Claim: Roger N. Baldwin, co-founder of the ACLU, is a Communist

TheNZThrower

New Member
In one of their articles, the Epoch Times makes the following vague claim:
The founder of one lawyers’ association with a nationwide presence is a self-avowed socialist who believes in public ownership and says that his ultimate goal is to establish communism.
The ''lawyer's association'' was the ACLU, and the socialist in question was ACLU co-founder Roger Baldwin. Their source for their claim is this 1938 hearing by the House of Un-American Activities, specifically from a statement by American Indian Federation (AIF) member Alice Lee Jemison. She claims that Baldwin advocated for communism in his Harvard yearbook:
Roger N. Baldwin, executive director of the ACLU, is a graduate of Harvard, class of 1905. In the 30-year class book of that class, published in 1935, Mr Baldwin has this to say about himself and his activities in the ACLU:

''I have continued directing the unpopular fight for the rights of agitation. As director of the ACLU; I have been to Europe several times, mostly in connection with international radical activities... I am opposed to production for private profit... I am for socialism, disarmamament, and ultimately for abolishing the state itself as an instrument of violence and compulsion... I seek social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class... Communism is the goal.''
I wasn't able to find any further source corroborating the claim, so any help would be appreciated.

Now according to Wikipedia's page on Jemison, citing a 1938 NYT article, the AIF was funded by an anti-semitic organisation called ''James True Associates'':
(HUAC chairman Martin Dies) gave the press copies of a letter from an anti-Semitic organization, James True Associates, soliciting funds for the AIF.
Per Wikipedia, citing historian Samuel Walker's work of ''In Defense of American Liberties: A History of the ACLU.'', they noted that the HUAC never was able to definitively state that the ACLU was Communist in the same hearing mentioned above:
[HUAC's] 1939 report concluded equivocally that it could not ''definitively state whether or not'' the ACLU was ''a communist organisation.''
One final fact I would like to note is that Baldwin eventually became opposed to the Soviet Union after being made aware of its atrocities. In a 1953 booklet titled ''A New Slavery, Forced Labor: The Communist Betrayal of Human Rights'', Baldwin stated that:
The Soviet Police State, and with it its servants, the Communist parties, were revealed as being politically and culturally no different from the fascist states, and through the deception to lofty claims of salvation, even more dangerous to human freedom.
Hence though he may have been a socialist, his communist sympathies have all but vanished by then.

If anyone can procure further resources corroborating any of the information I provided, it would be welcome.
 

WhistlingWinds

New Member
Specific quotes that cant be sourced elsewhere should be taken with grain. This was a very hot topic to flood with false information. With that said, ACLU's communist members and connections aren't entirely a secret, they're just not spoken about a lot because ACLU wasn't very pro-communist, it just so happened that their goals and memberships cross pollinated on occassion. Similar with lots of the major civil rights groups we saw and some still lasting today, do have some communist members, just like they have members from a bunch of other views. As for Roger Baldwin specifically, haven't found a whole lot but still digging through some FOIAs.
Small side note also, Epoch Times is not a very good source. They have a very long history of dissiminating mis and disinformation, amplifying or promoting conspiratorial narratives, and running inauthentic behavior networks to maliciously influence public opinion.


ACLU in general-
https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP75-00001R000100050026-4.pdf
This includes a statement from former HUAC counsel Richard Arens, and a summary of the 1961 Senate Fact-Finding Subcommittee on Un-American Activities of the State of California.

(Backs the citation of Samuel Walkers book)
 
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