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Max Bedacht, Nov. 1922

Max Bedacht Sr. (1883—1972) was a German-born American revolutionary socialist politician and journalist who helped establish the Communist Party of America.


Max Bedacht, Sr. was born to an ethnically German mother in Munich, Germany on October 13, 1883. He was the son of a single mother who worked as a domestic servant and was raised a Catholic by a maternal aunt and uncle. He apprenticed and worked as a barber in Germany and Switzerland. He organized fellow journeymen barbers into a union during his European years. In 1905 he joined the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland.

Bedacht immigrated to the United States in 1908 and joined the Socialist Party of America (SPA) during that same year. In June of 1913 he moved to San Francisco to become the editor of the German-language labor newspaper Vorwärts der Pacific Küste (Forward of the Pacific Coast), a job which he retained until the paper's termination in 1917 due to draconian postal regulations being placed on the foreign language press during World War I. He briefly moved to South Dakota to edit a paper called The New Era following the demise of the Vorwärts, but soon returned to San Francisco when he found that publication unviable, taking up the barbers' shears again.

Bedacht was long an adherent of the so-called impossibilist wing of the Socialist Party, placing his faith in socialist revolution rather than the ameliorative reform of elected officials. As was the case with many radicals in America, Bedacht was inspired by the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and was an early adherent of the 1919 Left Wing Manifesto written by Louis C. Fraina and the Left Wing Section of the Socialist Party which emerged in conjunction with that document. Bedacht was a Left Wing candidate for the SPA's governing National Executive Committee in 1919 and a delegate to the SPA's pivotal 1919 Emergency National Convention.

At the Chicago convention in August 1919, the Left Wing California delegation was challenged at the time the gathering was convened, placing the delegates in limbo, their fate held in the mercy of a committee firmly controlled by the "Regular" faction of National Executive Secretary Adolph Germer and James Oneal. The Credentials Committee, headed by Judge Jacob Panken of New York City, stalled the hearings on the California delegation until after the convention was underway and until it was clear that a safe majority of delegates were in the Regulars' camp. As a result, although they were ultimately approved by the committee, the California delegation refused to take their seats in protest and went downstairs to attend the parallel convention of the Communist Labor Party of America convened by NEC members Alfred Wagenknecht and L.E. Katterfeld.

In 1934, he ran on the Communist ticket for U.S. Senator from New York.


  • In memoriam. To our comrades Karl Liebknecht, 1871-1919 Rosa Luxemburg, 1871-1919, martyrs to the German revolution, San Francisco : Socialist Party of San Francisco 1919
  • Principles of communism: (Engel's original draft of the Communist Manifesto), editor Chicago, Daily Worker Pub. Co., 1925 (Little Red Library #3)
  • The menace of opportunism; a contribution to the bolshevization of the Workers (Communist) Party. Chicago, Daily Worker Pub. Co., 1926
  • Anti-soviet lies and the five-year plan: the "Holy" capitalist war against the Soviet Union New York, Published for Daily Worker, by Workers Library Pub., 1931
  • Karl Marx, 1883-1933 (with Earl Browder and Sam Don) New York, Workers Library Publishers, 1933
  • Unity of the workers fraternal movement: a speech New York, Cultural Committee of the International Workers Order, 1936
  • Labor fraternalism: the fraternal principles and program of the I.W.O. New York, National Education Dept., International Workers Order, 1941
  • An Appeal of the German communists: Destroy Hitler! Free Germany! (with Alfred Wagenknecht) New York, Workers Library Publishers, 1942
  • The International Workers Order from the fifth to the sixth convention: report of the general secretary Max Bedacht to the IWO Sixth National Convention, July 2-7, 1944, New York City. New York, International Workers Order, 1944
  • The task before us: address New York, International Workers Order, 1944
  • Complete equality: democracy and the Negroes New York, International Workers Order, 1945
  • Your health - America's wealth New York, International Workers Order, 1945


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