Since the Cold War, most historians have set up an opposition between the “American” and “international” aspects of early American Communism. This book examines the development of the Communist Party in its first decade, from 1919 to 1929. Using the archives of the Communist International, this book, in contrast to previous studies, argues that the International played an important role in the early part of this decade in forcing the party to “Americanise”. Special attention is given to the attempts by the Comintern to orient American Communists on the role of black oppression, and to see the struggle for black liberation and the fight for socialism as inextricably linked. The later sections of the book provide the most detailed account now available of how the Comintern, reflecting the Stalinisation of the Soviet Union, intervened in the American party to ensure the Stalinisation of American Communism.
Jacob A. Zumoff, PhD (2003) in history, University of London, has lectured at several universities, including as a visiting professor at the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey and, most recently, New Jersey City University. He has published on the labour movement and racial oppression in the Americas.
"Trata-se, enfim, de uma obra que já se pode considerar como referência para a história do PCEUA e da própria IC em sua primeira década de ação, levando à compreensão dos caminhos trilhados pelos comunistas em períodos posteriores."
- Dainis Karepovs,
Revista Mundos do Trabalho, Vol 8 (2016), N. 15, pp. 167-171)
"[...] this fully indexed book, with extensive footnotes and references, will be of enduring value as a reference work for avowed socialists as well as scholars of communism. It is also a fun and interesting read and belongs in the toolkits of everyone seeking a coherent revolutionary program and lessons on building an organization capable of leading the working class in revolutionary struggle to sweep away capitalist imperialism."
Workers Vanguard No. 1067, 1 May 2015
"[...] this fine book stands as a major contribution to the history of Communism in the United States."
Paul Le Blanc, Labour/Le Trevail (2015)
"Zumoff’s book belongs in all research libraries and in big city public libraries."
Dan La Botz,
New Politics, February 27th, 2015
The Communist International and US Communism, 1919-1929 is a detailed, nuanced book that analyses a very important period in U.S. communist history. It is a book worth reading. And reading again."
"This book deserves a much more detailed examination and review than we are able to bring in this last issue of NWF.
[...] – labor scholars will find it interesting."
New World Finn, January-March, 2015 Winter, p. 21
Table of contents
Introduction: History and Historiography of American Communism in the 1920s
1: The Formation of the Communist Party, 1912–21
2: The Fight for Legality
3: Communists and the Labour Movement
4: William Z. Foster and the Turn towards the Labour Movement
5: The Farmer-Labor Party
6: The La Follette Fiasco, 1923–24
7: The Double-Edged Sword of ‘Bolshevisation’, 1924–26
8: The Foreign-Language Federations and ‘Bolshevisation’
9: Factionalism and Mass Work, 1925–27
10: The death of Ruthenberg and the Ascension of Lovestone, 1926–27
11: Lovestone between Bukharin and Stalin, 1927–28
12: The ‘Third Period’, the Sixth Congress and the Elimination of Opposition, 1928–29
13: Lovestone becomes a Lovestoneite, 1928–1929
14: The ‘Negro Question’ to the Fourth Comintern Congress
15: The ‘Negro Question’ from the Fourth to the Sixth Congress
16: The Sixth Congress and the ‘Negro Question’
17: ‘Self-Determination’ and Comintern Intervention
Those interested in the radical left and labour movement in the United States; the struggle for black equality; the history of the international Communist movement, as well as political and intellectual historians more generally.