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A week late, but just a short thank you to France Télévisions, ITV4 and RMC (Radio Monte Carlo) for another cracking three weeks featuring the greatest cycling in the world, the Tour de France.  (Click on the official map to see more of the route.)

ITV4 received their feed from France 2 and France 3.  Many cameramen and transmission technicians were on hand in planes, helicopters, motorcycles and studios in both countries to bring us live coverage of each stage, complemented by beautiful scenery of the French countryside and the centre of Paris.

We in the mousehole enjoyed watching each day’s stages in full — a first for British television.  The ITV4 commentators did a fabulous job, as ever.

In the last couple of weeks, I also listened to commentary live on RMC.  Their enthusiasm was palpable and I could hardly wait to see the live coverage, which I had recorded in the afternoon, to watch in the evening.

A lot of work goes into producing this fine sporting event.  Thankfully, dope appeared to be non-existent this year.  I think only one test turned up ‘positive’.

The results showed a real Anglo-French result.  Cadel Evans of Australia worked hard to win the Tour, and the Schleck brothers from Luxembourg — sharing the podium in Paris with him (‘the Schleck sandwich’) — did not disappoint.  Congratulations also to Britain’s Mark Cavendish, winner of the green jersey for overall best sprinter; France’s Thomas Voeckler, from Alsace but resident in Brittany, who came fourth and wore the maillot jaune for 10 days running; France’s Pierre Rolland, winner of Best Young Rider and Spain’s Samuel Sanchez, who won Man of the Mountain and the polka dot jersey.

We’re already looking forward to next year’s race!

Postscript: ITV4 also broadcast a 2010 film, Chasing Legends, which not only traces the history of the Tour from 1903 but also follows the HTC (Mark Cavendish’s) team throughout the 2009 Tour.  It also features ITV4’s commentators — and former riders — Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen.  It’s an excellent 90-minute film which shows you how a team prepares for each stage and all those multitasking behind the scenes.  If you ever have a chance to see it, don’t miss it, especially if you’re a cycling enthusiast!

The conclusion of John 4 is not part of New Testament verses for public worship in the three-year Lectionary.

It recounts a story left out of the Synoptic Gospels — Matthew, Mark and Luke — that of the nobleman’s son.

Its omission from the Lectionary makes it perfect for my continuing series, Forbidden Bible Verses, also essential for our understanding of the Bible.

Today’s reading is from the King James Version, with commentary from Matthew Henry.

John 4:43-54

43Now after two days he departed thence, and went into Galilee.

 44For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country.

 45Then when he was come into Galilee, the Galilaeans received him, having seen all the things that he did at Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went unto the feast.

 46So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum.

 47When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death.

 48Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.

 49The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die.

 50Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.

 51And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth.

 52Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.

 53So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house.

 54This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee.

—————————————————————————————————–

St John’s Gospel included miracles that the others do not.  Nonetheless, they are equally as touching and transforming to those who experienced them and increased the number of Jesus’s faithful followers.

Earlier in John 4, Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well.  She had told other Samaritans that He was amongst them.  He stayed in the area for two days (verse 43), then moved on to Galilee, His destination.

Verse 44 makes a hidden reference to Nazareth, Jesus’s home town.  St John tells us that Jesus recognised that a prophet has no honour on his own territory.  True then, true now, although every truism has some, albeit few, exceptions.  So, He avoided Nazareth and met people from the rest of the region.

Matthew Henry supplies other examples from the Bible where a region’s own leaders were despised:

Joseph, when he began to be a prophet, was most hated by his brethren; David was disdained by his brother (1 Sa. 17:28); Jeremiah was maligned by the men of Anathoth (Jer. 11:21), Paul by his countrymen the Jews; and Christ’s near kinsmen spoke most slightly of him, ch. 7:5.

Yet, why is this?  Henry believes it is because we do not wish to take instruction from people who were our playmates and classmates.  Why should someone we grew up with tell us what to do?  After all, we were once equals as children.  So, resentment grows and persists.  However, when this concerns the Son of God’s earthly travels, it becomes a serious matter.  God directs His Son away from detractors and denies them Jesus’s presence.  As Henry puts it:

It is just with God to deny his gospel to those that despise the ministers of it. They that mock the messengers forfeit the benefit of the message. Mt. 21:35, 41.

The feast to which verse 45 refers is the miracles which Jesus performed in Jerusalem at Passover.  As the Galileans were obliged under Jewish Law to travel to Jerusalem, they would have seen and/or heard of these at the time.  It was, therefore, unsurprising that they would welcome Jesus warmly into their midst.

Jesus’s first stop was Cana (verse 46), where he had previously on another occasion transformed water into wine at the wedding feast. Henry surmises that Jesus was interested to see the fruits of faith now, which would have been sometime after He had performed the miracle and adds:

The evangelist mentions this miracle here to teach us to keep in remembrance what we have seen of the works of Christ.

Whilst in Cana, Jesus meets a nobleman from Capernaum, some distance away.  The man’s son is gravely ill.  The nobleman asks Jesus to go to his house to cure him because he is about to die (verse 47).

Who exactly is this man?  Is it not somewhat arrogant to ask Jesus to travel such a distance?  What sort of faith does this man have, anyway?  Henry expounds on the various theories about this lord of the manor:

Regulus (so the Latin), a little king; so called, either for the largeness of his estate, or the extent of his power, or the royalties that belonged to his manor. Some understand it as denoting his preferment-he was a courtier in some office about the king; others as denoting his party-he was an Herodian, a royalist, a prerogative-man, one that espoused the interests of the Herods, father and son; perhaps it was Chuza, Herod’s steward (Lu. 8:3), or Manaen, Herod’s foster-brother, Acts 13:1.

Yet, Henry adds, even Herod had ‘saints’ around him, and this man, despite his imperfect faith, was one of them.  Presumably, he was accustomed to talking to people as if they were his servants, hence, his request for Jesus to visit his house to cure the boy.  A man in the nobleman’s position would have assumed that people would automatically fulfil his requests as stated.  He had some notion of who Jesus was but, perhaps at that juncture, considered Him more of a faith healer than the Son of God.

Note Jesus’s response to the nobleman’s request (verse 48).  Jesus is indirectly telling the man that He has just spent two days in Samaria with no requested visits and no healings or miracles.  Despite that, many Samaritans believed during those 48 hours that Jesus is Lord.  This is His way of bringing the nobleman down a peg or two.

The nobleman does not take offence at Jesus’s remark (verse 49), although he again asks Jesus to visit his house to effect healing.  Henry contrasts this with the humility of the centurion, who requested healing of his paralysed servant but stated that he was unworthy of Jesus’s presence in his house.  Also note that we may pray to Jesus for healing or relief but we must not tell Him what to do (emphases mine):

The centurion, a Gentile, a soldier, was so strong in faith as to say, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof, Mt. 8:8. This nobleman, a Jew, must have Christ to come down, though it was a good day’s journey, and despairs of a cure unless he come down, as if he must teach Christ how to work. We are encouraged to pray, but we are not allowed to prescribe: Lord, heal me; but, whether with a word or a touch, thy will be done.

The Lord answers prayers in the way He sees fit for us, even though it might not appear that way at the time:

When he denies what we ask, he gives what is much more to our advantage; we ask for ease, he gives patience.

Jesus heals the nobleman’s son in His own way (verse 50).  He does so from a distance, for all things are possible with a sovereign God.  He tells the man to return to his house, his son is healed.

Note that the man is satisfied.  He does not persist in asking Jesus again, nor does He doubt the healing.  His faith is now whole, even through that short interchange and a remote miracle.  He does as Jesus asked, automatically, and departs for home.

His servants meet him part way along the journey back to Capernaum to announce the good news that the son has completely recovered (verse 51).  A good servant is by nature interested in his employer and his family.  Their concerns become his concerns, their joy his joy.  They are no doubt just as relieved and happy as he is that the boy is well.  This also indicates something about the nobleman as a master;  he must have been good to his servants for them to leave the house and meet him on his way home.  He must have inspired and retained their loyalty over the years.

In verse 52, we read that the nobleman asks when his son was cured.  It’s an interesting question; how many people would ask?  Yet, Matthew Henry tells us it is an important one:

[1.] It is good to furnish ourselves with all the corroborating proofs and evidences that may be, to strengthen our faith in the word of Christ, that it may grow up to a full assurance. Show me a token for good. [2.] The diligent comparison of the works of Christ with his word will be of great use to us for the confirming of our faith. This was the course the nobleman took: He enquired of the servants the hour when he began to amend; and they told him, Yesterday at the seventh hour (at one o’clock in the afternoon, or, as some think this evangelist reckons, at seven o’clock at night) the fever left him; not only he began to amend, but he was perfectly well on a sudden; so the father knew that it was at the same hour when Jesus said to him, Thy son liveth. As the word of God, well-studied, will help us to understand his providences, so the providence of God, well observed, will help us to understand his word; for God is every day fulfilling the scripture.

And in that way, the nobleman knew that the cure which Jesus effected from afar was done as soon as he requested it in faith and humility (verse 53).  In the second part of that verse, we discover that the entire household — servants included — believed in Jesus.  Again, this points to the nobleman’s integrity.  As Matthew Henry explains:

Because of the influence the master of the family had upon them all. A master of a family cannot give faith to those under his charge, nor force them to believe, but he may be instrumental to remove external prejudices, which obstruct the operation of the evidence, and then the work is more than half done. Abraham was famous for this (Gen. 18:19), and Joshua, ch. 24:15. This was a nobleman, and probably he had a great household; but, when he comes into Christ’s school, he brings them all along with him. What a blessed change was here in this house, occasioned by the sickness of the child!

He adds useful advice about sickness, and this might be hard for us to receive, worthwhile though it is:

This should reconcile us to afflictions; we know not what good may follow from them.

In this case, not only did Jesus heal a sick child, He also brought a household to faith.

Henry writes that this miracle and mass conversion might have had some bearing on Jesus’s making Capernaum the centre of His ministry in Galilee.

The chapter closes with a mention that this is the second miracle that Jesus performed when He entered Galilee from Judea.  The first was the miracle at Cana (John 2).  So, Jesus had gone to Galilee from Judea previously, and this was His second trip which He made the same way.  Henry interprets this verse for us:

In Judea he had wrought many miracles, ch. 3:2; 4:45. They had the first offer; but, being driven thence, he wrought miracles in Galilee. Somewhere or other Christ will find a welcome. People may, if they please, shut the sun out of their own houses, but they cannot shut it out of the world. This is noted to be the second miracle, 1. To remind us of the first, wrought in the same place some months before. Fresh mercies should revive the remembrance of former mercies, as former mercies should encourage our hopes of further mercies. Christ keeps account of his favours, whether we do or no. 2. To let us know that this cure was before those many cures which the other evangelists mention to be wrought in Galilee, Mt. 4:23; Mk. 1:34; Lu. 4:40. Probably, the patient being a person of quality, the cure was the more talked of and sent him crowds of patients; when this nobleman applied himself to Christ, multitudes followed. What abundance of good may great men do, if they be good men!

Next week: John 6:1-3

Yesterday’s post featured an article by Toby Westerman, publisher and editor-in-chief of International News Analysis (INA) Today, on the history of Communist propaganda in the West.

In a January 2010 article, ‘Silent Holocaust of Christian Martyrs — a Warning of Things to Come?’ he provides us with a selection of Christian persecutions around the world in Marxist and other totalitarian countries.  Excerpts follow, emphases mine.

A silent holocaust of Christian martyrs is taking place around the world. While individual instances of murder and mayhem are sometimes reported, the general pattern of violence is ignored by the media, the United Nations, and most national governments. The perpetrators belong primarily to one of two groups: fundamentalist Islamists or Communist-controlled governments.

Despite ideological differences, Islamic militants and Communist ideologues share a characteristic hostility to Christianity. Muslim fundamentalists cannot abide any worship of God but their own, and the various brands of Communists, reformed and otherwise, recognize the threat posed by Christians who profess God as the center of their lives, not a totalitarian police state.

The burning of several Catholic Churches in Malaysia, the deaths of Coptic Christians shot following midnight Mass outside their church, police raids in Saudi Arabia against private prayer groups, all testify to the type of “toleration” employed by Muslim fundamentalists.

