National conventions of the Communist Party USA

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30th convention in Chicago

The Communist Party USA has held thirty official conventions including nomination conventions and conventions held while the party was known as the Workers Party of America, the Workers (Communist) Party of America and the Communist Political Association. There were also a number of congresses held by the earlier (though often underground) organizational predecessors of the party, including the Communist Labor Party of America, the United Communist Party and two groups known as the Communist Party of America. The Communist Party's 30th National Convention took place on 13 to 15 June 2014 in Chicago.[1]

Left Wing Conference[edit]

A resolution for a national conference of left leaning organizations within the Socialist Party of America had been adopted by the Boston Local in May 1919 and endorsed by a number of other locals. Admittance as left-wing was defined as endorsement of the Left Wing program adopted by the Left Wing Section of Greater New York.[2] When the conference met the delegates divided between a group around the periodical The Revolutionary Age that wanted to infiltrate the Socialist Party's convention in Chicago that September and those who wished to create a Communist Party immediately. The minority withdrew and formed the National Organization Committee for a Communist Party. This group was mainly made up of the suspended language federations and the Socialist Party of Michigan.

The majority formed a National Left Wing Council and attempted to arrange a take over of the socialist party's convention. However, by late August the majority decided to forgo this plan and joined with the National Organization Committee to create a new party at a convention in Chicago. A minority, led by Ben Gitlow and John Reed split with the majority and attempted to infiltrate the Socialist Party convention alone.[3]

Communist Party of America (1919)[edit]

Convention City Date Notes
Founding Chicago September 1–7, 1919 Manifesto and program. Constitution. Report to the Communist International; The Communist Vol. I #1 Sept 27, 1919
Second New York July 13–18, 1920 First after the departure of the Michigan and Ruthenberg factions; The Communist Vol. II #8 Aug 1, 1920
Third New York February 1921

Communist Labor Party/United Communist Party[edit]

Convention City Date Notes
Founding Chicago August 31 – September 5, 1919 Founds Communist Labor Party; Minutes of the Founding Convention of the Communist Labor Party of America; Constitution of the Communist Labor Party of America at Early American Marxism
Joint Unity Bridgman, Michigan May 26–31, 1920 The CLP and the Ruthenberg group of the CPA merge into the United Communist Party Program and constitution of the United Communist Party of America.
Second Kingston, New York December 24, 1920 – January 2, 1921

Communist Party of America (1921)[edit]

Convention City Date Notes
Joint Unity Woodstock, New York May 15–28, 1921 CPA and UCP merge
Second Bridgman, Michigan August 17–22, 1922 Raided by the Justice Department
Reds in America; the present status of the revolutionary movement in the U. S. based on documents seized by the authorities in the raid upon the convention of the Communist party at Bridgman, Mich., Aug. 22, 1922, together with descriptions of numerous connections and associations of the Communists among the Radicals, Progressives, and Pinks
Third New York April 7, 1923 Dissolves underground CPA into aboveground Workers Party of America

Workers Party of America[edit]

Convention City Date Notes
Founding New York December 23–26, 1921 Merges the Workers Council, the CPAs aboveground American Labor Alliance and other groups to form the Workers Party of America
Program and constitution, Workers Party of America, adopted at national convention, New York City, December 24, 25, 26, 1921
Second New York December 24–26, 1922 Constitution of the Workers Party of America, as amended by the Second National Convention, New York December 24-25 and 26, 1922
Third Chicago December 30, 1923 – January 2, 1924 The second year of the Workers Party of America report of the Central Executive Committee to the Third National Convention held in Chicago, Ill., Dec. 30, 31, 1923 and Jan. 1, 2, 1924 : theses, program, resolutions.
Program and constitution
Nominating Chicago July 10, 1924 Nominates William Z. Foster for President and Benjamin Gitlow for Vice President

Workers (Communist) Party of America[edit]

