The Communist Party USA
Although the Soviet Union, the headquarters of the Communist Party, determined policies and attempted to control the activities of the party, local culture shaped the actions of individual chapters of the Communist Party USA. Chicago became central to Communist activities in the United States, with over one-fourth of American party members living in Chicago. As Communists advocated for a revolution that would lead to better lives and working conditions for laborers, their goals often aligned with those of labor unions. Many supporters of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) were communist members and helped to organize laborers across industries.
Communist teachings sought to unite people without discrimination based on sex, color, or job skill level. These ideas influenced the CIO, leading to more inclusive unions and more participation by women, African Americans, and other minorities. However, inequality continued in the labor movement and the Communist Party, as it did elsewhere in American life.

Russian travel book 1945 Box 17001

Russian travel book 1945 Box 17002
Front cover and inside of the travel document from Mollie’s trip to the Soviet Union in 1945-1946. While in Europe as a delegate to the United States at international youth conventions, Mollie and other members of the American Youth for Democracy (previously Young Communist League) were invited to visit the Soviet Union.


Mollie and Communism

As Mollie became interested in left-wing politics and progressive movements in her youth, she was drawn to the Communist Party. Communists in Chicago looked towards a revolution that would change the lives of all American workers, yet their daily activities were often more related to the needs of local workers and the community At a time when many unions did not accept women or people of color, the Communist Party included everyone in their recruiting efforts.

In the Young Communist League and the Communist Party, Mollie found an inclusive community of people working for the rights of workers. She helped organize and participated in workers strikes all over the city. However, despite the dedication of women like Mollie, women were not always viewed as equal within the party.


Learn More: Communism
Established on the nineteenth century writings of Karl Marx, communism is a system that calls for a society in which the means of production is owned by all, instead of being in the hands of an elite few. In the early 20th century, the communist movement spread throughout the world, gaining influence during times of political and economic turmoil. The Communist Party USA, established in 1919, was influential in the developments of the labor movement.



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