Earl Russell Browder


Earl Russell Browder

Earl Russell Browder (May 20, 1891 – June 27, 1973) was a United States communist and General Secretary of the Communist Party USA from 1934 to 1945. He was expelled from the party in 1946.

Early years

Born in Wichita, Kansas, Browder joined the Socialist Party of America at the age of 15 and married Gladys Lenore Groves in Wichita on January 22, 1911. They would divorce in 1959 on the grounds of his desertion in 1924.

Browder worked at the Johnson County Cooperative Association in Olathe, Kansas in 1916 and attended union meetings in Kansas City. During World War I he gave speeches urging the United States not to join the war, calling the conflict an imperialist conflict. When the US joined the war in 1917, Browder and other Socialist Party leaders were arrested and charged under the Espionage Act for opposing conscription. Browder was imprisoned, but continued to campaign against the war after his release, resulting in his second imprisonment in 1919.

The left wing of the Socialist Party split to form the Communist Party of America and the Communist Labor Party. The two parties fused in 1921 and Browder joined the unified party in 1921, becoming managing editor of the party newspaper, "Labor Herald".

In 1928, Browder and his lover Kitty Harris went to China and lived together in Shanghai where they worked together on behalf of the Pan-Pacific Trade Union Secretariat, a Comintern organization engaged in clandestine labor organizing. The two returned to the United States in 1929.

CPUSA leadership

Browder became General Secretary of the Communist party in 1930 and took over the top position of party chairman in 1932 after William Z. Foster suffered a heart attack. During his term as General Secretary, Browder embraced the popular front tactic and led the CPUSA's tactic of expressing support for the New Deal of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, while demanding that it should go much farther in terms of restructuring the capitalist system. Browder was the party's candidate for President of the United States in the 1936 presidential election but won only 80,195 votes. During this time, Browder made at least one and possibly two trips to the Soviet Union on a false U.S. passport. [Ryan, James G., "Socialist Triumph as a Family Value: Earl Browder and Soviet Espionage", American Communist History 1, no. 2 (December 2002)] [Haynes, John E., Klehr, Harvey, and Igorevich, Fridrikh I., "The Secret World of American Communism", Yale University Press (1995)] After admitting he had traveled on a false passport in a public statement, [ [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,762584,00.html "Children of Moscow", Time Magazine article, 18 September 1939] ] he was tried and sentenced to prison in 1940 for passport violations. Browder was released after 14 months when the United States joined World War II and became an ally of the Soviet Union.

In 1944, perceiving the end of the war and the possibility of postwar tension between Washington and Moscow, Browder made moves to distance the CPUSA from the Soviet Union, declaring that communism and capitalism could peacefully co-exist. This policy became known in the Party as Browderism. The CPUSA reconstituted itself as the Communist Political Association.

Expulsion from the CPUSA

With the end of the Great Power alliance at the end of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War, "Browderism" came under attack from the rest of the international Communist movement. In 1945, Jacques Duclos, a leader of the French Communist Party, published an article denouncing Browder's policy. With the Comintern having been dissolved during the war, the "Duclos letter" was used to informally communicate Moscow's views. William Z. Foster, Browder's predecessor and a staunch Marxist-Leninist, led the opposition to Browder within the party and replaced him as party chairman in 1945, with Eugene Dennis taking over as General Secretary. Browder was expelled from the party in 1946.

Browder continued to campaign for his views outside the party and criticized the CPUSA's domination by Moscow, writing that "The American Communists had thrived as champions of domestic reform. But when the Communists abandoned reforms and championed a Soviet Union openly contemptuous of America while predicting its quick collapse, the same party lost all its hard-won influence. It became merely a bad word in the American language." Fact|date=February 2007

In April 1950, Browder was called to testify before a Senate Committee investigating Communist activity. Questioned by Joseph McCarthy, Browder was willing to criticize the American Communist Party but refused to answer questions that would incriminate former comrades. He falsely testified under oath that he had never been involved in espionage activities. [Ryan, James G., "Socialist Triumph as a Family Value: Earl Browder and Soviet Espionage," American Communist History 1, no. 2 (December 2002)] Browder was charged with contempt of Congress, but Judge F. Dickinson Letts ordered his acquittal because he felt the committee had not acted legally. Browder was never prosecuted for his espionage work on behalf of the Soviet Union.

