A Short, Communist History of “McCarthyism”

By: Diana West

It was one thing for the Communist Party organ, the Daily Worker, that pre-Twitter roadmap of every zig and zag of Kremlin directives, to have ramped up the information-war against Senator Joseph McCarthy in the early 1950s by turning the name of our greatest anti-communist hero into an epithet mouthed by the Left.

It is quite another for conservatives nearly 70 years later to keep pounding what was, after all, Stalin’s line. It was Stalin’s line not for his health, of course, but for his long war to destroy the USA at home: specifically, to destroy the anti-communist resistance, personified, circa 1950, by the fearless junior senator from Wisconsin. There are many markers attesting to the Kremlin’s mainly unacknowleged ideological victory in this same war, from our own Marxist college campuses, to a numbing list of cultural debasements, to Russian hypersonic missiles, courtesy the seemingly invisible “reset” tech transfer scheme called Skolkovo. To this list of markers I would add the quick-trigger, full-throated conservative chorus against “McCarthyism.”

It seems hard to imagine, but at some point long ago most Americans rejected the Daily Worker and everything it stood for outright — communism, Stalin, subversion, the works. Now, we don’t really know what any of it means (see capture of the US education system, already under communist siege by 1920). Even astute conservative commentators draw a blank on the entire battle that the Daily Worker & ilk very successfully prosecuted against us on our own home front. Manchurian-candidate-style, they go to veritable Marxist slogans for intellectual ammunition, as we see in the selection of best-brightest comments above.

Here’s an idea: How about reconsidering the origins of “McCarthyism” and understanding them for what they are — the very real seeds of our Marxian destruction and collective shambles.

To set the scene, imagine that post-WWII-time when Americans were still trying to assess the depths and toxicity of the original Swamp, which started to come into public view after nearly two decades of unchecked communist infiltration during most of the 1930s and 1940s. Presently, along came 41-year-old Senator McCarthy with that explosive list of federal security cases, which he presented on the floor of the US Senate in February of 1950.

No one knew it but the so-called McCarthy Era had dawned. Communists and pro-communists were terrified, petrified. To this day, the Pavlovian response is a group-shudder and scattered wails. But the McCarthy Era was a good thing — if, that is, you are a conservative or other proponent of liberty and justice for all, not just Politburo members.

It was not a good thing if you were a Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist engaged in treason and/or the federal bureaucracy.

On April 5, 1950, the Daily Worker wrote:

“Communists are keenly aware of the damage the McCarthy crowd is doing.”

On May 4, 1950, Gus Hall, later Communist party chairman (1959-2000) and, bonus, John Brennan’s 1976 presidential candidate, wrote, also in the Daily Worker: “I urge all Communist Party members, and all anti-fascists, to yield second-place to none in the fight to rid our country of the fascist poison of McCarthyism.”

Note that neither the Daily Worker nor Gus Hall are common icons of the Right — but, weirdly, today’s conservatives, up to and including President Trump, continue to pay homage to their false definition of “McCarthyism.”

In 1945, Louis F. Budenz, a member of the National Committee of the Communist Party and managing editor of the Daily Worker, broke with communism, the party, and the Daily Worker and returned to the Catholic Church. With his store of knowlege and experience, he became an invaluable witness and guide to the communist movement, both open and underground. He also wrote five essential books about his life and our times. In his 1966 book, The Bolshevik Invasion of the West, Budenz went into the Communist origins of the campaign against the late McCarthy, who, by the way, was just 48 years old when he died in 1957.


The “battle against McCarthyism,” be it known, was concocted by the Communists and under their direction and guidance became completely dominant in American thinking and action. The “battle against McCarthyism” was originated in the March 1950 plenary or special session of the National Committee of the Communist Party.

That would be right after McCarthy and his “list” burst onto the national scene.

