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The Communist International and U.S. Communism, 1919 - 1929
For most commentators the Comintern’s role in the development of American Communism is wholly negative. Zumoff challenges this narrative.
The Communist Party of the United States of America was founded amid the wave of international revolutionary struggles inspired by the Russian Revolution, with the express goal of leading US workers in the struggle against capitalism. Despite these intentions, the first years of its existence were plagued by sectarianism, infighting, and an obsession over the need for an underground organization. It was only through the intervention of the Communist International (Comintern) that the party was pushed to “Americanize,” come out from “the underground,” and focus on the struggles for Black liberation. This unique contribution documents the positive contribution of the Comintern in its early revolutionary years and its decline under Stalin.
Reviews
  • "[...] this fine book stands as a major contribution to the history of Communism in the United States."
    —Paul Le Blanc, Labour/Le Travail (2015)

    “Jacob Zumoff’s book is a major contribution to the history of the CPUSA and of the Communist International itself in its first decade. Based on meticulous scholarship and rigorous analysis, it will become the standard text on the party’s first decade. But, more importantly, the book also serves as a vital tool for those who today view the history of the early Communist International – and the successes and failures of the CPUSA – not merely as a topic of historical enquiry but as a crucial programmatic component for today’s struggles to build a party that can lead a successful workers’ revolution.”
    —Tony Colins, Marx and Philosophy Review of Books

    "The Communist International and US Communism, 1919-1929 is a detailed, nuanced book that analyses a very important period in U.S. communist history. It is a book worth reading. And reading again."
    —Tony Pecinovsky, People's World

    “Jacob A. Zumoff has written an impressive scholarly tome …[that] belongs in all research libraries and in big city public libraries”
    —Dan La Botz, New Politics

    "This book deserves a much more detailed examination and review than we are able to bring in this last issue of NWF … labor scholars will find it interesting."
    —Gerry Henkel, New World Finn

    “In many ways Jacob Zumoff’s recent in-depth look at the earliest years of the Communist movement in the U.S. affirms Theodore Draper’s earlier work, but it has much to offer on its own, especially in today’s political climate…Using Soviet archives unavailable to Draper, Zumoff presents a nuanced story of change, both in the U.S. party and in the Comintern itself. Along the way he offers insight into the importance of tempering ideology with reality while avoiding factional pettiness.”
    —Beverly Tomek, WorkingUSA