Everyone in the United States knows that „Socialist” or „Communist” is considered a bad word. How did things get that way?
Abby Martin explores the history of anti-Communism in America, and the heavy repression of an idea that became an unofficial religion.
Excerpt (17:02 – 19:05 mins):
In 1947, House Committee on Un-American Activities began to target people in the entertainment industry. „Dangerous professions“ such as screenwriters, actors, directors, producers, technicians, authors, musicians and others were all summoned to Congress and forced to publicly swear that they were not Communist. Those who said they were, were barred from employment and blacklisted in Hollywood. But you did not even have to say you were to get punished, you just had to assert your rights. Like the ten screen writers and directors who took a stand against the nation-wide witch hunt:
„We are aware of a developing nightmare of fear in our land in which increasing numbers of citizens are being forced to swear ‚I am not this,’ ‚I am not that,’ ‚I don’t belong to anything,’ ‚I don’t believe in anything,’ ‚I do not criticise anything.’ (…) Thought control entering the university campuses. (…) Labor leaders being framed on purged testimony. Lawyers sent to prison for defending their clients.“
All ten decided that when asked if they were Communist they would refuse to answer. All ten were sent to prison. For those who were open Communists, well, they were just arrested. Under the Smith Act it was deemed illegal for anyone to be a member of the Communist Party. In a surprise attack, the state arrested everyone who held a leadership position in the party. All of them were sent to prison. Over a 100 were convicted of being Communists and given sentences of up to 6 years — jailed for nothing but their beliefs.
(…) The climate was such that anyone who even leaned to the left was completely persecuted.
Sounds all too familiar, doesn’t it? ◻︎