Welcome to Early American Marxism

Welcome to the Early American Marxism website…

1. This is not intended to be a political website, but rather a historical resource.

We all have our own political views in the present; the goal of the historian is to understand the political ideology and actions of others in the past. Whether one accepts the economic doctrine of the labor theory of value, the existence of distinct classes and the primacy of class struggle as the vehicle of social change, and the analytical framework of historical materialism as valid guides to action in the world today — or whether one views these principles of Marxism to be quaint relics of a secular religion from a bygone century — is of little import to us here…

The questions which should concern us all, regardless of our contemporary political views or organizational affiliations are WHAT HAPPENED? and WHY?


Priests and politicians absolve or condemn; historians attempt to understand and explain. This implies that one must immerse oneself in the documents of a given period to really absorb the set of ideas (economic, political, social) which guided or constrained action. One must absorb great piles of primary source material before any sort of true understanding can be reached.

Once the big picture is grasped, a comprehsion of the mentality of the participants achieved, and the fine detail begins to become clear, then the task of the historian changes. Rather than reading, the order of the day becomes writing: the vast quantities of source material must be distilled, translated into coherent prose for a largely uninitiated audience. It is an important task, one full of reward and frustration.

2. This site makes no pretense of being comprehensive.

I tell people that “these are my reading notes for a future book project in very, very, very long form.” My periodization is 1916-1924 — in other words, from Zimmerwald and the Preparedness campaign through the Communist Party’s Farmer-Labor Party fiasco. If that sounds like Draper Volume 1, you’ve got the idea. Earlier documents are generally concentrated on key players in the Left Wing Socialist and Communist movement of that period; later documents are a haphazard afterthought. This site is also pretty good on the origins of the Social Democratic Party and the “Kangaroo” split of 1899 as well, for reasons that should someday become clear…

The “sweet spot” of this site is concentrated in the years 1916-1924. I’ve marked these dates with bullets on the pulldown menu.

3. I enjoy hearing from relatives of participants and helping students and scholars with their research.

I learn a lot from relatives and those with a very focused interest and knowledge and try to return the favor by helping them as I’m best able. Please do write if you’re researching an individual or issue and find this material helpful. I’ve got a top-notch personal library and can help steer you where you need to go. So if you have a question relating to this topic and time frame, please do drop me a line:– MutantPop@aol.com

However, rest assured that if you ask me a question about your kooky great uncle that was a Red, I’m gonna ask you five questions back… And if you’re researching a dissertation — I want a copy of the pdf when you’re done… It’s only fair! (Hell, if you’ve used this site and have written a paper, send me a pdf anyway. I’ll read it.)

4. This is only part of what is going on…

Most of my work since 2009 has been happening on Wikipedia, where I write as “Carrite.” There are several others there writing on topics relating to radical history and linking up primary documents there as well. Don’t hesitate to make use of that resource. Wikipedia has a bad reputation among many academics. That will change as we move along, trust me… We already kick the living crap out of Encyclopedia Britannica on these topics and every day it gets a little better.


Thanks for your interest,

Tim Davenport
Corvallis, OR

Try this, it works swell…

click here to Google search the EAM site
P.S. If you come upon this frame only on your journey through cyberspace and want to restore the full site structure, please click the link below.

Translate »