Rep. Allen West, a tea party Republican from Florida, said Tuesday that he did not regret describing the members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus as communists.


At a forum, he called on journalists to study the political spectrum of ideologies and claimed that in the early 1900s, American communists called themselves progressives.

"There is a very thin line between communism, progressivism, Marxism, Socialism," West said. "It's about nationalizing production, it's about creating and expanding the welfare state, it's about this idea of social and economic justice... it is also about the creation of a secular state."

He said proposed federal government rules requiring virtually all private insurance policies to cover female contraceptives was "really about" the federal government reclassifying religious organizations so that religion could be manipulated "however they wish." In addition, West claimed that the government was already in the process of nationalizing production.

"Folks, do your research, understand these ideologies, this is a choice between two very clear futures for the United States of America," West said. "And I'm not going to back down."

Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairs Reps. Raul M. Grijalva and Keith Ellison previously accused West of dividing Americans with modern-day witch hunts like Joe McCarthy had done.

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