Nathaniel Weyl

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Nathaniel Weyl
Born July 20, 1910
New York City
Died April 13, 2005(2005-04-13) (aged 94)
Ojai, California
Nationality American
Citizenship American
Alma mater Columbia University (undergraduate), London School of Economics (postgraduate)
Years active 1933-2003
Employer U.S. Government: Agricultural Adjustment Administration, Federal Reserve Board, Board of Economic Warfare
Political party
Socialst Party USA, CPUSA
Spouse(s) Sylvia Castleton Weyl (first), Marcelle Weyl (second)
Children Jonathan Weyl, Walter Weyl
Parents Bertha Nevin (née Poole), Walter Edward Weyl

Nathaniel Weyl (July 20, 1910 – April 13, 2005) was an American economist and author who wrote on a variety of social issues. A member of the Communist Party of the United States from 1933 until 1939, after leaving the party he became a conservative and avowed anti-communist. In 1952 he played a minor role in the Alger Hiss case.

Early life and career[edit]

Weyl was born in New York City, the only child of Bertha Nevin (née Poole) and Walter Edward Weyl, a founder of The New Republic and a prominent progressive. His father was from a German Jewish family, and his mother, originally from Chicago, was from a Christian background.[1]

Weyl received his Bachelor of Science Degree from Columbia College of Columbia University in 1931. While at Columbia, he joined the Social Problems Club and "created the Morningside Heights branch of the SP, which covered Columbia, Barnard, and Union Theological Seminary... soon... the largest branch in the Party." He did postgraduate work at the London School of Economics, where instructors included Friederich Hayek on the right and Harold Laski on the left. He returned to Columbia for doctoral studies in economics in 1932 and became a leader of the "Communist-controlled" National Student Union. Edmund Stevens, who like Weyl was an editor of Student Review, convinced him to join the Communist Party.[2]

Weyl described his position in the Party in a manner that may indicate pre-positioning for underground work:

I was made a Member At Large (MAL) of the Party. This meant that I was not to express views which identified me as a Communist, not frequently to attend rallies or associate with known Communists, that I would not be a member of any unit, and would have to stay away from CP headquarters.[2]

In 1933, he received an offer from Thomas Blaisdell to join the Agricultural Adjustment Administration as an economist. He joined the Ware group, a covert cell of Communists in Washington, DC. Some members of the Ware group engaged in espionage for the Soviet Union. Weyl described his Ware Group participation otherwise: "I was one of its less enthusiastic members."[2] Further, he summarized its early activities (i.e., during his membership) as follows:

During the time I was a member, the secret Ware cell of the Communist Party did nothing at its meetings except engage in reverential discussion of Marxism–Leninism and of the world situation as perceived by the Comintern... Nothing that we were doing was secret from a national security standpoint... It did not occur to me that the Ware cell might be lured into the crime of espionage.[2]

Weyl described what could be interpreted as Ware's efforts to corral him into espionage and his own effort to extract himself from the group:

Ware wanted me to try to get into the Foreign Service and be attached to the staff of William Bullitt, our first Ambassador to the Soviet Union... I didn’t think there was anything illegal about membership in the Ware unit, but nevertheless it was duplicitous. I decided I must choose between being a government official and being a Communist. I made the wrong choice. I told Hal Ware that the Moscow idea was out and that I wanted to leave Washington and resign from government. He said: absolutely not. I forced his hand by committing an appalling breach of security. I showed up at a cell meeting with the girl I was having an affair with, a young lady who was not a Communist Party member and who had known nothing about the group. Ware withdrew his objections and I resigned from AAA.[2]

Weyl spent 1934-1935 in New York, married Sylvia Castleton (whose mother, "Beatrice Carlin Stilwell, had been in and around the leadership of the CPUSA since its founding days"), and moved to Texas. Weyl worked with an oil company. His wife became "Organizational Secretary of the Texas–Oklahoma District of the CPUSA." In 1937, they returned to New York City, where Weyl worked as a financial reporter for the New York Post. Both he and she remained MALs. In 1938, they wrote a book on Mexico, published by Oxford University Press. For Eugene Dennis they helped prepare a draft program for a Popular Front organization in Brazil the Party intended to create which would concern itself with Latin America. Dennis told them the draft "would have to be submitted to the Comintern in Moscow." Weyl noted, "For us this was a sharp reminder of the fact that the American Party was merely a branch of a Soviet organization." The couple left the party in 1939, disheartened by the Hitler-Stalin non-aggression pact of that year.[2]

After Communism[edit]

After leaving the Communist party, Weyl contacted Paul Porter, an old Socialist Party friend and began to write a weekly column for Porter's Kenosha Labor. He considered joining forces with a new friend, Lewis Corey, as "we believed that American radicals must build some sort of new consensus, repudiating most of Marxist philosophy and economics, reaffirming democratic processes, and confronting the Soviet–Nazi bloc as an enemy." However, they disagreed on approach, Fraina advocating formation of a new party, Weyl advocating "a loose political organization to work within the Democratic Party and influence it." Their alliance fell apart as the Weyls moved to Washington.[2]

Then, Weyl accepted a post as head of the Latin American research unit at the Federal Reserve Board and later moved to the Board of Economic Warfare. He served overseas in the Army for two years during World War II. After the war he became a journalist and author, as well as earning an income from investments.

