This book examines the multifaceted dimensions that make up the American communist movement from its early years in the 1920s to its peak in the years leading up to World War II. The author’s approach differentiates between the political-, social-, and labor-oriented motivations taken by the movement's participants.
In 1943 the American Communist Party was a large, politically influential, broadly based movement. In 1957 it was a small, weak, and isolated political sect. The Party's decline in the intervening Cold War years is the subject of this book-an analysis of a major radical movement that touched millions of Americans and pervaded many aspects of American life. The author, at one time active in the Party and foreign editor of its paper, the Daily Worker, and now a scholar and professor of political science, has combined personal experience with careful scholarship to analyze what happened to a revolutionary organization that found itself unable to make a revolution. His approach is not autobiographical, but rather analytical. Mr. Starobin places the Party in its historical and political context and describes its unsuccessful efforts to adapt to the demands of the American political situation. Throughout the book are fresh interpretations of important events: the struggle in 1945 between Earl Browder and William Z. Foster for leadership of the Party, the outcome of which had a profound effect on the Party's future course; the nature of Browder's policies and Moscow's eventual rejection of him; the Henry Wallace movement of 1948; the right-left battle within the CIO in the late forties; the "Communist conspiracy" problem of the fifties; the Party's relationship with the Soviet Communists; the origins of the "Black liberation movement." The author's basic conclusion is that American Communists were on their way to becoming an authentic and powerful radical movement in American life but were defeated by a basic contradiction: they could not continue to be part of a world movement dominated by Leninist concepts and yet consolidate their relative success within the United States, where these concepts were not applicable. To survive, the Party had to change. It had to anticipate by fifteen years and to endure the two tendencies that would develop within world Communism: the Russian quasi-revolutionary strain and the Chinese ultra-revolutionary. It tried, Mr. Starobin shows, and it failed. American Communism in Crisis, 1943-1957 will interest not only history-minded readers but also anyone concerned today with social change. The book has much to say to the new left-giving historical material necessary for an understanding of its past and its potential.
Of all the 'third party' movements in American history, none have been as controversial as the Communist Party of the United States of America. Although denounced as a tool of the Soviet Union, accused of espionage and charged with advocating the revolutionary overthrow of the American government, before WWII it had been an accepted part of the political landscape. This collection offers an intriguing insight into this controversial political party in light of the Moscow archives that were made accessible after the end of the Cold War. This collection of original essays explores new aspects in the history of American Communism, drawing on a range of documents from Moscow and Eastern Europe. Examining traditional subjects in the light of new evidence, the essays cover a range of topics including party leaders, espionage, campaigns against racism, the Spanish Civil War, communism and gender, the fate of members after the McCarthy era and ways in which Communists became Anti-Communists.
A major figure in the history of twentieth-century American radicalism, William Z. Foster (1881-1961) fought his way out of the slums of turn-of-the-century Philadelphia to become a professional revolutionary as well as a notorious and feared labor agitator. Drawing on private family papers, FBI files, and recently opened Russian archives, this first full-scale biography traces Foster's early life as a world traveler, railroad worker, seaman, hobo, union activist, and radical journalist, and also probes the origins and implications of his ill-fated career as a top-echelon Communist official and three-time presidential candidate. Even though Foster's long and eventful life ended in Moscow, where he was given a state funeral in Red Square, he was, as portrayed here, a thoroughly American radical. The book not only reveals the circumstances of Foster's poverty-stricken childhood in Philadelphia, but also vividly describes his work and travels in the American West. Also included are fascinating accounts of his early political career as a Socialist, "Wobbly," and anarcho-syndicalist, and of his activities as the architect of giant organizing campaigns by the American Federation of Labor, involving hundreds of thousands of workers in the meatpacking and steel industries. The author views Foster's influence in the American Communist movement from the perspective of the history of American labor and unionism, but he also offers a realistic assessment of Foster's career in light of factional intrigues at the highest levels of the Communist International. Originally published in 1994. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
The Secret World of American Communism (1995), filled with revelations about Communist party covert operations in the United States, created an international sensation. Now the American authors of that book, along with Soviet archivist Kyrill M. Anderson, offer a second volume of profound social, political, and historical importance. Based on documents newly available from Russian archives, The Soviet World of American Communism conclusively demonstrates the continuous and intimate ties between the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) and Moscow. In a meticulous investigation of the personal, organizational, and financial links between the CPUSA and Soviet Communists, the authors find that Moscow maintained extensive control of the CPUSA, even of the American rank and file. The widely accepted view that the CPUSA was essentially an idealistic organization devoted to the pursuit of social justice must be radically revised, say the authors. Although individuals within the organization may not have been aware of Moscow’s influence, the leaders of the organization most definitely were. The authors explain and annotate ninety-five documents, reproduced here in their entirety or in large part, and they quote from hundreds of others to reveal the actual workings of the American Communist party. They show that: • the USSR covertly provided a large part of the CPUSA budget from the early 1920s to the end of the 1980s; • Moscow issued orders, which the CPUSA obeyed, on issues ranging from what political decisions the American party should make to who should serve in the party leadership; • the CPUSA endorsed Stalin’s purges and the persecution of Americans living in Russia.
