Suburbia, USA, 1958

The house is frame, painted gray with green shutters. A wire fence runs round the trim yard. The owner works as a draftsman in a downtown company, his wife keeps house. They have lived in the neighbourhood for many years.

It is now dark, a little after eight o’ clock on a winter evening. The downstairs light is on, the blinds are drawn. A man comes to the front door, raps lightly, and is admitted. Soon another man, walking at a leisurely pace, rounds the corner and enters. He has parked his car on another street.

Ten minutes pass. A third man knocks. He has come by bus from downtown. To make certain nobody was following him, he had ridden two stops past his correct destination, then walked back. Five minutes later a fourth person, a woman in a dark coat, arrives. Everything is quiet : no loud voices, no cars parked in front, no reasons for the neighbours to suspect that a Communist party meeting is in progress.

Communist Party groups like this are small, containing three, four, or five people – a security precaution. In that way fewer members know each other and detection is less likely. Meeting places are frequently changed : this evening a private home, next time a public library or an automobile. Members have been known to sit on park benches, in bus terminals, even in hospital waiting rooms, hatching their plots in casual, conversational tones…

Night after night, week after week, these men and women are plotting against America, working out smears, seeking to discredit free government, and planning for revolution. They form the base of a gigantic pyramid of treason, stretching from the little gray house with green shutters to the towers of the Kremlin.

J Edgar Hoover, Masters Of Deceit : The Story Of Communism In America (1958)

One thought on “Suburbia, USA, 1958

  1. The Soviet archives have shown he was mostly right – the ‘pyramid of treason’ existed though it wasn’t really ‘gigantic’.

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