This sure explains why they are like they are.
Some of the ACLU's founders were...
Roger Baldwin, the first director of the ACLU, was also a communist. He explains in his book, Liberty Under the Soviets, "I joined. I don’t regret being a part of the Communist tactic, which increased the effectiveness of a good cause. I knew what I was doing. I was not an innocent liberal. I wanted what the Communists wanted…”
William Z. Foster, then National Chairman of the Communist Party USA and an ACLU co-founder, is famous for this 1932 quote: "The establishment of an American Soviet government will involve the confiscation of large landed estates in town and country, and also, the whole body to forests, mineral deposits, lakes, rivers and so on." He was the author of Toward Soviet America.
Another co-founder was Harold J. Laski, renowned English socialist and political scientist. Among his writings is Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels: with the original text and prefaces.
Rev. Harry Ward, the "Red Dean" of the Union Theological Seminary in New York City was Chairman of the ACLU in 1920. In 1908, he was the founder of the oldest, officially-cited Communist-front group in America, the Methodist Federation for Social Action. A year later, he played a part in organizing the Federal Council of Churches, forerunner of the present day, National Council of Churches.
A. J. Muste held a degree from Union Theological Seminary. When war broke out in Europe, he became a pacifist, inspired by the Christian mysticism of the Quakers, and started working with the fledging American Civil Liberties Union in Boston. In 1929 Muste helped form the Conference for Progressive Labor Action (CPLA), seeking to reform the AF of L from within. When the Depression broke like a storm over America, the CPLA became openly revolutionary and was instrumental in forming the American Workers Party in 1933--a "democratically organized revolutionary party" in which A.J. played the leading role.
Scott Nearing, whose left-wing politics first drove him into, and then forced him to leave, the Socialist and Communist parties, was an early ACLU leader. He ran for Congress on the Socialist Party ticket in 1918 against incumbent Fiorello LaGuardia. He was soundly defeated because of his anti-capitalist, pro-socialist, anti-war positions.
Eugene V. Debs, who founded the Socialist Party of America, was a five time Socialist Candidate for the presidency. Debs, the only candidate to run for U.S. President from prison, was an ACLU activist.
John Dewey, radical philosopher and early ACLU activist was interested mainly in education. He asserted that “democracy has always been allied with humanism, with faith in the potentials of human nature” and that “democracy means the belief that humanistic culture should prevail.”
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, another early ACLU leader, was born into an active socialist family. Her father was an organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), and she joined that organization at age 16. Flynn joined the Communist Party in 1936, and she was active in the CP for the rest of her life. She went to the USSR in 1964 to represent the CPUSA at an International Party Congress. She became ill, died in the Soviet Union, and was honored with a state funeral in Red Square.
Louis F. Batons was another prominent leader of the Communist Party and an ACLU activist.
Jane Addams, another ACLU co-founder, was a pacifist and an advocate of internationalism. She participated in the International Congress of Women at the Hague in 1915 and maintained her pacifist stance after the United States entered the war in 1917, working through the Women's Peace Party, which became the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom in 1919. She was the WILPF's first president.
Norman Thomas was a leading American socialist, pacifist, and six-time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party. He was a co-founder of the ACLU, and became a socialist while attending Union Theological Seminary.