From a height of almost 100,000 members during the Depression, when politicians, workers, and intellectuals were drawn into its orbit, the American Communist Party has descended into irrelevance and isolation, failing even to run a presidential candidate in 1988. Indeed, as Guenter Lewy writes in this critical account of American Communism, despite decades of feverish activity and ferocious discipline, it was a cause doomed to fail from the very beginning. In The Cause that Failed, Lewy offers an incisive narrative of the American Communist Party from the days of John Reed to the advent of glasnost. He traces its origins and development, underscoring how its devotion to Moscow and inflexible Marxist ideology isolated it from the American scene--in fact, most of its first members were Eastern European immigrants. During the left wing tide of the Depression the Communist Party reached the peak of its influence, as it joined labor unions and progressive organizations in a "Popular Front." But Lewy reveals the deceptive, antidemocratic, self-defeating tactics the Communists pursued even then, as they manipulated front organizations, seized control of political parties, peace groups, and labor unions, and enforced political conformity among members and sympathizers. He follows the Party through its inexorable decline in the succeeding decades, up to its current position as one of the last Stalinist parties left in a world of glasnost and perestroika. Lewy also provides a sharply critical discussion of the encounter between Communism and liberal and mainstream America. He examines such groups as the ACLU and SANE, arguing that the years when these organizations were tolerant toward Communists were also the times when they neglected their original purpose in favor of partisan causes. He shows how Communists have manipulated well-meaning citizens in the peace movement and in Wallace's 1948 Progressive Party presidential campaign. One of the great ills Americans suffer, he writes, is an overreaction to McCarthyism--an atmosphere of anti-anticommunism--which blinds them to the wrongs wrought by international Communism and makes them ignore the deceptive role played by the American Communist Party, which even today still keeps eighty percent of its membership secret. The Cause that Failed presents an intensively researched and trenchantly argued historical analysis of Communism in America. Guenter Lewy's provocative account provides a new understanding of Communism's machinations in U.S. politics, and how Americans from across the political spectrum have responded to its challenge.
Dubious Alliance was first published in 1984. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions. The formation of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party of Minnesota took place in a context of intense factional struggle that lasted from the death of Governor Floyd B. Olson in 1936 to the election of Hubert Humphrey to the U.S. Senate in 1948. Dubious Alliance, the first full account of this critical chapter in the state's political history, has wider significance not only because many of the leading figures in the story have played a role in national politics, but also because it deals with issues—chief among them, the origins of Cold War liberalism— that matter far beyond the boundaries of a single state. John Haynes follows the struggle from its inception to the postwar battle within the new DFL between Popular Front adherents and anti-Communist liberals led by Minneapolis Mayor Hubert Humphrey. He makes clear that the struggle with the Popular Front was the formative political experience of Humphrey's generation; those who fought with him, and who became active in national politics—Orville Freeman, Eugene McCarthy, Walter Mondale, Donald Fraser—did not seriously question Cold War foreign policy till well into the Vietnam era. Thorough and dispassionate, this book will help today's readers better understand the DFL's birth and the struggle that surrounded it—complex events long obscured by Cold War fears and political myth-making. John Earl Haynes is a historian by training—he earned his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota—and also a specialist in tax policy. He was an adviser to Governor Wendell Anderson and later served as a congressional aide to Anderson and to Representative Martin Sabo. Haynes is now Director of Tax and Credit Analysis for the state of Minnesota.