The Idea of Democratic Socialism in America and the Decline of the Socialist Party, by Robert J. Fitrakis
CICJ Books, Columbus, Ohio 1993. 362 pp.
This classic study traces the history of the Socialist Party of America from its foundation in 1901 until the collapse at the end of 1972, when the last leader, Michael Harrington, left the party to start a new organization, the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee. The essential relationship in the history of the Socialist Party has been that between its radical strategy and the faith its adherents placed in the party. Focusing on the three successive leaders, Eugene Debs (1855-1926), Norman Thomas (1884-1968) and Michael Harrington (1928-1989), and their varying policies, the text concludes that the Socialist Party was "peculiarly dependent upon its political activism and electoral crusades." Available in the Free Press Online Store - $20.