Red diaper baby

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A red diaper baby is a child of parents who were members of the United States Communist Party (CPUSA) or the Communist Party of Canada in Canada or were close to the party or sympathetic to its aims.[1][2][3]


The term Red Diaper Baby was used by Josh Kornbluth as the title of his 1996 autobiography and related one man show,[4] and a 2004 performance documentary film of his show by Doug Pray.

In their 1998 book Red Diapers: Growing Up in the Communist Left, Judy Kaplan and Linn Shapiro define red diaper babies as "children of CPUSA members, children of former CPUSA members, and children whose parents never became members of the CPUSA but were involved in political, cultural, or educational activities led or supported by the Party".[5] More generally, the phrase is sometimes used to refer to a child of any radical parent, regardless of that parent's past partisan affiliation (or the affiliation of the child).

In the 1976 film Marathon Man, the lead character, Thomas Levy, played by Dustin Hoffman, is a "red diaper baby."[6]

Notable red diaper babies include journalist Carl Bernstein and rock singer Country Joe McDonald.[7]

Canadian political scientist James Laxer titled his 2005 memoir Red Diaper Baby: A Boyhood in the Age of McCarthyism.


  1. ^ "Mill Valley "red diaper daughter" documents her radical roots". Marin Independent Journal. 2017-06-18. Retrieved 2023-05-11.
  2. ^ Hall, Tom (March 14, 2020). "Today's Red-Diaper Baby Dilemma". LA Progressive.
  3. ^ Gates, Anita (2014-01-22). "Traveling Back in Time From the Left, With Context". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-05-11.
  4. ^ Kornbluth, Josh (1996). Red Diaper Baby: Three Comic Monologues (With Mathematics of Change and Haiku Tunnel). Mercury House. ISBN 1-56279-087-0.
  5. ^ Kaplan, Judy & Shapiro, Linn (1998). Red Diapers: Growing Up in the Communist Left. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-06725-8. In this anthology, we define red diaper babies as children of CP members, children of former CP members, and children whose parents never became members of ...
  6. ^ Radosh, Ronald; Radosh, Aliss. "Red Star Over Hollywood. The Film Colony's Long Romance with the Left". Retrieved May 17, 2023.
  7. ^ "Red Diaper Babies". AP News. Archived from the original on 2023-07-12. Retrieved 2023-07-12.

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