communism | WAMC

communism

In the long history of American demagogues, from Huey Long to Donald Trump, never has one man caused so much damage in such a short time as Senator Joseph McCarthy.

We still use “McCarthyism” to stand for outrageous charges of guilt by association, a weapon of polarizing slander. From 1950 to 1954, McCarthy destroyed many careers and even entire lives, whipping the nation into a frenzy of paranoia, accusation, loyalty oaths, and terror. When the public finally turned on him, he came crashing down, dying of alcoholism in 1957.

Larry Tye’s new biography, "Demagogue," is a portrait of a human being capable of immense evil, yet beguiling charm. McCarthy was a tireless worker and a genuine war hero. When he made it to the Senate, he flailed around in search of an agenda. Finally, after three years, he hit upon anti-communism.

 Lauren Wilkinson earned an MFA in fiction and literary translation from Columbia University, and has taught writing at Columbia and the Fashion Institute of Technology. She was a 2013 Center for Fiction Emerging Writers Fellow, and has also received support from the MacDowell Colony and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program.

In her debut novel, "American Spy," it's 1986, the heart of the Cold War, and Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer with the FBI. She’s brilliant, but she’s also a young black woman working in an old boys’ club. Her career has stalled out, she’s overlooked for every high-profile squad, and her days are filled with monotonous paperwork. So when she’s given the opportunity to join a shadowy task force aimed at undermining Thomas Sankara, the charismatic revolutionary president of Burkina Faso whose Communist ideology has made him a target for American intervention, she says yes.

In late summer 1940, as war spread across Europe and as the nation pulled itself out of the Great Depression, an anti-communist hysteria convulsed New York City. Targeting the city’s municipal colleges and public schools, the New York state legislature’s Rapp-Coudert investigation dragged hundreds of suspects before public and private tribunals to root out a perceived communist conspiracy to hijack the city’s teachers unions, subvert public education, and indoctrinate the nation’s youth.

Drawing on the vast archive of Rapp-Coudert records, Union College History Professor Andrew Feffer looks to provide the first full history of this witch-hunt, which lasted from August 1940 to March 1942.

He does so in the new book: "Bad Faith: Teachers, Liberalism, and the Origins of McCarthyism." Andrew Feffer is Professor of History and Co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Film Studies at Union College.

Lidia Matticchio Bastianich is a successful restaurateur, the author of many best-selling cookbooks, and the Emmy award-winning host of public television's "Lidia's Kitchen," which also airs internationally. She is also a judge on MasterChef Junior Italy and Italy's highly rated daily program "La Prova del Cuoco." 

Lidia's story begins with her upbringing in Pula, a formerly Italian city turned Yugoslavian under Tito's communist regime. She enjoys a childhood surrounded by love and security, despite the family's poverty, learning everything about Italian cooking from her beloved grandmother, Nonna Rosa. When the communist regime begins investigating the family, they flee to Trieste, Italy, where they spend two years in a refugee camp waiting for visas to enter the United States -- an experience that will shape Lidia for the rest of her life.

Her new memoir is "My American Dream: A Life of Love, Family, and Food."

David A. Nichols, a leading expert on the Eisenhower presidency, holds a PhD in history from the College of William and Mary. A former professor and academic dean at Southwestern College, he is the author of A Matter of Justice: Eisenhower and the Beginning of the Civil Rights Revolution; Eisenhower 1956: The President’s Year of Crisis; and Ike and McCarthy: Dwight Eisenhower’s Secret Campaign against Joseph McCarthy; as well as other books.

His new book is Ike and McCarthy: Dwight Eisenhower's Secret Campaign against Joseph McCarthy.

In Ike and McCarthy, David A Nichols shows how the tension between the two men escalated. In a direct challenge to Eisenhower, McCarthy alleged that the US Army was harboring communists and launched an investigation. But the senator had unwittingly signed his own political death warrant. The White House employed surrogates to conduct a clandestine campaign against McCarthy and was not above using information about the private lives of McCarthy’s aides as ammunition.

TRUMBO

Nov 25, 2015

  Dalton Trumbo was the central figure in the "Hollywood Ten," the blacklisted and jailed screenwriters. One of several hundred writers, directors, producers, and actors who were deprived of the opportunity to work in the motion picture industry from 1947 to 1960, he was the first to see his name on the screen again. When that happened, it was Exodus, one of the year's biggest movies.

Bruce Cook wrote a biography of Dalton Trumbo and there is now a feature film based on the book. We speak with Cook's widow, Judith Aller.

   Historians generally portray the 1950s as a conservative era when anticommunism and the Cold War subverted domestic reform, crushed political dissent, and ended liberal dreams of social democracy. These years, historians tell us, represented a turn to the right, a negation of New Deal liberalism, an end to reform.

Jennifer Delton argues that, far from subverting the New Deal state, anticommunism and the Cold War enabled, fulfilled, and even surpassed the New Deal's reform agenda. Anticommunism solidified liberal political power and the Cold War justified liberal goals such as jobs creation, corporate regulation, economic redevelopment, and civil rights.

In her book, Rethinking the 1950s: How Anticommunism and the Cold War Made America Liberal, Skidmore College History Professor Jennifer Delton shows how despite President Eisenhower's professed conservatism, he maintained the highest tax rates in U.S. history, expanded New Deal programs, and supported major civil rights reforms.

Eslanda "Essie" Cardozo Goode Robeson lived a colorful and amazing life. Her career and commitments took her many places: colonial Africa in 1936, the front lines of the Spanish Civil War, the founding meeting of the United Nations, Nazi-occupied Berlin, Stalin's Russia, and China two months after Mao's revolution. She was a woman of unusual accomplishment—an anthropologist, a prolific journalist, a tireless advocate of women's rights, an outspoken anti-colonial and antiracist activist, and an internationally sought-after speaker.

Anne Appllebaum is a columnist for The Washington Post and Slate. Her book, Gulag, won the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction and was a finalist for three other major prizes. Her essays appear in The New York Review of Books, Slate, and The London Spectator.