George Crockett, Jr.

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George Crockett


George W. Crockett, Jr. was a U.S. Congressman from Michigan. Crockett died on Sept. 7, 1997, at 88 years old.

He was a member of the important Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees. On the latter he was elevated in 1987 to Chairman of the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs, which has jurisdiction over the vital and controversial area of Central America.

Early life

George W. Crockett Jr. was born on August 10, 1909, in Jacksonville, Florida. He attended public school and moved on to Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia., where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree. Crockett Jr. graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1934, then returned to Jacksonville, where he began practicing law as a senior attorney.

NLG

In 1937, Crockett helped found the Communist Party USA legal front, the National Lawyers Guild. Then Crockett became the first African American lawyer hired by the Department of Labor and handled employment cases under the National Labor Relations Act. He was also a hearing officer for the Federal Fair Employment Practices Committee. His experiences helped him become aware of racial segregation in labor unions, leading him to become director of the Fair Employment Practices Department of the International United Auto Workers (UAW) Union in 1944. The UAW post returned him to Michigan.

From 1940 to 1975, the FBI conducted a secret surveillance campaign and compiled several reports about members of the National Lawyers Guild. In 2007, archivists were granted access to those documents for the first time. One of the entries about the Guild contained a 1966 memo from J. Edgar Hoover’s office, directing agents to thwart Crockett’s efforts to become a judge. These documents will be sealed from the public until 2025, and then released to the National Archives and Records Administration[1].

Communist ties

Crockett was a life long supporter of Communist causes;

  • In 1949 he was a legal counsel for the 11 Communist Party officials, including Gus Hall, accused of advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government by force. These leaders were convicted and sentenced to jail, and Crockett himself was sentenced to four months in jail for contempt of court because of his disruptive behavior during the trial.
  • In 1952 and 1954 Crockett represented Communist witnesses before the House Un-American Activities Committee, (which had a Democratic majority), and was admonished several times by the Committee counsel for his conduct.
  • Crockett sponsored a reception in support of Julius Rosenberg and Ethel Rosenberg, then in prison awaiting execution for transmitting atomic bomb secrets to the Soviets.
  • After the Soviets shot down the Korean Airline Flight 007 in 1983, Crockett was one of only two Congressmen to abstain on a House resolution condemning the Soviets. The resolution passed by 416 to O.
  • In 1985 he explicitly defended the Soviets on the House floor in a debate over a resolution condemning the Soviets for the killing of Major Arthur Nicholson in Germany. He then voted against the resolution.

Crockett never publicly admitted membership in the Communist Party USA, but the radical New York Civil Rights Congress once described him as one of several "former Communist political prisoners."[2]

National Negro Labor Council

The National Negro Labor Council, (1950-56) was a Communist Party USA front for black workers and labor officials.

Key leaders of the Council, included Coleman Young (national executive secretary), Charles Hayes (Chicago leader), Cleveland Robinson, and George Crockett, and Erma Henderson, from Detroit.[3]

Activism

Much of Crockett’s career was spent championing Civil Rights issues. He served as a lawyer for the leadership of the Communist Party USA, and also released a majority of the 140 people taken into custody after a shootout between law enforcement and members of the Republic of New Africa. Crockett took a "noteworthy stand" against apartheid and “white-minority rule” in South Africa by protesting at the South African embassy; he was arrested for his actions[4].

Encouraging John Conyers

Detroit law partners Maurice Sugar and George Crockett, both lifelong affiliates of the Communist Party USA, encouraged the young John Conyers to first stand for Congress in 1964.[5]

Detroit judge

During the 1970s, Crockett was a judge in Detroit[6].

The city was racially divided, with the white population terribly afraid of the black population. A combination of factors, including a 1967 riot, an inadequate police and court system and an urban renewal project that demolished ghetto homes without replacing them, made the city tense. Crime was a serious problem. Time magazine said the city required “a fairer administration of justice,” and described George Crockett as a man fiercely committed to that cause.

Congress

George Crockett represented the state of Michigan in the U.S. House of Representatives from Nov. 4, 1980, to Jan. 3, 1991. He filled a vacancy left by Representative Charles C. Diggs, Jr.[7].

Communists in power

Democratic Socialists of America member and socialist historian Paul Buhle, wrote in a 1992 article for the Encyclopedia of the American Left[8];

Communists also gained from long-standing political contacts in the black community. Victories of black mayoral and congressional candidates with decades — old ties to the CP — a short list would include Coleman Young and George Crockett in Detroit, Gus Newport in Berkeley, and somewhat more ambiguously, Harold Washington in Chicago.''

World Peace Council

In 1981 a World Peace Council delegation led by Romesh Chandra toured the U.S. to publicize the "nuclear freeze" then being promoted by Leonid Brezhnev.

This group met with several Congressmen at the Capitol, including John Conyers, George Crockett, Ron Dellums, Don Edwards, and other Democrats.[9]

These Democratic Congressmen made House offices available for meetings with the WPC delegates.

