05 June, 2007

Red Secrets

When I was but a lad, living in Evanston in the early 1970’s, I met a machinist, “Bud,” who worked out of Mr. Kling’s shop. Kling himself was retired from machining and only kept the shop as a warehouse for a line of adhesives that he had invented that were then widely sold at hardware stores. Bud (and I doubt that was his real name) rented the back of the shop and the equipment, where he took in jobs both machining replacement parts for equipment and an occasional fabricating job for the lamp factory in the alley off Hinman Avenue. While Kling was a tall white-haired fellow in his early sixties, Bud was probably in his forties, stoop-shouldered, with pants that were too big and perpetually dirty tousled hair. He always wore a denim apron that was black with grease.

I met Bud when he was taking a smoke break in the alley behind Kling’s shop. He couldn’t smoke in the shop, on account of all the oily rags, and I would stop to talk to him whenever I saw him. He liked me and, when he saw that I was reading the Communist Manifesto, informed me that he was a comrade, that is, a fellow Marxist. He never told me exactly what, if any connection he had to the C.P.U.S.A., but, over the course of about two years, he did tell me lots of things:

• Rosenberg was guilty, but his wife was not. They put her on the spot first, and made him watch, in an attempt to turn him. “They play hard-ball with us, and so we play hard-ball with them.”

• Not only was J. Edgar Hoover an homosexual, but most F.B.I. agents throughout the 1930’s were too. “Any time you would see a queer in a new car during the Depression, you knew he was a G-Man.”

• In 1933 Hitler’s Stormtroopers raided the Magnus Hirshfeld Institute in Berlin and confiscated their files. Hirshfeld was a “queer sexologist” who supposedly had in his office the “master world list of homosexuals.” Hitler was supposed to have come into possession of this list and used it to black-mail politically important homosexuals around the world. Or, so J. Edgar Hoover believed anyway. It was this belief of Hoover’s that prevented him from moving against American Nazis until after war was declared in 1941.

• Homosexuality is a bourgeois deviation that will disappear of its own accord after the revolution. “Why, there aren’t any queers in the Soviet Union, but Hitler had whole camps full of them!”

• “Most of them big Nazis was queer too.” His proof of this? Only queers like flashy uniforms. The Nazis had the best uniforms, while Soviet uniforms were drab. Ergo ...

• Hizzonor himself ordered that first McCormick place be hit by Greek lightening. "Ask any Chicago fireman if you don’t believe me."

Harry Bridges was a Comrade.

• If you pick up a woman in a bar, always be strictly vanilla with her both sexually and politically. She could easily be a whore hired by the F.B.I. to either get information out of you, or provide evidence that you are a “pervert.”

• It takes time for your teeth to go bad. A man can live for five years in the underground, never see a dentist, and, if he keeps them clean, still have good teeth. If a man’s teeth go bad “in a hurry” then he is probably a drug addict.

• The first time somebody sent a whore (and Bud said the word the old man way: “Hoo-er”) to get dirt on him she had bad teeth. Bud talked to her for a while, figured out that she was an addict, surmised that she had been sent after him, and then offered her $20- to tell him who had put her up to it. She looked real scared, excused herself, and left without finishing her drink.

• The next time they sent a whore after him she was a knock-out. He figured if he didn’t say anything to her once they got to her place, then any recording would be useless. And if they got pictures of him — so what? He had no family, he was self employed, no one could black-mail him with pictures of him with a gorgeous woman. (In fact, he’d like the pictures if any existed.) So they went to her flat and he “gave her the business.” He didn’t say a single word while he was there, but she gave a running commentary of dirty talk the whole time. He left right after finishing and figured he’d gotten away with something nice — until about a month later, when he found out he had a social disease.

• Bela Lugosi was a comrade. That was okay in the radical 1930’s, but by the 1950’s he was blacklisted and the only studios that would hire him were on poverty row.

• The F.B.I. tracked down Alger Hiss’s cast-off Woodstock Typewriter and had the keys changed to match the forged "Pumpkin Papers" before planting it in a pawn shop where Hiss’s lawyers would “find” it. The mechanic that fixed the keys was a Comrade, so the Party knew all about it, but they let Hiss take the fall because he wasn’t a comrade anyway, it makes us look better if people think that we’re everywhere, and it furthers the revolution when we can bait the fascistic elements in society (like Joe McCarthy or Nixon) against the bourgeois elements (like Hiss and the “Brains Trusters”).

• “I got no idea who the fuck killed Kennedy, but I sure wish he’d hurry up and kill Nixon!"

• The best male comrades are idealists in love with all mankind. The best female comrades are romantics in love with another comrade. In fact, the best way to recruit women to the cause was “horizontally.”

• McCarthy was an idiot. Any real comrade wouldn’t weasel around with the fifth amendment, he would just flat-out lie. If they had the goods on him, then he was under orders to recant his communism and implicate as many Trotskyites as he knew personally.

• Edward G. Robinson was cast as the slave overseer in the Ten Commandments because Cecil B. DeMille was a reactionary bastard who hated Robinson’s Trotskyism.

• Virtually any comrade can be denounced by calling him a “rootless cosmopolitan” or accusing him of “petty bourgeois individualism.” Just about everyone does something that could be tarred with these vices.

Around 1974, Mr. Kling needed more space for his adhesive business, so he sold the machine equipment to Bud who moved it to a location in the city. I saw him again just once, in about 1989, when we were on opposite platforms on the Belmont El, where he just had time to yell “Hi’ya comrade!” before hopping on a northbound Ravenswood train.

I didn’t think abut either Bud or Mr. Kling again until I saw the name “Jack Kling of Chicago” in the July/August 2002 issue of the Atlantic Monthly. This Jack Kling, while posing as a respectable business man, was actually the go-between from the K.G.B. to the C.P.U.S.A,. Each year, he and his wife Sue would go on a European vacation where they would be given a suitcase full of money that constituted the Soviet subsidy to the American Communist Party. Sometimes the suitcase would contain more than one million dollars.

That Jack Kling is buried in Forest Home Cemetery, right next to Mother Flynn, about ten yards away from the Haymarket Monument.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this facinating recounting which I found in researching Jack after reading his wife Sue had recently died.

Jeff said...

Looking for copyright info for the gravestone imageis it yours? How can we request permission to use?

The Dutchman said...

Jeff —
My son took the pic, so yes, we do hold the copyright to the image.
What would you be using the image for?
Please contact me directly: