Earl Browder

Earl Browder

Earl Browder, the son of William Browder, a schoolteacher, was born in Wichita, Kansas, on 20th May, 1891. After an elementary schooling he worked as a cash boy for the Wallenstein & Cohen Dry Goods Company. When he was 15 he joined the Socialist Party of America. Later he attended business college he found employment as a bookkeeper for the Potts Drug Company.

According to the The Witchita Eagle: "Earl W. Browder was efficient and was the average young man in a business office. He had a fair personality, his associates recall, but his political ideas which then began to take shape, gave him a different slant on life and after a time he left the drug company in search for something better. He secured a position in the bookkeeping department of the bank headed by the late L.S. Naftzger and John Moore. Earl was then dividing his time between his job and the activities in the Socialist party until at length his political ambitions became too much for his employers and he lost his job, so it was said by a former neighbor."

Browder, like most members of the Socialist Party, believed that the First World War had been caused by the imperialist competitive system. Between 1914 and 1917 Browder made several speeches explaining why he believed the United States should not join the war. After the USA declared war on the Central Powers in 1917, several party members, including Browder, were arrested and charged with violating the Espionage Act. Found guilty of opposing the draft, Bowder was imprisoned. When Browder was released he continued to campaign against the war and was imprisoned for a second time.

American Communist Party

In September 1919, Jay Lovestone, John Reed, James Cannon, Bertram Wolfe, William Bross Lloyd, Benjamin Gitlow, Charles Ruthenberg, Mikhail Borodin, William Dunne, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Louis Fraina, Ella Reeve Bloor, Rose Pastor Stokes, Claude McKay, Max Shachtman, Michael Gold and Robert Minor, decided to form the Communist Party of the United States. Within a few weeks it had 60,000 members whereas the Socialist Party of America had only 40,000. Browder joined this new party in 1921.

Agnes Smedley met Browder in 1921 when he was living with Ella Reeve Bloor. "In Moscow, amid great poverty, Ella Reeve Bloor wore lace dresses over silk coloured slips; also long strings of coloured beads, rings, etc. And she lived with an idiot. Earl Browder, a young, dainty man of some 25 or 26 who bought (and wore) baby-blue silk Russian smocks in the market; and long black silk ribbons which he wore as belts. And then he, with his baby white skin and fair toothbrush moustache, posed in Moscow as the delegate from the Kansas miners. So help me gawd!! It was awful! I was so disgusted I couldn't even protest. I hate female men above all. And then to have them say they represent miners when I know they haven't been within a thousand miles of a mine. And Mother Bloor posed as the representative of five or six organizations, from the far West to Massachusetts!"

Earl Browder & William Z. Foster

Browder became managing editor of the Communist newspaper, The Labor Herald. He was appointed general secretary of the Communist Party of the United States in 1930 and when William Z. Foster suffered a heart attack in 1932, he became leader of the party. John Gates argued that this was a wise choice: "Browder was a native of Kansas, son of a family that went back generations to early America... Shy, diffident, no flaming orator, he was nevertheless far more successful in rooting the Communist Party in American life than any previous leader... As a student of American history, Browder made serious efforts to link the communist movement to the democratic, revolutionary, labor and liberal traditions of the country. The party won substantial influence in labor unions numbering more than a million members. Its reputation was high in Negro life, among farmers, youth and in the arts, sciences and other professions."

In the 1932 Presidential Election, the philosopher, Sidney Hook, endorsed the Communist Party of the United States. He explained in his autobiography: "I had endorsed the Communist Party electoral ticket... In 1932, the depression was close to its nadir. The outlook seemed economically hopeless, and despair pervaded all social circles. Capitalism as a functioning economic system appeared bankrupt. The programs of both the Republican and Democratic parties called for balancing the budget but contained no proposals for major social reforms. The illusion that the Soviet Union had solved the major economic problems flourished, even though it was buttressed by no hard evidence, only remarkable propaganda. To me it seemed overwhelmingly likely that Hitler would soon come to power and carry out the program of war he had frankly outlined in Mein Kampf. The only hope of frustrating his war plans against the Soviet Union was a revolution in Germany that would unite all the opposition forces headed by the working classes.... Our support of the electoral ticket was more symbolic than organizational, an expression of protest, hope and faith nurtured by naivete, ignorance and illusion. At the time I was probably the best known academic personality who had publicly taken this position, although quite a number of other academic figures had declared themselves for Norman Thomas, the American Socialist Party candidate, whose position seemed very little different from that of the Socialist Party in Germany and as ineffectual in preventing the economic debacle there or here."

