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Thu, 05.01.1919

The Communist Party USA is Formed

*On this date, in 1919, the American Communist Party was formed.  Officially called the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA), they are a communist party in the United States established after a split in the Socialist Party of America following the Russian Revolution.   

The CPUSA has a long, complex history of intersectionality that ties with the American labor movement and communist parties worldwide. Initially operating underground due to the Palmer Raids starting in the First Red Scare, the party was influential in American politics in the first half of the 20th century and played a prominent role in the labor movement from the 1920s through the 1940s.  It became known for opposing racism and racial segregation after sponsoring the defense for the Scottsboro Boys in 1931. Its membership increased during the Great Depression, and it played a key role in the Congress of Industrial Organizations. 

Their Constitution defines the working class as a class that is "multiracial, multinational, and unites men and women, young and old, employed and unemployed, organized and unorganized, gay and straight, native-born and immigrant, urban and rural, and composed of workers who perform a large range of physical and mental labor the vast majority of our society."  The CPUSA seeks equal rights for women, equal pay for equal work and the protection of reproductive rights, and end sexism. The party's ranks include a Women's Equality Commission, which recognizes the role of women as an asset in moving towards building socialism.  

Historically significant in American history as an early fighter for Black rights and playing a leading role in protesting the lynching of Blacks in the South, the Communist Party, in its national program today, calls racism the "classic divide-and-conquer tactic." The CPUSA declined due to events such as the second Red Scare and the influence of the HUAC and McCarthyism. Its opposition to the Marshall Plan and the Truman Doctrine was unpopular, with its endorsed candidate Henry A. Wallace underperforming in the 1948 presidential election, while its support for the Soviet Union increasingly alienated it from the rest of the left in the United States in the 1960s.  

From its New York City base, the Communist Party's Ben Davis Club and other Communist Party organizations have been involved in local activism in Harlem and other African American and non-white communities.  The CPUSA received significant funding from the Soviet Union and crafted its public positions to match Moscow's.   The CPUSA also used a covert apparatus to assist the Soviets with their intelligence activities in the United States and utilized a network of front organizations to shape public opinion.  The CPUSA opposed glasnost and perestroika in the Soviet Union, and as a result, major funding from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union ended in 1989. The party remains committed to Marxism–Leninism.  The CPUSA was instrumental in founding the progressive Black Radical Congress in 1998.



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Sitting here alone, in peace With my private sadness Bared of the acquirements Of the mind’s eye Vision reversed, upended, Seeing only the holdings Inside the walls of me, Feeling the roots that bind me, To this... PRIVATE SADNESS by Bob Kaufman.
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