Tom Kerry

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Thomas Kerry (June 27, 1901 – January 8, 1983) was an American Communist and a lifelong member of the Socialist Workers Party.

Kerry was born in Boston, the son of Irish immigrants. Kerry was radicalized to the socialist movement during World War I and he joined the youth organization of the Socialist Party of America. Like many other young socialists, Kerry was inspired by the Russian Revolution of 1917 and he became a Communist.

However, after the end of the war, Kerry drifted away from politics, but he was radicalized again during the Great Depression in the 1930s. Tom Kerry and his wife Karolyn joined the Trotskyist Movement led by James P. Cannon and became one of the early members of the Socialist Workers Party at its foundation in 1938. Kerry was elected to the party's National Committee, a position he held for many decades.

During World War II, when many of the leaders of the Socialist Workers Party, (including James P. Cannon, Farrell Dobbs and Carl Skoglund) were sent to prison by the Smith Act for opposing American intervention in the war, Kerry became one of the most important "free" leaders of the party.

In 1953 when James Cannon decided to retire from the post as National Secretary, he was succeeded by Farrell Dobbs and Kerry became Dobbs' closest collaborator. Kerry was made Organizational Secretary.

Kerry wrote a lot of political articles and some Marxist books. He retired from active party work in the mid 1970s, though when the Trotskyist opposition developing to the leadership of the SWP he took an active part in upholding the historic program of the Party. He remained in the Socialist Workers Party until he died in Los Angeles in 1983, aged 81.

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References

"TrotskyanaNet". Trotskyist biographical sketches. Retrieved December 5, 2005.