In the 1980s, the Socialist Workers Party in the United States broke away from Trotskyism, and left the USFI. A number of other parties in USFI also chose to leave, including the Socialist Action League in New Zealand. Those members of the Socialist Action League who did not agree with this departure from Trotskyism and the USFI were expelled or resigned. Later, the Socialist Action League renamed itself the Communist League, following the pattern of the other parties that had left the USFI. Today, the party is still associated with the Socialist Workers Party's so-called Pathfinder tendency. In the 2002 elections, it stood two candidates, and gained their best result in 12 years with 171 votes. In the 2005 elections it also ran two candidates, but received only 107 votes.
The party stood two candidates in the 2014 election. The League's two candidates were Felicity Coggan, who received 92 votes in the electorate of Maungakiekie, and Annalucia Vermunt, who received 43 votes in the electorate of Manukau East. These figures represented 0.28% and 0.17% respectively of the total valid vote in those seats. The 92 votes received by Coggan was the best result for the League in a General Election since 2002.