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What is the American Communist Party?

The American Communist Party, founded in 1919, is a political organization advocating for a classless society through the principles of Marxism-Leninism. Despite its controversial history during the Cold War, it persists in pushing for social and economic reforms. How has its role evolved in modern American politics? Join us as we explore its impact and ongoing relevance.
G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen

The American Communist Party, now known as the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA), is a political party within the United States (US) dedicated to the ideals of socialism and communism. Among the common goals of the party are a peaceful conversion of the US to a communist nation, an end to wars and US interference in other countries, and equal rights and an improved standard of living for all workers and US citizens. Members of the party typically also desire greater empowerment and socialization of programs such as health care, Social Security, and utilities. The American Communist Party has often come into conflict with other political parties and groups within the US, though it has often supported social movements such as equal rights for minorities, women, and homosexuals.

Initially formed in Chicago, the American Communist Party is now headquartered in New York and has several publications, including a magazine and newspaper. In the early days of the party, there was some fracturing within the group, but ultimately the party came together and formed in support of communism in the US and abroad. Prior to the First World War, the American Communist Party was at its height in terms of member numbers and influence. Following World War II, however, and the “Red Scare” in the US, the party lost a great deal of power and reputation in the US.

Sculpture of Karl Marx (foreground) and Friedrich Engels.
Sculpture of Karl Marx (foreground) and Friedrich Engels.

The American Communist Party has had a number of different forms and names, but is generally associated with the spread of communism and socialism within the US. Initially this conversion from capitalism to communism was encouraged as a violent, revolutionary act. In the latter half of the 20th century, however, this was changed to an effort to make a peaceful transition into communism that would be without violence. To aid this goal, the American Communist Party has affiliated itself with a number of different groups and movements within the US.

These movements include support of minorities and women in gaining equal rights and protections under law. The American Communist Party has also often been associated with labor groups and unions, which the party commonly supports. In general, the party supports all workers and strives to ensure equal protection and a decent standard of living for all people in the US.

The party also seeks socialization of health care within the US, renewed financial support for Social Security, and government control over utility companies. Members also call for more regulations or governmental control over massive private corporations. While at one time the American Communist Party denounced homosexuality, it has recently criticized earlier views and now supports the rights and equality of men and women regardless of sexual preference.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the American Communist Party and what are its core beliefs?

The American Communist Party, officially known as the Communist Party USA (CPUSA), is a political party in the United States that advocates for a socialist society where the means of production are owned collectively. Its core beliefs include the pursuit of a classless society, the end of capitalist exploitation, and the promotion of workers' rights and social justice. The CPUSA envisions a transition from capitalism to socialism through democratic processes.

How does the American Communist Party aim to achieve its goals?

The American Communist Party aims to achieve its goals through political activism, education, and participation in the democratic process. It supports labor unions, civil rights movements, and other progressive organizations to promote its agenda. The party also runs candidates in local, state, and national elections, although it has not had significant electoral success in recent decades. The CPUSA emphasizes the importance of building coalitions with other left-wing and progressive groups to advance its objectives.

What is the history of the American Communist Party?

Founded in 1919, the American Communist Party emerged from the socialist movement and was influenced by the Russian Revolution. Throughout the 20th century, the CPUSA played a role in labor struggles, civil rights movements, and anti-war protests. During the Cold War, the party faced significant repression and decline due to anti-communist sentiment. Despite this, it has continued to advocate for its principles and remains active today, albeit with a much smaller membership than in its heyday.

Is the American Communist Party connected to communist parties in other countries?

The American Communist Party has historically had connections with the international communist movement, including the Soviet Union during its existence. However, the CPUSA operates independently of communist parties in other countries and tailors its policies and strategies to the specific political and social context of the United States. The party has also evolved over time and may not align perfectly with the ideologies or practices of communist parties elsewhere.

How can someone join the American Communist Party, and what does membership involve?

Joining the American Communist Party typically involves agreeing with its principles and applying for membership through its official channels, such as its website. Members are expected to be active participants in the party's activities, which can include attending meetings, supporting party-endorsed candidates, and engaging in political education and activism. Membership also involves contributing dues, which help fund the party's operations and campaigns.

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Discussion Comments


@soulfox You seriously need to take a look at the video "Agenda Grinding America Down". It's from about 10 years ago, but the commies have pushed through an incredible amount of crap in order to destabilize us. America is a hair away from being a full blown commie country! Watch that video, and be amazed!


@Soulfox -- you'd be surprised how much influence the American Communist Party has left. A lot of the programs the group has traditionally pushed for have become a reality in the United States.

It's hard to imagine those initiatives counted as victories by American Communists were completely accidental.


The American Communist Party has never even flirted with mainstream success and has become even less popular since the fall of the Soviet Union. Communism, as an ideology, has been largely discredited with the fall of the Soviets, the exploitation of labor in China, the perpetual poverty of Cuba and other events.

That party is still active, but who listens to it these days?

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    • Sculpture of Karl Marx (foreground) and Friedrich Engels.
      Sculpture of Karl Marx (foreground) and Friedrich Engels.