Socialist Labor Party of America

The Socialist Labor Party (SLP)[2] is the first socialist political party in the United States, established in 1876.

Socialist Labor Party
FoundedJuly 15, 1876; 145 years ago (1876-07-15)
HeadquartersMountain View, California
NewspaperThe Weekly People (1891-2011)
Membership (2006)77[1]
IdeologyMarxism
De Leonism
Political positionFar-left
Colors  Red
Website
slp.org

Originally known as the Workingmen's Party of the United States, the party changed its name in 1877 to Socialistic Labor Party[3] and again sometime in the late 1880s to Socialist Labor Party.[4] The party was additionally known in some states as the Industrial Party or Industrial Government Party.[5] In 1890, the SLP came under the influence of Daniel De Leon, who used his role as editor of The Weekly People, the SLP's English-language official organ, to expand the party's popularity beyond its then largely German-speaking membership. Despite his accomplishments, De Leon was a polarizing figure among the SLP's membership. In 1899, his opponents left the SLP and merged with the Social Democratic Party of America to form the Socialist Party of America.

After his death in 1914, De Leon was followed as national secretary by Arnold Petersen. Critical of both the Soviet Union and the reformism of the Socialist Party of America, the SLP became increasingly isolated from the majority of the American Left. Its support increased in the late 1940s, but declined again in the 1950s, when Eric Hass became influential in the party. The SLP experienced another increase in support in the late 1960s, but again subsequently declined with the party last nominating a candidate for president in 1976. In 2008 the party closed its national office and the party's newspaper The People ceased publications in 2011. The party has since become dormant.

The party advocates "socialist industrial unionism", the belief in a fundamental transformation of society through the combined political and industrial action of the working class organized in industrial unions.


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