In March 1933, Hook was asked to meet Earl Browder: "I want to talk with you about some things much more important to our movement... We and what we represent are handicapped by our inability to counteract the capitalist press. It molds public opinion in powerful ways. We think that there is a way of getting our voice heard so that our position on the crucial issues of the day, without being identified as that of the Communist Party, will get a hearing beyond anything possible by means of our own press. We would like you to find plausible occasions to visit the chief metropolitan centers of the country from Boston to San Francisco - it wouldn't be necessary in New York - and help build up circles of sympathizers, individuals not known to be politically active in any of our organizations but friendly to the Soviet Union and therefore to us. They should be primarily professionals and small businessmen and women. When an important problem arises on matters of domestic or foreign policy, on a signal from you or transmitted through a trusted local intermediary whom they know, we would ask them to write letters to the press - national and local - stating in their own way and in their own modes of expression, a position that we believe would further the cause of peace and greater social justice. Properly done, there would be enough variation in these communications to the editors to allay any suspicion of organized action. The cumulative effect of these letters to the press, bearing authentic names from authentic addresses, is sure to have a strong effect on editorial opinion. At the very least they would do something to counterbalance the class bias of the news reports on labor, on what is happening in Germany, and developments in the Soviet Union."

Earl Browder
Earl Browder and his wife, Raissa.

On

Browder then went on to argue: "I now come to something of vital importance. There is little doubt that Hitler will rearm Germany and, with the help of the Western capitalist powers, unleash war against the Soviet Union. The defense of the Soviet Union is the first and overriding duty of anyone who believes in the cause of socialism. It is the chief bulwark against fascism. You have an opportunity to be of immense service, particularly because of your university connections. We would like you to find opportunity to travel to the major campuses of the country that are centers of scientific and industrial research. It should not be difficult to find and cultivate the acquaintance of at least one trustworthy individual sympathetic to the Soviet Union and its need for defense and survival against the threat of fascism. After his reliability has been established, all he would be asked to do is to report on the work being done, the experiments and projects under consideration, any new inventions or devices particularly of a military and industrial character. Even partial and incomplete information might be of the utmost significance. Most valuable of all would be word about secret research of any character. The reports of your informants would be channeled through you to us. You would not be asking any antifascist to do anything dishonorable, for he would be helping to defend the Soviet Union and the cause of the international working class."

Sidney Hook reported later in his autobiography, Out of Step: An Unquiet Life in the 20th Century (1987): "Stripped of its euphemisms, this was a request that I set up a spy apparatus! Before Browder was through outlining the details of this third proposal, I was in a state of panic. At first I thought it was a kind of test of my resoluteness and loyalty, to see how I would react. But why should I be tested? I had not applied for membership in the Communist Party. All the overtures had come from them to me. When Browder finished speaking, I was at first at a loss for words." When Hook pointed out he was not a member of the Communist Party of America Browder replied: "I know, but for some kinds of work official membership in the Party is not necessary. Sometimes it is an advantage to be able to say that one is not a member." Hook was later to discover that Browder was himself a Soviet spy and that the main objective was to recruit non-party members to obtain secret information. had a strategy of recruiting spies who were not party members. Hook rejected the offer and cut off all contact with the party.

Earl Browder: Soviet Spy

Gaik Ovakimyan was sent to the United States in 1933 under cover as an engineer at Amtorg (American-Soviet Trading Corporation) in New York City. One of the first agents recruited was Earl Browder (codename RULEVOY). According to a memorandum sent by Vsevolod Merkulov to Joseph Stalin: "Starting in 1933 and into 1945, Browder rendered the NKGB... and the GRU... help, recommending to our representatives in the U.S. Communist Party for agent work. At Browder's recommendation, eighteen people were drawn to agent work for the NKGB and... people for GRU. In addition, through the Central Committee's functionaries controlling illegal groups."

Browder worked closely with Jacob Golos. He introduced him to members of the Communist Party of the United States who were willing to be Soviet agents. Christopher Andrew, argues in The Mitrokhin Archive (1999): "Browder's recruitment leads also included foreign Communists and fellow travellers who had taken refuge in the United States. Among the most important was the French radical politician Pierre Cot, six times Minister of Air and twice Minister of Commerce in the short-lived governments of the pre-war Third Republic."

Allen Weinstein, the author of The Hunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America (1999), has argued that "Browder had been an eager and productive participant in a range of Soviet espionage efforts during the 1930s... recruiting from his 'open' Communist cadres a significant number of those who later became prominent NKVD agents and sources within the American government." Browder's second wife, Raissa Berkman, was also an agent. So also was his sister. Golos pointed out that he paid "Browder's sister... a certain amount of money every month."

Browder worked closely with Jacob Golos. He introduced him to members of the Communist Party of the United States who were willing to be Soviet agents. According to Christopher Andrew, the author of The Mitrokhin Archive (1999): "Browder's recruitment leads also included foreign Communists and fellow travellers who had taken refuge in the United States. Among the most important was the French radical politician Pierre Cot, six times Minister of Air and twice Minister of Commerce in the short-lived governments of the pre-war Third Republic."

1936 Presidential Election

In the 1936 Presidential Election Browder won only 79,315 votes (0.2%). Norman Thomas did better with 187,910, but the left overwhelmingly supported Franklin D. Roosevelt (27,752,648), as they approved of his New Deal policies. The leadership of the American Communist Party remained loyal to the foreign policy of the Soviet Union. It was argued that this was the best way to defeat fascism. However, this view took a terrible blow when on 28th August, 1939, Joseph Stalin signed a military alliance with Adolf Hitler. Browder and other leaders of the party decided to support the Nazi-Soviet Pact.

