Communist front

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Communist front organizations are characterized by their common origin, the rigid conformity of these organizations to the Communist pattern, their interlocking personnel, and their methods of deception.

A front organization is operated in two ways: either the Communists infiltrate an organization, work inside it (in Marxist language, the revolutionary mole burrows beneath the surface to "bore from within")[1] and eventually capture it; or they form their own organization - and simply invite the gullible in. In either case, many unsuspecting people wind up working to further some specific Marxist objective.

Browder on fronts

General Secretary Earl Browder described the success the CPUSA enjoyed in the use of front organizations: wrote in 1960,

Entering the 1930's as a small ultra-left sect of some 7,000 members... rose to become a national political influence far beyond its numbers (at its height it never exceeded 100,000 members), on a scale never before reached by a socialist movement claiming the Marxist tradition. It became a practical power in organized labour, its influence became strong in some state organizations of the Democratic Party (even dominant in a few for some years)...guided ...the American League for Peace and Democracy that united a cross-section of some five million organized Americans (a list of its sponsors and speakers would include almost a majority of Roosevelt's Cabinet, the most prominent intellectuals, judges of all grades up to State Supreme Courts, church leaders, labour leaders, etc.). Right-wing intellectuals complained that it exercised an effective veto in almost all publishing houses against their books, and it is at least certain that those right-wingers had extreme difficulty getting published.[2]

Munzenberg on fronts

During the first few years of the Communist International, immediately after the October Revolution, its international appeal was stridently revolutionary. As world economic conditions improved following the First World War, the international revolutionary movement began to wane. The Hungarian and German Communist revolutions failed and the Communist International began to lose strength. Hence it was deemed necessary to moderate the earlier revolutionary appeal, to adopt middle-of-the-road slogans, and to build so-called united front organizations, as bridge and supporting organizations in the interest of the international Communist movement.

One of the leading organizers of these 'innocent' organizations on an international scale was Willi Munzenberg, a prominent German Communist, whose organizing ability won him the sobriquet of the 'Henry Ford of the Communist International.' Munzenberg was engagingly frank in describing the real purpose of these organizations:

  1. To arouse the interest of those millions of apathetic and indifferent workers...who simply have no ear for Communist propaganda. These people we wish to attract and arouse through new channels, by means of new ways.
  2. Our sympathetic organizations should constitute bridges for the nonparty workers...who have not yet mustered the courage to take the final step and join the Communist Party, but who are nevertheless in sympathy with the Communist movement and are prepared to follow us part of the way.
  3. By means of the mass organizations we wish to extend the Communist sphere of influence in itself.
  4. The organizational linking up of the elements in sympathy with the Soviet Union and with the Communists.
  5. We must build up our own organizations in order to counteract the increasing efforts of the bourgeois and social-democratic parties in this respect, and
  6. Through these sympathetic and mass organizations we should train the cadres of militants and officials of the Communist Party possessing organizational experience.[3]

Stalin on fronts

We have fashioned a number of organization without which we could not wage war on capitalism: trade unions, cooperatives, workshop committees, labor parties, women's associations, a labor press, educational leagues, youth societies.

As often as not these are non-party organizations and only a certain proportion of them are linked with the party. But under special conditions, every one of these organizations is necessary; for, lacking them, it is impossible to consolidate the class positions of the workers in the various spheres of the struggle.

There is a veritable ant heap of independent organizations, commissions, and committees comprising millions of non-party members. Who decides upon the direction that all these organizations take? Where is the central unit of organization that wields sufficient authority to keep them within prescribed lines in order to achieve unity of command and to avoid confusion? The central unit is the Communist party! [4]

Dimitrov on fronts

Georgi Dimitrov served as Secretary General of the Comintern from 1935 until 1943.

Comrades, you remember the ancient tale of the capture of Troy. Troy was inacessible to the armies attacking her, thanks to her impregnable walls. And the attacking army, after suffering many sacrifices, was unable to achieve victory until with the aid of the famous Trojan horse it managed to penetrate the very heart of the enemy's camp.

"We revolutionary workers, it appears to me, should not be shy about using the same tactics . . .[5][6]

Budenz on fronts

Soviet defector Louis Budenz describes how fronts then use communist publications to shape and influence public opinion.

[I]t is the Communists' hidden influence on American [public] opinion that has been most devastating. I can speak with full authority on that matter, having been deeply engaged in directing and executing Moscow's orders for molding American thinking. Repeatedly...orders went out to form this committee and that, to set up groups of citizens with patriotic names and allegedly patriotic objectives. Then these committees, headed by steeled Communists from the "branches," would roll up huge numbers of letters and telegrams from all sections of the land - with a view to influencing Congressmen and securing the passage or defeat of some particular piece of legislation.

Thousands of loyal Americans, in the name of "civil liberties," "rights," "fascist abuse of labor," are thus inveigled by the Communists into support of moves and measures which build up the enemies of all liberty. And the end is not yet; even now, as I hope to make clear, new committees under new names are pounding on the doors of Congress and the courts. Each of their insistent demands aids the Communists in undermining the nation.

The energy that marks such campaigning is engendered by the Daily Worker through devices which again arouse the laughter of the unthinking. Anyone who picks up that paper today will be arrested by the foul abuse which characterizes its columns and which is hurled at all those with whom the Reds disagree. So extreme are these vilifications that a casual reader will find it hard to believe that anything could be gained by such foulness, which must offend a great many people. Nevertheless much is gained by it. Through this excessive appeal to hatred, the Red newspaper whips up its readers (who live on a philosophy of hate) to induce others to get busy. In working on others, the faithful Daily Worker readers do not use the same phrases, as a rule; that would be ineffective. But the spleen developed in them by what they have read is transmitted in action to those they meet in shop, neighborhood or community. The device is one that wins - if used in a steeled army of agents for a foreign power, and among a trusting population such as ours.[7]

See also


  1. After Iowa, Frank Chapman, People's Weekly World Letters, Jan. 12, 2008.
  2. Earl Browder, Socialism in America in International Communism, St. Antony's Papers, Number 9, Edited by David Footman, Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, III, 1960, p 101. [1]
  3. Speech before the Sixth Congress of the Communist International in Moscow, July 20, 1928. International Press Correspondence, vol. 8, No. £2, Aug. 1, 1928, pp. 751, 752.
  4. From the Stalin archives of the National War College in Washington, D.C., as quoted in Coronet, vol. 29, no. 3 (January 1951), p. 23. [2]
  5. Georgi Dimitroff, The United Front (New York, International Publishers, 1938), p. 52, quoted from a report to the Seventh World Congress (August 1935).
  6. William A. Nolan, Communism Versus the Negro (Chicago, Henry Regnery Company, 1951), p. 115.
  7. Louis F. Budenz, Men Without Faces, Harper & Brothers, 1950, pp. 25-26. (pp. 14-15 pdf)