A Short, Communist History of ‘McCarthyism’

October 4, 2018 Updated: October 8, 2018    

An open letter to Brent Bozell, Tucker Carlson, Sen. John Cornyn, Jerome Corsi, Joseph diGenova, Hugh Hewitt, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Bill O’Reilly, President Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and all other conservatives who still decry “McCarthyism”:

How about reconsidering the origins of “McCarthyism” and understanding them for what they are—the very seeds of our Marxian destruction and collective shambles?

To set the scene, imagine that post-World War II period, when Americans were still trying to assess the depths and toxicity of the original “swamp,” which started to come into public view after nearly two decades of unchecked communist infiltration during most of the 1930s and ’40s. Presently, along came Sen. Joseph McCarthy, age 41, with that explosive list of federal security cases, which he presented on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Feb. 20, 1950.

No one realized it right away, but the so-called McCarthy Era had dawned. Good news for anti-communists but catastrophic news for communists engaged in treason, particularly inside the federal bureaucracy.

In 2014, M. Stanton Evans, the pre-eminent McCarthy scholar, set out to tabulate a list of McCarthy suspects—heralded as innocent martyrs in the 1950s—who since have been verified as communists and Soviet agents. He stopped at 50. He also tallied Fifth Amendment pleaders—witnesses who plead the Fifth against self-incrimination rather than answer questions about their communist or Soviet espionage activities—well in excess of 100 cases.

Communists and Soviet agents were correct to fear McCarthy.

On April 5, 1950, the Daily Worker wrote, “Communists are keenly aware of the damage the McCarthy crowd is doing.”

On May 4, 1950, Gus Hall, later chairman of the Communist Party USA (1959–2000)—and, bonus, John Brennan’s 1976 presidential candidate—wrote: “I urge all Communist Party members, and all anti-fascists, to yield second-place to none in the fight to rid our country of the fascist poison of McCarthyism.”

Note that neither the Daily Worker nor Gus Hall are common icons of the right—but, weirdly, today’s conservatives, up to and including President Trump, continue to pay homage to their false definition of “McCarthyism.”

Campaign Against McCarthy

In 1945, Louis F. Budenz, a member of the National Committee of the Communist Party and managing editor of the Daily Worker, broke with communism, the party, and the Daily Worker and returned to the Catholic Church. With his store of knowledge and experience, he became an invaluable witness and guide to the communist movement, both open and underground. He wrote five essential books about his life and times. In his 1966 book “The Bolshevik Invasion of the West,” Budenz went into the communist origins of the campaign against the late McCarthy, who, by the way, was just 48 years old when he died in 1957.

Budenz wrote: “The ‘battle against McCarthyism,’ be it known, was concocted by the Communists and under their direction and guidance became completely dominant in American thinking and action. The ‘battle against McCarthyism’ was originated in the March 1950 plenary or special session of the National Committee of the Communist Party.”

That would be right after McCarthy and his “list” burst onto the national scene.

Budenz continued: “The birth of the ‘battle’ is reported for the benefit of the comrades in the May, 1950 issue of Political Affairs [the Communist Party theoretical organ]. The ‘battle’ was ordered to begin by Gus Hall, later a fugitive from justice, escaping to Mexico after being convicted of plotting for the overthrow of the American Government. In the March session of the Communist national committee, Hall opened the campaign against ‘McCarthyism’ when he declared that ‘the McCarthys’ must be put ‘into the un-American subversive garbage heap where they belong.’

“It was the orders of this Moscow agent and convicted proponent of the violent overthrow of the United States Government which helped eventually to rule American thought.”

Including, alas, American conservative thought.

In a Nov. 5, 1954, newspaper article titled “Enter Sen. Joseph McCarthy; Moscow Decrees Rights Cry,” Budenz elaborated on what happened next: “During the three years from 1950 to 1953, I pored over hundreds of copies of the Daily Worker which fanned the flames of the attack on McCarthy.

“From my experiences in the conspiracy, I realized in 1950 that the Reds’ organized hysteria against McCarthy and McCarthyism would soon pass easily into non-Communist opinion-forming organs.

“In a comparatively short time after Gus Hall’s order, what the Communists ordered to be said about McCarthy was being repeated by outstanding public figures, certain leading newspapers, and television and radio commentators. The same ‘transmission belt’ method which had led the United States to betray Poland, China and other countries was now working successfully to prevent this country from defending itself.”

This is a rare insight, which enlarges our understanding of all of these historical events.

The Banner of ‘Civil Liberties’

Budenz continued: “Moscow officially threw fuel on the flames. In October 1952, Joseph Stalin gave an important directive to his agents in non-Communist countries. He called upon the Communists in the ‘bourgeois’ nations to raise higher the banner of ‘bourgeois civil liberties.’ This call was dutifully published here in Political Affairs, the official Communist theoretical organ, and hailed as a momentous declaration.

“The arrogance and insincerity of this call were apparent to all who read it.”

Obviously—since there were no “civil liberties” in the Soviet empire!

He continued: “Most unfortunately, very few Americans bothered to examine it at all, and this was true of most of our national leaders. The effect of this call was even greater frenzy against ‘McCarthyism’ in the Communist press, and consequently among the friends and puppets of the Communists. They all followed the order to attack McCarthy in the name of ‘civil liberties.’”

In “The Bolshevik Invasion of the West,” Budenz also wrote:

“By June 1, 1953, the Daily Worker could report in a leading editorial, ‘Our Crusade Hits Home,’ that it was making tremendous progress in this battle. Many conservative organizations were following the Communist lead, it said.

“In the same month—June, 1953—Political Affairs, official theoretical organ of the Communist Party, ran an important article, ‘The Anatomy of McCarthyism.’ In that important directive article, it was declared that this battle was not against an individual alone but against all those who would seek to declare the Communist Party in the United States a ‘conspiracy.’ So successful has this campaign been, that the United States today cannot do much against the Communist conspiracy in its midst.”

This same directive—in effect, to expand “McCarthyism” into a universal weapon against all anti-communist defenses against communism—would be repeated, as in the March 17, 1954, Daily Worker screed “Stamp Out McCarthyism” by former party chairman Willam Z. Foster, author of  “Toward Soviet America”:

“What is wanted is not … more gentlemanly red-baiting and Soviet hating as so many in labor and political circles have been doing. This line only feeds McCarthyism. The whole program of warmongering [read: anti-communism] must be knocked out and the country embarked upon a realistic policy of peaceful coexistence between the United States and the Soviet Union. This alone can basically end the menace of McCarthyism.

“McCarthy must be driven out of American public life completely.”

“In the coming November elections the labor and progressive forces should defeat every McCarthyite who appears on any ticket and elect strong anti-McCarthy candidates.”

One thing should now be very clear. The organs and agents of godless communism, that creed of blood, servitude, and pain, were obsessed by this one American patriot, McCarthy, and the larger anti-communist tradition he so quickly personified. They knew he posed an existential threat to their war on our constitutional republic.

And America blinked.

“McCarthyism,” not communist subversion, was defeated.

Thus, today, from across the political spectrum, Americans continue to decry bad, old “McCarthyism” without realizing the order came straight from Moscow. What big, happy smile this must put on Stalin, wherever he is burning.

Diana West is an award-winning journalist and the author of two books: “American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character” and “The Death of the Grown-Up: How America’s Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization.”

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.