The terrorist thugs they truly are…

When I was otherwise occupied in Florida, Ernie Lazar sent me an e-mail alerting me to Rachel Maddow’s December 23rd broadcast. She’d done a segment on the John Birch Society the week before that they had vigorously contested. Utilizing (and giving full credit to) Ernie’s amazing database, she offered a rejoinder to their rejoinder. If you’d like to watch the segment on your computer, click here.

Maddow commented that the John Birch Society’s co-sponsorship of the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference next February speaks volumes about the direction that movement conservatism is heading in. The John Birch Society, after all, has historically staked out a place on the extreme verge of the right. They’d labeled Mandela a “terrorist thug”; called water fluoridation a communist mind control plot; spear-headed a movement to impeach Earl Warren after the Brown v the Board of Education decision; characterized Eisenhower as a “willing agent” of the Communist conspiracy; and fear-mongered about a Communist plot to create a black-separatist Negro Soviet Republic in the South.

The JBS website responded to Maddow’s second broadcast in detail, in a patronizing piece headlined “Rachel Maddow Exposes her Youth, Inexperience, and Political Correctness.” Mandela really was a communist, they patiently explain, committed to the violent overthrow of his country. Case closed. The JBS didn’t target Warren because of his school segregation decision, but because he favored communists and usurped states’ rights; though it fought against forced integration, the JBS was against segregation too. The real scandal that Maddow should have focused on, it slyly added, was that an ex-Klansman, Hugo Black, was sitting on the court (though Black, of course, voted against segregation and mandatory school prayer and in favor of the application of First Amendment rights even to so-called Communist subversives). The JBS never said that water fluoridation was a “mind control” method, but merely the first step down the slippery slope of totalitarian control–a government that uses water to treat its citizens’ teeth will inevitably use it to sterilize them too. Of course Dwight Eisenhower wasn’t a Communist himself, but he did nothing when Hungary and Cuba fell, so he acted as their “agent” by enabling them. Communists really did publish a pamphlet in 1935 calling for a Negro Soviet Republic that would include Memphis, New Orleans, and Richmond as its capitals (not a plot, exactly, but undeniably something that somebody had once bruited as a plan).

Maddow is fully capable of defending herself against the JBS; I’m not going to refute their talking points one by one. But I was struck by their summary treatment of Mandela. Extreme right wing conservatives love that Jefferson quote about how “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” Michelle Bachman called on the citizens of her state to take up arms against cap and trade legislation; Catherine Crabill, a candidate for Virginia’s 99th Congressional district, told a crowd of supporters last summer (again speaking of tax legislation), that “We have the chance to fight this battle at the ballot box before we have to resort to the bullet box….That’s the beauty of our Second Amendment rights … Our Second Amendment rights were to guard against tyranny.” But when it comes to the fundamental human rights of black people, in a foreign country yet, these same rebels get all squeamish–the spectre of the violent overthrow of even an ex-colonial government on the other side of the globe is regarded as fundamentally illegitimate. It’s not race, they’d say, it’s that Mandela sought Communist aid. Communism is much, much worse than Apartheid. As is, apparently, Cap and Trade.

Writing in 1798, John Robison and Augustin Barruel made the case that the French Revolution was almost completely the handiwork of the Illuminati–an elite cabal of anti-Catholic, anti-Monarchist intellectuals. In 1820, in his HISTORY OF THE JACOBINS, Lombard de Langres wrote that “the first events of 1789 were only Masonry in action….All the revolutionaries of the Constituent Assembly were initiated into the third degree.” Nesta Webster revived this line of thinking in the teens and twenties of the last century, in her books about Bolshevism, the French Revolution, and occult and Jewish secret societies. If there was revolution in Russia, she wrote, it must have been imposed on it by its Jews and intellectuals. It was the basis of the domino theory in the 1960s too (with international Communism standing in for Jews or Illuminated Masons)–if there is rebellion somewhere, it must have been fomented by the USSR or one of its clients. It never occurs to these authors that most of the impetus for revolutions boil up from below–that intellectuals and ideologues can no more control the forces that revolutions unleash than they could dam the lava from a volcano (or light its fuse).

