“Trade unions are a school of communism.” – Vladimir Lenin
“I believed at that time that Mr. Sorrell was a Communist because of all the things that I had heard and having seen his name appearing on a number of Commie front things. When he pulled the strike, the first people to smear me and put me on the unfair list were all of the Commie front organizations. I can’t remember them all, they change so often, but one that is clear in my mind is the League of Women Shoppers, The People’s World, The Daily Worker, and the PM magazine in New York. They smeared me.” – Walt Disney, testimony before the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
Labor Unions and Communism in America
In a December 7, 2011 Washington Times article titled Labor unions and communism Matt Patterson wrote:
Labor leader Andy Stern has seen the future. There’s no freedom there, but he’s OK with that. Mr. Stern, a former president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), recently returned from a trip to China, where he had the opportunity to meet with “high-ranking” government officials, who outlined for the former labor leader the authoritarian regime’s long-term economic plan.
Mr. Stern was so enamored with what he saw in the Middle Kingdom that he praised the communist country’s state-planned economy in the pages of the Wall Street Journal and urged the United States to embark on a similar path. Among the more revolting passages of Mr. Stern’s love letter to Leninism:
“The conservative-preferred, free-market fundamentalist, shareholder-only model – so successful in the 20th century – is being thrown onto the trash heap of history in the 21st century. In an era when countries need to become economic teams, Team USA’s results – a jobless decade, 30 years of flat median wages, a trade deficit, a shrinking middle class and phenomenal gains in wealth but only for the top 1 percent – are pathetic. This should motivate leaders to rethink, rather than double down on an empirically failing free-market extremism.”
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) represents most government workers. SEIU is “the second largest union of public service employees with more than 1 million local and state government workers, public school employees, bus drivers, and child care providers – including 80,000 early learning and child care professionals.” The SEIU website states:
We are the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a union of about 2 million diverse members in healthcare, the public sector and property services who believe in and fight for our Vision for a Just Society: where all workers are valued and all people respected—no matter where we come from or what color we are; where all families and communities can thrive; and where we leave a better and more equitable world for generations to come.
Unions and Communism in Hollywood.
This has been a topic of interest to many. When did Communists first make an impact on Hollywood? Perhaps we should look at the forced unionization of Disney Studios in 1941.
Jim Korkis, an internationally respected animation historian who in recent years has devoted his attention to the many worlds of Disney, in a December 20, 2019 Cartoon Research article titled In His Own Words: Herb Sorrell and the 1941 Disney Strike wrote:
[Herbert K.] Sorrell under Bridges’ guidance had led two violent strikes in the Bay Area that he later bragged were secretly funded by the Communists. Sorrell was later responsible in the mid-1940s for several strikes that paralyzed Hollywood and pitted him against Screen Actor’s Guild President Ronald Reagan.
Herb Sorrell learned of the concerns and fears of the staff at the Disney Studios and was instrumental in leading them out on strike against the studio on May 29th, 1941.
[ … ]
Walt told a newspaper columnist that he was “convinced that this entire mess was Communist inspired and led” and that “I’m not licked; I’m incensed” and that “I am thoroughly disgusted and would gladly quit and try to establish myself in another business if it were not for the loyal guys who believe in me…..I have a case of the D.D.s — disillusionment and discouragement.”
Walt Disney appeared before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1947. He warned about how his company and America was at risk of a Communist talk over. Watch:
Catherine Phelan in a October 24, 2017 The Archive article titled On This Day: Walt Disney Testifies Before the House of Un-American Activities Committee wrote:
Hollywood and the “Malibu Mafia”
Sean Penn is perhaps the poster boy for embracing those who hate America. In a June 3, 2011 AARP article Top 20 Celebrity Activists of All Time Ronald Brownstein wrote about Penn:
A powerful actor known equally for his off-screen volatility and his on-camera intensity, Penn has staked out a position along, and sometimes over, the left flank of the political debate.
