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About Nathaniel Weyl
Nathaniel Weyl (July 20, 1910 – April 13, 2005) was an American economist and author who wrote on a variety of social issues. A member of the Communist Party of the United States from 1933 until 1939, after leaving the party he became a conservative and avowed anti-communist. In 1952 he played a minor role in the Alger Hiss case.
Early life and career
Born in New York City, Weyl was the only child of Walter Edward Weyl, a founder of The New Republic and a prominent progressive, and Bertha Poole Weyl. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree from Columbia College of Columbia University in 1931 and did postgraduate work at the London School of Economics. He was employed as an economist at the Agricultural Adjustment Administration and joined the Communist party the same year. He joined the Ware group, a covert cell of Communists in Washington, D.C. whose members sought to promote leftist and pro-communist policies in the government. Some members of the Ware group would engage in espionage for the Soviet Union, though Weyl apparently never participated in any espionage himself. He left the party in 1939, disheartened by the Hitler-Stalin non-aggression pact of that year.
After leaving the Communist party, Weyl accepted a post as head of the Latin American research unit at the Federal Reserve Board and later moved to the Board of Economic Warfare. He served overseas in the Army for two years during World War II. After the war he became a journalist and author, as well as earning an income from investments.
In 1952 Weyl testified before the Senate Internal Security Committee that he had been a member of the Ware group, and that Alger Hiss had attended meetings as well. This was the only eyewitness corroboration of Whittaker Chambers's testimony that Alger Hiss was a Communist. However, it came two years after Hiss had been convicted of perjury, and Weyl's failure to come forward as a witness in the Hiss trials was never explained by Weyl.
Weyl writings included studies of communism, especially in Latin America; espionage and internal security in the United States; racial, ethnic and class analyses of societies; and the roles of political and intellectual elites. Some of his writing has been published in eugenics journals and has espoused such views as blaming modern revolutionary movements on the "envy of non-achievers against creative minorities." Two of Weyl's books, Treason (1950) and Red Star Over Cuba (1961), received some critical interest and discussion in their times. Red Star Over Cuba postulates that Fidel Castro was a covert Communist before the Cuban Revolution, having been recruited by the Soviets while he was a teenager. The theory has not been widely accepted.
Following the release of Red Star Over Cuba Weyl and John Martino, an activist against Fidel Castro, also actively promoted the story that Lee Harvey Oswald had been in Cuba prior to his attempt on the life of John F. Kennedy, where he enjoyed contact with Cuban intelligence and Castro. Martino admitted that the story was fabricated shortly prior to his death in 1975.
His 1979 book Karl Marx - Racist contains a summary and critique of Marx's views on race and the role of Jews in modern capitalism, as well as a discussion of later refutations of Marx's economic views. At the same time, Weyl himself supported white minority-rule regimes in southern Africa against "communist terrorists" like Nelson Mandela, preferring the whites of Rhodesia, South Africa, and Portuguese colonial rule. Thinking that the struggle of indigenous liberation movements was essentially destroyed by 1970, he published Traitor's End – intending the book to be the white anti-Communists' celebration of the supposed destruction of the black majority's liberation movements.
Weyl was also an apologist for segregation at home. A supporter of racialist theories against miscegenation, Weyl wrote for the Mankind Quarterly – for which Robert Gayre dubbed him a modern proponent of the anthropological ideas of the 19th-century eugenicist Sir Francis Galton. A tinge less racially conservative than most of the journal's writers, he allowed that intermarriage between the races might be permissible in certain select instances.
Weyl reportedly moderated his conservative views later in his life, and voted for Bill Clinton and John Kerry. He died in Ojai, California, on April 13, 2005. Surviving him were sons Jonathan and Walter Weyl, step daughters, Georgianne Cowan (Charles Bernstein) and Jeanne Cowan (Barney Hass), three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. His first wife, Sylvia, and second wife, Marcelle, had both died previously.
Writings of Nathaniel Weyl