The stated cause in each of the instances noted above was different, but every attack had the same result: death and mayhem

The Coptic Church traces its roots back to St. Mark, and the word Coptic goes back to the Greek term for Egyptian. The Coptic Christians are the remnant of the original population of Egypt before the Arab Muslim conquest in 641 A.D. Egypt was once a Christian nation with a large population served by 50 bishops spread across the nation.

The Copts are acknowledged to be a small percent of Egypt’s present population, but the exact number is unknown. Political pressure from fundamentalist Muslims prevents the Egyptian government accurately counting the Copts, a tactic which assures that Egypt’s Christians will continue to have little influence in that nation.

The Egyptian government also actively assists in spreading anti-Christian propaganda. A recently released “scientific report” issued by a state-owned corporation described Christianity as “idolatry” and “a religion of polytheism”

In Saudi Arabia, a nation where no Christian church is allowed, the country’s religious police are ever on the alert for non-Muslim religious activity, including private expressions of prayer. Private group Bible readings and praying run afoul of strict religious edicts …

While instances of Muslim persecution of Christian believers are documented from Nigeria to Indonesia, no where is Christian martyrdom more tragic and ironic than in post-Saddam Iraq …

Unrelenting attacks on Iraqi Christians have caused between 400,000 and 500,000 Iraqi Christians to flee Iraq, and many of those remaining are internal refugees – displaced citizens in their own nation, fearful of returning to their homes …

Politically inspired oppression of Christians remains a constant feature of the Communist world, despite the “reforms” reported in the centralized media following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The most significant crime of Christians is that they deny the right of the state to dominate all aspects of human life

In … Laos, Communist government officials have described Christianity as a “foreign religion to be abhorred,” and threatened a group of Christians with death if they persisted in their beliefs…

In the neo-Marxist state of Venezuela, virtual dictator Hugo Chavez has lashed out at Church criticism of his Communist regime and proclaimed the Catholic Church a “tumor” in Venezuelan society. Chavez has also described the Catholic clergy as “mental retards.”

In 2006, former Communist guerrilla Daniel Ortega returned to power in the Central American nation of Nicaragua. Once a target of U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s anti-Communist strategy, Ortega claims that he has renounced violence, but remains a fervent Marxist. True to recent Communist practice, Ortega is now attempting to put the Christianity at the service of government, and deny the Church any independence in respect to any political and social issue

Catholic bishops are facing similar struggles in Ecuador and Bolivia

It is time for the U.S. mass media to acknowledge the persecution of Christians around the world, and to identify those who commit these crimes. We must recognize that the persecution of vulnerable Christian populations by militant Islamists and Communists is a herald of things to come for the remainder of humanity.

When persecution is mentioned, many unbelievers and leftists downplay it or say that such attacks would go against official policy for that nation.  I read often in the press that Malaysia is a country where all faiths live together in perfect harmony.  Yet, the facts belie this, as Mr Westerman and many other online columnists have stated over recent years.  By law in a Muslim country, Christians must obtain council permission to make even rudimentary repairs to their churches.  It is not unusual for this permission to be pushed to the bottom of the pile or refused.

In closing, the Gaia worship which is rapidly becoming flavour of the month among Catholic nuns and priests in South America is no doubt part of the Marxist propaganda drive to destroy Christianity. Christian religious who follow along unwittingly serve as useful idiots. Increasingly, they speak of incorporating South America’s ancient religions, which are animist and pagan, thereby producing a syncretic Christianity.  Christianity has nothing to do with Marxism or Gaia.

The other day I featured excerpts from an article by Toby Westerman, editor-in-chief and publisher of International News Analysis (INA) Today.

In another column, ‘Weapons of Thought Destruction’ dated February 23, 2010, Westerman describes how leftist propaganda works and why conservative counterpoints are denounced.  Emphases mine below.

The tools which the Moscow elite use are as current as the Internet and YouTube, and their goal is as old as Lenin and the Bolsheviks …

Most “experts” continue to approach Moscow as a work in progress, a regime needing only the right words to produce a responsible, peaceful actor on the world stage.

Yet, blind eyes are being turned toward a series of threatening developments to which the “experts” pay little public attention and discuss even less. These include the Moscow-Beijing military/political alliance; Moscow’s aid to not only Iran but also to Syria and North Korea; and the support – even inside Russia as well as in Latin America — for the Venezuelan Marxist dictator, Hugo Chavez.

The blindness toward the Moscow ruling elite is no accident, but is carefully orchestrated and cultivated within the Kremlin itself.

Westerman then describes the tactics the Kremlin uses around the world, particularly in the West.  When you read it, does it remind you of the BBC or the major networks in the US and other Western countries?  Interestingly, the propaganda still runs in much the same way as Yuri Bezmenov described it in the 1980s.  Westerman explains:

As in the Soviet era, the Moscow elite are employing a multi-layered approach to internal and external political manipulation.

Coordinating these efforts is the Main Department of Domestic Politics, an “independent subunit” of Russia’s presidential administration, which oversees a vast and intricate web of local governments, political parties, and think tanks.

From the Main Department, Russia’s elite can both form opinion and then poll it, i.e., analyze what they have created.

These analyses of concocted public opinion, based upon manufactured information in a controlled news environment, are then fed to Western, and especially American, “experts” who then form their own assessments based upon Moscow’s predetermined strategies.

These “experts” publish in learned periodicals, which are then cited by a host of journalists and pundits in front page articles and editorials across the nation.

In this way, alternative views are quickly dismissed as extreme or uninformed.

Just as Lenin in the early 20th century embraced the emerging film industry, today’s Kremlin elite attempt to use the Internet (liberty.ru, and others) and You Tube to spread their propaganda.

Certain journalists have been offered money to reprint articles, and English-language websites occasionally appear which spread the targeted message of the Russian elite.

Those deemed as “experts,” or who are recognized as opinion makers, receive special attention.

The Valdai Discussion Club, founded in 2004 by then-president Vladimir Putin, hosts annual meetings with Russian experts around the world, especially from the United States and Europe. Former ambassadors, editors and journalists from influential news organizations, and top personnel from influential think tanks, speak directly with top Russian government and business leaders and gain unique insights from these exclusive contacts.

These insights, however, are contoured to the priorities of the Moscow elite.

Propaganda and the self-loathing American

In another of Westerman’s articles, ‘Birth of the Anti-American American’, he traces the history and impact of Soviet propaganda techniques in the United States.

America did not always produce citizens who loathed the nation and identified with mass murders and dictators. The America-hating elite of the Obama administration is part of an ongoing process to turn America against itself.

It is a process which also produces a nexus of propaganda and espionage. The two are never far apart …

Until around 1920, the United States of America was the universally acknowledged land of opportunity and beacon of freedom to the world. While certainly not perfect, America stood out proudly from the social chaos and dictatorial regimes which held sway over much of the earth.

While the promise of America made life more difficult for oppressive political elites around the world, only one dictatorial leader decided to take action …

Shortly after the communist seizure of power in Russia in 1917, Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin commissioned a tough fellow revolutionary, Willi Münzenberg, to establish a propaganda network in the West, with the United States as one of its prime targets.

… the “masses” must be led by those who demonstrate correct thinking, and, in 1902, he published What is to be Done?, in which he advocated revolution led by an uncompromising elite. Lenin had implicitly broken with Marx’s idea of inevitable class insurrection …

The uninformed “masses” must be guided

Along with political elitism, Lenin demanded that religion, if it was allowed to exist, would serve the state. Today’s socialists/communists around the world similarly seek religious submission to the demands of government. In the United States, the attack on personal conscience regarding abortion is one example of socialism demanding primacy over belief …

Both Lenin and Münzenberg were keenly aware of the power of the emerging media, especially the development of film presentations. Münzenberg’s network quickly grew and spread into the United States. Lenin’s revolution and policies were presented in the best light possible – mass murders and imprisonments were ignored – and anti-communist governments were assailed.

In the United States, Münzenberg’s network worked to attack every social defect. The admittedly flawed 1920 murder trial of two Italian born anarchists, Fernando Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, became the vehicle for the first truly world-wide anti-American propaganda campaign …

The Münzenberg network worked unceasingly to tarnish the image of the United States around the world, and when Sacco and Vanzetti were execution in 1927, riots erupted from London to Tokyo. America’s beacon of freedom now shone less brightly.

Münzenberg’s propaganda empire made him the “Red Millionaire.” His financial success and influential communist propaganda, however, earned him enemies in western Europe and Josef Stalin’s Soviet Union. Münzenberg was murdered by person or persons unknown in France in 1940. The propaganda machine founded by Münzenberg, however, outlived him, and took on a life of its own

The most damaging aspect of Lenin’s attack on the United States is what is referred to a as “The Politics of Self-Loathing,” in Lies, Terror, and the Rise of the Neo-Communist Empire: Origins and Direction. In many ways Lenin’s anti-American propaganda has become part of American life.

Generations of literary, film, and theater artists, as well as academics, school teachers, and journalists have accepted and propagated the line of hostility to America which extends back to Lenin and his revolutionary elitism.

This anti-American campaign also produced individuals willing to injure the security of the United States in favor of Communist powers

More recently, anti-American propaganda enabled Communist Cuban recruiters to obtain the services of Ana Belen Montes, an influential Defense Department Analyst, who admitted in 2001 that she was spying for Cuba, and Walter Kendall Myers, a State Department veteran, and his wife, Gwendolyn, who plead guilty in 2009 to serving Cuban intelligence for thirty years.

The similarity of the anti-American theme is striking: the U.S. is the source of the world’s problems, society must be transformed with wealth spread more equitably, all opposition must be silenced, and God must be banished from the market place of ideas. It began with Lenin, initially propagated by Münzenberg, and continues to this day.

The theme of America, a land of racism and greed, as the perpetrator of evil around the world is an accepted secular gospel to many Americans. To protect the world, some “liberals” advocate the surrender of American sovereignty to an all-powerful world Socialist/Communist government.

God, the necessary author of all “human rights,” has been ejected from nearly all political discussion, and all reference to social morality, which underpins everything we do as a nation.

Because most private and public schools are more interested in advocating “politically correct” modes of thinking than teaching even an elementary knowledge of America and its past , many young adults share “liberal” misconceptions about our nation, its institutions, and history

The necessary truth is that all “human rights” come from the God who loves us — what the state gives, the state can take away. Absolute “rights” can come only from an absolute authority – God. The state is a necessary evil which must be kept within strict bounds.

Think of it.  Every time your children watch television or go to the cinema, they receive a (sometimes benign — even worse) dose of anti-Americanism. Every time they sit down in a classroom, they learn more about America’s failings than successes.

I know a number of teachers in primary and secondary schools — state as well as church-affiliated — in the US and England who are ashamed to be European and believe that the Left is correct on all these points.  They learn this at university as well as at teacher-training days. They read ‘important’ left-leaning publications (e.g. New York Times, The Economist), which also help to shape their thinking.

However, we cannot leave the blame exclusively with teachers and the media.  As you know, we are all affected by these influences from news, books and film.  As my better half says, ‘Take it in but don’t be taken in by it.’

That said, please ensure you spread the word about the manipulative and false media messages we receive.  Most people are unaware of their history.

Today’s chapter is the final instalment of Bella Dodd’s School of Darkness (1954).  Photos are from the City University of New York Brooklyn’s library and Parish World.

In Chapter 17, Dodd and Bishop Fulton J Sheen discuss the Catholic faith.  I realise that most of my readers are Protestant, however, much of the content here is of general Christian interest about the hope which a belief in Jesus Christ brings.

I read with interest of the Maryknoll priest Fr Keller who wrote the book which helped to bring Dodd back to her childhood faith.  Today, Maryknoll — along with many other religious orders — is very much oriented towards a syncretism of Catholicism and Marxism. I doubt many of them truly bring souls to Christ these days.  That might seem like a harsh statement, but the Maryknoll order has changed dramatically over the past few decades.  I used to read their monthly missions magazine which my parents received until the 1980s, when it got too radical for my mother to read.  She stopped her donations and, with them, the magazine.

