Red baiting

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Red Baiting is an effort to discredit political opponents by associating them with social-democratic, socialist or communist parties. Any movement or organization advocating social justice, peace or protection of the natural environment may be subject to red-baiting.

In the immediate post-war years the newly organized liberal American Veterans Committee' or AVC was subjected to red-baiting attacks by the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The American Legion in particular was fearful of competition for members from the upstart organizational rival. Strong among veterans who were attending college on the GI Bill, the AVC endorsed the solution of international problems through the United Nations, veteran's benefits and ending racial discrimination. At the University of Minnesota, the AVC Chapter organized pocketing against the Minneapolis Real Estate Board against restrictive covenants that prevented a Japanese-American veterans from buying the house he wanted. In the American South the struggle was more basic--veterans had to learn to cooperate in racially integrated chapters. New open membership groups are easy to infiltrate and by 1948 the AVC was tearing itself apart in fighting stirred up by external enemies of any non-conservative veterans organization.

During the late 1950s and 1960s Dr. Martin Luther King and other leaders in the Civil Rights movement, the NAACP and SCLC were red-baited by segregationists. Conservatives targeted The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE) and the National Peace Action Coalition (NPAC), to name but a few. During the Sixties the FBI conducted a variety of operations intended to disrupt dissident organizations or prevent them from making common cause with one another.


  • Theodore Kornweibel. 1998. "Seeing Red": Federal Campaigns Against Black Militancy, 1919-1925. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0253333377.
  • Robert L. Tyler. "The American Veterans Committee: Out of a Hot War and Into the Cold." American Quarterly. Vol. 18, No. 3, (Autumn 1966). Pp. 419-436.


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