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US History

A Brief History of the MN Farmer-Labor Party

Minnesota Farmer Labor PartyMinnesota’s Farmer-Labor Party was the most successful labor party in United States history. Starting in 1918, it was a labor party in the true sense, not just a “pro-labor” party. It was a political federation of labor unions. The Minnesota Farmer-Labor Association, a grouping of associated unions and farmers, provided the organic connection between labor and the party. Before the party merged with the Democrats in 1944, they had elected three governors, four U.S. Senators, and eight members of the U.S. House of Representatives.


Lessons of the Early CPUSA (Part 2)

CPUSASee Socialist Appeal issue 56 or visit our website for part one of this article, which covers the party’s early days, the Foreign Language Federations, and the split with the Socialist Party.


Lessons of the Early CPUSA (Part 1)

In January of 1917, a meeting was held in New York City to begin organizing the left-wing of the Socialist Party of America. They wanted to publish a regular Marxist paper, which would be a tool to win over the rank and file of the SP to a Marxist program. There were approximately 20 people at this meeting, one of whom was Leon Trotsky. Trotsky was new to New York and the USA. Soon after the meeting, he would leave the U.S. and go back to Russia and play the role of co-leader of the first successful workers’ revolution, while the SP left-wing would go forward and eventually become the Communist Party.


Underground Comics Writer Harvey Pekar Has Died

 Comic book author and perpetual curmudgeon Harvey Pekar has passed away after a long battle with cancer at the age of 70. Pekar was the creator of American Splendor comics, which was a chronicle of his own Polish Jewish working class roots in the city of Cleveland, as well as a graphic witness to the everyday experience of the urban laborer.


The 1890 Players’ League

Boston Reds of the 1890's Players' LeagueIt’s Spring again and that means baseball season is underway.  One may ask why Socialist Appeal is writing an article on such a topic. In fact, many leftists in the U.S. and around the world take a rather disdainful attitude towards sports.  The fact is that sports are an intimate part of the life and culture of the working class, despite the way that commercialism, mass marketing, high salaries, unaffordable ticket prices, and patriotic half-time shows and seventh inning stretches have perverted the “love of the game.” The history of the 1890 Players' League offers many lessons for both sports fans and labor activists alike.


Shays’ Rebellion and the American Revolution

Daniel ShaysThe American Revolution shook up the entire world...the thirteen British colonies that would become the United States of America, fought and won against the most powerful imperial power on the planet. In the years following the American victory over the British, the hopes of the masses were betrayed. As a result, there were many popular movements and uprisings...But none had as big an impact on the psychology of the ruling class and the future structure of the U.S. government as Shays’ Rebellion of 1786-87, which some have called “The American Revolution’s Final Battle.”


The 75th Anniversary of the 1934 Minneapolis Teamsters Strike (Part 2)

Police attack TeamstersAfter a bitter coal yard workers’ strike and organizing campaign in early 1934, Teamsters Local 574 won the right to represent thousands of workers in Minneapolis. But by May, a second strike became necessary, after the trucking and warehouse bosses refused to recognize the local. See Socialist Appeal 48 or visit our website for part 1 of this article.


The History of Labor Day

Labor Day Parade 1882Every year, workers across the United States celebrate Labor Day on the first Monday of September.  It is seen as a marker of the end of Summer, the start of football season, and the return to school for millions of students. But what is the origin of this holiday?  What is its relation to the internationally celebrated Labor Day on May 1st?


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Socialist Appeal Issue 84

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