For those too young to place Bella Dodd’s conversion in Catholic history, this was pre-Vatican II. The Latin Mass was universal throughout the world. Catholics received Holy Communion kneeling at the altar rail. Also, certain prayers, such as the Angelus, which few Catholics alive today know or learn, were still recited with great reverence every day.

Bella Dodd died in 1969, when the Vietnam War was at its peak.  She had adopted a conservative political philosophy and it would have been interesting to know what she thought about the student and racial protests which characterised the second half of that decade.  At the end of this book, she was optimistic that the young adults she met would continue to embrace the Church, but this certainly started to change by the time she died.  I would also have been interested to know what she thought about the Novus Ordo (New Order!) Mass. I hope that I can ask her one day.

The book is available online free of charge.  Emphases below are mine.

Chapter Seventeen

EARLY IN THE NEW YEAR I went to the office of the Board of Education to see Dr. Jacob Greenberg, then superintendent in charge of personnel, regarding a teacher. In his office I met Mary Riley, his assistant. Since Dr. Greenberg could not see me at once, Miss Riley and I began to talk …

I was somewhat surprised that she would talk to me for I knew that my activities and the doctrine I had spread had been offensive to her. But she was smiling and saying she was sorry they no longer saw me at the Board. I explained that I had been having a lot of trouble.

She knew. “That’s putting it mildly,” she said. “But don’t let anyone stop you, Bella. You still have a lot of friends. We don’t like communism but we do admire one who struggles to help human beings as you always have” …

Some days later a package came from Mary Riley. It contained books and magazines dealing with a variety of things Catholic, such as the medical missions in Africa, the Interracial Councils, and youth shelters. There was also a book by a priest: James Keller’s You Can Change the World.

As I read the title my thoughts went back to Sarah Parks, my teacher at Hunter College, and the books she had given me that had quickened my interest in the communist movement. Those books had been in praise of the change in the world brought about by the Russian Revolution which at the time I had considered an upheaval necessary for the improvement of the social conditions of the Russian people. I knew now that glorification of revolution and destruction of lives in the hope that a better world would rise were fatally wrong. I thought with sadness of Sarah Parks — her bright intelligence wasted because she had no standard to live by, of how in the end she took her own life rather than face its emptiness ...

I could not stop reading the book. I sat there in the quiet of my office and I felt all through me the truth of Father Keller’s saying: “There can be no social regeneration without a personal regeneration.” As I read I felt life flowing back into me, life to myself as a person. Within the Party I had been obliterated except as part of the group. Now, like some Rip Van Winkle, I was awakening from a long sleep …

Not long afterward I was in the Criminal Courts Building defending a youthful offender and I ran into judge Pagnucco, formerly of the District Attorney’s office, who had interrogated me during the Scottoriggio investigation. We talked about the measure of individual responsibility for criminal acts. He mentioned Father Keller’s words on that subject and I said I had heard of him and admired his work. The Judge asked me if I would like to meet the Maryknoll priest.

Next afternoon I met the judge at the office of Godfrey Schmidt, a militant Catholic lawyer, and a teacher at Fordham Law School. I remembered him vividly as the official in the New York State Department of Labor who had prepared the case against Nancy Reed, the girl who had lived at my apartment for a time and whose mother was an owner of the Daily Worker. I thought of the violent campaign the Party had organized against him, the gruesome caricatures of him in the Party-controlled papers, and how they called him “Herr Doktor Schmidt.” Now I listened to Godfrey Schmidt talk of America and its people with obvious sincerity, and I had an overwhelming feeling of shame that I had participated in that campaign of hate.

Father Keller came in with another friend and Mr. Schmidt invited us to lunch together. I looked at the priest in frank appraisal and found myself interested in the harmony and peace of his face and in his keen understanding of the problems facing men and women of our day. As he and the other men discussed various matters, I realized why these three talked so differently from the little groups I had been with at tables like this in the communist movement. Here there was no hatred and no fear. We talked of books and television and of communism too, and Father Keller referred to the latter as “the last stage of an ugly period” …

I found myself returning again and again to that office, impressed with the spiritual quality I found there. On my first visit to the Christopher headquarters a dozen of us were busy in the room when the chimes from the nearby Cathedral rang the noon hour. Everyone stopped working and recited the Angelus. I caught, here and there, remembered words of prayer I had heard long ago. “. . . Behold the handmaid of the Lord,” I heard, and “. . . the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. ”

I did not know the response and I stood silent. But I was deeply stirred to hear young men and women pausing in their work to pray together, here in the most materialistic city ever raised by a materialistic civilization. And I felt how true of this believing little group were the words: “And dwelt among US” …

Seeing the Christophers at work stirred a memory of the flame I had in my youth, the desire to help those in trouble, the sense of shame at any indignity to a human being. I smiled ruefully in recalling that I had thought the Communists the modern prototype of the early Christians, come to cast greed and selfishness from the world. The Communists too had promised an order and a harmony of life. I knew now that their promises were fraudulent, and that the harmony they promised brought only chaos and death. Yet I knew too that I had to get the difference between the two clear in my own mind before I took any further steps. I had to know, and for myself …

The anti-clericalism which had been a part of my thinking for years dropped from me completely when I watched the lights turned on each morning around the altar of Our Lady of Guadaloupe and when the candles were lighted and I saw the priest offer the Sacrifice. I felt myself inescapably drawn to the altar rail, but I still sat in the darkness of the rear pews as a spectator. I was not ready, I told myself. And I had a dread of dramatic gestures. But as the days went by I knew the sense of strain was leaving me and I began to feel an inner quiet.

I found myself reading, like one who had been starved, books which the Communists and the sophisticated secular world marked taboo or sneered at. I found St. Augustine and the City of God infinitely more life-giving than the defiant modern professors who wrote The City of Man. I found St. Thomas Aquinas and I laughed to remember that all I had learned of St. Thomas was that he was a scholastic philosopher who believed in the deductive method of thinking. Now, as the great storehouse of his wisdom was opened to me, I felt rich beyond all words.

One day at lunch with Godfrey Schmidt I explained that I must learn more about the Faith. As we walked down Park Avenue, he took me into a bookshop and bought me a prayer book. Next day he called me to say that Bishop Sheen was in town and had agreed to see me again. This was like a joyful summons from an old friend.

With Mr. Schmidt I went to East Thirty-eighth Street, to the offices of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, and rang the bell. Bishop Sheen opened the door himself and I saw the silver cross on his chest, the smile in his eyes, but this time I heard a welcome home in his greeting.

And so I began to receive instructions in the Faith. Something strange was apparent to me in my behavior — I who had generally been skeptical and argumentative now found that I asked few questions. I did not want to waste one precious moment. Week after week I listened to the patient telling of the story of God’s love for man, and of man’s longing for God. I listened to the keen logic and reasoning that have lighted the darkness and overcome the confused doubts of others of my group who had lost the art of reasoned thinking and in its place had put assertive casuistry. I saw how history and fact and logic were inherent in the foundations of the Christian faith.

I listened to the Bishop explaining the words of Jesus Christ, the founding of His Church, the Mystical Body. I felt close now to all who received Communion in all the churches of the world. And I felt the true equality which exists between people of different races and nations when they kneel together at the altar rail — equal before God. And I came to love this Church which made us one

Easter of 1952 was approaching and Bishop Sheen said that I was ready. I had no baptismal record and a letter of inquiry to the town in Italy where I was born produced none, though I was reasonably certain I had been baptized. So it was decided I was to receive conditional baptism.

On April 7th, the anniversary of my mother’s birthday, I was baptized by Bishop Sheen at the font in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Mary Riley and Louis Pagnucco stood on either side of me. Godfrey Schmidt and a few other friends were with me too.

Afterward Bishop Sheen heard my first confession. He had noted that I was nervous and distraught in making my preparation, for I had to cover the many years in which I had denied the truth. I meditated on the mockery I had made of my marriage; how I had squandered my birthright as a woman; on my twisted relationship with my parents; on the exaggerated pride of my mind; and on the tolerance I had for error. He realized my despair and said comfortingly: “We priests have heard the sins of men many times. Yours are no greater than those of others. Have confidence in God’s mercy.” After hearing my confession he granted absolution. His Pax vobiscum [‘Go in peace’] echoed and reechoed in my heart.

At Mass next morning I received Communion from his hands. And I prayed as I watched the flicker of the sanctuary lamp that the Light that had reclaimed me might reach the ones I loved who still sit in darkness.

It was as if I had been ill for a long time and had awakened refreshed after the fever had gone. I went about my work with a calm that surprised me. I seemed to have acquired a new heart and a new conscience.

Outwardly my life was changed not at all. I still lived in a cold-water flat on a street of tenement houses, but now I could greet my neighbors with no feeling of fear or mistrust. I was never to be lonely again, and when I prayed there was always the Presence of Him I prayed to.

As order and peace of mind returned to my life I was able to face intelligently the difficult ordeal of appearing before governmental agencies and investigating committees. I dreaded hurting individuals who were perhaps as blind as I had been and who were still being used by the conspirators. I dreaded the campaign of personal abuse which would be renewed against me.

Now I formulated and tried to answer three critical questions: Does my country need the information I am called upon to give? Will I be scrupulous in telling the truth? Will I be acting without malice?

I knew that the information which I had might be of some help in protecting our people. I knew also that honest citizens of our country were uninformed about the nature of Marxism and I recognized now that in the best sense of the word to “inform” means to educate. As avenues of education are blocked and twisted into propaganda by the agents of this conspiracy, my country needed the information I had to give.

But I dreaded the ordeal of testifying, when letters, telephone calls, and post cards of abuse came to me after my first appearance before the Internal Security Committee of the Senate. There was one interesting turn to the abuse: the bulk of it was in biblical terms — “Judas Iscariot,” “thirty pieces of silver,” “dost thou betray” were the most common expressions used. Quite a few quoted from the Gospel of St. Matthew the words telling how Judas Iscariot hanged himself and the writers ended with the exhortation, “Go thou and do likewise.”

Now I saw in true perspective the contribution that the teachers and the schools of America have made to its progress, just as I was sadly aware of the darker picture some of the educators and the educated among us have presented. Justice Jackson has said that it is the paradox of our times that we in modern society need to fear only the educated man. It is very true that what a man does with his knowledge is that which, in one sense, justifies or indicts that education. A glance at the brilliant scientists who served the Hitler regime, and the Soviet scholars who serve the Kremlin, a look at the men indicted for subversion in our own country -all lead us to re-estimate the role of education. We are told that all problems will be solved by more education. But the time has come to ask: “What kind of education?” “Education for what?” One thing has become transparently clear to me: rounded education includes training of the will as much as training of the mind; and mere accumulation of information, without a sound philosophy, is not education.

I saw how meaningless had been my own education, how like a cafeteria of knowledge, without purpose or balance. I was moved by emotion and my education failed to guide me in making sound personal and public decisions. It was not until I met the Communists that I had a standard to live by, and it took me years to find out it was a false standard.

Now I know that a philosophy and movement that devotes itself to improving the condition of the masses of our industrial society cannot be successful if it attempts to force man into the mold of materialism and to despiritualize him by catering only to that part of him which is of this earth. For no matter how often man denies the spirit he will in an unaccountable manner turn and reach out to the Eternal. A longing for God is as natural a heritage of the soul as the heartbeat is of the body. When man tries to repress it, his thinking can only lapse into chaos.

I know that man alone cannot create a heaven on earth. But I am still deeply concerned about my fellow man, and I feel impelled to do what I can against the inhumanity and injustices that threaten his well-being and security. I am aware, too, that if good men fail to so love one another that they will strike vigorously to eliminate social ills, they must be prepared to see the conspirators of revolution seize power by using social maladjustments as a pretext.

I believe that the primary requisite for a sober appraisal of the present challenge of communism is to face it with a clear understanding of what it is. But it cannot be fought in a negative manner. Man must be willing to combat false doctrine with the Truth, and to organize active agency with active agency. Above all there must be a new birth of those moral values that for the past two thousand years have made our civilization a life-giving force

New armies of men are rising, and these are sustained not by the Communist creed but by the credo of Christianity. And I am keenly conscious that only a generation of men so devoted to God that they will heed his command, “Love one another as I have loved you,” can bring peace and order to our world.