Abroad, he has visited Iran and Cuba and befriended Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez; at home, he has been more likely to show up with Ralph Nader than with mainstream Democrats. Penn’s causes have ranged from opposition to the 2003 Iraq invasion to support for gay rights.
Here’s what Brownstein wrote about Paul Newman:
Until his death in 2008, Newman remained a mainstay in liberal politics, part of the “Malibu Mafia” of Los Angeles donors who helped launch George McGovern’s insurgency in 1972, a prominent advocate of a nuclear freeze in the 1980s and part owner of the Nation magazine in the 1990s. He used the proceeds from his eponymous Newman’s Own food line to fund wide-ranging philanthropies.
For all his achievements, Newman once said that his greatest accomplishment was appearing on Richard Nixon’s enemies’ list.
And Michael J. Fox was also named in the top 20 activists by Brownstein:
In 2006, Fox effectively campaigned for several Democratic candidates who supported stem-cell research, most memorably appearing in an ad that helped Claire McCaskill win a Senate seat in Missouri. The ad, which dramatically featured Fox shaking uncontrollably, was instantly attacked by Rush Limbaugh, but the criticism backfired and compounded the ad’s impact.
America is fast approaching a Communist state under Biden and his administration. In less than 5 days Biden, via Executive Orders, has turned America’s greatness on its head.
‘No borders! No nations! Abolish deportations!’ Violent anti-ICE protests continue in Portland after Biden inauguration as Seattle police chief vows to get tough on left-wing vandals
- Dozens of protesters gathered at an ICE facility in Portland, Oregon, on Saturday night
- Video posted on social media showed the crowd chanting: ‘No borders! No nations! Abolish deportations!’
- Officers with the Federal Protective Service declared an unlawful assembly at 10pm
- Protesters who resisted orders to disperse were targeted with tear gas and flash bangs in the streets
- The same ICE building was targeted by 200 Antifa protesters last Wednesday after Joe Biden’s inauguration
- Meanwhile Seattle’s interim police chief Adrian Diaz announced a new policy for arresting and prosecuting people who vandalize during protests
- Biden’s team have said they are monitoring the unrest but have not announced a plan to address it.
©Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.
RELATED VIDEO: The U.S. Communist Revolution
Walt Disney Testimony Before House Committee Transcript
The Testimony of Walter E. Disney
Before the House Committee on Un-American Activities
24 October, 1947
[ROBERT E.] STRIPLING [CHIEF INVESTIGATOR]: Mr. Disney, will you state your full name and present address, please?
WALTER DISNEY: Walter E. Disney, Los Angeles, California.
RES: When and where were you born, Mr. Disney?
WD: Chicago, Illinois, December 5, 1901.
RES: December 5, 1901?
WD: Yes, sir.
RES: What is your occupation?
WD: Well, I am a producer of motion-picture cartoons.
RES: Mr. Chairman, the interrogation of Mr. Disney will be done by Mr.
THE CHAIRMAN [J. PARNELL THOMAS]: Mr. Smith.
[H. A.] SMITH: Mr. Disney, how long have you been in that business?
WD: Since 1920.
HAS: You have been in Hollywood during this time?
WD: I have been in Hollywood since 1923.
HAS: At the present time you own and operate the Walt Disney Studio at
WD: Well, I am one of the owners. Part owner.
HAS: How many people are employed there, approximately?
WD: At the present time about 600.
HAS: And what is the approximate largest number of employees you have had in the studio?
WD: Well, close to 1,400 at times.
HAS: Will you tell us a little about the nature of this particular studio, the type of pictures you make, and approximately how many per year?
WD: Well, mainly cartoon films. We make about twenty short subjects, and about two features a year.
HAS: Will you talk just a little louder, Mr. Disney?
WD: Yes, sir.
HAS: How many, did you say?
WD: About twenty short subject cartoons and about two features per year.
HAS: And some of the characters in the films consist of
WD: You mean such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs , and things of that sort.
