Arnold Petersen

Arnold Petersen (April 16, 1885 - February 5, 1976) was the National Secretary of the Socialist Labor Party of America from 1914 to 1969. Petersen played a major role as spokesmen for that party and as a promoter of the De Leonist version of Marxist theory in the 20th century.


Arnold Petersen was born in Odense, Denmark, the son of a tailor. After graduating college, he immigrated to the United States and worked in a paper box factory. In 1907, he joined the Socialist Labor Party.

Daniel De Leon nominated Petersen to be national secretary a few months before his death in May 1914. As national secretary, Petersen restructured the party and saved it from bankruptcy. He was also a prolific author, writing over fifty books, including a series of biographical monographs on De Leon, collected as Daniel De Leon: Social Architect.

When he retired as Socialist Labor Party of America leader in 1969, he had been the organizations leader for fifty five of the organizations ninety-four years of existence, and seventy-nine years as a "De Leonist" organization (which the party dates from 1890).

A longtime resident of Teaneck, New Jersey, he died on February 5, 1976, in Paterson, New Jersey.[1]

Selected works

  • Unemployment and overproduction (1930)
  • The virus of anarchy: Bakuninism vs. Marxism (1932)
  • Manifesto on War. Decay and corruption of international capitalism (1937)
  • New York: New York Labor News Co., 1937
  • New York: New York Labor News Co., 1939
  • Daniel De Leon: social architect (1941)
  • From reform to bayonets (1941)
  • Inflation of Prices or Deflation of Labor? (1942)
  • Karl Marx and Marxian science (1943)
  • New York: New York Labor News Co., 1944
  • Daniel De Leon: Social scientist (1945)
  • Marxism vs. Soviet despotism (1959)
  • Socialism and human nature (1962)
  • Bourgeois Socialism: Its Rise and Collapse in America (1963)



  • Biographical Dictionary of the American Left (Bernard K. Johnpoll and Harvey Klehr editors ( "Arnold Petersen" by John Gerber, pp. 314–5. Westport, CN: Greenwood Press. 1986

Other sources

  • Girard, Frank and Ben Perry, Socialist Labor Party, 1876-1991: A Short History (Philadelphia, PA: Livra Books, 1991)
  • Hass, Eric The Socialist Labor Party and the Internationals (New York Labor News Co. 1949)
  • Quint, Howard The Forging of American Socialism: Origins of the Modern Movement: The Impact of Socialism on American Thought and Action, 1886-1901 (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1953)

External links

  • Arnold Petersen Selected quotes

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