F is for Fellow Travelers

by RS on April 6, 2012

After yesterday’s post E is for Email Subscriptions and my lament of losing subscribers, I received a lovely message from a comrade who liked the post and subscribed.

In Julius, when Alvah Bessie starts appearing in Corinne’s dreams, he says to her right the wrongs that were done to their fellow travelers. It’s all very cryptic and foreshadows an event in a later chapter … and that’s all I’m saying.

But let me get back to “Fellow Travelers” what’s the precise meaning? Essentially it means people who sympathize with a political party (typically Marxist) and follow the party line, but are not formal members even though they might contribute to party causes, but they don’t pay dues, don’t have a party card and aren’t tied up 100 percent to party discipline.

So is my comrade a fellow traveler? Technically, no. He’s a full-fledged member. Whereas yours truly is a fellow traveler (I let my membership lapse when I had limited funds).

So was Alvah Bessie a fellow traveler? Oh, no, he was a bonafide member;  however, after Krushchev revealed the atrocities of Stalin, Alvah, like many others, dropped out of the party and then became a fellow traveler. See how it works?

During the 1950s, fellow travelers was a pejorative used by anti-communists and were attacked for either lacking the courage of their convictions and becoming full-fledged members or hiding their true convictions from the public. What the hell? Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

Now here’s something interesting to note: You’ve obviously noticed that the states that typically vote Republican are “Red” states. It gets worse I was reading about the Tea Party and one of the so-called leaders said in an interview that he and other “fellow travelers” were planning a rally. This furacious use of our terms is irritating. They couldn’t come up with another color like beige (that seems insipid enough) or make up with their own term to describe themselves like crony wanderers? But then again we’re dealing with the Tea Party where originality and imagination is in short supply.

That’s all for this week. Next week it’s G through J and they’re really good ones. Before I sign-off, I’m having a little contest of sorts. In each entry, I used an uncommon word from the Word Lover’s Dictionary. The first person to leave me a comment with all five words and their definition gets a free copy of HAND/EYE Magazine’s World Textiles.

Good luck and have a great weekend!


The Republican "red" states always struck me as a classic co-optation.


Wow. Such a lot of information so well written! I personally love the word "pejorative" - it reminds me of one of the monologues in the Vagina Monologues. They always make me happy like your post made me happy.


I am a member of Team Tina for the AtoZchallenge & am trying to comment on everyone else's blogs at least a few times.


Nice to "meet" you!

Julie Jordan Scott

twitter: @juliejordanscot

<a href=http://juliejordanscott.typepad.com/julie_unplugged/2012/04/gisforgabriela.html> G is for Gabriela Mistral </a> #atozchallenge




I'm finding your posts informative and have enjoyed reading them and learning.   


I always like a challenge, especially when it comes to words, so here is my guess as to your 5 words:

Benison - a blessing, esp a spoken one

Conation- the part of mental life having to do with striving, 

including desireand volition.

Disquisition - a formal discourse or treatise in which a subject is examined and

discussed; dissertation.

Expergefaction - awakening

Furacious - Given to theft; thievish.


Thanks for helping me learn some new vocab.   Thanks too for your response to my comment on your Mar 31 post & the book suggestions in your 'A' post.  

RebecaSchiller moderator

 @scmorgan Learning something new is always good. Thanks for the heads up on Saturdays! I was ready to lie back and relax. I guess when I get back from tonight's Chinese dinner, I'll be writing. 

RebecaSchiller moderator

 @annecamille Thank you! I'm so pleased that you're enjoying them. You are the winner of the contest. My email is in The Writer link. Email me you're address and I'll get a copy of the magazine out to you. I hope you like that too. It's actually my favorite edition. Congratulations!


  1. […] Neither of my parents were communists. Maybe, at best, fellow travelers (for a definition see F is For Fellow Travelers). And both admired the veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigades, especially Alvah Bessie (my father […]

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