Nixon (Not That One!) Converts JFK to Communism

"In one memorable exchange with Russ Nixon, one of Kennedy’s former Harvard professors, Kennedy asked Nixon to defend the communists’ willingness to “resort to all sorts of artifices, evasions, subterfuges, only so as to get into the trade unions and remain in them and to carry on Communist work into the trade unions and remain in them and to carry on Communist work in them, at all costs.” Nixon replied, “I didn’t teach you that at Harvard did I?” To which Kennedy retorted, “No, you did not. I am reading from Lenin, in which is described the procedure which should be adapted to get into trade unions and how they conduct themselves once they are in.” http://jfkckp.weebly.com/the-cold-war.html

"Dr. Nixon was born July 27, 1913, in St. Paul, graduated from the University of Southern California in 1934 and received a Ph.D. degree in economics from Harvard in 1940.

"From 1937 to 1941 he was an instructor and tutor in economics at Harvard, where John F. Kennedy was among his students. In Theodore C. Sorensen's biography, “Kennedy,” the late President is quoted as saying that he was not a professional economist “but [one] who knows a hell of a lot about it after taking Ec‐A under Russ, Nixon at Harvard.”"

"Nixon took office on December 1, 1941, as UE legislative representative. He had previously been chief national legislative representative for Labor's Non-Partisan League, was a Harvard Ph.D, and had taught at both Harvard and MIT. There was little doubt that he was a Communist." https://books.google.com/books?id=XkNmcyA9EfsC&pg=PA67

"Representative John F. Kennedy grilled his old Harvard economics instructor, Russ Nixon, on the extent of Communist influence in the UE..." https://books.google.com/books?id=6lYknn0_biAC&pg=PA102

"Discussing the topic, "Is this America's War?" Nixon said "under the leadership of England and France this war does not promise to save democracy. The efforts of the laboring classes in European countries after the last war to hold off Fascism and preserve a democracy that came from the hearts of the people were frustrated by the selfish interests of the two great western democracies." Nixon citied Spain as a good example of this situation." https://www.thecrimson.com/article/1940/5/24/nixon-urges-america-to-stay-out/

"Indicating that the decision of the CIO chieftain was motivated by a whole cluster of considerations, Nixon maintained that it was not a sell-out as it had been interpreted by some. "Lewis is sincerely convinced that support of F. D. R. is the path to war," said Nixon, since his election might be interpreted as a mandate of labor to proceed along that course''.... As for the long run, Nixon doubts that Lewis and Willkie are permanently mated, and feels that the CIO president may by 1944 be ready for a third-party move. This will particularly be the case if the next administration--whether Roosevelt's or Willkie's--does not "come through" as far as Lewis and labor are concerned. "It may be necessary to learn the hard way that a labor party is needed," Nixon stated." https://www.thecrimson.com/article/1940/10/28/lewis-move-aims-to-restore-labor/

"In June 1953 the committee heard Russell Arthur Nixon, legislative representative of the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America. The committee is aware that the extent of Communist infiltration into the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America was sufficiently strong to have caused the Congress of Industrial Organizations to expel it, along with certain other unions, for Communist activities. Russell Arthur Nixon, who was identified this year by Mrs. Dorothy K. Funn as having been a member of an underground group of legislative representatives of various unions and other organizations, was earlier identified in 1952 in the course of hearings in Philadelphia, Pa. In calling Mr. Nixon before the committee, there was a twofold interest, both of government and labor, since the committee had developed information that Russell Nixon was attached to the American Military Government in Germany, along with other individuals who have been identified as members of the Communist Party. The operation in which Mr. Nixon was employed in the American Military Government was under the direction of officials in the United States Treasury Department, including Harry Dexter White, William Ludwig Ullmann, and V. Frank Coe, all of whom were identified in 1948 by Elizabeth Bentley as having been individuals in a Communist operation within the Government who supplied her with information as a Soviet espionage courier. Mr. Nixon was questioned concerning this operation and the individuals with whom he had associated, but declined to answer, on constitutional grounds, whether he knew these individuals to be members of the Communist Party or whether he himself was a member of the Communist Party." https://books.google.com/books?id=pltbAAAAcAAJ&pg=RA2-PA55

Now I do not know whether Russell Nixon was an actual member of the Communist Party, or merely a "progressive" who was national legislative director for the UE (the strongest of the "left-wing" unions of the CIO, and which was expelled from the CIO in 1949 because of alleged Communist domination) who seems to have agreed with the Communists on most significant issues, including the imperialist nature of the Second World War before June 22, 1941. But let's say that he *was* a Communist--and that he actually converts his student John F. Kennedy to the cause! (There were after all some very rich young men who broke with their families over Communism in the 1930s...)

