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Communist Party USA
The Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) is one of several Marxist-Leninist groups in the United States. While the CPUSA played a significant role in organizing industrial unions and defending the rights of African-Americans in the 1930s and 1940s, it was effectively eliminated as a political force by McCarthyism and the Cold War. The current leader of the party is Sam Webb.
Formation and early history (1919-1921)
In January, 1919, Lenin invited the left wing of the Socialist Party to join the Communist International (Comintern). During the spring of 1919 the left wing of the Socialist Party, buoyed by a large influx of new members from countries involved in the Russian Revolution, prepared to wrest control from the smaller controlling faction of moderate socialists. A referendum to join the Comintern passed with 90% support but the incumbent leadership suppressed the results. Elections for the party's National Executive Committee resulted in twelve leftists being elected out of a total of fifteen. Calls were made to expel moderates from the party. The moderate incumbents struck back by expelling several state organizations, half a dozen language federations, and many locals, in all two thirds of the membership.
The Socialist Party then called an emergency convention to be held in Chicago on August 30, 1919. The left wing made plans at a June conference of its own to regain control of the party by sending delegations from the sections of the party that had been expelled to the convention to demand that they be seated. However, the language federations, eventually joined by Charles Ruthenberg and Louis Fraina , turned away from that effort and formed their own party, the Communist Party of America, at a separate convention in Chicago on September 2, 1919.
Meanwhile plans led by John Reed and Benjamin Gitlow to crash the Socialist Party convention went ahead. Tipped off, the incumbents called the police, who obligingly expelled the leftists from the hall. The remaining leftist delegates walked out and, meeting with the expelled delegates, formed the Communist Labor Party on September 1, 1919.
The Comintern was not happy with two Communist Parties and in January, 1920 dispatched an order that the two parties merge under the name United Communist Party . Part of the Communist Party of America under the leadership of Charles Ruthenberg and Jay Lovestone did this but a faction under the leadership of Nicholas I. Hourwich and Alexander Bittelman continued to operate independently as the Communist Party of America. A more strongly worded directive from the Comintern eventually did the trick and the parties were merged in May, 1921. Only ten percent of the members of the newly formed party were native English-speakers.
The Red Scare and the underground party (1919-1923)
From its inception, the Communist Party USA came under attack from state and federal governments and later the FBI. In late 1919 Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, acting under the Sedition Act of 1918, began arresting thousands of party members, particularly the foreign-born, whom the government deported. The Communist Party was forced underground and went through various name changes to evade the authorities.
It reemerged in 1923 as the "Workers Party of America". Despite a struggle by some party members to retain an illegal apparatus on principle, the aboveground and underground parties were fully merged. The party, later renamed the Communist Party USA, recruited more disaffected members of the Socialist Party and an organization of African-American socialists called the African Blood Brotherhood, some of whose members would later play important roles in communist work among blacks.
Early factional struggles (1923-1929)
Now that their party was fully aboveground and legal the communists decided that their central task was to develop roots within the working class. This move away from hopes of revolution in the near future to a more nuanced approach was accelerated by the decisions of the Fifth World Congress of the Comintern held in 1925, which decided that the period between 1917 and 1924 had been one of revolutionary upsurge, but that the new period was marked by the stabilization of capitalism and that revolutionary attempts in the near future were to be spurned. The American communists embarked then on the arduous work of locating and winning allies.
That work was, however, complicated by factional struggles within the CPUSA. The party quickly developed a number of more or less fixed factional groupings within its leadership: a faction around the party's Chairman Charles Ruthenberg, which was largely organized by his supporter Jay Lovestone, and the Foster-Cannon caucus, headed by William Z. Foster, who headed the Party's Trade Union Educational League , and James P. Cannon, who led the International Labor Defense organization. The first faction drew many of its members from the party's foreign language federations while the latter found more support among 'native' workers.
Foster, who had been deeply involved in the steel strike of 1919 and had been a long-time syndicalist, had strong bonds with the progressive leaders of the Chicago Federation of Labor and, through them, with the Progressive Party and nascent farmer-labor parties. Under pressure from the Comintern, however, the party broke off relations with both groups in 1924.
