Raya Dunayevskaya on the Communist Control Act of 1954

The Marxists Internet Archive has made available a 1954 piece by Raya Dunayevskaya on the deeply reactionary nature of the Communist Control Act (“On Both Sides of the Iron Curtain“), which, despite a few successful legal challenges since its passage, is still in effect. It appeared as her regular unsigned column in the September 18 issue of Correspondence.

This piece is an outstanding example of one of the hallmarks of this period of her work: the near-identity of the political and economic structure of what to the empiricist appeared as the irreconcilable opposites of the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. The criticism of this affinity is one of the pillars of Marxism and Freedom (original edition, 1958), the first of her three major works.

It should be noted that despite the fact that Joseph McCarthy’s downfall took place this year (the Army-McCarthy hearings took place in the spring),  the strongly authoritarian impulse of American state-capitalism rolled onwards.

The strength of Dunayevskaya’s critique of the anti-Communism of this period is that she makes it clear that it was not simply a matter of the state’s infringement on the civil liberties of the individual, but instead a weapon in the arsenal of class oppression. The closing paragraph of her column makes this penetratingly clear:

For one who has studied Russia as closely as I have, I cannot help but feel that economically and politically the administration is moving in the same direction as the one-party totalitarian state on the other side of the Iron Curtain. The ultimate in that was the incorporation of the trade unions into the state, and it is to this ultimate that the administration is aiming with this new law.

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