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A Contest of IdeasCapital, Politics, and Labor$
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Nelson Lichtenstein

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037856

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037856.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Jay Lovestone

Jay Lovestone

(p.235) Chapter 18 Jay Lovestone
A Contest of Ideas

Nelson Lichtenstein

University of Illinois Press

This chapter presents a portrait of Jay Lovestone, who helped found the American Communist Party in 1919 and lived to see the Iron Curtain fall seventy years later. His life was consumed by the fate of world Communism, first as one of the American party's most energetic and creative leaders, then as a man burning in his hatred for the people and ideas to which he had once given such loyalty. Lovestone helped erect the ideological Iron Curtain that walled off the unions from an entire generation of New Left activists and civil rights militants whose energy and talent was essential to the health of a truly “free” labor movement. Instead, Lovestone and his friends turned their faces rightward, helping to drive the AFL-CIO into the arms of those neoconservative Democrats and Reaganite intellectuals whose opportunistic regard for the liberties of the Polish working class was nicely balanced by their indifference to the decline of living standards at home and the near-destruction of the American union movement in the years after 1981.

Keywords:   American Communist Party, Jay Lovestone, Communism, AFL-CIO

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