In 1925 Comintern representative Sergei Gusev ordered the majority Foster faction to surrender control to Ruthenberg's faction; Foster complied. The factional infighting within the CPUSA did not end, however; the communist leadership of the New York locals of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union lost the 1926 strike of cloakmakers in New York City in large part because of intra-party factional rivalries.
Ruthenberg died in 1927 and his ally, Jay Lovestone, succeeded him as party secretary. Cannon attended the Sixth Congress of the Comintern in 1928, hoping to use his connections with leading circles within it to regain the advantage against the Lovestone faction. However he and Maurice Spector of the Communist Party of Canada were accidentally given a copy of Trotsky's "Critique of the Draft Program of the Comintern" that they were instructed to read and return. Persuaded by its contents, they came to an agreement to return to America and campaign for the document's positions. A copy of the document was then smuggled out of the country in a child's toy.
Back in America, Cannon and his close associates in the ILD such as Max Shachtman and Martin Abern, dubbed the "three generals without an army", began to organize support for Trotsky's theses. However, as this attempt to develop a Left Opposition came to light, they and their supporters were expelled. Cannon and his followers organized the Communist League of America as a section of Trotsky's International Left Opposition.
At the same Congress, Lovestone had impressed the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union as a strong supporter of Nikolai Bukharin the general secretary of the Comintern. This was to have devastating consequences for Lovestone when, in 1929, Bukharin was on the losing end of a struggle with Stalin and was purged from his position on the Politburo and removed as head of the Comintern.
In a reversal of the events of 1925, a Comintern delegation sent to the United States demanded that Lovestone resign as party secretary in favor of his archrival Foster, despite the fact that Lovestone enjoyed the support of the vast majority of the American party's membership. Lovestone traveled to the Soviet Union and appealed directly to the Comintern. Stalin informed Lovestone that he "had a majority because the American Communist Party until now regarded you as the determined supporters of the Communist International. And it was only because the Party regarded you as friends of the Comintern that you had a majority in the ranks of the American Communist Party".
When Lovestone returned to the United States, he and his ally Benjamin Gitlow were purged despite holding the leadership of the party. Ostensibly, this was not due to Lovestone's insubordination in challenging a decision by Stalin but for his support for American Exceptionalism, the thesis that socialism could be achieved peacefully in the USA.
Lovestone and Gitlow formed their own group called the Communist Party (Opposition), a section of the pro-Bukharin International Communist Opposition, which was initially larger than the Trotskyists but failed to survive past 1941. Lovestone had initially called his faction the Communist Party (Majority Group) in the expectation that the majority of the CPUSA's members would join him, but only a few hundred people joined his new organization.
The Third Period (1928-1935)
The upheavals within the CPUSA in 1928 were an echo of a much more significant change: Stalin's decision to break of any form of collaboration with western socialist parties, which were now condemned as "social fascists", had particularly severe consequences in Germany, where the German Communist Party not only refused to work in alliance with the German Socialist Party, but attacked it and its members.
In the United States the principal impact of the Third Period was to end the CPUSA's efforts to organize within the AFL through the TUEL and to turn its efforts into organizing dual unions through the Trade Union Unity League . Foster went along with this change, even though it contradicted the policies he had fought for previously. He did not, however, remain head of the CPUSA: in 1932 one of his subordinates, Earl Browder, replaced him.
The Party's slogan in this period was "the united front from below". The Party devoted much of its energy in the early years of the Great Depression to organizing the unemployed, attempting to found "red" unions, championing the rights of black Americans and fighting evictions of farmers and the working poor. At the same time, the Party attempted to weave its revolutionary politics into its day-to-day defense of workers, usually with only limited success.
The Popular Front (1935-1939)
The ideological rigidity of the third period began to crack, however, with two events: the election of Roosevelt in 1932 and Hitler's rise to power in 1933. Roosevelt's election and the passage of the National Industrial Recovery Act in 1933 sparked a tremendous upsurge in union organizing in 1933 and 1934. While the party line still favored creation of autonomous revolutionary unions, party activists chose to fold up those organizations and follow the mass of workers into the AFL unions they had been attacking.
