Communist Party USA  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) is a Marxist-Leninist political party in the United States.

For approximately the first half of the 20th century it was the largest and most widely influential communist party in the country, and played a prominent role in the U.S. labor movement from the 1920s through the 1940s, founding most of the country's major industrial unions (which would later implement the Smith Act) and pursuing intense anti-racist activity in workplaces and city communities throughout this first part of its existence. The CPUSA survived the Palmer Raids, the first Red Scare, and many similar attempts at suppression of communist activity by the Government of the United States through the end of World War II. By August 1919, only months after its founding, the CPUSA had 60,000 members, including anarchists and other radical leftists, while the more moderate Socialist Party of America had only 40,000.

By the 1950s, however, the combined effects of the second Red Scare, McCarthyism, the Secret Speech, and the Cold War began to break apart the party's internal structure and confidence. U.S. Government prosecution efforts were aided by the party's membership in the Comintern because it cast the Party not only as subversive, but also as a "foreign" agent. Members who did not end up in prison for party activities tended either to disappear quietly from its ranks or to adopt more moderate political positions that were at odds with the CPUSA's party line. By 1957, membership had dwindled to less than 10,000.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Communist Party USA" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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