Early American Marxism: Document Download Page by Year 1946




“History of the American Socialist Youth Movement to 1929,” by Shirley Waller [circa 1946] A summary history of the early Socialist and Communist youth movement in America written circa 1946 by a member of a small Trotskyist organization, the Workers Party. This material is an extended excerpt of that first published as two small circulation WP bulletins. These bulletins quickly went out of print and were brought back only as a mimeographed pamphlet in 1959 (with additional material) by the Socialist Workers Party. Waller’s history is encumbered with an orthodox Trotskyist periodization which declares a “beginning of the degeneration of the YCL” from late 1923 and makes an ahistorical declaration of an “abrupt halt” to the “organic process of the youth movement” from 1925. These dates obviously were chosen based upon the political position of one Soviet Russian Communist Party leader vis-a-vis the others rather than on the basis of objectively observed and persuasively documented historical events in the YCL itself. That said (and despite several glaring factual inaccuracies corrected here in the footnotes) this history is not without interest as a thumbnail sketch of the evolution of the Socialist Party of America’s youth movement into the Communist youth movement of the 1920s.