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They Are All Red Out There: The Socialist Party in the Pacific Northwest, 1895-1925by Jeffrey A. Johnson
Synopses & Reviews
One of early-twentieth-century America’s most fertile grounds for political radicalism, the Pacific Northwest produced some of the most dedicated and successful socialists the country has ever seen. As a radicalized labor force emerged in mining, logging, and other extractive industries, socialists employed intensive organizational and logistical skills to become an almost permanent third party that won elections and shook the confidence of establishment rivals. At the height of Socialist Party influence just before World War I, a Montana member declared, “They are all red out here.”
In this first book to fully examine the development of the American Socialist Party in the Northwest, Jeffrey A. Johnson draws a sharp picture of one of the most vigorous left-wing organizations of this era. Relying on party newspapers, pamphlets, and correspondence, he allows socialists to reveal their own strategies as they pursued their agendas in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. And he explores how the party gained sizable support in Butte, Spokane, and other cities seldom associated today with left-wing radicalism.
“They Are All Red Out Here” employs recent approaches to labor history by restoring rank-and-file workers and party organizers as active participants in shaping local history. The book marks a major contribution to the ongoing debate over why socialism never grew deep roots in American soil and no longer thrives here. It is a work of political and labor history that uncovers alternative social and political visions in the American West.
Book News Annotation:
The coastal states of Washington and Oregon retain a degree of liberal sentiment that might be considered a pale shadow of their radical selves, but the story Johnson (history, Augustana College, South Dakota) tells also incorporates intermountain Idaho and high plains Montana, where the traces are harder to find. He describes how industrial laborers, farmers, and middle-class reformers created a robust political alternative to the steadily growing rule by robber barons. His account is chronological, encompassing local events and personalities, but focusing on the socialist movement in the region as a whole. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The most successful socialists America has ever seen
In this first book to fully examine the development of the American Socialist Party in the Northwest, Jeffrey A. Johnson draws a sharp picture of one of the most vigorous left-wing organizations of the early-twentieth-century. Relying on party newspapers, pamphlets, and correspondence, he allows socialists to reveal their own strategies as they pursued their agendas in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. And he explores how the party gained sizable support in Butte, Spokane, and other cities seldom associated today with left-wing radicalism.
About the Author
Jeffrey A. Johnson is Assistant Professor of History at Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
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History and Social Science » Pacific Northwest » General