A look at what I have come to regard as the twenty-five most important (even if ‘wrong’), consequential (for better and for worse), and finest (we have plenty to be deeply proud of) English-language U.S. left publications of our class’s earlier history. The enormous labor, resources, effort (physical and intellectual), financial sacrifices, and even real danger, gone into producing and distributing these publications is one of the reasons we revolutionaries are still here to continue the fight.
From our modest beginnings, mostly confined to the world and publications of Red ’48 German exiles, it was their increasing focus on the very ‘America’ war against slavery, and their sporadic but real collaboration with rising Black militants, that was responsible for birthing what we would recognize as the modern U.S. left; to the to a new daily press reflecting the growth of socialism and emergence of vibrant national organizations; to the development of a party press; of theoretical journals, arts-orientated cultural magazines, to the emergence of a rich Black radical press well before WWI; a regular a socialist-feminist organ essential in giving a forum to women socialists in their struggle within the S.P.; of wobbly and insurgent proletarian papers, large and small, rising to challenge conservatism in the movement; to the defining and long-lived Daily Worker, and subsequent development of the oppositional Communist currents of the 1930s.
Here then are 25 ‘essential’ publication listed in alphabetical order, with some honorable mentions at the end. Like all such lists, what has been left, may be just as important as these. All are linked to an archive where their issue can be explored in detail.
‘Twenty-Five Essential Working Class Publications of Our Radical Past’ by Revolution’s Newsstand.
1. Alarm (Chicago). The Alarm was an extremely important paper at a momentous moment in the history of the US and international workers’ movement. The Alarm was the paper of the International Working People’s Association produced weekly in Chicago and edited by Albert Parsons. The IWPA was formed by anarchists and social revolutionists who left the Socialist Labor Party in 1883 led by Johann Most who had recently arrived in the States. The SLP was then dominated by German-speaking Lassalleans focused on electoral work, and a smaller group of Marxists largely focused on craft unions. In the immigrant slums of proletarian Chicago, neither were as appealing as the city’s Lehr-und-Wehr Vereine (Education and Defense Societies) which armed and trained themselves for the class war. With 5000 members by the mid-1880s, the IWPA quickly far outgrew the SLP, and signified the larger dominance of anarchism on radical thought in that decade. The Alarm first appeared on October 4, 1884, one of eight IWPA papers that formed, but the only one in English. Parsons was formerly the assistant-editor of the SLP’s ‘People’ newspaper and a pioneer member of the American Typographical Union. By early 1886 Alarm claimed a run of 3000, while the other Chicago IWPA papers, the daily German Arbeiter-Zeitung (Workers’ Newspaper) edited by August Spies and weeklies Der Vorbote (The Harbinger) had between 7-8000 each, while the weekly Der Fackel (The Torch) ran 12000 copies an issue. A Czech-language weekly Budoucnost (The Future) was also produced. Parsons, assisted by Lizzie Holmes and his wife Lucy Parsons, issued a militant working-class paper. The Alarm was incendiary in its language, literally. Along with openly advocating the use of force, The Alarm published bomb-making instructions. Suppressed immediately after May 4, 1886, the last issue edited by Parson was April 24. On November 5, 1887, one week before Parson’s execution, The Alarm was relaunched by Dyer Lum but only lasted half a year. Restarted again in 1888, The Alarm finally ended in February 1889. The Alarm is a crucial resource to understanding the rise of anarchism in the US and the world of Haymarket and one of the most radical eras in US working class history.
2. Appeal to Reason (1895-1922). The Appeal to Reason was among the most important and widely read left papers in the United States. With a weekly run of over 550,000 copies by 1910, it remains the largest socialist paper in US history. Founded by utopian socialist and Ruskin Colony leader Julius Wayland it was published privately in Girard, Kansas from 1895 until 1922. The paper came from the Midwestern populist tradition to become the leading national voice in support of the Socialist Party of America in 1901. A ‘popular’ paper, the Appeal was Eugene Debs main literary outlet and saw writings by Upton Sinclair, Jack London, Mary “Mother” Jones, Helen Keller and many other including translations of European socialist texts, including long-form essays and documents, making it far more than the journal of Midwestern socialism.
