'Twenty years of futility' (1-19-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (January 19, 1941)


There is something almost melancholy in the final dissolution by Jay Lovestine of his so-called “splinter group” of the Communist Party.

Probably you never heard of Jay Lovestone, which is the ultimate commentary on his 20 years of effort to make the United States go Communist.

In radical circles, however, Lovestone is quite a name. He was one of the founders of the American Communist Party, and in its early days he was the Browder of the movement. He rushed off to Russia for instructions from time to time, and it was because he dared to have a little disagreement with Joe Stalin on a matter of policy in the U.S. that Lovestone was eased out and Browder substituted. Lovestone, then, in the fashion of all zealots, founded his own private Communist Party, and very private it remained too.

Now, after 20 years, he gives up, and disbands the whole shooting-match. He says sadly:

The existing socialist and radical groups are essentially out of touch with American life and its problems. They live in an artificial world of their own that makes it impossible for them to see the fatal defects of their existence. They are unable to take a positive, constructive stand on present-day problems.

Well, 129,257,673 people in the United States have known for a long time those same things, which it took Lovestone 20 years of heart-breaking effort to discover.

With the other radical parties it fares scarcely better. Browder’s orthodox, or total-immersion Communist Party USA, has never achieved any mass following in the group it loudly claims to “represent.” Communist policy outside Russia has been uniformly a bust. It was largely responsible for turning Germany over to the Nazis. It materially aided the collapse of France. It disrupted the Republican defense of Spain, and brought on the disorders that gave Japan its opportunity to overrun China.

The Socialists, after a brief flirtation with the Communists, have had to start all over again after receiving that kiss of death, and the total vote for all radical parties in the last election was lower than it has ever been in recent times.

Why? Because the common man realizes instinctively what it took Lovestone 20 years to learn – that the programs advanced have little to do with life as we know it, and when applied have brought nothing but ruin and death.

No radical party can ever make the slightest headway in the United States until it convinces large numbers of people that a socialist or deeply socializing program can be brought about in a democratic society. No such example has even been produced; no convincing demonstration in the conduct of the parties themselves has ever been given.

Americans continue to be reluctant to toss away their liberties, their demonstrated advances, their well-grounded faith in orderly progress, for any will-o’the-wisp promise of pie in the sky bye and bye.