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History of the socialist movement in the United States

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Title: History of the socialist movement in the United States  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: History of socialism, Socialist Party of America, Socialism, Socialism in New Zealand, Appeal to Reason (newspaper)
Collection: History of Socialism, Political Movements in the United States, Socialism in the United States
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

History of the socialist movement in the United States

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. The gesture did not mean that much in practical terms, since the CPUSA was, by 1936, effectively supporting Roosevelt in much of his trade union work. While continuing to run its own candidates for office, the CPUSA pursued a policy of representing the Democratic Party as the lesser evil in elections. Party members also rallied to the defense of the Spanish Republic during this period after a Nationalist military uprising moved to overthrow it, resulting in the Spanish Civil War (1936 to 1939). The CPUSA, along with leftists throughout the world, raised funds for medical relief while many of its members made their way to Spain with the aid of the party to join the Lincoln Brigade, one of the International Brigades. Among its other achievements, the Lincoln Brigade was the first American military force to include blacks and whites integrated on an equal basis.

Intellectually, the fronts". The CPUSA under Browder supported Stalin's show trials in the Soviet Union, called the Moscow Trials.[91] Therein, between August 1936 and mid-1938 the Soviet government indicted, tried, and shot virtually all of the remaining Old Bolsheviks.[91] Beyond the show trials lay a broader purge, the Great Purge, that killed millions.[91] Browder uncritically supported Stalin, likening Trotskyism to "cholera germs" and calling the purge "a signal service to the cause of progressive humanity".[92] He compared the show trial defendants to domestic traitors Benedict Arnold, Aaron Burr, disloyal War of 1812 Federalists, and Confederate secessionists, while likening persons who "smeared" Stalin's name to those who had slandered Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt.[92]

For the first half of the 20th century, the Communist Party was a highly influential force in various struggles for democratic rights. It Hungarian Revolution of 1956 as confirmation of this. Those who endorsed the politics of James took the name Facing Reality, after the 1958 book by James co-written with Grace Lee Boggs and Pierre Chaulieu, a pseudonym for Cornelius Castoriadis, on the Hungarian working class revolt of 1956.

Anarchism continued to influence important American literary and intellectual personalities of the time, such as [117] It developed "mostly in Holland, Britain, and the United States, before and during the Second World War".[118] Dorothy Day, (November 8, 1897 – November 29, 1980) was an American journalist, social activist and devout Catholic convert; she advocated the Catholic economic theory of distributism. She was also considered to be an anarchist,[119][120][121] and did not hesitate to use the term.[122] In the 1930s, Day worked closely with fellow activist Peter Maurin to establish the Catholic Worker movement, a nonviolent, pacifist movement that continues to combine direct aid for the poor and homeless with nonviolent direct action on their behalf. The cause for Day's canonization is open in the Catholic Church. Ammon Hennacy was an American pacifist, Christian anarchist, vegetarian, social activist, member of the Catholic Worker Movement, and a Wobbly. He established the "Joe Hill House of Hospitality" in Salt Lake City, Utah and practiced tax resistance.

Reunification with the Democratic Socialist Federation. When the Soviet Union led an invasion of Hungary in 1956, half of the members of Communist Parties around the world quit; in the U.S., half did, and many joined the Socialist Party. Frank Zeidler was an American Socialist politician and Mayor of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, serving three terms from April 20, 1948 to April 18, 1960. He was the most recent Socialist mayor of any major American city. Zeidler was Milwaukee's third Socialist mayor (after Emil Seidel [1910-12] and Daniel Hoan [1916-40]), making Milwaukee the largest American city to elect three Socialists to its highest office. In 1958 the Socialist Party welcomed former members of the Independent Socialist League, which before its 1956 dissolution had been led by Max Shachtman. Shachtman had developed a Marxist critique of Soviet communism as "bureaucratic collectivism", a new form of class society that was more oppressive than any form of capitalism. Shachtman's theory was similar to that of many dissidents and refugees from Communism, such as the theory of the "New Class" proposed by Yugoslavian dissident Milovan Đilas (Djilas). Shachtman's ISL had attracted youth like Irving Howe, Michael Harrington,[126] Tom Kahn, and Rachelle Horowitz.[127][128][129] The YPSL was dissolved, but the party formed a new youth group under the same name.[130]

Frank Zeidler, American Socialist politician and Mayor of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, serving three terms from April 20, 1948 to April 18, 1960. He was the most recent Socialist mayor of any major American city.

The Second Red Scare is a period lasting roughly from 1950 to 1956 and characterized by heightened fears of communist influence on American institutions and espionage by Soviet agents. During the McCarthy era, thousands of Americans were accused of being communists or communist sympathizers and became the subject of aggressive investigations and questioning before government or private-industry panels, committees and agencies. The primary targets of such suspicions were government employees, those in the entertainment industry, educators and union activists. Suspicions were often given credence despite inconclusive or questionable evidence, and the level of threat posed by a person's real or supposed leftist associations or beliefs was often greatly exaggerated. Many people suffered loss of employment and/or destruction of their careers; some even suffered imprisonment. Most of these punishments came about through trial verdicts later overturned,[131] laws that would be declared unconstitutional,[132] dismissals for reasons later declared illegal[133] or actionable,[134] or extra-legal procedures that would come into general disrepute. The most famous examples of McCarthyism include the speeches, investigations, and hearings of Senator McCarthy himself; the Hollywood blacklist, associated with hearings conducted by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC); and the various anti-communist activities of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) under Director J. Edgar Hoover. It is difficult to estimate the number of victims of McCarthyism. The number imprisoned is in the hundreds, and some ten or twelve thousand lost their jobs.[135] In many cases simply being subpoenaed by HUAC or one of the other committees was sufficient cause to be fired.[136] Many of those who were imprisoned, lost their jobs or were questioned by committees did in fact have a past or present connection of some kind with the Communist Party USA. But for the vast majority, both the potential for them to do harm to the nation and the nature of their communist affiliation were tenuous.[137] Even the prominent African American intellectual and activist W. E. B. Du Bois was affected by these policies and he became incensed in 1961 when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the 1950 McCarran Act, a key piece of McCarthyism legislation which required communists to register with the government.[138] To demonstrate his outrage, he joined the Communist party in October 1961, at the age of 93.[138] Around that time, he wrote: "I believe in communism. I mean by communism, a planned way of life in the production of wealth and work designed for building a state whose object is the highest welfare of its people and not merely the profit of a part."[139] In 1950 Du Bois had already ran for U.S. Senator from New York on the socialist American Labor Party ticket and received about 200,000 votes, or 4% of the statewide total.[140]

Mattachine Society, the first sustained gay rights group in the United States which in its early days had a strong marxist influence. The Encyclopedia of Homosexuality reports that "As Marxists the founders of the group believed that the injustice and oppression which they suffered stemmed from relationships deeply embedded in the structure of American society".[141] A longtime member of the Communist Party USA, Hay's Marxist history led to his resignation from the Mattachine leadership in 1953. Hay's involvement in the gay movement became more informal after that, although he did co-found the Los Angeles chapter of the Gay Liberation Front in 1969. As Hay became more involved in his Mattachine work, he correspondingly became more concerned that his homosexuality would negatively affect the Communist Party, which did not allow gays to be members. Hay himself approached Party leaders and recommended his own expulsion. The Party refused to expel Hay as a homosexual, instead expelling him as a "security risk" at the same time declaring him to be a "Lifelong Friend of the People".[142] Homosexuality was classified as a psychiatric disorder in the 1950s.[143] However, in the context of the highly politicised Cold War environment, homosexuality became framed as a dangerous, contagious social disease that posed a potential threat to state security.[143] This era also witnessed the establishment of widely spread FBI surveillance intended to identify homosexual government employees.[144]

1960s–1970s: the New Left and social unrest

Picture of A. Philip Randolph.
Socialist A. Philip Randolph led the 1963 March on Washington at which Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his speech "I have a dream".

