In 1932, William Z. Foster, former steel unionist and syndicalist, and then current chairman of the Communist Party U.S.A. and the Trade Union Unity League, wrote a ground breaking book entitled Toward Soviet America.
This book lays out the views of the Communist Party in 1932 during the famous/infamous “Third Period” of 1928-1934. It explains among other things, the causes of the Great Depression, the ongoing economic boom in the USSR, the failure of the Social-Democrats (he calls them ‘social fascists’), the program and activities of the Communist Party, and the eventual goal of the “United Soviet States of America.”
In 1961, the John Birch Society was so thoroughly impressed with Foster’s long forgotten text, that they re-published it. They included essays by one of their members before each chapter of the book, helping to put it in context as "the book the communists tried to destroy."
The Birchers printed the book, hoping to reveal that while the Communist Party of 1961 preached a “A Peaceful Democratic Road to Socialism" and endorsed the Democrats, the 1932 book would reveal their true intentions of carrying out a revolution.
The book also was promoted by the Moral Majority in 1980s as “proof” that plans to liberate women were part of the Soviet Agenda, as was the removal of prayer in school.
As a personal admirer of William Z. Foster, I discovered that the book is once again a favorite piece of “evidence” by the Ultra-Right. The video below is now attempting to “prove” that we live in a “Soviet America” based on passages from Foster’s 1932 classic.
In the style of my ever popular Glenn Beck screeds, I will take this lie apart piece by piece, defending Foster’s legacy and discrediting the ultra-right.
1. “Department of Education”
Among the elementary measures the American Soviet government will adopt to further the cultural revolution are the following; the schools, colleges and universities will be coordinated and grouped under the National Department of Education and its state and local branches. The studies will be revolutionized, being cleansed of religious, patriotic and other features of the bourgeois ideology. The students will be taught on the basis of Marxian dialectical materialism, internationalism and the general ethics of the new Socialist society. Present obsolete methods of teaching will be superseded by a scientific pedagogy.
Yes, there is a “Department of Education”, formed by Jimmy Carter in 1979. However it is not doing any of the things that Foster’s planned “Department of Education” will do.
Please show me a single public school or university in the United States where “Dialectical Materialism” is offered as a course, or for that matter, mentioned in textbooks with anything other than scorn and contempt.
While religion is supposedly removed from schools, Patriotism is not. “Support Our Troops” rallies are forced on students all the time. The pledge of allegiance is recited each morning in most public elementary schools. Public Universities in California still require loyalty oaths that denounce Marxism-Leninism.
Furthermore, Foster states this earlier in the text:
Under Socialism the care of the children rests directly with the parents stories of the nationalization of children in the Soviet Union are ridiculous. But the State does not let matters rest entirely with the parents. It throws such additional safeguards around the children in the schools, kindergartens, etc., of city and village that none can possibly go hungry, be denied medical care or lack education.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says 12% of households in the U.S. are “food insecure.” Millions of children are without health insurance, and in addition, public education is being destroyed through privatization and college education costs thousands and is unattainable for millions of people.
Where is the Soviet America?
2. “The Right to Bear Arms”
The idea that Communists want to ban fire-arms is a sad illusion. In Cuba all citizens are armed. In addition, they are trained as part of a “well regulated militia” on how to defend the country in the case of a U.S. invasion, for example. Foster says that the same thing shall take place in a Soviet America. He says:
The decisions of the Soviets are enforced by the armed Red Guard of the workers and peasants and by the direct seizure of the industry through factory committees.
In order to defeat the class enemies of the revolution, the counter-revolutionary intrigues within the United States and the attacks of foreign capitalist countries from without, the proletarian dictatorship must be supported by the organized armed might of the workers, soldiers, local militia, etc. In the early stages of the revolution, even before the seizure of power, the workers will organize the Red Guard. Later on this loosely constructed body becomes developed into a firmly-knit, well-disciplined Red Army
Where does he say he wants to ban fire-arms? If anything Foster is calling for a massive increase in gun ownership. In addition, the Communist Party formed its own rifle club of sorts in 1932, called the “Red Front Fighters League.”
It is very, very sad that the rhetoric of Michigan Militia types has replaced the truth about Marxism and Fire-Arms. Marxists love guns, look at their history.
