New series: 100 Years of the Communist Party USA

“The world is on the verge of a new era. Europe is in revolt. The masses of Asia are stirring uneasily. Capitalism is in collapse. The workers of the world are seeing a new life and securing new courage. Out of the night of war is coming a new day… The class war rages fiercely in all nations. Everywhere the workers are in a desperate struggle against their capitalist masters. The call to action has come. The workers must answer the call!” — Manifesto of the Communist Party of America, 1919

With that provocative declaration, 128 women and men, meeting in a hall in Chicago on September 1, 1919, founded the Communist Party of America. Just the day before, in the basement of Chicago’s Machinists Hall, the left-wing anti-war delegates who had been thrown out of the Socialist Party convention founded their own new party, the Communist Labor Party.

Riding a wave of labor unrest sweeping the country after World War I, and inspired by the victorious Russian Revolution two years prior, both groups fought on programs of securing power for the working class and winning socialism in the United States.

Hounded by Attorney General Palmer’s police raids and the deportation of many talented leaders, the two parties united in 1921. The unified party, later re-named the Communist Party USA, set itself the task of organizing the working class to fight for its own interests.

100 years later, that same party is still wrapped up in the struggles of the U.S. working class and people. Over the past century, it has been involved in all the major fights for democracy, equality, and peace in the United States.

People’s World—since our establishment as the Daily Worker in 1924—has been a partner in all these great battles, bringing partisan working-class analysis to all the events of the day. Now, to commemorate the centennial of the CPUSA’s founding, People’s World is launching a new article series: 100 Years of the Communist Party USA.

 

We invite submissions from our readers, historians, CP members present and past, activists—everyone really—who would like to make a contribution to recording and celebrating the history of this fighting organization.

Submissions may come in the form of:

— Personal memoirs (written or video) associated with life in the party;

— Historical essays about particular events or themes (trade union struggles of the early years, the fight for the Scottsboro Boys, organizing the basic industries and the CIO, the winning of Social Security and unemployment insurance, resisting fascism, women’s equality, fighting McCarthyism, Black Liberation, stopping the war in Vietnam, Communists in the labor movement, international solidarity—the list could go on);

— Short biographies of party leaders as well as rank-and-file members (especially those deserving of recognition but who’ve never gotten it);

— Photos and videos from party history;

— Other ideas that we haven’t thought of yet.

Written contributions should be under 1,500 words, and any video or audio submissions should be edited and in a state ready for review. All submissions should be sent to: cp100@peoplesworld.org.

Just like it was a century ago, the idea of socialism is still on the minds of millions. The 2020 election is already heating up and proposals like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal have people talking about alternatives to the capitalist system. A new era of mass resistance to the Trump administration and its big business backers has galvanized the working class. The women’s and #MeToo movements, the Movement for Black Lives, the fight for immigrant justice, the youth and student movements, and the increasingly militant organized labor movement have put people on the move—at the polls, in the streets, on campuses, and in union halls across the nation.

Add all these developments together and it creates the perfect context to commemorate the centennial of our country’s longest-living socialist organization—the Communist Party USA.

So start thinking and start writing. A chance like this only comes along every 100 years.

Submissions for consideration in the People’s World series “100 Years of the Communist Party USA” should be emailed to cp100@peoplesworld.org.


CONTRIBUTOR

People’s World
People’s World

People’s World is a voice for progressive change and socialism in the United States. It provides news and analysis of, by, and for the labor and democratic movements to our readers across the country and around the world. People’s World traces its lineage to the Daily Worker newspaper, founded by communists, socialists, union members, and other activists in Chicago in 1924.

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