Update 11-01: Sunday, September 4, 2011.

"How to Become Naturalized" [1914] This bilingual pamphlet was issued under the joint auspices of the Socialist Party of America’s National Office and the Finnish Socialist Federation as part of the party and the federation's program of encouraging their members to gain citizenship. "No one should have any difficulty in becoming an American citizen," the pamphlet declares: "It is a very simple and easy matter. There are thousands of people who ought to be enjoying the full privileges of American citizenship, who hesitate and put off getting their naturalization papers because they fear that it is a difficult and complicated matter." The pamphlet observes that "A person of the white race, or African birth, or African descent, is allowed to become a citizen of the United States; but not persons of other races" and that the applicant "must declare that you are not opposed to organized government and are not affiliated with any association which teaches disbelief in organized government." Specifics on how to gain status as a naturalized American citizen are supplied.

"The Third International," by Anton Pannekoek [Jan. 1916] This article by Dutch Left Wing Socialist Anton Pannekoek details the move towards a new, third, international set in motion by the Zimmerwald Left -- nearly two years prior to the Bolshevik Revolution of November 1917. The formulas of the "social democratic parties" have "gone by the board" in the wake of the collapse of the Second International, Pannekoek argues. "They have in the great majority surrendered to imperialism; the conscious, active or passive, support of war policies by the party and labor union representatives has dug too deep to make possible a simple return to the old pre-bellum point of view." A "merciless analysis of the errors of the old revisionism"and exposition of the principles of revolutionary socialism leading to a new International was to follow, Pannekoek notes.

"Letter to Rudolph Behomeck, Secretary Baltimore YPSL Circle, from William F. Kruse, National Secretary YPSL, in Chicago, circa June 15, 1917." This letter from the head of the Socialist Party's youth section to the secretary of the group's Baltimore unit was saved for posterity by the Lusk Committee of the New York State Legislature, who seized a record of the communication in a raid and published it in their massive 1920 report. Kruse details the party's and his own views on the war and the country's new program of conscription, noting "we are opposed to war" and "do not want to kill our fellow workingmen." Not all is written in stone, Kruse acknowledges: "The one question then arises as to how we can best make our feeling known and enforce our principles. Some think it is by refusing absolutely to touch a gun and to rot in prison, or face a firing squad rather than to do so; others feel that while we should not willingly go into the armed force, still if we are drafted they feel that we should go and do our best to spread the light of education among the soldiers. However the case is decided, it must be decided upon the basis of the individual’s conscience."

"Circular Letter to the Editors of All Socialist Papers from Adolph Germer, Executive Secretary, Socialist Party of America, August 1, 1917." Germer reveals that owing to debts remaining from the 1916 Presidential campaign, the cost of the April 1917 St. Louis Emergency National Convention of the Socialist Party, and other expenses related to the anti-war campaign, the Socialist Party was facing "liabilities to the amount of $20,000 in round numbers." New special stamps were being issued to help eradicate this debt, 25 cent "“party building and anti-military assessment stamps. Germer asks the party editors to regularly give space to the SPA's ongoing effort to raise funds to liquidate its remaining debt.

"Speech at Eagle’s Opera House: Potter, Wisconsin -- Sept. 5, 1917," by Emil Seidel This speech by prominent Wisconsin Socialist Emil Seidel was saved for posterity by a stenographer employed by the Department of Justice, who was sent to the site of the speech in hopes of trapping the Pennsylvania-born Seidel making a prosecutable statement against the war. Seidel observes an increasingly harsh nationalism sweeping the country and advocates regime change: "There is no chance for peace until you get rid of the whole outfit of such officials as you have at the present time. But what is responsible? If you did clean out the city, the state, and the nation of such men you would not yet succeed. There are some people, not officials, still left -- not for the protection of life but for the protection of property." The American government is becoming exactly that thing it professes to hate, Seidel charges: "After war is declared the conscriptive act is passed. The Socialists demand that the act be put to a vote of the people through the referendum. When we planted the Goddess of Liberty we started out on a new road, but now instead the people who are running our government at the present time have turned back, and are following the course taken by the German people." He boldly declares, "They may lock me up, but I defy them to shut me up."

