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Guide to the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives Printed Ephemera Collection on the Socialist Workers Party PE.027

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2630
tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Adrien Hilton

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on August 21, 2018
Description is in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Tamiment Library
Title: Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives Printed Ephemera Collection on the Socialist Workers Party
Dates [inclusive]: 1932-1999
Abstract: The Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives Printed Ephemera Collection on the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) is an artificial collection, collected and assembled by the Tamiment Library over the course of several decades. The collection is a selection of printed matter put out by the Socialist Workers Party, including event fliers, brochures, election and campaign material, bulletins, pamphlets and other publications. In addition to the printed ephemera put out by the SWP, the collection also contains material produced by youth and affiliated organizations, namely the Young Socialist Alliance and the Militant Labor Forum. Included in the collection are the pamphlets and publications produced by SWP publishing houses and presses, these include: Pioneer Publishers, Merit Publishers, Pathfinder Press, and the SWP's own newspaper, The Militant.
Quantity: 4 Linear Feet (4 boxes)
Language: Materials are in English
Call Phrase: PE.027

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Historical/Biographical Note

The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) traces its origins back to the Communist League of America, a group of exiled Communist Party of the United States of America members who supported Leon Trotsky over Joseph Stalin. The Communist League of America merged with the American Workers Party in 1934 to create the Workers Party of the United States. This organization dissolved in 1936 to allow its members to enter the Socialist Party, where they constituted a left wing. Members of the left wing, after expulsion from the Socialist Party, founded the Socialist Workers Party early in 1938. The SWP's paper, The Militant, has been in publication since 1928. The group also maintains the Pathfinder Press. Founders included James P. Cannon and George Breitman.

From the beginning, the SWP viewed itself as the American section of an international left wing of the communist movement. The SWP believed that the program and practices of the Communist International were in need of drastic reform. Going even further, the Fourth International was established in 1938 with the proclaimed goal of completely supplanting the Communist International and serving as the world party of socialist revolution.

Political differences and ruptures plagued the Fourth International for the next four decades. In the 1980s, the Socialist Workers Party found itself increasingly at odds with the international body as the party ceased to define itself as Trotskyist. The 12th World Congress of the Fourth International in 1985 was the last in which representatives of the Socialist Workers Party participated.

The SWP has run candidates in presidential elections since 1948. The Young Socialist Alliance is the youth wing of the SWP.

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Scope and Content Note

The Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives Printed Ephemera Collection on the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) consists of constitutions, convention proceedings, reports, memoranda and press releases as well as printed ephemera such as fliers, brochures, circular letters, newspapers clippings, pamphlets and publications.

Series I: Socialist Workers Party General Files, 1937-1996, contains printed material put out by the Socialist Workers Party, including fliers, brochures, conference announcements, pamphlets and publications. Also included are constitutions, memoranda, press releases and convention proceedings. A large portion of this Series is material related to SWP national and local election campaigns, ranging in date from George Breitman's campaigns in the 1940s for City Commission in Newark and US Senator of New Jersey up through various national and local campaigns in 1992. There are materials put out by youth groups in the 1960s and 1970s in support of SWP candidates including Young Socialists for Halstead and Boutelle, High School Students for Boutelle, and the Young Socialists for Jenness and Pulley. This Series also contains a number of fliers for events and meetings. When noted, material has been separated by department or committee, with material coming largely from the National Education Department and consisting of course outlines and discussion guides on the history of Bolshevism, Trotskyism, the ABCs of Marxism, and dialectical materialism. This Series contains two scrapbooks, collections of articles and fliers on the "Negro Question" and the "Russian Questions." A large selection of the material was generated by the SWP nationally, relating to events, meetings, and conferences happening in and around New York State and City. However, there are a few files documenting events from other locations around the US, including Los Angeles, Minnesota and New Jersey.

Series II: Socialist Workers Party Affiliated and Youth Organizations, 1932-1999, contains printed material put out by various groups affiliated with the Socialist Workers Party, including their youth wing known as the Young Socialist Alliance (YSA). Included from the YSA are event fliers outlining the YSA's opposition to the Vietnam War, their position on black nationalism and feminism, and their support for labor and unionization generally, as well as for a 1970 strike of cafeteria and library workers at NYU. From YSA there are also election campaign materials, stickers, conference brochures, educational bulletins, and a number of pamphlets and brochures describing who the YSA are and how to join. Series II also contains material from the Communist League of America (Opposition), a predecessor of the SWP, the International Tendency, a break away group, and a wide selection of event fliers held at the Militant Labor Forum.

