Tuesday, March 20, 2007

NYU Receives US Communist Party History

Expect a flourish of new works on the Communist Party in the coming years. The party has just given the documents of it's history to NYU.

The cache contains decades of party history including founding documents, secret code words, stacks of personal letters, smuggled directives from Moscow, Lenin buttons, photographs and stern commands about how good party members should behave (no charity work, for instance, to distract them from their revolutionary duties).

By offering such an inside view, the archives have the potential to revise assumptions on both the left and the right about one of the most contentious subjects in American history, in addition to filling out the story of progressive politics, the labor movement and the civil rights struggles.

The new works resulting from this archive should make for some, well, spirited discussion. There will be plenty of scholarship that fawns over the party, and there will be a lot that is quite critical of it.

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