The term "New Left" was popularised in the US in an open letter written in 1960 by sociologist C. Wright Mills (1916–62), entitled Letter to the New Left.[145] Mills argued for a new leftist ideology, moving away from the traditional ("Old Left") focus on labor issues, towards issues such as opposing alienation, anomie, and authoritarianism. Mills argued for a shift from traditional leftism, toward the values of the counterculture, and emphasized an international perspective on the movement.[146] According to David Burner, C Wright Mills claimed that the proletariat were no longer the revolutionary force; the new agent of revolutionary change were young intellectuals around the world.[147]

In the wake of the downfall of Senator McCarthy (who never served in the House, nor HUAC), the prestige of HUAC began a gradual decline beginning in the late 1950s. By 1959, the committee was being denounced by former President Harry S. Truman as the "most un-American thing in the country today".[148] The committee lost considerable prestige as the 1960s progressed, increasingly becoming the target of political satirists and the defiance of a new generation of political activists. HUAC subpoenaed Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman of the Yippies in 1967, and again in the aftermath of the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The Yippies used the media attention to make a mockery of the proceedings. Rubin came to one session dressed as a United States Revolutionary War soldier and passed out copies of the United States Declaration of Independence to people in attendance. Rubin then "blew giant gum bubbles while his co-witnesses taunted the committee with Nazi salutes".[149]

The Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) came to the forefront of the U.S. leftist activist political scene in 1965, PLP dissolved M2M and entered SDS, working vigorously to attract supporters and to form party clubs on campuses. On the other hand, the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party supported both the civil rights movement and the Black nationalist movement which grew during the 1960s. It particularly praised the militancy of Black nationalist leader Malcolm X, who in turn spoke at the SWP's public forums and gave an interview to Young Socialist magazine. Like all left wing groups, the SWP grew during the 1960s and experienced a particularly brisk growth in the first years of the 1970s. Much of this was due to its involvement in many of the campaigns and demonstrations against the war in Vietnam.

Kahn and Horowitz, along with 1963 March on Washington, where Martin Luther King delivered his I Have A Dream speech.[3][4][5][6] Martin Luther King Jr. began to speak of the need for fundamental changes in the political and economic life of the nation, and more frequently expressed his opposition to the war and his desire to see a redistribution of resources to correct racial and economic injustice.[150] As such he started his Poor People's Campaign in 1968 as an effort to gain economic justice for poor people in the United States. He guarded his language in public to avoid being linked to communism by his enemies, but in private he sometimes spoke of his support for democratic socialism. In a 1952 letter to Coretta Scott, he said "I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic [...]"[151] In one speech, he stated that "something is wrong with capitalism" and claimed that "[t]here must be a better distribution of wealth, and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism".[152] King had read Marx while at Morehouse.[153]

Angela Davis emerged as a nationally prominent counterculture activist and radical in the 1960s, as a leader of the Communist Party USA, and had close relations with the Black Panther Party

  • Does the US have a Left, Left? by JP MILLER
  • Early Marxists in North America (Marxist Internet Archive)
  • Eugene V. Debs: Trade Unionist, Socialist, Revolutionary 1855-1926 by Bernard Sanders (1979)
  • "Is Obama a socialist? What does the evidence say?" The Christian Science Monitor, July 1, 2010
  • The "O" in Socialism by Betsy Reed, The Nation, June 12, 2009
  • "Why I Am a Socialist" by Chris Hedges, Truthdig, December 29, 2008
  • Ari Paul, "Seattle's election of Kshama Sawant shows socialism can play in America". The Guardian, November 19, 2013.
  • Towards a Socialist America. Andrew Wilkes,The Huffington Post, September 29, 2014.
  • Want to Rebuild the Left? Take Socialism Seriously. Kshama Sawant for The Nation. March 23, 2015.
  • Bernie Sanders's Presidential Bid Represents a Long Tradition of American Socialism. Peter Dreier for The American Prospect. May 2015.

External links

Further reading

  • ALB (2009–10), "The SLP of America: a premature obituary?" Socialist Standard. Retrieved May 11, 2010.[8]
  • Alexander, Robert J. International Trotskyism, 1929–1985: a documented analysis of the movement. United States of America: Duke University Press, 1991. ISBN 0-8223-0975-0
  • Amster, Randall. Contemporary Anarchist Studies: an introductory anthology of anarchy in the academy. Oxford, UK: Taylor & Francis, 2009 ISBN 0-415-47402-7
  • Bérubé, Michael. The Left at War. New York: New York University Press, 2009 ISBN 0-8147-9984-1
  • Georgakas, Dan. Encyclopedia of the American Left (Second edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-19-512088-4
  • Buhle, Paul. Marxism in the United States: Remapping the History of the American Left. Verso; Revised edition (April 17, 1991)
  • Busky, Donald F. Democratic Socialism: A Global Survey. Westport: Praeger Publishers, 2000. ISBN 0-275-96886-3
  • Coleman, Stephen. Daniel De Leon. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1990 ISBN 0-7190-2190-1
  • Draper, Theodore. The Roots of American Communism. New York: Viking Press, 1957. ISBN 0-7658-0513-8
  • Dubofsky, Melvyn. (1994). The State and Labor in Modern America. University of North Carolina Press.
  • George, John and Wilcox, Laird. American Extremists: Militias, Supremacists, Klansmen, Communists & Others. Amherst: Prometheus Books, 1996. ISBN 1-57392-058-4
  • Graeber, David. "The rebirth of anarchism in North America, 1957–2007" in Contemporary history online, No. 21, (Winter, 2010)
  • Isserman, Maurice. The Other American: the life of Michael Harrington. New York: Public Affairs, 2000. ISBN 1-58648-036-7
  • Klehr, Harvey. Far Left of Center: The American Radical Left Today. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1988. ISBN 0-88738-875-2
  • Lingeman, Richard. The Nation Guide to the Nation. New York: Vintage Books, 2009. ISBN 0-307-38728-3
  • Lipset, Seymour Martin and Marks, Gary. It Didn't Happen Here: Why Socialism Failed in the United States. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 2001. ISBN 0-393-04098-4
  • Nichols, John. The S Word: A Short History of an American Tradition...Socialism. Verso (March 21, 2011).
  • Nordhoff, Charles. (1875). THE COMMUNISTIC SOCIETIES OF THE UNITED STATES: From Personal Visit and Observation. Harper & Brothers (reprinted 1966), Dover Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-486-21580-6. LICN 66-11429
  • Reuters. "U.S. protests shrink while antiwar sentiment grows". October 3, 2007, 12:30:17 GMT. Retrieved September 20, 2010.[9]
  • Ryan, James G. (1997). Earl Browder: the failure of American Communism. Tuscaloosa and London: The University of Alabama Press.  
  • Sherman, Amy. "Demonstrators to gather in Fort Lauderdale to rail against oil giant BP", The Miami Herald. May 12, 2010. Retrieved from September 22, 2010.[10]
  • Stedman, Susan W. and Stedman Jr. Murray Salisbury. Discontent at the polls: a study of farmer and labor parties, 1827–1948. New York: Columbia University Press. 1950.
  • Tindall, George Brown and Shi, David E. (1984). America: a Narrative History (Sixth edition, in two volumes). W. W. Norton and Company.
  • Woodcock, George, Anarchism: a history of libertarian ideas and movements. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004. ISBN 1-55111-629-4
  • Zinn, Howard (1980). A People's History of the United States. Harper & Row. ISBN 0-06-014803-9