The Seventh Congress of the Comintern made the change in line official in 1935, when it declared the need for a “popular front” of all groups opposed to fascism. The CPUSA abandoned its opposition to the New Deal and provided many of the organizers for the Congress of Industrial Organizations.
The party also sought unity with forces to its right. Earl 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 its 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 fascist military uprising tried 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 Popular Front period saw the development of a strong communist influence in intellectual and artistic life. This was often through various organizations influenced or controlled by the Party or, as they were pejoratively known, "fronts."
The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and World War II
The CPUSA was adamantly opposed to fascism during the Popular Front period. The signing of a non-aggression pact with Hitler (the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) in 1939 meant that the CPUSA turned its focus from anti-fascism to advocacy of peace. The CPUSA even went so far as to accuse Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt of provoking aggression against Hitler and denouncing the Polish government as fascist after the German and Soviet invasion.
In loyal, indeed abject, allegiance to the Soviet Union, the party changed this policy again after Hitler attacked the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. So sudden was this change that CPUSA members of the UAW negotiating on behalf of the union reportedly changed their position from favoring strike action to opposing it in the same negotiating session.
Throughout the rest of World War II, the CPUSA went from pursuing a policy of militant, if sometimes bureaucratic trade unionism to opposing strike actions at all costs. The leadership of the CPUSA was among the most patriotic elements during these years, advocating social peace, supporting the prosecution of leaders of the Socialist Workers Party under the newly enacted Smith Act, and opposing A. Philip Randolph's efforts to organize a March on Washington to dramatize black workers' demands for equal treatment on the job.
The Onset of the Cold War
Earl Browder expected the wartime coalition between the Soviet Union and the west to bring about a prolonged period of social harmony after the war. In order to better integrate the communist movement into American life the party was officially dissolved in 1944 and replaced by a Communist Political Association.
That harmony proved elusive, however, and the international communist movement swung to the left after the war ended. Browder found himself isolated when a critical letter from the leader of the French Communist Party received wide circulation. As a result of this, he was retired and replaced by William Z. Foster, who would remain the senior leader of the party until his own retirement in 1958.
In line with other communist parties worldwide, the CPUSA also swung to the left and, as a result, experienced a brief period in which a number of internal critics argued for a more leftist stance than the leadership was willing to countenance. The result was the expulsion of a handful of "premature anti-revisionists".
More important for the party was the renewal of state persecution of the CPUSA. The Truman administration's loyalty oath program, introduced in 1947, drove some leftists out of federal employment and, more importantly, legitimized the notion of communists as subversives, to be exposed and expelled from public and private employment. The House Committee on Un-American Activities, which forced Communists and their allies either to recant and name names or face blacklisting, made even brief affiliation with the CPUSA or any related groups grounds for public exposure and attack, inspiring local governments to adopt loyalty oaths and investigative commissions of their own. Private parties, such as the motion picture industry and self-appointed watchdog groups, extended the policy still further.
The union movement purged party members as well. The CIO formally expelled a number of left-led unions in 1949 after internal disputes triggered by the party's support for Henry Agard Wallace's candidacy for President and its opposition to the Marshall Plan, while other labor leaders sympathetic to the CPUSA either were driven out of their unions or dropped their alliances with the party.
The widespread fear of communism became even more acute after the Soviets' explosion of an atomic bomb in 1949 and discovery of Soviet espionage . Ambitious politicians, including Richard M. Nixon and Joseph McCarthy, made names for themselves by exposing or threatening to expose Communists within the Truman administration or later, in McCarthy's case, within the United States Army. Liberal groups, such as the Americans for Democratic Action, not only distanced themselves from communists and communist causes, but defined themselves as anti-communist.
