CPUSA, or The Communist Party of the United States of America, was founded in 1919 after a split from the Socialist Party of America. On July 28th, 1919, many members of the Socialist Party of America decided to form a new party. This split produced two parties, The Communist Party of America (CPA) and the Communist Labor Party (CLP), which would be merged to form CPUSA. After this merge, however, there would still be a split in the party between the CPA and CLP.


The Palmer Raids

On October 16th, 1919, Police would enter the CPA headquarters in New York and arrest the Party Leadership. Soon after on November 8th, 700 police officers would arrest several hundred workers celebrating the anniversary of the Russian Revolution. Finally, on the night of January 2nd, 1920, police would enter the homes of workers in over 70 cities and arrest upwards of 10,000 workers. Orchestrated by President Wilson, Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, and J. Edgar Hoover, these raids were to act as a deterrent to keep revolutionary fervor down.

This terrorist attack, accompanied by rulings of the Department of Labor that foreign-born members of the Communist movement were deportable as such, deprived the two Communist Parties of their basic rights of free speech and free assembly. It forced them to close their national headquarters and to take other elementary steps to protect their members, branches, press, and leading committees from arbitrary raids and terrorist victimization. That is, faced by illegal attacks designed to outlaw the Communist movement and to drive it underground, the two Parties reacted as various other labor and progressive movements before them had done in American history when facing similar persecution. They adopted protective measures and pursued their legitimate activities as best they could under the circumstances. No constructive political movement will allow itself to be destroyed by police persecution.



1. ProleWiki. (2024, May 12). Communist Party of the United States of America - ProleWiki. ProleWiki. https://en.prolewiki.org/wiki/Communist_Party_of_the_United_States_of_America

2. Jacob A. Zumoff (2014). The Communist International and US Communism, 1919–1929, Boston: Global Oriental and Hotei Publishing.

3. Foster, W. Z. (n.d.). Chapter twelve: The formation of the Communist Party (1919-1921). https://williamzfoster.blogspot.com/2013/01/chapter-twelve-formation-of-communist.html