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|Title||Anna Louise Strong letter to Eleanor Roosevelt regarding anti-Communist tensions in the United States, December 18, 1939|
|Author||Strong, Anna Louise (1885-1970)|
In this letter to Eleanor Roosevelt, Anna Louise Strong expresses her gratitude for having been "set right" about the "unreliable character of the literary agent" who had misinformed her about conditions in Spain -- an account she had shared in an earlier letter to Roosevelt. Strong also references statements made by Constancia de la Mora about Finland which she had used in a previous letter, telling Roosevelt that she had been wrong to repeat those remarks, and assuring Roosevelt that she is "deeply distressed by the sufferings of the Finnish people" .
Strong informs Roosevelt she is working on a book about the New Deal, entitled "Land for the Brave". She asks if Roosevelt believes that the New Deal is still achievable amid the distractions of war, and notes the increasingly restrictive environment for people voicing protests against the government, naming in particular the WPA strikers in Minneapolis. Strong is particularly worried by Roosevelt's public statements, which she believes are demonizing Communists and leaving them open to attack. She calls Roosevelt "a leader of the anti-Communist attack" and states that Roosevelt is depriving Communists of "the shelter of the Bill of Rights". She suggests that Roosevelt is "a far more effective leader than Mr. Dies, since you attack as a progressive". She asks, "has not every country that marched into fascism begun by denying rights to the Communists, then to the left-wing trade-unionists, then to all others"? Strong asks if Roosevelt shouldn't meet some of the people she is accusing of working as foreign agents, such as Earl Browder. She defends the principles of the American Communist Party, and asserts their total independence from Soviet influence .
Strong admits that the American Communist movement initially had "a lot of discreditable elements", but insists that all "mass movements" have the same obstacle to overcome. She argues that many ex-members of the party were expelled for criminal behavior, and asks Roosevelt if these "expelled criminals" should be considered credible. Strong claims that Communists "worked harder for all the New Deal measures than the Democrats did", and notes that those who openly did so were denounced as discrediting the New Deal, while those who did so secretly are either accused as "boring from within" or are unknown. She defends Earl Browder as a man "deeply filled with American traditions" .
Strong asks if she has mistaken Roosevelt's intentions in any of the statements referenced. She asks if it is "true, as the Nation says, that the President intends to have Congress outlaw the Communists", and worries that such a step will lead to the outlawing of the CIO and the liberals, and from there the nation will "plunge head-on into fascism and war".
Anna Louise Strong (1885-1970) was an American journalist and political activist throughout her life. After spending much of the 1910s working as a progressive advocate for child welfare, she became involved in the labor movement in Seattle, and through that movement increasingly identified herself with international communism. This advocacy, along with her work for the Seattle Union Record, connected her to the events surrounding the Seattle General Strike in 1919. Strong later left Seattle, and spent much of the 1920s and 1930s living in the Soviet Union, meeting with men such as Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin, and writing books about her experiences for Western audiences in an attempt to build support for the USSR. During World War II, she continued to promote the cause of communism, although her support for the Chinese communist movement ultimately alienated her from the government in Moscow, limiting her to one visit to the Soviet Union in the final two decades of her life. She spent most of those years living in the People's Republic of China, befriending Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong, and continuing to publish books and articles in support of communism until the end of her life.
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) was First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945 as the wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt (as well as being the niece of an earlier American president, Theodore Roosevelt). In the 1930s, she had become a prominent advocate for the New Deal and the African-American civil rights movement. During World War II, she became an advocate for the United Nations, and later served as the United States' delegate to the U.N., chairing the commission that composed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Strong, Anna Louise, 1885-1970--Correspondence
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962--Correspondence
Anti-communist movements--United States
|Digital Collection||Pamphlet and Textual Documents Collection|
|Digital ID Number||PAM0397|
|Ordering Information||To order a reproduction or inquire about permissions contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please cite the Order Number.|
|Repository||University of Washington Libraries. Special Collections Division|
|Repository Collection||Anna Louise Strong papers. Accession No. 1309-001. Box 4/18|
|Physical Description||2 leaves; 27.5 x 21.5 cm.|
|Digital Reproduction Information||Scanned from original text or image at 150 dpi saved in TIFF format, resized and enhanced using Adobe Photoshop, and imported as JPEG2000 using Contentdm software's JPEG2000 Extension. 2010.|