Thursday, August 10, 2006

Corliss Lamont

A quote from THE SOVIET WORLD OF AMERICAN COMMUNISM by Harvey Klehr, John Earl Haynes, and Kyrill M. Anderson on Corliss Lamont,

In 1984 Orwell describes a reversal of alliances that occured in the middle of a speech, and how the speaker urged his audience to tear down the posters which had been put up by agents of Goldstein, denouncing Oceania's perpetual ally. In real life the closest approach to this seems to have been the Palestinian Communist Party paper which on that epochal day in August 1939 denounced Nazism in the morning edition and praised Hitler's dictatorship of the proletariat in the afternoon edition.

The Nazi-Soviet alliance of 1939 actually caused a few members and supporters (e.g. Frederik Pohl) to reconsider. It will be no surprise that the CPUSA unconditionally supported it nevertheless. Document 15 [pp. 81-3] contains the Comintern orders to Earl Browder on the proper line to take in the struggle, and Document 16 [pp. 83-4] discusses the selection of fellow-travelers who would be suitable for disseminating the new Soviet line. One is Isaac Asimov's "grand old man of humanism", Corliss Lamont. Eugene Lyons had a less complimentary view of him, and this document would support Lyons over Asimov.

It's funny digging around for Lamont cites... I stumbled onto a friend I lost touch with long ago. Someone who shapped my thinking on many things and who seems to have followed a path similar to mine (although I never as active).

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