Browder's final public appearance was in a debate with Max Shachtman, the dissident Trotskyist, in which the pair debated socialism. Browder defended the Soviet Union while Shachtman acted as a prosecutor. It is reported that at one point in the debate Shachtman listed a series of leaders of various Communist Parties and noted that each had perished at the hands of Stalin; at the end of this speech, he remarked that Browder too had been a leader of a Communist Party and, pointing at him, announced: "There-there but for an accident of geography, stands a corpse!" [ [http://www.marxists.org/archive/shachtma/1950/03/russia.htm "Is Russia a Socialist Community? The Verbatim Text of a Debate"] ]

An attempt to reinstate Browder in the CPUSA following the Twentieth Party Congress and the move to destalinization failed. He remained outside of the party until his death in Princeton, New Jersey in 1973.

Espionage Activities

Browder is alleged to have been involved in constructing an underground branch of the CPUSA, called the "secret apparatus". [cite book |last= Klehr |first= Harvey |authorlink= Harvey Klehr|coauthors= Haynes, John E., and Igorevich, Fridrikh I. |editor= |others= |title= The Secret World of American Communism |origdate= |origyear= |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |date= |year= 1995 |month= |publisher= Yale University Press |location= |language= |id= |doi = |pages= ???? |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote = "????"] [Sudoplatov, Pavel Anatoli, Schecter, Jerrold L., and Schecter, Leona P., "Special Tasks: The Memoirs of an Unwanted Witness - A Soviet Spymaster", Little Brown, Boston (1994)] This branch was intended to assist the Soviet Union in maintaining dominance of the CPUSA in policy issues, [cite book |last= Klehr |first= Harvey |authorlink= Harvey Klehr|coauthors= Haynes, John E., and Igorevich, Fridrikh I. |editor= |others= |title= The Secret World of American Communism |origdate= |origyear= |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |date= |year= 1995 |month= |publisher= Yale University Press |location= |language= |id= |doi = |pages= ???? |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote = "????"] [Sudoplatov, Pavel Anatoli, Schecter, Jerrold L., and Schecter, Leona P., "Special Tasks: The Memoirs of an Unwanted Witness - A Soviet Spymaster", Little Brown, Boston (1994)] as well as to recruit potential espionage agents for Soviet intelligence. [Sudoplatov, Pavel Anatoli, Schecter, Jerrold L., and Schecter, Leona P., "Special Tasks: The Memoirs of an Unwanted Witness - A Soviet Spymaster", Little Brown, Boston (1994)] [cite book |last= Klehr |first= Harvey |authorlink= Harvey Klehr|coauthors= Haynes, John E., and Igorevich, Fridrikh I. |editor= |others= |title= The Secret World of American Communism |origdate= |origyear= |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |date= |year= 1995 |month= |publisher= Yale University Press |location= |language= |id= |doi = |pages= ???? |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote = "????"]

