Questions of Communism and Anticommunism in Twentieth-Century American Student Activism


  • J. Angus Johnston


The question of the proper relationship between the communist and noncommunist left was long one of the most divisive in American radical politics, and it has retained its resonance in the historiography of the twentieth century. Before, during, and after the Cold War, American students displayed an extemporaneous, fluid approach to both the theory and practice of organizing, and communist and noncommunist student activists regularly forged significant bonds in defiance of off-campus pressure. This article traces some of the sources and consequences of that striking propensity.