To the John Birch Society frame of mind, Communists are so evil that it’s unimaginable that anyone, even a black person in the Jim Crow south–or in an African country that denies them even nominal constitutional rights–could accept their assistance. Though they have no compunctions about threatening armed uprisings against our own elected presidents, Mandela’s disloyalty to the minority-controlled government that was his and his people’s avowed enemy is beyond the pale; his Communist ties trump everything that he ever did or dreamed of. It’s almost as though the Birchers don’t perceive the connection between “freedom” and “civil liberties” when they’re applied to black people. But to call that racist is to expose one’s “youth, inexperience, and political correctness.”


11 thoughts on “The terrorist thugs they truly are…

  1. “But when it comes to the fundamental human rights of black people…”

    “[Confederate defenders] say [the Civil War] was fought over freedom from an overweening federal power – though it is hard to see how states that had for years suppressed freedom of speech, of the press, of the mails, and of religion can be made the champions of individual liberty (leaving aside the lack of freedom for slaves.)” – Gary Wills, Head & Heart

  2. “Maddow had commented that the John Birch Society’s co-sponsorship of the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference next February speaks volumes about the direction that movement conservatism is heading.”

    I found it even more significant last year when Youth for Western Civilization was one of the official co-sponsors, according to Hatewatch.

  3. Arthur: Your comments are, of course, quite correct.

    In a recent exchange of emails with JBS Coordinator Hal Shurtleff, I brought his attention to the data below — and I also replied on the JBS website to comments which the JBS has made in rebuttal to Rachel Maddow about a “Negro Soviet Republic”.

    To HAL:

    The civil rights movement was the Birch Society’s single best opportunity to demonstrate how it intended to apply its often-stated principles about opposition to government tyranny and oppression and government violation of the Constitutional rights of Americans.

    The instrumentalities of government in many of our southern states (particularly Mississippi) were precisely what [JBS speaker/author and prominent African American columnist] George Schuyler described – and I will repeat his comment here to refresh your memory:

    “The White Citizens Council which has branches or cells everywhere, controls by terror such states as Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and to a lesser extent, Virginia…It has defied and disrupted the operation of the laws of the land. It has used threats and vicious economic reprisals…It has become a legal arm of Mississippi’s Government.” [4/22/61 Schuyler column in Pittsburgh PA Courier]

    And what, exactly, did the JBS propose as its remedy to such a grave situation?


    Instead the JBS suggested that we just let the people, politicians, local communities and government instrumentalities responsible for creating, defending, and implementing the “terror”, “threats”, “intimidation”, “economic reprisals”, etc. – continue “business as usual” IN PERPETUITY – unless and until the local governments should miraculously decide to change their laws, customs and practices.

    Or as J. Edgar Hoover famously put it about the state of law enforcement in Mississippi — at the same press conference where he called MLK Jr. “a notorious liar”, — Mississippi was

    “…filled with water moccasins, rattlesnakes, and red-neck sheriffs, and they are all in the same category, as far as I am concerned.”


    In his remarks above concerning what adhering to the JBS position on discriminatory Jim Crow laws and segregation in our southern states would mean for the victims, Jim Capo wrote:

    “Admittedly, that route would likely have taken longer and left the many victims of Jim Crow laws wanting. And yes, we admit that most of the leaders of The John Birch Society not being directly affected by the worst elements of segregation, could more freely choose to stand on the principle that the Federal government, restricted by the U.S. Constitution, had no authority to enact the civil rights laws.”

    However, I would change Jim’s characterization of “most of the leaders” to NONE of the leaders of the JBS and I would add something that Jim doesn’t mention – in order to illustrate the gravity of the problem confronted by African-Americans.

    The following quote comes from a source which even Birchers should respect – a very prominent African-American author and JBS speaker, George S. Schuyler:

    “The White Citizens Council which has branches or cells everywhere, controls by terror such states as Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and to a lesser extent, Virginia…It has defied and disrupted the operation of the laws of the land. It has used threats and vicious economic reprisals…It has become a legal arm of Mississippi’s Government.” [4/22/61 Schuyler column in Pittsburgh PA Courier]

    Furthermore, let’s also consider a comment made by JBS member (and FBI informant within the White Knights of the KKK of Mississippi), Rev. Delmar Dennis:

    “The Klan in Mississippi has completely infiltrated every phase of the legal, political, social and economic system in Mississippi. The membership in the Klan ranges from common laborers and criminals, to judges, lawyers, doctors and political leaders. While they may not be active members, they are secret members who use their influence to further Klan efforts and aid Klan activities, for example, it is generally known in Klan circles that supervisors who pick juries use their influence to get Klan members on the jury panel.”

