The Communist Background of the American Civil Liberties Union - Anarchist Roger Baldwin founded the ACLU in 1919, after his release from prison where he served a sentence for draft evasion, at a party attended by Socialist Party notable Norman Thomas, future Communist Party chairman Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, and Soviet agent Agnes Smedley. In 1920, Rev. Harry Ward, the Red Dean of the Union Theological Seminary was Chairman, Baldwin was director, and Communist publisher Louis Budenz, who would later go on to testify against Communism, director of publicity. Other Communist and radical founders included William Z. Foster, author of Toward Soviet America, Harold J. Laski, Morris Hilquit, A.J.Muste, Scott Nearing, Eugene V. Debs, and John Dewey.
The ACLU: Bill of Rights' Implausible Defenders - In 1931, a congressional report of the Special House Committee to Investigate Communist Activities stated: "The American Civil Liberties Union is closely affiliated with the communist movement in the United States, and fully 90 percent of its efforts are on behalf of communists who have come into conflict with the law. It claims to stand for free speech, free press, and free assembly; but it is quite apparent that the main function of the ACLU is to attempt to protect the communists in their advocacy of force and violence to overthrow the government, replacing the American flag by a red flag and erecting a Soviet government in place of the republican form of government guaranteed to each state by the federal Constitution."