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Communist Party USA
CP logo
Founded: 1919
Defunct: NA
Political Beliefs Communism, however this is questionable as it openly supports Liberal Democratic Party


The Communist Party USA was formed in Chicago 1919 as two Leninist splinters from the Socialist Party of America: the Communist Party of America (CPA) and the Communist Labor Party (CLP). Both groups had supported Vladimir Lenin, the Bolsheviks and the new Soviet Union, but were different demographically (the CPA was mostly composed of immigrants and the native-born CLP was lead by journalist John Reed). Lenin's Communist International ("Comintern") forced these two groups to merge in order to become the official American section of the Comintern.

Early DaysEdit

The CPA and CLP merged in 1922 to become the United Communist Party and later the Workers (Communist) Party (WCP). The party went "underground" for the next few years during the 1920's Red Square the raids of Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer. Communist William Z. Foster ran for President on the Workers (Communist) Party ticket twice during the 1920's. In 1928, following Leon Trotsky's explusion from the Soviet CP, his supporters in the US (led by the party's first chairman, James P. Cannon) were similarly expelled; subsequently, they formed the Communist League. In 1929, the newly Stalinist WCP changed its name to the Communist Party USA, and William Foster became the national chairman in 1932. However, he was placed into the background of Earl Browder when he became CP-USA General Secretary in 1936.

World War Two and McCarthy EraEdit

Early during World War II, the CP-USA opposed American intervention against the Nazis (mainly because of the Hitler-Stalin nonaggression pact) and ran campaigns against Franklin Roosevelt. By 1941, when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, the CP-USA called for the US to enter the war and took part in a "Popular Front" with the Democrats. Browder's CP-USA was renamed the "Communist Political Association" (CPA) and dissolved into the Democratic Party. After the war, the Popular Front came to an end as Earl Browder was expelled and the CPA returned to the Communist Party. Under the leadership of the returning Foster and Eugene Dennis, the CP entered the campaign of former Vice-President Henry Wallace's Progressive Party. During the 1950's, the McCarthy hearings and such laws as the Smith Act led to the indictment of many Communist leaders — including Eugene Dennis, Gus Hall, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, and others.

Besides government crackdowns, the CP-USA also suffered from revelations put forward by Nikita Khrushchev in 1956 (confirming the evils of Stalin in Russia), caused the further decline of the American party. Following the split between Khrushchev and Mao Zedong ("Sino-Soviet split"), the CP-USA sided with the Soviets, causing a number of pro-Chinese members to leave the party and forming the Progressive Labor Party. During the New Left of the 1960's, the CP experienced substantial growth due to publicity such as the imprisonment of black activist (and CP member) Angela Davis. Gus Hall became general secretary and continued to keep the CP highly pro-Moscow; in turn, the Soviet CP secretly funded CP-USA activities.

After 1988Edit

The CP stopped running candidates for President in the 1988 race, choosing instead to enter a new Popular Front with the left Democratic Party challenger, the Reverand Jesse Jackson. In 1989-1991, the CP faced the destruction of the Soviet Bloc. The CP-USA supported the Soviet CP's coup against Mikhail Gorbachev — causing the departure of some 2,000 pro-Gorbachev members to form Committees of Correspondence. The CP continued to shrink after the end of the USSR, and stopped fielding candidates in any races and instead endorsing the Democrat in any election. Since Gus Hall's retirement around 1999, the new general secretary is Sam Webb. The new Webb leadership is working to open up the organization, including allowing dual membership with Committees of Correspondence. Though experiencing a new growth, the CP-USA still supports a number of unfortunate views, such as calling the current Chinese government "Socialist in their journals and backing the thugs of the Colombian FARC. The Communist Party publishes a newspaper (People's Weekly World) and a magazine (Political Affairs).

Many Socialists and Communists criticize the Communist Party USA for supporting the Democrats.

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