    Unfortunately, the Birch Society interpreted the problem in our southern states as entirely an abstraction instead of understanding the real-world consequences to living human beings.

    In its commendable concern for abstract principles, the JBS totally ignored, de-valued, trivialized, or facilitated the daily injustices and crimes often committed (or condoned) by the very people in southern communities whom had the responsibility for translating abstract principles into reality. These were the folks who made “state’s rights” and the words “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” a cruel joke.

    Jim also ignores or minimizes other extremely pertinent aspects of this situation.

    The reason why the JBS is so often “linked” (unfairly) to the KKK is because:

    (1) they both supported and praised the same racist politicians—such as Gov. George Wallace (AL) and Gov. Ross Barnett (MS) and Senator James Eastland (MS) and

    (2) they both opposed all civil rights legislation and pro-integration efforts and

    (3) they both described the civil rights movement as “Communist-created” and “Communist controlled” and “serving only Communist purposes” while simultaneously denouncing all civil rights leaders and organizations and

    (4) they both had senior officials who were racists and segregationists.

    In addition, even Rev. Delmar Dennis told his FBI contact that the KKK viewed the JBS as a fertile recruiting ground. In fact, one JBS chapter in Mississippi had to be disbanded because it refused to terminate the membership of a known KKK member.

    Dennis himself was a JBS member, a segregationist, a KKK member, and a member of Americans for the Preservation of the White Race even before he became an FBI informant. He also founded a whites-only church in his community.

    As the FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Jackson MS field office wrote in a summary memo about Dennis:

    “Informant is widely known in rural Mississippi as an ardent segregationist…He founded the First Southern Methodist Church in Mississippi, which church was founded for the sole intent of maintaining racial segregation.”

    In an 11/7/64 report to his FBI contact, Dennis stated that:

    “I have learned that the Klan uses meetings of the John Birch Society, Masons, and Americans For The Preservation of the White Race to solicit members for the Klan. The Auxiliary Police in Neshoba County is a front for Klan membership in Neshoba County.”

    The Birch Society welcomed racists and segregationists into its ranks as members, as chapter and section leaders, as writers, and speakers, as well as National Council members – for example A.G. Heinsohn Jr., T. Coleman Andrews, and Tom Anderson.

    Major officers of the White Citizens Councils movement were also Birchers, such as: Medford Evans, William J. Simmons, and Louis W. Hollis.

    The Birch Society employed racists and segregationists as speakers under the auspices of its American Opinion Speakers Bureau – such as Sheriff Jim Clark of Selma AL and Rev. Ferrell Griswold of AL.

    The Birch Society approved of and promoted incumbent politicians and candidates for political office who were unapologetic Klan-supported white supremacists – such as Sen. James O. Eastland of MS and Gov. George Wallace of AL and Ross Barnett of MS.

    Often, the JBS reprinted their speeches or otherwise endorsed their rants which characterized the civil rights movement as a Communist enterprise.

    Kent Courtney, a prominent JBS leader in Louisiana, was the featured speaker at a 6/5/65 “Conservative Rally” in Natchez MS sponsored by Americans For The Preservation of the White Race, Inc.

    William J. Story, a JBS member who was a candidate for Governor of Virginia refused to join the other major party candidates in condemning the KKK.

    James H. Sutherland was a JBS chapter and section leader in Missouri who founded the St. Louis chapter of White Citizens Councils. He was also active in Southern States Industrial Council and helped craft their annual Declaration of Policy which opposed school integration.

    Another prominent Bircher, Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker, wrote in 1965:

    “I’ll bet you will find more good Americans in the Ku Klux Klan than in the Americans For Democratic Action.”


    It appears that Jim entirely missed the point – so let me spell it out for him.

    As Robert Welch correctly pointed out, there was a time period during which the CPUSA thought that their best strategy in order to win African Americans over to the CPUSA was to propose creation of a Negro Soviet Republic comprising most of the states in the old south.

    However, that strategy was discarded at the 17th National CPUSA Convention in 1959. Nevertheless, the Birch Society continued to promote the idea for many years afterward.

