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New Communist Movement

The New Communist Movement (NCM) was a Marxist-Leninist political movement of the 1970s and 1980s in the United States. The term refers to a specific trend in the U.S. New Left which sought inspiration in the experience of the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Chinese Revolution, and the Cuban Revolution, but wanted to do so independently of already-existing U.S. communist parties.


  • Origins 1
  • Developments in the 1970s and 1980s 2
  • Further Reading 3
  • See also 4
    • Predecessors 4.1
    • NCM organizations of the 1970s and 1980s 4.2
    • Current organizations descended from NCM 4.3


In the 1960s, Students for a Democratic Society. The SDS grew to over 100,000 members before splitting in 1969. One of these splits, Revolutionary Youth Movement II, quickly splintered into a large number of small Maoist groups. These groups collectively became known as the New Communist Movement .

Developments in the 1970s and 1980s

As one of its last initiatives, SDS had begun to leave its campus base and organize in Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin. Maoism was then highly regarded as more actively revolutionary than the brand of communism supported by the post-Stalin Soviet Union (see New Left: New Left in the United States). As a result, most NCM organizations referred to their ideology as Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought.

Similar to the New Left's general direction in the late 1960s, these new organizations rejected the post-1956 Communist Party USA as revisionist, or anti-revolutionary, and also rejected Trotskyism and the Socialist Workers Party for its theoretical opposition to Maoism.

The groups, formed of ex-students, attempted to establish links with the working class through finding work in factories and heavy industry, but they also tended toward sexism and racism, partly by voicing adamant support for self-determination and identity politics, and felt that they were dealing with problems they were of the opinion had not been addressed in the groups of the 1960s. However, different NCM groups came to this similar conclusion via quite different routes.

In its early years, NCM organisations formed a loose-knit tendency in United States Revolutionary Communist Party USA in 1975.

The communist party.

Unlike the majority of NCM groups, the wildcat strikes. Radical Marxist and other African-American auto workers subsequently formed DRUM. From 1968 to 1971 DRUM and the league acted as a dual union, with black leadership, within the United Auto Workers.

The New Communist Movement as a whole became smaller in the 1980s. Some organizations dissolved in the early 1980s, such as the Freedom Road Socialist Organization in 1985, and various other new communist movement collectives and organizations later merged into FRSO. Subsequently, in 1999, FRSO split into two organizations, both of which continue to use the name Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

Further Reading

  • Max Elbaum, Revolution in the Air: Sixties Radicals Turn to Lenin, Mao, and Che (London: Verso, 2003).
  • Paul Saba, "Theoretical Practice in the New Communist Movement: An Interview with Paul Saba," Viewpoint Magazine, August 25, 2015.

See also


NCM organizations of the 1970s and 1980s

Current organizations descended from NCM

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