De Toledano,









M. Wesley




INT: That's great, OK, thank you. Now I'm going to jump back just a little bit. I want to go back to the question as to whether America was really under threat from Communists, you know, under threat from this time and it would be great if you could include in your answer the business that no Communists were ever convicted of sabotage, they were imprisoned for political beliefs and so on and so forth. So I'll ask the question, was America truly under threat from spies and subversives and Communists?

AK: What we realised and very few of the people understood at that moment, but at the end of the Cold War, the majority of the people began to recognise that was a fact was what was that? The Communists, the Communist Party were never real threats to the liberty of the country, to the freedom of the country, to the safety and security of the country, that not a single Communist had ever been convicted of actual sabotage, of actual violence against the government, of actual conspiracy to overthrow the government. What were they all tried and convicted for, and that's what blew our minds. They were tried and convicted for advocating the use of violence against the government, for advocating, and in not one of these cases was there ever evidence of actual utilisation of violence of any kind whatsoever. They were completely convicted on the basis of the books they were reading, what Marx and Engels said, years and years before. And that was a fact and after the end of the Cold War, more and more people realised that and finally, the majority of the people realised that that was a fact.

INT: OK, that was a great answer. Now another jump. Could you just describe very briefly for me how the Loyalty Review Boards really set in motion or opened up this system to sort of, you know, abuse to the 'red scare', so the Loyalty Review Boards, how important were they in starting up, initiating the 'red scare'?

AK: One of the very first things that the Truman administration and the whole group in Washington did to put into practise the 'red scare', was to have a statute setting up Loyalty Boards and what was the role of the Loyalty Board? The first thing that they were to do was to come to quick decisions as to which organisations in the country were subversive and if you were a member of that subversive organisation, then you would lose your job, you might have to go to jail, you would face total destruction. And what did they do? They made lists of every liberal and progressive organisation in the country and without hearings. Those of us in some of those organisations, we never knew that our organisations were being tested as subversive until what? Until an order came down saying that that was a subversive organisation. So that was the technique that they used. And, of course, what we as lawyers realised, but very few other people did, and it took us a number of years, we finally got the Loyalty Boards declared unconstitutional. Was that it violated the most elementary principle of due process of law and what was due process? We learned that from the old days, from English common law. Due process of law meant that you had a right to a hearing before there would be an order which would injure you in any way whatsoever. But there were no hearings. They didn't want any hearings. If they had hearings, they knew they couldn't present enough evidence to declare any of these organisations subversive. So finally, we had 'em thrown out as violating due process of law.

INT: OK, that was a great answer. I'm just going to ask you something else that you partly had a look at before and that's the business about how far you think the 'red scare' was really used politically in a bi-partisan way. You know, was it the Republicans trying to prove that, you know, they were more anti-Communist than the Democrats and so forth. Was there an element of that in the whole 'red scare' business?

AK: One of the things that affected us so much and we had to point out to people all over the country was that this was not just a question coming from the Democratic Party, from Truman and the Democratic Party, but that the power structure of the country, the Republicans, together with the Democrats, they had decided that this strategy was essential to what? To their part? No, it was essential to the corporate power structure, to the power structure which they were representing. And one of the things that we learned then, during the whole period of the Cold War, was that there was a deep problem with what became known historically as the two-party system in this country. That when it came to real needs of the ruling power structure, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party would agree with each other.


INT: OK, that's great. Now a final question about films of the period, propaganda. It wasn't just a matter... It seemed that there was a whole culture created about fear of Communism and so on and so forth. Would you be able to describe to me the, sort of the role that films played within, in anti-red propaganda?

AK: Well, one of the most effective instruments of the ruling power structure in developing the 'red scare' throughout the country was their use of films. And they controlled Hollywood at that time and they controlled the film producers and what would come out would be films in which the evil person in the film was a Commie, in which it was just accepted that Commies were secret agents and agents of the Soviet Union and they used these films all over the country. And those of us who were fighting against it, let's face it, we didn't have the money to make films. We didn't have access to the film industry and it wasn't until much later in our history that real films, progressive films, that recognised the fact and truth, were actually made and this was one of the most serious problems we faced, because what would happen? People would go to a movie house, you got to get a little bit of relaxation in your life, and then they would see these disastrous films, which were completely recreating the atmosphere of the 'red scare'.

INT: OK, that's a great answer.

(End of tape)