Forgotten Testimony: Manning Johnson Warns About Communism

Posted on September 29, 2020


n UA’s report, Re-Remembering the Mis-Remembered Left: The Left’s Strategy and Tactics To Transform America, the testimony of Manning Johnson to the House Un-American Committee (HUAC) in July 1953 is frequently quoted and referenced.

Manning Johnson joined the US Communist Party in 1931 and worked as an Organizer in Buffalo, NY, until he transferred to New York City where he joined the National Committee of the Communist Party. He left the Party in 1940 and is the author of Color, Communism, and Common Sense.

He writes about his path to following Left philosophy:

“. . . To me, the end of capitalism would mark the beginning of an interminable period of plenty, peace, prosperity and universal comradeship. All racial and class differences and conflicts would end forever after the liquidation of the capitalists, their government and their supporters. A world union of Soviet States under the hegemony of Russia would free and lead mankind on to Utopia. Being an idealist, I was sold this “bill of goods” by a Negro graduate of the Lenin Institute in Moscow.

The color of one’s skin is no bar to a young man or woman dreaming of making a better world. Like other Negroes, I experienced and saw many injustices and inequities around me based upon color, not ability. I was told that “the decadent capitalist system is responsible,” that “mass pressure” could force concessions but “that just prolongs the life of capitalism”; that I must unite and work with all those who more or less agree that capitalism must go.

Little did I realize until I was deeply enmeshed in the Red Conspiracy, that just and seeming grievances are exploited to transform idealism into a cold and ruthless weapon against the capitalist system—that this is the end toward which all the communist efforts among Negroes are directed.

Indeed, I had entered the red conspiracy in the vain belief that it was the way to a “new, better and superior” world system of society. Ten years later, thoroughly disillusioned, I abandoned communism. The experiences of those years in “outer darkness” are like a horrible nightmare. I saw communism in all its naked cruelty, ruthlessness and utter contempt of Christian attributes and passions. And, too, I saw the low value placed upon human life, the total lack of respect for the dignity of man, the betrayal of trust, the terror of the Secret Police and the bloody hand of the assassin, during and since, those fateful years when I embraced communism. . . .

. . . After two years of practical training in organizing street demonstrations, inciting mob violence, how to fight the police and how to politically “throw a brick and hide,” I was ready, in the opinion of my leaders, for a top communist school.  . . . .”

UA is making his complete 1953 testimony available for those who wish to read further into his powerful testimony:

Testimony of Manning Johnson to HUAC in July 1953 (PDF)

Selected quotes from the HUAC testimony that are referenced in the Re-Remembering the Mis-Remembered Left report:

Screen capture from this report, page 53:

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