HAS: Where are these films distributed?
WD: All over the world.
HAS: In all countries of the world?
WD: Well, except the Russian countries.
HAS: Why aren’t they distributed in Russia, Mr. Disney?
WD: Well, we can’t do business with them.
HAS: What do you mean by that?
WD: Oh, well, we have sold them some films a good many years ago. They bought the Three Little Pigs  and used it through Russia. And they looked at a lot of our pictures, and I think they ran a lot of them in Russia, but then turned them back to us and said they didn’t want them, they didn’t suit their purposes.
HAS: Is the dialogue in these films translated into the various foreign languages?
WD: Yes. On one film we did ten foreign versions. That was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
HAS: Have you ever made any pictures in your studio that contained propaganda and that were propaganda films?
WD: Well, during the war we did. We made quite a few-working with different government agencies. We did one for the Treasury on taxes and I did four anti-Hitler films. And I did one on my own for air power.
HAS: From those pictures that you made, have you any opinion as to whether or not the films can be used effectively to disseminate propaganda?
WD: Yes, I think they proved that.
HAS: How do you arrive at that conclusion?
WD: Well, on the one for the Treasury on taxes, it was to let the people know that taxes were important in the war effort. As they explained to me, they had 13,000,000 new taxpayers, people who had never paid taxes, and they explained that it would be impossible to prosecute all those that were delinquent and they wanted to put this story before those people so they would get their taxes in early. I made the film, and after the film had its run the Gallup poll organization polled the public and the findings were that twenty-nine percent of the people admitted that had influenced them in getting their taxes in early and giving them a picture of what taxes will do.
HAS: Aside from those pictures you made during the war, have you made any other pictures, or do you permit pictures to be made at your studio containing propaganda?
WD: No; we never have. During the war we thought it was a different thing. It was the first time we ever allowed anything like that to go in the films. We watch so that nothing gets into the films that would be harmful in any way to any group or any country. We have large audiences of children and different groups, and we try to keep them as free from anything that would offend anybody as possible. We work hard to see that nothing of that sort creeps in.
HAS: Do you have any people in your studio at the present time that you believe are Communist or Fascist, employed there?
WD: No; at the present time I feel that everybody in my studio is one-hundred-percent American.
HAS: Have you had at any time, in your opinion, in the past, have you at any time in the past had any Communists employed at your studio?
WD: Yes; in the past I had some people that I definitely feel were Communists.
HAS: As a matter of fact, Mr. Disney, you experienced a strike at your studio, did you not?
HAS: And is it your opinion that that strike was instituted by members of the Communist Party to serve their purposes?
WD: Well, it proved itself so with time, and I definitely feel it was a Communist group trying to take over my artists and they did take them over.
CHAIRMAN: Do you say they did take them over?
WD: They did take them over.
HAS: Will you explain that to the committee, please?
WD: It came to my attention when a delegation of my boys, my artists, came to me and told me that Mr. Herbert Sorrell
HAS: Is that Herbert K. Sorrell?
WD: Herbert K. Sorrell, was trying to take them over. I explained to them that it was none of my concern, that I had been cautioned to not even talk with any of my boys on labor. They said it was not a matter of labor, it was just a matter of them not wanting to go with Sorrell, and they had heard that I was going to sign with Sorrell, and they said that they wanted an election to prove that Sorrell didn’t have the majority, and I said that I had a right to demand an election. So when Sorrell came, I demanded an election. Sorrell wanted me to sign on a bunch of cards that he had there that he claimed were the majority, but the other side had claimed the same thing. I told Mr. Sorrell that there is only one way for me to go and that was an election and that is what the law had set up, the National Labor Relations Board was for that purpose. He laughed at me and he said that he would use the Labor Board as it suited his purposes and that he had been sucker enough to go for that Labor Board ballot and he had lost some election-I can’t remember the name of the place-by one vote. He said it took him two years to get it back. He said he would strike, that that was his weapon. He said, “I have all of the tools of the trade sharpened,” that I couldn’t stand the ridicule or the smear of a strike. I told him that it was a matter of principle with me, that I couldn’t go on working with my boys feeling that I had sold them down the river to him on his say-so, and he laughed at me and told me I was naive and foolish. He said, you can’t stand this strike, I will smear
you, and I will make a dust bowl out of your plant.