John Gates pointed out that this created serious problems for the party. "We turned on everyone who refused to go along with our new policy and who still considered Hitler the main foe. People whom we had revered only the day before, like Mrs. Roosevelt, we now reviled. This was one of the characteristics of Communists which people always found most difficult to swallow - that we could call them heroes one day and villains the next. Yet in all of this lay our one consistency; we supported Soviet policies whatever they might be; and this in turn explained so many of our inconsistencies. Immediately following the upheaval over the Soviet-German non-aggression pact came the Finnish war, which compounded all our difficulties since, here also, our position was uncritically in support of the Soviet action."

1940 Presidential Election

Browder was the American Communist Party candidate in the 1940 Presidential Election but the government imposed a court order forbidding him to travel within the country. His campaign efforts were limited to the issuing of written statement and the distribution of recorded speeches. In the election he won only 46,251 votes. Later that year he was found guilty of passport irregularities and sentenced to prison for four years. When the United States joined the Second World War and became allies with the Soviet Union, attitudes towards communism changed and Browder was released from prison after only serving 14 months of his sentence. Membership of the party also grew to 75,000.

Browder controversially announced in 1944 that capitalism and communism could peacefully co-exist. As John Gates pointed out in his book, The Story of an American Communist (1959): "Browder had developed several bold ideas which were stimulated by the unprecedented situation, and now he proceeded to put them into effect. At a national convention in 1944, the Communist Party of the United States dissolved and reformed itself into the Communist Political Association." Ring Lardner, another party member, explained: "The change seemed only to bring the nomenclature in line with reality. Our political activities, by then, were virtually identical to those of our liberal friends."

Howard Fast was another supporter of Browder: "In 1944, Browder, the leader of the party through some of its most bitter struggles during the thirties, had attempted to change the party from a political party that offered candidates in elections to a sort of educational Marxist entity. His move, I believe, was based on the wartime and prewar influence of the party on Roosevelt's New Deal, and on the hope that it might continue."

Joseph Stalin & Earl Browder

Except for William Z. Foster and Benjamin Davis, the leaders of the American Communist Party unanimously supported Browder. However, in 1945, Jacques Duclos, a leading member of the French Communist Party and considered to be the main spokesman for Joseph Stalin, made a fierce attack on the ideas of Browder. As John Gates pointed out: "The leaders of the American Communists, who, except for Foster and one other, had unanimously supported Browder, now switched overnight, and, except for one or two with reservations, threw their support to Foster. An emergency convention in July, 1945, repudiated Browder's ideas, removed him from leadership and re-constituted the Communist Party in an atmosphere of hysteria and humiliating breast-beating unprecedented in communist history."

Browder's biographer, Malcolm Sylvers, has argued: "Expelled from the Party in February 1946, Browder held a position for a few years as U.S. representative for Soviet publishing concerns, but this in no way led to his political rehabilitation. In the years of his withdrawal from all public life... he worked on several versions of an uncompleted autobiography."

On 6th May 1946, Gaik Ovakimyan and Vassily Zarubin, had a meeting with Earl Browder: "It was reported that the "NKGB of the USSR believes that Browder's expulsion from the party may lead him into a transition toward extreme means of struggle against the Communist Party and may inflict damage to our interests. Therefore, the NKGB of the USSR considers it expedient to allow Browder's arrival in the Soviet Union. We should see if it is possible to recommend... to the Executive Committee of the American Communist Party that Browder be reestablished in the party under a convenient pretext and that the American Communist Party adopt a more tactful line of behavior with regard to him." Reference was made to the recent defection of Elizabeth Bentley. They feared that Browder was a dangerous man to upset as he had the names of a large number of Soviet agents in the United States.

William Z. Foster now became the new leader. Two years later, after being criticised by leaders in the Soviet Union, Browder was expelled from the American Communist Party. He was later to argue: "The American Communists had thrived as champions of domestic reform. But when the Communists abandoned reforms and championed a Soviet Union openly contemptuous of America while predicting its quick collapse, the same party lost all its hard-won influence. It became merely a bad word in the American language."

McCarthyism

In April, 1950, Browder was called before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee investigating communist influence in government. Questioned by Joseph McCarthy, Browder was willing to criticize the American Communist Party but refused to answer questions that would incriminate former comrades. Charged with contempt of Congress, Judge Frederick Dickinson Letts, ordered his acquittal because he felt the committee had not acted legally. Sidney Hook saw Browder during this period and described him as "a broken political man, only half-sober, thrown outside as no longer useful by those whom he had served so faithfully."

Browder published Marx and America in 1958. He declared in 1960 that he was no longer a Marxist: "The American Communists had thrived as champions of domestic reform. But when the Communists abandoned reforms and championed a Soviet Union openly contemptuous of America while predicting its quick collapse, the same party lost all its hard-won influence. It became merely a bad word in the American language. I knew I could not maintain that leadership in open struggle against Moscow influence.... I have opposed the Communist cold war line ever since, both by public utterance and by private help to trade unionists breaking free from the Communist influence. I abandoned the party apparatus to Stalin's adherents in order to prevent them from capturing the party's former mass influence almost a decade I have not considered myself a Communist, nor even a Marxist in the dogmatic sense."