3. Class Struggle (1917-1919). The Class Struggle is considered among the first pro-Bolshevik journal in the United States and began in the aftermath of Russia’s February Revolution. A bi-monthly published between May 1917 and November 1919 in New York City by the Socialist Publication Society, a descendant of the Socialist Propaganda League of America, its original editors were Ludwig Lore, Louis B. Boudin, and Louis C. Fraina. The Class Struggle became the primary English-language theoretical periodical of the Socialist Party’s left wing and emerging Communist movement. Difference over the war and relations with the Socialist Party led to a fracturing of the editorial board in 1919, with Louis Fraina leaving to form ‘Revolutionary Age’ aligned with the Communist Party of America, while the last issue of C.S. was published by the rival Communist Labor Party of America.
4. The Chicago Daily Socialist. The Chicago Socialist, sometimes daily sometimes weekly, was published from 1902 until 1912 as the paper of the Chicago Socialist Party. The roots of the paper lie with Workers Call, published from 1899 as a Socialist Labor Party publication, becoming a voice of the Springfield Social Democratic Party after splitting with De Leon in July, 1901. It became the Chicago Socialist Party paper with the SDP’s adherence and changed its name to the Chicago Socialist in March, 1902. In 1906 it became a daily and published until 1912 by Local Cook County of the Socialist Party, edited by A.M. Simons of the International Socialist Review. With the New York Call, it was one of the few, and certainly the most important daily Socialist papers of the Debs era. A cornucopia of historical information on the Chicago workers movements lies within its page. Reflecting the constructivist, reformist and craft union orientation of the S.P. majority, these papers were also responsible in instigating left-wing alternatives by more radical and industrial constituencies in New York, Chicago, and their environs.
5. The Communist (1927-1944). There are a number of journals with this name in the history of the movement. This The Communist was the main theoretical journal of the Communist Party from 1927 until 1944. Its origins lie with the folding of The Liberator, Soviet Russia Pictorial, and Labor Herald together into Workers Monthly as the new unified Communist Party’s official cultural and discussion magazine in November, 1924. Workers Monthly became The Communist in March ,1927 and was also published monthly. The Communist contains the most thorough archive of the Communist Party’s positions and thinking during its run. The New Masses became the main cultural vehicle for the CP and the Communist, though it began with more vibrancy and discussion, became increasingly an organ of Comintern and CP program. Over its run the tagline went from “A Theoretical Magazine for the Discussion of Revolutionary Problems” to “A Magazine of the Theory and Practice of Marxism-Leninism” to “A Marxist Magazine Devoted to Advancement of Democratic Thought and Action.” The aesthetic of the journal also changed dramatically over its years. Editors included Earl Browder, Alex Bittelman, Max Bedacht, and Bertram D. Wolfe.
6. The Daily Worker. The Daily Worker began in 1924 and was published in New York City by the Communist Party US and its predecessor organizations. Among the most long-lasting and important left publications in US history, it had a circulation of 35,000 at its peak. The Daily Worker came from The Ohio Socialist, published by the Left Wing-dominated Socialist Party of Ohio in Cleveland from 1917 to November 1919, when it became The Toiler, paper of the Communist Labor Party. In December 1921 the above-ground Workers Party of America merged the Toiler with the paper Workers Council to found The Worker, which became The Daily Worker beginning January 13, 1924. An essential paper in the history of the U.S. left and a indispensable, if flawed chronicle of our class in those years.
