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American Workers Party

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Title: American Workers Party  
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Subject: James P. Cannon, Socialist Workers Party (United States), International Seamen's Union, 1877 St. Louis general strike, Communist Workers' Party (United States)
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American Workers Party

The American Workers Party (AWP) was a Conference for Progressive Labor Action, a group headed by A.J. Muste.

Organizational history


The American Workers Party was established in December 1933 by activists in the radicalism a highly democratic and collaborative quality.

The AWP sought to find what it called "an American approach" for Marxism at the depth of the Great Depression. The group published a popularly written newspaper, Labor Action, and created Unemployed Leagues that attracted tens of thousands of members and ought not be confused with the Communist Party's Unemployed Councils.

The AWP is best known in Congress of Industrial Organizations.

While it never numbered more than a few hundred members, the AWP attracted a number of prominent labor activists, such as J. B. S. Hardman of the needle trades. It also attracted a number of intellectuals, many of them former members of the CP who rebelled against its strictures while remaining radical. The latter included James Burnham, Sidney Hook, James Rorty, and V. F. Calverton.


In December 1934, the AWP merged with the Trotskyist Louis Budenz and Arnold Johnson, did not accept the rapprochement with Trotskyism and instead joined the CP, considering its adoption of the Popular Front to be analogous to what the AWP had tried to accomplish with its "American approach." Others, such as Hook and Rorty, became political independents but remained, for a time, largely sympathetic to the successor organization.


Further reading

  • Louis Budenz. This is My Story. McGraw-Hill, 1947.
  • Margaret Budenz. Streets. Our Sunday Visitor, 1979.
  • James P. Cannon. History of American Trotskyism. Pathfinder Press, 1944.
  • Farrell Dobbs. Teamster Rebellion. Monad Press, 1972.
  • Sidney Hook. Out of Step: An Unquiet Life in the Twentieth Century. Harper & Row, 1987.
  • Christopher Phelps. Young Sidney Hook. Cornell University Press, 1997.
  • JoAnn Ooiman Robinson. Abraham Went Out. Temple, 1981.
  • Alan Wald. The New York Intellectuals: The Rise and Decline of the Anti-Stalinist Left from the 1930s to the 1980s. University of North Carolina, 1987.

External links

  • A.J. Muste, "My Experience in the Labor and Radical Struggles of the Thirties." (mp3 audio) American Archive Pilot Project, Illinois Public Media, WILL. Speech of February 9, 1966. —Original resides in the archives of the University of Illinois.
  • Toward an American revolutionary labor movement; statement of programmatic orientation
  • On The 1934 Toledo Auto-Lite Strike, by Ted Selander, a participant in the historic strike (Archived 2009-10-25)
  • Street Fighting Man, A Look at the 1934 Auto-Lite Strike
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