Update 11-05: Sunday, October 2, 2011.
"The Meaning of May Day: Address Delivered in Grand Central Palace, New York City -- May 1, 1906," by Morris Hillquit Among other things, Socialist Party leader Morris Hillquit was a pioneer American historian of the socialist movement. In this May Day speech in New York City Hillquit recounts the origin of the workers' holiday just 17 years previously at the founding Congress of the Second International in Paris. Hillquit notes the appropriateness of linking the perennial celebration of the beginning of spring with the celebration of the world socialist movement, since "Socialism presages the spring of nations." The Russian Empire-born Hillquit uses his public platform to condemn the "oppressive autocracy" of the Romanov regime in Russia, then in the midst of successfully downing the Revolution of 1905. "The Russian revolution is not dead," Hillquit presciently notes, "The revolutionary workingmen of Russia are alive and their number is legion." He also inveighs against the kidnapping and forthcoming trial of three leading officials of the Western Federation of Miners, warning the governors of Idaho and Colorado, "There are sufficient reasons to believe that you have entered into a conspiracy to commit cold-blooded murder in order to discredit and destroy a powerful labor organization; we have found an indictment against you, and we will watch you and scrutinize you, and if we find you guilty, we will see to it that you do not consummate your foul purposes."
"Socialism and the Race Problem: A Speech to Black Workers," by Peter Kinnear [Sept. 4, 1911] The Socialist Party is sometimes regarded as having taken a position of benign neglect towards non-white members of the working class, with the Communist Party's position on the race question mythologized as a massive break from past practice. In reality, there was a large element of continuity as this lengthy Labor Day street speech before a black audience in Columbus, Ohio demonstrates. Again and again the orator, Peter Kinnear, proclaims commonality of interest of workers of all races. The experience of New Orleans dockworkers in joining together in a multi-racial union is held up as a model for emulation and the maintenance of racial bars to membership by some unions a major cause of the loss of strikes. The "Race Question" is viewed as a facile ruse utilized by the master class in an effort to divide the working class, thereby keeping wages low. This tactic was increasingly being recognized by the established union movement and racial bars were falling, Kinnear intimates. The Socialist Party and the union movement are portrayed as dual wings of a single organism, while the Republican Party -- traditional enemy of chattel slavery -- is said to have unconsciously lost its anti-racist principles over the course of five decades. "The working class unite themselves into an organization of physical strength, regardless of race, creed, or color, and under the guiding wing of Socialism...storm the political stronghold of the job-owners, forever abolish them, and bring about the democratic ownership of all jobs in the hands of the job-seekers," Kinnear declares.
"Boycott the Elections!" [Leaflet of the Communist Party of America, October 1920] The 1920 electoral campaign placed the Communist movement in a difficult position. While still interested in winning imprisoned Socialist leader Eugene Debs to the Communist cause, the illegal and repressed organizations were in no position to run candidates of their own. Nor did they wish to boost their electorally-oriented factional foes, the Socialist Party of America, with its ticket headed by Presidential candidate Eugene Debs. The Communist Party of America's stance was clear: "It is the duty of every class-conscious worker in America to boycott the coming elections. A worker’s vote cast for any of the parties or their candidates standing for election — is a vote for reaction or reform! Whether it be the Republican Party and Harding or the Democratic Party and Cox — whether it be the Farm Labor Party and Christensen, the Socialist Party and Debs, or the Socialist Labor and Cox — a worker’s vote cast for any of these parties or their candidates IS A VOTE TO PERPETUATE THE CAPITALIST SYSTEM BASED UPON WAGE SLAVERY and the ROBBERY OF YOUR CLASS." Electoral politics was a chimera, the CPA declared, and revolution a necessity: "These reform parties fool the workers by telling them that the capitalist system can be abolished PEACEFULLY. This is a lie! AN OUTRAGEOUS, DAMNABLE LIE! The capitalist system cannot be abolished peacefully — whether by the ballot box or any other method."
"Boycott the Election! Proclamation by the United Communist Party of America." [October 1920] The United Communist Party, characterized as electorally-oriented "Centrists" by the rival Communist Party of America, came to an identical position as the CPA regarding the question of whether to support Eugene Debs and the Socialist Party electoral slate in 1920, this leaflet reveals. "Don’t you know that the whole business of the elections is a fake intended to make you believe that YOU have something to do with running the affairs of the country?" the leaflet asks its readers. The use of elections as a control mechanism by the bourgeoisie is emphasized: "The capitalists control the newspapers. They control the politicians. They control the schools, colleges, and churches. They control the meeting places. They let you vote because they know that through their control of the means of information they can make you vote for what they want, and that no matter which way you vote, their right to rob you will be protected." Revolution is depicted as the sole possible solution to the question of the transition of power: "Workers, there is only one way to secure better things for yourself. You must smash the capitalist governmental machine -- the Capitalist Dictatorship -- and set up a Workers’ Dictatorship in its place."
