League of Revolutionaries for a New America
The League of Revolutionaries for a New America (LRNA) is an organization of revolutionaries in the United States formed with the stated goal of "educating revolutionaries and winning them over to a cooperative communist resolution to the problems faced in the economy and society." (Program of the League of Revolutionaries for a New America) The League was founded in 1993. Its roots go back into the communist movements of the early 20th century. Nelson Peery, who was instrumental in its founding, had been a member of the Communist Party USA but left the Party in 1958. He was part of a Provisional Organizing Committee to Reconstitute a Marxist Leninist Party (POC), which felt the Communist Party USA was supporting revisionism in the Soviet Union.
The activists around Nelson Peery formed the California Communist League in 1968 and shortly began publishing its newspaper "The Peoples Tribune." The organization attracted some activists involved in the Chicano Moritorium and expanded its press to include the "Tribuno del Pueblo." Max Elbaum's "Revolution In the Air" states the following on page 103: "The POC quickly went through a series of damaging splits and by the mid-1960s had lost most of its initial few hundred members. Peery, a charismatic African American who had stuck with the group through many twists and turns and had succeeded in building a small base in South Central Los Angeles, was expelled in 1967. A year later he led formation of the CCL."
With expansion to other cities, the CCL changed its name to the Communist League. According to the book "Detroit, I Do Mind Dying" by Dan Georgakas and Marvin Surkin, the split within the Detroit based League of Revolutionary Black Workers became public on June 12, 1971. "By the first of the year, those who remained in the League were making plans to affiliate what was left of the organization with a group called the Communist League. The League of Revolutionary Black Workers had become history." (page 164).
With the merging of the Communist League and a section of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, the Communist League acquired a large grouping of black industrial workers familiar with the writings of Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Mao Zedong. Elbaum speculates that the Communist League may have had more blacks, Chicanos and women in its leadership than perhaps any communist group in American history. (page 103)
In Detroit the Communist League formed a working relationship with the Motor City Labor League (MCLL), which had also experienced a political split similar to the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, with one section combining with the Communist League in launching itself nationally as the Communist Labor Party in 1974. Interestingly, one section of the MCLL merged with the Communist League and another sector merged with the grouping split from the old League of Revolutionary Black Workers (LRBW). The former included activists like the anti-war veteran Frank Joyce, while the latter included Shelia Murphy who would later win numerous elections as Councilperson in Detroit and marry Kenneth Cockrel, a leader of the faction within the LRBW that did not join the Communist League.
The Communist League and then the Communist Labor Party viewed its distinguishing political and theoretical feature as its presentation of what it called "The Negro National Colonial Question," by Nelson Peery, first edition published by the Communist League, 1972. The organization has emphasized the study of history and philosophy as a guide to strategy throughout its history. In recent years, this study has led to the articulation of the process of formation of a new class of dispossessed in society created by the transition from industrial production to electronics.
The organization continued to focus on theoretical and ideological development of its cadre into the mid-1980s and urged its members to be active in the struggles of the poor and workers organizations. In 1976 and again in 1978 the Communist Labor Party conducted "Vote Communist" campaigns running General Baker Jr. for State Representative in the Michigan House and also a campaign for a candidate for City Council in San Francisco, California.
With the political and economic changes of the 1980s, the Communist Labor Party disbanded its party form, organized the National Organizing Committee (NOC), and refounded as the League of Revolutionaries for a New American (LRNA) in 1993.
Now based in Chicago, their official press is "Rally, Comrades!." The People's Tribune and Tribuno del Pueblo, now in their fortieth year of publication, were separated from the League in 2005 and are now papers open to the mass movement.
- Communist Labor Party. Documents, first (founding) congress of the Communist Labor Party of the United States of North America, September, 1974. Workers Press, Chicago. 1975.
- Communist Labor Party. Documents Second Party Congress of the Communist Labor Party of the United States of North America, November, 1975. Workers Press, Chicago. 1975.
- Communist Labor Party . The road to socialism: Documents, Third Party Congress, Communist Labor Party, November 1980. Workers Press, Chicago. 1980.
- Communist Labor Party of the United States of North America. Leaders Unite! a study guide for new members. Workers Press, Chicago. 1987
- Keller, Jim. A veteran Communist speaks. With a preface by the Political Bureau of the Communist Labor Party of the United States of North America. Workers Press, Chicago. 1975.
- League of Revolutionaries for a New America
- Rally Comrades! The Voice of the League of Revolutionaries for a New America
- Communist Labor Party, 1975‑1980 portion of Detroit Revolutionary Movements Collection at the Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs at Wayne State University.
- People's Tribune