The First Red Scare (1917-1920). After the Bolshevik Russian Revolution of 1917, communist, anarchist, radically left ideologies perpetrated the world and introduced pangs of concern among Western peoples. This led to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson pushing the Sedition Act of 1918, a piece of legislation that allowed the government to hold in contempt citizens who participated in “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language” towards the U.S. government’s flag, military, or actions. In short, to combat communism, the United States’ initial response was to enact crypto-authoritarian legislation to prevent Stalinist bolshevism from infiltrating American political thought.
In 1919-1920, several American states enacted laws that prohibited violence as a means to bring about social change, including the advocacy thereof, obviously placing limitations on American free speech.
The Second Red Scare (1947-1957). Communist ideology became an increasingly well-known economic system in the United States in the 1930s, especially among the academic elite. By 1939, the Communist Party of the United States of America reached its zenith of 50,000 members. The increasing support for communist economics caused President Harry S. Truman to pass legislation introducing political-loyalty review boards who determined the degree of “Americanism” of federal employees in 1947. When the Soviet Union revealed to the world their ownership of a nuclear arsenal in 1949, the American populace was alarmed and a social stigma was placed on American communists.
The fear of communist espionage or the presence of Soviet Union spies in the United States perpetrated the fabric of the United States in the mid-20th century, giving the American government a staunchly capitalist character. In 1995, it was revealed to the public that the United States had secretly been gathering information on the soviet Union from 1940 through 1980: the Venona project.
Despite the advent of the Soviet Union and its radically leftist ideology, the United States and Russia have continued to maintain generally positive relations towards the end of the Soviet Union’s reign. In 1991, President George H. W. Bush declared the Cold War over, and with the dissolving of the Soviet Union, President Bill Clinton and the first President of the democratic Russian Federation, Boris Yeltsin, maintained considerably warm relations.
The Third Red Scare (To be announced). Russia is no longer controlled by a Communist party and is in the process of converting to a capitalist economy, though there is considerable economic upheaval. Regardless of this fact, the Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti (KGB, trans. “Committee for State Security) has dissolved along with Communist Russia. Communism, anarchism, and leftism is no longer an ideology promulgated by a European superpower. Today, the Third Red Scare is a phenomenon concerned with radically leftist ideologies occurring within our own American borders.
Even though the Communist Party USA boasts a mere 5,000 members, Ame
rican anarchists are more visible now than ever. Referring to themselves as anti-fascists, or “Antifa” for short, the far-left ideologies that were once adamantly dispelled by the American government now find themselves nestled cozily in the heart of the United States. College campuses boast prominent anti-capitalist, anti-traditional demographics unlike that ever witnessed in history. Conservative speakers cannot speak at any college campus without receiving backlash from the radical left.
The Third Red Scare is being experienced within our own borders. Yet, we have seen throughout history what the American response to communism is: fascism, albeit partially. Judging on the history of the United States and the legislation put in place to combat radical leftism in the past, the solution to the contemporary Red Scare could stem from several possibilities. The declaration of martial law, federally-mandated curfews, restrictions on free speech and rights to protest, and/or holding those in contempt who degrade the American flag, government, or military are all plausible solutions that President Donald J. Trump may push to end the red threat behind our borders.
The Soviet Union has influenced American ideologues in more ways than they might care to admit; though, some are all too keen to admit it. Far-left ideologies that were once subscribed to by the Soviet Union have seeped into the American intelligentsia, causing a slow drift towards a civil war over economic and social issues. If one cries “fascist!” to the average man, then he must give the crier something credible to cry “fascist!” to.