This book calls into question commonly held assumptions about the U.S. Communist Party by examining its work in Michigan in the decades immediately after World War II. As Cold War ideologies hardened, 1945-1960 was a difficult period in the history of the Left, and Edward C. Pintzuk demonstrates that this history has continued to be misunderstood. He delves into unpublished papers in library archives and private collections, examines FBI files, analyzes court decisions, interviews participants. He weighs the charge of Soviet domination. His specific concerns are the concrete details of what Michigan Communists did--their goals and methods, as well as what they actually accomplished--during those years.
Working through the Civil Rights Congress, the Michigan District of the CPUSA organized the defense of victims of racial injustice, perhaps the most searing case being that of Lemas Woods, an African American soldier convicted of murder on flimsy evidence. Government efforts to deport almost 60 Michiganders for political reasons were another focus of activity. Michigan Communists also joined such significant national campaigns as that against the House Un-American Activities Committee.
The Party made political misjudgments that damaged its own effectiveness, caused in part by unrelentingly hostile media and government persecution. Pintzuk argues that nonetheless Communist activities during the Cold War were able to challenge racial bigotry and oppression, strengthen Bill of Rights protections, and raise left and liberal political consciousness. --Publisher's summary.
Pintzuk, Edward C. Reds, racial justice, and civil liberties: Michigan Communists during the Cold War (Minneapolis, MN: MEP Publications, 1997)
1 online resource (xiv, 225 pages)
Pintzuk, Edward C., 1914-.
Reds, racial justice, and civil liberties: Michigan Communists during the Cold War.
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