The birth of the “battle” is reported for the benefit of the comrades in the May, 1950 issue of Political Affairs [the Communist Party theoretical organ]. The “battle” was ordered to begin by Gus Hall, later a fugitive from justice, escaping to Mexico after being convicted of plotting for the overthrow of the American Government. In the March session of the Communist national committee, Hall opened the campaign against “McCarthyism” when he declared that “the McCarthys” must be put “into the un-American subversive garbage heap where they belong.” It was the orders of this Moscow agent and convicted proponent of the violent overthrow of the United States Government which helped eventually to rule American thought.

Including, alas, American conservative thought.

In a November 5, 1954 newspaper article, “Enter Sen. Joseph McCarthy; Moscow Decrees Rights Cry,” Budenz elaborated on what happened next:

During the three years from 1950 to 1953, I pored over hundreds of copies of the Daily Worker which fanned the flames of the attack on McCarthy.

From my experiences in the conspiracy, I realized in 1950 that the Reds’ organized hysteria against McCarthy and McCarthyism would soon pass easily into non-Communist opinion-forming organs.

In a comparitively short time after Gus Hall’s order, what the Communists ordered to be said about McCarthy was being repeated by outstanding public figures, certain leading newspapers, and television and radio commentators. The same “transmission belt” method which had led the United States to betray Poland, China and other countries was now working successfully to prevent this country from defending itself. 

A rare insight, which enlarges our understanding of all of these events.

Budenz continues:

Moscow officially threw fuel on the flames. In October, 1952, Joseph Stalin gave an important directive to his agents in non-Communist countries. He called upon the Communinsts in the “bourgeois” nations to raise higher the banner of “bourgeois civil liberties.” This call was dutifully published here in Political Affairs, the official Communist theoretical organ, and hailed as a momentous declaration.

The arrogance and insincerity of this call were apparent to all who read it.

Obviously — since there were no “civil liberties” in the Soviet empire.

Most unfortunately, very few Americans bothered to examine it at all, and this was true of most of our national leaders. The effect of this call was even greater frenzy against “McCarthyism” in the Communist press, and consequently among the friends and puppets of the Communists. They all followed the order to attack McCarthy in the name of “civil liberties.”   

In The Bolshevik Invasion of the West, Budenz continues:

By June 1, 1953, the Daily Worker could report in a leading editorial, “Our Crusade Hits Home,” that it was making tremendous progress is this battle. Many conservative organizations were following the Communist lead, it said,

In the same month — June, 1953 — Political Affairs, official theoretical organ of the Communist Party, ran an important article, “The Anatomy of McCarthyism.” In that important directive article, it was declared that this battle was not against an individual alone but against all those who would seek to declare the Communist Party in the United States a “conspiracy.” So successful has this campaign been, that the United States today cannot do much against the Communist conspiracy in its midst …

This same directive — in effect, to expand “McCarthyism” into a universal weapon against all anti-communist defenses against communism  — would, of course, be repeated, as in this March 17, 1954, Daily Worker screed, “Stamp Out McCarthyism,” by former party chairman Willam Z. Foster, author of Toward Soviet America

What is wanted is not … more gentlemanly red-baiting and Soviet hating as so many in labor and political circles have been doing. This line only feeds McCarthyism. The whole program of warmongering [read: anti-communism] must be knocked out and the country embarked upon a realistic policy of peaceful coexistence between the United States and the Soviet Union. This alone can basically end the menace of McCarthyism. …

McCARTHY must be driven our of American public life completely. …

In the coming November elections the labor and progressive forces should defeat every McCarthyite who appears on any ticket and elect strong anti-McCarthy candidates …

One thing is clear. The organs and agents of godless communism, that creed of blood, servitude and pain, were obsessed and existentially threatend by this one American patriot, Senator McCarthy, and the larger anti-communist tradition he so quickly personified.

And America blinked.

“McCarthyism,” not communist subversion, was defeated.

Thus, today, from across the political spectrum, we continue to decry bad, old “McCarthyism,” having forgotten all about communist subversion.

I wonder if the day will come when conservatives, at least, notice that when they decry “McCarthyism,” they put a big, happy face on Stalin, wherever he is burning.


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