Knowledge Identifier: &American_Communist_Party
Founded in 1919.
Countries: United States (31%), Russia (17%), Germany (14%)
Linked to: Communist Labor Party, Communist Party, Communist Party of Canada, Communist Party of China
Socialist Party of America - Unity between these two communist organizations was a lengthy and complicated process, formally taking place at a secret convention held at the Overlook Mountain House hotel near Woodstock, New York in May 1921 with the establishment of a new unified "Communist Party of America
In 1925 the Comintern, through its representative Sergei Gusev, ordered the majority Foster faction to surrender control to Ruthenberg's faction; Foster complied
By 1930, the party adopted the title of Communist Party of the USA, with the slogan of "the united front from below"
Earl Russell Browder offered to run as Norman Thomas' running mate on a joint Socialist Party-Communist Party ticket in the 1936 presidential election but Thomas rejected this overture
Although membership in the CPUSA rose to about 75,000 by 1938, many members left the party after the Soviet Union signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with Nazi Germany on August 23, 1939
Congress passed the Smith Act, which made it illegal to advocate, abet, or teach the desirability of overthrowing the government, in 1940
Ostensibly, this was not due to Lovestone's insubordination in challenging a decision by Stalin, but for his support for American Exceptionalism, the thesis that socialism could be achieved peacefully in the USA. Lovestone and Gitlow formed their own group called the "Communist Party ", a section of the pro-Bukharin International Communist Opposition, which was initially larger than the Trotskyists but failed to survive past 1941
Communist Party of Burma - In February 1946 Thakin Soe denounced the leadership, accusing them of Browderism, the form of revisionism espoused by Earl Browder, leader of the American Communist Party, who proposed that armed struggle would no longer be necessary, as world fascism and imperialism had been weakened, making constitutional methods a real option to achieve national liberation
More important for the party was the renewal of state persecution of the CPUSA. The Truman administration's loyalty oath program, introduced in 1947, drove some leftists out of federal employment and, more importantly, legitimized the notion of Communists as subversives, to be exposed and expelled from public and private employment
Against the backdrop of these many setbacks, however, William Z Foster, who was once again in a leadership role after the ouster of Earl Browder, and who, due to his poor health, had not been brought to trial in 1948 along with a number of other members of the party's leadership, wrote his "History of the Communist Party of the United States"
Cold War - As the decades progressed, the combined effects of the second Red Scare, McCarthyism, Nikita Khrushchev's 1956 Secret Speech denouncing the previous decades of Joseph Stalin's rule, and the adversities of the continued Cold War mentality, steadily weakened the Communist Party's internal structure and confidence
By 1957, membership had dwindled to less than 10,000, of whom some 1,500 were informants for the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Vietnam War - The party attempted to recover with its opposition to the Vietnam War during the U.S. Civil rights movement in the 1960s, but the continued uncritical support of the CPUSA for an increasingly stultified and militaristic Soviet Union increasingly alienated them from the rest of the U.S. left, who saw this supportive position as outdated and even dangerous
Many of these critics were elements on both U.S. coasts who would come together to form the Progressive Labor Movement in 1961
With the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the party held its convention and attempted to resolve the issue of whether the Party should reject Marxism-Leninism
In June 2014, the Party will be holding its 30th National Convention in Chicago