The Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies at the University of Washington has launched a new web-based resource: “Communism in Washington State – History and Memory Project.”

The Communism in Washington State Project website, located at http://faculty.washington.edu/

gregoryj/cpproject/, is an important resource for anyone interested in the history of labor and radicalism in the Pacific Northwest. The site also offers a glimpse of the exciting research being done by undergraduates in labor studies courses at the University of Washington.

The Communist Party made a larger impact on Washington than on almost any other state. “There are forty-seven states in the Union, and the Soviet of Washington,” Postmaster General James Farley joked in 1936. The remark, for all its exaggeration, had some foundation. At various junctures the Party was very influential, helping to shape both the state’s labor movement and its Democratic Party.

This web project provides the most complete account of the history of the Communist Party in one state ever assembled. It includes historical essays that explore decade by decade the party’s organizational history from 1919 to 2002. It includes more than 200 photographs, cartoons and other illustrations – making it the most extensive online collection of visual materials relating to the history of American communism.

A third feature, Video Memories, provides excerpts from video interviews with current long-time members of the Communist Party that can be viewed and heard online. In addition there is a timeline, a Who’s Who, and dozens of leads and links for further research into the history of this important movement.

The Communism in Washington State Project began as History 498, a research class taught by Professor James Gregory in winter quarter 2002. Students conducted the interviews, wrote the key essays, and gathered the photographic and archival materials.

This is the fourth in a continuing series of web-based resources that the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies has sponsored to explore the labor history of the Pacific Northwest. It joins the Seattle General Strike Project, the Labor Press Project and the WTO History Project, all of which can be found at the center’s website: http://depts.washington. edu/pcls/.

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