July 18, 2005

Radosh Review

FrontPage Magazine has an excellent review of Ron Radosh and Allis Radosh's new book, Red Star Over Hollywood: The Film Colony's Long Romance With The Left. As he did earlier with his book on the Rosenbergs, Radosh has broken new ground with his research on the Hollywood Ten, according to reviewer Art Eckstein:

...in the end Party-members paid dearly for belonging to a secret organization. The hard fact is that there would have been no “naming of names” if the Party had not been a secret organization in the first place. This was later ruefully admitted even by prominent Party-member Paul Jarrico--and this turns out to have been the private opinion of the famous blacklistee Dalton Trumbo as well. Trumbo’s bitter remarks on Party secrecy have not been known before, and the bringing to light of material that for 50 years has lain unnoticed or ignored in Trumbo’s private files is a major scholarly contribution from the Radoshes.

"The question of a secret Communist Party lies at the heart of the Hollywood blacklist," Trumbo wrote in a 1958 memorandum which the Radoshes have now rescued from obscurity (pp. 219-222). Trumbo argued that there had been no need for the Party in the United States to maintain the rule of secrecy, since Party-members were not living under a despotic regime such as Czarist Russia, under the threat of torture and death, but were working for change in America’s open political market-place. Yet this was a distinction the Party refused to make. Party-members in the U.S., Trumbo said, "should have all been open Communists, or they should not have been members at all." What happened instead was that secret membership ultimately "destroyed them". The reason was that the moment of conscious choice whether to openly join an openly revolutionary party (with admitted risks to one’s career) was never permitted people; and when the illusion of secrecy collapsed and Party-members were then called before HUAC, "the quality of choice was radically changed for the worse. Instead of voluntary choice between party and career, they now faced compulsory choice between informing and the blacklist."

(credit to The Corner)

Posted by dan at July 18, 2005 1:23 AM