In 1952 Weyl testified before the Senate Internal Security Committee that he had been a member of the Ware group, and that Alger Hiss had attended meetings as well.[3][4] This was the only eyewitness corroboration of Whittaker Chambers's testimony that Alger Hiss was a Communist.[5] However, it came two years after Hiss had been convicted of perjury, and Weyl's failure to come forward as a witness in the Hiss trials was never explained by Weyl.[6]

Weyl writings included studies of communism, especially in Latin America; espionage and internal security in the United States; racial, ethnic and class analyses of societies; and the roles of political and intellectual elites. Some of his writing has been published in eugenics journals and has espoused such views as blaming modern revolutionary movements on the "envy of non-achievers against creative minorities."[7] Two of Weyl's books, Treason (1950) and Red Star Over Cuba (1961), received some critical interest and discussion in their times.[8] Red Star Over Cuba postulates that Fidel Castro was a covert Communist before the Cuban Revolution, having been recruited by the Soviets while he was a teenager. The theory has not been widely accepted.[9]

Following the release of Red Star Over Cuba, Weyl and John Martino, an activist against Fidel Castro, also actively promoted the story that Lee Harvey Oswald had been in Cuba prior to his attempt on the life of John F. Kennedy, where he enjoyed contact with Cuban intelligence and Castro. Martino admitted that the story was fabricated shortly prior to his death in 1975.

His 1979 book Karl Marx - Racist contains a summary and critique of Marx's views on race and the role of Jews in modern capitalism, as well as a discussion of later refutations of Marx's economic views. At the same time, Weyl himself supported white minority-rule regimes in southern Africa against "communist terrorists" like Nelson Mandela, preferring the whites of Rhodesia, South Africa, and Portuguese colonial rule.[10] Thinking that the struggle of indigenous liberation movements was essentially destroyed by 1970, he published Traitor's End – intending the book to be the white anti-Communists' celebration of the supposed destruction of the black majority's liberation movements.[10]

Weyl was also an apologist for segregation at home. A supporter of racialist theories against miscegenation, Weyl wrote for the Mankind Quarterly – for which Robert Gayre dubbed him a modern proponent of the anthropological ideas of the 19th-century eugenicist Sir Francis Galton.[11] A tinge less racially conservative than most of the journal's writers, he allowed that intermarriage between the races might be permissible in certain select instances.[11]

Weyl reportedly moderated his conservative views later in his life, and voted for Bill Clinton and John Kerry.[citation needed] He died in Ojai, California, on April 13, 2005. Surviving him were sons Jonathan and Walter Weyl, step daughters, Georgianne Cowan (Charles Bernstein) and Jeanne Cowan (Barney Hass), three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. His first wife, Sylvia Castleton, and second wife, Marcelle, had both died previously.[12]

Writings of Nathaniel Weyl[edit]

Articles by Weyl[edit]

Books by Weyl[edit]

  • Weyl, Nathaniel (1950). Treason: The Story of Disloyalty and Betrayal in American History. Public Affairs Press. 
  • Weyl, Nathaniel (1960). The Negro in American Civilization. Public Affairs Press. 
  • Weyl, Nathaniel (1961). Red Star Over Cuba, the Russian Assault on the Western Hemisphere. Arlington House. ISBN 0-8159-6705-5. 
  • Weyl, Nathaniel (1963). The Geography of Intellect (with Stefan Possony). Henry Regnery Company. 
  • Weyl, Nathaniel (1966). The Creative Elite in America. Public Affairs Press. ISBN 0-8183-0160-0. 
  • Weyl, Nathaniel (1968). The Jew in American Politics. Arlington House. 
  • Weyl, Nathaniel (1970). Traitors' End; The Rise and Fall of the Communist Movement in Southern Africa. Arlington House. ISBN 0-87000-082-9. 
  • Weyl, Nathaniel (1971). American Statesmen on Slavery and the Negro. Arlington House. ISBN 0-87000-117-5. 
  • Weyl, Nathaniel (1979). Karl Marx, Racist. Arlington House. ISBN 0-87000-448-4. 
  • Weyl, Nathaniel (1990). Geography of American Achievement. Scott-Townsend Publishers. ISBN 1-878465-00-7. 
  • Weyl, Nathaniel (2003). Encounters With Communism. Xlibris Corporation. ISBN 1-4134-0747-1. 

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Weyl, Nathaniel (2003). "Encounters with Communism, 1932–1940". American Communist History (in English) (London: Routledge) 2 (1): 81–94. 
  3. ^ "Another Witness". TIME. March 3, 1952. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 
  4. ^ Hewitt, Alan (January 9, 1953). "I Was in a Communist Unit with Hiss". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 
  5. ^ [Whittaker] Check |authorlink= value (help) (1952). Witness. Random House. p. 347fn. ISBN 0-89526-571-0. 
  6. ^ Cook, Fred J. (1958). The Unfinished Story of Alger Hiss. William Morrow Company. pp. 75–81. ISBN 1-131-85352-0. 
  7. ^ Weyl, Nathaniel (Winter 1984). "Envy And Aristocide". The Eugenics Bulletin. 
  8. ^ Fahim, Kareem (December 14, 2006). "Nathaniel Weyl, 94, Author Who Testified on Alger Hiss". (Obituary) (The New York Times). 
  9. ^ Gonzalez, Servando (1996). "Fidel Castro: Supermole". 
  10. ^ a b Mahoso, Tafataona P. "Media in a Globalised World with Special Reference to Print Media in SADC Region". International Catholic Union of the Press (UCIP). 2002. Retrieved 12 August 2009.
  11. ^ a b Jackson, John P. Science for Segregation: Race, Law, and the Case Against Brown v. Board of Education. New York: New York University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-8147-4271-8, ISBN 978-0-8147-4271-6. P. 181.
  12. ^ "Weyl, Nathaniel" (PDF). (Obituary) (The Ojai Valley News). May 20, 2005. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]