What Betty Friedan Didn't Want You to Know

August 15, 2001

Please go to the revised version of this article.

by Henry Makow Ph.D.

"Comrades, you will remember the ancient tale of the capture of Troy. . .The attacking army was unable to achieve victory until, with the aid of the famous Trojan Horse, it managed to penetrate to the very heart of the enemy camp."

George Dimitrov , the General Secretary of the Comintern (Communist International) speaking to the Seventh Meeting in August, 1935. Cited in Paul Johnson, Modern Times, (New York, 1983) p.323.

If I said Stalin was a Communist, would you accuse me of Red-baiting? No? Then you won't mind if I say Betty Friedan, the "mother of modern feminism" hid the fact that she was a Communist activist. I will provide the evidence in a moment.

As a former leftist-liberal, I am a typical example of how citizens of free countries have been brainwashed to underestimate the danger of Communism. I believed that Communism was basically an idealistic philosophy of public ownership. I wasn't concerned that it was a brutal dictatorship that murdered and enslaved millions. It didn't matter that the people weren't "free" because freedom was something I took for granted. I no longer take freedom for granted. A couple of years ago, although innocent, I was imprisoned by feminist domestic violence laws. Then, I was silenced at a feminist controlled university. Again, the feminist dominated media ignored my book, "A Long Way to go for a Date," a serious work of social protest. For me, it has been a slow and wrenching political and psychological awakening.

Communism was and is a worldwide movement. Although it has failed in Russia and China, its legacy in the West is alive and well. I am referring to the modern Feminist movement which is a child of the Cold War "Old Left," represented by Friedan, and the 1960's "New Left" represented by the Woman's Liberation Movement. The progeny is a radical, totalitarian party, which has gained incredible power by pretending to seek "equal rights" for women, by masquerading as "the women's movement." Feminism is a Trojan Horse. It has already inflicted incredible damage to our social fabric, culture and to our freedom. It has made us dysfunctional.

Communists, just like the Nazis, wanted totalitarian domination of the world. Their plan included a huge program of so called "Popular Front" organizations (of students, women, workers or artists) which, in the 1920's and 1930's, sought to subvert democracies. These groups invited non-Marxists to combat evil and creating a better world, thus satisfy a quasi-religious craving for meaning. Willi Munzenberg, an early confidante of Lenin, organized and controlled these fronts, and referred to them as "my Innocents' Clubs". He served Stalinism by expanding the range of propaganda to include protest marches, socialist publications, arts festivals, ad hoc committees and newspaper ads signed by celebrities. In the words of historian Stephan Koch, Munzenberg "was amazingly successful at mobilizing the intelligentsia of the West on behalf of a moralistic set of political attitudes responsive to Soviet needs. In the process, he organized and defined the "enlightened" moral agenda of his era." (Koch, Stephen, Double Lives: Spies and Writers in the Secret Soviet War of Ideas Against the West, New York, 1994, p.14.)

An essential ingredient of this campaign was a large network of prominent "opinion makers" (scientists, academics, artists, filmmakers) who raised money and spread the hidden Soviet message. These "fellow-travelers" included such writers as Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker, Dashiell Hammett, and Lincoln Steffins. These non-Communists were controlled and managed by Comintern agents; in the case of Steffins, his own wife. They were a smoke screen for ideas which would not have been accepted if their origin were known.

In a 1989 interview, Babette Gross, the wife of Willy Munstenberg, described the Popular Front modus operandi:

"You do not endorse Stalin. You do not call yourself a Communist. You do not call upon people to support the Soviets. Never. Under no circumstances.... You claim to be an independent minded idealist. You don't really understand politics but you claim the little guy is getting a lousy break. You believe in open-mindedness. You are shocked, frightened by what is going on here in our own country. You are frightened by the racism, by the oppression of the working man. You think the Russians are trying a great human experiment, and you hope it works. You yearn for international understanding. You hate fascism, You think the capitalist system is corrupt. You say all of that, over and over. And you say nothing more." (Koch, p. 220)

One of these Communist controlled "Popular Front" organizations was the "Congress of American Women" which was founded in 1946 and reached a membership of 250,000. It was disbanded in 1950 after being required to register as a "foreign agent" by the U.S. government. The feminist historian Ruth Rosen writes that the "CAW's agenda prefigured much of the modern women's movement that emerged in the sixties." (Ruth Rosen, The World Split Open: How the Modern Women's Movement Changed America, New York, 2000, p.28.)

Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique (1963) which sold more than five million copies, is considered the manifesto of the modern feminist movement. Friedan and Simon de Beauvoir, are the pioneers of modern feminism. In the book, Friedan describes herself as a typical suburban housewife and mother who had a revelation. She realized that women like herself are being exploited and dehumanized; and, she actually compared their plight with that of Nazi concentration camp inmates. She pointed to career as a woman's only path to identity and self-fulfillment.

