Control of Communism in the United States

February 11, 1948

Report Outline
Current Moves to Outlaw Communist Party
Existing Laws to Control Subversive Activity
Problems Raised by Restrictive Legislation
Alternatives to Outlawing Communist Party

Current Moves to Outlaw Communist Party

Pressure for New Laws to Combat Subversion

Congress is at present under heavy public pressure to outlaw the Communist party in the United States and to deny its candidates a place on the ballot in all federal, state and local elections. Such extreme action has been avoided in the past, despite the urgings of anti-Communist groups, because most members of Congress have felt that it would constitute a radical departure from American traditions of political toleration. But mounting anti-red sentiment has brought a revival of earlier proposals for restrictive legislation, and bills to outlaw the Communist party are now under active consideration by two committees of the House.

Despite almost universal distrust of Communists, there is still a sharp division of opinion on outlawing the Communist party. Two basic questions are involved: (1) Has Congress the power, under the Constitution, to outlaw a political party as such? (2) Assuming that such power exists, would outlawing the party be an effective means of combatting Communism? Strong opinions have been expressed on both sides of these questions.

Supporters of legislation to forbid political activity by Communists recommend it on the ground that the Communist party owes its primary allegiance to a foreign power and that the party has as one of its basic aims the wiping out of the very constitutional processes it claims a constitutional right to employ. Every government “has the right to defend itself against revolution,” and “it does not have to wait until the last minute to do so.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Communism and Socialism
Aug. 02, 2011  Communism Today
Mar. 04, 1988  Communist Reformers Look West
Dec. 28, 1984  Communist Economies
Sep. 21, 1984  Southern European Socialism
Feb. 09, 1979  Communist Indochina and the Big Powers
Apr. 23, 1976  Western European Communism
May 28, 1969  World Communist Summit
Nov. 20, 1968  Intellectuals in Communist Countries
Aug. 28, 1968  Scandinavia and Socialism
Oct. 18, 1967  Soviet Communism After Fifty Years
Sep. 21, 1966  Soviet Economy: Incentives Under Communism
Sep. 15, 1965  Thailand: New Red Target
Dec. 18, 1963  Communist Schisms
Mar. 13, 1963  Venezuela: Target for Reds
Apr. 25, 1962  Teaching About Communism
Dec. 01, 1960  Farming and Food in Communist Lands
Apr. 27, 1960  Communist Party, U.S.A.
Nov. 07, 1956  Reds and Redefection
Apr. 11, 1956  Communists and Popular Fronts
Dec. 07, 1955  Religion Behind the Iron Curtain
Nov. 12, 1954  Communist Controls
Feb. 11, 1953  Red Teachers and Educational Freedom
Apr. 04, 1950  Loyalty and Security
Aug. 19, 1949  Church and Communism
Jul. 22, 1949  Reds in Trade Unions
Jul. 05, 1949  Academic Freedom
Feb. 11, 1948  Control of Communism in the United States
Feb. 05, 1947  Investigations of Un-Americanism
Nov. 13, 1946  Communism in America
Mar. 28, 1935  Anti-Radical Agitation
Oct. 19, 1932  The Socialist Vote in 1932
Aug. 08, 1931  National Economic Councils Abroad
FEEDBACKClose

Suggest a topic here.

Type the characters you see below into the box

Take our survey to help us improve CQ Researcher!

Feedback survey