Library to host forum on Communist Party history

New York University’s Tamiment Library and the Communist Party USA will hold a symposium March 23 on the “History of the Communist Party and Progressive Politics Today.” Speakers from the activist and academic communities will explore aspects of Communist Party history with an emphasis on its many contributions to the labor and civil rights movements.

Preserving the Communist Party’s historical memory as a resource that can be drawn upon by the current activist generation working for progressive social and political change is one of the forum’s missions.

The program, which is co-sponsored by the Labor and Working Class History Association, will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. at NYU’s Tamiment Library, 70 Washington Square South (West 4th St. between LaGuardia Place and Greene Street).

Speakers will include Jarvis Tyner (CPUSA), Leslie Cagan (United for Peace and Justice), David Cline (Veterans for Peace), Gerald Horne (University of Houston), Frank Barbaro (New Democratic Majority), Daniel Leab (American Communist History) and Teresa Albano (People’s Weekly World), along with other academics plus union and elected officials.

Pregones, a New York-based bilingual theatre group, will perform “Jesus Colon and the Communist Party in East Harlem.” The contributions of many long-time party members will be recognized, and film and video clips from the CPUSA Archives will be previewed.

The Communist Party Archives and the Library of the Reference Center for Marxist Studies donated their extensive files to the Tamiment Library in June 2006. These collections are among the most important in the United States documenting the Communist Party’s many contributions to the struggle for progressive social and political change. Students, scholars, and activists interested in the American left, African American history, American political culture, American labor history, and international politics past and present are encouraged to use this remarkable collection.

The CPUSA archives include more than 500 boxes of historical Party materials, a well-organized collection of left-wing pamphlets describing early Communist history, the Spanish Civil War, McCarthyism, the Latin American left, Soviet history, and the full spectrum of progressive movements that in the 20th century fought for social justice in America.

The periodical collection contains bound volumes of the Daily Worker, Masses, New Masses, The Liberator, Communist International, Labor Defender, Young Worker, Harlem Quarterly and Freedomways.

The Daily Worker (and its successors) photo morgue provides visual documentation on more than a half-century of labor movement, civil rights and peace activities.

The Tamiment Library is one of the oldest repositories in the U.S. preserving the history of labor and left politics. Students of the American progressive tradition will now be able to study the history of American Communism within the wider context of the story of the American Left.

For information about the event please contact: Michael.Nash @, (212) 998-2428.

About the Tamiment:

The Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at New York University form a unique, internationally-known center for scholarly research on Labor and the Left. Archival, print, photograph, film, and oral history collections describe the history of the labor movement and how it related to the broader struggle for economic, social and political change.

The Wagner is the designated repository for the records of the NYC Central Labor Council’s more than 200 member unions. Today the Library has an extraordinary research collection documenting the history of organized labor in New York and the workers who built the city.

Tamiment has one of the finest research collections in the country documenting the history of radical politics: socialism, communism, anarchism, utopian experiments, the cultural Left, the New Left, and the struggle for civil rights and civil liberties. It is the repository for the Archives of Irish America, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives, and a growing Asian American labor collection.