7. Industrial Worker (1909-1913) Industrial Union Bulletin, and the Industrial Worker were newspapers published by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) from 1909 until 1913. First printed in Joliet, Illinois, IUB incorporated The Voice of Labor, the newspaper of the American Labor Union which had joined the IWW, and another IWW affiliate, International Metal Worker. The Trautmann-DeLeon faction issued its weekly from March 1907. Soon after, De Leon would be expelled and Trautmann would continue IUB until March 1909. It was edited by A. S. Edwards. 1909, production moved to Spokane, Washington and became The Industrial Worker, “the voice of revolutionary industrial unionism.” The language, attitude, method of organizing, political independence, and social world the wobblies reflected and created is evident in every word of this most proletarian of papers, and remain an example of the necessary counter-cultural constituent of a combative class. Beyond that, it is unsurpassed chronicle of the I.W.W.’s personalities, thinking, and daily activities.
8. International Press Correspondence. International Press Correspondence, widely known as”Inprecor” was published by the Executive Committee of the Communist International (ECCI) regularly in German and English, occasionally in many other languages, beginning in 1921 and lasting in English until 1938. Inprecor’s role was to supply translated articles to the English-speaking press of the International from the Comintern’s different sections, as well as news and statements from the ECCI. Many ‘Daily Worker’ and ‘Communist’ articles originated in Inprecor, and it also published articles by American comrades for use in other countries. It was published at least weekly, and often thrice weekly. The ECCI also published the magazine ‘Communist International’ edited by Zinoviev and Karl Radek from 1919 until 1926 monthly in German, French, Russian, and English. Unlike, Inprecor, CI contained long-form articles by the leading figures of the International as well as proceedings, statements, and notices of the Comintern. No complete run of Communist International is available in English. Both were largely published outside of Soviet territory, with Communist International printed in London, to facilitate distribution and both were major contributors to the Communist press in the U.S. Communist International and Inprecor are an invaluable English-language source on the history of the Communist International and its sections.
9. The International Socialist Review (1900-1918). The International Socialist Review (ISR) was published monthly in Chicago from 1900 until 1918 by Charles H. Kerr and critically loyal to the Socialist Party of America. It is one of the essential publications in U.S. left history. During the editorship of A.M. Simons it was largely theoretical and moderate. In 1908, Charles H. Kerr took over as editor with strong influence from Mary E Marcy. The magazine became the foremost proponent of the SP’s left wing growing to tens of thousands of subscribers. It remained revolutionary in outlook and anti-militarist during World War One. It liberally used photographs and images, with news, theory, arts and organizing in its pages. It grew to become the ‘Fighting Magazine of the Workers Class. The articles, reports and essays carried remain an invaluable record of the U.S. class struggle and the development of Marxism in the decades before the Soviet experience. It was closed down in government repression in 1918. The scope of theoretical, practical, and organizational questions covered; the quality and diversity of its writer; activist, partisan, and interventionist orientation in the class struggle and left debates made this ISR something of an American ‘Iskra’ whose pages will be referenced as long as there is a class struggle in this country.
10. Labor Defender (1926-1937). Labor Defender was published monthly from 1926 until 1937 by the International Labor Defense (ILD), a Workers Party of America, and later Communist Party-led, non-partisan defense organization founded by James Cannon and William Haywood while in Moscow, 1925 to support prisoners of the class war, victims of racism and imperialism, and the struggle against fascism. It included, poetry, letters from prisoners, and was heavily illustrated with photos, images, and cartoons. Labor Defender was the central organ of the Scottsboro and Sacco and Vanzetti defense campaigns. Not only were these among the most successful campaigns by Communists, they were among the most important of the period and the urgency and activity is duly reflected in its pages. Editors included T. J. O’ Flaherty, Max Shachtman, Karl Reeve, J. Louis Engdahl, William L. Patterson, Sasha Small, and Sender Garlin.
