Politics

Kerry Urges Congress to Honor Communist

Why has John Kerry sponsored a Senate resolution honoring a Stalinist who championed racial separatism? The Soviet Union awarded W.E.B. Du Bois the Lenin Peace Prize. Maoist China staged a national holiday in his honor in 1959. Now, for reasons unexplained, the Democratic Party’s 2004 presidential nominee seeks to honor Du Bois too. Kerry’s efforts to honor Du Bois have been joined by fellow Bay State Democrat Ed Markey, who, along with more than three-dozen colleagues, has advanced a similar resolution in the House of Representatives. Both resolutions await floor votes. In addition to praising Du Bois as a “defender of freedom,” Markey’s February 17 proclamation bizarrely maintains that Du Bois–a longtime Socialist who officially joined the Communist Party late in life–played “an intricate role in the development of the entrepreneurial spirit” and “capitalism” among African-Americans. On February 16, John Kerry promoted his Senate resolution, cosponsored by Democratic Senators Edward Kennedy (Mass.) and Carl Levin (Mich.), by declaring, “Dr. Du Bois taught us that the promise of freedom is honored through action.” But Du Bois hated freedom, and through his actions of renouncing his American citizenship and joining the Communist Party he showed this. In writing longtime Communist Party U.S.A. Chairman Gus Hall in 1961 to become a member of his outfit, the reflexively anti-American intellectual called communism “the only way of human life” and predicted that the free market was “doomed to self-destruction.” The man whom some might call the Ward Churchill of mid-century America, Du Bois fawned over any totalitarian regime that opposed America–Soviet Russia, Maoist China, Imperial Japan, and even, after a trip there in 1937, Nazi Germany. Admitting that the Nazis had stamped out freedom, Du Bois nevertheless lauded them for having “a nation at work, after a nightmare of unemployment; and the results of this work are shown not simply by private profits, but by houses for the poor; new roads; an end of strikes and labor troubles; widespread industrial and unemployment insurance; the guarding of public and private health; great celebrations, organizations for old and young, new songs, new ideals, a new state, a new race.” While condemning anti-Semitism, Du Bois called it “a reasoned prejudice” in Hitler’s Germany. Du Bois’s position on American entry into World War II shifted from a pacifist stance during the Hitler-Stalin Pact to one of intervention after Operation Barbarossa. The Nazi attack on the Soviets, conceded Du Bois, “reorients all our thinking.” After the outbreak of the Korean War, Du Bois contended in 1950 that “the North Koreans are fighting exactly the things for which Americans fought in 1776.” Three years later, he eulogized Stalin as a “great” and “courageous” man, “attacked and slandered as few men of power have been.” In his posthumously published autobiography, he called the crackdown on religion behind the Iron Curtain “the greatest gift of the Russian Revolution to the modern world.” What’s to honor there? Kerry correctly points out that Du Bois helped found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He omits noting that the NAACP kicked Du Bois out of the organization–twice. After writing in 1920, “Absolutely segregate the races and sections of the world,” the author of The Souls of Black Folk boasted in 1933: “I fight Segregation with Segregation.” This infuriated the NAACP’s leadership, particularly when they learned of Southern segregationists’ quoting Du Bois to justify the denial of New Deal relief programs to African-Americans. In the late 1950s, Du Bois would separate himself from Martin Luther King just as he had earlier separated himself from other legitimate civil rights leaders. “I do not pretend to ‘love’ white people,” the NAACP founder declared in contrasting his position to King’s. How does all this mesh with Kerry’s contention that Du Bois’s “legacy of courage can be seen each time our nation voices our beliefs in equality, in justice, and most of all, in hope of a better tomorrow and a better America”? It doesn’t. In honoring this famous son of his state, it’s doubtful that the intention of Massachusetts’s junior senator is to endorse the ugly causes that Du Bois promoted during his 95-year life. But for Kerry to overlook the Harvard-educated intellectual’s fervent anti-Americanism, his membership in the Communist Party, his softness on Hitler, and his opposition to the NAACP’s integrationist platform clearly shows a large blind spot the senator has for extremists on the Left. During the ’04 presidential campaign, the Democrats’ cozying-up to Michael Moore, Move On, and other fringe elements cost John Kerry. His resolution honoring someone who preached so many despicable views shows he has learned nothing. Ironically, both the honoree and the politician paying homage to him are guilty of the same transgression: failing to identify evil when it appears at close range. From communism to eugenics to racial separatism, W.E.B. Du Bois was wrong on just about every major issue he championed. His admirers in Congress are wrong too. [For more on Kerry's support of Radical Icons, click here.]

Sign Up