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Thread: CPUSA Marching with American Flags

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    Default CPUSA Marching with American Flags

    I've heard it time and time again that during World War II the CPUSA would march with both American and Soviet\Socialist flags, but I have yet to see a picture of this.

    Does anyone have any [or written accounts]? Or is this just a myth?
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    Well, seeing that the Chairman of the National Committee of the Communist Party USA from 1934 to 1945 and the General Secretary of the National Committee of the Communist Party USA from 1930 to 1945 (WWII time periods) was Earl Browder, a man who was known for accepting American semi-patriotism and support for peaceful coexistance into the party platform, this is most likely true.

    This was his opinion on WWII:

    Browder was a staunch adherent of close cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union during World War II and foresaw continued cooperation between these two military powers in the postwar years.
    This American flag flying most likely did occur.

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    I wouldn't be surprised because the CPUSA supported the FDR administration "moderately" and joined a coalition with liberals during the war because the U.S. was allied with the Soviet Union. Also, they were already running candidates for election at this point and they were using patriotic rhetoric. They stopped using Marxist rhetoric about class war and whatnot and adopted liberal criticisms of right-wing, laissez-faire capitalism.

    And here you go, a nice poster from the WWII era for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates of the CPUSA complete with American flag and an image of Lincoln:



    Speaking of the matter, does anyone have any good recommendations for history books covering the CPUSA's history?

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    I see the reason why one would carry the american flag. I'd prefer the citizens flag but it makes sense if one drops their idealist alltruism for a moment. Do an experiment you and a friend go to a rally/protest. One take a USSR flag one take an american flag and see who the average person is willing to listen to more. I think we need to create a "peoples flag" to represent the greater working masses and carry that at rallys and protest. Red/black flags and soviet flag only isolate us. One event I was at people were carrying red and black flags and people walked up and asked us if they were nazi's
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    The IWW would sometimes march behind American flags to try and stop police intervention (usually to no avail). Sometimes it's about tact and pragmatism rather than specific ideology.
    Last edited by thriller; 5th May 2012 at 19:36.
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    The CPUSA is fucked up beyond all ability to salvage, but I don't think flag choice by itself really says all that much, as thriller pointed out. It's not like carrying an American flag automatically makes them nationalist zombies, but I would urge caution on the issue of things which could stir nationalist sentiment.

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    The CPUSA is a joke.

    Regardless, I do think the flying of an American flag (the appropriation of "real patriotism") is a more nuanced issue, though ultimately I am against such attempts. Especially given the U.S.'s role as an imperial power, I don't think it's possible to make our cause one of "the real patriotism."

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    The CP USA today was born out of the purges of the Bolshevists from the party at the same point as the purges worldwide in the 30's. Only Bukharinites and some Syndicallists like Browder and Jay Lovestone were kept and they tried to form a "Workers and Farmers," party around La Foliette (SP Member, utterly reformist and bourgeois).

    But what do you expect? At this point they and the other old 3rd International parties are as bankrupt as the 2nd international.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Hong Se Sun View Post
    I see the reason why one would carry the american flag. I'd prefer the citizens flag but it makes sense if one drops their idealist alltruism for a moment. Do an experiment you and a friend go to a rally/protest. One take a USSR flag one take an american flag and see who the average person is willing to listen to more. I think we need to create a "peoples flag" to represent the greater working masses and carry that at rallys and protest. Red/black flags and soviet flag only isolate us. One event I was at people were carrying red and black flags and people walked up and asked us if they were nazi's
    why would anyone take an american flag, or any other country's flag for that matter, to an anti-capitalist protest? why would we want to represent that which we wish to destroy? movements shouldn't be focussed on populism and compromise; communists should say that they are communists and communism is what they stand for. gentrification for public appeal renders it all moot. also, fuck soviet flags. red and black flags are the closest things to symbols for working class liberation. obviously workers can only represent themselves, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sleep View Post
    also, fuck soviet flags. red and black flags are the closest things to symbols for working class liberation. obviously workers can only represent themselves, though.
    You're not biased at all.

    I don't think the flying of the American was acceptable back then, as it is not today.

    They were simply trying to be populists and get votes. Disgusting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by siren bang View Post
    "Communism is Americanism of the 20th Century"

    I lol'd

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    Quote Originally Posted by honest john's firing squad View Post
    "Communism is Americanism of the 20th Century"

    I lol'd
    Yeah, that was their official line under Browder's leadership in the WWII era. He advocated using liberal, patriotic rhetoric rather than Marxist, revolutionary rhetoric. He, like a lot of U.S. socialists at the time, thought that socialism could come from the ballot box and reforms because that was what Americans were used to. It was like they were saying "this is the American path to communism." Which was clearly erroneous, as we can see that as soon as the war was over, the FBI and U.S. government turned to arresting, killing, and purging communists from all walks of society and one-by-one, socialists lost all their positions in the government as mayors, city council members, and state legislators. They learned the hard way that the bourgeoisie is not interested in allowing them into their ranks and that they will go to immense measures to keep socialism out of the public dialogue (except in negative terms) and that indeed the government established after the bourgeois-democratic revolution was and is a bourgeois-democratic state.

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    For a book on the CPUSA's early history when things were still forming in America check out "The Roots of American Communism" by Theodore Draper. Though it is mixed with bourgeois opinion from its author and can be annoying as such at times, for those of us with decent understanding of history it is easy to refute his ignorance.

    Overlooking that slight it is a great book to understanding the conditions of the early American communists.There is a second part to the series which deals more with the actual united CPUSA party but I don't have a link to it yet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by siren bang View Post
    I wouldn't be surprised because the CPUSA supported the FDR administration "moderately" and joined a coalition with liberals during the war because the U.S. was allied with the Soviet Union. Also, they were already running candidates for election at this point and they were using patriotic rhetoric. They stopped using Marxist rhetoric about class war and whatnot and adopted liberal criticisms of right-wing, laissez-faire capitalism.

    And here you go, a nice poster from the WWII era for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates of the CPUSA complete with American flag and an image of Lincoln:



    Speaking of the matter, does anyone have any good recommendations for history books covering the CPUSA's history?
    Theodore Draper's two books covering the Pre-history/history up until 1929. Cannon's History of American Communism covers the same time frame from a Trotskyist perspective -- of course, Cannon was there, in the leadership of the CP.

    Just want to underscore that Browder was a product of Stalin and Stalinism.

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    Oh, the CPUSA cheered the incineration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki! Horrible!

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