H. Stuart Hughes

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H. Stuart Hughes


Prof. H. Stuart Hughes

National Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee

As of May 1964, H. Stuart Hughes History, Harvard University, was listed as a sponsor of the Communist Party USA front, National Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Massachusetts Committee to Abolish HUAC

As at February 28, 1969, H. Stuart Hughes was listed as a sponsor of the Massachusetts Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee.[1]

1962 "Peace" campaign

Writing in the Boston Democratic Socialists of America newsletter, The Yankee Radical September 2009, editor Mike Pattberg gives some background on the 1962 campaign that made Ted Kennedy a Senator for Massachusetts.;[2]

When Ted Kennedy first ran for U.S. Senate in 1962, he had no support from the left. Americans for Democratic Action, the major liberal group of the time, backed former Attorney General Edward McCormack in the Democratic primary. The Socialist Party USA mobilized their meager forces for Harvard professor H. Stuart Hughes, running as an anti-nuclear testing independent peace candidate in November. According to Ben Ross, SPers discussed the Hughes campaign exhaustively in The Yankee Radical in 1962, and with post-mortems into 1963. As near as I can tell from superficial research, both groups were right. McCormack actually had a good civil rights record, certainly stronger than JFK’s, at a time when this wasn’t to be taken for granted from Democratic politicians. Ted Kennedy had no record of any sort, but did have the Kennedy name and his father’s money, which was more than enough. In the ensuing decades Eddie McCormack went on to become a corporate lawyer for big developers; H. Stuart Hughes eventually drifted into neo-conservatism, endorsing Reagan. Ted Kennedy evolved into…Ted Kennedy,the Lion of Liberalism, as the Globe calls him.

Hughes campaign and "Red baiting"

Jerome Grossman's first foray into electoral politics was a 1962 campaign for long time Communist Party USA sympathizer H. Stuart Hughes.

According to a 1996 interview with Nancy Earsy;[3]

I was the one who said, you know, we have a political system in this country. Let’s use the political system to bring issues and ideas to the people, and as a way of talking to them because we can’t reach them any other way. It was exploiting the political system. But I don’t feel badly about that, because it’s there to be exploited. That’s what it’s there for. So that was the turn that I took. I think that’s also related to the fact that I had had some political experience through my father and through my other local activities. We ran a candidate for the United States Senate, a professor at Harvard by the name of H. Stuart Hughes. That was in 1962. And we were viciously “Red-baited.” Ted Kennedy, who is now one of my close friends, was the Democratic candidate. It was the first time that he ran for his brother’s seat.
It was a fantastic event. We didn’t get many votes. We only got two and a half percent. But we made a lot of noise, and we did get the issue out there. We really ran to get the attention of the President, John F. Kennedy. This is 1962. In 1963 there was a partial nuclear test ban signed. So we think we had something do with that.

But more important than that was the fact that people came from all over the country to work in our campaign. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but the students at Harvard, MIT and B.U. who participated in the campaign, the men and the women, they all went home with this experience under their belts and in their psyches. And they knew the techniques that were used. They knew how we got publicity. This is all brand new. They knew how we broke through the crust of the Cold War to have people not think in stereotypical terms. And they began organizing in their own towns and places, wherever they lived. That’s the most exciting part of the Hughes campaign. It was a seminal event. And of course Hughes was a wonderful candidate. I saw him in La Jolla just a couple of years ago. He’s very frail and fragile now. He’s eighty-one, eighty-two, something like that. But he never wavered in his candidacy. Bill Clinton and all these other guys should take lessons from him. And there was pressure put on him to run a campaign like that in the middle of the Cold War.
Okay, after that campaign the three thousand volunteers, many of whom were women, housewives, incidentally––not incidentally––and they were very important in the campaign. They were part of the decision-making apparatus. We all got together; we decided to stay together as an organization. And this brings me to the Vietnam affair. We continued running candidates and agitating on issues.

Jerome Grossman served as campaign manager of H. Stuart Hughes for Senate. [4]

Long term political consequences of the Hughes campaign

Opposing Ted Kennedy in the 1962 Massachusetts Democratic Primary was Edward McCormack, nephew of House Speaker John McCormack; Kennedy's Republican opponent was Yankee scion George Cabot Lodge; and on the left was Independent peace candidate Harvard Prof. H. Stuart Hughes, chair of the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, and grandson of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes.

Jerome Grossman was Hughes' Campaign Manager and Chester Hartman was the organizer of the massive signature drive required to place Hughes on the ballot. According to Grossman;[5]

Hughes needed 72,000 signatures, a purposely prohibitive number in that era of McCarthyism and nobody in fact had tried to reach it since the law had first been passed.
In this talented field, Hughes polled 50,013 votes, 2.3% of the votes cast. However, we collected a startling 149,000 signatures in ten weeks for a "peace candidate." The Cuban Missile Crisis arrived in October just before the election. With the integrity that was his hallmark, Hughes went against the popular hysteria: he accused President Kennedy of acting over hastily in imposing the blockade of Cuba, of bypassing the United Nations, and unnecessarily stirring up an atmosphere of national emergency. His position cost Hughes thousands of votes.
In the process we built a town-by-town organization all over the state, a structure that remains in place today. A clear result has been the election over recent decades of so many progressive voices to the state's first-rate Congressional delegation, including Michael Harrington, Father Robert Drinan, Gerry Studds, Jim McGovern, Barney Frank, Ed Markey, John Tierney, Michael Capuano and John Kerry.
The Hughes campaign built the strongest statewide peace movement in the country, a movement that changed the face and reputation of Massachusetts politics.

References