American Communism and Soviet Russia: The Formative Period

By Theodore Draper | Go to book overview

1
The New Day

"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."1*

Thus began the first Manifesto of the newly formed Communist Party of America in September 1919. Its aspirations, faith, and certainty belonged to a long, inspiring, self-destructive, and ever-renewing tradition of revolutionary idealism. For a brief moment, the founders of American Communism were destiny-intoxicated men, appointed to end misery and oppression, break the chains of war, halt the exploitation of man by man, and create a new social order based on justice, freedom, and equality.

But to become a social force, revolutionary idealism must be transmuted into an ideological doctrine and an organized movement. The leap from the ideal to the doctrine, and from the doctrine to the movement, has been too much for all the great revolutionary doctrines and movements of the last century -- socialism, syndicalism, anarchism, and communism. All have passed through a cycle of exaltation and disenchantment. All came as fresh, liberating visions; all became stale, imprisoning dogmas. Somewhere between the revolutionary ideal and the social force, a miscarriage took place.

This is the study primarily of a movement, less of a doctrine, and

____________________
*
Numbered reference notes begin on page 445.

-9-

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American Communism and Soviet Russia: The Formative Period
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Note ix
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction 3
  • 1 - The New Day 9
  • 2 - The Farmer-Labor United Front 29
  • 3 - Roads to Chicago 52
  • 4 - The Parting of the Ways 75
  • 5 - The Lafollette Fiasco 96
  • 6 - How to Win A Majority 127
  • 7 - Bolshevization 153
  • 8 - Party LIfe 186
  • 9 - Politics and Trade-Unionism 215
  • 10 - Ruthenberg's Last Wish 234
  • 11 - Lovestone in Power 248
  • 12 - American Exceptionalism 268
  • 13 - The Turning Point 282
  • 14 - The Sixth World Congress 300
  • 15 - The Negronn Question 315
  • 16 - The Birth of American Trotskyism 357
  • 17 - The Runaway Convention 377
  • 18 - How to Lose A Majority 405
  • Notes 445
  • Acknowledgments 533
  • Index 535
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