Center for Global Humanities Lecture/Seminar Series

"Communism is Twentieth Century Americanism," or the Odyssey of Earl Browder

6:00 pm - 6:00 pm
WCHP Lecture Hall
Portland Campus
Laura Browder
Free and open to the public
laura browder
Laura Browder

Author, Professor of English, Virginia Commonwealth University

Earl Browder was the head of the American Communist Party during its most influential period—the great Depression. He coined the slogan “Communism is 20th-century Americanism.” He ran for president twice against Roosevelt and appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 1938. In 1946, on Stalin’s orders, he was expelled from the Communist Party for revisionism. During all of those years, he was tracked by both the FBI and the KGB, and in the mid-1990s, the VENONA project was published—a series of KGB cables that named my grandfather as a Soviet spy.

If the CPUSA is essentially irrelevant today, the experience of a political radical, hounded by a national security state, is very relevant in light of the Patriot Act and other forms of increased state surveillance of political dissidents. Browder’s life epitomizes like few others how it is to be a radical in the USA. Earl Browder lived a transnational life, moving back and forth among three continents in an attempt to build a radical movement that would be both truly international and authentically American. He sought, through his activism, to redefine ”American.”


WCHP Lecture Hall
United States

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