Red diaper baby

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A red diaper baby is a child of parents who were members of the United States Communist Party (CPUSA) or were close to the party or sympathetic to its aims.


In their book Red Diapers: Growing Up in the Communist Left, Judy Kaplan and Linn Shapiro define red diaper babies as "children of CPUSA members, children of former CPUSA members, and children whose parents never became members of the CPUSA but were involved in political, cultural, or educational activities led or supported by the Party".[1]

More generally, the phrase is sometimes used to refer to a child of any radical parent, regardless of that parent's past partisan affiliation (or the affiliation of the child). Red Diaper Baby is also the title of an autobiography one man show and book by monologist Josh Kornbluth,[2] and a 2004 documentary film by Doug Pray.

Further reading

  • Aptheker, Bettina (2006). Intimate Politics: How I Grew Up Red, Fought for Free Speech, and Became a Feminist Rebel. Seal Press. . 
  • Laxer, James (2004). Red Diaper Baby: A Boyhood in the Age of McCarthyism. Douglas & McIntyre. . 
  • Mishler, Paul C. (1999). Raising Reds. Columbia University Press. . 
  • Rosenberg, Daniel (2008). Underground Communists in the McCarthy Period: A Family Memoir. Edwin Mellen Press. . 


  1. Kaplan, Judy & Shapiro, Linn (1998). Red Diapers: Growing Up in the Communist Left. University of Illinois Press. .,M1. "In this anthology, we define red diaper babies as children of CP members, children of former CP members, and children whose parents never became members of ..." 
  2. Kornbluth, Josh (1996). Red Diaper Baby: Three Comic Monologues (With Mathematics of Change and Haiku Tunnel). Mercury House. . 
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