CHAIRMAN: What was that?
WD: He said he would make a dust bowl out of my plant if he chose to. I told him I would have to go that way, sorry, that he might be able to do all that, but I would have to stand on that. The result was that he struck. I believed at that time that Mr. Sorrell was a Communist because of all the things that I had heard and having seen his name appearing on a number of Commie front things. When he pulled the strike, the first people to smear me and put me on the unfair list were all of the Commie front organizations. I can’t remember them all, they change so often, but one that is clear in my mind is the League of Women Shoppers, The People’s World, The Daily Worker, and the PM magazine in New York. They smeared me. Nobody came near to find out what the true facts of the thing were. And I even went through the same smear in South America, through some Commie periodicals in South America, and generally throughout the world all of the Commie groups
began smear campaigns against me and my pictures.
JOHN MCDOWELL: In what fashion was that smear, Mr. Disney, what type of smear?
WD: Well, they distorted everything, they lied; there was no way you could ever counteract anything that they did; they formed picket lines in front of the theaters, and, well, they called my plant a sweatshop, and that is not true, and anybody in Hollywood would prove it otherwise. They claimed things that were not true at all and there was no way you could fight it back. It was not a labor problem at all because-I mean, I have never had labor trouble, and I think that would be backed up by anybody in Hollywood.
HAS: As a matter of fact, you have how many unions operating in your plant?
CHAIRMAN: Excuse me just a minute. I would like to ask a question.
HAS: Pardon me.
CHAIRMAN: In other words, Mr. Disney, Communists out there smeared you because you wouldn’t knuckle under?
WD: I wouldn’t go along with their way of operating. I insisted on it going through the National Labor Relations Board. And he told me outright that he used them as it suited his purposes.
CHAIRMAN: Supposing you had given in to him, then what would have been the outcome?
WD: Well, I would never have given in to him, because it was a matter of principle with me, and I fight for principles. My boys have been there, have grown up in the business with me, and I didn’t feel like I could sign them over to anybody. They were vulnerable at that time. They were not organized. It is a new industry.
CHAIRMAN: Go ahead, Mr. Smith.
HAS: How many labor unions, approximately, do you have operating in your studios at the present time?
WD: Well, we operate with around thirty-five-I think we have contacts with thirty.
HAS: At the time of this strike you didn’t have any grievances or labor troubles whatsoever in your plant?
WD: No. The only real grievance was between Sorrell and the boys within my plant, they demanding an election, and they never got it.
HAS: Do you recall having had any conversations with Mr. Sorrell relative to Communism?
WD: Yes, I do.
HAS: Will you relate that conversation?
WD: Well, I didn’t pull my punches on how I felt. He evidently heard that I had called them all a bunch of Communists-and I believe they are. At the meeting he leaned over and he said, “You think I am a Communist, don’t you,” and I told him that all I knew was what I heard and what I had seen, and he laughed and said, “Well, I used their money to finance my strike of 1937,” and he said that he had gotten the money through the personal check of some actor, but he didn’t name the actor. I didn’t go into it any further. I just listened.
HAS: Can you name any other individuals that were active at the time of the strike that you believe in your opinion are Communists?
WD: Well, I feel that there is one artist in my plant, that came in there, he came in about 1938, and he sort of stayed in the background, he wasn’t too active, but he was the real brains of this, and I
believe he is a Communist. His name is David Hilberman.
HAS: How is it spelled?
