My sister was blacklisted by the John Birch Society.
There has been recent discussion about the influence of the John Birch Society in the Republican Party. I have a personal tale to relate concerning these people.
I have a sister who came to the defense of a Jewish friend who was being bullied by bigots at their high school decades ago. A nominal Methodist, my sister protested by wearing a Star of David around her neck. Then she attended Colorado College from the fall of 1961 through the spring of 1965.
She joined a sorority that had racist bylaws, a widespread practice at that time. A friend of hers at the college was Jewish. (I don't remember if she was the same girl my sister had defended in high school.) She wanted her friend, as well as others, to be able to join her sorority; so, she and another friend launched a petition to the national headquarters of the sorority urging them to drop their racist bylaws. She also participated in a peaceful demonstration against the largest employer in Colorado Springs for their "whites only" hiring practices.
When the JBS chapter of our home town heard about her activities, they held a press conference in which they publicly accused my sister of being a Communist. She was informed of this outrageous development by the sorority sister who had launched the petition with her. She was crying as she told my sister that they had been blacklisted by the JBS. But my sister laughed about it and said, “I’m proud to be a Communist!” She was too liberal to be a Communist! She was quite wary of the authoritarian mindset. The Birchers had revealed their true colors.
What's so funny about this is that my sister is the person who introduced me to a very depressing but quite interesting book about seven years later: The Confession by Artur London. This book is an autobiography written by a man who had served as an important government official in the Stalinist regime of Clement Gottwald, the former Czechoslovakia's first Communist dictator. To be brief, the innocent London fell victim to a Stalinist purge that resulted in the infamous Slansky trial. He was one of the three defendants who were sentenced to life. The other eleven were hanged. (All fourteen of the men were innocent.) He was eventually pardoned and allowed to immigrate to France, where he wrote his book (in which he called Stalin "the gravedigger of socialism"). London detailed his traumatic sufferings at the hands of the secret police and how they reduced him to falsely confessing in a courtroom to outrageous charges of treason. In other words, the book is a searing expose of Stalinist terror. So much for my sister supposedly being a Communist!
She is one of the most empathetic persons I’ve ever known, and I’m extremely proud of her. She has been opposed to all forms of oppression. IMHO she was performing a public service by her civil rights activities. As far as I’m concerned, she deserved a medal instead of a despicably false accusation from a group of crackpots.
I seriously doubt the Birchers have changed one bit since the ‘60s. My sister laughs about them, but I don’t. I despise the John Birch Society with every fiber of my being and have absolutely no respect for anyone who defends this pathetic group of extremists, who even called Eisenhower a Communist.