Communism Was No 'Solution'

Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 4, 2007 | Go to article overview

Communism Was No 'Solution'


WASHINGTON -- There was a little-reported gathering in Los Angeles on Oct. 26. A few survivors and their relatives of the original Committee for the First Amendment joined with today's liberals to remember the events of 60 years ago -- when many with membership in communist organizations tried to influence the film industry.

Communism was a major concern. Feeding it: The actions of the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe. The fall of China to the Maoists. The Soviet deployment of atomic weapons. The discovery of major spy rings in Europe among Washington's allies.

Those with the committee describe the events of that different era as "an epidemic of censorship" that set the stage for McCarthyism. They then got too cute, linking those years to "our current age of repression under the Bush regime."

This year, a new committee of the same name -- with the numerals "47-07" added -- was formed to seek redress for the imagined grievances of 60 years ago. Their targets are the Senate and House, who will be asked to apologize for their ancestors.

Presented by the ACLU Foundation of Southern California (which featured, among others, Ed Asner, former Screen Actors Guild president; Isabelle Gunning, the ACLU's local president; the veteran campaigner Marsha Hunt; and Christopher Trumbo), a re-enactment of an original 1947 radio program was staged. Among the aims of the group is a special Oscar for the Hollywood Ten and blacklistees.

Then and now the single person to be held responsible for these attacks on communists was identified as the Republican U.S. senator of Wisconsin, Joe McCarthy. Motivated by the tensions of the Cold War, McCarthy became the public face of anti-communism. He made many mistakes during the 10 years he served in the Senate. But he stopped many people from joining the communist causes and he defended America.

With willing help from the FBI, then led by the dedicated J. …

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