    In J. Edgar Hoover’s January 1960 testimony before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee Hoover discussed the 17th National Convention of the Communist Party USA held in New York City on December 10, 1959:

    “The Negro resolution adopted by the convention discarded the party’s historic position advocating ‘self-determination’ meaning that Negroes should be given the right to form a separate nation in the Southern States…The 1959 convention resolution hence represents a party admission that its position concerning Negroes is bankrupt. Time itself has shown that the party is not interested in the welfare of the Negro, but only in using him as a tool to advance party interests.” [J. Edgar Hoover: An Analysis of the 17th National Convention of the Communist Party USA; Statement made to Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, 1/17/60, page 7; Also see: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, March 1960 – for same comment.]

    Even the KKK newspaper, The Fiery Cross, recognized this change of Communist strategy!:

    “With the CPUSA steadily declining in open membership, the official doctrine was changed from creating a separate Negro state in the U.S. to one of full integration. (Ben) Davis [National Secretary CPUSA] had argued for this change in order to obtain maximum Negro support. The party line change became official in 1959.” [The Fiery Cross, “Communist Exploitation of the U.S. Racial Crisis”, August 1964, page 1]

    Los Angeles FBI file 100-3267, serial #1998 is a 3/14/60 memo concerning an informant within the CPUSA who reported on a Southern California District Communist Party Convention meeting held on January 29, 1960. The Chairman of that CP meeting was Max Steinberg. Steinberg introduced a CP member (Bill Taylor) who was a delegate to the 17th National Convention of the CPUSA. Taylor reported (page 10 of memo):

    “The decision of the National Convention on the Negro question was that the Negroes are not a separate nation, however they are a racially distinct national minority and they conform to the Stalin definition of Nationhood. They have a right to equality, therefore the Negro question is a national question though the Negro people in the U.S. do not constitute a separate nation.”

    JBS member (and speaker) Lola Belle Holmes also attended this convention and she confirmed that the Party discarded its “Negro Soviet Republic” strategy.

    Furthermore, in its national advertisement, “What’s Wrong With Civil Rights?” – the Birch Society disseminated the following falsehood:

    “For the civil rights movement in the United States with all of its growing agitation and riots and bitterness, and insidious steps toward the appearance of civil war, has not been infiltrated by the Communists, as you now frequently hear. It has been deliberately and almost wholly created by the Communists patiently building up to this present stage for more than thirty years.”

    In support of its contention regarding the origins of our civil rights movement, Robert Welch strongly recommended Alan Stang’s JBS-published 1965 book entitled “It’s Very Simple: The True Story of Civil Rights” because, in Welch’s words,

    “It gives the whole picture of the ‘civil rights’ development, as a part of Communist strategy, more completely and convincingly than anything else available.” [November 1965 JBS Bulletin]

    Again, in May 1966, Mr. Welch used the JBS Bulletin to heap praise on Stang’s book:

    “This book, because of its thoroughness, its comprehensive coverage of the whole ‘civil rights’ story, and its meticulous documentation, is the best single searchlight we have for exposing the ‘civil rights’ fraud.”

    In May 1965, the FBI evaluated Stang’s book in a memo:

    “It’s Very Simple is an attempt to rationalize today’s civil rights movement in this country as primarily a communist operation…Practically all his documentation is to public source material and there is no significant information in the book which appears to be new and previously unknown to the Bureau. Stang makes frequent use of literary license and importantly fails to include documentation for key passages (examples appear on pages 101 and 185). An entire chapter (14) is devoted to an attack on civil rights legislation and the book, in general, is critical of all Administration and other efforts aimed at improving the lot of the Negro.”

    The concluding “Observations” paragraph of the memo states:

    “The details of the book do not support the strong conclusions reached by the author. We have had available to us all the material which Stang has plus considerable additional data from our investigations and we could not arrive at such conclusions. The impression is received that Stang may have well started with his conclusions and then developed the information and manner of presentation which he hoped would prove his point. This work must be viewed in the light of the author’s apparent close connections with Robert Welch and the John Birch Society.” [HQ 100-106670-1412, May 28, 1965, and 100-106670-1525, June 24, 1965, both F.J. Baumgardner to W.C. Sullivan]

    After warning about radicals that had no genuine interest in advancing civil rights, Hoover observed in a December 1964 speech, that:

    “Let me emphasize that the American civil rights movement is not, and has never been dominated by the communists–because the overwhelming majority of civil rights leaders in this country, both Negro and white, have recognized and rejected communism as a menace to the freedoms of all.”
    [J. Edgar Hoover speech, 12/12/64, Our Heritage of Greatness, pg 7 – Hoover speech before Pennsylvania Society and the Society of Pennsylvania Women; bold emphasis on “not” and “never” appears in original document].