"Speech on Behalf of the IWW: Boston -- February 3, 1918," by John J. Ballam This speech by prominent Boston radical John Ballam touting the merits of the Industrial Workers of the World was transcribed and thus preserved by Federal authorities interested in making a political case against him. Ballam calls the IWW "a battering ram that shall shake from the foundations of society the entire superficial structure, its political and juridical forms, and sweep them away like deadwood of the past as we abolished kings and their courts for potent purposes, and raise upon the foundations of society the structure of industrial democracy." Ballam is met with applause when he declares "the IWW is comparatively small but it holds within its grasp the means of the destruction of the capitalist system, for it is the only organization that would lay the axe at the root and chop the whole damned fabric down." Ballam pulls no punches: "I am not a pacifist. I do not deplore this war. I don’t care one snap of my finger for the millions of lives that have been lost; I am not a sentimentalist. The working class can give its life and blood if it chooses to, to protect the master class in its ownership of the things with which they crush out the labor and the life of the working class in factory, mill, and mine, but I have no sympathy for them, absolutely none.... I have no sympathy whatever for the slave working man who sheds his blood for the master class... The IWW has declared war upon the capitalist class! And they are bitter enemies. War to the knife, war to the hilt, war to the last owner of private property until he shall have gone into the factory, donned overalls with us, to earn his daily bread."

"Resolution of Micrometer Lodge 460, IAM, to Secretary of Labor William B. Wilson and His Reply." [Feb. 18, 1919] On February 14, 1919, a Brooklyn local of the International Association of Machinists passed a resolution protesting the Labor Department's decision to deport more than 50 non-citizen members of the IWW from the United States "without due process of law." The group had been the subject of ongoing news coverage as part of a guarded train crossing the country from the Western states where the alien Wobblies had been arrested. Woodrow Wilson's Secretary of Labor, William B. Wilson, defends the administration's decision to deport the radical unionists. The New York Times quotes his reply in full: "When our own citizens desire to change the form of government they can do so peaceably in the manner provided by the Constitution. If we cannot make progress by the peaceable process by discussing and voting, we are not liable to make any progress by the riotous process of 'cussing and shouting.' The man who cannot be depended upon to vote right cannot be depended upon to shoot right. Those you refer to as radicals are being sent out of this country because they have been found advocating the overthrow of our Government by force."

"Circular Letter to Bureau of Investigation Special Agents in Charge from J. Edgar Hoover, in the name of Acting Chief J.T. Suter, July 11, 1919." This circular letter authored by the Justice Department's chief Red-fighter, J. Edgar Hoover, over the formal signature of his boss illustrates that federal plans for the mass arrest and deportation of "alien radical leaders" preceded the formation of the Communist Party of America. "I desire that you forward to me at once a list giving the names of the leading alien radical leaders in your territory whom you believe now or are likely in the future to become subject to deportation," Hoover asks of each of the 50 or so Special Agents in Charge of the Bureau of Investigation's local offices. Intelligence reports are to be scoured, Hoover instructs, and if these "do not contain definite information concerning his place of birth, his arrival in the United States, and his citizenship status at the present time, you should immediately determine his citizenship status and forward this information without delay." The resulting master list compiled through this research was ultimately used during the Justice Department's mass raids conducted during the night of January 2/3, 1920.

"Circular Letter to All Members of the Russian Socialist Federation from Alexander Stoklitsky, Translator-Secretary, in Chicago." [circa July 15, 1919] Translator-Secretary Alexander Stoklitsky of the Russian Socialist Federation details plans for the forthcoming establishment of the Communist Party of America at a convention to be held September 1 in Chicago. "Our local sections must immediately begin get to work. Immediately summon representatives of the other Bolshevik Federations standing upon our position. Those sharing our position are the Lithuanian, Latvian, Ukrainian, Polish, and South Slavic Federations. Organize at once Communist Locals or Conferences in your communities." Stoklitsky notes the basis of representation for the foundation convention: "1 delegate, plus 1 delegate for each 500 organized members in the state. For instance, if Michigan has 6,750 organized members, it is entitled to 15 delegates: 1 delegate for the state, 13 delegates each representing a quota of 500 members, and 1 delegate for the major fraction of 500 members." Delegates to the CPA convention were also required to provide $50 towards the organization's finances, which was to be used to cover the traveling expenses of out-of-town delegations.

Report on Radical Leaders in Boston Submitted to J.T. Suter, Acting Chief, Bureau of Investigation, Washington from George E. Kelleher, Division Superintendent, Boston, July 19, 1919. This exemplifies the sort of reports obtained by J. Edgar Hoover as a result of his July 11, 1919 circular letter to Special Agents in Charge of the local offices of the Bureau of Investigation of the US Department of Justice. Boston Division Superintendent George Kelleher provides summaries of intelligence gathered on a number of Boston area radicals, including Louis C. Fraina, Finnish journalist Santeri Nuorteva of Raivaaja, Frank Mack, Irish radical Eadmonn MacAlpine, Italian editor Angelo Faggi, and Spanish anarchist Francesco Lopez. A number of other area radicals are mentioned in passing, including Irish agitator "Big Jim" Larkin and P.P. Cosgrove, a man "whose citizenship status has not as yet been settled is at the present time," according to Kelleher.

