California House Thinks Communists Should Work for State Government
The California State Assembly apparently has no problem with communists working for the state government of that state, considering that a bill (Assembly Bill 22) that eliminates language prohibiting membership in the Communist Party by state employees sailed through the Assembly by a 41-vote margin. Of course, with the leftist tilt of the state government over the past several years, perhaps it is not surprising that they would sympathize with state workers who carry a Communist Party card.
“It’s an old and archaic reference,” said Rob Bonta, a Democratic member of the Assembly from Oakland. Bonta argued that his bill is “really just a technical fix to remove that reference to a label that could be misused or abused, and frankly, has been in the past, in some of the darker chapters of our history in this country.”
The bill would end the references to communism found in a 1953 law. The law warned of “a clear and present danger, which the Legislature of the State of California finds is great and imminent, that in order to advance the program, policies and objectives of the world communist movement, communist organizations in the State of California and their members will engage in a concerted effort to hamper, restrict, interfere with, impede, or nullify the efforts of the State … and their members will infiltrate and seek employment by the State and its public agencies.”
Assemblyman Travis Allen, a Republican, opposed the effort. “This bill is blatantly offensive to all Californians. Communism stands for everything that the United States stands against.”
Another Republican assemblyman, Randy Voepel, told the Sacramento Bee that he considers communists in North Korea and China an ongoing threat. He said that many military veterans in California fought in wars against communists (such as in Korea and Vietnam), and he considered communism a political ideology that “is still a threat.”
Considering that Russian communists did take over many nations in eastern Europe at the end of World War II, including Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and eastern Germany, imposing totalitarian regimes, it was certainly a legitimate concern. In Czechoslovakia, for example, popular politician Jan Masaryck, who was the anti-communist foreign minister, fought against communist take-over of his country, until he supposedly “fell” out of a building to his death in 1948. We now know that he was pushed — by agents of the KGB.
There were also mysterious deaths of strong anti-communists inside the United States during the “Red Scare.” Contrary to what is often implied today, there were actual communist spies inside and outside the U.S. government. Alger Hiss, for example, was a spy for Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin — and an employee for the U.S. government. Hiss “advised” President Franklin Roosevelt at the wartime Yalta conference on how to deal with Soviet dictator Stalin. Hiss and other Soviet spies inside the U.S. government provided a wealth of information for their Kremlin masters.
The American Communist Party was a totally controlled subsidiary of the Soviet Communist Party, and did advocate the violent overthrow of the U.S. government, so as to replace it with a communist dictatorship. While the American Communist Party may not be as important today in the world political situation, the Communist Party philosophy has not changed.
California’s schools are, in many cases, a child’s first exposure to people different than their family members.
But legally, there’s one thing their teachers cannot be: Communists.
In the Golden State, even being a member of the Communist Party is still a firing offense 59 years after the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s hearings on communists in the federal government and 23 years after the end of the Cold War.
California Education Code Sec. 44932 outlines the reasons a school employee can be fired.
Firing offenses include immoral or unprofessional conduct, “criminal syndicalism,” dishonesty, unsatisfactory performance, evident unfitness for service, a physical or mental condition making the employee unfit to instruct or associate with children, persistent violation of state or local school policies, conviction of a felony or any crime involving moral turpitude, alcoholism or drug abuse – or membership in the Communist Party.
“It’s a remnant of the Cold War era and should have long been dropped from the Educational Code,” said Juan Lopez, the California chairman for the Communist Party USA.
Communists aren’t a registered political party in California, but they’re still around, and in good numbers, he said.
“We have more teachers that have joined the Communist Party than any other professions,” he said.
“More than anything, we laugh about it,” said Luis Rivas, a member of the Southern California Young Communists League. “Historically, in the U.S., there’s always been this pretty turbulent tension between the U.S. and Soviet Union.”
And that’s especially true in the Golden State despite California’s contemporary reputation as a bastion of leftist politics.
“There’s always been a very deep conservative strain, particularly in politics, in California,” said Eileen Wallis, who chairs the history department at Cal Poly Pomona. “You’ve got to remember, we produced both Nixon and Reagan.”
“California’s Communists don’t advocate a violent overthrow of the government or the American system of governance”, Lopez said.
California’s Communists don’t advocate a violent overthrow of the government or the American system of governance, Lopez said.
“It’s the people of our country that have to make a choice about the direction our country has to take,” he said. “We obviously think a socialist USA would be better, but by `socialist,’ we mean people, working people, in charge of the country instead of the corporations and the lobbyists.”
Lopez, who has been active in Community Party circles for more than four decades, said the law hasn’t been used to persecute any teachers, even those open about their political beliefs.
“The Communist Party has been on the forefront of the struggle to fight for public education and fight the cuts that have come down since recent years,” he said.
“I know a few anarchist teachers and a few radicals in the school system,” said Rivas. “I think most people tend to keep it quiet.”
Local legislators aren’t sure if teachers should be required to keep even their radical political affiliations a secret.
“There was a time when both Republicans and Democrats saw the Communist Party as a threat,” said Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Hesperia. “Ronald Reagan was a Democrat who fought the communists who took over his union.”
Donnelly is no fan of the political left, to put it mildly.
“The leadership of the Democratic Party in California have more in common with the Communist Party than they do with the Democratic Party of the JFK era,” he said. “I find the idea of confiscating the wealth of hardworking people in order to fund all these socialist schemes of the Democrats who are in charge to be absolutely appalling.”
“There are many, many things that are still in the law that probably need to be removed, and that would be a monumental task,” said Assemblywoman Cheryl R. Brown, D-San Bernardino.
“I think of it in terms of the (segregationist) Jim Crow laws,” she said, “and there’s still some of that in there. As soon as it’s found, it’s taken out.”
In 2008, an attempt to repeal the ban on Communists in the classroom, but then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed S.B. 1322.
“Many Californians have fled communist regimes, immigrated to the United States and sought freedom in our nation because of the human rights abuses perpetuated in other parts of the world,” Schwarzenegger’s written response reads.
“Whoever controls the minds of the next generation, basically controls the future,” said Luis Rivas, a member of the Southern California Young Communists League.