The New York Times over the weekend published an op-ed fondly recalling the Americans who supported the Communist Party during the Cold War.
"When Communism Inspired Americans," wrote left-wing journalist Vivian Gornick as part of the Times' Red Century project commemorating the 100-year anniversary of the Russian revolution.
Gornick recalled growing up in the Bronx as the child of "working-class socialists" who supported the mission of the Communist Party.
"'America was fortunate to have had the communists here,'" she quoted her mother as saying. "'They, more than most, prodded the country into becoming the democracy it always said it was.'"
"Every rank-and-filer knew that party unionists were crucial to the rise of industrial labor," Gornick explained. "Party lawyers defended blacks in the South; party organizers lived, worked, and sometimes died with miners in Appalachia; farm workers in California; steel workers in Pittsburgh."
Gornick praised the "clarity of vision" communism gave her parents and their friends.
"It is perhaps hard to understand now, but at that time, in this place, the Marxist vision of world solidarity as translated by the Communist Party induced in the most ordinary of men and women a sense of one's own humanity that ran deep, made life feel large; large and clarified," she wrote.
But she also tearfully recalled when Nikita Khrushchev denounced his predecessor, Joseph Stalin, in 1956 and fully revealed the extent of his crimes.
"Lies!" Gronick screamed. "Lies and treachery and murder. And all in the name of socialism! In the name of socialism!"
The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation estimates that over 100 million people were murdered by communist regimes.