End of series

This is the penultimate chapter of School of Darkness (1954).  Bella Dodd discusses her life after the Communist Party expelled her.  She also meets Fulton J Sheen, who was a monsignor at the time.  (The photo is from the Ephemera blog by Jose Pacheco Pereira.)

Before I began excerpting from this book, I ran a few posts about the Communist infiltration of the Church on July 8, July 10 and July 11.  Some of these posts mentioned the Venona Project, the findings of which became available only in 1995.  So, whilst many people — my parents included — suspected further Communist involvement not only in the church but in government and the media, they had little concrete proof at the time after the hearings of the 1940s and early 1950s.  Therefore, it was easy for leftists of various stripes to laugh at them looking for ‘Reds under the beds’.  I was one of them — whilst still at Catholic school, which, perhaps quite innocently, strongly encouraged us students to adopt peace and unity along with left-wing political positions.  I imagine that the same is true in other denominational schools, just as it is in state schools.

Now we know that those who were suspicious were correct.  I would encourage you to read about the Venona Project at the link in the preceding paragraph.  Bella Dodd also discusses people and hearings in the United States after the Second World War.  These links are also worth reading: List of Americans in the Venona Papers, List of Soviet Agents in the United States (look at their various occupations!), American Peace Mobilization, Harry Dexter White, the Institute of Pacific Relations, Owen Lattimore and a left-of-centre apologist who was a Supreme Court Justice, Abe Fortas (not a Communist). Dodd writes about Lattimore and Fortas in this chapter.

Although the American Peace Mobilization was short-lived, those who were alive during the 1960s — 20 years later — will recognise how the United States adopted four of its Five Planks to Defend America and is still doing so:

  1. Defeat Militarism and Regimentation. Repeal Conscription. No M Day for the American people.
  2. Restore the Bill of Rights. Restore free speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of thought. Take special privilege away from the top and give it back to the whole American people.
  3. Stop War Profiteering. Put lives ahead of profits. Put profits last on democracy’s list. What helps democracy helps you.
  4. Guarantee a decent standard of living for all. Work for more social and labor legislation. End discrimination.

On the second point above, remember who is exercising free speech.  They are the same voices trying to silence conservative and libertarian voices.

Now on with the book … It’s available online free of charge.  Emphases below are mine.

Chapter Sixteen

TO THE New York newspapers the story of the expulsion of a woman Communist was merely one more story. It was handled in the routine way. I winced, however, when reputable papers headlined the Communist Party charges and used the words “fascism” and “racism,” even though I knew these words were only quoted from the Party resolution.

I braced myself for further attacks from the Party, and they came soon in terms of economic threats. Some of my law practice came from trade-union and Party members, and here action was swift. The union Communists told me there would be no more referrals to me. Party members who were my clients came to my office, some with their new lawyers, to withdraw their pending cases.

Reprisals came, too, in the form of telephone calls, letters, and telegrams of hate and vituperation, many of them from people I did not know. What made me feel desolate were the reprisals from those I had known best, those among the teachers whom I had considered friends. While I was busy with Party work I sometimes thought proudly of my hundreds of friends and how strong were the ties that bound us. Now those bonds were ropes of sand.

What I had failed to understand was that the security I felt in the Party was that of a group and that affection in that strange communist world is never a personal emotion. You were loved or hated on the basis of group acceptance, and emotions were stirred or dulled by propaganda. That propaganda was made by the powerful people at the top. That is why ordinary Communists get along well with their groups: they think and feel together and work toward a common goal.

Even personal friends, some of whom I myself had taken into the Party, were lost to me now, and among them were many of my former students and fellow teachers. If rejection by an individual can cause the emotional destruction which our psychiatrists indicate, it cannot, in some ways, compare with the devastation produced by a group rejection. This, as I learned, is annihilating …

I had always been an independent person and rarely gave my reasons for doing things. Now I wrote letters to people, some of whom had lived in my house or had been frequent guests there, and in whose homes I had been welcome. Those who replied were either abusive or obviously sought to disassociate themselves from me. Two friends replied in one sentence on the back of the letter I had written them only this: “Please do not involve us.” Many did not answer at all …

There is no censorship of reading so close and so comprehensive as that of the Party. I had often seen leaders pull books from shelves in homes and warn members to destroy them.

But I had no desire to read now. The one book I did open was the New Testament which I had never stopped reading even in my days of starkest Party delusion …

The New York Post asked me to write a series of articles on why I had broken with the Communist Party, and made me a generous offer. I agreed. But when I had finished them and read them over I did not want to see them published and found an excuse for refusing the offer. When a weekly magazine made an even more lucrative offer, I refused that, too. There were several reasons for this, as I now realize: one was that I did not trust my own conclusions, and another that I could not bear to hurt people I had known in the Party and for whom I still felt affection. Some I knew were entrapped as surely as I had been …

But I had begun the process of “unbecoming” a Communist … It was a long and painful process, much like that of a polio victim who has to learn to walk all over again. I had to learn to think. I had to learn to love. I had to drain the hate and frenzy from my system. I had to dislodge the self and the pride that had made me arrogant, made me feel that I knew all the answers. I had to learn that I knew nothing. There were many stumbling blocks in this process.

One afternoon in March of that year an old acquaintance, Wellington Roe, came into my office. He breezed in with a broad smile and said he was just passing and had decided to say hello. I thought nothing further of his visit. “Duke,” as we all called him, had been one of the Party’s front candidates in the American Labor Party …

He asked if I had ever known Owen Lattimore. I said I had not. Had I ever known him to be a Party member, he asked, and again I said no. I had heard of him vaguely, I said, as a British agent in the Far East.

A few weeks later Duke walked in again and this time asked if I would be willing to help Professor Lattimore. I replied I did not see how, since I did not know him. He talked of the importance of having all liberals unite to fight reaction wherever it was manifesting itself. This left me unconvinced. I had problems of my own and for once I did not wish to get involved with those of others. But he came again the next day, this time with a man he introduced as Abe Fortas, Lattimore’s attorney. I did not know him, but I had heard of him through mutual friends as a man who often defended civil-service employees faced with loyalty probes.

After a short talk the attorney said he thought he would have to subpoena me in the defense of Lattimore. When he saw my reluctance he asked if I would be willing to give him an affidavit saying that I had not heard of Lattimore while I was a leader in the Communist Party. So I signed an affidavit to that effect, and I thought that was the end of it.

I was naive to think so. A few days later I was served with a subpoena by the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate. Dumfounded, I called Duke. He said it was no surprise to him. Since he was going to Washington he would be happy to make a reservation for me. He would even rent a typewriter so that I could prepare a statement.

At the hearings I saw Lattimore for the first time. Duke was there too. At a table with Senator Tydings sat Senator Green of Rhode Island, Senator McMahon of Connecticut, Senator Lodge of Massachusetts, and Senator Hickenlooper of Indiana. Back of them sat Senator McCarthy, and next to him Robert Morris, whom I had known as one of the attorneys for the Rapp-Coudert Committee.

I studied the senators before me. I knew that Senator Tydings was related in some way to Joseph Davies, former ambassador to Russia, who had written the friendly Mission to Moscow, and who had been active in Russian War Relief, receiving an award from the Soviet propaganda center in the United States, the Russian Institute. I knew of Senator McMahon’s proposal for sharing our atomic knowledge with Russia. I felt that these men in the seats of power had facts not available to the rest of us, and were going along with the postwar perspective of co-existence with the Soviet Union, a position easy for me to accept since it was much like the communist propaganda during the years of my involvement with the communist world. When Senator Hickenlooper began to throw hostile questions at me I reacted with the hostility of the Communist, and I gave slick, superficial answers, for I did not want to be drawn into what I regarded as a Democratic-Republican fight.

There is no doubt in my mind that on facts of which I had knowledge I told the truth. But when it came to questions of opinion there is no doubt that before the Tydings Committee I still reacted emotionally as a Communist and answered as a Communist. I had broken with the structure of the Party, but was still conditioned by the pattern of its thinking, and still hostile to its opponents.

Something, however, happened to me at this hearing. I was at last beginning to see how ignorant I had become, how long since I had read anything except Party literature. I thought of our bookshelves stripped of books questioned by the Party, how when a writer was expelled from the Party his books went, too. I thought of the systematic rewriting of Soviet history, the revaluation, and in some cases the blotting out of any mention of such persons as Trotsky. I thought of the successive purges. Suddenly I too wanted the answers to the questions Senator Hickenlooper was asking and I wanted the truth. I found myself hitting at the duplicity of the Communist Party …

My appearance before the Tydings Committee had served one good purpose: it had renewed my interest in political events, and it had the effect of breaking the spell which had held me. I had at last spoken openly and critically of the Communist Party.

To those who find it difficult to understand how a mind can be imprisoned, my puny indictment of the communist movement before the Tydings Committee may have seemed slight indeed, for I no doubt gave some comfort to the Party by my negative approach. But it takes time to “unbecome” a Communist …

I read the congressional report of the hearings on the Institute of Pacific Affairs. I found I was again able to interpret events. In my time with the Party I had accumulated a large store of information about people and events, and often these had not fitted into the picture presented by the Party to its members. It was as if I held a thousand pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and could not fit them together. It irritated me, but when I thought of the testimony of witnesses before the Congressional Committee, some of whom I had known as Communists, much of the true picture suddenly came into focus. My store of odd pieces was beginning to develop into a recognizable picture.

There had been many things I had not really understood. I had regarded the Communist Party as a poor man’s party, and thought the presence of certain men of wealth within it accidental. I now saw this was no accident. I regarded the Party as a monolithic organization with the leadership in the National Committee and the National Board. Now I saw this was only a facade placed there by the movement to create the illusion of the poor man’s party; it was in reality a device to control the “common man” they so raucously championed.

There were many parts of the puzzle which did not fit into the Party structure. Parallel organizations which I had dimly glimpsed now became more clearly visible, and their connections with the apparatus I knew became apparent. As the war in Korea developed, further illumination came to me …

Now I realized that, with the best motives and a desire to serve the working people of my country, I, and thousands like me, had been led to a betrayal of these very people. I now saw that I had been poised on the side of those who sought the destruction of my own country.

I thought of an answer Pop Mindel, of the Party’s Education Bureau, had once given me in reply to the question whether the Party would oppose the entry of our boys into the Army. I had asked this question at a time when the Communists were conducting a violent campaign for peace, and it seemed reasonable to me to draw pacifist conclusions. Pop Mindel sucked on his pipe and with a knowing look in his eyes said:

“Well, if we keep our members from the Army, then where will our boys learn to use weapons with which to seize power?”

I realized how the Soviets had utilized Spain as a preview of the revolution to come. Now other peoples had become expendable — the Koreans, North and South, the Chinese soldiers, and the American soldiers. I found myself praying, “God, help them all.”

What now became clear to me was the collusion of these two forces: the Communists with their timetable for world control, and certain mercenary forces in the free world bent on making profit from blood. But I was alone with these thoughts and had no opportunity to talk over my conclusions with friends …

Early in the fall of 1950 I went to Washington to argue an immigration appeal. I had planned to return to New York immediately afterward. It was a clear, crisp day, and I walked along Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Capitol. Near the House Office Building I ran into an old friend, Christopher McGrath, the congressional representative of the Twenty-seventh District, the old East Bronx area of my childhood

He asked me if I wanted FBI protection, and I must have shivered noticeably. Though I was afraid, I was reluctant to live that kind of life. He did not press the issue. Instead, he said: “I know you are facing danger, but if you won’t have that protection, I can only pray for your safety.”

He looked at me for a moment as if he wanted to say something else. Then he asked: “Bella, would you like to see a priest?”

Startled by the question, I was amazed at the intensity with which I answered, “Yes, I would.”

“Perhaps we can reach Monsignor Sheen at Catholic University,” he said. Rose put in several calls and an appointment was made for me late that evening at the Monsignor’s home.