    In November 1966, Hoover received an inquiry from a self-identified JBS member who saw the above quote in a letter-to-the-editor of his local newspaper and he wanted to know if the quote was an accurate reflection of Hoover’s judgment both in 1964 and 1966. Hoover replied affirmatively and concluded: “This position remains essentially unchanged today.” [HQ 62-104401-3021, 11/15/66 Hoover reply to incoming Bircher inquiry].

    Also see following Hoover comments:

    “It would be absurd to suggest that the aspirations of Negroes for equality are communist inspired. This is demonstrably not true…” [J. Edgar Hoover speech, Faith In Freedom, 12/4/63, page 6].

    “In general, legitimate civil rights organizations have been successful in excluding Communists, although a few have received covert counseling from them and have even accepted them as members…The CP is not satisfied with this situation and is continually striving to infiltrate the civil rights movement at every level. ” [J. Edgar Hoover, U.S. News and World Report, 11/1/65, page 46].

    “It is no secret that one of the bitterest disappointments to communistic efforts in this Nation has been their failure to lure our Negro citizens into the party. Despite every type of propaganda boomed at our Nation’s Negro citizens, they have never succumbed to the party’s saccharine promises of a Communist ‘Utopia’. This generation and generations to come for many years owe a tremendous debt to our Negro citizens who have consistently refused to surrender their freedoms for the tyranny of communism.” J. Edgar Hoover testimony before U.S. Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, 01/17/60, reprinted in March 1960 FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, page 7]

    As these comments make clear, Hoover and the FBI saw Communists as OUTSIDERS seeking ways to exert influence and control within the civil rights movement whereas the JBS portrayed them as INSIDERS who created and controlled the movement from the beginning.

  4. With respect to your comment that:

    “To the John Birch Society frame of mind, Communists are so evil that it’s unimaginable that anyone, even a black person in the Jim Crow south–or in an African country that denies them even nominal constitutional rights–could accept their assistance…It’s almost as though the Birchers don’t perceive the connection between ‘freedom’ and ‘civil liberties’ when they’re applied to black people.”

    That’s precisely the problem. The JBS has utterly no self-awareness regarding how the principles it identifies can be appropriately applied to situations outside their own comfort zones.

    Birchers wax eloquently about peaceful resistance (as long as feasible) to intrusive and oppressive government but they warn, ominously, of a time when peaceful resistance might not be possible because our lost freedoms will need to be regained by means other than persuasion.

    But when faced with real-world situations involving non-whites who actually ARE faced with confronting a government that is literally terrorizing and brutalizing people and routinely violating their rights — the JBS declares that all resistance to such a situation can only be the result of subversive activities of “communist terrorist thugs”.

    In the JBS scheme of things, non-whites must always accept the depradations inflicted by their white masters because only whites truly understand when and where resistance to tyranny is permissible.

  5. Yes, Communism is evil and very few Black Americans embraced it. Jim Crow laws were a sad chapter in our history. But what does communism offer in its place: genocide, forced starvation, travel restrictions-internal passports, an end to religious freedoms, class hatred, the destruction of the human soul just to name a few.

    Mr. Lazar critizied The JBS for its stance on Civil Rights. Let’s look at the great results of the New Frontier and the war on poverty: a welfare class, the destruction of the Black family, so-called “reverse discrimination,” forced busing, minority quotas and set-asides. As Walter Williams said: The black family survived slavery, the Civil War, Reconsruction, the KKK and Jim Crow, but the Welfare State is killing us.

    Your NAFTA and open borders has helped to destroy economic opportunities for the blacks as well.

    Contrary to liberal propaganda, not every single white person in the South was an evil racist who raped black women and hanged black men.

    Mr Lazar mentiond the late Delmar Dennis. He forgot to add that The John Birch Society put him on a speaking tour throughout the South exposing the Klu Klux Klan. The JBS did much to quell planned civil unrest in the South. The JBS did the same thing in Boston during the 1970’s. I know first hand, since I was a junior high and high school student at the time. While racists-both black and white, were calling for violence, The JBS promoted goodwill.

    As for Mandela, his own writing and actions condemn him. He was a proud communist revolutionary and his ANC engaged in horrible crimes includng the”necklace”-burning people alive. Is this what you condone?