Series III: Presses and Publishers, 1934-1998, contains pamphlets and publications put out by the presses and publishing houses affiliated with the Socialist Workers Party. These include, Merit Publishers, Pathfinder Press, and Pioneer Publishers, as well as material by the SWP's own newspaper, The Militant. The pamphlets are organized by date as well as by subject. Prominent topics in the collection include: African Americans and civil rights, feminism and women's liberation, Cuba, fascism, labor and the Labor Party, McCarthyism, and the Minneapolis Trial where 18 leaders of the Socialist Workers Party and Minneapolis Truckdrivers Union were convicted and imprisoned.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged into three series: Series I: SWP General Files, 1937-1996; Series II: SWP Affiliated and Youth Organizations, 1932-1999; Series III: Presses and Publishers, 1934-1998. Folders are arranged alphabetically within series.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Cannon, James P. (James Patrick), 1890-1974.
  • Breitman, George

Document Type

  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Fliers (printed matter)
  • Brochures.
  • Bulletins.
  • Pamphlets.

Subject Organizations

  • Communist League of America (Opposition)
  • Young Socialist Alliance (U.S.)
  • Socialist Workers Party
  • Pathfinder Press
  • Merit Publishers

Subject Topics

  • Communists.
  • Communism -- United States.
  • Communists -- United States.
  • African Americans -- Civil rights.
  • African Americans -- Employment.
  • Black nationalism -- United States.
  • African Americans.
  • Trotskyism.
  • Communism -- New York (State).
  • Civil rights movements -- United States.
  • Trotskyism -- United States.
  • Socialism -- United States.
  • Elections -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Political candidates -- New York (State).
  • Political campaigns -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Gay liberation movement -- United States.
  • Trotskyists |z New York (State) |z New York.
  • Communism -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Elections -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Gay rights -- United States.

Subject Places

  • Cuba.

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Administrative Information

Custodial History

The provenance of the materials is varied. Items were obtained through purchases, donations, standing orders with publishers, arrangements with labor unions and other organizations, exchanges with other libraries, and through ongoing collecting by Tamiment staff.

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Because of the assembled nature of this collection, copyright status varies across the collection. Copyright is assumed to be held by the original creator of individual items in the collection; these items are expected to pass into the public domain 120 years after their creation. Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Archives is not authorized to grant permission to publish or reproduce materials from this collection.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date; Collection name; Collection number; box number; folder number;
Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.

Related Material at the Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

George Breitman Papers (TAM 169)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials in this collection have been compiled by the Tamiment Library. There is no accession record associated with this collection.

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Container List

Series I: Socialist Workers Party General Files, 1937-1996

Container 1     Title Date
Box: 1 Active Workers Conference
1945
Box: 1 Bulletins List
circa 1959-1978
Box: 1 Bulletins (Education)
1948
Box: 1 Bulletins (Internal)
1938
Box: 1 Bulletins (Various)
1945-1969
Box: 1 Cannon, James P.: Speeches
1940-1942
Box: 1 Class and Lecture Series
1972-1978, undated
Box: 1 Class and Lecture Series: Teamsters
circa 1977, undated
Box: 1 Committee for a Workers Government
1972
Box: 1 Constitutions
1937, 1970
Box: 1 Conventions
1937-1939
Box: 1 Conventions
1976-1989
Box: 1 Conventions
1990-1995
Box: 1 Conventions: Resolutions
1937, undated
Box: 1 Election Platforms
1948-1952
Box: 1 Elections (George Breitman Campaign)
1940
Box: 1 Elections
1948-1966
Box: 1 Elections
1968
Box: 1 Elections: New York State Socialist Workers Party
1968
Box: 1 Elections: Young Socialists for Halstead and Boutelle
1968
Box: 1 Elections: High School Students for Boutelle (New York, NY)
1969
Box: 1 Elections: New York Socialist Workers Campaign Committee
1969
Box: 1 Elections
1970
Box: 1 Elections
1971
Box: 1 Elections
1972
Box: 1 Elections: Young Socialists for Jenness and Pulley
1972
Box: 1 Elections
1973-1974
Box: 1 Elections
1976
Box: 1 Elections: Circular/Organizing Letters
1976
Box: 1 Elections
1977-1979
Box: 1 Elections
1980
Box: 1 Elections
1981
Box: 1 Elections
1982- , undated
Box: 1 Event and Meeting Fliers
1938-1939
Box: 1 Event and Meeting Fliers
1960-1969
Box: 1 Event and Meeting Fliers
1970-1979
Box: 1 Event and Meeting Fliers
1980-
Box: 1 Event and Meeting Fliers
undated
Box: 1 History and Bibliographies
undated
Box: 1 International Socialist Conference
1992-1996
Box: 2 Los Angeles Local
1946
Box: 2 Memoranda and Correspondence
1938-1940
Box: 2 Memoranda and Correspondence
1940
Box: 2 Memoranda and Correspondence
1944-1953
Box: 2 Memoranda and Correspondence
1970-1985, undated
Box: 2 Minnesota Section
1964, undated
Box: 2 National Committee: Internal Information Bulletin
1984
Box: 2 National Education Department I
circa 1939-1940
Box: 2 National Education Department II
circa 1939-1940
Box: 2 National Education Department
1940
Box: 2 National Education Department
1966-1974
Box: 2 National Education Department
1976-1986, undated
Box: 2 New York Local
1940, 1978
Box: 2 New York Local: Party Training Course
undated
Box: 2 Newspaper Clippings
1952-1986
Box: 2 North Jersey District
1975, undated
Box: 2 Organizing Committee: Internal Bulletins
1937
Box: 2 Pamphlets and Publications
1966-1980, undated
Box: 2 Pamphlets and Publications: Documents and Speeches on the 1952-1953 Factional Struggle and Split
undated
Box: 2 Position Papers
circa 1940s
Box: 2 Regional Socialist Education Conference
1995-1996
Box: 2 Scrapbook (Collection of articles on the "Negro Question")
1937-1949
Box: 2 Scrapbook (Collection of articles on the "Russian Question")
1937-1949
Box: 3 Socialist Activist and Educational Conference: Reports
1970
Box: 3 Socialist Appeal (Official Organ Socialist Workers Party)
undated
Box: 3 Socialist Educational and Activists Conference
1978-1989
Box: 3 Socialist Summer School
1971-1978, undated
Box: 3 Socialist Workers Party et al. against Attorney General of the United States
1980
Box: 3 Women's Liberation Committee
1970

