In 1935, the state of California convicted eight Communist organizers of criminal syndicalism and sent them to prison. This article argues that the Sacramento conspiracy trial of farm labor organizers shows how California growers and their allies in state and local government used the fear of Communism as a cudgel to beat back New Deal challenges to their power. The growers generated a Red Scare to help them maintain their control over workers and wages at a time when they felt threatened by the federal government’s new interest in workers’ rights.

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