When the Communist Party was formed in 1919 the United States government was engaged in prosecution of Socialists who had opposed World War I and military service. This persecution was continued in 1919 and January, 1920 in the Palmer Raids or the Red Scare. Many ordinary members of the Party were arrested and deported; leaders were prosecuted and in some cases sentenced to prison terms. In the late 1930s, with the authorization of President Roosevelt, the FBI began investigating both domestic Nazis and Communists. Congress passed the Smith Act, which made it illegal to advocate, abet, or teach the desirability of overthrowing the government, in 1940.
In 1949, the federal government put Eugene Dennis, William Z. Foster and ten other CPUSA leaders on trial for advocating the violent overthrow of the government. Because the prosecution could not show that any of the defendants had openly called for violence or been involved in accumulating weapons for a proposed revolution, it relied on the testimony of former members of the party that the defendants had privately advocated the overthrow of the government and on quotations from the work of Karl Marx, Lenin and other revolutionary figures of the past. During the course of the trial the judge held several of the defendants and all of their counsel in contempt of court.
All of the remaining eleven defendants were found guilty. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of their convictions by a 6-2 vote in United States v. Dennis , . The government then proceeded with the prosecutions of more than 100 "second string" members of the party.
Panicked by these arrests and the fear that it was compromised by informants, Dennis and other party leaders decided to go underground and to disband many affiliated groups. The move only heightened the political isolation of the leadership, while making it nearly impossible for the Party to function.
The widespread persecution of communists and their associates began to abate somewhat after Senator Joseph McCarthy overreached himself in the Army-McCarthy hearings , producing a backlash; see Reaction to McCarthyism. The Supreme Court brought a halt to the Smith Act prosecutions in 1957 in its decision in Yates v. United States, 354 U.S. 298 (1957), which required that the government prove that the defendant had actually taken concrete steps toward the forcible overthrow of the government, rather than merely advocating it in theory.
The crises of 1956
The 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary and the Secret Speech of Nikita Khrushchev to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union criticizing Stalin had a cataclysmic effect on the CPUSA . Membership plummeted and the leadership briefly faced a challenge from a loose grouping led by Daily Worker editor John Gates, which wished to democratize the party. Perhaps the greatest single blow dealt to the party in this period was the loss of the Daily Worker, published since 1924, which was suspended in 1958 due to falling circulation.
Most of the critics would depart from the party demoralized, but remained active in progressive causes often working harmoniously with party members. This diaspora rapidly came to provide the audience for publications like the National Guardian and Monthly Review, which were to be important in the development of the New Left in the 1960s.
The post-1956 upheavals in the CPUSA also saw the advent of a new leadership around former steel worker Gus Hall. Hall's views were very much those of his mentor Foster, but the younger man was to be more rigorous in ensuring the party was completely orthodox than the older man in his last years. Therefore, while remaining critics who wished to liberalize the party were expelled, so too, in 1961, were other critics who sought to return the party to an even more stringent form of Stalinism.
Never a coherent or organized faction, these critics would include elements on both coasts who would come together to form the Progressive Labor Movement in the early 1960's. Through Progressive Labor, which soon adopted the title of party, former CPUSA cadre would come to play a role in many of the numerous Maoist organizations of the 1970s. Jack Shulman, Foster's secretary, who also played a role in these organizations, was not expelled but resigned.
Recovery after McCarthyism
The CPUSA itself was largely eclipsed by the New Left in the 1960s; while it supported the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. and other movement leaders kept communists and former communists at arm's length for fear of being branded communists themselves. Similarly, the peace movement and the New Left rejected the CPUSA for both its bureaucratic rigidity and its association with Stalinism.
In the 1970s, the CPUSA managed to grow in membership to about 25,000 members, despite the exodus of numerous Anti-Revisionist and Maoist groups from its ranks. However, in 1984, seeing the onslaught of Ronald Reagan's anti-Communist administration and decreased CPUSA membership, Gus Hall chose to end the CPUSA's nation-wide electoral campaigns. The CPUSA still runs candidates for local office.
