Red Chicago

Book ann: University of Illinois Press

Red Chicago: American Communism at Its Grassroots, 1928-35
Author: Randi Storch

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. Storch reveals the realities of street-level American Communist experience during the worst years of the Depression, when Chicago's Communist Party experienced its first substantial growth in membership, when its members developed lasting structures in their neighborhoods and factories, and when tens of thousands turned out for Communist rallies.

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 responsive 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 ethnic, working-class, and African American population, this study reexamines Party members' actions as an integral part of the communities where they lived and the industries in which they worked.

Randi Storch is an associate professor of history at the State University of New York College at Cortland.

Cloth: 978-0-252-03206-6 $35.00 Pages: 320 pages Dimensions: 6.125 x 9.25 in. Illustrations: 14 photographs, 4 Line Drawings, 2 Maps/Graphs

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