“The United States is running concentration camps on our southern border and that is exactly what they are – they are concentration camps – and if that doesn’t bother you.”
That was New York Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and she wasn’t done. “I use the word because that’s what an administration that creates concentration camps is. A presidency that creates concentration camps is fascist and it’s very difficult to say that.” Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar was quick to back up her colleague.
“There are camps and people are being concentrated,” Omar explained. “This is very simple. I don’t even know why this is a controversial thing for her to say. We have to really truthfully speak about what’s taking place.” Not to be outdone, comedian Rosie O’Donnell chimed in.
“Yeah, the concentration camps, even though there’s lots of controversy about the word,” O’Donnell told host Andy Cohen. “But, actually, legitimate scholars who study genocide say, yes, these are, in fact, the criteria for concentration camps, they meet them. There are over 100,000 camps, in nearly every state.”
The liberal comic didn’t point out the genocidal camps on a map, or list any prominent inmates concentrated there. And like AOC and Ilhan Omar, O’Donnell had no clue she was parroting a Communist Party propaganda campaign from the late 1940s.
The House Committee for Un-American Activities (HCUA) was investigating Gerhard Eisler, an agent of the Communist International, which Stalin used to control the national Communist parties, including the Communist Party USA. Eisler was a top Comintern official and even gave orders to CPUSA commissar V.J. Jerome.
Eisler’s brother Hanns, whose works included the “Comintern March,” was a composer in Hollywood, and when HCUA investigators paid him a visit, people began coming out the woodwork. The CPUSA had been a major force in the studios but after World War II, New Deal Democrats Ronald Reagan and Roy Brewer ran the Party out of the back lots and so-called talent guilds. In the aftermath, many in Hollywood were eager to reveal their mistreatment at the hands of Party bosses.
They became “friendly” witnesses and the Party types the “unfriendly” witnesses. As Billy Wilder quipped, only a few were talented, the rest were just unfriendly. Originally 19, they were slimmed down to a group that became known as the “Hollywood Ten.”
Communist Party lawyers ran the show, and according to writer-producer Phillip Dunne, a veteran of studio political wars, they were getting orders directly from Moscow. So in the famous hearings in Washington on October 20, 1947, the unfriendlies did not render the eloquent defense of Communism their celebrity supporters had been expecting.
Dalton Trumbo (Kitty Foyle, Tender Comrade) would not say if he was in the CPUSA or even in the Screen Writers Guild, but as the cameras rolled, Trumbo delivered his big line: “This is the beginning of an American concentration camp!” This is the dialogue the Party wanted, and Trumbo was the ideal speaker.
As Budd Schulberg explained, the CPUSA was the “only game in town” during the 1930s, but the Stalin-Hitler Pact of 1939 drove many out of the Party, never to return. Dalton Trumbo joined the Party during the Pact and in 1940 wrote The Remarkable Andrew, a novel in which the ghost of Andrew Jackson argues against American aid to the British, who were “already licked.” Trumbo would do anything for the Party and his charge of the “American concentration camp” became the Party line.
Actress Karen Morley, born Mildred Litton, appeared in movies such as Mata Hari, Scarface and Arsene Lupin. Morley joined the Communist Party during the 1930s and played a role in leading Sterling Hayden into the Party ranks. She didn’t testify until 1952, and by that time Stalin had exploded an atom bomb, tightened his grip on Eastern Europe, and swung the USSR back to its traditional anti-Semitism, deriding Jews as “rootless cosmopolitans.”
In his testimony, director Robert Rossen (All the King’s Men) charged that the victims of the Slansky trials in Czechoslovakia were “all hung, in my opinion, for being Jews, and nothing else.” Karen Morley had no similar revelations and no second thoughts about the Party or Stalin.
In November, 1952, she took the Fifth, rounding out more than 4,000 pages of Hollywood testimony. Morley’s beloved Stalin died in 1953, and the next year she ran for Lieutenant Governor of New York with the American Labor Party, a Communist front that opposed the Marshall Plan, opposed NATO, and backed North Korea in the Korean war. Morley lost but kept the Communist talking points alive.
“There were strong Fascist elements on the march,” Morley said in 1983, “Six concentration camps were set up; the money was allocated for them and actually spent, about a quarter of a million dollars. And it was quite clear who would have been sent to them. It was in this atmosphere that people informed.”
This Communist canard now emerges from the likes of AOC, Ilhan Omar, and Rosie O’Donnell, with a difference. For old-line Communists like Dalton Trumbo and Karen Morley, Stalin was the Great Leader and the USSR utopia. Leftist Democrats have only the anti-American demonology, more shrill and absurd by the day.