In 1938 Rudy Baker (Venona code name: SON) was appointed to head the CPUSA underground apparatus to replace J. Peters, after the defection of Whittaker Chambers, allegedly at the request of Browder (Venona code name: FATHER). [Haynes, John Earl, "Russian Archival Identification of Real Names Behind Cover Names in VENONA", Cryptology and the Cold War, Center for Cryptologic History Symposium, (October 27, 2005)] [cite book |last= Haynes |first= John Earl |authorlink= John Earl Haynes |coauthors= Klehr, Harvey |editor= |others= |title= Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America|origdate= |origyear= |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |date= |year= 2000 |month= |publisher= Yale University Press|location= |language= |id= |doi = |pages= ???? |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote = "????" ] [Weinstein, Allen, and Vassiliev, Aleksandr, "The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America - the Stalin Era" (New York: Random House, 1999)] Browder himself ran an agent network, which he turned over to Jacob Golos, then Elizabeth Bentley after he was sentenced to prison. [cite book |last= Klehr |first= Harvey |authorlink= Harvey Klehr|coauthors= Haynes, John E., and Igorevich, Fridrikh I. |editor= |others= |title= The Secret World of American Communism |origdate= |origyear= |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |date= |year= 1995 |month= |publisher= Yale University Press |location= |language= |id= |doi = |pages= ???? |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote = "????"] [cite book |last= Haynes |first= John Earl |authorlink= John Earl Haynes |coauthors= Klehr, Harvey |editor= |others= |title= Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America|origdate= |origyear= |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |date= |year= 2000 |month= |publisher= Yale University Press|location= |language= |id= |doi = |pages= ???? |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote = "????" ] [Schecter, Jerrold and Leona, "Sacred Secrets: How Soviet Intelligence Operations Changed American History", Potomac Books (2002)] [Weinstein, Allen, and Vassiliev, Aleksandr, "The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America - the Stalin Era" (New York: Random House, 1999)] While in custody, Browder never revealed his status as an agent recruiter to U.S. authorities, and was never prosecuted for espionage. Venona decrypt #588 April 29 1944 from the KGB New York office states “for more than a year Zubilin (station chief) and I tried to get in touch with Victor Perlo and Charles Flato. For some reason Browder did not come to the meeting and just decided to put Bentley in touch with the whole group. All occupy responsible positions in Washington, D.C.” Soviet intelligence thought highly of Browder's recruitment work: in a 1946 OGPU memorandum, Browder was personally credited with hiring eighteen intelligence agents for the Soviet Union. [cite book |last= Haynes |first= John Earl |authorlink= John Earl Haynes |coauthors= Klehr, Harvey |editor= |others= |title= Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America|origdate= |origyear= |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |date= |year= 2000 |month= |publisher= Yale University Press|location= |language= |id= |doi = |pages= ???? |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote = "????" ] [Schecter, Jerrold and Leona, "Sacred Secrets: How Soviet Intelligence Operations Changed American History", Potomac Books (2002)] [Sudoplatov, Pavel Anatoli, Schecter, Jerrold L., and Schecter, Leona P., "Special Tasks: The Memoirs of an Unwanted Witness - A Soviet Spymaster", Little Brown, Boston (1994)] [Weinstein, Allen, and Vassiliev, Alexander, "The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America - the Stalin Era" (New York: Random House, 1999)]

Members of Browder's family were involved in work for Soviet intelligence. [cite book |last= Klehr |first= Harvey |authorlink= Harvey Klehr|coauthors= Haynes, John E., and Igorevich, Fridrikh I. |editor= |others= |title= The Secret World of American Communism |origdate= |origyear= |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |date= |year= 1995 |month= |publisher= Yale University Press |location= |language= |id= |doi = |pages= ???? |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote = "????"] According to a 1938 classified letter from Browder to Georgi Dimitrov, in the Soviet archives, Browder’s younger sister Marguerite was an agent working in various European countries for the NKVD. [cite book |last= Klehr |first= Harvey |authorlink= Harvey Klehr|coauthors= Haynes, John E., and Igorevich, Fridrikh I. |editor= |others= |title= The Secret World of American Communism |origdate= |origyear= |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |date= |year= 1995 |month= |publisher= Yale University Press |location= |language= |id= |doi = |pages= ???? |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote = "????"] Browder expressed concern over the effect it would have on the American public if his sister’s secret work for Soviet intelligence were to be exposed: “In view of my increasing involvement in national political affairs and growing connections in Washington political circles”...“it might become dangerous to this political work if hostile circles in America should obtain knowledge of my sister’s work.” He requested she be released from her European duties and returned to America to serve “in other fields of activity.” Browder’s request was followed in short order by a classified letter from Dimitrov to “Comrade Yezhov,” (Nikolai Yezhov, then head of the NKVD) requesting Marguerite Browder’s transfer. [cite book |last= Klehr |first= Harvey |authorlink= Harvey Klehr|coauthors= Haynes, John E., and Igorevich, Fridrikh I. |editor= |others= |title= The Secret World of American Communism |origdate= |origyear= |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |date= |year= 1995 |month= |publisher= Yale University Press |location= |language= |id= |doi = |pages= ???? |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote = "????"] Browder's niece, Helen Lowry, ("aka" Elza Akhmerova, also Elsa Akhmerova) worked with Iskhak Akhmerov, a Soviet NKVD espionage controller from 1936 - 1939 under the code name "ADA" (later changed to "ELZA")). In 1939, Helen Lowry married Akhmerov. [cite book |last= Klehr |first= Harvey |authorlink= Harvey Klehr|coauthors= Haynes, John E., and Igorevich, Fridrikh I. |editor= |others= |title= The Secret World of American Communism |origdate= |origyear= |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |date= |year= 1995 |month= |publisher= Yale University Press |location= |language= |id= |doi = |pages= ???? |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote = "????"] Lowry was named by Soviet intelligence agent Elizabeth Bentley as one of her contacts; she and Akhmerov and their actions on behalf of Soviet intelligence are referenced in several Venona project decryptions as well as Soviet KGB archives. [Weinstein, Allen, and Vassiliev, Aleksandr, "The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America - the Stalin Era" (New York: Random House, 1999)] [cite book |last= Haynes |first= John Earl |authorlink= John Earl Haynes |coauthors= Klehr, Harvey |editor= |others= |title= Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America|origdate= |origyear= |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |date= |year= 2000 |month= |publisher= Yale University Press|location= |language= |id= |doi = |pages= ???? |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote = "????" ]

