Letters to the Editor

On the History of the CPUSA

John Earl Haynes, January 2001

To the Editor:

In the opening paragraphs of Randi Storch's "Moscow's Archives and the New History of the Communist Party of the United States" (October 2000 Perspectives) I am one of the knaves scolded for using "carefully selected documents" from Moscow's archives to show (gasp!) Soviet domination of the CPUSA. Later Storch offers as one cure for this knavery the recent arrival (at the Library of Congress) of the microfilmed CPUSA records from Moscow's RGASPI archive (more than 435,000 pages) and the arrival soon of one million pages of Comintern records from the International Computerization of the Comintern Archive project (Incomka). This plenitude of documentation would, indeed, be a remedy for a biased set of "carefully selected documents." Were I guilty of this bias the last thing I would want is the easy availability of this mass of documentation, which is possibly why Storch leaves out the fact that it was one of her knaves, namely me, who initiated and supervised the library's acquisition of the CPUSA microfilm, even assisting in raising outside financing. I also urged that the library join Incomka, represent the library at Incomka technical meetings, and serve as Incomka's American historical consultant. It is to the credit of the Library of Congress that it has undertaken these two expensive projects (more than $320,000) that will insure the preservation and accessibility to scholars of more than 1.4 million pages of rich documentation not only of the CPUSA but of communist movements in Europe, Asia, and South America. I am pleased with having assisted in making the documents available to all scholars, even if Storch airbrushes me out of the picture.

As for her advocacy of a revisionist view of American communism, please see my "The Cold War Debate Continues: A Traditionalist View of Historical Writing on Domestic Communism and Anti-Communism," Journal of Cold War Studies (Winter 2000) or my "Essay on Historical Writing on Domestic Communism" at http://www.johnearlhaynes.org/page67. html.

—John Earl Haynes
Library of Congress