Fall of Communism
The era of glasnost and perestroika and the ultimate collapse of the Soviet Union led to a crisis in the party. In the late 1980s the party became estranged from the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev and criticized his policy of perestroika, leading to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union cutting off its support of the CPUSA in 1989.
The CPUSA's 1991 convention was consumed by a debate on the future orientation of the party following the collapse of the Eastern bloc. A moderate minority urged the Gus Hall leadership to reject Leninism and take the party on a post-Communist, democratic socialist direction. The party majority reasserted the orthodox line and the minority formed the Committees of Correspondence in 1992 as a moderate wing of the party. Unable to influence the CPUSA, the group soon left the party and established itself as an independent democratic socialist organization, now called the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.
The current National Chair of the CPUSA is Sam Webb. The newspaper is the People's Weekly World. The monthly journal is Political Affairs . Current membership is around 2,500 and has been slowly growing.
The Communist Party and Labor
The Communist Party and African-Americans
Soviet funding of the Party and espionage
The USSR covertly subsidized the CPUSA from its foundation in 1919 until the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Releases from the Comintern archives show that all national Communist parties that conformed to the Soviet line were funded in the same fashion. From the Communist point of view this international funding arose from the internationalist nature of communism itself; fraternal assistance was considered the duty of Communists in any one country to give aid to their comrades in other countries, even if this meant influencing the internal affairs of sovereign countries in ways that these same Communists would denounce in public.
From 1959 until 1989, when Gus Hall attacked the initiatives taken by Mikhail Gorbachev in the Soviet Union, the Party received a substantial subsidy from the Soviet Union. There is at least one receipt signed by Gus Hall in the KGB archives.  Starting with $75,000 in 1959 this was increased gradually to $3,000,000 in 1987. This substantial amount reflected the Party's subservience to the Moscow line, in contrast to the French and Italian Parties, whose Eurocommunism deviated from the orthodox line.
The cutoff of funds in 1989 resulted in a financial crisis resulting in cutting back publication in 1990 of the Party newspaper, the People's Daily World, to weekly publication, the People's Weekly World. (References for this section are provided below.)
With the declassification of the FBI's files on the CPUSA, Russian archives holding the records of the Communist International and the CPUSA, and decrypted World War II Soviet messages between NKVD offices in the United States and Moscow, also known as the Venona Cables, the extent of the CPUSA's involvement in espionage is now becoming public. The Venona cables appear to confirm that Julius Rosenberg was guilty of espionage, while indicating that Ethel Rosenberg was not.
Theodore Hall, a Harvard-trained physicist and CPUSA member, began passing information on the atomic bomb to the Soviets soon after he was hired at Los Alamos at age 19. Hall, who was known as Mlad by his KGB handlers, escaped prosecution. Hall's wife, aware of his espionage, claims that their NKVD handler had advised them to plead innocent, as the Rosenbergs did, if formally charged.
Leaders of the Communist Party USA
- Charles Ruthenberg, General Secretary (1919-1927), James P. Cannon, Party Chairman, (1919-1928)
- Jay Lovestone (1927-1929)
- William Z. Foster (1929-1932)
- Earl Browder (1932-1945)
- Eugene Dennis, General Secretary (1945-1959) and William Z. Foster, Party Chairman (1945-1957)
- Gus Hall (1959-2000)
- Sam Webb (since 2000)
- 1924 - William Z. Foster
- 1928 - William Z. Foster
- 1932 - William Z. Foster
- 1936 - Earl Browder
- 1940 - Earl Browder
- 1968 - Charlene Mitchell
- 1972 - Gus Hall
- 1976 - Gus Hall
- 1980 - Gus Hall
- 1984 - Gus Hall
- CPUSA website, including a collection of FAQs
- People's Weekly World weekly newspaper
- Political Affairs monthly theoretical publication
- Reference Center for Marxist Studies archives
- Allen, Raymond B. Communists Should Not Teach In American Colleges Educational Forum. Vol. 13 # 4. May 1949.
- Beichman, Arnold. Guilty as Charged Weekly Standard. December 14, 1998.