Earl Browder died in Princeton, New Jersey, on 27th June, 1973.

Primary Sources

(1) Agnes Smedley, letter to Florence Lennon (23rd October 1921)

In Moscow, amid great poverty, Ella Reeve Bloor wore lace dresses over silk coloured slips; also long strings of coloured beads, rings, etc. And she lived with an idiot. Earl Browder, a young, dainty man of some 25 or 26 who bought (and wore) baby-blue silk Russian smocks in the market; and long black silk ribbons which he wore as belts. And then he, with his baby white skin and fair toothbrush moustache, posed in Moscow as the delegate from the Kansas miners. So help me gawd!! It was awful! I was so disgusted I couldn't even protest. I hate female men above all. And then to have them say they represent miners when I know they haven't been within a thousand miles of a mine. And Mother Bloor posed as the representative of five or six organizations, from the far West to Massachusetts!

(2) John Gates, The Story of an American Communist (1959)

Browder was a native of Kansas, son of a family that went back generations to early America. An old-time Socialist, he had been one of the founders of the Communist Party in 1919. Shy, diffident, no flaming orator, he was nevertheless far more successful in rooting the Communist Party in American life than any previous leader. Within the party itself, his prestige was enormous and he overshadowed Foster, whom a severe heart attack in late 1932 had incapacitated for four years, and whose policies, moreover, were considered old-fashioned and sectarian.

As a student of American history, Browder made serious efforts to link the communist movement to the democratic, revolutionary, labor and liberal traditions of the country. The party won substantial influence in labor unions numbering more than a million members. Its reputation was high in Negro life, among farmers, youth and in the arts, sciences and other professions. When Browder ran for president on the communist ticket in 1936, it was actually a token campaign as far as votes were concerned; the main slogan of the campaign was "Defeat Landon [the GOP candidate] At All Costs." This could only mean that the party was urging people to vote for Roosevelt, not for Browder. But the campaign gave the party an opportunity to speak over the radio, appear before large audiences and participate in the popular movement around Roosevelt.

(3) The Witchita Eagle (30th June, 1936)

Earl W. Browder, native Wichitan who was nominated to the presidency of the United States Sunday on the Communist ticket, had a leaning toward Socialist politics in his early youth, Wichita friends recalled today.

Earl had a grade school education and before he attended business college worked as a cash boy for the Wallenstein & Cohen Dry Goods company. He was a mannerly boy, hard working, and a favorite with the store's employees. Other members of the Browder family were also in the employ of this company for a number of years, former friends here recalled today.

After attending business college Earl secured a position as a bookkeeper for the Potts Drug company. He was efficient and was the average young man in a business office. He had a fair personality, his associates recall, but his political ideas which then began to take shape, gave him a different slant on life and after a time he left the drug company in search for something better.

He secured a position in the bookkeeping department of the bank headed by the late L.S. Naftzger and John Moore. Earl was then dividing his time between his job and the activities in the Socialist party until at length his political ambitions became too much for his employers and he lost his job, so it was said by a former neighbor.

(4) Cliff Stratton, Topeka Capital (September, 1936)

Browder is an interesting person. He has a keen sense of social injustice, tho probably he would claim it is a sense of social justice. In school at Wichita he was always insisting upon the rights of students who were discriminated against by their teachers. He led fights for student rights expression. He was the vocal friend of all underdogs in school--and is such now in a much larger field.

So far as this election goes, Browder talks more like a New Deal orator, than a dyed in the wool Communist--if dyed in the wool is the proper adjective. Very frankly, Mr. Browder does not expect to win this election. "The United States," he says, "is economically ready for Socialism, but it is not politically ready for Socialism. The division which is coming later is not yet clear to many Americans. But the trend is such that it is only a matter of time until we have honest division in the United States."

(5) Kansas City Times (23rd January, 1940)

Earl Russell Browder, Kansas born Communist leader, was convicted of passport fraud in federal court today and was sentenced to four years in prison and fined $2,000.

The jury of eleven men and a young woman deliberated only forty-five minutes after hearing Browder himself plead for his freedom for more than an hour.

The sentence was pronounced immediately after the jury was polled and a defense motion for delay was denied. It specified that 2-year sentences on each of two counts must be served consecutively. The maximum prison sentence would have been ten years.

Browder presented a defenseless case after acknowledging at the outset that he had traveled incognito to and from conferences with Soviet leaders in Moscow.

He was accused specifically of borrowing the names of three other men and affixing them to passport visas.

(6) John Gates, The Story of an American Communist (1959)

Browder had developed several bold ideas which were stimulated by the unprecedented situation, and now he proceeded to put them into effect. At a national convention in 1944, the Communist Party of the United States dissolved and reformed itself into the Communist Political Association. This was in recognition of a central fact of American politics, namely, that the people operated within the framework of the two-party system, that Labor exerted its political influence chiefly through one of these two parties, and that any socialist political movement claiming to represent the interests of the labor movement had to take Labor's existing attitudes and practices into account.

