Was Alan Lomax a Communist?

James Stewart wrote,

"According to one source, if I understand correctly, Alan Lomax was to be considered a part of the popular front, but it is not clear that he was a party member or in any way a formal agent of the left. Pete Seeger, on the other hand, was clearly a supporter of the radical left and did some work of the Communist party, although, again, I don't know that he was (or is) a party member. Both Seeger and Lomax get lumped into the Popular Front category."

From Songs for Political Action by Ronald D. Cohen and Dave Samuelson, page 13:

"[In the early 1930s Charles] Seeger [Pete's father] became strongly committed to documenting and publicizing traditional American folk song in articles he wrote as 'Carl Sands' for the Communist Party's 'Daily Worker'. . . ."

"Another figure in the emerging folk revival was John Lomax's son, Alan, who would become a seminal force in the spread of folk music among urban listeners. The younger Lomax identified with the 'left-of-center politics, egalitarian values and functionalist approach' of Botkin, Halpert and Seeger, which dismayed his conservative father. . . ."

page 19 "[Pete] Seeger, while hardly doctrinaire, had only recently joined the Party [in 1942]."

page 24 "Alan Lomax, now at the Office of War Information in Washington, remained quick to organize budding leftist performers."

And so on. Lomax was one of the founders and stalwarts of Peoples Songs, an enthusiastic supporter of Henry Wallace and the Progressive Party, etc. Pete Seeger ("Pete Bowers") and his fellow Weavers were named as CP members by Peoples Songs renegade Harvey Matusow ("Harvey Matt") in testimony before HUAC in 1952, which he later regretted.

Ken Lawrence