It’s no secret where my sympathies lie when it comes to politics and that I wear my red star–like my heart–proudly on my sleeve.

The CPUSA is the Communist Party, USA and although the organization doesn’t have an active role in Julius, it does hover in the background as backstory. Corinne’s parents were active party members, Alvah Bessie was an active member, as were the three “Abies” who befriend Corinne. As for Corinne, her party membership had long lapsed. She was active while she was in grad school, but then something happened . . . and that’s all I’m saying.

What can I share with you that might intrigue you to learn more about the CPUSA? If you’re somewhat curious, I urge you to visit the CPUSA’s website. You’ll discover is that we come in all different shapes, sizes, races, ethnicities, straight, gay, transgender and that we don’t have horns or tails. We’re not evil, we don’t worship the devil (well, typically we don’t worship any deity but that’s another story). For the most part we’re  just regular folk with regular families, leading regular lives. We bleed, laugh and ultimately die—just like the Republicans who call us nasty names.

If you visit the site, you’ll read where the CPUSA stands in the 21st century, but if you’re interested in its history I recommend two books: Theodore Draper’s The Roots of American Communism and Fraser Ottonelli’s The Communist Party of the United States from the Depression to World War II. Those two will sate your curiosity unless, of course, you’re interested in Marxist theory. If you are,  please leave a comment and I can recommend a few books.

Should you only want a down and dirty overview, visit and read the summary that’s taken directly from The Encyclopedia of the American Left. It’s good background information and it might inspire you to read more about the Party and maybe even write about it, but if you do just remember that we are regular folk.

But if it’s too much of a conation to go through any of this material then just rent Reds. The first half of the film gives you a broad idea of all the different groups and their conflicts that finally formed the CPUSA.

And now I leave you with this catchy little ditty from Reds:


  • Good informative piece, Rebeca. I imagine there will be a lot of traffic at the CPSUA website today. Maybe people will see the similarities with the Occupy movement and see that both movements are people oriented. I still recommend the book I finished the other day, Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions by Paul Mason. Very good book. Blog on!

  • This is great.  CPUSA needs more positive exposure.  I shared it on Facebook.  And yes, I’m a Communist, and wear the red star everywhere.  Loved the International from Reds.  

  • Loved the clip (and loved the woman singing in English). Of course, Hollywood had to turn the Russian Revolution into an American love affair. Looking back from close to a century’s distance, it seems unquestionable that there were universal hopes placed on that event. Were those hopes fulfilled? That’s still, in many respects, an open question.As to the CPUSA, the people with the clearest and straightest vision I have met, such as the late Dorothy Healy, have been Communists. However, I could never get one of them to explain away Stalin to me. Nor am I certain that Leninism was the only international path.But thank you, in particular for your links to informative sites.