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The Election of 1936
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Speech on Communism
Earl R. Browder
By Earl R. Browder, Communist Party Leader & Presidential Candidate
Recorded June 28, 1936
 
In 1936, Earl Browder, head of the U.S. Communist Party since 1930, announced his candidacy for the U.S. presidency. Like many communist parties throughout the world, the U.S. Communist Party was dominated by "Comintern"--the Soviet-led alliance of communists also known as the Third International. In 1935, Comintern, fearing the spread the fascism, ordered the U.S. Communist Party to take an active role in the mainstream U.S. trade union movement and promote a "popular front" of antifascist groups. In 1936, Browder ran for president, and received only 80,000 votes--less than one-fifth of 1 percent of votes cast. Three years later, the Nazi-Soviet Non-aggression Pact was signed, signaling a dramatic shift in U.S. Communist Party policy. Attacks on Nazi Germany ceased and World War II was condemned as an "imperialistic" conflict caused by Britain and France. In 1940, Browder ran for president on an isolationist platform, and received only 46,000 votes. That same year he was convicted of passport fraud and sentenced to four years in prison, from where he continued to lead the party. When Germany invaded the U.S.S.R. in June 1941, he shifted party policy again, calling for full support of the war, including an end to labor strikes that might hinder the war effort. In 1942, he was released early from prison. After the war, he called for continued cooperation between the U.S.S.R. and the West, arguing that capitalism and socialism could peacefully coexist. This policy was repudiated by Soviet leaders, and Browder was removed from his post in 1945, and the next year was expelled from the party. He died in 1973.
Earl R. Browder
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Last modified July 14, 2012