  1. ^ "In 1889, French syndicalist Raymond Lavigne proposed to the Second International—the international and internationalist coalition of socialist parties—that May 1 be celebrated internationally the next year to honor the Haymarket Martyrs and demand the eight-hour day, and the year after that the International adopted the day as an international workers’ holiday. In countries with strong socialist and communist traditions, May 1 became the primary day to celebrate work, workers and their organizations, often with direct and explicit reference to the Haymarket Martyrs. May Day remains an official holiday in countries ranging from Argentina to India to Malaysia to Croatia—and dozens of countries in between." "May Day’s radical history" by Jacob Remes
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    • D'Emilio, John. Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2004). ISBN
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  34. ^ Tindall and Shi, 1984, p. 829.
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  36. ^ As the conflict dragged on, the state of Colorado was unable to pay the salaries of many National Guardsmen. As enlisted men dropped out, mine guards took their places, their uniforms, and their weapons.
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  39. ^ Tucker said, "the fact that one class of men are dependent for their living upon the sale of their labour, while another class of men are relieved of the necessity of labour by being legally privileged to sell something that is not labour. . . . And to such a state of things I am as much opposed as any one. But the minute you remove privilege. . . every man will be a labourer exchanging with fellow-labourers . . . What Anarchistic-Socialism aims to abolish is usury . . . it wants to deprive capital of its reward."Benjamin Tucker. Instead of a Book, p. 404
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  46. ^ "Free Society was the principal English-language forum for anarchist ideas in the United States at the beginning of the twentieth century." Emma Goldman: Making Speech Free, 1902–1909, p.551.
  47. ^ "Tucker and other individualist anarchists argued in the pages of Liberty that anarchist communism was a misnomer because communism implied state authority and true anarchists were against all forms of authority, even the authority of small groups. To individualist anarchists, communistic anarchism, with its ideals of “to each according to need, from each according to ability,” necessarily implied authority over others, because it did not privilege individual liberty as the highest virtue. But for anarchist communist, who saw economic freedom as central, individual liberty without food and shelter seemed impossible. Unlike the individualist tradition, whose ideas had had years of exposure through the English language anarchist press in America with the publication of
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  52. ^ House Member Introduces Resolution To Abolish the Senate
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  57. ^ This Act is still on the books today and has been repeatedly used in peacetime. Officially, since the Korean War in the 1950s, the United States has been in a constant “state of emergency. Zinn, 1980, p. 356.
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  117. ^ a b c "Resisting the Nation State, the pacifist and anarchist tradition" by Geoffrey Ostergaard
  118. ^  
  119. ^ Day, Dorothy. On Pilgrimage - May 1974, "There was no time to answer the one great disagreement which was in their minds--how can you reconcile your Faith in the monolithic, authoritarian Church which seems so far from Jesus who "had no place to lay his head," and who said "sell what you have and give to the poor,"--with your anarchism? Because I have been behind bars in police stations, houses of detention, jails and prison farms, whatsoever they are called, eleven times, and have refused to pay Federal income taxes and have never voted, they accept me as an anarchist. And I in turn, can see Christ in them even though they deny Him, because they are giving themselves to working for a better social order for the wretched of the earth."
  120. ^ Anarchist FAQ - A.3.7 Are there religious anarchists?, "Tolstoy's ideas had a strong influence on Gandhi, who inspired his fellow country people to use non-violent resistance to kick Britain out of India. Moreover, Gandhi's vision of a free India as a federation of peasant communes is similar to Tolstoy's anarchist vision of a free society (although we must stress that Gandhi was not an anarchist). The Catholic Worker Group in the United States was also heavily influenced by Tolstoy (and Proudhon), as was Dorothy Day a staunch Christian pacifist and anarchist who founded it in 1933."
  121. ^ Reid, Stuart (2008-09-08), "Day by the Pool", The American Conservative
  122. ^ Day, Dorothy.On Pilgrimage - February 1974, "The blurb on the back of the book Small Is Beautiful lists fellow spokesmen for the ideas expressed, including "Alex Comfort, Paul Goodman and Murray Bookchin. It is the tradition we might call anarchism." We ourselves have never hesitated to use the word."
  123. ^ Norman Thomas, Socialism on the Defensive. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1938; pp. 287-288.
  124. ^ Kazin, Michael (August 21, 2011). The Concise Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History. Princeton University Press. p. 112.  
  125. ^ August Meier and Elliot Rudwick. Black Detroit and the Rise of the UAW.
  126. ^ Isserman, The other american, p. 116.
  127. ^ Drucker (1994, p. 269):

    Drucker, Peter (1994). Max Shachtman and his left: A socialist's odyssey through the "American Century". Humanities Press. 

  128. ^ Horowitz (2007, p. 210)
  129. ^ Kahn (2007, pp. 254–255): Kahn, Tom (2007) [1973], "Max Shachtman: His ideas and his movement" (pdf),  
  130. ^ Alexander, pp. 812-813.
  131. ^ For example, Yates v. United States (1957) and Watkins v. United States (1957): Fried (1997), pp. 205, 207.
  132. ^ For example, California's "Levering Oath" law, declared unconstitutional in 1967: Fried (1997), p. 124.
  133. ^ For example, Slochower v. Board of Education (1956): Fried (1997), p. 203.
  134. ^ For example, Faulk vs. AWARE Inc., et al. (1962): Fried (1997), p. 197.
  135. ^ Schrecker (1998), p. xiii.
  136. ^ Schrecker (2002), pp. 63–64.
  137. ^ Schrecker (1998), p. 4.
  138. ^ a b Lewis, p. 709.
  139. ^ Du Bois (1968), Autobiography, p. 57; quoted by Hancock, Ange-Marie, "Socialism/Communism", in Young, p. 197.
  140. ^ Lewis, pp. 690, 694, 695.
  141. ^ "Mattachine Society" at Dynes, Wayne R. (ed.), Encyclopedia of Homosexuality.
  142. ^ Feinberg, Leslie (June 28, 2005). "Harry Hay: Painful partings". Workers World. Retrieved 2007-11-01. 
  143. ^ a b Gary Kinsman and Patrizia Gentile, The Canadian War on Queers: National Security as Sexual Regulation (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2010), p. 65.
  144. ^ John D'Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman, Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America, Third Edition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012), p. 316.
  145. ^
  146. ^ Daniel Geary, "'Becoming International Again': C. Wright Mills and the Emergence of a Global New Left, 1956–1962," Journal of American History, December 2008, Vol. 95, Issue 3, pp. 710–736.
  147. ^ David Burner, Making Peace with the 60s (Princeton University Press, 1996), 155.
  148. ^ Stephen J. Whitfield. The Culture of the Cold War. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996
  149. ^ Youth International Party, 1992.
  150. ^ Ling, Peter J. (2002). Martin Luther King, Jr. Routledge. p. 277.  
  151. ^ Obery M. Hendricks, Jr, Ph.D. (20 January 2014). The Uncompromising Anti-Capitalism of Martin Luther King Jr. The Huffington Post. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  152. ^ Franklin, Robert Michael (1990). Liberating Visions: Human Fulfillment and Social Justice in African-American Thought. Fortress Press. p. 125.  
  153. ^ King, Jr., Martin Luther; King, Coretta Scott; King, Dexter Scott (1998). The Martin Luther King, Jr. Companion: Quotations from the Speeches, Essays, and Books of Martin Luther King, Jr. St. Martin's Press. p. 39.  
  154. ^
    • Sumner, Gregory D. (1996), Dwight Macdonald and the Politics Circle: The Challenge of Cosmopolitan Democracy
    • Whitfield , Stephen J. (1984), A Critical American: The Politics of Dwight Macdonald
    • Wreszin, Michael (1994), A Rebel in Defense of Tradition: The Life and Politics of Dwight MacDonald
  155. ^ Isserman, The Other American, pp. 169–336.
  156. ^ Drucker (1994, pp. 187–308)
  157. ^ Miller, pp. 24–25, 37, 74–75: c.f. pp. 55, 66–70: Miller, James. Democracy is in the Streets: From Port Huron to the Siege of Chicago. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1994, ISBN 978-0-674-19725-1.
  158. ^ Kirkpatrick Sale, SDS, pp. 22–25.
  159. ^ Miller, pp. 75–76, 112–116, 127–132; c.f. p. 107.
  160. ^ Kirkpatrick Sale, SDS, p. 105.
  161. ^ Kirkpatrick Sale, SDS, pp. 25–26
  162. ^ a b Todd Gitlin. The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage (1987), p. 191. ISBN.
  163. ^ Sale, p. 287.

    Sale described an "all‑out invasion of SDS by the Progressive Labor Party. PLers—concentrated chiefly in Boston, New York, and California, with some strength in Chicago and Michigan—were positively cyclotronic in their ability to split and splinter chapter organizations: if it wasn't their self‑righteous positiveness it was their caucus‑controlled rigidity, if not their deliberate disruptiveness it was their overt bids for control, if not their repetitious appeals for base‑building it was their unrelenting Marxism". Kirkpatrick Sale, SDS, pp. 253.