WD: H-i-l-b-e-r-m-a-n, I believe. I looked into his record and I found that, number 1, that he had no religion and, number 2, that he had spent considerable time at the Moscow Art Theatre studying art direction, or something.
HAS: Any others, Mr. Disney?
WD: Well, I think Sorrell is sure tied up with them. If he isn’t a Communist, he sure should be one.
HAS: Do you remember the name of William Pomerance, did he have anything to do with it?
WD: Yes, sir. He came in later. Sorrell put him in charge as business manager of cartoonists and later he went to the Screen Actors as their business agent, and in turn he put in another man by the name of Maurice Howard, the present business agent. And they are all tied up with the same outfit.
HAS: What is your opinion of Mr. Pomerance and Mr. Howard as to whether or not they are or are not Communists?
WD: In my opinion they are Communists. No one has any way of proving those things.
HAS: Were you able to produce during the strike?
WD: Yes, I did, because there was a very few, very small majority that was on the outside, and all the other unions ignored all the lines because of the setup of the thing.
HAS: What is your personal opinion of the Communist Party, Mr. Disney, as to whether or not it is a political party?
WD: Well, I don’t believe it is a political party. I believe it is an un-American thing. The thing that I resent the most is that they are able to get into these unions, take them over, and represent to the
world that a group of people that are in my plant, that I know are good, one-hundred-percent Americans, are trapped by this group, and they are represented to the world as supporting all of those
ideologies, and it is not so, and I feel that they really ought to be smoked out and shown up for what they are, so that all of the good, free causes in this country, all the liberalisms that really are
American, can go out without the taint of communism. That is my sincere feeling on it.
HAS: Do you feel that there is a threat of Communism in the motion-picture industry?
WD: Yes, there is, and there are many reasons why they would like to take it over or get in and control it, or disrupt it, but I don’t think they have gotten very far, and I think the industry is made up
of good Americans, just like in my plant, good, solid Americans. My boys have been fighting it longer than I have. They are trying to get out from under it and they will in time if we can just show them up.
HAS: There are presently pending before this committee two bills relative to outlawing the Communist Party. What thoughts have you as to whether or not those bills should be passed?
WD: Well, I don’t know as I qualify to speak on that. I feel if the thing can be proven un-American that it ought to be outlawed. I think in some way it should be done without interfering with the rights of the people. I think that will be done. I have that faith. Without interfering, I mean, with the good, American rights that we all have now, and we want to preserve.
HAS: Have you any suggestions to offer as to how the industry can be helped in fighting this menace?
WD: Well, I think there is a good start toward it. I know that I have been handicapped out there in fighting it, because they have been hiding behind this labor setup, they get themselves closely tied up in the labor thing, so that if you try to get rid of them they make a labor case out of it. We must keep the American labor unions clean. We have got to fight for them.
HAS: That is all of the questions I have, Mr. Chairman.
CHAIRMAN: Mr. Vail.
R. B. VAIL: No questions.
CHAIRMAN: Mr. McDowell.
J. MCDOWELL: No questions.
JM: I have no questions. You have been a good witness.
WD: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN: Mr. Disney, you are the fourth producer we have had as a witness, and each one of those four producers said, generally speaking, the same thing, and that is that the Communists have made inroads, have attempted inroads. I just want to point that out because there seems to be a very strong unanimity among the producers that have testified before us. In addition to producers, we have had actors and writers testify to the same. There is no doubt but what the movies are probably the greatest medium for entertainment in the United States and in the world. I think you, as a creator of entertainment, probably are one of the greatest examples in the profession. I want to congratulate you on the form of entertainment which you have given the American people and given the world and congratulate you for taking time out to come here and testify before this committee. He has been very helpful. Do you have any more questions, Mr. Stripling?
HAS: I am sure he does not have any more, Mr. Chairman.
RES: No; I have no more questions.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much, Mr. Disney.
Source: Peary & Peary’s anthology, “The American Animated Cartoon,” copyright 1980, published by Dutton, ISBN 0-525-47639-3