A Documentary History of the Communist Party of the United States - Vol. 3

A Documentary History of the Communist Party of the United States - Vol. 3

A Documentary History of the Communist Party of the United States - Vol. 3

A Documentary History of the Communist Party of the United States - Vol. 3

Synopsis

This is the last in an eight-volume documentary history of the Communist Party of the United States of America. This landmark collection by a noted authority on the American Left is the result of forty years of searching for pamphlets, proclamations, manifestos, party reports, and minutes of meetings in bookstores and archives all over the country. Facsimilies of the originals are presented whenever possible. Brief introductions and critical notes and explanations about the documents are provided with each of these rare and hard-to-find materials. Volume VIII begins with a short introduction describing the documentary history and pointing to important sources of information about the Communist Party of the United States. Documents are arranged chronologically and cover the period from 1945 to the present and the dissolution of the Party in this country.

Excerpt

The research of a scholarly book of American political history is invariably an ordeal that tests an author's physical and intellectual stamina. The aim of this collection is to make such work less onerous by making easily available significant primary material about the Communist movement in the United States.

The first major problem faced by a serious researcher of American political and labor history is the lack of a single, central repository or archive of Communist material, although there are one or two valuable collections (notably the Tamiment Collection at New York University's Bobst Library and the Earl Browder Collection at Syracuse University, most of which is available on microfilm). Other major difficulties facing scholars have been the frequent inability of Communists and their supporters to discern fact from fiction and their penchant for turning idolized heroes into despised villains virtually overnight at the behest of a brutal foreign oligarch. In addition, some research material has disintegrated because of misuse or the poor quality of paper, particularly in the case of pre-1934 publications. Finally, in a few other instances, translations from the Russian or German of Communist International material are less than accurate.

To ease the scholar's burden, this work will include many of the important original documents published by the party or by organizations under its control. Among these documents are many that are virtually unavailable except in a rare archive including the original founding proclamations and manifestos dating back to 1918. Most of these were found in the records of the Joint Legislative Committee to Investigate Seditious Activity of New York State in the New York State Archives, but unfortunately many of these documents were in the process of disintegrating. Some were reprinted in the committee's report, Revolutionary Radicalism: Its History, Purpose and Tactics (Albany: J. B. Lyon, 1920); a large part of the rest had to be reset. Material dealing with the 1922 secret convention in Bridgman, Michigan, was found in court records. Material covering the so-called Third Period (1929-1934) also presented problems, most notably in the poor condition of the original of Earl . . .

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