    But, of course, the lily-white upper-middle class liberal knows what best for the Black race. They don’t start businesses and hire blacks. They don’t move to black neighborhoods and they sure don’t want blacks living in their neighbohods. They all sing “We shall Overcome” on Martin Luther King’s birthday but if one of their children dare marry a black, they are cut out of the trust fund.

    Malcolm X had the white liberal figured out. He said that a white liberal spelled Negro– “Kneegrow.”

    Recommended reading: “To the Negroes of the South” by Robert Welch. “Brainwashing” by Edward Hunter, “It’s Very Simple” by Alan Stang. “The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History” by Thomas Woods, “House Divided by Lionel Lokos and “The State Against Blacks” by Walter Williams

    1. So let me get this straight.

      1) Though only a handful of American blacks embraced Communism, and Jim Crow was undoubtedly evil and anti-constitutional, those few Communists on the margins of the civil rights movement de-legitimized the whole enterprise because they would have liked to impose all the horrors on this country that Stalin visited on the USSR.

      2) The Civil Rights movement’s successes have made things worse: though blacks can register to vote, serve on juries, and enjoy other fundamental rights (at least theoretically) that they were once deprived of, reverse discrimination imposes hardships on whites–plus welfare dependency (welfare, of course, being entirely synonymous with civil rights, since only blacks receive it) does more harm to families than segregation ever did.

      3) Apartheid itself doesn’t bear any of the onus for the violence in South Africa; only the Communist-controlled anti-Apartheid movement.

      4) All white people who claim to be in favor of civil rights are hypocrites and crypto-racists; Malcolm X himself (an authority that the John Birch Society holds in the highest esteem) said so.

      As honored as I am that the JBS has taken notice of my humble blog, I’m not overwhelmed by your reasoning.

    2. ‘“The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History” by Thomas Woods’

      Yes, nothing says “we’re not racist” like citing the work of a Neo-Confederate.

      And Walter Williams is an ideological crank.

      Anyone who can assert with a straight face that welfare is worse for blacks than slavery, second class citizen status and the KKK and such can’t be taken seriously. Of course, my rule of thumb about not taking anyone seriously who has anything to do with the Rush Limbaugh program (Williams has guest hosted) disqualifies him anyways.

    3. Reply to Hal:

      Hal–the point you are missing is that the Birch Society did NOTHING WHATSOEVER to address the problem which Birchers George Schuyler and Delmar Dennis mentioned, i.e. state and local governments which were using terror, violence, and intimidation against an entire category of their citizens. Instead, the JBS allied itself with the very politicians responsible for such violations of our laws and values.

      Worst of all, the JBS wanted Americans to believe the FALSE arguments which racist bigots created and circulated about the origins of our civil rights movement and the motives of ALL of our civil rights leaders and organizations.

      Here is the fundamental difference. The JBS wanted Americans to believe this (taken from national JBS ad entitled “What’s Wrong With Civil Rights?”)

      “For the civil rights movement in the United States with all of its growing agitation and riots and bitterness, and insidious steps toward the appearance of civil war, has not been infiltrated by the Communists, as you now frequently hear. It has been deliberately and almost wholly created by the Communists patiently building up to this present stage for more than thirty years.”

      This is PRECISELY the argument which the Ku Klux Klan and every bigoted racist politician like Sen. James O. Eastland and Gov. Ross Barnett of Mississippi wanted Americans to believe.

      By contrast, here is the conclusion reached by J. Edgar Hoover based upon FBI investigations:

      “Let me emphasize that the American civil rights movement is not, and has never been dominated by the communists–because the overwhelming majority of civil rights leaders in this country, both Negro and white, have recognized and rejected communism as a menace to the freedoms of all.” [“not” and “never” are bolded in original text of his speech]

      The JBS wanted Americans to believe the PRECISE OPPOSITE — i.e. the majority of civil rights leaders DID NOT recognize and reject communism.

      Furthermore, the JBS wanted Americans to believe the precise opposite of this comment by Hoover:

      “It would be absurd to suggest that the aspirations of Negroes for equality are communist inspired. This is demonstrably not true…”

      Now — what was the attitude of the JBS toward people like Eastland and Barnett? Did the JBS reject them as bigots? Nope!

