Robert Goldstein: American Blacklist

Robert Goldstein, professor emeritus of political science at Oakland University, examines the so-called Attorney General’s List of Subversive Organizations (AGLOSO) and its critical role in the post–World War II “Red Scare.”
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
8:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Robert Goldstein, a professor emeritus of political science at Oakland University, presents his book, American Blacklist.

Resonating with disturbing implications for the present, American Blacklist is the only full-length study of the so-called Attorney General's List of Subversive Organizations (AGLOSO) and its critical role in the post–World War II Red Scare.

Although earlier versions of AGLOSO date back as far as 1903 and were wielded by the federal government during both the post–World War I Red Scare and World War II, they were not widely publicized. But beginning in December 1947, as part of the Truman administration's loyalty program, the federal government engaged in a massive effort to publicize the AGLOSO lists. In the process, it threatened, damaged, or destroyed nearly 300 organizations, all of which were listed without any notice, evidence, or hearings.

Drawing heavily on previously classified FBI, Justice Department, and other documents, Goldstein demonstrates how the listed organizations and their members (including a large number of federal employees) came under suspicion, were investigated, and suffered numerous public and private penalties. These included the loss of federal tax-exempt status, the denial of passports, deportations and immigration exclusions, ejection from federally subsidized housing, and private employment bans. AGLOSO, which was dominated by J. Edgar Hoover's FBI, also placed a huge damper on political dissent throughout the nation.