

References

  • Federal Register 13, 20 March 1948: Attorney General's List of Communist classified organizations.

External links

Notes

  1. ^ Richard Felix Staar, Foreign policies of the Soviet Union, Hoover Press, 1991, ISBN 0817991026, p.79, p.84
  2. ^ Richard Felix Staar, Foreign policies of the Soviet Union, Hoover Press, 1991, ISBN 0817991026, p.84
  3. ^ Richard Felix Staar, Foreign policies of the Soviet Union, Hoover Press, 1991, ISBN 0817991026, p.80-81
  4. ^ Richard Felix Staar, Foreign policies of the Soviet Union, Hoover Press, 1991, ISBN 0817991026, p.82-83
  5. ^ Richard Felix Staar, Foreign policies of the Soviet Union, Hoover Press, 1991, ISBN 0817991026, p.86
  6. ^ Richard Felix Staar, Foreign policies of the Soviet Union, Hoover Press, 1991, ISBN 0817991026, p.85
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