Early American Marxism: Document Download Page by Year: 1933

Early American Marxism

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“Manifesto and Program of the American League Against War and Fascism.: Adopted at the First U.S. Congress Against War, New York City, Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 1933.” Founding declaration fo the Communist Party’s 1930s mass organization dedicated to anti-militarism and defense of the USSR. In the face of increasing war danger and the development of fascism abroad and fascist tendencies at home, the American League Against War and Fascism advocated “mass resistance” uniting workers, impoverished farmers, oppressed blacks, women, and youth in a “nationwide agitation and organization against war preparations and war.” The group pledged to “support the peace policies of the Soviet Union for total and universal disarmament” and to oppose the machinations of imperialism abroad as well as “developments leading to Fascism” at home.


“Beginnings of Revolutionary Political Action in the USA,” by Vern Smith [Oct. 1933] A pamphlet-length historical survey of the development of the American radical movement from 19th Century utopianism to the formation of the Socialist Party of America, as published in the pages of the theoretical journal of the CPUSA. While tendentious treatments of controversial topics do creep into the work, as might be expected, the article remains useful as a brief summary of the main course of left wing political development throughout the last part of the 19th Century and first part of the 20th. Smith emphasizes the continuity between the American sections of the First International and the formation of the Socialist Labor Party, from which sprang the Socialist Party of America; from which in turn sprang the American Communist movement. Of particular interest is the rather heroic portrayal of the Chicago Anarchist movement of the 1880s—depicted as fundamentally sound revolutionists who were pushed into the position of becoming “more and more extreme in the course of their reaction against the sickening legalism of the SLP.” Also interesting is the accusation that the Socialist Labor Party took a position of national chauvinism during the Spanish-American War of 1898, ignoring the transparently obvious imperialist basis of the conflict and explicitly regurgitating the official slogan that this was a war to “Free the oppressed Cubans!”