In 1949 federal prosecutors indicted twelve leaders of the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA). Eleven of these men would stand trial for violations of the Smith Act, which makes it a crime to advocate violent overthrow of the federal government. (Retired party secretary William Foster escaped prosecution because of his poor health.) The eleven party officers who did stand trial were convicted and sent to prison.
The CPUSA was an agency under direct Soviet control, formed and operated to help the Soviet Union weaken and conquer the United States. But leftist college professors typically forget to mention that part of the story while teaching America’s next generation about the Smith Act trials of the party’s leaders.