  164. ^ "The student radicals had gamely resisted the resurrected Marxist-Leninist sects ..." (p. 258); "for more than a year, SDS had been the target of a takeover attempt by the Progressive Labor Party, a Marxist-Leninist cadre of Maoists", Miller, p. 284. Miller describes Marxist Leninists also on pages 228, 231, 240, and 254: c.f., p. 268.
  165. ^ Sale wrote, "SDS papers and pamphlets talked of 'armed struggle,' 'disciplined cadre,' 'white fighting force,' and the need for "a communist party that can guide this movement to victory"; SDS leaders and publications quoted Mao and Lenin and Ho Chi Minh more regularly than Jenminh Jih Pao. and a few of them even sought to say a few good words for Stalin", p. 269.
  166. ^ Sherman, Howard J. (1966). "Monopoly Capital-An Essay on the American Economic and Social Order.". American Economic Review 56 (4): 919–21. 
  167. ^ Foster, J. B.; F. Magdoff (2009). The Great Financial Crisis. New York: Monthly Review Press. 
  168. ^ Foster, J. B.; R.W. McChesney (2012). The Endless Crisis. New York: Monthly Review Press. 
  169. ^ McChesney, R. W. (2013). Digital Disconnect. New York: Monthly Review Press. 
  170. ^ John Patten, "Islands of Anarchy: Simian, Cienfuegos, Refract and their support network": "These groups had their roots in the anarchist resurgence of the nineteen sixties. Young militants finding their way to anarchism, often from the anti-bomb and anti-Vietnam war movements, linked up with an earlier generation of activists, largely outside the ossified structures of 'official' anarchism. Anarchist tactics embraced demonstrations, direct action such as industrial militancy and squatting, protest bombings like those of the First of May Group and Angry Brigade – and a spree of publishing activity."
  171. ^ "Farrell provides a detailed history of the Catholic Workers and their founders Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin. He explains that their pacifism, anarchism, and commitment to the downtrodden were one of the important models and inspirations for the '60s. As Farrell puts it, "Catholic Workers identified the issues of the sixties before the Sixties began, and they offered models of protest long before the protest decade." James J, Farrell, "The Spirit of the Sixties: The Making of Postwar Radicalism".
  172. ^ "While not always formally recognized, much of the protest of the sixties was anarchist. Within the nascent women's movement, anarchist principles became so widespread that a political science professor denounced what she saw as "Murray Bookchin's anarchist writings." Encyclopedia of Homosexuality"Anarchism" by Charley Shively in , p. 52.
  173. ^ "Within the movements of the sixties there was much more receptivity to anarchism-in-fact than had existed in the movements of the thirties ... But the movements of the sixties were driven by concerns that were more compatible with an expressive style of politics, with hostility to authority in general and state power in particular ...By the late sixties, political protest was intertwined with cultural radicalism based on a critique of all authority and all hierarchies of power. Anarchism circulated within the movement along with other radical ideologies. The influence of anarchism was strongest among radical feminists, in the commune movement, and probably in the Weather Underground and elsewhere in the violent fringe of the anti-war movement." Barbara Epstein, "Anarchism and the Anti-Globalization Movement", Monthly Review, Volume 53, Number 4, September 2001.
  174. ^ John Campbell McMillian; Paul Buhle (2003). The New Left Revisited. Temple University Press. pp. 112–.  
  175. ^ Lytle 2006, pp. 213, 215.
  176. ^ "Overview: who were (are) the Diggers?". The Digger Archives. Retrieved June 17, 2007. 
  177. ^  
  178. ^ Holloway, David (2002). "Yippies". St. James Encyclopedia of Pop Culture. 
  179. ^ Abbie Hoffman, Soon to be a Major Motion Picture, Perigee Books, 1980, p. 128.
  180. ^ Gitlin, Todd (1993). The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage. New York. p. 286. 
  181. ^ ABC News
  182. ^ a b "Dorothy Day dead at 83".  
  183. ^ a b Small, Mike. "Murray Bookchin", The Guardian, August 8, 2006.
  184. ^ John Muir Institute for Environmental Studies, University of New Mexico, Environmental Philosophy, Inc, Environmental Ethics’’ v.12 1990: 193.
  185. ^ , Curtis. "Life of A Party". Crisis; September/October 2006, Vol. 113, Issue 5, p 30–37, 8 pp.
  186. ^ Da Costa, Francisco. "The Black Panther Party". Retrieved June 5, 2006. 
  187. ^ Seale, Bobby (September 1997). Seize the Time (Reprint ed.). Black Classic Press. pp. 23, 256, 383. 
  188. ^ Pearson, Hugh (1994). In the Shadow of the Panther: Huey Newton and the Price of Black Power in America. Perseus Books. p. 152.  
  189. ^ [7]
  190. ^ "A break-in to end all break-ins; In 1971, stolen FBI files exposed the government's domestic spying program". Los Angeles Times, March 8, 2006.
  191. ^ Jeffreys-Jones, Rhodri. THE FBI, Yale University Press, 2008, p. 189.
  192. ^ Ken Gewertz (2007-04-12). "Albert Einstein, Civil Rights activist". Harvard University Gazette. Archived from the original on 2007-05-29. Retrieved 2007-06-11. 
  193. ^ Anonymous (December 31, 1972). "Socialist Party now the Social Democrats, U.S.A.". New York Times. p. 36. Retrieved February 8, 2010. 
  194. ^ Anonymous (December 31, 1972). "Socialist Party now the Social Democrats, U.S.A." (PDF). New York Times. p. 36. 
  195. ^ Isserman, p. 311.
  196. ^ Isserman, p. 422.
  197. ^ Social Democrats, USA (1973), The American Challenge: A social-democratic program for the seventies, New York: SDUSA 
  198. ^  
  199. ^ a b Wakin, Daniel J., "Quieter Lives for 60's Militants, but Intensity of Beliefs Hasn't Faded", article The New York Times, August 24, 2003. Retrieved June 7, 2008.
  200. ^ The Weather Underground, produced by Carrie Lozano, directed by Bill Siegel and Sam Green, New Video Group, 2003, DVD.
  201. ^ Kwong, Peter and Dušanka Miščević. Chinese America: The Untold Story of America's Oldest New Community. New York: New Press. 2005. ISBN 1-56584-962-0, pp. 293-296.
  202. ^ Chronology of Political Events, 1954-1992, Part Four 1975-1980. Max Elbaum. Retrieved from Revolution In The Air: Sixties Radicals Turn to Lenin, Mao and Che, March 18, 2010. "1977 August 12–18: Eleventh Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. Mao and the Cultural Revolution are given positive assessments but the Congress officially declares the Cultural Revolution ended. That same month, CPC chair Hua Guofeng and U.S. CP(M-L) chair Mike Klonsky exchange toasts at banquet for CP(M-L) leaders in Beijing; this is effective recognition of the CP(M-L) as the semi-official pro-China party in the U.S."
  203. ^ Horowitz, Rachelle (2007). "Tom Kahn and the fight for democracy: A political portrait and personal recollection" (PDF). Democratiya (merged with Dissent in 2009) 11: 204–251. 
  204. ^ Shevis (1981, p. 31):

    Shevis, James M. (1981). "The AFL-CIO and Poland's Solidarity". World Affairs (World Affairs Institute) 144 (Summer, number 1): 31–35.  

  205. ^ Opening statement by Tom Kahn in Kahn & Podhoretz (2008, p. 235):


  206. ^ "The AFL–CIO had channeled more than $4 million to it, including computers, printing presses, and supplies" according to Horowitz (2009, p. 237).
  207. ^ Puddington (2005):

    Puddington, Arch (2005). "Surviving the underground: How American unions helped solidarity win". American Educator (American Federation of Teachers) (Summer). Retrieved June 4, 2011. 

  208. ^ "A 1987 article in The New Republic described these developments as a Trotskyist takeover of the Reagan administration" wrote Lipset (1988, p. 34).
  209. ^ Lind, Michael (April 7, 2003). "The weird men behind George W. Bush's war". New Statesman (London). 
  210. ^  
  211. ^ King, William (2004). "Neoconservatives and 'Trotskyism'". American Communist History (Taylor and Francis) 3 (2): 247–266.  

    King, Bill (March 22, 2004). "Neoconservatives and Trotskyism". Enter Stage Right 2004 (3). The question of 'Shachtmanism', pp. 1–2. 

  212. ^ Muravchik (2006). Addressing the allegation that SDUSUA was a "Trotskyist" organization, Muravchik wrote that in the early 1960s, two future members of SDUSA, Tom Kahn and Paul Feldman
    "became devotees of a former Trotskyist named Max Shachtman—a fact that today has taken on a life of its own. Tracing forward in lineage through me and a few other ex-YPSL’s [members of the Young Peoples Socialist League] turned neoconservatives, this happenstance has fueled the accusation that neoconservatism itself, and through it the foreign policy of the Bush administration, are somehow rooted in 'Trotskyism.'

    I am more inclined to laugh than to cry over this, but since the myth has traveled so far, let me briefly try once more, as I have done at greater length in the past, to set the record straight.[See "The Neoconservative Cabal," Commentary, September 2003] The alleged connective chain is broken at every link. The falsity of its more recent elements is readily ascertainable by anyone who cares for the truth—namely, that George Bush was never a neoconservative and that most neoconservatives were never YPSL’s. The earlier connections are more obscure but no less false. Although Shachtman was one of the elder statesmen who occasionally made stirring speeches to us, no YPSL of my generation was a Shachtmanite. What is more, our mentors, Paul and Tom, had come under Shachtman’s sway years after he himself had ceased to be a Trotskyite.

