|Name||Earl R. Browder|
East Village, New York , United States
|| May 20, 1891
|Died||June 27, 1973
Dec 28, 2020 07:57pm
Convicted - Imprisoned -
|Info||Earl Browder, the son of William Browder, a schoolteacher, was born in Wichita, Kansas, on 20th May, 1891. After an elementary schooling he worked as a cash boy for the Wallenstein & Cohen Dry Goods Company. When he was 15 he joined the Socialist Party of America. Later he attended business college he found employment as a bookkeeper for the Potts Drug Company. |
Browder, like most members of the Socialist Party, believed that the First World War had been caused by the imperialist competitive system. Between 1914 and 1917 Browder made several speeches explaining why he believed the United States should not join the war.
After the USA declared war on the Central Powers in 1917, several party members, including Browder, were arrested and charged with violating the Espionage Act. Found guilty of opposing the draft, Bowder was imprisoned (1917-18). When Browder was released he continued to campaign against the war and was imprisoned for a second time (1919-20) .
In 1919 several members of the Socialist Party left to form the American Communist Party. This included John Reed, William Z. Foster, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Ella Reeve Bloor, Claude McKay, Michael Gold and Robert Minor. Originally a revolutionary party, it evolved into a group advocating a popular front approach. Browder joined this new party in 1921.
Browder became managing editor of the Communist newspaper, The Labor Herald. He was appointed general secretary of the American Communist Party in 1930 and when William Z. Foster suffered a heart attack in 1932, he became leader of the party. He was the party's presidential candidate in 1936 but won only 80,195 votes. He also stood in 1940 but the government imposed a court order forbidding Browder to travel within the country. His campaign efforts were limited to the issuing of written statement and the distribution of recorded speeches. In the 1940 election he won only 46,251 votes.
In 1940 Browder was found guilty of passport irregularities and sentenced to prison for four years. When the United States joined the Second World War and became allies with the Soviet Union, attitudes towards communism changed and Browder was released from prison after only serving 14 months of his sentence.
When Browder controversially announced in 1944 that capitalism and communism could peacefully co-exist, he lost his position as party secretary. Two years later, after being criticized by leaders in the Soviet Union, Browder was expelled from the American Communist Party. He was later to argue: "The American Communists had thrived as champions of domestic reform. But when the Communists abandoned reforms and championed a Soviet Union openly contemptuous of America while predicting its quick collapse, the same party lost all its hard-won influence. It became merely a bad word in the American language."
In April, 1950, Browder was called before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee investigating communist influence in government. Questioned by Joseph McCarthy, Browder was willing to criticize the American Communist Party but refused to answer questions that would incriminate former comrades. Charged with contempt of Congress, Judge F. Dickinson Letts, ordered his acquittal because he felt the committee had not acted legally.
Earl Browder, who wrote several books on politics including The People's Front (1938), War or Peace with Russia? (1947) and Marx and America (1958), died in Princeton, New Jersey, on 27th June, 1973.