I don't believe that the Democratic Party is a friend of the
Left, and have never written anything to suggest that. I normally
use the term "Truman-McCarthy era," to make clear that it started
under the Cold War Democrats. To regard McCarthy as nothing but a
blip is a bad mistake. It was he who sought to break relations
with the Soviet Union by denying Senate approval to the
ambassador nominated by his own party, but was defeated at that.
It was also he who sought to subject Britain even more fully than
was actually the case, by saying 'Sink every accursed British
ship' that traded with Red China. His importance was best phrased
by the British Prime Minister, Clement Atlee, a Laborite whose
war-ravaged country was in hock to the U.S. up to its neck,
addressing Parliament: "I sometimes wonder whether it is Gen.
Eisenhower or Sen. McCarthy who is president of the United
Neither Truman nor Eisenhower ever envisaged a senator
actually red-baiting the U.S. Army and its wartime Chief of
Staff, George Marshall. Those presidents created a Frankenstein
by making anti-communism the litmus test for anything and
everything. But McCarthy was a Frankenstein, not a puppet.
Carrol Cox wrote:
> This is a superb article. I want to comment on just one point in it.
> monkerud wrote:
> > No Left in America?
> > The backbone of the progressive, socialist movement was broken, only to be revived briefly with the depression and stamped out again with "witch hunts" for so-called subversives in the 1950s led by Joe McCarthy.
> Bill Mandel also refers to the "McCarthy Era." This is bad history, and it
> hurts the struggle to create a left where there is none by interfering with
> naming the enemy accurately. The so-called "McCarthy Era" began well
> before he had anything to do with it and lasted longer. I have met younger
> people who are actually under the impression that McCarthy was the
> chair of HUAC. But if we wish to name a personal villain, the correct
> name is Harry Truman. McCarthy was a jerk who was a mere blip,
> loud publicity to the contrary, in the huge Red Hunt which was so central
> to u.s. political and cultural life from 1945 to 1960. I was a sophomore
> at Western Michigan College in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1948. At
> one of the football games half-time entertainment, the band played
> songs "fitting" to each of the four presidential candidates. For the
> Wallace campaign they played "Red Sails in the Sunset." My memory
> is vague on the next point, but I think it was the great liberal Hubert
> Humphrey who cosponsored on of the basic legislative acts which
> was central to the repression of the CPUSA.
> The Democratic Party and its leadership, not Joe McCarthy, was
> the primary architect of the Red Hunt. And as long as those who
> aim at constituting a left in America are confused on this point --
> as long as any would-be leftist can consider for a moment that
> the Democratic Party is or can ever be a friend of the left --
> there will be no left in America.
> Carrol Cox
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