Socialist Party of America

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The Socialist Party of America was founded in 1901.[1]

The party lost many of its members in the split which led to the emergence of the Communist Party USA in 1919.[2]

By the early 1930s, the party was divided between a reformist "Old Guard" faction, and a younger generation of "Militants"[3]

Between 1935 and 1937, the Socialist leadership sought to create an "all-inclusive socialist party". The Trotskyists and ex-Lovestoneites Ben Gitlow and Herbert Zam joined in this period. Negotiations with the Lovestoneites failed because of Lovestoneite distrust of the Trotskyists.[4] The Old Guard left to form the Social Democratic Federation, after the 1936 convention which allowed the Trotskyites to enter the party.[2]

Between 1934 and 1936, the Revolutionary Policy Committee (RPC) was the most left-wing faction of the party. National Secretary Clarence Senior regarded the RPC's J.B. Mathews as a Stalinist, and Irving Brown and Francis Henson as Lovestoneites. Henson later denied being a member of the Lovestoneite organisation during this period, but admmitted he was close to Lovestone, and regarded Brown as Lovestone's spokesman in the Socialist Party.[5]

As the Lovestoneites abandoned communism in the late 1930s, the two parties became closer and collaborated in the Keep America Out of War Committee.[6] Lovestoneite interest in a potential merger came to nothing when the Lovestoneite group dissolved in 1940.[7]

The party split in the early 1970s into three factions, the Social Democrats USA, the 'Democratic Socialists of America and the Socialist Party USA.[8]

Members

Walter Lippmann | Norman Thomas | Ben Gitlow | Irving Brown | Francis Henson | William B. Chamberlain | Frank N. Trager

Notes

  1. Tim Davenport, Socialist Party (1897-1946): Party History., Early American Marxism website, updated: Sept. 19, 2011, accessed 19 April 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Robert J. Alexander, The Right Opposition: The Lovestoneites and the International Communist Opposition of the 1930s, Greenwood Press, 1981, p.107.
  3. Robert J. Alexander, The Right Opposition: The Lovestoneites and the International Communist Opposition of the 1930s, Greenwood Press, 1981, p.108.
  4. Robert J. Alexander, The Right Opposition: The Lovestoneites and the International Communist Opposition of the 1930s, Greenwood Press, 1981, p.105.
  5. Robert J. Alexander, The Right Opposition: The Lovestoneites and the International Communist Opposition of the 1930s, Greenwood Press, 1981, pp.109-110.
  6. Robert J. Alexander, The Right Opposition: The Lovestoneites and the International Communist Opposition of the 1930s, Greenwood Press, 1981, p.111.
  7. Robert J. Alexander, The Right Opposition: The Lovestoneites and the International Communist Opposition of the 1930s, Greenwood Press, 1981, p.112.
  8. David McReynolds, NORMAN THOMAS'S FOLLOWERS SUPPORT A FREEZE, New York Times, 23 June 1982.
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