Memorandum to Frank Burke, Assistant Director and Chief of the Bureau of Investigation in Washington from J. Edgar Hoover, Special Assistant to the Attorney General in Washington, July 29, 1919. A short memo from Mitchell Palmer's right hand man, young anti-radicalism expert J. Edgar Hoover, to the head of the Justice Department's Bureau of Investigation. Palmer names Special Agent Anatol L. Rodau as an individual who had successfully engaged in undercover work among radicals in Baltimore and asks whether he should be dispatched to Chicago to attend the foundation convention of the Communist Party of America, scheduled for Sept. 1-7, 1919.

"Statement to the Delegates of the Communist Party Conventions by the Delegates of Local Kings Co., NY," by Edward Lindgren and Morris Zucker. [Sept. 3, 1919] With three radical conventions taking place simultaneously in Chicago during the first week of September 1919, a certain amount of shuffling of a few delegates who found themselves in the wrong place was inevitable. Two of those leaving the founding convention of the Communist Party of America in disgust were Edward Lindgren and Morris Zucker of Local Kings County, Socialist Party, with the pair bolting the CPA for the most hospitable climes of the Communist Labor Party on September 3. This is the declaration read by the pair to the assembled CPA convention upon their departure. Lindgren and Zucker are vehement in their denunciation of the Russian Federations (meaning the joint alliance of the Russian, Ukrainian, South Slavic, Polish, Lithuanian, and Latvian language groups). They declare: "Events have proven conclusively to us that this is not a genuine Communist Party; it is merely an attempt on the part of the Russian Federations to enlarge their organization and increase their power under the guise of a camouflage Communist Party." While acknowledging the sincerity of the federationists, Lindgren and Zucker were sure to "most emphatically condemn the dictatorial control of their Executive Committee over their membership — a control which it now exercises over this Convention; a control which does not hesitate to expel branches when they dare disagree with the Executive Committee; a control which will not hesitate to expel and even disrupt the Communist Party if the rank and file dare act contrary to its wishes."

"Constitution of the Communist Labor Party of America" [adopted Sept. 5, 1919] Complete published edition of the organizational law of the Communist Labor Party of America, passed by its founding convention on September 5, 1919. Owing to the speed and severity of government repression of the Communist movement, these rules barely had a chance to take effect before being supplanted of necessity by an underground form of organization. One sees what the hardliners of the rival Communist Party of America were talking about when they condemned the CLP as "centrist," as the form of organization and its procedures were clearly borrowed wholesale from the Socialist Party of America. Of particular note is the state-based form of organization, election of delegates to national conventions by the state organizations, provision for membership referendums on matters of controversy, and establishment of a "Young People's Communist League" to replace the SPA's "Young People's Socialist League." Membership is open to all those 18 years or older, with former members of the SPA in good standing as of the September convention considered members in good standing of the CLP without the necessity of paying a $1 initiation fee, upon the signing of a new organizational pledge card. The same "Translator-Secretary" structure employed by the Socialist Party is ported over to the new CLP, with the establishment of five branches speaking a non-English language sufficient for the establishment of an official CLP language federation and the organization committed to provide office space in the National Office to the federation's Translator-Secretary upon the attainment of 1000 members.

"Proclamation to the Delegates and Members of the Communist Party by the National Executive Committee of the Communist Labor Party." [Sept. 6, 1919] First of many unity appeals by the leaders of the Communist Labor Party to the rival Communist Party of America. The CLP's NEC declares: "As far as we can discover, there is no fundamental difference of principle between us. The platform, program, and resolutions that our convention has adopted are uncompromisingly revolutionary. They conform to the Left Wing program and are in strict accord with the principles laid down by the Communist International of Moscow. We are affiliating with the Third International. We hereby announce that we are ready at any time to meet your representatives to consider the question of unity on a basis of equality." Therein lay the rub. With the CPA sporting roughly triple the membership, annoyed that the CLP had not abandoned the clearly failed strategy of capturing the Socialist Party, and populated by neo-Social Democratic "Centrists," there was no comparable mood for unity -- particularly upon any "basis of equality," wherein party jobs would be split evenly and the CPA's semi-autonomous Federations placed in jeopardy.


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