I was silent as we drove to Chevy Chase [Maryland]. All the canards against the Catholic Church which I had heard and tolerated, which even by my silence I had approved, were threatening the tiny flame of longing for faith within me. I thought of many things on that ride, of the word “fascist,” used over and over by the communist press in describing the role of the Church in the Spanish Civil War. I also thought of the word “Inquisition” so skillfully used on all occasions. Other terms came to me — reactionary, totalitarian, dogmatic, old-fashioned. For years they had been used to engender fear and hatred in people like me …

The screeching of the brakes brought me back to reality. We had arrived, and my friend was wishing me luck as I got out of the car. I rang the doorbell and was ushered into a small room. While I waited, the struggle within me began again. Had there been an easy exit I would have run out, but in the midst of my turmoil Monsignor Fulton Sheen walked into the room, his silver cross gleaming, a warm smile in his eyes …

Monsignor Sheen put his hand on my shoulder to comfort me. “Don’t worry,” he said. “This thing will pass,” and he led me gently to a little chapel. We both knelt before a statue of Our Lady. I don’t remember praying, but I do remember that the battle within me ceased, my tears were dried, and I was conscious of stillness and peace.

When we left the chapel Monsignor Sheen gave me a rosary. “I will be going to New York next winter,” he said. “Come to me and I’ll give you instructions in the Faith”

On my way to the airport I thought how much he understood. He knew that a nominal Christian with a memory of the Cross can easily be twisted to the purposes of evil by men who masquerade as saviors. I thought how communist leaders achieve their greatest strength and cleverest snare when they use the will to goodness of their members. They stir the emotions with phrases which are only a blurred picture of eternal truths.

In my rejection of the wisdom and truth which the Church has preserved, and which she has used to establish the harmony and order set forth by Christ, I had set myself adrift on an uncharted sea with no compass. I and others like me grasped with relief the fake certitude offered by the materialists and accepted this program which had been made even more attractive because they appealed for “sacrifice for our brothers.” Meaningless and empty I learned are such phrases as “the brotherhood of man” unless they have the solid foundation of belief in God’s Fatherhood …

Christmas, 1950, was approaching, an I again my loneliness was intensified. I was now living in a furnished room on Broadway at Seventy-fifth Street and still shuttling from my room to my office and back again every day and night.

On Christmas Eve, Clotilda and Jim McClure, who had lived at my house on Lexington Avenue and who had kept in touch with me and worried about me, called and urged me to spend the evening with them. After I sold my home they had had a miserable time finding accommodations. Harlem and its unspeakable housing situation was a cruel wilderness cheating the patient and undemanding. The McClures had moved to a one-room apartment on 118th Street where the rent of the decontrolled apartment was fantastic for what it offered. But Jim and Clo made no apologies for their home, for they knew how I grieved at their predicament …

After we had eaten, Jim opened his well-worn Bible and read a few of the psalms and then Clo read several. As I listened to their warm, rich voices sounding the great phrases I saw that they were pouring their own present longings into these Songs of David, and I realized why the prayers of the Negro people are never saccharine or bitter. Jim handed me the book and said: “Here, woman, now you read us something.”

I leafed through the pages until I found the one I wanted. I began to read the wonderful phrases of the Eighth Psalm:

“For I will behold the heavens, the works of Thy fingers … What is man that Thou art mindful of him? … Thou hast made him a little less than the angels … Thou hast subjected all things under his feet…. Lord, our Lord, how admirable is Thy name in all the earth.”

For a few moments after I had finished no one spoke. I handed the Bible back to Jim. Clo poured another cup of coffee for me. Then I said I was tired and ought to get home since it was almost eleven o’clock. I promised I would come again soon, and Jim walked with me to the Madison Avenue bus and wished me a “Merry Christmas” …

I have no recollection of leaving the bus at Thirty-fourth Street or of walking along that street to the west side. My next recollection is of finding myself in a church. The church, I learned later, was St. Francis of Assisi ...

Services had begun. From the choir came the hymns of Christmas. Three priests in white vestments took part in the ancient ritual. The bell rang three deep notes; the people were on their knees in adoration. I looked at the faces etched in the soft light, faces reverent and thankful.

It came to me as I stood there that here about me were the masses I had sought through the years, the people I loved and wanted to serve. Here was what I had sought so vainly in the Communist Party, the true brotherhood of all men. Here were men and women of all races and ages and social conditions cemented by their love for God. Here was a brotherhood of man with meaning.

Now I prayed. “God help me. God help me,” I repeated over and over.

That night, after Midnight Mass was over, I walked the streets for hours before I returned to my rooming house. I noted no one of those who passed me. I was alone as I had been for so long. But within me was a warm glow of hope. I knew that I was traveling closer and closer to home, guided by the Star.

Tomorrow: Chapter Seventeen

In Chapter 15 of School of Darkness (1954), Bella Dodd relates her apprehension about the Communist Party turning against her.  She wants to leave the Party, but would she be able to do so by herself or would she be set up with false charges and negative publicity?

We also see how involved corporations are with the Party.  What appears to be capitalist sometimes isn’t.  One example involves increased trade with China, encouraged by the Party.  Another involves Frederick Vanderbilt Field, who was extensively involved with the Communists.  At the same time, what appears to be about ‘worker’s struggles’ is really about the Communist Party getting money from those workers and not accounting for it.

The book is available in full online free of charge.  The past few chapters can be found at this link.  Emphases below are mine.

Chapter Fifteen

DURING the latter months of 1947 my world was shifting all about me. The certitude which I had so long known in the Communist Party was now gone.

I was ill in mind and often in body, too, for I had a constant and terrible fear that every effort was being made to destroy me. I had watched the pitiless and methodical destruction of others. I did not have the will to fight back, nor did I want to involve the innocent.

At that period little dissident groups were forming and they criticized the Party, both from the right and the left. Each had its own leader. Each vowed devotion to the Party and each charged that the leadership of the Party in the United States had gone off the Marxist-Leninist track. I had noted the futility of such attempts before and, although I never refused to see anyone who sought me, I did refuse to become involved with them. I knew well that no group could be organized without being under the surveillance of Chester, the smooth, dapper director of the Party’s secret service. His men were everywhere.

I turned to my law practice and sought to forget my fears by immersing myself in work, but inwardly I was so disturbed that my work suffered. I did not know how and when the ax would fall. I knew my office was still under constant surveillance and I had no way of stopping it. Certain agents from communist headquarters made a practice of visiting me at regular intervals trying to get me to take part in some meaningless activity. I knew well that was not the reason they came.

I remember particularly an Italian Communist whom Foster sent to me to discuss the raising of money for the 1948 elections in Italy. I felt the purpose was to enmesh me, and I said as much to the young Italian. Also I protested that raising money was not my specialty, and that the national office had only to lift the telephone to collect the fifty thousand dollars which I was asked to raise.

I was still accustomed, however, to obeying directions from the Ninth Floor. Instead of getting rid of my visitor, I found myself handed a list of people to call on, and together we visited various men of wealth who worked with the Party.

I had paid relatively little attention to this phase of communist activity while engaged in union and political work. The finances of the Party were never discussed at state or national committee meetings. No financial reports were given. Periodically we planned drives to raise money usually by asking a day’s or a week’s wages from workers.

Of course I knew that the Party had other sources of income but we never discussed them. I knew that they collected from a score of camps, and the reason I knew this was due to a hilarious incident after the war when Chester came to a secretariat board meeting to tell us he had a chance to buy a brand-new car for the Party’s use at blackmarket prices. The board approved and then Chester announced that the car must of course be at his disposal because it was he who made the weekly rounds of the camps to collect the money …

During the war I became aware that the Party had an interest in a certain machine plant engaged in war contracts and that it drew revenue from it. I had long known that the Party had an interest in printing and 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 communist “cheesecake” in the Party. I used to sympathize with 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 the 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 a keen competition for private lists of suckers and private telephone numbers. These young women were capable of raising fabulous sums. It was they who raised the first money for the night clubs which had been called Bill Browder’s Folly, Bill being Earl’s brother. But these night clubs paid off in money and 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 of revolt.

The 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’s participation in the business world. It was they who 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, and who also operated a large financial empire. He was a mild, pudgy little man, who wore Brooks Brothers suits, smoked expensive cigars, and frequented expensive restaurants. The average Party member had no contact with men like him, for a functionary who earned an average of fifty dollars a week seldom saw this side of the Party.

Wiener had a number of financial pools operating to gather in capital from wealthy, middle-class Party people. They maintained offices with scores of accountants and attorneys from whom the communist movement drew reserves. There were doll factories, several paint and plastic manufacturing firms, chemical firms, tourist travel bureaus, import-export companies, textiles and cosmetics, records for young people, and theatrical agencies. In 1945 several corporations were established for trade with China in one of which was Frederick V. Field. Under the 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.

today the communist agent engaged in international trade is far more effective than the old-type political agitator.

Now, as I traveled about the city trying to help raise money for the Italian elections, I realized more than ever how many major financial operations were touched by the Party. In one office we visited a Party concern that bought pig iron in Minnesota and shipped it to northern Italy where, with the help of Italian Communist Party leaders, it was allocated to communist-led plants and there processed into steel and shipped to Argentina. In another office were lawyers who were deeply involved. in the business of making money as custodians of alien property — that of Italian citizens which had been seized during the war. Assignments like these were not easy to get, but these men got them.

After I had introduced my young Italian associate to a number of people who professed themselves willing to help, he decided to establish a permanent committee in the United States for cultural ties with Italy. Thus was born the American Committee for Cultural Relations with Italy. John Crane, whose family fortune was made in bathroom fixtures, was made chairman.

It was not that I had not known that the Communist Party used the rich as well as the worker, but I had never seen it so clearly before.

That spring I worked at my law practice and tried to build a private life for myself. I outwitted a number of well-laid plans to injure me. I learned during those months that some of the agents of the International Communist movement look and talk like your next-door neighbor. While I still saw many rank-and-file Communists, I avoided contact with the rest when I could …

I hoped against hope that I would be permitted to drift away from the Party. After all, a million and more Americans had drifted into and out of it. But I knew they were not likely to allow anyone who had reached a position of importance to do so.

I had withdrawn from most activity with them, except that I continued as Party contact for the Party teachers’ groups. Now I was replaced even there and by a man who knew nothing at all about education. I was not attending Party meetings. Nevertheless, when I received a notice I decided to go to the state convention held that year in Webster Hall on the East Side.

There I found I was a marked person, that people were afraid to be seen sitting with me …

As a member of the National Committee I had an obligation to attend the National Convention of 1948, but I decided I had punished myself enough. There was no reason for me to go; there was nothing I could do. Perhaps when that was over, when I was no longer a member of the National Committee, they would drop me entirely.

Evidently some of the leaders had thought I might go to the convention and had planned a means to silence me. Just before the convention the discipline committee ordered me to appear before it on the ninth floor …

I did not have to go, but like an automaton I went.

When I left the elevator I went through the long, dark corridor into an untidy room. Suddenly I all but laughed with relief, for there sat three old men – and I knew them all well. Alexander Trachtenberg, with his little walrus mustache and his way of looking down his nose, said nothing as I came in. Pop Mindel, the hero of the communist training schools, whose bright brown eyes were usually merry, had no smile for me. The third was Jim Ford, a Negro leader, whose look at me was distant and morose …

“Will this take long?” I asked Trachtenberg. With that he cleared his throat and spoke, and I could hardly believe what he was saying …

When he spoke again his German accent was stronger than usual. “We want to ask you a few questions.” “Here it comes,” I thought, and braced myself. And then I found myself saying inwardly, “Dear God, dear God,” with such an intensity that it seemed I had spoken aloud. “We hear you attacked the Cominform,” said Trachtenberg, half-asking, half-accusing me. Then he stated the time and place where I had done it.

This I could answer. I explained carefully that I had criticized the Daily Worker statement which said the reason the Communist Party in America had not joined the Cominform was that it would be dangerous to do so. I had pointed out that this was a false statement and that no one would believe it …

The next question was unexpected. “Were you born a Catholic?” …

They knew well I had been born a Catholic; they knew I had followed no religion for many years. Then why the question?

They did not continue the inquiry. Suddenly Trachtenberg asked me why I was not active any longer in membership, why my activity was at a standstill.

I hedged. “I am still not quite well, Comrade Trachtenberg. And I have personal problems. Let me alone until I can find myself again” …

“You will hear from us again,” said Trachtenberg …

A new plan against me developed in the following weeks, a strategy of slurs, character defamation, harassments. There were, of course, still many people in the trade-union movement and especially teachers who were not part of the inner communist circle who remembered the days of my campaigning. Now the Party decided to blacken my character publicly so that the simple working people in the Party who liked me would no longer have confidence in me.

