June 1962, Edson
Peter Edson Few Of Many Left Wing Groups Are Ready, Willing To Be Counted EDSON WASHINGTON (NEA) - Running down active Communist, Communist-dominated, Communist-infiltrated, Communist front and fellow. > traveling affiliates in the United States today is a frustrating business. Recent publication in this column of lists of right wing organizations that have sprung up all over America in the last few years brought requests for a similar listing of left wing groups. INVESTIGATION reveals that Communist organizations in the United States — definitely low on finances and members, harassed by the government as well as by American public opinion and the anti *• Communist right wingers- are pursuing evasive, underground tactics that make them hard to catch. They continue operations by creating confusion through legal delays that tie up court cases and thwart government agencies charged with forcing the Communist party, its subsidiary organizations and members to register. Old Commie organizations that have been exposed or whose purposes have been accomplished go out of business. They change their names and officers. They keep no records. '• Fly-by-night committees for this or against that are organized without members for the sole purpose of propagandizing some pet Communist cause of the moment. As soon as these groups and their purposes are shown up, they fold. WHEN THE COMMUNIST party of the United States held its last convention in New York, Dec. 10-13. 1959, General Secretary Gus Hall said it had 10,000 members. Atty. Gen. Robert ,F. Kennedy recently confirmed this figure. The members are concentrated in the New York, Chicago-Detroit and Pacific Coast are3s. The party claims it's broke. In the World War H years when the U.S. and U.S.S.R. were allied against the Axis' powers, Communist party's late National Chairman William Z. Foster claimed 100,000 members. Actually it never got much over 80;000. The first impression drawn from this decline is that' the anti-Communist crusade in America is beginning to pay-off.; But Communist lawyers are Using every trick of. their trade to, thwart laws, regulations and court decisions intended to keep the party junder control or obliterate it. So the battle to force Communist organizations to register and disclose their membership is by no means won. ' y DIRECTOR J. EDGAR Hoover has told a congressional committee that Federal Bureau of Investigation now has under surveillance approximately 200 known and slispected Communist - controlled or Communist - infiltrated groups. For policy reasons he cannot give out the full list. To do so would break cover on some organizations that do not now know they are being watched. There are official records on over 1,000 United States organizations connected with the Communist movement since 1917. Most of them are now disbanded or no longer active. BUT IT IS POSSIBLE to identify some of the' newer organizations that have come out in the open and disclosed themselves as Communist. In the list are: —Citizens Committee for Constitutional Liberties. —Advance, an Organization for Progressive Youth. —Progressive Youth Organizing Committee. —New York School for Marxist Studies. —The Fair Play for Cuba Committee. —Gus Hall-Benjamin J. Davis Defense Committee. . Some 40 other organizations have been cited in various ways by government agencies. Department of Justice has filed petitions with the Subversive Activities Control Board, asking that hearings be held on 24 organizations. Twenty-one others — including four of the above 24 — have been the subject of hearings before the HouseUn-American Activities Committee. The attorney general 's list of organizations compiled under the internal security Executive Order 10450 contains the names of 11 groups active today, most of them duplicated on the other lists. Identity of these organizations and the work of the government agencies investigating them will be reviewed in succeeding columns in this series.