"Formation of the Proletarian Party of America, 1913-1923: Part 1: John Keracher's Proletarian University and the Establishment of the Communist Party of America,"
by Tim Davenport
Corvallis, OR: 1000 Flowers Publishing, 2011.
First installment of a two-part study of the origins of the Proletarian Party of America, lead by Scottish emigrant John Keracher. Originating in the city of Detroit, the revolutionary socialist Keracher "Proletarian University" faction won control of the Socialist Party of Michigan in 1918 and lead the organization on a radical course that ultimately lead to its expulsion from the Socialist Party of America in June 1919.
The Keracher group published its own monthly organ called "The Proletarian" from May 1918 and operated training classes known as the Proletarian University in Detroit, Rochester, Buffalo, and various other cities throughout Michigan.
The Keracher group were one of the main constituent organizations comprising the Communist Party of America, organized in Chicago in September 1919. They proved to be dissidents from the foundation of that organization, however, and were effectively separated from the party when it moved to the underground in the face of government repression at the end of 1919 and into early 1920.
Establishment of a formal Proletarian Party of America, formed in competition with the Communist Party of America and the Communist Labor Party of America, followed shortly thereafter.
This installment takes the story up to the formation of the CPA. As of 2017, there is no Part 2; hopefully that will emerge eventually.
This paper was written during the summer of 2010. First publication of Part 1 of this paper was at the Early American Marxism website, www.marxisthistory.org,, on May 16, 2011. The material is being mirrored to Archive.org and Marxists.org (Marxist Internet Archive). Non-commercial reproduction is permitted under terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 license.