References for: Soviet funding of the Party
- The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB, Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, Basic Books, 1999, hardcover edition, p. 287-293, p. 306, ISBN 0465003109. Vasili Mitrokhin was an archivist who worked for the KGB. After 1972, when the KGB established its new modern offices at Yasenovo, Mitrokhin was entrusted with transferring the corpus of KGB files from its old office at the Lubyanka in Moscow to the new offices. During the next ten years while performing these duties he copied many files which he turned over to British intelligence when he defected in March, 1992.
- Operation Solo: The FBI's Man in the Kremlin, John Barron , Regnery Publishing, 1996, ISBN 0895264862; 2001 edition, ISBN 0709160615. This biography of Morris Childs, who together with his brother Jack arranged for and handled the money transfers during the 1960s and 70s, contains much of the same material.
- American Communist History a peer-reviewed journal published by the Historians of American Communism. 
- Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes, The American Communist Movement: Storming Heaven Itself, Twayne Publishers (Macmillan), 1992, hardcover, 210 pages, ISBN 080573855X, trade paperback ISBN 0805738568
- Theodor Draper, The Roots of American Communism, Viking, 1957
- Theodor Draper, American Communism and Soviet Russia: The Formative Period, Viking, 1960
- Harvey Klehr, The Heyday of American Communism:The Depression Decade, Basic Books, 1984, hardcover, ISBN 0465029450, trade paperback, 1985, ISBN 0465029469
- Maurice Isserman, Which Side Were You On?: The American Communist Party During the Second World War, Wesleyan University Press, 1982 and 1987, University of Illinois Press, 1993, trade paperback, ISBN 0252063368, reprint edition ISBN 0819561118
- Philip J. Jaffe, Rise and Fall of American Communism, Horizon Press, 1975, hardcover, ISBN 0818008172
- Joseph R. Starobin, American Communism in Crisis, 1943-1957, Harvard University Press, 1972, hardcover, ISBN 0674022750
- Irving Howe and Lewis Coser, The American Communist Party: A Critical History, Beacon Press, 1957
- Guenter Lewy, The Cause That Failed: Communism in American Political Life, Oxford University Press, 1997, hardcover, ISBN 0195057481
- Aileen S. Kraditor, Jimmy Higgins: The Mental World of the American Rank-And-File Communist, 1930-1958 Greenwood Publishing Company, 1988, hardcover, ISBN 0313262462
- Bert Cochran, Labor and Communism: The Conflict That Shaped American Unions, Princeton University Press, 1977, ISBN 0691046441
- Harvey Levenstein, Communism, Anticommunism, and the CIO, Greenwood, 1981, hardcover, ISBN 0313220727
- Max M. Kampelman, Communist Party vs the CIO: A Study in Power Politics (American Labor Series No. 2), Ayer Company Publishing, 1971, hardcover, ISBN 0405029292
- Ronald W. Schatz, Electrical Workers: A History of Labor at General Electric and Westinghouse, 1923-60, University of Illinois Press, 1983, hardcover, ISBN 0252010310; paperback reprint ISBN 0252014383
- Joshua B. Freeman, In Transit: The Transport Workers Union in New York City, 1933-1966 With a New Epilogue, Temple University Press, 2001, trade paperback 446 pages, ISBN 156639922X
- Roger Keeran, Communist Party and the Auto Workers Unions, Indiana University Press, 1980, hardcover, ISBN 0253157544
- Cletus E. Daniel, Bitter Harvest: A History of California Farmworkers, 1870-1941, University of California Press, 1982, trade paperback, ISBN 0520047222; textbook binding, Cornell University Press, 1981, ISBN 0801412846
- Robin D.G. Kelley, Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression, University of North Carolina Press, 1990, trade paperback, ISBN 0807842885
- Lowell K., Dyson, Red Harvest: The Communist Party and American Farmers, University of Nebraska Press, 1982, hardcover, ISBN 0803216599
