Independent Progressive Party

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Independent Progressive Party

Beginnings

The Independent Progressive Party formed in 1948 to support Henry A. Wallace and Glen Taylor's Presidential/Vice-Presidential campaign. In 1947, the Third Party Organizing Committee formed to put the IPP on the ballot.

In 1948, the IPP merged with the Progressive Citizens of America , an organization founded in 1946. This occurred under the tenure of Bert Witt, Executive Director of the PCA. The Hollywood Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts, Sciences and Professions , an affiliate organization of the PCA which consisted of 3,000 people in radio, motion pictures, sciences and education, remained autonomous but affiliated with the IPP. At the time of the merger, HICCASP was chaired by the screenwriter Howard Koch.

Calvin Benham "Beanie" Baldwin, IPP National Secretary, headed the national headquarters in New York. The IPP had offices in at least forty-five states. As evidenced by the records collected by Jack Berman, California was a particularly active site of the IPP. He was a small businessman who was extremely active in the IPP and served as the Los Angeles County Vice-Chairman under Bill Elconin, Los Angeles County Chairman. Berman ran for office on the Board of Education but withdrew as to not divide support among progressive candidates.[1]

Founding conference

In July 1948, the Independent Progressive Party held its founding convention in Philadelphia where it announced the presidential candidacy of Wallace. It was well-attended by labor leaders, progressive politicians, community leaders, the working-class and people of color. The IPP/Wallace platform called for peace, the end to Jim Crow laws, and improving the nation's standard of living. Wallace's campaign was unique at the time because it was not segregated; black and white candidates appeared alongside each other and Wallace would refuse to speak to segregated audiences or patronize segregated business establishments. [2]

Campaigns

Although the IPP vigorously organized across the country, Wallace was unsuccessful in his bid for presidency against Harry Truman. In 1950, Wallace broke with the party due to political differences. Following the Wallace campaign, the IPP continued to organize on the local, state and national level but remained on the fringes of American politics. In the McCarthy and Cold War era, the party was labeled Communist for its staunch support of labor and call for diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Russia. Many party members were harassed by the House of Un-American Activities Committee. The IPP was also marginalized for its support of African American candidates. A portion of the received correspondence captures the vehement pro-segregation and anti-Communist mindset that swept the society of the time.

In 1952, the IPP held its third national convention in Chicago, Illinois where it announced Vincent Hallinan and Charlotta Bass as the IPP's Presidential and Vice-Presidential nominees, respectively. W.E.B. DuBois gave the keynote speech. The 1952 IPP campaign is particularly historic because Bass was the first African-American woman to run for national office. However, the campaign failed to garner widespread attention and support and was unsuccessful. The IPP disbanded in 1955.[3]

References