This action was the most serious effort to date by the Communist movement to become an integral and accepted part of American life, especially of the trade union movement. The change was also based on the expectation that the wartime Grand Alliance and American national unity against fascism would continue into the postwar world. Word of the new developments in the Communist movement filled me with elation. True, I found that my fellow GIs did not share my rosy optimism about the postwar world; but I was sure we were right and that life would soon prove it. In any case, I was certain that this was the kind of world we must work for.

This new enthusiasm of ours for national unity, based on the fact of the American-Soviet military alliance, sometimes led us to ridiculous extremes. We supported Labor's no-strike policy, but to an unwarranted degree. The employers sought to take advantage of the patriotic policy of the American trade unions and compelled Labor at times to resort to the strike weapon to protect its rights and standards.

When the coal miners were forced into strike action, the communists opposed the strike. Again, many of my army buddies did not share my opposition to the miners' action. They felt the workers had been provoked and were justified in walking out of the pits. Subsequently Earl Browder received the chief blame for our policy toward the miners' strike; but it is also worth recalling that William Z. Foster, who had opposed Browder's major proposition, the Political Association, went far beyond anyone else in his articles denouncing John L. Lewis, even to accusing the Mine Workers' leader of treason. Such mistakes as these lessened the prestige of the communists in Labor's ranks.

(7) Howard Fast, Being Red (1990)

In 1944, Browder, the leader of the party through some of its most bitter struggles during the thirties, had attempted to change the party from a political party that offered candidates in elections to a sort of educational Marxist entity. His move, I believe, was based on the wartime and prewar influence of the party on Roosevelt's New Deal, and on the hope that it might continue. It is impossible here to go into the lengthy and frequently obtuse theoretical discussion on this point; much of it was almost as meaningless then as it would be today. Sufficient to say that Browder lost the struggle, was removed from leadership, and expelled from the party.

(8) John Gates, The Story of an American Communist (1959)

Lillian Ross also sent me clippings of articles from the Communist press. The Duclos article had caused an upheaval in the American Communist movement. Excoriating Browder in the most extravagant terms, Duclos had praised the views of William Z. Foster, quoting from speeches and communications by Foster, of which the American Communists, except for the top leaders, had been entirely unaware.

Naturally, this created a sensation; the membership demanded to know why Foster's views had been kept secret from them. How Duclos found out about Foster's opinions I do not know, but clearly someone sent them to him. Foster's opposition to the Browder policies did not impress me. I wrote to Lillian that for years Foster had been the most sectarian and dogmatic of American Communist leaders; on the other hand, our most impressive gains had been made under the aegis of Browder.

Browder conceded that the Duclos article did not express the point of view of an individual French Communist, but was the considered opinion of the world's "most authoritative Marxists," meaning, of course, the Soviet Communists. The leaders of the American Communists, who, except for Foster and one other, had unanimously supported Browder, now switched overnight, and, except for one or two with reservations, threw their support to Foster. An emergency convention in July, 1945, repudiated Browder's ideas, removed him from leadership and re-constituted the Communist Party in an atmosphere of hysteria and humiliating breast-beating unprecedented in communist history.

Browder's view of the postwar world was undoubtedly overoptimistic. He underestimated the clash that would develop among the allies once the war was over. But he was not the only leader to make such a mistake; it was made by the leaders of every other political trend as well.

Browder did have a vision - that World War II would usher in a new kind of world where war would be unthinkable and where the communist and capitalist worlds would have to compete and collaborate. Perhaps he did not foresee the difficulties that would lie in the path and the hard struggles that would be needed to bring this about, but his prescience was sound in many major respects. Probably his greatest contribution was his effort to adapt the Communist Party to the American scene. Toward that end he demonstrated more creativity and greater imagination, independence and originality of thought than anyone before or since.

Only a few years later I was to learn from someone who spoke with Duclos in 1946 that the world communist movement did not consider Browder's most serious error his myopic view of the postwar era (they had all made similar estimates), but rather his dissolution of the Communist Party. Here was the unforgivable heresy. Browder had violated the one thing so sacred that no one could dare tamper with it: the concept of the Communist Party as it had been laid down by Lenin in 1902.

In 1946 Browder was expelled from the American Communist Party for refusing to accept the new policy and for publishing a bulletin not authorized by the party (and because Foster was determined to be rid of him). For several years Browder protested that his ideas were closer to the Soviet view than were the American party's.

But despite illusions about Stalin at the time, Browder's policy of dissolving the party and replacing it with the Communist Political Association was a forerunner of the great heresies that have rocked the communist world since World War II. American Communists did Browder a grave injustice when we expelled him (although he is probably thankful now that we did), but far greater was the damage we did to ourselves. We returned to old ways of thinking which in the end were to prove fatal. In the party itself, Browder's name became a dirty word. Anyone could be discredited by accusing him of holding "Browderite" views.

(9) Earl Browder, speech at New York City's Webster Hall on 30th March, 1950.