  213. ^ Hunt, E. K. (2002). Property and Prophets: The Evolution of Economic Institutions and Ideologi. M. E. Sharpe. pp. 260–261. 
  214. ^ Mitgang, Herbert (August 2, 1989). "Michael Harrington, Socialist and Author, Is Dead".  
  215. ^ John Haer, "Reviving Socialism," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 1, 1982. Retrieved November 9, 2009.
  216. ^ Mike Davis, Prisoners of the American Dream: Politics and Economy in the History of the US Working Class. London: Verso; pp. 256-260, 275-276.
  217. ^ Manning Marable, Beyond Black and White: Transforming African-American Politics. London: Verso, 1996; p. 61.
  218. ^ "Where We Stand: The Political Perspective of the Democratic Socialists of America," section 5. Retrieved March 24, 2006.
  219. ^ Anarchism in America
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  226. ^ Lisa Lerer (July 16, 2009). "Where's the outrage over AIG bonuses?".  
  227. ^ Michael Powell (November 6, 2006). "Exceedingly Social But Doesn't Like Parties". Retrieved November 26, 2012. 
  228. ^ Sanders, Bernie (May 26, 2013). What Can We Learn From Denmark? The Huffington Post. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  229. ^ Issenberg, Sasha (January 9, 2010). Sanders a growing force on the far, far left.  
  230. ^ Linkins, Jason (March 8, 2009). "NYT Peppers Obama With Questions About Socialism". Huffington Post. 
  231. ^ Frank Llewellyn and Joseph Schwartz, "Socialists Say: Obama is No Socialist," Chicago Tribune, November 1, 2009. Retrieved November 4, 2009.
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  234. ^ Robinson, Paul (February 25, 1979). "The Chomsky Problem". The New York Times. "Judged in terms of the power, range, novelty and influence of his thought, Noam Chomsky is arguably the most important intellectual alive today. He is also a disturbingly divided intellectual."
  235. ^ Massachusetts Institute of Technology April 15, 1992
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See also

In November 2013, Socialist Alternative, says it "was a watershed moment for the socialist movement across the country".[242]

Bernie Sanders, current U.S. Senator from Vermont, and candidate for US president, describes himself as a democratic socialist. Sanders served as the at-large representative for the state of Vermont before being elected to the senate in 2006. In a 2013 interview with Politico, radio host Thom Hartmann, whose nationally syndicated radio show draws 2.75 million listeners a week, affirmed his position as a democratic socialist.[239]

An April 2009 Rasmussen Reports poll, conducted during the Financial crisis of 2007–2010 (which many believe resulted due to lack of regulation in the financial markets) suggested that there had been a growth of support for socialism in the United States. The poll results stated that 53% of American adults thought capitalism was better than socialism, and that "Adults under 30 are essentially evenly divided: 37% prefer capitalism, 33% socialism, and 30% are undecided".[236] In a 2011 Pew poll, young Americans between the ages of 18-29 favored socialism to capitalism by 49% to 43%; but Americans overall had a negative view of socialism, with 60% opposing.[237] According to a 2015 Gallup poll, 47% of US citizens would vote for a socialist candidate for president.[238]

As of today the only US member organization of the worldwide Socialist International is the Democratic Socialists of America. In 2008, the Democratic Socialists of America supported Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in his race against Republican candidate John McCain. Following Obama's election, many on the right[230] began to allege that his administration's policies were "socialistic," a claim rejected by DSA and the Obama administration alike. The widespread use of the word "socialism" as a political epithet against the Obama government by its opponents caused National Director Frank Llewellyn to declare that "over the past 12 months, the Democratic Socialists of America has received more media attention than it has over the past 12 years".[231] Noam Chomsky, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America[232] and the Industrial Workers of the World,[233] is described by The New York Times as "arguably the most important intellectual alive"[234] and has been on the list of the most cited authors in modern history.[235]

Bernie Sanders, junior United States Senator from Vermont. Sanders is a self-described democratic socialist,[226][227] and has praised Scandinavian-style social democracy.[228][229]
Members of Democratic Socialists of America march at the Occupy Wall Street protest on September 17, 2011

2000s to contemporary times

21st century

and the U.S. membership retained the name NEFAC, before changing its name to Common Struggle in 2011, and then merging into the Black Rose Anarchist Federation. [225] to observe the centennial of the infamous [220] In 1986, the Haymarket Remembered conference was held in Chicago,[219] Anarchists became more visible in the 1980s, as a result of publishing, protests and conventions. In 1980, the First International Symposium on Anarchism was held in Portland, Oregon.

[218] DSA's position on US electoral politics states that "democratic socialists reject an either—or approach to electoral coalition building, focused solely on [either] a new party or on realignment within the Democratic Party".[217] In 1988, DSA enthusiastically supported Jesse Jackson's second presidential campaign.[216] in 1984.Walter Mondale presidential candidates by giving critical support to Democratic Party nominees like Republican's position that "the left wing of realism is found today in the Democratic Party". In its early years DSA opposed Michael Harrington In electoral politics, DSA, like DSOC before it, was very strongly associated with [215] The

Because of their service in government, Gershman and other SDUSA members were called "State Department socialists" by Massing (1987), who wrote that the paleoconservatives (traditional conservative opponents of neoconservatism).[211][212]

From 1979–1989, SDUSA members like AFL–CIO's fundraising of 300 thousand dollars, which bought printing presses and other supplies requested by Solidarnosc (Solidarity), the independent labor-union of Poland.[203][204][205] SDUSA members helped form a bipartisan coalition (of the Democratic and Republican Parties) to support the founding of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), whose first President was Carl Gershman. The NED publicly allocated 4 million USD of public aid to Solidarity through 1989.[206][207]

Michael Harrington, ex-Chairman of Democratic Socialists of America and influential American socialist theorist


The Students for a Democratic Society when SDS split apart in 1969. Michael Klonsky, who had been a national leader in SDS in the late 1960s, was the main leader of the CP(M-L)[202] which was also joined by the black communist theorist Harry Haywood. The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, known originally as the Revolutionary Union, is a Maoist Communist party formed in 1975 in the United States.

[198] that featured discussions, for which SDUSA invited outside academic, political, and labor-union leaders. These meetings also functioned as reunions for political activists and intellectuals, some of whom worked together for decades.[197] was the national chairperson of SDUSA during the 1970s. SDUSA sponsored a biannual conferenceBayard Rustin [196].Socialist Party, USA and others from the pacifist and immediate-withdrawal wing of the former Socialist Party formed the David McReynolds The same year, [195] In 1972, the Socialist Party voted to rename itself as

COINTELPRO document outlining the FBI's plans to 'neutralize' Jean Seberg for her support for the Black Panther Party, by attempting to publicly "cause her embarrassment" and "tarnish her image".

women's rights movement; nationalist groups such as those seeking independence for Puerto Rico, United Ireland, and additional notable Americans —even Albert Einstein, who was a socialist and a member of several civil rights groups, came under FBI surveillance during the years just before COINTELPRO's official inauguration.[192]

In the 1960s there was a renewed interest in anarchism, and some anarchist and other left-wing groups developed out of the Black Power movement and U.S. politics of the 1960s and 1970s.[185] Gaining national prominence, the Black Panther Party became an icon of the counterculture of the 1960s.[186] Ultimately, the Panthers condemned black nationalism as "black racism" and became more focused on socialism without racial exclusivity.[187] They instituted a variety of community social programs designed to alleviate poverty, improve health among inner city black communities, and soften the Party's public image.[188]

[169][168][167].Great Recession It has recently attracted renewed attention following the [166] by shifting attention from the assumption of a competitive economy to the monopolistic economy associated with the giant corporations that dominate the modern accumulation process. Their work played a leading role in the intellectual development of the New Left in the 1960s and 1970s. As a review in the American Economic Review stated, it represented "the first serious attempt to extend Marx’s model of competitive capitalism to the new conditions of monopoly capitalism".Marxian theory published in 1966 by Monthly Review Press. It made a major contribution to Paul A. Baran and Paul Sweezy is a book by Monopoly Capital: An Essay on the American Economic and Social Order which nonetheless had over 100 thousand members at its peak. [165][164][162][163], helped to write "the death sentence" for SDS,Progressive Labor Party, particularly the Marxism Leninism Afterwords, [162]

U.S. anti-Communist Propaganda of the 1950s, specifically addressing the entertainment industry

1950s: the Second Red Scare

Constance Myers indicates that three factors led to the expulsion of the Trotskyists from the Socialist Party in 1937: the divergence between the official Socialists and the Trotskyist faction on the issues, the determination of Altman's wing of the Militants to oust the Trotskyists, and Trotsky's own decision to move towards a break with the party.[106] Recognizing that the Clarity faction had chosen to stand with the Altmanites and the group around Thomas, Trotsky recommended that the Appeal group focus on disagreements over Spain to provoke a split. At the same time, Thomas, freshly returned from Spain, had come to the conclusion that the Trotskyists had joined the SP not to make it stronger, but to capture the organization for their own purposes.[107] The 1,000 or so Trotskyists who entered the SP in 1936 exited in the summer of 1937 with their ranks swelled by another 1,000.[108] On December 31, 1937, representatives of this faction gathered in Chicago to establish a new political organization — the Socialist Workers Party.

