I. Introduction

Few among the intellectuals in the Party realized at the time that their mentality was a caricature of the revolutionary spirit; that within the short span of three generations the Communist movement had travelled from the era of the Apostles to that of the Borgias. But the process of degeneration had been gradual and continuous, and the seeds of corruption had already been present in the work of Marx: in the vitriolic tone of his polemics, the abuse heaped on his opponents, the denunciation of rivals and dissenters as traitors to the working class and agents of the bourgeoisie.
—Arthur Koestler, The Invisible Writing

Fifty years ago this fall, the House Committee on Un-American Activities in Washington opened its famous hearings into Communist influence in Hollywood. To mark this anniversary...


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