The first demonstration of the Black Panther Party, for example, was a gun rights rally.
The Soviet Union invented the AK-47!
3. Soviet Russians Killed 62 Million Citizens
The population of the USSR in 1970 was 241 Million people. That would mean that the Soviet Government killed over one fifth of the entire population. Even proven liars like Robert Conquest and Robert Service have never made such an outlandish claim.
In addition, the Soviet People were armed. The USSR was often attacked for being so militaristic and armed as a society. So, even if the Soviet government had somehow killed over one fifth of the population, it would have had to do it despite nearly every citizen having a government issue fire-arm.
The claims on “Soviet China” are similarly illegitmate. (And for the record “Soviet China” was the name given only to the liberated territories in 1932. The country that came into existence in 1949 has never called itself a “Soviet Republic” but has been a “People’s Republic” based on a “bloc of 4 classes.”)
4. The Phrase “Seperation Of Church And State” is imported from the Soviet Constitution
The U.S. Constitution states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or restricting free practice thereofe.” The Supreme Court has ruled that this applies to all governments in the U.S., state, local, and federal.
It simply means that the government may not favor one religion over another, and schools, public ones, must remain neutral in fields of religion not “respecting an establishment of religion.”
It is not illegal for students to pray on their own. It is in addition, not illegal for students to form Bible Study Clubs or read the Bible on their own. It is simply illegal via the U.S. Supreme Court rulings, for a public institution to openly embrace any faith.
The phrase “Seperation of Church and State” of course does not appear in the U.S. constitution verbatim.
The phrase was first used by Thomas Jefferson in a letter written in 1802 to the Baptists Association of Danbury, Connecticut. Jefferson was writing to them to reassure that they would be protected from persecution as they were a minority in the state.
The Soviet Constitution was not written until 1924, with two more versions ratified in 1936, and 1977.
How, then, could Thomas Jefferson have plagiarized the phrase from the Soviet Constitution, while writing in 1802?
And does the creator of the above video really believe that Thomas Jefferson is a Communist?
William Z. Foster became a household name in 1919, when he led 365,000 steel workers on strike for union recognition. Congress investigated him, and Woodrow Wilson personally met with him, urging him to call the strike off, hoping to win his sympathy by using “rough neck talk" in their personal meeting.
Foster joined the Communist Party shortly after the strike. Foster formed the Trade Union Educational League (TUEL) which fought for “Class Struggle Unionism” through a method known as “Boring from Within.” Foster later formed the Trade Union Unity League (TUUL), which shut down San Francisco with the General Strike of 1934, and shut down the state of South Carolina with a textile workers strike the same year.
Foster was the master-mind behind the CIO unionizing the auto-industry, convincing the Communist Party to pour its efforts in Michigan. Foster is largely responsible for the formation of the UAW.
Foster pushed hard against racial discrimination within the Unions, making “Smash Race Prejudice” one of the principles of Unity for the TUUL and TUEL. Foster’s memoir “Pages From A Worker’s Life” speaks sympathetically of the plight of jailed homosexuals and trans-people in New York City, long before this was a commonly accepted view within the Communist Party.
Foster ran for President in 1932, being arrested in nearly every city in which he held a campaign appearance. The result of this high stress, low-budget campaign was a massive heart attack.
Foster led the Left-Wing of the Communist Party in the post-war years, nearly being expelled in 1956 for refusing to adopt the policies of “Peaceful Coexistance” mouthed by Khruschev.
Foster died in the USSR and was given a State Funeral in 1961. 4,000 people attended his U.S. memorial service, held at Carnegie Hall in New York City. It was even picketed by the American Nazi Party’s leader George Lincoln Rockwell.
The fact that Foster is still subject to scorn by the capitalists nearly 50 years after his death, shows that he is the very thing they fear. He is a “free radical” in the non-mathematical sense of the term.
He organized, fought, and built working class power. He pushed for a Soviet America where worker’s and oppressed have political power. He believed wholeheartedly in the concept of “Class Against Class.”
The capitalists fear people like William Z. Foster. They have never forgotten his call for a Soviet America in 1932. Neither should we.