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Register of the Spartacist League of the U.S. records
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Accruals
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Title: Spartacist League of the U.S. records
    Date (inclusive): 1964-2016
    Collection Number: 94062
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 24 manuscript boxes (10.0 linear feet)
    Abstract: Records of the American Trotskyist political organization include minutes, internal bulletins, pamphlets, position papers, press releases, flyers, and leaflets relating to Trotskyist political activities in the United States. Includes issuances of youth groups and international affiliates of the Spartacist League.
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
    Creator: Spartacist League of the U.S.


    The collection is open for research.
    The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Spartacist League of the U.S. records, [Box no.], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Materials were acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1994, with increments received in subsequent years, through 2017.


    Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at http://searchworks.stanford.edu/ . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

    Historical Note

    The Spartacist League of the U.S. is a self-proclaimed revolutionary communist organization in the Marxist-Leninist-Trotskyist tradition. Its antecedents date to the early 1960s and stem from the Revolutionary Tendency within the Socialist Workers Party, American sympathizing section of the Fourth International (International Committee) at that time. The Revolutionary Tendency espoused a number of criticisms of the majority leadership of the Socialist Workers Party, notably its decision to participate in the reunified Fourth International (United Secretariat) and its uncritically favorable assessment of the Fidel Castro regime in Cuba. These differences eventuated in expulsion of leaders of the Revolutionary Tendency at the end of 1963 and their formation of a group around the publication Spartacist early in 1964. Following failure to achieve agreement with remaining elements of the Fourth International (International Committee), the group formally founded the Spartacist League of the U.S. in 1966.
    International activities of the Spartacist League resulted in formation of an international Spartacist tendency following a European conference in 1974. This international tendency, including sections in Australia and New Zealand, Canada, and several European countries, transformed itself into the International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist) in 1989.
    Domestically, a youth affiliate of the Spartacist League appeared initially as the Revolutionary Marxist Caucus within Students for a Democratic Society in 1969. This was succeeded in turn by Revolutionary Communist Youth (1971-1974), the Spartacus Youth League (1974-1986), and, after a hiatus, reconstituted Spartacus Youth Clubs.
    Two other domestic affiliates are the Partisan Defense Committee, established to provide aid to leftist and labor prisoners, and the Prometheus Research Library, a facility for documentation of the history of the Trotskyist movement.
    In addition to its theoretical journal Spartacist, the principal publications of the Spartacist League press have been its newspaper Workers Vanguard, its youth newspaper Young Spartacus, and its Women’s Commission journal Women and Revolution.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Spartacist League records in the Hoover Institution Archives include internally circulated materials from the inception of the organization up through 2004, and ephemeral publications and other public issuances up through 2016. Serial runs and other substantial publications of the Spartacist press can be found in the Hoover Institution Library. All materials held are open for use.
    The records are arranged in six series. The Spartacist League Internal Issuances series is limited to internal issuances of the League itself. In addition to minutes of meetings of its leading bodies and internal bulletins, it includes a chronologically arranged file of internally circulated letters and other documents.
    The Spartacist League Public Issuances series includes pamphlets, election campaign literature, and a few short-lived serial runs. It also includes a number of public bulletins of a documentary historical nature, amicus curiae briefs filed by the League in cases which it considered to involve significant legal issues, and a chronologically arranged file of leaflets and flyers.
    Two other series, Partisan Defense Committee Issuances and Prometheus Research Library Issuances, contain public issuances of those two affiliates of the League.
    A series of Youth Affiliate Issuances contains both internal and public issuances of the League’s successive youth affiliates up through liquidation of the Spartacus Youth League in 1986. These include minutes, internal bulletins, public bulletins, and some other ephemeral public issuances. Pamphlets published under youth affiliate imprints, however, are interfiled with adult group pamphlets in the Spartacist League Public Issuances series. The International Affiliate Issuances series includes internal issuances of the international Spartacist tendency--minutes, internal bulletins, and a chronologically arranged file of internally circulated material. It also includes non-English language pamphlets and short serial runs published by the Spartacist League, and a few pamphlets issued by European sections of the international Spartacist tendency and International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist).

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Socialism--United States.
    Communism--United States.
    Fourth International.