California’s Communist Tutorial

Lloyd Billingsley Policy Fellow, Independent Institute
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California assemblyman Rob Bonta authored AB 22, which repeals part of a law allowing state employees to be fired for being members of the Communist Party. The Bay Area Democrat has withdrawn the bill, but his gambit provides a tutorial on the currently raging subject of foreign intervention in American elections.

The Communist Party USA was not just another American political party, like the Democratic, Green, Libertarian and Republican parties. The Communist Party was the creation of the Soviet Union, which established the Communist International, the Comintern, to manage its parties in other lands.

Ben Gitlow, twice the Communist Party candidate for vice-president, described the party as a “militarized colonial service” in the land they were colonizing for the USSR, the United States.

Millennials and such might wonder which Americans joined a Party like that and still managed to get a job in California government. Rob Bonta failed to name any, including the most prominent.

Few African Americans joined a party that represented an all-white foreign dictatorship, but that proved no impediment to Angela Davis. Long after prominent blacks like Richard Wright abandoned the CPUSA, as he explained in The God That Failed, Davis duly joined the Party. She then gained her first teaching job at UCLA, which she retained despite attempts to fire her.

Davis’ involvement in a courthouse gun battle made her a national figure, and in 1979 the Soviet Union awarded Davis the International Lenin Peace Prize. In 1980 and 1984, Angela Davis was the vice-presidential candidate of the Communist Party USA, on the bottom of the ticket under white Stalinist Gus Hall.

Serving as the candidate of communist Russia, a hostile totalitarian foreign power, did not prevent Angela Davis from becoming professor of the history of consciousness and feminist studies at the University of California at Santa Cruz. In that post she was a state employee, but was never fired for her CPUSA membership and candidacy.

Another American, Bert Corona, joined the Communist Party in the 1930s and dropped out of USC to become a professional Party agitator—what would now be called an “organizer.” Corona had no college degree and was completely unqualified for a job at Cal State LA, which took affirmative action to hire him.

Corona left that job, but the violence-prone Stalinist was not fired for Communist Party membership. He went on to bilk state government out of millions of dollars.

As the record shows, even the most high-profile and violent Communist Party members can easily secure and retain high-paying jobs with the state of California. That has also been true of the federal government.

“The curiosity is not that there were undoubtedly many Reds that made government their vocation, but that the entire Communist Party was not on the federal payroll.” That is not some right-wing McCarthyite, but the late liberal Democrat Robert Vaughn, star of “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” who at USC wrote his PhD thesis about Communists blacklisted by the movie industry.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bonta’s legislation was an attempt to rehabilitate Communists by portraying them as just like members of other political parties. They weren’t and aren’t.

Communists are prodigious haters who never accepted the U.S. Constitution nor any democratic institutions. They are members of a Party founded, directed and funded by a hostile foreign power. Communists are the sycophants of dictators like Fidel Castro and apologists of their totalitarian regimes.

Just so millennials know, communism still prevails in Cuba, China, Vietnam, and North Korea. That regime’s Sado-Stalinist dictator Kim Jong-un hopes to strike the United States with a nuclear missile. So one might say that communism remains a threat to the peace, freedom and security of the United States.

Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute. He is the author of Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation, and Bill of Writes: Dispatches from the Political Correctness Battlefield.