Red Chicago: American Communism at Its Grassroots, 1928-35 (Working Class in American History)

Red Chicago: American Communism at Its Grassroots, 1928-35 (Working Class in American History)

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Red Chicago is a social history of American Communism set within the context of Chicago's neighborhoods, industries, and radical traditions. Using local party records, oral histories, union records, party newspapers, and government documents, Randi Storch fills the gap between Leninist principles and the day-to-day activities of Chicago's rank-and-file Communists. Uncovering rich new evidence from Moscow's former party archive, Storch argues that although the American Communist Party was an international organization strongly influenced by the Soviet Union, at the city level it was a more vibrant and flexible organization responsible to local needs and concerns. Thus, while working for a better welfare system, fairer unions, and racial equality, Chicago's Communists created a movement that at times departed from international party leaders' intentions. By focusing on the experience of Chicago's Communists, who included a large working-class, African American, and ethnic population, this study reexamines party members' actions as an integral part of the communities and industries in which they lived and worked.