More specifically, sometime in 1940, Nixon tells JFK, "Jack, I think your dad is doing a great job opposing the war. But to oppose war effectively, it's not enough to be anti-war; you have to understand the social roots of war. There's this discussion group I'm leading you might be interested in joining..."

(I'l admit this is unlikely: if Harold Laski couldn't convert Jack to Socialism, Russ Nixon probably couldn't convert him to Communism.)
 
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First of all, this is a great scenario.

Secondly, even if JFK leaves the Party, I think this finishes him in electoral politics. There were ex-Communists in US politics post-WWII but they were intellectuals, not office-holders; and mostly on the Right, too.
 
There are some interesting possible knock-ons. Joe was an isolationist, more or less. But will that position survive his being told that it is the Party line? Joe muted his opinions after being recalled from Britain. How would he take Jack being a very public isolationist in early 1941? Will he write Jack out of the family? He didn't disown Joe Jr for denouncing FDR for seeking a third term, nor Jack for his OTL anti-appeasement college thesis.
 
I'm now imagining JFK leading an underground communist cell after some World of Laughter, World of Tears/Losing the Peace/Fear, Loathing and Gumbo tier shit happens to America.
 
More specifically, sometime in 1940, Nixon tells JFK, "Jack, I think your dad is doing a great job opposing the war. But to oppose war effectively, it's not enough to be anti-war; you have to understand the social roots of war. There's this discussion group I'm leading you might be interestied in joining..."

Incidentally, the period of the Nazi-Soviet pact has to be the only time Communists praised Joe Kennedy-- even if with reservations:

"Ambassador Kennedy returned from England in December, 1939. He spoke in Boston, Mass., vehementiy against this war. 'There is no place in this fight for us. It's going to be bad enough as it is . ... As you love America, don't let anything that comes out of any country in the world make you believe you can make the situation one whit better by getting into the war .... There is no reason-economic, financial or social-to justify the United States entering the war.' Mr. Kennedy may backtrack, but this remains common sense for mothers." Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, I Didn't Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier--For Wall Street, p. 4 (New York: Workers Library Publishers 1940) https://utdr.utoledo.edu/islandora/object/utoledo:5505/datastream/OBJ/view
 

dcharleos

Donor
Honestly, considering JFK's social status and the Kennedy family's extensive ties to organized crime, it's sorta hard to imagine this playing out and JFK *not* becoming a Soviet mole within the US intelligence apparatus.
 
This one is new to me. Frankly, good job on that one. I sit back as an observer. I will point out the irony that your prospective JFK has the same sort of ideology as Lee Harvey Oswald.

Honestly, considering JFK's social status and the Kennedy family's extensive ties to organized crime, it's sorta hard to imagine this playing out and JFK *not* becoming a Soviet mole within the US intelligence apparatus.

That is a myth. Joseph Kennedy was a bastard of an investor, which is how his part of the family made their money (the Kennedys and Fitzgeralds had other sources of money and assorted careers prior which I won't go into at length), but he was not a mafioso. He was good at investing his money. His worst sin was he also used insider trading and short selling, and a number of now illegal things that were then legal. He was not hanging around with Al Capone. Frankly, that would have been needlessly dangerous and dumb for him to do, which is why he didn't.