11. The Liberator (1918-1924). The Liberator was published monthly from 1918, first established by Max Eastman and his sister Crystal Eastman continuing The Masses, which was shut down by the US Government during World War One. Like The Masses, The Liberator contained some of the best radical journalism of its, or any, day. It combined political coverage with the arts, culture, and a commitment to revolutionary politics. Increasingly, The Liberator oriented to the Communist movement and by late 1922 was a de facto publication of the Party. Eventually Eastman sold the paper to the Workers (Communist) Party, becoming an official C.P. In 1924, The Liberator merged with Labor Herald and Soviet Russia Pictorial into Workers Monthly. An essential magazine of the US left and the most important U.S. literary chronicle of the early soviet experience, In addition to covering the U.S. class struggle, political prisoners, and international revolutionary events during those crucial years, the Liberator also contained the finest radical poets and artists of the day, and was instrumental in launching a number of literary careers, including poet including Claude McKay.
12. The Lumberjack/Voice of the People (1913-1914). The Voice of the People continued The Lumberjack. The Lumberjack began in January 1913 as the weekly voice of the Brotherhood of Timber Workers strike in Merryville, Louisiana. Published by the Southern District of the National Industrial Union of Forest and Lumber Workers, affiliated with the Industrial Workers of the World, the weekly paper was edited by Covington Hall of the Socialist Party in New Orleans. In July, 1913 the name was changed to Voice of the People and the printing home briefly moved to Portland, Oregon. It ran until late 1914. It has a special place in the left papers of the time in that hid had a central, necessary, orientation to interracial organizing at the height of the most virulent Jim-Crow violence. Prolific editor and writer,, the wobbly organizer and poet Covington Hall, a southern white activist whose organizing of Louisiana’s timber workers forced him to confront race, in contradictory ways to be sure, in ways few other white radicals of the time did, were willing, or dreamed of doing. He is deserving of much greater understanding and recognition, also a he was a very fine, witty writer.
13. The Masses (1911-1917). The Masses is among the most important, and best, radical journals of 20th century America. It was started in 1911 as an illustrated socialist monthly by Dutch immigrant Piet Vlag, who shortly left the magazine. It was then edited by Max Eastman who wrote in his first editorial: “A Free Magazine — This magazine is owned and published cooperatively by its editors. It has no dividends to pay, and nobody is trying to make money out of it. A revolutionary and not a reform magazine; a magazine with a sense of humour and no respect for the respectable; frank; arrogant; impertinent; searching for true causes; a magazine directed against rigidity and dogma wherever it is found; printing what is too naked or true for a money-making press; a magazine whose final policy is to do as it pleases and conciliate nobody, not even its readers — There is a field for this publication in America. Help us to find it.” The Masses successfully combined arts and politics and was the voice of urban, cosmopolitan, liberatory socialism. It became the leading anti-war voice in the run-up to World War One and helped to popularize industrial unions and support of workers strikes. It was sexually and culturally emancipatory, which placed it both politically and socially and odds the leadership of the Socialist Party, which also found support in its pages. The art, art criticism, and literature it featured was all imbued with its, increasing, radicalism. Floyd Dell was it literature editor and saw to the publication of important works and writers. Its radicalism and anti-war stance brought Federal charges against its editors for attempting to disrupt conscription during World War One which closed the paper in 1917. The editors returned in early 1918 with the adopted the name of William Lloyd Garrison’s The Liberator, which continued the interest in culture and the arts as well as the aesthetic of The Masses. Contributors to this essential publication of the US left included: Sherwood Anderson, Cornelia Barns, George Bellows, Louise Bryant, Arthur B. Davies, Dorothy Day, Floyd Dell, Max Eastman, Wanda Gag, Jack London, Amy Lowell, Mabel Dodge Luhan, Inez Milholland, Robert Minor, John Reed, Boardman Robinson, Carl Sandburg, John French Sloan, Upton Sinclair, Louis Untermeyer, Mary Heaton Vorse, and Art Young.
