chapter  4
A New Approach to Revolution: Artef and Hirsch Leckert in the Third Period
Pages 30

In 1928, the Sixth Congress of the Communist International (Comintern) declared that capitalism was entering its fi nal phase, called the Third Period. It was believed that in this stage capitalism would collapse and all rival non-communist leftist groups, who were now considered allies of the capitalists, should be eliminated in order to prevent a socialist takeover and clear the way for the communist revolution. As a result, communist theatres throughout the United States from 1928 to 1935 created plays that refl ected the new militant policies of the Comintern’s Third Period. Arbeter Teater Farfband (“Workers’ Theatre Alliance” or Artef) was one such theatre. A New York Yiddish workers’ theatre company, Artef openly admitted its ties to the Communist Party and was committed to theatrically portraying the left-wing ideology of the Comintern. Artef was the revolutionary voice and weapon for the Jewish proletariat and, in the United States, was one of the strongest political theatres that saw its plays successfully produced on both proletariat and commercial stages, such as the American Laboratory Theatre, Madison Square Gardens, Carnegie Hall, and Broadway. John Howard Lawson, president of the Screen Writers Guild and acknowledged leader of the Communist Party in Hollywood, acknowledged Artef as “one of the most vital forces in the development of the American Drama as a whole” (Lifson 432).