Culture Wars/Current Controversies

History of the Communist Front

This is an old document that was prepared by the California state government back in the 1950s during the height of the Cold War. It predictably contains the usual hysteria of the time but the description it provides of Marxist-Leninist organizational strategies and tactics is largely accurate. Take out the word “Communist” and put in “neocon” and much of US politics can be explained.

Calisphere, University of California

The front tactic was conceived by Lenin and implemented by Willi Muenzenberg. In 1902 Lenin advocated the use of this device, calling the non-Communist groups “transmission belts” through which the Party will was adroitly imposed upon the masses without their knowledge. Stalin carried on the idea, and in 1926 the Executive Committee of the Comintern encouraged the establishment of fronts throughout the world.

During the late thirties and early forties in this country the crop of fronts began to grow with great rapidity. Especially during the period of World War II, there were practically no groups with an avowed anti-Fascist purpose that escaped becoming in some manner the unwitting tools of Communist propaganda. Not all of them were necessarily under the direct control of the Communist Party, but we know of none that were immune to infiltration and we know of none whose activities were not controlled to some degree by the unknown Communist fractions functioning covertly in their midst.

Examples of international organizations that started as non-political and which were eventually brought under the Communist domination, were: the International Union of Students; the World Federation of Democratic Youth; the International Organization of Journalists and the International Radio and Television Organization, each subject to infiltration by determined Communists who swiftly gained control of the key positions, perpetuated themselves and their comrades in power, and manipulated these movements into place as international Communist fronts. The same thing was true of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers.

At present, the main international Communist fronts are as follows:

  1. The World Peace Council;
  2. The World Federation of Trade Unions;
  3. The World Federation of Democratic Youth;
  4. The International Union of Students;
  5. The World Federation of Teachers Union;
  6. The World Federation of Scientific Workers;
  7. The International Medical Association;
  8. Women’s International Democratic Federation;
  9. International Organization of Journalists;
  10. The International Federation of Resistance Fighters;
  11. International Radio and Television Organization.

There are one or two others, but we prefer to discuss them in a separate section that will follow, because of their peculiar significance to the California situation at the present time.

There has been little change in the basic character of the Communist front. It remains essentially what it was when conceived by Lenin in 1902: It is an adjunct of the formal Communist Party apparatus, and it serves both as a vehicle through which current Communist policy is made palatable to non-Communists, as a medium of recruiting and propagandizing, and as a pressure instrumentality to exert influence in opening wide the doors of our various institutions that would otherwise be closed and thus make them more vulnerable to Communist penetration.

The first international front organization was known as International Workers Aid, founded in the 1920’s by Muenzenberg. It originally functioned as a relief organization that collected and distributed money for food shipments to the Soviet Union, but was soon reoriented for the purpose of regimenting sympathizers and distributing propaganda. We have on numerous occasions in previous reports discussed in detail such potent international fronts as the Red International of Labor Unions, commonly referred to as the Profintern, the Young Communist International, and International Labor Defenses which functioned as the legal arm of the world Communist movement.


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