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Ongoing federal and Congressional harassment and investigation in the early Cold War ensured that the organization was finished by late — although as Dolinar shows us, its legacy would live on. Most immediately, the Committee for the Negro in the Arts provided a network of support for Black artists menaced by HUAC the infamous House Un-American Activities Committee or blacklisting, while continuing to provide a cultural focus, in the style of its fraternal predecessor.

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Within the NNC Communists tended to operate openly where their reputation as anti-racist militants did them no harm among African Americans. Yet as the Red Scare intensified, against a record of wartime errors and backsliding, the scope for this style of organizing was greatly reduced. Dolinar rightly argues against biographers who downplay the leftist politics of inter-war Black writers, yet remains rather vague on the most controversial political commitments, namely whether individuals were recruited to the Party.

e-book Realism for the Masses: Aesthetics, Popular Front Pluralism, and U.S. Culture, 1935-1947

But was that impact also expressed in the membership that would seem consistent with the campaigning responsibilities they assumed? Starting with Langston Hughes, the author issues a steady rejoinder to biographers and critics such as Arnold Rampersad who treat Hughes as having broken decisively with the Communists after what, in effect, was a youthful flirtation with the Left, ending in Despite current attempts to distance Hughes from his radical past, the laid-back criticisms of the U.

Hughes the journalist and Hughes the creative entertainer back each other up. A shift into more commercial forms of writing after breaking up with his white patron did not signal a retreat from politics; rather, his changing politics were typically expressed with a lighter touch than his earlier more agitational yet modernist poetry. Whereas a second, public hearing saw a more deferential Hughes feigning ignorance and claiming to have changed his mind, the initial meeting is revealed as a stormy and more confrontational affair.

To this poet and author, his changing ideas — best summarized as a gradual shift to a more social democratic stance, in contrast to his early s pro-Soviet radicalism — were a matter for himself and his readers, and not the Wisconsin senator. With Hughes, the Cultural Front model holds up: broad enough to encompass his most militant and more moderate thinking, it describes a social movement that fights for equality but was found wanting under wartime and Red Scare conditions. It also proved conducive to developing a popular approach to communicating his ideas with a general readership.

Chester Himes represents a tougher case. Not only in his life history — the ex-convict whose first two novels were a commercial failure — but also because his reputation is also one bound up with being distanced from youthful radical politics. An early novel Lonely Crusade indicates real disillusionment with Communist shopfloor organizers and racism in the labor movement, yet is fiercely hostile to capitalism and white supremacy.

By the time Himes had re-established himself in Paris as a commercially successful crime writer, his radical past seemed behind him. While this is asserted by biographers such as James Sallis 9 , the picture Dolinar paints is more complicated. In prison, Himes was able to sell short stories to several publications, including Esquire. Instead we have a running commentary on the Harlem cycles of novels, with textual analysis used to indicate the way Himes stayed true to his s beliefs, despite breaking with his Communist affiliation.

In Himes, it is claimed, the s radical sensibility lives on. Of course, this was a potentially popular novel which Himes explicitly linked to his own financial security, meaning that its entertaining qualities could well dampen down its political stance. Yet by talking up the revolutionary continuity in Himes in a final book that seems to address young Black militants rather than the older, NNC style outlook, Dolinar stretches the argument.

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Realism for the Masses: Aesthetics, Popular Front Pluralism, and U.S. Culture, 1935-1947

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American Mass Culture, – - Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History

Peters, Henryk Rybinski, Andrzej Skowron. Grigoris Antoniou, Uwe A? Harold C. Urschel, John J. Christopher Vials argues that American fascism has roots that go back to the end of World War I—and is enjoying new dynamism today. His broader research interests include class and racial formation, popular culture, ethnic studies, and working class cultural studies. His first book, entitled Realism for the Masses: Aesthetics, Popular Front Pluralism, and US Culture: , examined how the s and s left popularized realism in the US, and in so doing, re-shaped the contours of American pluralism.

An audio version of the program airs Saturdays at a. ET and Sundays at p. Politics of the United States , channel