See also

* History of Soviet espionage in the United States
* Popular Front
* Jacob Golos

References

External links

* [http://www.historychannel.com/speeches/archive/speech_29.html "Earl R. Browder, U.S. Communist Party leader campaigns for the Presidency" speech excerpt] . June 28, 1936. 1:06 minutes. History Channel archive in Real Audio [http://www.historychannel.com/speeches/ra_archive/speech_29.ram direct link] . Retrieved June 6, 2005.
* [http://marxisthistory.org/subject/usa/eam/communistparty.html Communist Party (1919-1945)] . History, documents, and publications reprinted online by [http://www.marxisthistory.org/ American Marxist History] . Retrieved September 24, 2006.
* Duclos, Jacques. [http://www.marxists.org/history/usa/parties/cpusa/1945/04/0400-duclos-ondissolution.pdf "On the Dissolution of the Communist Party of the United States" PDF file] . Published in "Cahiers du Communisme", April 1945. Reprinted in William Z. Foster "et al.", "Marxism-Leninism vs. Revisionism". New York: New Century Publishers, Feb. 1946), pp. 21-35. reprinted online by [http://www.marxists.org Marxists Internet Archive] . Retrieved June 6, 2005.
* [http://www.marxists.org/history/usa/parties/cpusa/1944/05/0522-cpa-constitution.pdf "Constitution of the Communist Political Association: Adopted by the Constitutional Convention, May 20-22, 1944" PDF document] . Published in "The Path to Peace, Progress and Prosperity: Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention of the Communist Political Association, New York, May 20-22, 1944". New York: CPA, 1944. pp. 47-51. Retrieved June 6, 2005.
* Browder, Earl and Max Shachtman. [http://www.marxists.org/archive/shachtma/1950/03/russia.htm "Is Russia a Socialist Community? The Verbatim Text of a Debate"] . March 1950 debate moderated by C. Wright Mills. Published in "The New International: A Monthly Organ of Revolutionary Marxism", Vol.16 No.3, May-June 1950, pp.145-176. Retrieved June 6, 2005.
* [http://library.syr.edu/digital/guides/e/EarlBrowderPapers-Des.htm Earl Browder Papers at Syracuse University Library]
* [http://www.kshs.org/people/browder_earlvertical.htm Newspaper articles on Earl Browder] from the Kansas State Historical Society. Source: Vertical File microfilm reel MF 251. Retrieved August 26, 2006.

