Reds

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Take a look at the teeny tiny face of Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne (above). It is drastically dwarfed by that giant “Soviet banner of victory,” which becomes a visual metaphor for the Washington Post itself as it enters a more florid stage of being Bezos’ Red Banner. “Trump’s war on socialism will fail,” the op-ed headline declares, Pravida-pitch-perfect. 

Why “will Trump’s war on socialism fail”? Grit your teeth as we enter a new era of New Deal Nostalgia. Because, Dionne tells us, socialism is actually the saving grace of democracy or some such rot. He invokes a “cheeky” New Deal lawyer named Jerome Frank to make this historically obscene case, quoting Frank as saying: “We socialists are trying to save capitalism, and the damned capitalists won’t let us.”

“Jerome Frank was right,” Dionne writes. “Those slurred as socialists really do have a good track record of making capitalism work better and more justly.”

Of course, Jerome Frank has a track record, too. It starts inside Harry Hopkins’ communist-organized study group at the Department of Agriculture. There, in the early 1930s, Harry Hopkins, Jerome Frank, Paul Appleby (whom Hopkins had known at Grinnell College), Gardner Jackson, Lee Pressman, and Rex Tugwell. according to Hopkins’ biographer McJimsey.

Take it away, American Betrayal….

When Romerstein and Breindel looked at McJimsey’s list, the tip-off for them was the presence of Lee Pressman, who happened (if that’s the right word) to be a Harvard Law School classmate of Alger Hiss. In 1948, Whittaker Chambers identified Pressman as a very big Communist cheese: one of seven leading members of a Communist apparatus within the U.S. government, each of whom was charged with organizing a study group/cell in his respective agency. The way it worked was that members would be further evaluated by Communist cell leaders, after which they might be selected to join the Communist underground and work in Soviet espionage. Pressman’s agency was Agriculture. Suddenly, McJimsey’s study group looks less revival meeting and more Marxist conspiracy meet-and-greet.

Was Hopkins tapped for advanced work here? We have no evidence. Which, of course, isn’t to say it didn’t happen. My hunch is that if Hopkins were in fact an Akhmerov agent—and, as we will see, his contact with Akhmerov is confirmed—he may have belonged to a network we don’t know about, or a network of one. This little Ag group, by the way, with the exception of Pressman, remains clean when it comes to official espionage links, but they were all fellow travelers active in Communist or Soviet causes, which is, after all, what fellow travelers do. Take Jerome Frank, who was Rexford Tugwell’s housemate. Frank was a drafter of the New Deal law that ushered in the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, the New Deal agency empowered to compel farmers to limit or destroy their output in exchange for government subsidies.

“More Bolshevistic than any law or regulation existing in Soviet Russia,” said Rep. Fred Bitten (R-IL). “We are on our way to Moscow,” said Rep. Joseph W. Martin (D-MA).124

Maybe not so low-impact. Tugwell, after all, Frank’s housemate, was a radical’s radical and the foremost member of FDR’s so-called brain trust—one of the leaders William A. Wirt attempted to bring to Congress’s attention in May 1934 for allegedly plotting revolution from within. Arthur Schlesinger relates an anecdote about an overnight visit from a friend of Frank’s from his, yes, corporate law days to the Frank Tugwell home. The friend, in Schlesinger’s words, became “shocked by Tugwell in a mood of early morning intensity.” (Tugwell probably read him selections from his latest oeuvre, something about how the solution to the “central problem of subordinating the profit motive to social welfare” lay in “genuine economic planning and social control.”) After departing, the friend cabled Jerome Frank with a warning about Tugwell: BEWARE COMMA JEROME STOP THIS MORNING AT BREAKFAST I SAW THE FACE OF ROBESPIERRE. …

They’re back. Of course, they never left.

Full article: Reds (Diana West)

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