"UCP Financial Report for September 1920." [October 7, 1920] Set of accounts for the fledgling United Communist Party detailing the organization's receipts and expenditures. Salaries and newspaper production costs are shown to far outstrip dues and funds from subscriptions, a situation offset by the infusion of funds generated by the party's extraordinary $5 per capita "organization fund." UCP membership dues are shown to have been generated from the Midwest rather than the Northeast, with the organization's two biggest districts being Chicago and Cleveland. Average actual paid membership for the UCP for the organization's first quarter of existence was 3,448, although the organization is optimistically estimated at 4,200 members in October 1920.
"Special Convention Call -- United Communist Party (Call for the Special 2nd Convention, Dec. 1920)." [circa late November 1920] Formal convention call for an extraordinary 2nd Convention of the United Communist Party, the self-described "main section of the Third (Communist) International in America." The convention was to be held at the behest of the Communist International, which required its member parties around the world to hold special conventions to ratify immediately to adopt the theses and statutes of the recently completed Second World Congress of the Comintern. The election scheme for the underground UCP was convoluted, with each group electing an elector, which was to meet in a "branch" electoral meeting of no more than 10 individuals, which would in turn elect one elector to a similar "section" electoral meeting. Expenses for the extraordinary convention were to be paid by yet another supplementary fee on the membership in the form of special organizational stamps.
"Workers! What is Coming? Proclamation by the United Communist Party." [circa Nov. 6, 1920] Leaflet of the United Communist Party, apparently issued in conjunction with the 3rd anniversary of the Russian October Revolution. The UCP portrays an America with a full throttle class war in effect -- "actual civil war" between mine owners and miners in West Virginia, state troopers employed against coal miners in Pennsylvania, army soldiers used in streetcar strikes in Denver and New York City. "These strikes and scores of others in which the same thing is happening shows you what is coming.These strikes and scores of others in which the same thing is happening shows you what is coming," the leaflet declares. "You cannot travel any other road. Either the capitalists will crush you, as they are now doing, or you must crush them.
The fight is yours, workers! You must organize your power. You must unite your strength. Either you must fight for freedom or submit to worse conditions than you have experienced before."
"Report Estimating Radical Group Membership in New York Submitted to J. Edgar Hoover by Charles J. Scully, Head of Radical Division in the name of T.M. Reddy, Acting Special Agent in Charge, NY District, Nov. 8, 1920." As the end of 1920 drew to a close chief federal Red hunter J. Edgar Hoover sought an assessment as to how the year old effort to break up the radical movement was affecting membership levels of target organizations. Charles Scully, head of the anti-radical division of Bureau of Investigation's New York office provided this report in reply. Scully comically inflates the estimated memberships of the Socialist Party ("150,000"), Socialist Labor Party ("50,000"), Rand School of Social Science ("30,000"), and Young People's Socialist League ("25,000"). The more carefully scrutinized Communist movement, on the other hand, seems to be underestimated: with the Communist Party, United Communist Party, and the (no longer extant) Communist Labor Party pegged at 500 members each. The anarchist Union of Russian Workers organization in the New York District is estimated at 200, plus an additional 1500 Italian and Russian anarchists outside this organization. "The membership in most of the aforementioned organizations was decidedly greater prior to the investigations made by this office during the current year, particularly the URW, the Communist Parties, the World War Veterans, etc.," Scully asserts.
"U.S. v. Albert Bailin, Violation of Section 215, Criminal Code," by C.J. Scully [Nov. 11, 1920] Report dealing with an investigation by the US Attorney's office of the head of the Thiel Detective Agency regarding the activities of its employee, Albert Bailin. Bailin, who worked for the Department of Justice as a confidential undercover informant, seems to have made a career by fabricating the existence of a radical secret society called the "Knights of the Red Star." "In my personal opinion, the aforementioned organization is a myth, and exists solely in the imagination of Bailin," Scully notes, adding that "It appears that wherever Bailin has worked -- in the Bureau, with the Thiel Agency, and later with the Burns Agency -- his principle subject for investigation is this organization, and an investigation made by this office from time to time has failed to show the existence of same anywhere in this district, nor have our “undercover” men been enabled to secure any information concerning same." The government apparently brought charges against Bailin for his fraudulent activities in manufacturing unsigned letters which were sent to the United States Attorney's office in Chicago.
"The United Communist Party: A Bureau of Investigation Report," by Emil A. Solanka [Dec. 6, 1920] This is an extensive report by Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Emil Solanka detailing the activities of the United Communist Party of America. The document indicates that the use of pseudonyms by the UCP was indeed somewhat effective in hindering the BoI's efforts at identification, generating a misidentification of the Executive Secretary. Bureau reports on the UCP are summarized chronologically. Text of UCP Membership Bulletin No. 1, dated Aug. 14, 1920, is included among the content. Noteworthy from this source is the declaration that "VERY special information will not even be published in Bulletins, but conveyed verbally through organizers." Decisions of an undated meeting of the governing Central Executive Committee of the UCP is included, including a decision on publication frequency of the official organ, The Communist, which indicates that English, Russian, Polish, and Hungarian were to be the languages of regular, twice-monthly publication.