What Friedan didn't say is that she wasn't a typical housewife. Rather, she had been a Marxist activist since her undergraduate years at Smith College (1938-1942) where she wrote for the college newspaper. She dropped out of grad school to become a reporter for a radical left wing news service. From 1946 -1952 she was a reporter for the union newspaper of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, (UE) "the largest Communist-led institution of any kind in the United States."

Daniel Horowitz, a Professor of History at Smith who has impeccable Liberal and feminist credentials, reports all of this. His book, published in 1999, is entitled Betty Friedan and the Making of the Feminine Mystique: The American Left, the Cold War and Modern Feminism (University of Massachusetts Press). The essence can be found in a 1996 article in American Quarterly which is available on the Internet. (http://muse.jhu.edu/demo/aq/48.1horowitz.html). There, Horowitz writes: "Her writings of the 1940's and early 1950's reveal that... Popular Front ideology shaped the way Friedan viewed American society and politics (11)."

Horowitz cites an anti-Communist union member who described how a Communist minority "seized control of the national office, the executive board, the paid-staff, the union newspaper and some district councils and locals" (12, emphasis mine.) In 1947, the U.S Congress, the Roman Catholic Church and large corporations, targeted the UE as a Communist front. Afterward its membership began a steady decline.

Betty Frieden didn't want anyone to know about her radical antecedents. Throughout her career, she perpetuated the myth that she had no interest in the condition of women before her "revelation." She refused to cooperate with Professor Horowitz and accused him of "Red-baiting."

Why? Because The Feminist Mystique would not have the same impact if her revolutionary agenda were known. Communists operate by subterfuge -- infiltrating, propagandizing and pretending to be like us. Friedan could not tell us who she really was. The same tactics are used by "feminists" whose very name, and claim to be "the woman's movement" is a smoke screen for a fanatical anti feminine, anti social crusade.

The radical "Left" stalled on the political/economic front in the US, but reinvented itself as a Popular Front-like social movement. Radical women, tired of their second-class status in the New Left, split off to form the "Woman's Liberation Movement." They applied "Marxist analysis" to their own experience, deciding that inequality and injustice was based on gender instead of class. By denying and eliminating gender differences, they would create a new utopia. Thus, feminists made women the oppressed proletariat and they made the destruction of the capitalist "patriarchy" their revolutionary agenda.

Communists used the chimera of a "just" and "classless" society to seek totalitarian power. Their feminist progeny is using the equally spurious promise of a sexless society to take power. Feminists do believe the destruction of heterosexuality will bring social justice.

The FBI kept tabs on the Women's Liberation Movement throughout the turbulent seventies but found no direct connection with Soviet subversion. Feminist historian Ruth Rosen, herself a veteran of the New Left, finds this ironic.

"Ironically, the FBI searched for signs of subversion in the Women's movement but couldn't recognize what was truly dangerous. While they looked for Communists and bombs, the women's movement was shattering traditional ideas about work, customs, education, sexuality, and the family. Ultimately the movement would prove far more revolutionary than the FBI could ever imagine. Feminism would leave a legacy of disorientation, debate and disagreement, create cultural chaos and social change for millions of men and women, and, in the process, help ignite the culture wars that would polarize American society. But at the time these ideas were not what the FBI considered subversive." (260)

By attacking the social fabric, feminists have inflicted more damage to Western society than Communists ever could have dreamed. Domestic violence hysteria has driven a wedge between men and women where none should exist. Heterosexuality and the family have declined. The birth rate has plummeted from 3.9 children per woman in 1960 to 1.5 today.[Replacement is 2.1] The future belongs to people who are having children. Under the guise of fighting "sexism," the nation's schools teach sexual dysfunction. They indoctrinate the young to deny their innate masculinity or femininity and to be open to homosexuality. In the media and universities, obeisance is paid to the feminist party line, or "political correctness." Feminist academics are busy replacing the cultural heritage of Western Civilization with their party nonsense. In the military, the introduction of women as combat soldiers has undermined efficiency and discipline. Soon we won't be in a position to defend our compromised values.

The feminist Trojan Horse has proven extremely effective.

Politicians and the public have been bamboozled. Most people think this movement represents the interests of women. This, in spite of being founded on three outrageous lies. They are:

  1. Except for sex organs, men and women are psychologically identical.
  2. Men have oppressed women.
  3. Women can best achieve self-fulfillment in careers

Feminists --male and female-- believe these lies. They have made a huge psychological investment in them. And they are too ambitious to ask questions. Membership in the Feminist Party is now a prerequisite to advancement, just as Communist Party membership was in Soviet Russia. Politicians and media have also made a huge investment in this socially destructive philosophy. As a society, we are in denial.

Joseph Stalin and Soviet Russia may be dead but the monster it spawned roams the earth. Betty Friedan has done her job by keeping the legacy of Communism alive. Western society has been subverted.

The worst is yet to come.

Henry Makow received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 1982. He welcomes your comments at