course I knew that the Party had other sources of income.
During the war I became aware that the Party had an
interest in a certain machine plant engaged in war eon-
tracts and that it drew revenue from it. I had long known
that the Party had an interest in printing ancl lithograph
plants, and in stationery and office supplies — shops where
all the unions and mass organizations directed their business through office managers who were Party members.
Several night clubs were started with the assistance of
wealthy political figures snagged by some of the most
attractive "cheesecake" in the Party. I used to sympathize
vv ith these pretty Communists when some of them rebelled
because they said they were not being given sufficient
Marxist education. Instead, their time went into calling on
men and women of wealth, in an effort to get them to open
their pocketbooks. These girls, nearly all of them college
graduates, and some of them writers for slick magazines,
were mostly from out of town and still had a fresh-faced
look and an innocent charm.
I noted that after a while they forgot their eager desire
for more Marxist education and developed keen competition for private lists of suckers and private telephone numbers. These young women were capable of raising fabulous sums. They raised the first money for the night clubs
which have been called Bill Browder's Folly, Bill being
Earl's brother. But these night clubs paid off in money ancl
in political prestige. They Were also the means of attracting scores of talented young people who got their first
chance to perform, and at the same time had the excitement of knowing they were part of a secret movement.
1 he Party boys who had worked on congressional committees, like the Truman committee which investigated the
condition of the small businessman, had made valuable
contacts for the Party in the business world. They steered
the establishment of the Progressive Businessmen's Committee for the election of Roosevelt. Through them the
Party had entree into local chambers of commerce and
conservative business organizations like the Committee on
Economic Development, in which Roy Hudson's wife held
an important research job. Party economic researchers,
accountants, and lawyers got jobs with various conservative planning groups in Republican and Democratic Party
setups and in nonpartisan organizations.
The director of much of this activity was William
Wiener, head of Century Publishers, who was known as
the top financial agent of the Communist movement, ancl
also operated a large financial empire. Wiener had a number of financial pools operating to gather in capital from
wealthy, middle-class Party people. They maintained
olfiees with scores of accountants and attorneys from
whom the Communist movement drew reserves. There
were doll factories, paint and plastic-manufacturing firms,
chemical firms, tourist travel bureaus, import-export companies, textiles and cosmetics, records for young people,
theatrical agencies. In 1915 several corporations were
established for trade with China. Under direction of
Wiener and others, such corporations hired and maintained a different type of Communist, better dressed, better fed, more sophisticated, and much more venomous.
The export-import group was especially interesting. I
met one man who was making regular flying trips to
Czechoslovakia, engaged in the deadly business of selling
arms and ammunition, for today the Communist agent
engaged in international trade is far more effective than
the old-type political agitator.
That spring 1 worked at my law practice and tried'
build a private fife for myself. I outwitted a number *
well-laid plans to injure me. I hoped against hope that
would be permitted to drift away from the Party. After*
a million and more Americans had drifted into and on''
it. But I knew they were not likely to allow anyone W»
had reached a position of importance to do so.
I had withdrawn from most activity with them, excep
that I continued as Party contact for the Party teaebfl
groups. Now I was replaced even there, I was not atteH"
ing Party meetings. Nevertheless, when I received a noti**
1 decided to go to the state convention held that year<
Webster Hall on the East Side. There I found I was'
marked person, that people were afraid to be seen sittio
vv ith me.
As a member of the National Committee I had an o"
gation to attend the National Convention of 1948, but
decided I had punished myself enough. There was I
reason for me to go; there was nothing I could do. Perh*P
when that was over, when I was no longer a member'
the National Committee, they would drop me entire"
Evidently some of the leaders bad thought 1 might 9
to the convention and had planned a means to silence ,tf
Just before the convention the discipline commit™
ordered me to appear before it on the ninth floor.
I knew I did not have to obey. I was an American '''
zen with the right to be free of coercion. I did not h*
to go to Twelfth Street and ride thc dingy elevator to1
ninth floor. I did not have to face the tight-lipped men *
women who kept the gates and doors locked against W
sion, or meet their scornful eyes. I did not have to go,
like an automaton I went.
When I left the elevator I went through the long, "■ i
corridor into an untidy room. Suddenly I all but laugjl
with relief, for there sat three old men — I knew them *J
Alexander Trachtenberg, with his little walrus must:"- |
and his way of looking down his nose, said nothing -'.' .
came in. Pop Mindel, hero of the Communist train' ,
schools, whose bright brown eyes were usually merry'- J
no smile for me. The third was Jim Ford, a Negro lea*1
whose look at me at distant and morose.
I greeted them and sat down. I waited for then1
speak, but they sat there in silence until finally I S?
uneasy. "Will this take long?" 1 asked Trachtenberg,
"How are you feeling?" he asked with no concern "
ever in his voice.
I hedged. "I've been ill, Comrade Trachtenberg.
"But you are all right now?"
"Yes," I said. "I guess I'm all right now,"
"We want to ask you a lew questions."
"Here it comes," I thought, and braced myself. And' ,
I found myself saying inwardly, "Dear God, dear t'1 I
with such intensity that it seemed I had spoken al"
"We hear you attacked the Cominform," said Trad' ]
berg, half-asking, half-accusing me. Then he stated
time and place where I had done it. ,-|
This I could answer. I explained carefully that ' ,-,
criticized the Daily Worker statement which said the J
son the Communist Party in America had not joined
Cominform was that it would be dangerous to do so. 1 ^
pointed out that this was a false statement and that no
would believe it.
They listened to my brief explanation. They did n°
Facts Forum News. September,