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Series II: Socialist Workers Party Affiliated and Youth Organizations, 1932-1999

Container 1     Title Date
Box: 3 Communist League of America (Opposition) (Predecessor of SWP)
1932-1934, undated
Box: 3 Communist League of America (Opposition) (Predecessor of SWP): Chicago Branch
undated
Box: 3 International Tendency I
1974-1975
Box: 3 International Tendency II
1974-1975
Box: 3 International Tendency III
1974-1975
Box: 3 Militant Labor Forum
1960s-
Box: 3 Pathfinder Mural Project
1987-1988
Box: 3 Young Socialist Alliance
1960-1969
Box: 3 Young Socialist Alliance
1970-1985
Box: 3 Young Socialist Alliance
undated
Box: 3 Young Socialist Alliance: Baltimore, MD
1962
Box: 3 Young Socialist Alliance: Constitutions
1935, 1960
Box: 3 Young Socialist Alliance: National Conventions
1968-1989
Box: 3 Young Socialist Alliance: Pamphlets and Publications
1965-1969
Box: 3 Young Socialist Alliance: Pamphlets and Publications
1969-1973, undated

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Series III: Presses and Publishers, 1934-1998

Container 1     Title Date
Box: 4 Merit Bookstore
undated
Box: 4 Merit Publishers I
1966-1971
Box: 4 Merit Publishers II
1966-1971
Box: 4 Merit Publishers III
1966-1971
Box: 4 Merit Publishers IV
1966-1971
Box: 4 The Militant
1948-1976, undated
Box: 4 The Militant: Special Supplements (Postal Strike and Steelworkers)
1977, undated
Box: 4 Pathfinder Press: Catalogs
1975-1998, undated
Box: 4 Pathfinder Press: Catalogs and Fliers
1975-1998, undated
Box: 4 Pathfinder Press: Pamphlets I
1968-1984
Box: 4 Pathfinder Press: Pamphlets II
1968-1984
Box: 4 Pathfinder Press: Pamphlets: African Americans/ Black Liberation
1971-1974
Box: 4 Pathfinder Press: Pamphlets: Cuba
1961-1968
Box: 4 Pathfinder Press: Pamphlets: Women's Liberation/ Feminism I
1970-1979
Box: 4 Pathfinder Press: Pamphlets: Women's Liberation/ Feminism II
1970-1979
Box: 4 Pioneer Publishers: Catalogs
1957-1964
Box: 4 Pioneer Publishers: Pamphlets I
1934-1959, undated
Box: 4 Pioneer Publishers: Pamphlets II
1934-1959, undated
Box: 4 Pioneer Publishers: Pamphlets III
1934-1959, undated
Box: 4 Pioneer Publishers: Pamphlets: African-Americans/ Civil Rights
1938-1965
Box: 4 Pioneer Publishers: Pamphlets: Cuba
1960-1963
Box: 4 Pioneer Publishers: Pamphlets: Fascism
1936-1944
Box: 4 Pioneer Publishers: Pamphlets: Labor
1945-1947, undated
Box: 4 Pioneer Publishers: Pamphlets: Labor Party
1944-1963
Box: 4 Pioneer Publishers: Pamphlets: Manifestos of the Fourth International
1940-1946
Box: 4 Pioneer Publishers: Pamphlets: McCarthyism
1953-1954
Box: 4 Pioneer Publishers: Pamphlets: Minneapolis Trial
1942-1944

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