Communists in the House?

Lawmakers respond to Allen West’s latest claim.

Posted: 04/12/2012 10:08 AM EDT
Allen West, Keith Ellison, Politics News, U.S. House of Representatives, Congress

Is the U.S. facing another Red Scare? According to Rep. Allen West (R-Florida), the answer is a definite maybe.


At a town hall meeting in his district on April 10, the wild, wild West said he’s “heard” that there’s a group of about 78 to 81 card-carrying Communist Party members in the House.


“They actually don’t hide. It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus,” he said.


Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) and Raul Grijalva (D-Arizona), who co-chair the progressive caucus, shot back on Wednesday, denouncing West’s remarks as “childish.”


“We hope the people of Florida’s 22nd Congressional District will note that he repeatedly polarizes the American people instead of focusing on their interests,” they said in a statement Wednesday. “When people like Rep. West have no ideals or principles, they rely on personal attacks.”


The term Red Scare dates back to 1919 when the U.S. was gripped by a nationwide fear of communists, socialists, anarchists and other dissidents following a series of anarchist bombings. The second Red Scare focused on national and foreign communists who sought to influence society. From 1947-1957 many Americans were falsely accused of being communists and lost their jobs and were blackballed.


The Communist Party USA is none too pleased by West's accusations, Politico reports.


“I just think it’s an absurd way to cast a shadow over his colleagues. It’s kind of a sad ploy,” Libero Della Piana, a vice-chairman of the national Communist Party, said of West's statements.



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(Photo: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)