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In 1898 Lee became the Minnesota State Secretary of the Socialist Labor Party. He edited a socialist newspaper in Minneapolis called The Tocsin. He chose, however, to leave the party during the bitter party split of 1899 and joined the "Springfield faction" of the Social Democratic Party of America. Moving to New York City in 1899, he worked as a paid editor of The Worker, continuing in that position with its successor, The New York Call, established in 1908.
Lee was a founding member of the Socialist Party of America (SPA), established in the summer of 1901 when the two organizations calling themselves the "Social Democratic Party" joined forces at a Unity Convention held in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Lee left The Call in 1909 to join the staff of the Rand School of Social Science, an educational institute closely linked to the SPA, as its educational director. Lee remained in this position for the rest of his life.
During the first two decades of the twentieth century, Lee was recognized as one of the Socialist Party's leading members and was a frequent delegate to socialist gatherings, both national and international. In addition to attending nearly every National Convention of the SPA, Lee was elected a delegate of the party to the 1904 Amsterdam Congress, the 1907 Stuttgart Congress, and the 1916 Hague Congress of the Second International. He was also selected to join Victor L. Berger and Morris Hillquit as delegates of the SPA to a May 1917 general conference of Socialists held in Stockholm on the question of world peace. He was prevented from attending the gathering when the trio were refused passports to travel by Secretary of State Robert Lansing, who characterized the gathering as "a cleverly directed German war move." Lee was also a delegate of the SPA to the 1922 Frankfurt Congress of the Labour and Socialist International.
Lee was frequently a candidate on the Socialist Party ticket. He was the candidate for mayor of New York City in 1905 and in 1909 for the New York State Assembly from the 6th District. Lee was elected to New York City Board of Aldermen from 1918 to 1921. In 1916, Lee was the Socialist candidate for Governor of New York. He was twice a Socialist candidate for Congress: in the 14th District in 1920, and in 1926 in the 13th District. Lee also ran for U.S. Senator from New York in 1922. He was three times the Socialist Party's nominee for the New York State Senate, running in 1928 and 1930 in the 14th District, and in 1932 in the 17th District. Lee was also a delegate to New York convention to ratify the 21st Amendment, which ended PROHIBITION, in 1933.
During the internal struggle within the Socialist Party during the second half of the 1930s, Lee sided with the so-called "Old Guard faction," headed by Louis Waldman and James Oneal. He was a member of the "Provisional Executive Committee" of the Committee for the Preservation of the Socialist Party in 1934. Lee left the Socialist Party with his "Old Guard" comrades to help form the Social Democratic Federation (SDF) in 1936. Lee remained affiliated with the SDF for the rest of his life.
From 1939 through 1948, Lee wrote and delivered a weekly radio broadcast on national and international affairs for the SDF's radio station, WEVD. He was the author of The Essential Marx.
"Algernon Lee." Wikipedia. Online: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algernon_Lee