      FBI HQ file 62-105710, serial #4, dated 8/28/59 makes the following observations about Barnett:

      “The Bureau has had numerous contacts with Barnett since 1942 and practically all of them have resulted in difficulty with him…Barnett has spoken before several meetings of Citizens’ Council in Mississippi where he has uniformly advocated segregation of the races.”

      Incidentally, as an aside, Robert Welch thought Gov. Orval Faubus of AR was a Communist. Gov. Barnett praised Faubus’s handling of Little Rock school desegregation he pledged “to close Mississippi schools rather than see them de-segregated.”

      With respect to Eastland: The JBS reprinted some of his speeches and praised him too.

      Keep in mind before reading the next couple paragraphs that the Ku Klux Klan is on the Attorney General’s List of subversive organizations.

      The FBI described Eastland in internal memos as “a strong advocate of white supremacy”. The Special Agent in Charge of the Jackson MS FBI field office reported to HQ that Robert Shelton, Imperial Wizard of the United Klans of America, met Eastland on 10/31/66 at a motel…

      “at which time Shelton requested that Eastland help Shelton with his conviction for contempt of Congress in return for Shelton throwing the support of the UKA behind Senator Eastland in his race to be re-elected Senator. According to Shelton, Senator Eastland was noncommittal on supporting Shelton during their face-to-face meeting, however, later that night telephonically contacted Shelton and promised his assistance to Shelton in his case for contempt of Congress in return for Shelton’s support in his race to be re-elected Senator.”

      In addition, in a letter written by Sheriff Lawrence Rainey addressed “To Whom It May Concern” he stated:

      “I know for a fact that James O. Eastland helped prevent the trial of 16 other men and myself in Philadelphia MS.”

      Sam Bowers, Imperial Wizard of the most violent Klan in our country, the White Knights of the KKK of Mississippi, told a meeting of his Klan members that he had made a deal with Eastland that if Bowers and the Klansmen would support Eastland’s re-election, “Eastland in turn would have the indictments dismissed against the 17 Neshoba County defendants.”

      YOUR boy, Delmar Dennis, told the FBI that in Klan circles in the Meridian MS area, there was awareness that Eastland…

      “has been taking credit for the Federal Government dropping charges against those indicted in the Neshoba County slayings” and that Eastland…

      “appeared at a [Klan] rally held in Forest MS and that Eastland had invited Sam Bowers, Imperial Wizard of the White Knights of the KKK of Mississippi, (name deleted) Neshoba County Attorney, and himself to occupy the speaker’s stand at the rally held in Forest MS. During the rally…Eastland stated that he would help the 17 defendants in the Neshoba County case and that he has been ‘pulling strings for them’. ”

      So–in JBS parlance, the Birch Society associated itself with a powerful politician who was directly linked to a violent, subversive organization which had committed multiple criminal acts and the JBS provided “aid and comfort” to numerous like-minded white supremacists.

      I did not “forget” to mention anything about Delmar Dennis — as you claim — except perhaps to point out that the Birch Society welcomed him into the JBS (even before he was an FBI informant) even though he was a Klan member.

      As Rev. Dennis’s FBI contact noted:
      “Informant is widely known in rural Mississippi as an ardent segregationist…He founded the First Southern Methodist Church in Mississippi, which church was founded for the sole intent of maintaining racial segregation.”

      And THIS is the type of person you wanted to elevate to decision and policy-making status in our country!

      You PRETEND that “Jim Crow laws were a sad chapter in our history” — but the JBS, as an organization, did everything within its power to defend and perpetuate the people responsible for creating and maintaining those laws.

      To you and the JBS, that comment about Jim Crow laws is an obligatory mention of what is indisputable — but, in reality, the JBS did NOTHING WHATSOEVER in its entire history to inconvenience anyone who supported Jim Crow laws or worse, and, instead, it actively and enthusiastically supported the very people responsible for those laws and their enforcement!

  6. Thank you for all this supporting detail, Ernie. I find it so interesting that, as racist and monomaniacal in his pursuit of the Communists as J. Edgar Hoover was, he was able to draw distinctions between Moscow’s attempts to infiltrate and co-opt the American civil rights movement and the grass roots origins and energies that sustained it.

    Alex Heard’s forthcoming book THE EYES OF WILLIE McGEE (HarperCollins), the story of a race-tainted rape prosecution in Mississippi in the late 1940s and early 1950s, documents, among other things, the NAACP’s antipathy to William Patterson’s Communist Civil Rights Congress (CRC). Nothing is ever as simple and cut-and-dried as conspiracists make it out to be.