Marxism is an interpretation of history which explains the progress of society as a product of the expansion of the forces of production of the material means of life, that is, the development of economy. The stage of the development of the productive forces determines the political and ideological superstructure of society which are crystallized into a system of social organization. The social system grows rigid but the productive forces continue to expand, and conflict ensues between the forces of production and the social conditions of production. This conflict finally reaches a stage in which a fundamental change of the social conditions becomes necessary to bring them in harmony with the continued growth of production. This is the stage which produces revolution, a relatively brief period in history in which outmoded social forms are discarded and new ones are created which free the shackled productive forces for a new leap forward in their expansion.

Marxism traces this process in past history from the primitive tribal commune through slavery, feudalism, early capitalism in the form of simple artisan manufacturing, the rise of modern capitalism in power-driven machinery, and the final stage of capitalism marked by huge trusts and monopolies and the trend toward state capitalism, in which state power becomes the collective capitalist. Marxism conceives of the new system of socialism as the necessary outcome of all previous history made possible and necessary only by that previous history. Because capitalist society has expanded the productive forces so enormously, the social conditions under which it arose lag behind and become fetters holding back the further growth of productive forces.

Socialism is nothing more nor less than the social, political and ideological system which breaks the fetters upon economic growth created under capitalism and opens the way to a new period of economic and social expansion on a much larger scale. So long as bourgeois society, that is, capitalism, reigned supreme throughout the world and dominated the lands of free capitalist development, the dispute between various schools of thought was conducted primarily on the level of theory, that is, the struggle between ideas, as to which most correctly foreshadowed the next stage of development in history which had still not appeared in fact, in life.

The new system called socialism came to power in Russia about one-third of a century ago. It took over a backward, shattered and defeated country, the chief laggard among the great powers. It had been defeated and shattered precisely because of its backwardness, its huge heritage of medieval reaction that had crushed the potentialities of progress of its peoples for centuries, keeping its vast area and population outside the main current of historical progress. Under its new system called socialism, the Russian people and the smaller nationalities which had formerly composed the Russian Empire speedily forged ahead from last place among the great powers of Europe and Asia to a position of unchallenged preeminence as the first. In the whole world, only the USA is today at all comparable in power and influence with the USSR. This radical transformation of world power relationships reflects primarily in the case of both the USA and the USSR the growth of the productive forces. Not only did the new socialist system overtake and surpass all other powers in Europe and Asia; in its rate of growth it has already surpassed America. In broad historical outline, this fact is seen in the span of 150 years required for the rise of America to its present position as one of the two world giants compared with the span of 30 years required by the USSR to make the same transition.

(10) John Gates, The Story of an American Communist (1959)

New impetus was given to the efforts of the American Communist Party to become a serious political trend in American life, an indigenous socialist organization. A variety of new anti-fascist movements came into being here, in which Communists took part: the American League Against War and Fascism, the National Negro Congress, the Southern Conference for Human Welfare, the Southern Negro Youth Congress, the Commonwealth Federation of the State of Washington, the New York American Labor Party initiated by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, and others.

American Communists began to study American history with its democratic, labor and socialist traditions. Earl Browder, the party's general secretary at that time, coined the slogan "Communism is 20th Century Americanism" and our influence grew not only in the labor and Negro people's movements, but in intellectual circles as well. These years of 1934 to 1939 were the heyday of Communist prestige in the United States.

With thousands of others, I was part of that tempestuous history before I was old enough to vote. Those years were an education which, despite all the minuses, I would not exchange for anything.

The new change in the Communist movement was symbolized by what happened to William Z. Foster's Toward Soviet America. Written in 1932, this was an atrocious book even for those sectarian and super-leftist days, outlining a blueprint for the U.S.A. along the exact same lines as the Russian revolution. Now it was officially discarded by the party, including Foster himself. It was forgotten and ignored by everybody, except J. Edgar Hoover and assorted prosecutors and investigating committees who considered it such a handy weapon that they have not let go of it to this day. The concept of the People's Front against war and fascism was a sound one and enormously effective. It should have become a permanent feature of Communist theory and practice. Instead it proved to be a temporary expedient and tactic and this was its Achilles heel.

(11) Topeka Capital (9th March, 1951)

Earl Browder, one-time leader of the American Communist Party, went on trial Thursday for contempt of Congress.

He is charged with refusing to answer questions last April 27 before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee investigating the Communists-in-Government charges leveled by Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy.

Browder, taking over his own defense in U.S. District Court, pictured himself as a "co-operative witness" who refused to answer only questions he considered "improper."

In an opening statement to the jury, he admitted he declined to answer 16 questions put to him by Sen. Bourke B. Hickenloper. These questions are the basis of the contempt indictment. Browder said he also declined answers to another 10, but did respond readily to 66 queries put by Hickenloper.

Most of the questions in the indictment dealt with a New York meeting in 1945 between Browder and Tung Pi Wu, a Chinese Communist then a member of the Chinese delegation to the conference that established the United Nations.

Hickenloper wanted to know if others present included John Service, State Department envoy; Owen Lattimore, Far Eastern expert, and Philip Jaffe, editor of the now defunct Amerasia Magazine. Browder would not reply.

