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James Jesus Angleton and Jay Lovestone

John Simkin

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One of Angleton's greatest success was the turning of Jay Lovestone, who was appointed as the national secretary of Communist Party of the United States in 1927. The following year, another senior figure in the party, James Cannon was given a document written by Leon Trotsky on the rule of Joseph Stalin. Convinced by what he read, when he returned to the United States he criticized the Soviet government. Lovestone now gained favour with Stalin by leading the purge of Cannon and his followers.

By this time Joseph Stalin had placed his supporters in most of the important political positions in the country. Even the combined forces of all the senior Bolsheviks left alive since the Russian Revolution were not enough to pose a serious threat to Stalin. In 1929 Nikolay Bukharin was deprived of the chairmanship of the Comintern and expelled from the Politburo by Stalin. Attempts were now made to purge foreign communist parties who had previously supported Bukharin. Representatives from Stalin arrived in the United States and Lovestone was ordered to stand down as party secretary in favor of his rival William Z. Foster. Lovestone refused and argued his case with Stalin in Moscow. As a result of his insubordination he was expelled from the American Communist Party.

Lovestone and his supporters, including Bertram Wolfe, Benjamin Gitlow and Charles Zimmerman, now formed a new party the Communist Party (Majority Group). Later it changed its name to the Communist Party (Opposition), the Independent Communist Labor League and finally, in 1938, the Independent Labor League of America. Its journal, The Revolutionary Age, was edited by Wolfe. As Theodore Draper pointed out in his book The Roots of American Communism (1957): "Lovestone and most of his group... went through a process of development which led them to become active enemies of communism and Marxism."

After the CIA was established, James Angleton, arranged the turning of Lovestone. In return he arranged for Lovestone to become a senior figure within the International Ladies' and Garment Workers' Union's (ILGWU). In 1963 Lovestone became director of the AFL-CIO's International Affairs Department (IAD). In this post he sent millions of dollars from the CIA to aid anti-communist activities internationally, particularly in Latin America. George Meany discovered that Lovestone was working for the CIA in 1966, but he remained in post until he was dismissed in July, 1974.

The full story is told in Ted Morgan's book, A Covert Life: Jay Lovestone: Communist, Anti-Communist, and Spymaster (1999).


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  • 3 months later...

I could not find a "James Jesus Angleton" topic s figured I'd post here. (Apologies if I made a mistake and please move to where you see fit Mods) but I learned of this interesting connection between Angleton and Dick Cheney just today regarding Cheney's Memoir "In My Time":

In describing his early career as congressman from Wyoming and a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Dick Cheney serves up one very provocative little nugget.

In May 1987 I received a call from legendary CIA counterintelligence director James Jesus Angleton. He said that he had something of vital importance to tell me and that it could be conveyed only in person. ...

I called Henry Hyde, the Intel Committee’s ranking Republican and invited him to sit in on the meeting. A few days later, before our scheduled meeting, Jim Angleton died. I never learned what it was he wanted to tell me.

There is the plot of a great spy thriller right there in the story of the unconveyed Angleton secret.

I would have loved to know what Angleton had to say to Cheney. Definitely nothing more to do with this story now.

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