Early American Marxism: Document Download Page by Year: 1944

Early American Marxism

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“Minutes of the Convention of the Communist Party, New York, May 20, 1944.” Immediately prior to the convention founding the “Communist Political Association” there was a short pro forma convention of the Communist Party USA (technically the organization’s 12th) held to officially dissolve the CPUSA to make room for establishment of the CPA. After singing “The Star Spangled Banner,” the assembled 220 delegates and 173 alternates heard opening remarks by National Chairman William Z. Foster who set the stage for General Secretary Earl Browder, who made the formal motion for dissolution of the CPUSA. The convention approved Browder’s motion unanimously before voting to adjourn. This document contains the full text of the official published minutes of this short gathering.


“Constitution of the Communist Political Association: Adopted by the Constitutional Convention, May 20-22, 1944.” The basic document of organizational law for the Communist Party during its brief interlude as the “Communist Poltical Association.” The completely new organizational structure called for in this document began at the local level with geographic “clubs,” democratically electing officers annually as part of democratically elected state organizations. Governing the party would be a set of national officers, headed by (all democratically elected) a “President” and with an indeterminate number of “Vice-Presidents,” a Secretary, a Treasurer, and an indeterminately sized “National Committee”—which in turn was to democratically elect a “National Board” of indeterminate size. This National Organization was to have the power to establish regional District organizations, headed by (democratically elected) District Committees. The constitution stated “Every member is obligated to fight with all his strength against any and every effort, whether it comes from abroad or from within, to impose upon the American people the arbitrary will of any sellfish minority group or party or clique or conspiracy, or to interfere with the unqualiÞed right of the majority to direct the destinies of our country.” For all such pious protestations of its adherence to democratic norms, in practice the 1944 Constitutional Convention elected the Nominating Committee’s entire slate of 40 proposed members and 20 proposed alternates as a National Committee as well as a slate of officers without contest or dissent.