American Communist Lawyers Union

I brought this over from the old site becauseit needed to be over here. One of the very first posts I wrote.

The Brief History of the ACLUs Communist founding and Agenda.
The ACLU was founded on January 19, 1920. It grew out of a previous group, The National Civil Liberties Bureau which had grown out of the American Union Against Militarism, and a party that was held in New York City and attended by just about every radical from New York, such as Socialist Party notable Norman Thomas, future Communist Party chairman Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, and Soviet agent Agnes Smedley. In 1920, Rev. Harry Ward, the RedDean of the Union Theological Seminary was Chairman, Baldwin was director, and Communist publisher Louis Budenz, who would later go on to testify against Communism, director of publicity. The founders numbered over 60 but most of the work was done by the following:

Roger Baldwin

Roger Nash Baldwin : the founder, and director of ACLU. At the time of the founding, he was deeply involved in the communist movement. In late 1935, he gave a speech that said his political goal was communism. Baldwin wrote the following in his college yearbook:

I have been to Europe several times, mostly in connection with international radical activitiesand have traveled in the United States to areas of conflict over workers rights to strike and organize. My chief aversion is the system of greed, private profit, privilege and violence which makes up the control of the world today, and which has brought it to the tragic crisis of unprecedented hunger and unemploymentTherefore, I am for Socialism, disarmament and ultimately, for the abolishing of the State itselfI seek the social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class and sole control of those who produce wealth. Communism is the goal.

re is another quote from Mr. Roger Baldwin.

Do steer away from making it look like a Socialist enterpriseWe want also to look like patriots in everything we do. We want to get a good lot of flags, talk a good deal about the Constitution and what our forefathers wanted to make of this country, and to show that we are really the folks that really stand for the spirit of our institutions.-Baldwins advice in 1917 to Louis Lochner of the socialist Peoples Council in Minnesota.

I must be fair and let you know that Roger Baldwin supposedly became disenchanted with socialism and removed the communist members from the board of the ACLU. But after hearing quotes like the one above, it is hard to trust that he truly did this. Perhaps he just took his own advice to steer away from making it look like a Socialist enterprise.

On January 17, 1931, the Special House (of Representatives) Committee to Investigate Communist Activities in the United States issued a report which stated the following:

The American Civil Liberties Union is closely affiliated with the communist movement in the United States, and fully 90% of its efforts are on behalf of Communists who have come into conflict with the law. It claims to stand for free speech, free press, and free assembly; but it is quite apparent that the main function of the ACLU is to attempt to protect the communists in their advocacy of force and violence to overthrow the Government, replacing the American flag with a red flag and erecting a Soviet Government in place of the republican form of government guaranteed to each State by the Federal ConstitutionRoger N. Baldwin, its guiding spirit, makes no attempt to hide his friendship for the communists and their principles.

Crystal Eastman was another founder. She was a lawyer, antimilitarist, feminist, socialist, and journalist. During World War I Eastman worked hard for the peace movement. She founded the Womans Peace party and was president of the New York branch. Eastman also became executive director of the American Union against Militarism, which lobbied against Americas entrance into the European war. When the United States entered World War I, Eastman organized the National Civil Liberties Bureau to protect conscientious objectors: To maintain something over here that will be worth coming back to when the weary war is over. Though never appropriately credited as a founder of the organization, which became the American Civil Liberties Union, she was the attorney in charge.


Other Communist and radical founders included William Z. Foster, author of Toward Soviet America, Harold J. Laski, Morris Hilquit, A.J.Muste, Scott Nearing, Eugene V. Debs, and John Dewey. The1930s membership would include such radicals and change agents as Vito Marcantonio, Haywood Broun, Corliss Lamont, and Bishop G. Bromley Oxnan. The 1940s roll would include George S.Counts, Norman Cousins, Melvyn Douglas, Robert M. Hutchins, and Freda Kirchwey. Most prominent American luminaries of the left were, and are, members of the ACLU.

So after seeing the Socialist/Communist founding of the ACLU, it begs the question: Are their core beliefs the same today as they were at its founding? We will look at this in great depths in upcoming rants where we will compare the communist goals to more recent positions the ACLU has taken. You might be suprised just how much the ACLU has not changed.

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