This myth comes from a knock on effect of "common knowledge" assumptions and the slurs of the 1960 campaign. A Republican newspaper found out Joseph Kennedy had made plans to import liquor during Prohibition, and inferred Joseph Kennedy was doing that illegally. That cultural meme later degraded into Joe Kennedy being involved in bootlegging, which degraded further into him being involved in the mob, which degraded further into all the Kennedys being involved in the mafia, which degraded further into the overall Kennedy pop narrative of the Kennedys made their money with the mafia, then JFK and RFK turned on the mafia and Jimmy Hoffa, and the mafia maybe had them killed.

Which is all hooey. What said newspaper neglected to mention was that Joe Kennedy made that deal when Prohibition was already on the chopping block for repeal. The deal was for the delivering of liquor *after* Prohibition was repealed to sell in a soon-to-reemerge market early. He was a good investor. So from the seed of that one bit came a vine that grew and interwove into a larger narrative over these many years.

I rarely get involved in specifying this sort of thing anymore, because I've been arguing against the "everybody knows..." myths on the Kennedys for as long as I have been here, and they still return regardless of how many times I have addressed them. I'm worn out on them and usually simply ignore their mention as my preferred course. But I felt compelled to nip this one in the bud here.
 
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First of all, this is a great scenario.

Secondly, even if JFK leaves the Party, I think this finishes him in electoral politics. There were ex-Communists in US politics post-WWII but they were intellectuals, not office-holders; and mostly on the Right, too.

why not? Splits with the party. Splits from the Trots. Hard right ex trot JFK. Team B 1970s. Secretary under Reagan

Honestly, considering JFK's social status and the Kennedy family's extensive ties to organized crime, it's sorta hard to imagine this playing out and JFK *not* becoming a Soviet mole within the US intelligence apparatus.

Citizen-agent Lavender?

>same ideology as Oswald

Agent Turquoise.
 

dcharleos

Donor
This one is new to me. Frankly, good job on that one. I sit back as an observer. I will point out the irony that your prospective JFK has the same sort of ideology as Lee Harvey Oswald.



That is a myth. Joseph Kennedy was a bastard of an investor, which is how his part of the family made their money (the Kennedys and Fitzgeralds had other sources of money and assorted careers prior which I won't go into at length), but he was not a mafioso. He was good at investing his money. His worst sin was he also used insider trading and short selling, and a number of now illegal things that were then legal. He was not hanging around with Al Capone. Frankly, that would have been needlessly dangerous and dumb for him to do, which is why he didn't.

This myth comes from a knock on effect of "common knowledge" assumptions and the slurs of the 1960 campaign. A Republican newspaper found out Joseph Kennedy had made plans to import liquor during Prohibition, and inferred Joseph Kennedy was doing that illegally. That cultural meme later degraded into Joe Kennedy being involved in bootlegging, which degraded further into him being involved in the mob, which degraded further into all the Kennedys being involved in the mafia, which degraded further into the overall Kennedy pop narrative of the Kennedys made their money with the mafia, then JFK and RFK turned on the mafia and Jimmy Hoffa, and the mafia maybe had them killed.

Which is all hooey. What said newspaper neglected to mention was that Joe Kennedy made that deal when Prohibition was already on the chopping block for repeal. The deal was for the delivering of liquor *after* Prohibition was repealed to sell in a soon-to-reemerge market early. He was a good investor. So from the seed of that one bit came a vine that grew and interwove into a larger narrative over these many years.

I rarely get involved in specifying this sort of thing anymore, because I've been arguing against the "everybody knows..." myths on the Kennedys for as long as I have been here, and they still return regardless of how many times I have addressed them. I'm worn out on them and usually simply ignore their mention as my preferred course. But I felt compelled to nip this one in the bud here.

I didn't say that he hung out with Al Capone, I said he had ties to organized crime.
JPK was in the liquor business (among many other businesses) before prohibition, imported "medicinal alcohol" during prohibition, and imported it after prohibition. His father was a saloon-keeper. His brother-in-law ran a speakeasy during prohibition. He sold his liquor import business to two mobsters, Longy Zwillman and Joseph Reinfeld (they did hang out with Capone), right after the war. Oh, and mobsters said that they worked with JPK.

It's circumstantial, but considering the well documented history of the man's many semi-legal business practices (many of which were outlawed later, specifically because of people like him), and his overall character, it's a circumstantial charge that I'll believe.
 
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