(12) John Gates, The Story of an American Communist (1959)

The atmosphere of, the debates can be gleaned from an exchange between myself and the party's Indiana organizer, a particularly scholastic leader, Emanuel Blum. He had remarked that "William Z. Foster had saved the party twice, once from Browder and now from Gates." My reply was that in "saving the party from Browder in 1945, we went down from a membership of 75,000 to 17,000. Now that Foster has saved the party from Gates, we are down from 17,000 to 10,000. . . . The more we "save the party," the more it is disappearing."

(13) Kansas City Times (15th March, 1960)

The breaking of a 15 year silence by Earl Browder, former leader of the American Communist party, in an article written for the March number of Harper's magazine comprises and interesting disclosure of how Browder and his party were "purged" by Stalin in 1945.

The purging followed Browder's adoption of the principle of a stable peace at the close of World War II based on the Tehran pact signed by Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill - Stalin "with tongue in cheek." The pact, in Browder's view, implied the doctrine of co-existence and, in principle, a repudiation of the cold war which "Stalin adopted to take the place of the hot war then coming to a close."

Browder, now 68, a native of Wichita with three sons teaching mathematics in American universities relates how his "apostasy" was disclosed and his purge announced in the famous "Duclos letter," allegedly penned by Jacques Duclos in a French Communist journal in 1945, but actually Kremlin-dictated. This letter, widely circulated, denounced Browder for interpreting the Tehran pact as a "political platform for class peace in the United States - and sowing dangerous opportunistic illusions."

He declares that the American Communist party "need not have died such a shameful death as William Z. Foster (ultra-left sectarian who succeeded him), under the inspiration of Stalin and the cold war, inflicted upon it." He states that he had personally led an Americanization trend in the party based on Jeffersonian principles and representing a denial of Marxist dogmas.

"The Duclos letter," Browder writes, "halted and reversed the process of Americanization. The party quickly turned anti-American. Foster published a 'new history' of America, which was highly praised in Moscow, translated in many languages and made a handbook of anti-American propaganda all over the world.

"This extraordinary book interpreted the history of America from its discovery to the present, as an orgy of 'bloody banditry' and imperialism, enriching itself by 'drinking the rich red blood' of other peoples. Foster even joined in the Thorez declaration (by Maurice Thorez, French Communist leader: that if the Soviet armies found it necessary to occupy all Western Europe the working people would greet them as liberators; the only thing missing was a direct welcome to Soviet armies in America itself.

"It was this that killed the Communist party. Its former mass following melted away. Its membership shrank to a hard core of fanatics. The American Communists had thrived as champions of domestic reforms. But when the Communists abandoned reforms and championed a Soviet Union openly contemptuous of America while predicting its quick collapse, the same party lost all its hard-won influence. It became merely a bad word in the American language."

Americans should realize, Browder believes, that "the only solid representatives of Stalin among the American Communists were a little band of 'old timers,' occupying strategic posts in the party apparatus. For them communism was a religion, Stalin was Mohammed and Moscow was Mecca.

(14) John Gates, The Story of an American Communist (1959)

When word came of the first atom bomb being dropped on Hiroshima, our men were not elated. These men knew the horror of war; such a terrible weapon, they felt, could be used one day against us. Many said there was something morally wrong about a weapon that could wipe out whole civilian populations. (Professor P. M. S. Blackett, the British physicist, wrote later in Fear, Bomb and the War that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was unnecessary, the real purpose being to launch the cold war against Russia. General Willoughby, aide to Gen. MacArthur, also stated that Japan was on the verge of defeat when the bombs were dropped.)

From Germany we went on to Austria and were stationed near Berchtesgaden in the Bavarian Alps. Here I was promoted to first sergeant, a post which I had declined for years because the duties were mainly administrative, but to which I had no objection now, especially since I was married and could use the extra money.

One day I read a small item in the army daily newspaper Stars and Stripes. It reported that a New York newspaper had published a translation of an article in which Jacques Duclos, a top leader of the French Communist Party, severely criticized policies of the American Communists. The article, originally appearing in the French Communist theoretical magazine, ridiculed Browder's concept of the postwar world as utopian, condemned the dissolution of the Communist Party, and described Browder's ideas as a"notorious revisionism" of Marxism, than which there is no more serious criticism in the Communist dictionary.

These accusations infuriated me I immediately sent off a letter to Lillian in which I reaffirmed my belief in the come in letters from Lillian; she also sent me clippings of articles from the Communist press. The Duclos article had caused an upheaval in the American Communist movement. Excoriating Browder in the most extravagant terms, Duclos had praised the views of William Z. Foster, quoting from speeches and communications by Foster, of which the American Communists, except for the top leaders, had been entirely unaware.

Naturally, this created a sensation; the membership demanded to know why Foster's views had been kept secret from them. How Duclos found out about Foster's opinions I do not know, but clearly someone sent them to him. Foster's opposition to the Browder policies did not impress me. I wrote to Lillian that for years Foster had been the most sectarian and dogmatic of American Communist leaders; on the other hand, our most impressive gains had been made under the aegis of Browder.

Browder conceded that the Duclos article did not express the point of view of an individual French Communist, but was the considered opinion of the world's "most authoritative Marxists," meaning, of course, the Soviet Communists. The leaders of the American Communists, who, except for Foster and one other, had unanimously supported Browder, now switched overnight, and, except for one or two with reservations, threw their support to Foster. An emergency convention in July, 1945, repudiated Browder's ideas, removed him from leadership and re-constituted the Communist Party in an atmosphere of hysteria and humiliating breast-beating unprecedented in communist history.

