Progressive Labor Party (United States)

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Progressive Labor Party
Founded 1961
Headquarters Brooklyn, New York
Ideology Marxism–Leninism;
Political position Far-left politics

The Progressive Labor Party, originally the Progressive Labor Movement, is a political party based primarily in the United States.


The Progressive Labor Party resulted from a 1961 split from the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA). Milt Rosen became the founding chair of the Party four years after its formation.[1] The ideology of the PLP during the late 1960s rejected the Soviet Union at the time and instead embraced the ideologies of China and Vietnam.[2] The PLP were also rivals of the Revolutionary Youth Movement (later to be known as "The Weathermen" then the "Weather Underground"), which was also a Maoist organization.[2]

One notable member of the party was the philosopher Hilary Putnam;[3] however, he later stated that he considered his membership in the PLP a mistake.[4]

Present-day activities[edit]

The PLP front group International Committee Against Racism (InCAR) at an academic conference in 1977 famously poured a pitcher of water on sociobiologist E. O. Wilson's head while chanting "Wilson, you're all wet".[5]

PL's biweekly newspaper is Challenge and the parallel Spanish language counterpart Desafío, as well as a semi-annual magazine, The Communist. The party has not published a new Road To Revolution document with party-wide endorsement since Road To Revolution IV in 1982, which marked the start of its pledge to "fight directly for communism" and disown the idea of socialism. There still exists a Road To Revolution 4.5 published in 1996, but support for this document has in recent years been withdrawn by the majority of leading PLP political figures and its contents have been disavowed[citation needed].

Further reading[edit]

  • Alexander, Robert Jackson. Maoism in the Developed World. 232 pages. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2001. ISBN 9780275961480
  • Benin, Leigh David. A Red Thread In Garment: Progressive Labor And New York City’s Industrial Heartland In The 1960s And 1970s. Ph.D. diss. New York University, 1997.
  • Benin, Leigh David. The New Labor Radicalism and New York City's Garment Industry : Progressive Labor Insurgents During the 1960s. Garland Studies in the History of American Labor Series. 330 pages. Garland Publishing. November 1999. ISBN 0-8153-3385-4.
  • SDS: The Last Hurrah (document 4 of 5 in series) chronicles the last tumultuous days of the original Students for a Democratic Society and the rise of the Revolutionary Youth Movement and PL's Worker Student Alliance as the two principal SDS factions. Claimed to have been written by an undercover federal agent at the proceedings.
  • Sumner, D.S. and R.S. Butler (Jim Dann and Hari Dillon). The Five Retreats: A History of the Failure of the Progressive Labor Party. Reconstruction Press, 1977. ISBN (????)
  • The PLP-LP: Power to the Working Class. Review of PLP album of contemporary revolutionary songs. Published on Thursday, April 13, 1972. The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved October 8, 2005.
  • Waters, Mary-Alice. Maoism in the U.S.: A Critical History of the Progressive Labor Party. Young Socialist Alliance, New York, 1969.


  1. ^ "Comrade Milt Rosen, 1926-2011 Founding Chairperson of PLP, Great 20th Century Revolutionary". Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Matthews, Dylan (26 September 2013). "The Washington Post picked its top American Communists. Wonkblog begs to differ.". Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  3. ^ Schumer, Fran (27 February 1973). "Ruth Putnam Joins PL Party Soon After Her Husband Quits". Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  4. ^ Foley, Michael S. (2003). Confronting the War Machine: Draft Resistance During the Vietnam War. The University of North Carolina Press. p. 5. ISBN 0807854360. 
  5. ^ Wilson, Edward O. 1995. Naturalist. ISBN 0-446-67199-1.

External links[edit]