Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Communist Party USA donates collection to NYU

CNN has this report titled Communist Party USA donates collection to NYU. It should be quite the archive for scholars researching this doomed cause. The article notes, "The Communist Party USA has donated a vast collection of its photographs and documents, including smuggled directives from Moscow, to New York University. It will take years to catalog and include the collection, which also has original founding papers, personal letters and secret code words."

I found this quote amusing. Michael Nash, director of the Tamiment Library, was surprised to be contacted. He said, "I didn't realize it (the party) still existed."

Indeed. The party had brief successes before the Cold War before fading into a joke. How could it have possibly been successful in the heart of world capitalism? Even the poor never went for it in large numbers. Communism appears to the vast majority to be unAmerican.

Gus Hall was the long time chairman of Communist Party. He ran for president five times and was often the butt of jokes of comedians. In 1996 he told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer that "Socialism in America will come through the ballot box." Hall did not stand for socialism and neither did his party. They stood for Stalinist Communism and history left them behind. He and his party remained anachronisms as good communists in an age when it was clear that communism was not a viable system. And had he ever won, the ballot boxes would have vanished...

Most of these documents have never been released before. It should provide for much fascinating research.

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