Norman Thomas attracted nearly 188,000 votes in his 1936 Socialist Party run for President but performed poorly in historic strongholds of the party. Moreover, the party's membership had begun to decline.[104] The organization was deeply factionalized, with the Militant faction split into right ("Altmanite"), center ("Clarity") and left ("Appeal") factions, in addition to the radical pacifists around Norman Thomas. A special convention was planned for the last week of March 1937 to set the party's future policy, initially intended as an unprecedented "secret" gathering.[105]

[103] In 1929 Reverend

Communist Party USA

[99] The Seventh Congress of the Comintern made the change in line official in 1935, when it declared the need for a

Norman Thomas, six-time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America

[90] The ideological rigidity of the

1930s–1940s: The Popular Front (1935–39) and the New Deal

By August 1919, only months after its founding, the mutual aid and tailored cultural activities to an IWO membership that peaked at 200,000 at its height.[88]

Historian Eric Foner described the fundamental problem of those years in an 1984 article for the History Workshop Journal:

The Socialists had lost a major ally in the Wobblies, and their free speech had been restricted, if not denied. Immigrants, a major base of the Socialist movement, were discriminated against and looked down upon. Eugene V. Debs—the charismatic leader of the Socialists—was in prison, along with hundreds of fellow dissenters. Wilson’s National War Labor Board and a number of legislative acts had ameliorated the plight of the workers.[84] Now, the Socialists were regarded as being "unnecessary", the "lunatic fringe," and a group of untrustworthy radicals. The press, courts, and other establishment structures exhibited prejudice against them. After crippling schisms within the party and a change in public opinion due to the Palmer Raids, a general negative perception of the far left, and attribution to it of terrorist incidents such as the Wall Street Bombing, the Socialist party found itself unable to gather popular support. At one time, it boasted 33 city mayors, many seats in state legislatures, and two members of the US House of Representatives.[85] The Party reached its peak in 1912 when Debs won 6% of the popular vote.[86]

"When the twenties began [...] the IWW was destroyed, the Socialist party falling apart. The strikes were beaten down by force, and the economy was doing just well enough for just enough people to prevent mass rebellion".[83] Thus the decline of the Socialist movement during the early 20th century was the result of a number of constrictions and attacks from several directions:

Since the late 19th century conservatives have used the term "socialism" (or "creeping socialism") as a means of dismissing spending on public welfare programs which could potentially enlarge the role of the federal government, or lead to higher tax rates. In this sense it has little to do with government ownership of the means of production, or the various Socialist parties. Thus William Allen White attacked presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan in 1896 by warning that "[t]he election will sustain Americanism or it will plant Socialism".[80][81] Barry Goldwater in 1960 called for Republican unity against John F. Kennedy and the "blueprint for socialism presented by the Democrats".[82] Ronald Reagan often quoted Norman Thomas, the perennial Socialist nominee for president in the New Deal era, as saying: "The American people would never knowingly vote for Socialism, but that under the name of liberalism, they would adopt every fragment of the socialist program."

On that single day in 1920, Hoover's agents rounded up 6,000 people. Many were deported but the Labor Department ended the raids with a ruling that the incarcerations and deportations were illegal.[79]

Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, a Wilsonian Democrat, had a bomb explode outside his house. He set out to stop the "Communist conspiracy" that he believed was operating inside the United States. He created inside the Justice Department a new division the General Intelligence Division, led by young J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover soon amassed a card-catalogue system with information on 60,000 "radically inclined" individuals and many leftist groups and publications.[78] Palmer and Hoover both published press releases and circulated anti-Communist propaganda. Then, on January 2, 1920, the Palmer Raids under began, with Hoover in charge.

Anarchists had bombed Wall Street and sent a number of mail-bombs to prominent businessmen and government leaders. The public lumped together the entire far left as terrorists. A wave of fear swept the country, giving support for the Justice Department to deport with thousands of non-citizens active in the far left. Emma Goldman was the most famous. This was known as the first Red Scare or the "Palmer Raids".[77]

But the next year, internal strife would cause a schism. After Vladimir Lenin’s successful revolution in Russia, he invited the Socialist Party to join the Third International. The debate over whether to align with Lenin caused a major rift in the party. A referendum to join Lenin’s "Comintern" passed with 90% approval, but the moderates who were in charge of the Party expelled the extreme leftists before this could take place. The expelled members formed the Communist Labor Party and the Communist Party of America. The Socialist Party ended up, with only moderates left, at one third of its original size.[76]

On September 5, 1917, at the request of President Wilson, the Justice Department conducted a raid on the Industrial Workers of the World. They stormed every one of the 48 IWW headquarters in the country. "By month’s end, a federal grand jury had indicted nearly two hundred IWW leaders on charges of sedition and espionage" under the Espionage Act.[73] Their sentences ranged from a few months to ten years in prison. An ally of the Socialist party had been practically destroyed. However, Wilson did recognize a problem with the state of labor in America. In 1918, working closely with Germany, Austria, and Hungary, he continued, and consorted with international Socialist parties close to the Communist International.[75] The Assembly suspended the five by a vote of 140 to 6, with just one Democrat supporting the Socialists. A trial in the Assembly, lasting from January 20 to March 11, resulted in a recommendation that the five be expelled and the Assembly voted overwhelmingly for expulsion on April 1, 1920.

The Five Socialist Assemblymen Suspended by the New York State Legislature
Source: George Matthew Adams Service
January 24, 1920

Meanwhile, corporations pressured the government to deal with strikes and other disruptions from disgruntled workers. The government felt especially pressured to keep war-related industries running. "As worker discontent and strikes [...] intensified in the summer of 1917, demands grew for prompt federal action [...] The anti-labor forces concentrated their venom on the IWW."[67] Soon, "the halls of Congress rang with denunciations of the IWW" and the government sided with industry; "federal attorneys viewed strikes not as the behavior of discontented workers but as the outcome of subversive and even German influences".[67] On January 21, 1919, 35,000 shipyard workers in Seattle went on strike seeking wage increases. They appealed to the Seattle Central Labor Council for support from other unions and found widespread enthusiasm. Within two weeks, more than 100 local unions joined in a call on February 3 for general strike to begin on the morning of February 6.[68] The 60,000 total strikers paralyzed the city’s normal activities, like streetcar service, schools, and ordinary commerce, while their General Strike Committee maintained order and provided essential services, like trash collection and milk deliveries.[69] The national press called the general strike "Marxian" and "a revolutionary movement aimed at existing government".[70] "It is only a middling step," said the Chicago Tribune, "from Petrograd to Seattle".[70] Though the leadership of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) opposed a strike in the steel industry, 98% of their union members voted to strike beginning on September 22, 1919. It shut down half the steel industry, including almost all mills in Pueblo, Colorado; Chicago, Illinois; Wheeling, West Virginia; Johnstown, Pennsylvania; Cleveland, Ohio; Lackawanna, New York; and Youngstown, Ohio.[71] After strikebreakers and police clashed with unionists in Gary, Indiana, the U.S. Army took over the city on October 6, 1919, and martial law was declared. National guardsmen, leaving Gary after federal troops had taken over, turned their anger on strikers in nearby Indiana Harbor, Indiana.[72]

In 1919, Trade Union Unity League to compete with the AFL and claimed to represent 50,000 workers.[65] In 1928, following divisions inside the Soviet Union, Jay Lovestone, who had replaced Ruthenberg as general secretary of the CPUSA following his death, joined with William Z. Foster to expel Foster's former allies, James P. Cannon and Max Shachtman, who were followers of Leon Trotsky. Following another Soviet factional dispute, Lovestone and Gitlow were expelled, and Earl Browder became party leader.[66]

The press was also instrumental in spreading feelings of hatred against dissenters:

During the war, about half the Socialists supported the war, most famously Walter Lippmann. The other half were under attack for obstructing the draft; the Courts held they went beyond the bounds of free speech when they encouraged young men to break the law and not register for the draft. Howard Zinn, historian on the left, says, "The patriotic fervor of war [was] invoked. The courts and jails [were] used to reinforce the idea that certain ideas, certain kinds of resistance, could not be tolerated".[62] The government crackdown on dissenting radicalism paralleled public outrage towards opponents of the war. Several groups were formed on the local and national levels to stop the Socialists from undermining the draft laws. The American Vigilante Patrol, a subdivision of the American Defense Society, was formed with the purpose "to put an end to seditious street oratory".[63] The American Protective League was a new private group that kept track of cases of "disloyalty". It eventually claimed it had found 3,000,000 such cases.[63] "Even if these figures are exaggerated, the very size and scope of the League gives a clue to the amount of 'disloyalty'."[63]

After visiting three Socialists imprisoned in Canton, Ohio, Eugene V. Debs crossed the street and made a two-hour speech to a crowd in which he condemned the war. "Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder [...] The master class has always declared the war and the subject class has always fought the battles," Debs told the crowd.[61] He was immediately arrested and soon convicted under the Espionage Act. During his trial, he did not take the stand, nor call a witness in his defense. However, before the trial began, and after his sentencing, he made speeches to the jury: "I have been accused of obstructing the war. I admit it. Gentlemen, I abhor war [...] I have sympathy with the suffering, struggling people everywhere [...]" He also uttered what would become his most famous words: "While there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free." Debs was sentenced to ten years in prison; he served 32 months until President Warren G. Harding pardoned him.

