Samuel Johnson’s famous scoundrel who finds a last refuge in patriotic fervor has a counterpart in radicals like DeGenova and Foner who cloak their revolutionary agendas in the flag and values they intend to subvert. A generation of American Communists, Paul Robeson among them, rationalized their disloyalty to America (and loyalty to the Soviet Union) as a higher commitment to socialism which would one day transform America itself. By defending Soviet Communism, they were in their minds actually building “a better America.” In the 1930s, the Communist Party’s leader, Earl Browder, made this fantasy a Party slogan: “Communism is Twentieth Century Americanism.”
Through this distorted lens, American Communists viewed their loyalty to the Soviet Union as loyalty to an ideal America, which would be built on Communist principles. Opposition to Communism and the Soviet Union could then be viewed as a form of treason to America itself.
— Unholy Alliance