The littlest proletariat: American Communists and their children, 1922-1950
Mishler, Paul C.
MetadataShow full item record
This is a study of the political culture of the Communist Party of the United States as seen through the activities and programs they organized for children. Beginning in the early 1920s Communist-organized children's activities were designed to transmit the values and ideology of the movement to, what they hoped, would be the next generation of radicals. These activities ranged from children's organizations, such as the Young Pioneers of America, to a variety of after-school programs, cultural groups, and summer camps. Through the use of oral historical sources as well as printed and manuscript documents, this study explores the ways participation in the Communist movement was an aspect of the activists daily lives, intertwined with their concerns about their families and communities. In providing for the education and socialization of their children, Communists confronted the issue of their own place within American culture. For many, that relationship was structured by their own immigrant backgrounds, and their interest in maintaining their ethnic culture in the face of Americanization. For others, it was the search for those aspects of the American tradition which would be compatable with their radical social and political beliefs. Embedded in these children's activities were a multiplicity of ideals for what a socialist United States would look like. In the programs they organized for children Communists expressed autopian spirit, which is common to all radical movements. Thus, Communists' ideas about the role of the family and the process of child-rearing, and their attempt to counter the hostile influences of public schools, established religion, and organizations such as the Boy Scouts reflected their concerns about the relationship between themselves and their children and between their families and American society. In the organizations and activities they created for their children the Communists expressed their view of their place in history and their hopes for the future.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston UniversityPLEASE NOTE: Boston University Libraries did not receive an Authorization To Manage form for this thesis or dissertation. It is therefore not openly accessible, though it may be available by request. If you are the author or principal advisor of this work and would like to request open access for it, please contact us at email@example.com. Thank you.