THE PROGRESSIVE CITIZENS OF AMERICA 1946-1948
As the Cold War was heated up by the Truman administration, many of the liberals and Leftists who had supported Roosevelt fought back by forming the Progressive Citizens of America in 1946. By mid-1947, it had 25,000 members with chapters in 19 states of which 15 had paid staff members. When Wallace barnstormed America in 1947, 200,000 people turned out to hear him speak against the Cold War and call for cooperation with the Soviet Union. And by the end of the year, Wallace announced his candidacy for President, running on a peace platform under the banner of a new third party, the Progressive Party (note 8).
The Progressive Party platform called for "negotiation and discussion with the Soviet Union to find areas of agreement to win the peace." It called for repeal of the draft, and an end to military and economic intervention in support of reactionary regimes in China, Greece, Turkey, the Mideast, and Latin America, as well as independence for Puerto Rico and self-determination for all colonial areas. And finally, it called for "continuous strengthening of the United Nations" and a world disarmament agreement to outlaw the atomic bomb.
The strong stand against colonialism by the Progressive Party reflected the active involvement of the most outstanding Afro-American leadership of the times. W.E.B. DuBois and Paul Robeson played major roles in the campaign. They expressed the awakening interest of Afro-Americans in the world-wide national liberation struggles, and especially those in Africa that were taking place as the old colonial empires crumbled during and after World War II.
The Progressive Citizens of America had grown out of a working class base. Many of its organizers had been involved with the Political Action Committee of the Congress of Industrial Organizations during the War. CIO unions had been organized during the Thirties with major input from Communist Party organizers, and by 1945 they represented almost half of the nation's workers and were taking positions in favor of peaceful relations with the Soviet Union. In 1945 they exchanged delegations with the Soviet trade unions and joined with them in the World Federation of Trade Unions.
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