Black Rights Suppression as Leftist Repression

The conflation of the black rights movement with pro-communist sentiment proposed by Horne and analyzed by McDuffe provides an interesting perspective on the harsh racial divides that dominated during much of the cold war era. The natural explanation for this phenomenon is to label it a result of the binary “us and them” logic of the time, however in examining the divide through the leftist movements that black rights groups represented we can come to a deeper conclusion about the cold war and the scars it left on our political culture that remain to this day. “The campaign to silence black leftists underscores the personal and political costs of the anticommunist crusade for black radicals” writes McDuffe. I would argue that this underscores not only the cost of the anticommunist sentiment for black radicals, but also for the left in general. This explanation of the racial divide implies more than just a lack of trust for people of color, but for the political left as a whole. This conflation of liberal leaning policies and communism persists today, as even now the first mention of true leftist policies is met with cries of socialism. Thus McDuffe’s statement leads to an interesting insight into the nature of the full, lasting effects of anticommunist sentiment on the United States.

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