14. The Messenger (1917-1928). The Messenger was founded and published in New York City by A. Phillip Randolph and Chandler Owen in 1917 after they both joined the Socialist Party of America. The Messenger opposed World War I, conscription and supported the Bolshevik Revolution, though it remained loyal to the Socialist Party when the left split in 1919. It sought to promote a labor-orientated Black leadership, “New Crowd Negroes,” as explicitly opposed to the positions of both WEB DuBois and Booker T Washington at the time. Both Owen and Randolph were arrested under the Espionage Act in an attempt to disrupt The Messenger. Eventually, The Messenger became less political and more trade union focused. After the departure of and Owen, the focus again shifted to arts and culture. The Messenger ceased publishing in 1928. Its early issues contain invaluable articles on the early Black left.
15. Militant/New Militant/Socialist Appeal (1929-1940). The Militant was a weekly newspaper begun by supporters of the International Left Opposition recently expelled from the Communist Party in 1928 and published in New York City. Led by James P Cannon, Max Schacthman, Martin Abern, and others, the new organization called itself the Communist League of America (Opposition) and saw itself as an outside faction of both the Communist Party and the Comintern. After 1933, the group dropped ‘Opposition’ and advocated a new party and International. When the CLA fused with AJ Muste’s American Workers Party in late 1934, the paper became the New Militant as the organ of the newly formed Workers Party of the United States. There have been a number of periodicals named Socialist Appeal in our history, this one was edited in New York City by the “Left Wing Branches of the Socialist Party”. After the Workers Party (International Left Opposition) entered the Socialist Party in 1936, the Trotskyists did not have an independent publication. However, Albert Goldman began publishing a monthly Socialist Appeal in Chicago in February 1935 before the bulk of Trotskyist entered the SP. When there, they began publishing Socialist Appeal in August 1937 as the weekly paper of the “Left Wing Branches of the Socialist Party” but in reality edited by Cannon and other leaders. Goldman’s Chicago Socialist Appeal would fold into the New York paper and this Socialist Appeal would replace New Militant as the main voice of Fourth Internationalist in the US. After the expulsion of the Trotskyists from the the Socialist Party, Socialist Appeal became the weekly organ of the newly constituted Socialist Workers Party in early 1938. Edited by James Cannon and Max Shachtman, Felix Morrow, and Albert Goldman. In 1941 Socialist Appeal became The Militant again.
16. Mother Earth (1906-1917). Mother Earth was an anarchist magazine begin in 1906 and first edited by Emma Goldman in New York City. Alexander Berkman, became editor in 1907 after his release from prison until 1915.The journal has a history in the Free Society publication which had moved from San Francisco to New York City. Goldman was again editor in 1915 as the magazine was opposed to US entry into World War One and was closed down as a violator of the Espionage Act in 1917 with Goldman and Berkman, who had begun editing The Blast, being deported in 1919.One of the longest -running, most consistent and important anarchist journals in U.S. history, Mother Earth deserves, among other accomplishments, the lacing of reproductive freedom at the center of left discourse. As well as covering the activities of Berkman, Goldman and other militants, ‘Mother Earth’ was also graced with a number of valuable essays on anarchist, radical and working class history nearly impossible to find other places.
17. New Masses (1926-1948). The New Masses was the continuation of Workers Monthly which began publishing in 1924 as a merger of the ‘Liberator’, the Trade Union Educational League magazine ‘Labor Herald’, and Friends of Soviet Russia’s monthly ‘Soviet Russia Pictorial’ as an explicitly Communist Party publication, but drawing in a wide range of contributors and sympathizers. In 1927 Workers Monthly ceased and The New Masses began. A major left cultural magazine of the late 1920s and early 1940s, the early editors of The New Masses included Hugo Gellert, John F. Sloan, Max Eastman, Mike Gold, and Joseph Freeman. Writers included William Carlos Williams, Theodore Dreiser, John Dos Passos, Upton Sinclair, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Day, John Breecher, Langston Hughes, Eugene O’Neill, Rex Stout and Ernest Hemingway. Artists included Hugo Gellert, Stuart Davis, Boardman Robinson, Wanda Gag, William Gropper and Otto Soglow. Over time, the New Masses became narrower politically and the articles more commentary than comment. However, particularly in it first years, New Masses was the epitome of the era’s finest revolutionary cultural and artistic traditions.