The incident which was used as the excuse for my formal expulsion from the Party was of no importance in itself. The way in which it was handled was symptomatic of Party methods. On Lexington Avenue, a few doors from my home, lived a Czechoslovakian woman with whom I sometimes talked. She lived in a small three-story building where she served as janitor from 1941 to 1947. Her husband was permanently incapacitated and she was the sole support of the family. Acting as a janitor and working as a domestic several days a week, she managed to keep her family together.

In 1947 the owner of the building decided to sell it. The woman, afraid she would lose both her apartment and her job, made up her mind to buy it, and borrowed the money to do so. Thus she became technically a landlord; but her daily life remained the same; she was still the janitor. However, as owner of the house she had become involved with her tenants and in quick succession three judgments were entered against her. Her husband quarreled and left her. The attorney for the plaintiffs, eager to collect his fees, asked warrants for her arrest.

At this point she came to me for help and I agreed to represent her. In the end the court granted my plea, the tenants were paid, and the woman escaped imprisonment.

One thing was clear: only technically could she have been called a landlord. But the communist leadership heard with delight that Bella Dodd had appeared as “attorney for a landlord.” At last they had the excuse for getting me politically, the excuse for which they had been looking. Of course they could have simply expelled me but this would involve discussion of policies. They were looking for an excuse to expel me on charges that would besmirch my character, drive my friends away, and stop discussion instead of starting it. What better than to expel me for the crime of becoming a “hireling of the landlords”?

They must have realized that such an argument would scarcely be cogent to outsiders. Even to many of the Party it was weak. They must add something really unforgivable to make me an outcast in the eyes of the simple people of the Party. They did this by spreading the story that in my court appearances I had made remarks against the Puerto Rican tenants, that I had slandered them, and showed myself a racist, almost a fascist. And last of all, a charge of anti-Negro, anti-Semitism, and anti-working class was thrown in for good measure.

On May 6 a youth leader of the Communist Party, a round-faced, solemn youth, came to my house. I asked him in and offered him a cup of coffee, which he refused. Instead, he handed me a copy of written charges. When I said something about their falseness after I glanced through them, he gave me a sneering look and instructed me to appear for trial the next day at the local section commission, a block from my house …

A group was waiting for me and I saw it consisted entirely of petty employees of the Party, those at the lowest rung of the bureaucracy. The three women among them had faces hard and full of hate — Party faces, I thought, humorless and rigid. They sat there like fates ready to pass on the destinies of human beings.

I had no quarrel with these people. In fact, as I looked at the group I had the feeling of a schoolteacher when small children become suddenly defiant of authority. One woman, the chairman, was Finnish. Another, a Puerto Rican, began shouting her hatred of me. At least it must have been hate to judge from her expression, for her English was too hysterical to be understood. The pudgy-faced boy was there, too. Of the other three men I recognized one as a waiter and the other as a piccolo player whom I had befriended.

I asked whether I could produce witnesses. The answer was “No.” I asked if I might bring the woman involved in the case to let her state the story. The answer was “No.” I asked if the Commission would come with me to her house and speak with her and the tenants. The answer was “No.” Then I asked if I might bring a communist lawyer who at least understood the legal technicalities I had been faced with in trying this simple case. The answer was “No” …

The Finnish woman who was chairman said that I would be informed of the result.

I was dismissed. As I walked down the dingy steps my heart was heavy. The futility of my life overcame me. For twenty years I had worked with this Party, and now at the end I found myself with only a few shabby men and women, inconsequential Party functionaries, drained of all mercy, with no humanity in their eyes, with no good will of the kind that works justice. Had they been armed I know they would have pulled the trigger against me

When I reached my own house and went in, the rooms were cool and quiet. I was tired and spent, as if I had returned from a long, nightmare journey.

Of course I was certain more trouble was in store for me. This step had been merely preliminary to publicity against me, clever publicity. For this expulsion had not originated in the dirty rooms of the Harlem Commission, but from the headquarters on Twelfth Street, and perhaps from more distant headquarters.

I dreaded the coming publicity and decided to get in touch with the one group whom I had regarded as my friends. I called the Teachers Union to tell the Party leaders what was surely coming. I thought they would understand and discount any false accusations.

I need not have bothered. From the testimony of John Lautner months later before the Senate Internal Security Committee I learned that Rose Russell and Abraham Lederman, leaders of the Teachers Union, had been present at the State Party meeting which engineered and confirmed my expulsion and issued the resolution to the press. The vote had been unanimous.

On June 17, 1949, my telephone rang. “This is the Associated Press,” said a voice. “We have received a statement from the Communist Party announcing your expulsion from membership. It says here that you are anti-Negro, anti-Puerto Rican, anti-Semitic, anti-labor, and the defender of a landlord. Have you any statement to make?”

What statement could I make? “No comment,” was all I could manage to say.

The New York papers carried the story the following day and three days later the Daily Worker reprinted the long resolution of expulsion, signed by Robert Thompson.

Tomorrow: Chapter Sixteen

In today’s excerpts from School of Darkness (1954), Bella Dodd describes how the Communist Party leadership was turning against her after the Second World War. A new Party leader brought confusion and fear in the ranks.

There are also passages where Dodd details what the Communist Party thinks of women, young people and blacks — emotional pawns for revolution, nothing more. The same no doubt goes for other minority and ‘oppressed’ groups around the world, furthered by misguided or mischievous clerics with their liberation theology.  Please take note — Communists are not our friends.

This chapter, as are the others, is available online free of charge.  Emphases below are mine.

Chapter Fourteen

THE NEW LINE established at the Emergency Convention was meant to be all things to all people. It was intended to be leftist enough to assuage those who had guilty feelings about betrayal of the working class, yet called for enough unity with so-called democratic forces to permit continued collaboration with the forces of “imperialism.” Even so there were dissatisfied elements on both the right and the left.

At district conventions the new line was adopted with the hysteria that had characterized the National Convention. The same terror was apparent …

The new National Board had reshuffled Party posts …

I tried to withdraw from my post as an employee of the Party but Thompson insisted on keeping me close at hand. I could not be silenced and we clashed repeatedly. I was uneasy and frightened, but I tried to believe that the madness which was on us was temporary. When Browder left for Moscow with a Soviet visa I hoped a change would come on his return. So I held on because I felt I had an obligation to do all in my power to get others to see how terrible were the things we planned to do. For, strange as it now seems to me, the last illusion to die in me was the illusion about the Soviet Union. I did not know then that the new line was made in Moscow.

The leadership of the Party in the United States might be wrong; the leadership of the French Party or of the Italian Party might be wrong; but faith in the socialist Motherland, in the Soviet Union, was deeply etched into our very being. The conditioning had been deep.

I ran into conflict after conflict with Thompson. He was Moscow-trained, morose, and unstable. He surrounded himself with strong-arm men and packed the state board meetings with those who flattered him and voted his way. He moved in swiftly to destroy anyone who thwarted him …

“Comrade Dodd forgets,” said Thompson, “that communist leadership is superior to mass leadership. Anyone who opposes us must be eliminated from the labor movement” …

As 1945 dragged into the spring of 1946 it was clear that Foster and Dennis had been ordered to take over the Party, but it was also clear that they did not know what to do with it. The depression in the United States predicted by a Soviet research group had not materialized and Foster and his aides, who were all poised for the revolutionary moment, were unable to agree on what to do. It became obvious there would be no Party convention in 1946.

In January of 1946 the National Board decided to expel Earl Browder from the Party, and he was brought up on charges by the little communist branch in Yonkers where he made his home. The charges were that he had advanced Keynesian ideas, that he maintained them stubbornly, and that he had been politically passive, and had failed to attend local club meetings.

He was tried by a handful of Yonkers Communists, but his expulsion was approved by the National Committee. The cruelty of such treatment for a past leader can be possible only in this strange movement, where there is no charity, no compassion, and, in the end, total elimination of those who have served it.

Late in 1945 word had come … that it was important that American women be organized into an international movement, ostensibly for peace. An international federation was to be established with Russian and French Party women as leaders. So during the next months I helped organize the United States branch. A combination of wealthy women and Party members established and maintained what was called the Congress of American Women.

Since it was supposedly a movement for peace, it attracted many women. But it was really only a renewed offensive to control American women, a matter of deep importance to the communist movement, for American women do 80 per cent of the family spending. In the upper brackets they own a preponderance of capital stock and bonds. They are important in the making of political decisions. Like youth and minority groups, they are regarded as a reserve force of the revolution because they are more easily moved by emotional appeals. So the Soviet campaign for peace was especially geared to gain support of the women.

From the day of the Emergency Convention there had been efforts to bring every Party member back into support of the new leadership. Some were won over with jobs. Others were given the public-humiliation treatment; some were permitted to hang around unassigned until their disaffection had cooled; and some were expelled.

From 1945 to 1947 several thousands were expelled, each individually with the refinement of terror in the purge technique. Two main reasons were given for expulsion: one was guilty either of leftism or rightism

I had escaped punishment for my independence in 1945, possibly because I was not easy to deal with, for I had won for myself a position of respect with the rank-and-file members and had always remained close to my Union.

But a stealthy campaign had begun against me. Twice that year I faced charges. My home and law office were invaded by Party investigators, who came in supposedly to chat and visit with me, and then reported at headquarters any unorthodox remark. My secretary was enlisted to report on who came to the office, on my relations with Party and non-Party members, and on the nature of my correspondence …

Twice they concocted a charge of white chauvinism against me. Once I was brought before Ray Hausborough, a Negro from Chicago, whom I liked and respected, and who heard the charges and dismissed them. Once I found myself before a woman’s commission with Betty Gannet in the chair, again on a trumped-up charge dealing with chauvinism. I laughed at them for of all the white women present, I was the only one living in Harlem in friendship with my neighbors of all races.

All these charges were too slim to be sustained, but they concocted others. One accusation stemmed from the fact that I had blocked the Party’s move to support one of their favorite union leaders who was facing charges of pilfering union funds. This charge was true, as I was shocked at the Party’s support of such an unsavory character. This time I received such rough treatment from the comrades that when Thompson, who was in charge, leaned over the desk and started shouting at me, I stood up, knocked over the chair I had been sitting in, and said to them coldly: “You think like pigs,” and slammed out of the room. But in my heart I was frightened at my own temerity.

The next day Bill Norman, the state secretary, who served as a balance wheel to the explosive and unpredictable Thompson, called me to his office. He talked to me in his quiet and reasonable way and I told him frankly that I wanted to get out of the Party. His expression changed. He fixed his eyes on me and said, almost harshly, “Dodd, no one gets out of the Party. You die or you are thrown out. But no one gets out. Then he became his mild self again.

Finally I asked to have Si Gerson take my position as legislative representative and that I be assigned to the Marcantonio campaign that fall …

My headquarters were at Second Avenue and Ninety-ninth Street. My captains consisted of a group of teachers who were my friends, and Italian and Puerto Rican members of the Marcantonio machine …

In the registration campaign the teachers helped hundreds to pass the literacy tests. Many hours were spent helping these adults qualify for the right to vote. We practically doubled the registration figures. The election campaign was a bitter one with violence erupting everywhere. Among our leading opponents was Scottoriggio, who interfered with our campaign workers and challenged their effectiveness in canvassing the housing project. Hatred had reached a high pitch on the night before election day.

On election day I opened my headquarters at five o’clock in the morning. I served coffee and buns to my captains and then proceeded to make assignments. While we were drinking our coffee we listened to the radio on my desk, and heard the news that Scottoriggio, on his way to the polls, had been assaulted by four men and was in a hospital with a fractured skull.

We won the election. When Scottoriggio died of his injuries, the district was thrown into an uproar. The Republican leader and the police who had co-operated with Marcantonio for years were under fire. All my captains were called in for questioning …

I was subpoenaed by the New York County grand jury and interrogated at the district attorney’s office. In the midst of the questioning one of the two assistants asked me why I had become a Communist.

“Because only the Communists seemed to care about what was happening to people in 1932 and 1933,” I said. “They were fighting hunger and misery and fascism then, and neither the major political parties nor the churches seemed to care. That is why I am a Communist.”