Social, cultural and ethnic issues
- Nathan Glazer, The Social Basis of American Communism, Greenwood, 1974, ISBN 0837174767
- Harvey E. Klehr, Communist Cadre: The Social Background of the American Communist Party, Hoover Institution Press, 1960, ISBN 0685672794
- Auvo Kostiainen, The Forging of Finnish-American Communism, 1917-1924: A Study in Ethnic Radicalism, Annales Universitatis Turkuensis, Series B, No. 147, University of Turku, Turku, Finland, 1978
- Mark Naison, Communists in Harlem During the Depression, University of Illinois Press, 1983, hardcover, ISBN 0252006445; Grove Press reprint, 1985, ISBN 0802151833
- Charles H., Martin, The Angelo Herndon Case and Southern Justice Louisiana State University Press, 1976, ISBN 0807101745
- Dan T. Carter, Scottsboro a Tragedy of the American South, Oxford University Press, 1972, trade paperback, ISBN 0195014855; Louisiana State University Press; 1979, trade paperback, ISBN 0807104981
- Lawrence H. Schwartz, Marxism and Culture: The CPUSA and Aesthetics in the 1930s, Authors Choice Press (2000), trade paperback, ISBN 0595127517
- Daniel Aaron, Writers on the Left: Episodes in American Literary Communism, Harcourt Brace & World, 1959
- Larry Ceplair and Steven Englund, Inquisition in Hollywood: Politics in the Film Community, 1930-1960, Doubleday, 1980, hardcover, ISBN 0385129009; University of Illinois Press, 2003, trade paperback, 576 pages, ISBN 0252071417
- Robert Rosenstone, Crusade on the Left: The Lincoln Battalion in the Spanish Civil War, Pegasus, 1969.
- Constance Ashton Myers, The Prophet's Army : Trotskyists in America, 1928-1941, Greenwood, 1977, hardcover, 281 pages, ISBN 0837190304
- Robert Jackson Alexander and Robert S. Alley, Right Opposition: The Lovestoneites and the International Communist Opposition of the 1930's, Greenwood, 1981, hardcover, 342 pages, ISBN 0313220700
- Peter Collier and David Horowitz, Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts about the '60s, Summit Books, 1989, hardcover, ISBN 0671667521; Summit Books, trade paperback, ISBN 0671701282; Simon and Schuster, 1996, trade paperback, 398 pages, ISBN 0684826410
- Todd Gitlin, Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage, Bantam, 1987, hardcover, ISBN 0553052330; Bantam Dell, 1993, trade paperback, ISBN 0553372122
- James E. Miller also known as Jim or James Miller, Democracy Is in the Streets: From Port Huron to the Siege of Chicago, Touchstone Books, 1988, hardcover, ISBN 0671530569; Harvard University Press, 1994, trade paperback, ISBN 0674197259; Touchstone Books, 1988, trade paperback, ISBN 067166235X
Espionage and infiltration
- Allen, Weinstein, Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case, Knopf, 1978, hardcover, ISBN 0394495462
- Ronald Radosh and Joyce Milton, The Rosenberg File: A Search for the Truth, Henry Holt, 1983, hardcover, ISBN 0030490367; Yale University Press, 2nd edition, 1997, trade paperback, 616 pages, ISBN 0300072058
- Earl Latham, Communist Controversy in Washington: From the New Deal to McCarthy, Holiday House, 1972, ISBN 0689701217; hardcover, ISBN 1125650796
- Richard M. Fried, Nightmare in Red: The McCarthy Era in Perspective, Oxford University Press, 1991, trade paperback, ISBN 019504360X; ISBN 195043618
- David M. Oshinsky, A Conspiracy So Immense: The World of Joe McCarthy, Simon and Schuster, 1985, trade paperback, ISBN 0029237602; Free Press, ISBN 0029234905
- Thomas C. Reeves, Life and Times of Joe McCarthy, Stein & Day, 1983, hardcover, ISBN 0812823370
- John Earl Haynes, Communism and Anti-Communism in the United States: An Annotated Guide to Historical Writings (Garland Reference Library of Social Science, Vol 379), Garland Science, 1987, hardcover ISBN 0824085205
- Newsletter of the Historians of American Communism
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