Alamedans to Discuss McCarthyism and Cal

The Alameda Public Affairs Forum will have a special program this weekend that focuses on resistence to McCarthyism during the 1940s and 1950s.

 From 6 to 9:30 p.m. this Saturday, May 8, at the Alameda Free Library, retired Cal Professor Bob Blauner and attorney Peter  Franck will discuss Blauner’s book “Resisting McCarthyism: To Sign or Not to Sign the Loyalty Oath.”

In 1949, the Regents of the University of California voted to require faculty to sign a loyalty oath affirming that they were not members of the Communist Party or other subversive organizations — and a long struggle followed.

Some 30 faculty members refused to sign the oath and were fired, while others resigned or refused to take up posts at the university.  Students rallied to the support of the faculty.

Professor Blauner has written about these events against the backdrop of the Cold War, the loyalty-security program of the Truman administration and the “witch-hunt” associated with U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy – as well as the emergence of the Free Speech Movement. 

Ohio recently passed a state Patriot Act, and the Federal Patriot Act has brought the same issues of freedom of speech and association back in focus.

Janet Levaux