Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Are You or Were You Ever a Member?

The Communist Party USA today announced that it was donating its history to New York University. According to the New York Times:
By offering such an inside view, the archives have the potential to revise assumptions on both the left and the right about one of the most contentious subjects in American history, in addition to filling out the story of progressive politics, the labor movement and the civil rights struggles.

“It is one of the most exciting collecting opportunities that has ever presented itself here,” said Michael Nash, the director of New York University’s Tamiment Library, which will announce the donation on Friday.

Liberal and conservative historians, told by The New York Times about the archives, were enthusiastic about the addition of so many original documents to the historical record. No one yet knows whether they can resolve the die-hard disputes about the extent of the links between American subversives and Moscow since, as Mr. Nash said, “it will take us years to catalog.” But what is most exciting, said Mr. Nash and other scholars, is the new areas it opens up for research beyond the homegrown threat to security during the cold war.

Among the various correspondence, newsletters, buttons, and so on are Pete Seeger's lyrics to "Turn, Turn, Turn" and songwriter/poet/activist Joe Hill's handwritten will.

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