18. The New York Call (1908-1938). The New York Call was the first English-language Socialist daily paper in New York City and the second in the US after the Chicago Daily Socialist. The paper was the center of the Socialist Party and under the influence of Morris Hillquit, Charles Ervin, Julius Gerber, and William Butscher. The paper was opposed to World War One, and, unsurprising given the era’s fluidity, ambivalent on the Russian Revolution even after the expulsion of the SP’s Left Wing. The paper is an invaluable resource for information on the city’s workers movement and history and one of the most important papers in the history of US socialism. The paper ran from 1908 until 1923.
19. The Ohio Socialist (1917-1919). The Ohio Socialist, published by the Left Wing-dominated Socialist Party of Ohio in Cleveland from January, 1917 to November, 1919. It was edited by Alfred Wagenknecht who spent most of 1918 in jail for “violation of the Conscription Act.” The paper grew from a monthly to a semi-monthly and then to a weekly in July, 1918 and eventually a press run of over 20,000. The paper embodies the pe-war radicalism in the Ohio Party and shows the continuity between the pre-war left wing in the S.P. and the bulk of the new Communist movement. The Ohio Socialist Party’s endorsement of the Left Wing Manifesto led to it suspension at the undemocratic, packed Socialist Party Convention in 1919. As a recognized voice of the Left Wing, the paper carried the odd geographical subheading, “Official Organ of the Socialist Parties of Ohio and Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia and New Mexico” by 1919’s start. In November of that year the paper changed to the “labor organ” of the Communist Labor Party and its offices moved to New York City and its name changed to The Toiler, paper of the United Communist Party, and a direct precursor to the Daily Worker. Serving a left wing paper in Deb’s backyard, who frequented Ohio on speaking trips, the Ohio Socialist has the important distinction of being the most valuable reference for Deb’s Canton speech, help in Ohio, and his subsequent trial in 1919. The the paper was edited by James P. Cannon, as well as Elmer T. Allison for a time.
20. The People/ Daily People/ Weekly People (1891-2008). The S.L.P.’s 117-year run of their paper is in strong contention for the longest-lasting Marxist paper in our movements international history. New York Labor News Company was the publishing house of the Socialist Labor Party and their paper ‘The People.’ The People was the official paper of the Socialist Labor Party of America (SLP), established in New York City in 1891 as a weekly. and was the import important Socialist paper, by far, of that decade. The New York SLP, and The People, were dominated Daniel De Leon and his supporters, the dominant ideological leader of the SLP from the 1890s until the time of his death. The People became a daily in 1900. It’s first editor was the French socialist Lucien Sanial who was quickly replaced by De Leon who held the position until his death in 1914. Morris Hillquit and Henry Slobodin, future leaders of the Socialist Party of America were writers before their split from the SLP in 1899. For a while there were two SLPs and two Peoples, requiring a legal case to determine ownership. Eventual the anti-De Leonist produced what would become the New York Call and became the Social Democratic, later Socialist, Party. The De Leonist The People continued publishing until 2008. In addition to its longevity, the offshoots and rival splits of the paper the source of many other papers of the movement, including some of its most important like the New York Call.
21. Revolt (1911-1912). Revolt ‘The Voice Of The Militant Worker’ was a short-lived revolutionary weekly newspaper published by Left Wingers in the Socialist Party in 1911 and 1912 and closely associated with Tom Mooney. The legendary activists and political prisoner Thomas J. Mooney had recently left the I.W.W. and settled in the Bay. He would join with the SP Left in the Bay Area, like Austin Lewis, William McDevitt, Nathan Greist, and Cloudseley Johns to produce The Revolt. The paper ran around 1500 copies weekly, but financial problems ended its run after one year. Mooney was also embroiled in constant legal battles for his role in the Pacific Gas and Electric Strike of the time. The paper epitomizes the revolutionary Left of the SP before World War One with its mix of Marxist orthodoxy, industrial unionism, and counter-cultural attitude. To that it adds some of the best writers in the movement; it deserved a much longer run. The Revolt comrades represented that most potent class mix of insurgent electoral campaigns in complimentary concert with industrial and extra-parliamentary action.