The Socialists met harsh political opposition when they opposed American entry into World war I and tried to interfere with the conscription laws that required all younger men, including Socialists, to register for the draft. On April 7, 1917, the day after Congress declared war on Germany, an emergency convention of the Socialist party was held in St. Louis. It declared the war "a crime against the people of the United States"[55] and began holding anti-war rallies. Socialist anti-draft demonstrations drew as many as 20,000.[56] In June 1917, President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the Espionage Act,[57] which included a clause providing prison sentences for up to twenty years for "Whoever, when the United States is at war, shall willfully cause or attempt to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty [...] or willfully obstruct the recruiting or enlistment of service of the United States".[56] The Socialists, with their talk of draft dodging and war-opposition, found themselves the target of federal prosecutors. Scores were convicted and jailed. Archibald E. Stevenson, a New York attorney with ties to the Justice Department, probably as a "volunteer spy",[58] testified on January 22, 1919, during the German phase of the subcommittee's work. He established that anti-war and anti-draft activism during World War I, which he described as pro-German activity, had now transformed itself into propaganda "developing sympathy for the Bolshevik movement".[59] America's wartime enemy, though defeated, had exported an ideology that now ruled Russia and threatened America anew. "The Bolsheviki movement is a branch of the revolutionary socialism of Germany. It had its origin in the philosophy of Marx and its leaders were Germans."[60]

Victor L. Berger ran for Congress and lost in 1904 before winning Wisconsin's 5th congressional district seat in 1910 as the first Socialist to serve in the Congress. In Congress, he focused on issues related to the District of Columbia and also more radical proposals, including eliminating the President's veto, abolishing the Senate,[52] and the socialization of major industries. Berger gained national publicity for his old-age pension bill, the first of its kind introduced into Congress. Less than two weeks after the Titanic passenger ship disaster, Berger introduced a bill in congress providing for the nationalization of the radio-wireless systems. A practical socialist, Berger argued that the wireless chaos which was one of the features of the Titanic disaster has demonstrated the need for a government-owned wireless system.[53] Outside of Congress, socialists were able to influence a number of progressive reforms (both directly and indirectly) on a local level.[54]

Socialist campaign poster from the 1912 Presidential campaign, featuring Eugene V. Debs and Vice Presidential candidate Emil Seidel

Early 20th century: Opposition to World War I and the First Red Scare

20th century

By the 1880s [45] Another anarcho-communist journal later appeared in the US called The Firebrand. Most anarchist publications in the US were in Yiddish, German, or Russian, but Free Society was published in English, permitting the dissemination of anarchist communist thought to English-speaking populations in the US.[46] Around that time these American anarcho-communist sectors entered in debate with the individualist anarchist group around Benjamin Tucker.[47] In February 1888 Berkman left for the United States from his native Russia.[48] Soon after his arrival in New York City, Berkman became an anarchist through his involvement with groups that had formed to campaign to free the men convicted of the 1886 Haymarket bombing.[49] He, as well as Emma Goldman, soon came under the influence of Johann Most, the best-known anarchist in the United States, and an advocate of propaganda of the deedattentat, or violence carried out to encourage the masses to revolt.[50][51] Berkman became a typesetter for Most's newspaper Freiheit.[49]

, was an American anarchist who focused on economics calling them "Anarchistic-Socialism"[39] and adhering to the Samuel Gompers.[41] Dyer Lum was a 19th-century American individualist anarchist labor activist and poet.[42] A leading anarcho-syndicalist and a prominent left-wing intellectual of the 1880s,[43] he is remembered as the lover and mentor of early anarcha-feminist Voltairine de Cleyre.[44] Lum was a prolific writer who wrote a number of key anarchist texts, and contributed to publications including Mother Earth, Twentieth Century, Liberty (Benjamin Tucker's individualist anarchist journal), The Alarm (the journal of the International Working People's Association) and The Open Court among others. He developed a "mutualist" theory of unions and as such was active within the Knights of Labor and later promoted anti-political strategies in the American Federation of Labor. Frustration with abolitionism, spiritualism, and labor reform caused Lum to embrace anarchism and radicalize workers, as he came to believe that revolution would inevitably involve a violent struggle between the working class and the employing class.[44] Convinced of the necessity of violence to enact social change he volunteered to fight in the American Civil War, hoping thereby to bring about the end of slavery.[44]

Benjamin Tucker
Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, prominent anarcho-communists. Photo circa 1917-1919

Early American Anarchism

Union members now feared to strike. The military, which saw strikers as dangerous insurgents, intimidated and threatened them. These attitudes compounded with a public backlash against anarchists and radicals. As public opinion of strikes and of unions soured, the Socialists often appeared guilty by association. They were lumped together with strikers and anarchists under a blanket of public distrust.

"On Monday morning, April 20, two dynamite bombs were exploded, in the hills above Ludlow [...] a signal for operations to begin. At 9 am a machine gun began firing into the tents [where strikers were living], and then others joined."[37] One eyewitness reported: "The soldiers and mine guards tried to kill everybody; anything they saw move".[37] That night the National Guard rode down from the hills surrounding Ludlow and set fire to the tents. Twenty-six people, including two women and eleven children, were killed.[38]

The strikers began to fight back, killing four mine guards and firing into a separate camp where strikebreakers lived. When the body of a strikebreaker was found nearby, the National Guard's General Chase ordered the tent colony destroyed in retaliation.[37]

In 1914 one of the most bitter labor conflicts in American history took place at a mining colony in Colorado called Ludlow. After workers went on strike in September 1913 with grievances ranging from requests for an eight-hour day to allegations of subjugation, Colorado governor Elias Ammons called in the National Guard in October 1913. That winter, Guardsmen made 172 arrests.[36][37]

In early 1894 a dispute broke out between Olney and President Grover Cleveland took the matter to court and were granted several injunctions preventing railroad workers from "interfering with interstate commerce and the mails".[35] The judiciary of the time denied the legitimacy of strikers. Said one judge, "[neither] the weapon of the insurrectionist, nor the inflamed tongue of him who incites fire and sword is the instrument to bring about reforms".[35] This was the first sign of a clash between the government and Socialist ideals.

Strikes also took place that same month (May 1886) in other cities, including in Milwaukee, where seven people died when Wisconsin Governor Jeremiah M. Rusk ordered state-militia troops to fire upon thousands of striking workers who had marched to the Milwaukee Iron Works Rolling Mill in Bay View, on Milwaukee's south side.

In May 1886 the Knights of Labor were demonstrating in the Haymarket Square in Chicago, demanding an eight-hour day in all trades. When police arrived, an unknown person threw a bomb into the crowd, killing one person and injuring several others. "In a trial marked by prejudice and hysteria" a court sentenced seven anarchists, six of them German-speaking, to death - with no evidence linking them to the bomb.[34]

Artist's depiction of the Haymarket Square riot.

The Socialist movement was able to gain strength from its ties to labor. "The [economic] panic of 1907, as well as the growing strength of the Socialists, Wobblies, and trade unions, speeded up the process of reform."[33] However, corporations sought to protect their profits, and took steps against unions and strikers. They hired strikebreakers and pressured government to call in the national militia when workers refused to do their jobs. A number of strikes dissolved into violent confrontations.