I spoke with the practiced intensity of long habit but no longer with the old faith in the cause, for I no longer had the same deep conviction about the Party’s championship of the poor and dispossessed. I knew now that its activities were conceived in duplicity and ended in betrayal.

The sessions of the December National Committee were notable for their long-winded, long-spun-out, and fantastic justification of the line of “self-determination of the Negro in the black belt.” Only the intelligence and patience of Negro leaders in America have made possible resistance to this mischievous theory which was contrived by Stalin and was now unleashed by Foster. Briefly told, it is the theory that the Negroes in the South form a nation, a subjugated nation with the desire to become a free one, and that the Communists are to give them all assistance. The Party proposed to develop the national aspirations of the Negro people so they would rise up and establish themselves as a nation with the right to secede from the United States. It was a theory not for the benefit of the Negroes but to spur strife, and to use the American Negro in the world communist propaganda campaign to win over the colored people of the world. Ultimately, the Communists proposed to use them as instruments in the revolution to come in the United States …

In the spring of 1947 Foster went to Europe, clearly to get instructions for action …

No sooner had he returned than every sign of factionalism disappeared. A National Committee meeting was called for June 27, 1947. It continued for several days, and each day was filled with drama. It was clear to us gathered there that a reshuffling of leadership was near.

First of all, Morris Childs, editor of the Daily Worker, was removed from his office. Morris, who had recently returned from Moscow, had evidently done something to displease either Moscow or the Party in New York. He knew it himself, for no sooner had he returned than he asked for a six months’ leave of absence, explaining he had heart trouble.

Eugene Dennis, national secretary of the Party, in making the organizational report, announced that Childs was to have an indefinite leave of absence, and then he proposed as the new editor a young man with the adopted name of John Gates. Childs’s face turned white as a sheet, for neither he nor, as it turned out, the editorial board of the Daily Worker had been consulted about the new editor.

It was a strange choice. John Gates, a young veteran recently returned from overseas service, had no experience in newspaper work, but I did know that he had made contacts with powerful figures overseas, and on his return he had been placed in charge of veterans’ work for the Party. There was a stir among the members about this selection. Foster put an end to dissent by saying flatly, “A communist leader does not need newspaper experience to be an editor. It is more important that he be a sound Marxist.”

Following this statement, the vote was taken at once. It was unanimous in favor of Gates. There were two abstentions from approval — Morris Childs and myself. My vote was an overt act of rebellion against the steam roller which was being used on the National Committee. I knew that this meeting marked the end of my stay in the administration of the Party and so I decided to make the most of it. I knew there were others in the committee who felt as I did, but fear kept them from making the open break I now made.

I knew that no one in the Party ever attacks the persons in power chosen to give reports. They must be praised, and the report must be characterized as crystal clear and masterful. I knew, finally, that everyone was supposed to vote for it.

I decided to break with this tradition, first by my abstention in voting for Gates, and then by attacking Foster’s next proposal: to postpone the Party convention until 1948. The constitution of the Party, which was proudly displayed every time the Party was attacked as undemocratic, provided for a regular convention every two years. The last had been held in 1944; the one in 1945 had been merely emergency. A convention was certainly due in 1947. I arose and said that we had no other choice but to live up to the constitution.

Some of the other members now spoke up and I saw the possibility of a tiny victory against the steam roller. Foster saw it, too, and in a voice of authority he said that, since all other political parties would be having conventions in 1948 for the nomination of candidates for president, the Communists ought to have theirs at the same time. He threw a withering glance at me and said, “Comrade Dodd’s argument is legalistic,” a remark which ended the discussion.

The report was voted on and approved.

The next item on the agenda was a political report on the coming elections of 1948 and the possibility of a third party. This report was given by John Gates, and the fact that he was chosen to give it showed that he was being groomed as a coming leader of the Party. Not only did he know nothing about running a newspaper, but he was relatively uninformed about American politics.

His report was obviously not his work …

I listened carefully to the report, vague, contradictory, and full of words, repeating the old phrases about the need of a Labor Party in America. It did not state when it was to be built nor what were the special conditions which called for it at this particular time …

When Gates had finished, I took the floor …

My remarks were heard in icy silence …

When the Progressive Party was finally launched it represented not the farmers and workers of America but the same kind of synthetic coalition which had become a pattern of communist participation in national politics. There were large numbers of disillusioned middle-class professionals in it; there were women of wealth, moved by humanitarian motives; and there were Communists and fellow travelers. All these elements were welded together by flashy professional publicity agents, glib of tongue and facile of pen …

A limited and controlled Progressive Party would be a cover organization and a substitute for the Communist Party if the latter were outlawed.

Also it was clear why at the National Committee meeting of June, 1947, Foster gave a report on underground organizations in Europe, in countries where the Communist Party faced illegality. He said that only the hard core would remain organized and all others would be reached through their trade unions and other mass organizations.

About 10 per cent of the Party would be organized in tight little groups of three — trade-union representatives, political representatives, and unorganized representatives. This was to be the underground party of illegality.

In fine, one could see that shuffling of personnel at the meeting had been carefully planned. It had squeezed out all those who had been put in for window dressing at the Duclos convention of 1945. Now the stalwarts and professionals of revolution took their appointed places and prepared to strike.

Tomorrow: Chapter Fifteen

Today’s New Testament passage is one which we can easily read without thinking.  However, upon rereading it, several questions may arise.

Indeed, these four verses are worth a sermon in and of themselves.  So, it is unfortunate that the theologians and clergymen who assembled the readings for the three-year Lectionary somehow chose to omit them from public worship.  This, of course, makes them candidates for my ongoing series, Forbidden Bible Verses, also essential to our understanding of Scripture.

Today’s reading is from the King James Version.  Commentary is from Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

John 4:1-4

When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,

2(Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)

3He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.

4And he must needs go through Samaria.

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The part of John 4 that we hear read in church follows these verses and concerns the Samaritan woman at the well.  Jesus, hot and thirsty after His travel that day, asks her to fetch Him some water.  He also tells her about herself, details a stranger would not have known.  It is a life-transforming experience for her.

However, before that, we read these puzzling verses which raise several questions.  How much did the Pharisees actually know and how much was conjecture? Had Jesus already baptised more people than His cousin, John the Baptist?  Why didn’t Jesus baptise people Himself?  Why did He leave Judea for Galilee?  And why did he have to go through Samaria?  Therein lies a story.

John 3:22 tells us that after Jesus met and rebuked Nicodemus, He and His disciples went to Judea:

After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.

Matthew Henry says that they stayed in Judea for approximately six months to increase the work that John the Baptist had begun there. No record of this time exists. Henry also tells us that, by now, John the Baptist, whose last talk with his disciples is at the end of John 3, was in prison.  (He would eventually be beheaded at Salome’s request.)

The Jewish hierarchy deeply distrusted John the Baptist.  Jesus makes reference to this in conversation with them in John 5:35 (emphases mine):

He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.

John the Baptist was the first prophet the Jews had in 400 years.  Initially, they welcomed him with open arms.  However, once he began to baptise and prophesy, they became suspicious of him.  They saw him as a renegade, off-message, therefore, his imprisonment removed what they saw as a threat to the status quo.  As much as they disliked John the Baptist, however, they loathed Jesus even more.

Jesus, as the Son of God, being omniscient, knew that He was a subject of discussion and enmity among the Jews (verse 1).  He was being spied on.  Henry explains:

It is probable the informers were willing to have their names concealed, and the Pharisees loth to have their designs known; but none can dig so keep as to hide their counsels from the Lord (Isa. 29:15), and Christ is here called the Lord. He knew what was told the Pharisees, and how much, it is likely, it exceeded the truth; for it is not likely that Jesus had yet baptized more than John; but so the thing was represented, to make him appear the more formidable; see 2 Ki. 6:12.

Formidable here meaning ‘a greater threat’ — the Pharisees’ spies were eager to build Jesus up as a totem of discord.

Verse 2 may leave us wondering why Jesus performed no baptisms.  Henry says this is because He did not want the baptised to begin comparing the spiritual worth of their baptisms.  They might think that a baptism from Christ Himself was somehow more significant in salvific value than one from John the Baptist or another disciple.  Henry adds:

He would reserve himself for the honour of baptizing with the Holy Ghost, Acts 1:5. 6. He would teach us that the efficacy of the sacraments depends not on any virtue in the hand that administers them, as also that what is done by his ministers, according to his direction, he owns as done by himself.

Then we come to the matter of why Jesus left Judea.  Was He fleeing?  As the Son of God, shouldn’t He have stayed on?

Recall that Jesus went about His Father’s business and had a ministry to fulfil, which included preaching, miracles and healing.  He could not pre-empt this or cut it short.  Had He stayed in Judea, He probably would have been persecuted premeaturely.   However, He also wanted to protect His disciples, not wishing to put them in any danger.  Their time, sadly, would come later, as He explained to them in the first verses of John 16:

2They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.

 3And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.

 4But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.

It is not cowardly to seek self-preservation and escape an area when necessary.  Henry writes:

Hereby he gave an example to his own rule: When they persecute you in one city, flee to another. We are not called to suffer, while we may avoid it without sin; and therefore, though we may not, for our own preservation, change our religion, yet we may change our place. Christ secured himself, not by a miracle, but in a way common to men, for the direction and encouragement of his suffering people.

So, Jesus went to Galilee, where he had more friends and fewer enemies.  He had a ministry to fulfil there, too.  Yet, it would not be entirely risk-free.  Herod ruled that region.  It was also there where John the Baptist performed his final baptism before entering prison.  John had paved the way for His cousin Jesus to conduct His ministry.

But why did He have to go through Samaria in order to get to Galilee (verse 4)?  Geographically speaking, it would have made sense to travel via Samaria.  However, Jews took a more circuitous route and avoided the region entirely.  To them, Samaritans were anathema.

The Samaritans were not purely Jewish.  They had mixed blood.  They did not practice Judaism fully.  The King of Assyria had ringfenced Samaria long ago after the captivity of the ten tribes of Israel.  The Samaritans of Jesus’s day were descendents of the poor left behind as well as incoming Jews — so, as Henry describes them, ‘mongrel Jews’.  The mixed bloodlines and heritage also created a perfidious allegiance to the Jews.  When the Jews rose in favour and fortune, the Samaritans claimed they were part of the same people.  However, when the Jews were being attacked or their fortunes were waning, the Samaritans claimed kinship with Persians.

The Samaritans were fair-weather friends and couldn’t be trusted. This is why the Jews avoided them. And so did Jesus, except on this occasion. God must have told Him to pass through the region on this occasion. Henry writes, citing a verse from Matthew:

He charged his disciples not to enter into any city of the Samaritans (Mt. 10:5), that is, not to preach the gospel, or work miracles; nor did he here preach publicly, or work any miracle, his eye being to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. What kindness he here did them was accidental; it was only a crumb of the children’s bread that casually fell from the master’s table.

As to travelling through places of temptation or enemies, he adds:

We should not go into places of temptation but when we needs must; and then we should not reside in them, but hasten through them. Some think that Christ must needs go through Samaria because of the good work he had to do there; a poor woman to be converted, a lost sheep to be sought and saved. This was work his heart was upon, the therefore he must needs go this way. It was happy for Samaria that it lay in Christ’s way, which gave him an opportunity of calling on them.

Of Jesus’s timing of his visit to this region, John MacArthur preached:

And so, when Jesus said, “I must needs go through Samaria,” He was really saying something. Right there He was shattering a lot of barriers because that was an abnormal movement for a Jew. But it wasn’t the geographical necessity that compelled Christ to go there, it was divine necessity. You see, it was predestined, it was foreordained that our Savior should go through Samaria because there was some chosen sinners there. The whole machinery of grace began to move when Jesus Christ started toward Samaria. The wheels of salvation begin to turn as He moved there, He was on time. God’s divine clock said: Now, Samaria, Go. And He went. And had He arrived at that well two hours late, there would have been no woman, but He always did everything in the fullness of…what?…time. He was on schedule.

And He moved out. And He had to go there because there were some that the Father had given Him from all eternity that needed to be saved. And divine timing brought Him to Samaria and brought Him to the well…a half mile south of Sychar and brought that woman there, too. There are no accidents in God’s economy when it comes to salvation. 

