Rethinking the Popular Front

James R. Barrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The history of the Communist International's Popular Front line (1935-9, 1941-5) represents a battleground between “traditional” scholars who see the line simply as a passing tactic and “revisionists” who see it as ushering in a new sort of radical social movement that provided a base for diverse radicals and helped to transform American society and culture. This new movement was sparked by and reflected the changing composition of the Communist Party USA in these years, as more women, native-born workers, and intellectuals and professionals joined. Despite its demise amid sectarianism and repression in the postwar years, the Popular Front deeply influenced a variety of New Left movements and continues to provide a “broad left” model for social movements.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)531-550
Number of pages20
JournalRethinking Marxism
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2009


  • Communist International
  • Communist Party USA
  • Great Depression
  • Popular Front
  • World War Two

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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