Browder's view of the postwar world was undoubtedly over-optimistic. He underestimated the clash that would develop among the allies once the war was over. But he was not the only leader to make such a mistake; it was made by the leaders of every other political trend as well.

Browder did have a vision-that World War II would usher in a new kind of world where war would be unthinkable and where the communist and capitalist worlds would have to compete and collaborate. Perhaps he did not foresee the difficulties that would lie in the path and the hard struggles that would be needed to bring this about, but his prescience was sound in many major respects.

Probably his greatest contribution was his effort to adapt the Communist Party to the American scene. Toward that end he demonstrated more creativity and greater imagination, independ¬ence and originality of thought than anyone before or since.

Only a few years later I was to learn from someone who spoke with Duclos in 1946 that the world communist movement did not consider Browder's most serious error his myopic view of the postwar era (they had all made similar estimates), but rather his dissolution of the Communist Party. Here was the unforgivable heresy. Browder had violated the one thing so sacred that no one could dare tamper with it: the concept of the Communist Party as it had been laid down by Lenin in 1902.

In 1946 Browder was expelled from the American Communist Party for refusing to accept the new policy and for publishing a bulletin not authorized by the party (and because Foster was determined to be rid of him). For several years Browder protested that his ideas were closer to the Soviet view than were the American party's.

(15) Vsevolod Merkulov, memorandum sent to Joseph Stalin (April 1946)

Starting in 1933 and into 1945, Browder rendered the NKGB... and the GRU... help, recommending to our representatives in the U.S. Communist Party for agent work. At Browder's recommendation, eighteen people were drawn to agent work for the NKGB and... people for GRU. In addition, through the Central Committee's functionaries controlling illegal groups.

At Browder's recommendation, eighteen people were drawn to agent work for the NKGB and... people for the GRU. In addition, through the Central Committee's functionaries controlling illegal party groups, Browder knew about illegal members of the U.S. Communist Party working for the Soviet Union through the NKGB of the USSR - more than twenty-five people and for the GRU of the General Staff of the Red Army... people.

In connection with the Canadian case (Igor Gouzenko's defection) and betrayal by an agent of the NKGB... in the U.S. that was reported to you on November 14, 1945, by message # 7698 (Elizabeth Bentley's defection), we temporarily halted agent work in America and conserved the main group of agents who became known to American authorities due to this agent's betrayal. Among the agents conserved, the majority were recommended to us either personally by Browder or were known to him as working for us through top-level functionaries of the Central Committee of the American Communist Party.

The link to Browder in our work from 1933 to 1945 was maintained occasionally by senior operatives of the NKGB of the USSR three Soviet citizens from the NKGB in the United States were known to him...

The NKGB of the USSR believes that Browder's expulsion from the party may lead him into a transition toward extreme means of struggle against the Communist Party and may inflict damage to our interests. Therefore, the NKGB of the USSR considers it expedient to allow Browder's arrival in the Soviet Union. We should see if it is possible to recommend... to the Executive Committee of the American Communist Party that Browder be reestablished in the party under a convenient pretext and that the American Communist Party adopt a more tactful line of behavior with regard to him.

(16) Earl Browder, Harper's Magazine (March, 1960)

The American Communists had thrived as champions of domestic reform. But when the Communists abandoned reforms and championed a Soviet Union openly contemptuous of America while predicting its quick collapse, the same party lost all its hard-won influence. It became merely a bad word in the American language.

I knew I could not maintain that leadership in open struggle against Moscow influence. Only two Communist leaders in history ever succeeded in doing this - Tito and Mao Tse-tung. I confined my resistance to the Duclos Letter to declaring publicly that it was a disastrous mistake which I would never approve. But I made no efforts to organize my supporters to hold on to the apparatus. Consequently I was soon expelled and my followers, who did not change coats overnight, quietly left or were expelled from the party.

I have opposed the Communist cold war line ever since, both by public utterance and by private help to trade unionists breaking free from the Communist influence. I abandoned the party apparatus to Stalin's adherents in order to prevent them from capturing the party's former mass influence almost a decade I have not considered myself a Communist, nor even a Marxist in the dogmatic sense.

By the 1950s, my break with the Russians had led me into a basic re-examination of Marxist theory, and I followed in Marx's footsteps with the declaration: 'I am not a Marxist.' My personal revolution in thinking is, of course, of importance only as an example of how the shattering years of the cold war have broken up the old patterns of thought - behind the iron curtain as profoundly as in the West, although there it is revealed mainly in the lightning flashes of mass discontent and revolts.

What remains constant for me, during the last 15 years, has been the conviction that the cold war was a calamity for the entire world, and that it can be justified by no consideration of theory, nor by any supposed national interest. I can only hope that Khrushchev's new line of talk portends a new line of action to which America can respond in kind. Such hopes are, however, tempered by years of disillusioning memories, which remind us all that it takes two sides to make a peace.