BJ Mangaoang

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B. J. Mangaoang

B. J. (Baba Jeanne) Mangaoang.was born in Bellevue, Washington in 1915 and grew up in Seattle. She was introduced to the Communist Party USA as a student at the University of Washington in the early 1930s. After formally joining the Party in 1938, Mangaoang worked as a precinct committeewoman for the Washington Commonwealth Federation , a left-wing caucus of the state Democratic Party with close ties to the CP.[1]

CP work

With anticommunist repression on the rise in the postwar period, the Party told some of its leaders to go underground. Mangaoang was underground for fourteen months beginning in 1951, leaving her family and assuming a new identity in Spokane, WA. During her time in Spokane, she became a journeyman meatpacker.

After returning to Seattle, BJ Mangaoang engaged in a series of struggles against the Red Scare. She worked for the Northwest Citizens Defense Committee where she met her future husband, Filipino cannery union leader Ernesto Mangaoang, who was facing deportation under the McCarren-Walter Internal Security Act. In 1952, she worked on the defense committee for the seven Washington Communist Party leaders who were tried for subversion under the Smith Act. And in 1954, she was hauled before the U.S. Congress House Un-American Activities Committee, along with numerous other Communists , where she pleaded the Fifth Amendment.

Mangaoang worked as a secretary in the mechanical engineering department at the University of Washington from 1963 until her retirement in 1975. She has remained active in CP politics throughout her long life. She served as Chair of the Washington State Communist Party from 1976-2001 and was a member of the Communist Party National Committee for over twenty years. She ran for elected office four times: for Congress in 1950; for Seattle City Council in 1977 and 1985, and for governor in 1988. She remains active in peace and social justice causes and circa represented the CP in Jobs with Justice.[2]


BJ Mangaoang stood for mayor of Seattle in 1985, and subsequently entered the Washington State gubernatorial race in 1988. Irene Hull was her campaign manager, Elmer Kistler was her campaign treasurer, and Eda diBiccari and Linda Pistillo were two of her information personnel.

Mangaoang’s areas of concern in each of these two campaigns reflected the Party’s political spectrum: in 1985, jobs, housing, support for unions, child care, and a nuclear-free Seattle; in 1988, increased corporate taxes, clean environment and safe work places, quality education for all, punishment of instigators of racial violence and/or harassment, and economic measures designed to benefit workers.[3]

Communist Party Labor Day call

The Communist Party USA paper People's Weekly World issued a statement to mark Labor Day 1995, entitled "We honor the dead and fight like hell for the living."

Of the more than 100 endorsers listed, almost all were identified members of the Communist Party USA.

Baba Mangaoang, Seattle, was on the list.[4]

Ethel Beach Memorial

In 1995 the Communist Party USA paper People's Weekly World published a Labor Day supplement. Included was a memorial to Ethel Beach.

In loving memory of Ethel Beach who sold the Peoples World in Seattle during the worst Cold War years and was "an outpost for freedom of the Press."

Several supporters of the Washington State Communist Party USA endorsed the memorial including Baba Mangaoang[5]