22. Revolutionary Age/ Workers Age (1929-1941). Workers Age was the continuation of Revolutionary Age, begun in 1929 and published in New York City by the Communist Party U.S.A. Majority Group, lead by Jay Lovestone and Ben Gitlow and aligned with Bukharin in the Soviet Union and the International Communist (Right) Opposition in the Communist International. Workers Age was a weekly published between 1932 and 1941. Writers and or editors for Workers Age included Lovestone, Gitlow, Will Herberg, Lyman Fraser, Geogre F. Miles, Bertram D. Wolfe, Charles S. Zimmerman, Lewis Corey (Louis Fraina), Albert Bell, William Kruse, Jack Rubenstein, Harry Winitsky, Jack MacDonald, Bert Miller, and Ben Davidson. During the run of Workers Age, the ‘Lovestonites’ name changed from Communist Party (Majority Group) (November 1929-September 1932) to the Communist Party of the USA (Opposition) (September 1932-May 1937) to the Independent Communist Labor League (May 1937-July 1938) to the Independent Labor League of America (July 1938-January 1941), and often referred to simply as ‘CPO’ (Communist Party Opposition). While those interested in the history of Lovestone and the ‘Right Opposition’ will find the paper essential, students of the labor movement of the 1930s will find a wealth of information in its pages as well. Though small in size, the CPO played a leading role in a number of important unions, particularly in industry dominated by Jewish and Yiddish-speaking labor, particularly with the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union Local 22, the International Fur & Leather Workers Union, the Doll and Toy Workers Union, and the United Shoe and Leather Workers Union, as well as having influence in the New York Teachers, United Autoworkers, and others.
23. Socialist Party of America Official Bulletin / Monthly Bulletin / Party Builder (19014-1917). For a variety of reasons, the national Socialist Party of America did not have an official publication until May 1904 when the national convention mandated the monthly Socialist Party Official Bulletin as a way for the Party to communicate to its members. The name was changed to Socialist Party Monthly Bulletin in October 1911. The Party Builder became the name in 1913 and also became a subscription paper and a weekly. In 1914 the Socialist Party replaced The Party Builder with a regular propaganda newspaper, The American Socialist. These Party paper contain National Committee and National Executive Committee minutes, National Secretary reports, membership figures, financial statements, letters from party members, articles by prominent party leaders, and the figures for election of party officers and internal questions. An essential resource for students of the Debsian Socialist Party, as well as regular updates from Women’s, Youth, and Lyceum departments.
24. Socialist Women/Progressive Woman. Coming Nation (1908-1913). The Socialist Woman was a monthly magazine edited by Josephine Conger-Kaneko from 1907 with this aim: “The Socialist Woman exists for the sole purpose of bringing women into touch with the Socialist idea. We intend to make this paper a forum for the discussion of problems that lie closest to women’s lives, from the Socialist standpoint”. In 1908, Conger-Kaneko and her husband Japanese socialist Kiichi Kaneko moved to Girard, Kansas home of Appeal to Reason, which would print Socialist Woman. In 1909 it was renamed The Progressive Woman, and The Coming Nation in 1913. Its contributors included Socialist Party activist Kate Richards O’Hare, Alice Stone Blackwell, Eugene V. Debs, Ella Wheeler Wilcox, and others. A treat of the journal was the For Kiddies in Socialist Homes column by Elizabeth Vincent.The Progressive Woman lasted until 1916 as ‘The Coming Nation.’ The Coming Nation was the direct descendant of Progressive Woman and The Socialist Woman. Edited by Fred D. Warren, A.M. Simons, and Julius Wayland. The Socialist Woman was a monthly magazine edited by Josephine Conger-Kaneko from 1907 with this aim: “The Socialist Woman exists for the sole purpose of bringing women into touch with the Socialist idea. We intend to make this paper a forum for the discussion of problems that lie closest to women’s lives, from the Socialist standpoint”.
