was a radical leftist
independent weekly newspaper
published between 1948 and 1992 in New York City
. The paper was founded by James Aronson
, Cedric Belfrage
and John T. McManus
Supporters of the Progressive Party
presidential campaign of Henry A. Wallace
founded the paper in 1948 as the National Guardian
to circumvent the increasingly pro-Cold War
mainstream press. At the outset, the National Guardian
formed part of a leftist
movement in New York, along with the daily newspaper PM
and the labor left in the CIO District Council 65
. It published early campaign reporting by Norman Mailer
. The paper continued after the campaign as a locus of support for the New Deal
and the New York American Labor Party
When other papers on the left would not or could not publish news about Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, the National Guardian closely followed the case. The reportage was so important to the defense that Aronson was named guardian to the Rosenberg's children. The major part of the National Guardian's reporting on the case came from William A. Reuben who later published an expanded version of his original articles as The Atom Spy Hoax (Action Books, 1954).
After the dissolution of the ALP, the National Guardian supported the 1958 Independent-Socialist campaign of co-founder John McManus for New York Governor. The new initiative's vote fell to 35,000 from the ALP's 1950 vote of 208,000 and the left lost its ballot line. The paper remained outside particular party organizations, while continuing to advocate a unified leftist party in the United States.
In the 1960s the paper became known for its independent and investigative journalism. Joanne Grant wrote groundbreaking articles on the Civil Rights Movement. Mark Lane wrote a critical account of the John F. Kennedy assassination in a special issue of the Guardian which appeared on December 13, 1963.
The Name Change and the New Left
The paper changed with the times, but not without internal conflict. As the sixties
progressed, the Aronson and Old Left
leadership disagreed with a more radical staff about the direction of the paper. In 1968, Aronson sold his shares to the staff and the National Guardian
became a New Left
publication, shortening its name to Guardian
in the process.
In the 1970s the Guardian adopted a Marxist-Leninist ideology initially aligned with the Third-worldist and Maoist New Communist Movement and later oriented toward The Trend. The paper editorially called for a new Marxist-Leninist party in the United States. It never aligned with any particular group and remained critical of the small New Left party organizations. At the same time, it opened its pages to opposing viewpoints and continued a tradition of investigative journalism.
In the early 1980s the paper established Guardian Clubs for readers and discussed forming a new political party. The plan was abandoned as unlikely to result in unification of the American left.
The Guardian ceased publication in 1992 after years of financial difficulties and declining circulation.
- Cedric Belfrage Papers. Archive #: Tamiment 143. Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.
- Sally Belfrage Papers. Archive #: Tamiment 189. Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives. New York University.
- Colhoun, Jack. The Guardian Newsweekly Ceases Publication. Radical Historians Newsletter number 67. November 1992.
- Georgakas, Dan. National Guardian/Guardian. Encyclopedia of the American Left pp 529-532 Oxford University Press Second Edition 1998. ISBN 0-19-512088-4.
- Munk, Michael. The Guardian from Old to New Left. Radical America 2 (March-April 1968).
- Rubinstein, Annette. The Independent Socialist Party. Paper presented at Explorations in the History of U.S. Trotskyism conference. New York University, Tamiment Library, 2000.
- Aronson, James and Belfrage, Cedrick.Something to Guard: The Stormy Life of the National Guardian, 1948 - 1967. 362 pages. Columbia University Press. 1978. ISBN 0-231-04510-7.
- Elbaum, Max. Revolution in the Air: Sixties Radicals turn to Lenin, Mao and Che. 320 pages Publisher: Verso (June, 2002) ISBN 1-85984-617-3.
- Grant, Joanne. Black Protest: 350 Years of History, Documents, and Analyses. Ballantine Books; 2nd edition (September 29, 1996). ISBN 0-449-91223-X.
- Allen, Robert L. Dialectics of black power. Weekly Guardian Associates, New York. 1968.
- Belfrage, Cedric. Why I am troublesome to the McCarthy mind. Weekly Guardian Associates, New York. 1955.
- League for Proletarian Revolution. Which side are you on? Reply to the opportunists of the Revolutionary Union, October League, and the GUARDIAN newspaper. Red Star Publications, San Francisco. 1974
- Munk, Michael. The New Left: What It Is ... Where It's Going ... What Makes it Move. 22pp. A National Guardian Pamphlet. New York. n.d. . Stapled softcover. Photos.
- Pritt, Denis Nowell. An appeal for clemency. National Guardian, New York. [1952?].
- Smith, Jack A. Unite the many, defeat the few. China's revolutionary line in foreign affairs. Guardian, New York. 1972.
- Thomas, Tony. Marxism versus Maoism; a reply to the Guardian. Pathfinder Press, New York. 1974.
- Women in revolution the 1979 Guardian calendar. Guardian Publications, New York. 1978.