    1. As is often pointed out, political extremists often merge in their contempt and hatred for the same perceived villains.

      (1) Robert Welch and the Birch Society described Harry A. Overstreet’s 1958 book, What We Must Know About Communism” as “pro-Communist doubletalk”.
      CPUSA General Secretary Gus Hall condemned Overstreet for his “filthy criminal falsehoods” about the Communist movement.
      CPUSA-friendly magazines such as World Marxist Review and Mainstream excoriated both Overstreet and his book.

      (2) The Birch Society described African-American labor and civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph in terms calculated to evoke fear, suspicion, ridicule and contempt.

      After presenting a lengthy litany of Randolph’s alleged “affiliations” with organizations and causes which the JBS described as “subversive and Communist” or “Communist front” — the concluding sentence of the JBS summary about Randolph epitomizes the manner in which the JBS slimes the reputation and character of people through malicious and sinister innuendo:

      “Randolph learned his lessons well as he rubbed elbows with Communists over the past three decades.” [Francis X. Gannon, Biographical Dictionary of the Left, Volume 1, page 488; Western Islands Publishers, 1969]
      Transcripts and informant reports about secret, closed meetings of senior CPUSA officials reveal that the CPUSA despised Randolph!

      Among the comments contained in FBI files about Randolph are the following:

      “Randolph was bitterly anti-communist and the communists attack him repeatedly for his red-baiting.”

      “Randolph was attacked by the CP as an enemy because of his popularity with the Negroes and because he refused to work with the CP.”

      “On April 22, 1959, a second source advised that James Jackson, CPUSA Secretary in charge of Southern and Negro affairs, stated on April 22, 1959, that he and other top CP functionaries had concluded that the CP was defeating its own purpose in aiding the Youth March For Integrated Schools, which was held on April 18, 1959 at Washington DC…Jackson described Randolph as a dangerous capitalist agent and the most outspoken anti-Party personality in the Negro movement.” …
      Ex-Communist Louis Rosser testified at hearings of the House Committee on Un-American Activities in San Francisco, 12/1/53. During his testimony, Rosser explained the CPUSA position on Randolph during World War II, particularly in relation to Randolph’s activities in support of a Fair Employment Practices Committee. This data may also be seen in the 1954 report of the House Committee on Un-American Activities entitled “The American Negro in the Communist Party”, page 29.

      “The Communist Party said that he [Randolph] had to be muzzled, and he was coming to Los Angeles in 1942, and I and Pettis Perry were given the job of working out a plan how we could discredit Randolph…So he was getting a medal that the NAACP gives each year to some outstanding American Negro, white, or any nationality in the field of human relations, and he was getting it for his work on integration of Negroes into industry…We wrote a speech that praised the Soviet Union, that called for the opening of the second front and that said Randolph was a traitor to his country…But it [the speech] gave the Party not only the opportunity to discredit this Negro leader, but it gave the Party the opportunity to reach the top negroes in America with the program of the Communist Party at that time.”

  7. I just had breakfast with a friend who is 30 years older than I. I asked him about the JBS. He said as far as most Montanans of that era, their society became a joke when they said that a light attached to the grill of a car made it safer. It was called a “Birch Light”. After that, little if nothing made it to mainstream lingo. He was suprised to hear that it is still around and that anyone cares what they have to say.

    As for me, I was born in 1976. My grandmother grew up in the deep south on a farm without electricity or running water. My mother grew up in Texas. There was a lot they will never tell me about. I have heard a few stories from my mother, painful ones, of the period. Stories she told me after I was 25. My matrons told me that because I was fresh and new, they wanted me to not grow up as they did. “Hairspray” is something my blank slate grew up with. Somebody once said, “The world will not be destroyed until man discovers immortality.” I think it is important to know what has happened but dangerous to let it consume another generation. In this our children can be our salvation from ourselves. But can we wrest the reins from our own hands and pass them to them? I have a grandfather that still lives in “The Great White South” in his mind. He is a sad, pathetic, nasty old man that nobody wants to see. He lives in squalor. His children show him pictures of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. None of which, myself included, will ever visit. It would take a great deal of bribery for any to attend his funeral. In a way, he is right. His world was ruined by minorities.

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