25. Southern Worker (1930-1937). Begun in August 1930, Southern Worker was a semi-legal regional newspaper of the Communist Party, USA (CPUSA) primarily aimed at building the Party in the South among Black workers and farmers. Pseudonyms of editors and writers, false publication places, illegal paper drops, and clandestine meetings were a necessary hallmark of the Southern Worker’s life. The paper extensively covered the campaign against lynching and southern unionization efforts. Originally a weekly, it went to a monthly in 1934 and ceased publishing in 1937. Editors included Solomon Auerbach (under the name “Jim Allen”), Harry Wicks, and Elizabeth Lawson.The paper also follows the transformations of the Party’s attitude on the Black liberation struggle as well as its transition from the ‘Third Period’ to the ‘Popular Front.’ For nearly a decade, though not without plenty of contradictions, failures, and mistakes, the fact remains the the Communist Party, in the most dangerous and difficult over U.S. organizing doggedly continued their attempts to organize what has long been considered by trade unionists and radicals, the region whose unionization would be transformation for our class. It remains an essential and unfinished task for our movement.
Six Honorable Mentions:
1) The American Socialist, (1914-1917) edited by J. Louis Engdahl, was the official Party newspaper of the Socialist Party of America in the years before World War One. Published in Chicago starting in 1914, the Appeal continued the semi-internal Socialist Party Official Bulletins.
2) The Cincinnati Republikaner (1858-1861) The first communist daily newspaper in the United States, it was the organ of Cincinnati’s Social German Workingmen’s Association, Der Socialer Arbeiter-Verein, representing the city’s large German-speaking Red 48er immigrant population, including comrades of Marx and Engels. It would be edited by Marx’s one-time foe in the Communist League August Willich.
3) The International Negro Workers’ Review (1928-1937) was published beginning in 1928 and renamed The Negro Worker in 1931. Sponsored by the International Trade Union Committee of Negro Workers (ITUCNW), a part of the Red International of Labor Unions and of the Communist International, it was edited by James W. Ford and George Padmore. The journal is an important record of Black and Pan-African thought and debate from the 1930s. American writers Claude McKay, Harry Haywood, Langston Hughes, and others contributed.
4) Labor Age (1921-1932)was a left-labor monthly magazine with origins in Socialist Review, journal of the Intercollegiate Socialist Society. Published by the Labor Publication Society from 1921-1933 aligned with the League for Industrial Democracy of left-wing trade unionists across industries. During 1929-33 the magazine was affiliated with the Conference for Progressive Labor Action (CPLA) led by A.J. Muste. James Maurer, Harry W. Laidler, and Louis Budenz were also writers. The orientation of the magazine was industrial unionism, planning, nationalization, and was illustrated with photos and cartoons. With its stress on worker education, social unionism and rank and file activism, it is one of the essential journals of the radical US labor socialist movement of its time.
5) Workers Theatre/The New Theater continued Workers Theater. Workers Theater began in New York City in 1931 as the publication of The Workers Laboratory Theater collective, an agitprop group associated with Workers International Relief. It contains a wealth of left cultural events, history and ideas and is a reminder of the counter-hegemonic creation of critical art at service of the movement and its members. An arts magazine with no celebrity gossip, but plenty of reports from the field of insurgent art across the country.
6) The Toiler was a significant regional, later national, newspaper of the early Communist movement published weekly between 1919 and 1921. It grew out of the Socialist Party’s ‘The Ohio Socialist’, leading paper of the Party’s left wing and northern Ohio’s militant IWW base and became the national voice of the forces that would become The Communist Labor Party.