James S. Allen

Marxist Historian + Journalist + Editor + Political Activist
Born 1906

James S. "Jim" Allen, born Sol Auerbach, was an American Marxist historian, journalist, editor, political activist, and functionary of the Communist Party USA. Allen is best remembered as the author and editor of over two dozen books and pamphlets and as one of the Communist Party's leading experts on African-American history.… Read More

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1906 Birth Sol Auerbach, later known by the pseudonym James S. Allen, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1906, the son of ethnic Jewish parents that arrived in America from the Russian empire in that same year. … Read More


1927 21 Years Old A committed radical from his collegiate days, Auerbach traveled to the Soviet Union in 1927 as part of the first American student delegation to the Soviet Union. … Read More
1930 24 Years Old 1 More Event
During his formative years in Philadelphia Auerbach had developed a strong interest in African American life, which led to his appointment in 1930 as editor of the Communist Party's first newspaper produced south of the Mason-Dixon line — The Southern Worker. … Read More
1931 25 Years Old Allen was listening to the radio in his Chattanooga apartment in March 1931 when he heard that police in Paint Rock, Alabama had removed nine young black men from a freight train and charged them with rape. … Read More
1933 27 Years Old At the behest of the Communist International, Allen was sent to Manila, capital of the Philippines (then an American protectorate) on two missions in an attempt to end sectarian squabbling and achieve unity between the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the rival Socialist Party of the Philippines (SPP), established in 1933. … Read More


1936 30 Years Old 1 More Event
The first of Allen's trips to the Philippines came in 1936. … Read More
1938 32 Years Old Allen returned to the Philippines in September 1938 on a new mission. … Read More
1939 33 Years Old His mission accomplished, Allen returned to the United States and composed a long and detailed report on his trip, a document dated February 13, 1939. … Read More
1944 38 Years Old Allen was drafted into the United States Army in 1944. … Read More


1952 46 Years Old On February 21, 1952, Allen was called before the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada, in conjunction with its investigation of the Institute of Pacific Relations.


1956 50 Years Old 1 More Event
During the 1956 to 1958 factional crisis in the Communist Party USA, Allen placed his allegiance with the hardline pro-Soviet wing against a dissident faction favoring liberalization of internal party life and a distancing of the American Communist movement from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
1958 52 Years Old When the leader of hardliners, Gus Hall, emerged triumphant and was named General Secretary of the CPUSA in 1958, Allen was elected to the party's governing Central Committee at the same time. … Read More
1962 56 Years Old 1 More Event
While Allen had briefly headed International Publishers during Trachtenberg's prosecution in the 1950s under the Smith Act, he found IP in dire financial straits as he began his second stint as a publisher in 1962: When I returned to IP in 1962 as president and editor-in-chief the house faced bankruptcy. … Read More


1968 62 Years Old In 1968 Allen was selected as the American editor of the 50-volume Marx-Engels Collected Works project, a joint publishing project between International Publishers, Lawrence and Wishart in the United Kingdom, and Progress Publishers in Moscow. … Read More
1975 69 Years Old The first volume of the edition saw print in 1975 and the 50th and final volume was ultimately published in 2004 — many years after Allen's death. … Read More
1986 80 Years Old James S. Allen died in 1986. … Read More
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