During one of the meetings in these Congressmen's offices an official of the Communist Party USA was present and made a speech recommending that the "peace movement" unite in supporting the cause of several terrorist groups including the PLO and the Communist guerillas in EI Salvador.[10]

Cuba normalization

After congressman George Crockett returned from Cuba in September 1981, where according to Prensa Latina he expressed approval of [Castro's] statements on the situation in Central America and the U.S. responsibility for the current crisis in El Salvador, he joined with Richard Barnet, Robert Pastor and others in a Capitol Hill symposium "The US and Cuba:Prospects for the '80s", sponsored by the Center for Cuban Studies, an organization backed by the Rubin Foundation. The seminar was convened to drum up support for normalization of relations with Cuba.[11]

Democratic Socialists of America founding conference

Congressman George Crockett, addressed a "special unity convention session" on day two of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee/New American Movement Unity Convention in Detroit March 21/22 1982, that resulted in the formation of Democratic Socialists of America[12].

We Will Make Peace Prevail!

On March 28, 1982 the New World Review organized a gala luncheon "We Will Make Peace Prevail! Disarmament Over Confrontation, Life Over Death", at the Grand Ballroom, Hotel Roosevelt, New York City. Virtually all participants were identified as Communist Party USA.

The speakers were Hon. George Crockett, Member of Congress, 13th District, Michigan, and Patrick B. Storey, M.D., Associate Dean, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.[13]

Communist front award

Communist Party USA's Daily World, November 25, 1982

In November 1982, Reps. George Crockett and John Conyers of the Congressional Black Caucus were honored at the Communist Party USA controlled Labor Research Association's Banquet Luncheon. Rep. Major Owens of Brooklyn was also present.[14]

IPS 20th Anniversary Committee

According to Information Digest[15]the Institute for Policy Studies celebrated its 20th anniversary with an April 5, 1983, reception at the National Building Museum attended by approximately 1,000 IPS staffers and former staff.

The Congressional IPS comittee members included Les Aspin {D. WI}, George Brown, Jr. (D.CA}, Philip Burton (D.CA), George Crockett (D-MI}, Ron Dellums (D.CA}, former Texas Congressman Robert Eckhardt, Don Edwards {D.CA}, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights, Tom Harkin {D-IA}, Robert Kastenmeier (D. WI}, Chairman of the Subcomittee on Courts, Civil Liberties and the Administration of Justice, George Miller (D-CA}, Richard Ottinger {D-NY}, Leon Panetta (D-CA}, Henry Reuss (D.WI}, Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, Patricia Schroeder {D.CO}, John Seiberling (D.OH} and Ted Weiss {D.NY}.

Supporting the PLO

In 1984 Jesse Jackson, John Conyers and George Crockett, were among the signers of a telegram sent by a Palestine Liberation Organization support group to President Reagan demanding "immediate sanctions against Israel."[16]

Voted against support for "Contras"

The Congressional Record of February 3, 1988 shows that the following leading Democratic Party Congressmen voted against aid to the Nicaraguan Freedom Fighters - the "Contras"- then fighting against the Marxist-Leninist Sandinista government of Nicaragua:

"Congressional Pink Caucus"

In October 1989 the Nicaraguan Sandinista Government announced that they would no longer comply with the 19 month-old cease-fire agreement with the Contras. This had been considered a prime step forward for the "peace process" that was progressing slowly as part of the Arias Peace Plan.

A resolution was introduced in Congress deploring the Sandinistas' action. The Senate voted unanimously in favor, but in the House the vote was 379-29. All the 29 Congressmen voting against the resolution were Democrats.

The Council for Inter-American Security dubbed these 29 people the "Congressional Pink Caucus":

Sub Committee job

As chairman of the important House Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs, Crockett had great influence on House policy in this controversial area, including Central America.

He was authorized to see a large volume of highly classified information about developments there.

Crockett won out for this chairmanship over Congressman Dan Mica of Florida. Mica had seniority on the Foreign Affairs Committee and wanted the job, but he had voted for aid to the Nicaraguan Freedom Fighters, an anti-communist stance that resulted in his losing out to Crockett.[17]

Communist assistant

Communist Party USA member Dave Moore served as a legislative assistant to Rep. George Crockett, Sr. (D-Mich.). When Congressman Crockett retired in 1990, Mayor Coleman Young appointed Moore director of the city's Senior Citizens Department.[18]

Advisory Board Maurice & Jane Sugar Law Center

As at Winter, 2008, the following served on the Advisory Board of the Maurice & Jane Sugar Law Center:

References

  1. http://www.findingdulcinea.com/features/profiles/c/george-crockett.html
  2. Communists in the Democratic Party, page 49
  3. PWW, Feb 20, 1993, page 12
  4. http://www.findingdulcinea.com/features/profiles/c/george-crockett.html
  5. [ Union power and American democracy: the UAW and the Democratic Party, 1935-72, By Dudley W. Buffa, page 148]
  6. http://www.findingdulcinea.com/features/profiles/c/george-crockett.html
  7. http://www.findingdulcinea.com/features/profiles/c/george-crockett.html
  8. http://eprints.cddc.vt.edu/marxists//history/usa/parties/cpusa/encyclopedia-american-left.htm
  9. Communists in the Democratic party, page 50
  10. Communists in the Democratic party, page 66
  11. Covert Cadre, S. Stephen Powell, page 22
  12. Conference program
  13. We Will Make Peace Prevail! event brochure
  14. Daily World, Honor Black Legislators, Barry Cohen, November 25, 1982
  15. Information Digest April l5, 1983 p77-79
  16. Communists in the Democratic Party, page 41
  17. Communists in the Democratic Party, page 49
  18. Peoples World, Remembering Dave Moore, by: Quill Pettway & John Rummel November 11 2009