Venona links

* [http://www.odci.gov/csi/books/venona/b45.gifVenona transcripts #1065 28 July 1944]
* [http://www.odci.gov/csi/books/venona/b45a.gifVenona transcripts #1065 Translators notes 28 July 1944]

Further reading

Archives

* Earl Browder Papers 1879-1967. [http://libwww.syr.edu/information/spcollections/ Syracuse University Library Special Collections] . Collection # (NXSV403-A). 52.0 linear ft. [http://libwww.syr.edu/digital/guides/e/EarlBrowderPapers-Des.htm Online guide] retrieved June 6, 2005.
* Earl Browder Papers, 1891-1975: A Guide to the Microfilm Edition. edited by Jack T. Ericson. 36 reels of 35mm microfilm.
* [http://www.il.proquest.com/research/pd-product-Browder-Earl-Papers-62.shtml Online guide] retrieved June 6, 2005.
* Sam Adams Darcy Papers, 1924-1985 (Bulk 1930-1945). NYU Bobst Library Special Collections. Tamiment 124. 4 linear feet (4 boxes). [http://dlib.nyu.edu:8083/tamwagead/servlet/SaxonServlet?source=/darcy.xml&style=/saxon01t2002.xsl&part=body Online guide] . Retrieved September 24, 2006
* Francis Franklin Marxist Historical-Philosophical Manuscripts: 1920-1985. NYU Bobst Library Special Collections. Tamiment 182. 6 linear feet (6 boxes). [http://dlib.nyu.edu:8083/tamwagead/servlet/SaxonServlet?source=/franklin.xml&style=/saxon01t2002.xsl&part=body Online guide] . Retrieved September 24, 2006.
* Foster, William Z. [http://www.mltoday.com/Pages/USClassics/ZFoster-Revisionism.html "On the Question of Revisionism"] . Report to the National Committee Meeting of the Communist Political Association, June 18-20, 1945. Archived on Marxism-Leninism Today. Retrieved September 24, 2006.

Contemporary articles and publications

* Browder, Earl. Is America menaced by foreign propaganda?. New York : Columbia University Press, 1939.
* Browder, Earl. "The most peculiar election; the campaign speeches of Earl Browder". New York, Workers library publishers (1940).
* Browder, Earl. 'Contempt of Congress ; the trial of Earl Browder. United States. District Court (District of Columbia). Publisher: Yonkers, N.Y., E. Browder (1951).
* Browder, Earl. "Review of American Communism in Crisis, 1943-1957. by Joseph R. Starobin". Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 88, No. 1 (Mar., 1973), pp. 94-97. First page available here: [http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0032-3195(197303)88%3A1%3C94%3AACIC1%3E2.0.CO%3B2-H]
* "Children of Moscow", Time Magazine article, 18 September 1939
* Citizens's Committee to Free Earl Browder. A comparative study of the Earl Browder and other passport cases. New York. n.d. (1941?)
* Citizens's Committee to Free Earl Browder. "'The campaign to free Earl Browder : a report. New York. The Committee. 1942. OCLC: 27833380.

Secondary sources

* Ryan, James Gilbert. Earl Browder : the failure of American communism. Tuscaloosa, Ala. : University of Alabama Press, [2005] . ISSBN: 081735199X .
* Starobin, Joseph R. American Communism in Crisis, 1943-1957. Cambridge Harvard University Press 1972 xvii, 331p. ISBN 0674022750
* Ryan, James G., "Socialist Triumph as a Family Value: Earl Browder and Soviet Espionage," American Communist History 1, no. 2 (December 2002) Venona secondary sources
* Haynes, John E., Klehr, Harvey, and Igorevich, Fridrikh I., The Secret World of American Communism. Yale University Press (1995)
* Haynes, John Earl and Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America. Yale University Press. (2000)
* Haynes, John Earl, "Russian Archival Identification of Real Names Behind Cover Names in VENONA", Cryptology and the Cold War, Center for Cryptologic History Symposium, (October 27, 2005)
* Schecter, Jerrold and Leona, Sacred Secrets: How Soviet Intelligence Operations Changed American History. Potomac Books (2002)
* Sudoplatov, Pavel Anatoli, Schecter, Jerrold L., and Schecter, Leona P., Special Tasks: The Memoirs of an Unwanted Witness - A Soviet Spymaster, Little Brown, Boston (1994)
* Weinstein, Allen, and Vassiliev, Aleksandr, The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America - the Stalin Era. (New York: Random House, 1999)


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