Arnold Petersen

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Arnold Petersen (April 16, 1885 – February 5, 1976) was the National Secretary of the Socialist Labor Party of America from 1914 to 1969. Petersen played a major role as spokesmen for that party and as a promoter of the De Leonist version of Marxist theory in the 20th century.


Arnold Petersen was born in Odense, Denmark, the son of a tailor. After graduating college, he immigrated to the United States and worked in a paper box factory. In 1907, he joined the Socialist Labor Party.

Daniel De Leon nominated Petersen to be national secretary a few months before his death in May 1914. As national secretary, Petersen restructured the party and saved it from bankruptcy. He was also a prolific author, writing over fifty books, including a series of biographical monographs on De Leon, collected as Daniel De Leon: Social Architect.

When he retired as Socialist Labor Party of America leader in 1969, he had been the organizations leader for fifty five of the organizations ninety-four years of existence, and seventy-nine years as a "De Leonist" organization (which the party dates from 1890).

A longtime resident of Teaneck, New Jersey, he died on February 5, 1976, in Paterson, New Jersey.[1]

Selected works[edit]


  1. ^ Staff. "ARNOLD PETERSEN, SOCIALIST LABORITE", The New York Times, February 7, 1976. Accessed October 23, 2011. "Arnold Petersen, who retired in 1969 after 55 years as national secretary of the Socialist Labor Party, died Thursday in St. Joseph's Hospital, Paterson, N.J. He was 90 years old and had lived in Teaneck, N.J., for many years."


  • Biographical Dictionary of the American Left (Bernard K. Johnpoll and Harvey Klehr editors ( "Arnold Petersen" by John Gerber, pp. 314–5. Westport, CN: Greenwood Press. 1986

Other sources[edit]

  • Girard, Frank and Ben Perry, Socialist Labor Party, 1876-1991: A Short History (Philadelphia, PA: Livra Books, 1991)
  • Hass, Eric The Socialist Labor Party and the Internationals (New York Labor News Co. 1949)
  • Quint, Howard The Forging of American Socialism: Origins of the Modern Movement: The Impact of Socialism on American Thought and Action, 1886-1901 (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1953)

External links[edit]