This is how and why Jesus ended up spending a few hours in the Samaritan town of Sychar — also known as Sichem or Shechem.  It featured often in the Old Testament.  The earliest mention is in Genesis 34, which relates the story of how Shechem, of the eponymous city, became a Jew. At the end of Genesis 33, we read that Jacob and his family bought a parcel of land from Shechem’s brothers.

Shechem was a Hivite who lusted after Jacob and Leah’s daughter Dinah. Yet, he also wanted her for his wife. He took advantage of her physically, such were his passions. Needless to say, Jacob’s sons — Dinah’s brothers — were outraged and wanted revenge.  Shechem’s father, Hamor, leader of the Hivites, brokered a peace with Jacob and his family.  Jacob’s sons replied that they would accept it only if the Hivites were circumcised.  The chapter concludes:

18Their words pleased Hamor and Hamor’s son Shechem. 19And the young man did not delay to do the thing, because he delighted in Jacob’s daughter. Now he was the most honored of all his father’s house. 20So Hamor and his son Shechem came to the gate of their city and spoke to the men of their city, saying, 21“These men are at peace with us; let them dwell in the land and trade in it, for behold, the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters as wives, and let us give them our daughters. 22Only on this condition will the men agree to dwell with us to become one people—when every male among us is circumcised as they are circumcised. 23Will not their livestock, their property and all their beasts be ours? Only let us agree with them, and they will dwell with us.” 24And all who went out of the gate of his city listened to Hamor and his son Shechem, and every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city.

Knowing this bit of biblical history helps to clarify the references to Jacob which the Samaritan woman at the well makes in her conversation with Jesus.

Next week: John 4:43-54

Today’s excerpts from Bella Dodd’s School of Darkness (1954) detail what happens when Communists have rifts within the Party.  Hostility, racism and threats of violence come to the fore.

The public confessions which take place illustrate my objections to small groups in church settings.  A personal perspective, but the continuous confessional aspects of our society — from recounting deeply personal experiences to strangers (e.g. religious retreats, Alpha) to social networks (e.g. Facebook) and reality television — are subtle, if unintentional, ways of preparing us to confess all to the parish or neighbourhood gauleiter.

The book is available online free of charge.  Emphases below are mine.

Chapter Thirteen

BY APRIL, 1945, there was evidence of trouble in the Communist Party. Uneasiness increased among its functionaries. I first became aware of this in my work with the Italian Commission of the American Communist Party.

One day two foreigners appeared in our midst, recently come from Italy. Berti and Donnini were a smooth, attractive pair, who called themselves professors and had become leaders of the Italian Commission. They immediately started a controversy about the work among national minorities.

Earl Browder at the convention of 1944 had insisted on the elimination of a sense of difference among the foreign-born and had moved to have them treated as part of the American labor movement. To this Professors Berti and Donnini offered strenuous objections. They emphasized the importance of separate national organizations, of encouraging the foreign-born to use their languages, and of circulating foreign-language newspapers. They encouraged the organizing of the different national groups almost as if these were foreign colonies. It would strengthen the sense of nationalism among them, they asserted, a necessary thing for the building of world communism.

These two Party functionaries found themselves on the carpet for their unwelcome views. Plans were on foot to expel them. Then, suddenly, came the amazing news that they were members of the Italian Communist Party! …

Now I realized that nothing they said had been unpremeditated, and that they were not speaking for themselves. They represented the International Communist movement and it was clear that Browder’s approach to the national problem was in disfavor with some sections of world communism.

During a bitter meeting I learned that these two men were responsible for translating and giving to the Scripps-Howard press a letter by Jacques Duclos, published previously in a communist magazine, Cahiers du communisme, in France. This letter was to change the whole course of the communist movement in this country.

The letter, which appeared in the World-Telegram in May, 1945, ridiculed the Browder line … and charged the American Communists with having betrayed the principles of Marx and Lenin. It called upon the American Communists to clean house, and literally demanded that they get back to the job of making a revolution. It branded Browder as a crass “revisionist” of Marxism-Leninism, and it called for his removal from office.

Immediate confusion and hysteria permeated the Party. Ninety per cent of the membership did not know who Jacques Duclos was, nor did they understand what “revisionist” meant. No attempt was made to enlighten them. More important things were happening.

For one thing, a palace revolution was taking place at Twelfth Street, with William Z. Foster leading the forces of Marxist fundamentalism. The large corps of jobholders in the Party added to the confusion, for like horses in a burning stable they had lost all sense of discretion. Frightened at being caught in a state of “revisionism,” even if they did not know what it meant, and feeling that the voice from overseas presaged a change in the line of world communism, they tried frantically to purge themselves of the error they did not understand but which they had evidently committed. They confessed in private and in public meetings that they had been remiss in their duty, that they had betrayed the workers by support of a program of class collaboration. There were some demonstrations of public self-flagellation that stirred in me feelings of disgust and pity.

It was a bewildering time. To me nothing made sense. Over and over I heard people say they had betrayed the workers. I saw members of the National Board look distraught and disclaim responsibility, plead they had not known what was going on, or that they had been afraid to speak up when they saw errors. They cried that Browder had confused and terrorized them. It was distressing to watch these leaders, who were at best ignorant of what had gone on or were at worst cowards …

Gil and Israel Amter asked me to write a public statement to be published in the Daily Worker in which I was to repudiate the recent policy and confess my errors. I tried, but my pen would not write the words. I excused myself by saying, “I don’t understand what has happened. We don’t seem to have all the facts.” For I remembered how, as recently as the previous May, members of the Communist International had been present at the Party convention and had approved the line. And I remembered, too, that it was William Z. Foster who nominated Browder as president of the Communist Political Association. It was Foster who seconded the motion to dissolve the Party in 1944 …

Today it is obvious that after Stalin had gained diplomatic concessions at Yalta, and after the Bretton Woods and Dumbarton Oaks conferences had placed concealed American Communists in positions of power, world communism did not want the patriotic efforts of Earl Browder and his band of open Communists who longed for participation in American affairs. Only later did I learn that Foster’s belated, polite, and restrained opposition to the Teheran line the year before had been suggested through private channels from abroad, as preparation for the upheaval of 1945.

Browder obviously was caught off guard and unprepared.

He was now compelled officially to present the Duclos letter to the membership for “discussion” through the columns of the Daily Worker. At meetings of the Party there was a wave of confused discussion, and the culmination of it was the calling of an emergency convention in June, 1945.

Much was to happen before that took place. The National Committee, almost sixty in number, was called into session at Twelfth Street to prepare for the convention …

Browder was in the room. He had been ill and his appearance was that of a man in pain. Person after person studiously avoided speaking to him, and when he sat down he was entirely alone. Yet a hundred times I had seen these same people jump up when he came into a room and sing, “Browder is our leader. We shall not be moved.” Now, when they looked at him, their faces were grim with hate, or perhaps it was fear.

I did not know Browder well. I was one of the newest members of the National Committee, but suddenly I could not bear this any longer. I arose from my seat at the opposite end of the room and walked over to Browder’s chair and shook hands with him. Then I sat down in the empty chair next to his, though I was aware my action would not go unnoticed. I urged him to offer some explanation or at least to stay and meet the charges to be brought. But he said he could not stay for the meeting.

“I will not defend myself,” he said firmly. “This is leftwing sectarian nonsense. They will come back.”

I knew little about high politics within the communist apparatus, and I could not understand the upheaval nor why he gave up so easily. Even then I did not believe, as he evidently did, that there would be any return. Later, when he went to the Soviet Union, I realized that he had gone to Moscow in the hope of reversing the decision. The old National Committee met for three days. The meetings began early and lasted late. I looked for signs of understanding and kindness and compassion. I thought to find them at least among the women, but they were not there either …

I, myself, was neither for nor against Browder. Yet I almost got in trouble by replying to Ben Davis when he made a particularly cruel speech. Ben Davis was a Negro, a member of the New York City Council, and the previous year he had joined a Tammany Hall Democratic Club in order, he said, to get support for his next campaign for the City Council. Now he excoriated Browder for his “betrayal” of the Negro people in disbanding the Communist Party in the South. Browder had urged that the Party work in the South through broad front committees, such as the Southern Committee for Human Rights, because he felt that the very name “Communist” shut all doors there.

I had seen this same Ben Davis use the united front line of collaboration in the crassest possible way to promote his own political ambitions and now I suddenly knew I must speak. I took the floor and asked where Ben Davis had been at the time when all this was being done. Surely anyone as sensitive as he to any betrayal of the Negro, I said, should have spoken up then and not have waited until now.

Ben Davis promptly turned his violence on me: I was guilty of chauvinism, he insinuated, since I expected him as a Negro to be sensitive to the problem of the Negro. This strange illogic left me wordless.

That same day several of the Negro members of the National Committee took me to lunch. Pettis Perry and William Patterson, both of whom I liked, tried to justify Ben Davis’ intemperate attacks and said I did not understand the national minority question well. All I could think as I listened was, “Has everyone gone mad?” …

Just before the National Committee closed its meeting it set up committees to prepare for the Emergency Convention. I was surprised to hear myself named to serve on a temporary committee of thirteen which was to interview all members of the National Board and National Committee, estimate the extent of their revisionist errors, and recommend to the National Convention those who should be dropped and those who should be retained for new leadership

One by one the leaders appeared before this committee. We were silent and waited for them to speak. Men showed remorse for having offended or betrayed the working class. They tried desperately to prove that they themselves were of that working class, and had no bourgeois background, and were unspoiled by bourgeois education. They talked of Browder as if he were a sort of bourgeois Satan who had lured them into error because of lack of understanding due to their inadequate communist education. Now they grieved over their mistakes and unctuously pledged that they would study Marx-Lenin-Stalin faithfully, and never betray the working class again. One by one they came before the committee and I began to feel like one of Robespierre’s committees in the French Revolution ...

As the comrades continued to come before the examining committee the thought came to me that there was not one real worker among them. Foster, though he affected the khaki shirt of a workman, hadn’t done a stroke of work in a long time. He had been sitting in little rooms planning revolutions and conniving for power for twenty-five years. Thompson and Gil Green had graduated from school right into the Young Communist League. Thompson had gone to Spain as a commissar of the Lincoln Brigade and when he returned he worked for the Party, and Gil became a Party functionary at an early age.

That was the pattern of these American revolutionaries, and I felt as I looked at them that they really could know little about the ordinary worker.

At the end of June the Emergency Convention met … When Foster strode in with Thompson and Ben Davis at his heels I could think only of the victorious Fuehrer and his gauleiters.

The debate and the argument that went on at that convention I can only compare to conversation in a nightmare. One sensed threatening danger in the frenzied activity, but there was vagueness as to what it was all about, and as to where we were going. Confusion and universal suspicion reigned at the Fraternal Clubhouse on Forty-eighth Street which was the arena of the convention.

Close friends of many years’ standing became deadly enemies overnight. Little cliques, based on the principle of mutual protection and advancement, sprang up everywhereSome shouted down anyone who suggested logical discussion of problems. The mood, the emotions, were hysterically leftist with the most violent racist talk I ever heard

The newly elected National Committee, which was elected on the third day, held its first meeting at 4 A.M. A new chairman and a secretary were still to be selected. Browder had appeared briefly at the Convention to address it. When this had first been suggested there were calls from the hall for his immediate hanging and loud cheers at the suggestion. However, he was allowed to speak, and he was most conciliatory, saying he approved the draft resolution and the establishing of a new line. He promised to co-operate.

When he finished, there was scattered applause in which I joined. I was sitting at a table with Israel Amter and I caught his beady black eyes fixed on me. Months later he brought me up on charges of having applauded Browder.

The Convention carried out various measures. It voted to dissolve the Communist Political Association and to re-establish the Communist Party. It voted to re-dedicate itself to its revolutionary task of establishing a Soviet America. It voted to intensify Marxist-Leninist education from the leaders down to the lowliest member. It voted to oust Browder as leader. It voted to return to the use of the word “comrade.”

As for me, from that time on I became allergic to the use of that word, for I had seen many uncomradely acts at the Emergency Convention in the Fraternal Clubhouse.

Monday: Chapter Fourteen

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