The Toiler, published in Cleveland, Ohio, the seat of Cuyahoga County, was the “Official Organ of the Communist Labor Party of Ohio.” Printed in 1919 as a weekly, the Toiler was the successor to the popular Lakewood newspaper the Ohio Socialist and was established after the Socialist Party of Ohio joined the Communist Labor Party (CLP). When the CLP decided to go “underground” after the Palmer Raids of January 1920, the Toilerbecame the “aboveground” voice of the party, containing news reports, editorials and other items that supported the viewpoint of the Communist Party. Elmer T. Allison, one of the founding members of the CLP, served as the paper’s first editor until 1920 when James P. Cannon, a future leader of the Socialist Workers Party, took over. In 1921, the Toiler moved from Cleveland to New York City, along with the party headquarters, to reach a wider audience.
As Communist Party membership grew, the Toiler continued to gain popularity. In 1922, the Communist Labor Party merged with the new Workers Party of America and combined their two New York City newspapers, the Toilerand the biweekly Workers’ Council, to form the Worker, which was published in New York and Chicago. Even though these two papers had merged into a “new” publication, the Worker had the same feel as the Toiler, retaining the latter’s numbering string and layout.
In 1924, the Worker became the Daily Worker. Adhering to Stalinist politics, the paper was published in Chicago until January 1927, when it moved back to New York City. In the 1930s, in an effort to broaden the paper’s highly political coverage, the Worker began to cover arts and entertainment and even established a sports page. Following World War II, membership in the American Communist Party fell dramatically, and many places refused to carry the paper due to the intense anticommunist sentiment. Struggling financially and under heavy watch from the government, the party ceased publication of a daily paper in 1958. The Daily Worker was absorbed by the Worker, which was published as a weekend paper from 1958 to 1968.
The Communist Party resumed a more frequent publication in 1968 with the Daily World in New York. This publication merged with San Francisco’s People’s World in 1986 to form the People’s Daily World. This New York paper became the People’s Weekly World in 1990. Though print publication ceased in 2010, the People’s Weekly World appears in digital form and remains the official paper of the Communist Party in the United States.
Researched and written by Kevin Latta