Convention City Date Notes
Fourth Chicago August 21–30, 1925 Changes name to Workers (Communist) Party, Ruthenberg minority given control of party by Comintern representative
The fourth national convention of the Workers (Communist) Party of America : Report of the Central Executive Committee to the 4th national convention ...;
From the Third Through the Fourth Convention of the Workers (Communist) Party of America
Fifth New York August 31 – September 6, 1927 Confirms Jay Lovestone as Executive Secretary and Lovestone group as majority on party organs
Nominating New York May 25–27, 1928 Nominates William Z. Foster for President and Benjamin Gitlow for Vice President
Acceptance speeches; The platform of the class struggle; national platform of the Workers (communist) party, 1928.

Communist Party USA[edit]

Convention City Date Notes
Sixth New York March 4–10, 1929 Adopts current name. Lovestone faction wins majority, but replaced by Gitlow as Executive Secretary by the Comintern
Seventh New York June 21–25, 1930 Elects Earl Browder General Secretary
Nominating Chicago May 28–29, 1932 Nominates William Z. Foster for President and James Ford for Vice President
Eighth Cleveland April 2–8, 1934 Report of the Central Committee to the Eighth Convention of the Communist Party of the USA, Held in Cleveland, Ohio, April 2–8, 1934.
Ninth New York June 24–28, 1936 Report of the Central Committee to the ninth National Convention of the Communist Party of the U.S.A.; Democracy or Fascism report of the Central Committee to the ninth National Convention of the Communist Party of U.S.A., and speech in reply to discussion; Resolutions: ninth convention of the Communist Party of the U.S.A.
Tenth New York May 27–31, 1938 Report to the Tenth National Convention of the Communist Party on Behalf of the Central Committee.; Resolutions of the 10th convention of the Communist Party, U.S.A.
Eleventh New York May 30–June 2, 1940
Special New York November 16, 1940
Twelfth New York May 20–22, 1944 Changes name to Communist Political Association; The road ahead to victory and lasting peace,
Thirteenth New York July 26–28, 1945 Readopts current name; removes Browder as General Secretary, replaced by Eugene Dennis
Fourteenth New York August 2–6, 1948 Endorses Henry Agard Wallace for President; Eugene Dennis indicts the Wall Street conspirators.
Fifteenth New York December 28–30, 1950 What it means to be a Communist; On Guard against Browderism, Titoism, Trotskyism.
Sixteenth New York February 9–12, 1957
Seventeenth New York December 10–13, 1959
Eighteenth New York June 22–26, 1966
Nineteenth New York April 30 – May 4, 1969
Twentieth New York February 18–21, 1972 Toward Chicano liberation; the Communist Party position.
Twenty-first Chicago June 26–29, 1975
Twenty-second Detroit August 23-26, 1979 Resolution on the path to native American liberation : adopted at the 22nd Convention, CPUSA, August 23-26, 1979.
Twenty-third Cleveland November 10–13, 1983
Twenty-fourth Chicago August 13–16, 1987
Twenty-fifth Cleveland December 5–8, 1991 First convention after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the abortive August coup
Twenty-sixth Cleveland March 1–3, 1996 First convention after the dissolution of the Soviet Union
Twenty-seventh Milwaukee July 6–8, 2001 First convention after the death of Gus Hall; "Bill of Rights Socialism" becomes policy; archived website
Twenty-eighth Chicago July 1–3, 2005 Archived web page
Twenty-ninth New York May 21–23, 2010 Convention web page
Thirtieth Chicago June 13–15, 2014 Convention web page


  1. ^ Organizing Committee. "Announcing the Communist Party Convention, June 2014!". CPUSA. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  2. ^ Revolutionary Age Vol. I #33 May 31, 1919.
  3. ^ Revolutionary Age Vol II #7 Aug 23, 1919.
  • William Z. Foster History of the Communist Party of the United States New York: International Publishers, 1952 Appendix A. Gives starting date of all conventions up to 1951.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]