Proletarec (Chicago). Vol. 8 No. 324. November 25, 1913.

Proletarec (Chicago). Vol. 8 No. 324. November 25, 1913.

In 1906, Slovenians Frank Petric and Joze Zavertnik began publishing Proletarec in Chicago for Slovene speakers of Yugoslav Socialist Federation (YSF), a multi-lingual Federation of the Socialist Party of America. Beginning as a monthly publication with 100 subscribers. In 1907 Ivan Molek became editor and began publishing a section in Croat. In 1908, Proletarec became a weekly and was read throughout the country. From 1912 until 1917, the Federation was affiliated with the Socialist Party of America. Its Slovene majority favored entry of the US into World War and it was expelled from the Party with most of the Serbian and Croatian members joining the Communist movement. In 1922, the Federation reaffiliated with the Socialist Party becoming one of the largest Language Federation of the SP in the 1920s. In 1940 it became an independent socialist cultural organization. Both the paper and the Federation disbanded in 1952. Prior to the 1910 formation of the South Slavic Federation in the Socialist Party, there were socialist language branches of the various Yugoslav nationalities, with newspapers in various languages dating to the turn of the century. Centered in Chicago, the Federation had a membership of 635 in 36 locals and was 54% Croatian, 39% Slovenian, and 7% Serb, with a small number of Bulgarians when it officially affiliated with the Party on January 1, 1911. A small group refused to join the SP, and instead formed a South Slave Federation in the Socialist Labor Party. The Federation nearly doubled its first year, gaining 22 locals and growing to 1,266 members by the end of 1911. The increase was strongest among the Slovenians, so that by the end of 1911 the Federation was 48% Slovenian, 44% Croatian, and 8% Serb. Less than 20% were citizens of the US. Growth continued, peaking 1914 at 2,600. The effects of World War One and the SP’s contraction lowered that number to 2,000 at the end of 1915 with 103 locals in the country including thirty in Pennsylvania, sixteen in Ohio and Illinois, and four in Wyoming, even one in Arizona.

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