Clayton Van Lydegraf

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Clayton Van Lydegraf (1915–1992) was a writer and activist of significant influence on the New Left in the 1960s. He served as Secretary of the Communist Party in Washington State in the late 1940s.[1][2]

Van Lydegraf served as a leader of the Progressive Labor Party (United States) in Washington state in the 1960s before being expelled in the Spring of 1967.[3] During this time, and expanding on his Old Left background, Van Lydegraf was involved with young Seattle activists by 1966. His articles "The Movement and the Workers" and "The Object is to Win" were particularly influential. This latter is a noteworthy piece in the development of the ideas of the Weather Underground.

Over the years, he was active in a number of groups and causes including the Communist Party, the Progressive Labor Party, the Peace and Freedom Party, Draft Resistance- Seattle, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), American Friends Service Committee, Anti-Fascist Front, Seattle Committee to End the War in Vietnam, and trade unions. He was also an advocate of working class power, Marxism, revolutionary organization, and the Black Panthers. He took part in the preparations for the jailbreak of Timothy Leary while in the Weatherman organisation but was privately critical of the action.[4]


  1. ^ "A brief profile of Van Lydegraf as part of the Communist Party in Washington State History Project". Retrieved 2012-08-22. 
  2. ^ Curwick, Stephanie (1948-04-22). "Identification of Van Lydegraf as state Communist Party Secretary during the Canwell Commission hearings". Retrieved 2012-08-22. 
  3. ^ "Biographical note". Retrieved 2012-08-22. 
  4. ^ Rudd, Mark. Underground. Pp. 225-7.

External links[edit]

Papers from Van Lydegraf dated 1944-91 are housed at the University of Washington Special Collections Library.

The papers include