Catalogue


The red corner : the rise and fall of communism in northeastern Montana /
Verlaine Stoner McDonald.
imprint
Helena, MT : Montana Historical Society Press, c2010.
description
xvii, 232 p.
ISBN
0975919679 (alk. paper), 9780975919675 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Helena, MT : Montana Historical Society Press, c2010.
isbn
0975919679 (alk. paper)
9780975919675 (alk. paper)
contents note
Introduction: The peculiar case of Sheridan County communism -- Plentywood, Montana : "A new metropolis in the Northwest" -- "No place for the feeble" : homesteading on the northeastern Montana prairie -- The agrarian myth and prairie politics : precursors to radicalism -- Mountain politics : socialism and syndicalism -- The Nonpartisan League and the "old time socialists" -- Marketing the farmers' movement : the Nonpartisan League and the Producers news -- Bait and switch : communism creeps into Sheridan County -- Bootleggers and boycotts : liquor, the law, and radical politics -- No longer under cover : unconcealed communism in Sheridan County -- Big trouble in "Little Moscow" : a newspaper war erupts -- In and out of the fold : Sheridan County radicals and the Communist Party-USA -- "Seeing red" : radicalism and opposition escalate -- Personnel problems take a toll at the polls -- Death throes of a movement -- The demise of communism in Sheridan County.
catalogue key
7146354
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
First Chapter

It was a headline that appalled the residents of Sheridan County, Montana.

 

When the March 4, 1932 issue of the Producers News was published, much of the nation was gripped by dark events unfolding at home and abroad. The infant son of American icon Charles Lindbergh had been kidnapped and was being held for ransom. The military forces of Imperial Japan were ravaging China. Meanwhile, fifteen million Americans were out of work as the nation’s economy teetered on the brink of collapse.

 

Remarkably, it was a local story in their hometown newspaper that inspired outrage among Sheridan County residents. Headlined, “Bolshevik Funeral for Valiant Young Pioneer,” the story was about fourteen-year-old Janis Salisbury, who had died from complications related to appendicitis. Instead of a church, Salisbury’s funeral was held in the local Farmer Labor Temple, and it featured speakers from the local branch of the United Farmers League, affiliated with the Communist Party, as well as members of the local Communist youth group. The editor of the Producers News, a member of the Communist Party, wrote a controversial account of the funeral, describing the service in detail.

This editorial decision would have profound consequences for the Communist farm movement in northeastern Montana, which, in the 1920s, had achieved stunning political success. The “reds” had occupied every elected county office and sent a covert Communist state senator to Helena. Local youths could attend camps where they were actively indoctrinated with Communist ideals, and the radicals’ newspaper was circulated nationwide. Janis Salisbury’s father, Rodney, was on the ballot in an attempt to become the nation’s first Communist governor. Sheridan County was, in the estimation of one historian, “one of the most class-conscious areas in the nation.”

Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Reference & Research Book News, August 2010
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Summaries
Main Description
As towns in northeastern Montana approach their centennials,The Red Cornerchronicles the events of the teens and 1920s that left a permanent mark on the region. Sheridan County was the site of an armed robbery of $100,000 from the county treasury, a Young Communist camp, an adolescent's "Bolshevik funeral," and surveillance by FBI agents who pursued some radical leaders even into the 1960s. The book profiles several influential Communists including a colorful newspaper editor who was elected state senator and later national chairman of the Farmer Labor Party, as well as his comrade, the county sheriff, who was allegedly involved in graft, prostitution, and bootlegging. In spite of its notoriety, the farmers' movement became one of the nation's most successful rural Communist organizations during the 1920s. By the beginning of the Depression decade, however, Communism in northeastern Montana was crippled.The Red Cornerdetails this strange reversal of fortune by examining newspaper accounts, FBI reports, and internal Communist Party files, offering insights on how movements arise, sustain themselves, and decline.
Main Description
The Red Corner chronicles the meteoric rise and decline of Communism on the prairies of northeastern Montana. During the 1920s and early 1930s, Sheridan County boasted a government largely run by Communists, a Communist camp for local youth, and an official newspaper of the Communist Party USA-the Producers News. By the mid-i930s, however, Communist influence in the region had waned, and area residents soon came to regard the county's embrace of Communism as a shameful period in its history.
Main Description
As towns in northeastern Montana approach their centennials, The Red Corner chronicles the events of the teens and 1920s that left a permanent mark on the region. Sheridan County was the site of an armed robbery of $100,000 from the county treasury, a Young Communist camp, an adolescent's "Bolshevik funeral," and surveillance by FBI agents who pursued some radical leaders even into the 1960s. The book profiles several influential Communists including a colorful newspaper editor who was elected state senator and later national chairman of the Farmer Labor Party, as well as his comrade, the county sheriff, who was allegedly involved in graft, prostitution, and bootlegging. In spite of its notoriety, the farmers' movement became one of the nation's most successful rural Communist organizations during the 1920s. By the beginning of the Depression decade, however, Communism in northeastern Montana was crippled. The Red Corner details this strange reversal of fortune by examining newspaper accounts, FBI reports, and internal Communist Party files, offering insights on how movements arise, sustain themselves, and decline.
Table of Contents
Preface
Introduction: The Peculiar Case of Sheridan County Communism
"A New Metropolis in the Northwest"
"No Place for the Feeble"
The Agrarian Myth and Prairie Politics
Mountain Politics
The Nonpartisan League and the Paper of the People
Bait and Switch
Bootlegger and Boycotts
No Longer Undercover
Big Trouble in "Little Moscow"
In and Out of the Fold
"Seeing Red"
Personnel Problems
Death Throes of a Movement
The Last Best Chance for Communism
Bibliography
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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