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5 The Farmer-Labor Party

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analyses the role that the Communist Party played in the labour movement in the mid-1920s, as well as the Comintern's intervention in the party's labour activity. By this time, the party was becoming increasingly isolated, with Trade Union Educational League (TUEL) militants being driven out of the trade unions. The leadership of the party sought to escape this isolation. 'Progressive' radicalism, first the farmer-labour movement and then the 'third-party alliance' around Republican Senator Robert La Follette, appeared to be answers. In 1924, the Comintern intervened forcefully, to prevent the party from liquidating itself politically. The deus ex machine nature of this intervention compounded the party's isolation. The Communist-controlled rump convention called itself the 'Federated Farmer-Labor Party' (FFLP), signifying that membership was based on the trade unions. John Pepper hailed the FFLP as 'the first mass party of American workers and farmers'.

Keywords: Federated Farmer-Labor Part (FFLP); John Pepper; Senator Robert La Follette; Trade Union Educational League (TUEL)



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