The most prominent U.S. unions of the time included the American Federation of Labor, the Knights of Labor, and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). In 1869 or 1870 Uriah S. Stephens founded the Noble and Holy Order of the Knights of Labor around secrecy and a semireligious aura to "create a sense of solidarity".[31] The Knights comprised, in essence, "one big union of all workers".[32] In 1886 a convention of delegates from twenty separate unions formed the American Federation of Labor, with Samuel Gompers as its head. It peaked at 4 million members. The Industrial Workers of the World (or "Wobblies") formed along the same lines as the Knights, to become one big union. The IWW found early supporters in De Leon and in Debs.

The Socialist Party formed strong alliances with a number of labor organizations, because of their similar goals. In an attempt to rebel against the abuses of corporations, workers had found a solution–or so they thought–in a technique of collective bargaining. By banding together into "unions" and by refusing to work, or "striking", workers would halt production at a plant or in a mine, forcing management to meet their demands. From Daniel De Leon's early proposal to organize unions with a Socialist purpose, the two movements became closely tied. They shared as one major ideal the spirit of collectivism: both in the Socialist platform and in the idea of collective bargaining.

Socialists in Union Square, N.Y.C. on May 1, 1912

Socialism's ties to Labor

Generally accepted as the first general strike in the United States, the Knights of Labor and the Marxist-leaning Workingmen's Party, the main radical political party of the era. When the railroad strike reached East St. Louis, Illinois in July 1877, the St. Louis Workingman's Party led a group of approximately 500 people across the river in an act of solidarity with the nearly 1,000 workers on strike.[30]

[29][28] The first socialist to hold public office in the United States was Fred C. Haack, the owner of a shoe store in

The Socialist movement became coherent and energized under Debs. It included "scores of former Populists, militant miners, and blacklisted railroad workers, who were [...] inspired by occasional visits from national figures like Eugene V. Debs".[27]

As a leader within the Socialist movement, Eugene V. Debs movement quickly gained national recognition as a charismatic orator. He was often inflammatory and controversial, but also strikingly modest and inspiring. He once said: "I am not a Labor Leader; I do not want you to follow me or anyone else [...] You must use your heads as well as your hands, and get yourself out of your present condition." Debs lent a great and powerful air to the revolution with his speaking. "There was almost a religious fervor to the movement, as in the eloquence of Debs".[26]

Bringing to light the resemblance of the American party's politics to those of Lassalle, Daniel De Leon emerged as an early leader of the Socialist Labor Party. He also adamantly supported unions, but criticized the collective bargaining movement within America at the time, favoring a slightly different approach.[25] The resulting disagreement between De Leon's supporters and detractors within the party led to an early schism. De Leon's opponents, led by Morris Hillquit, left the Socialist Labor Party in 1901: they fused with Eugene V. Debs's Social Democratic Party and formed the Socialist Party of America.

American Socialism was based on an ideology known today as "general strike, as other socialists wish to do). Thus the Socialist Party strongly advocated universal suffrage, in order to politically empower the [oppressed] working class, or "proletariat".

The Socialist Labor Party (SLP) was officially founded in 1876 at a convention in Newark, New Jersey. The party was made up overwhelmingly of German immigrants, who had brought Marxist ideals with them to North America. So strong was the heritage that the official party language was German for the first three years. In its nascent years the party encompassed a broad range of various socialist philosophies, with differing concepts of how to achieve their goals. Nevertheless, there was a militia, the Lehr und Wehr Verein affiliated to the party. When the SLP reorganised as a Marxist party in 1890 its philosophy solidified and its influence quickly grew, and by around the start of the 20th century the SLP was the foremost American socialist party.

A larger wave of German immigrants followed in the 1870s and 1880s, including social democratic followers of Ferdinand Lasalle. Lasalle regarded state aid through political action as the road to revolution and opposed trade unionism, which he saw as futile, believing that according to the Iron Law of Wages employers would only pay subsistence wages. The Lasalleans formed the Social Democratic Party of North America in 1874 and both Marxists and Lasalleans formed the Workingmen's Party of the United States in 1876. When the Lasalleans gained control in 1877, they changed the name to the Socialist Labor Party of North America (SLP). However, many socialists abandoned political action altogether and moved to trade unionism. Two former socialists, Adolph Strasser and Samuel Gompers, formed the American Federation of Labor (AFL) in 1886.[22]

[24] German

Early American Socialism

American anarchist Benjamin Tucker wrote in Individual Liberty:


Utopian socialism reached the national level, fictionally, in Edward Bellamy's 1888 novel Looking Backward, a Utopian depiction of a socialist United States in the year 2000. The book sold millions of copies and became one of the best-selling American books of the nineteenth century. By one estimation, only Uncle Tom's Cabin surpassed it in sales.[14] The book sparked a following of "Bellamy Clubs" and influenced socialist and labor leaders including Eugene V. Debs.[15] Likewise, Upton Sinclair's magnum opus, The Jungle was first published in the Socialist newspaper Appeal to Reason, criticized capitalism as being oppressive and exploitative to meatpacking workers in the industrial food system. The book is still widely referred to today, as one of the most influential works of literature in modern history.

Fourierists also attempted to establish a community in Monmouth County, New Jersey. The North American Phalanx community built a Phalanstère - Fourier's concept of a communal-living structure - out of two farmhouses and an addition that linked the two. The community lasted from 1844 to 1856, when a fire destroyed the community's flour- and saw-mills and several workshops. The community had already begun to decline after an ideological schism in 1853. French socialist, Étienne Cabet, frustrated in Europe, sought to use his Icarian movement to replace capitalist production with workers cooperatives. He became the most popular socialist advocate of his day, with a special appeal to English artisans were being undercut by factories. In the 1840s Cabet led groups of emigrants to found utopian communities in Texas and Illinois. However his work was undercut by his many feuds with his own followers.[13]

The North American Phalanx

Utopian socialism was the US's first Socialist movement. Utopians attempted to develop model socialist societies to demonstrate the virtues of their brand of beliefs. Most Utopian socialist ideas originated in Europe, but the US was most often the site for the experiments themselves. Many Utopian experiments occurred in the 19th century as part of this movement, including Brook Farm, the New Harmony, the Shakers, the Amana Colonies, the Oneida Community, The Icarians, Bishop Hill Commune, Aurora, Oregon and Bethel, Missouri.

New Harmony as envisioned by Owen

American Utopian socialism and utopian communities

19th century


  • 19th century 1
    • American Utopian socialism and utopian communities 1.1
    • Early American Socialism 1.2
    • Socialism's ties to Labor 1.3
    • Early American Anarchism 1.4
  • 20th century 2
    • Early 20th century: Opposition to World War I and the First Red Scare 2.1
    • 1930s–1940s: The Popular Front (1935–39) and the New Deal 2.2
    • 1950s: the Second Red Scare 2.3
    • 1960s–1970s: the New Left and social unrest 2.4
    • 1980s–1990s 2.5
  • 21st century 3
    • 2000s to contemporary times 3.1
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Bibliography 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8

The socialist movement in the United States has historically been relatively weak. Unlike in Europe and Canada a major social-democratic party never materialized[7] and the socialist movement remains marginal, "almost unique in its powerlessness among the Western democracies."[8] In the United States socialism "brings considerable stigma, in large part for its association with authoritarian communist regimes".[9] A June 2015 Gallup poll revealed that 47% of respondents would vote for a socialist president, while 50% would not. Willingness to vote for a socialist president was 59% among Democrats, 49% among independents and 26% among Republicans.[10] According to a 2013 article in The Guardian, "Contrary to popular belief, Americans don't have an innate allergy to socialism. Milwaukee has had several socialist mayors (Frank Zeidler, Emil Seidel, and Daniel Hoan), and there's currently an independent socialist in the US Senate, Bernie Sanders of Vermont. In 1920, Socialist Party presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs won nearly 1m [million] votes".[11] This is disputed by others, as early as 1906 German sociologist Werner Sombart claimed there was a complete absence of social-democratic ideals in working class politics and that American workers generally supported capitalism.[12]

Under Socialist Party of America presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs, socialist opposition to World War I led to government repression collectively known as the First Red Scare. It declined in the 1920s, but it often ran Norman Thomas for president. In the 1930s the Communist Party USA took importance in labor and racial struggles while it suffered a split which converged in the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party. In the 1950s socialism was affected by McCarthyism and in the 1960s it was revived by the general radicalization brought by the New Left and other social struggles and revolts. In the 1960s Michael Harrington and other socialists were called to assist the Kennedy Administration and then the Johnson Administration's War on Poverty and Great Society[2] while socialists also played important roles in the 1960s Civil Rights movement.[3][4][5][6] Socialism in the United States has been composed of many tendencies often in important disagreements with each other and it has included utopian socialists, social democrats, democratic socialists, communists, Trotskyists, and anarchists.


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