Update 11-11: Sunday, November 13, 2011.
"Report of Proceedings of the Executive Committee of the Workingmen’s Party of the US," by Philip Van Patten [August 6, 8, 11, 18, 1876] Minutes of the governing Executive Committee of the newly-organized Workingmen's Party of the United States, forerunner of the Socialist Labor Party. The group determined to keep its minutes in parallel in English and German. The proportion of these language groups in the fledgling organization is indicated by the decision to print up 10,000 constitutions and membership cards -- 70% of which in German, 30% of which in English. First pamphlets of the group were printed in a ratio of 2/3 German to 1/3 English.
"Dr. Adolph Douai: The Gifted and Tireless Agitator Dead: A Proletarian Who Lived for the Good of Others: His Autobiography." [Jan. 28, 1888] On January 21, 1888, Dr. Adolph Douai, one of the pioneers of socialism in America, died just shy of his 69th birthday of unspecified "throat trouble" (cancer seems to be implied). In tribute, the English-language official organ of the Socialist Labor Party printed this "slightly condensed" version of Douai's autobiography. "The New York Volkszeitung has lost heavily in Dr. Douai’s death, as he was continually engaged with the editor-in-chief in the editorial department," the Workmen's Advocate editorialist notes.
"1891 Annual Report of the National Executive Committee of the Socialist Labor Party of America." [Dec. 18, 1891] A year-in-review report by the governing National Executive Committee of the Socialist Labor Party, as published in the party press. The NEC notes that 1891 was a year of growth for the party, with 23 new English-language, 19 new German, 6 new Yiddish, 1 new Scandinavian, and 1 new Hungarian Section of the party established, less a loss of 2 English and 5 German sections dissolved. The more rapid growth of English sections compared to the German is regarded as a "most encouraging sign" by the NEC. The establishment of The People as a new English language organ is noted, with the paper launched by the New York Volkszeitung Publishing Association. Foundation of the paper enabled the party to terminate its money-draining English-organ, the Workmen’s Advocate, in favor of a sponsored party page in the new publication over which the SLP retained full control. This shift in economic burden made possible the salvation of the party's pamphlet printing and literature distribution arm, the New York Labor News Co., which had been reduced to "very verge of dissolution" by its deficits, which the SLP had been virtually unable to cover. The resignation of National Secretary Benjamin Gretsch and his replacement by Henry Kuhn is noted.
"Organization Proclamation of the Proletarian Party of America." [circa March 15, 1920] One of the earliest official documents of the Proletarian Party of America. This typewritten document, dated from internal content, declared the intention to form a new political party based upon "the principles of revolutionary socialism which have been propagated in the state of Michigan for the past number of years." The constitution of the Socialist Party of Michigan is to remain loosely in operation and acting State Secretary of Michigan Dennis Batt to serve in a similar capacity until such time as a convention can be called. An ideological requirement that individuals and local groups joining must maintain "a complete recognition of the Class Struggle, the Materialistic Conception of History, and the Labor Theory of Value and Surplus Value" is specified. John Keracher's monthly magazine, The Proletarian, is specified as a tentative official organ, the office of that publication in Detroit is named as national headquarters, and "Proletarian Party of America" is submitted as the working name for the new group, until such time that a convention can make a formal decision.
"Lovestone’s Appeal to Party," by Max Shachtman [Aug. 15, 1929] Jay Lovestone was expelled from the Communist Party USA late in June 1929 for violation of party discipline by leaving Moscow without permission and factional activity. The first key factional document of Lovestone and his co-thinkers was an "Appeal to the Comintern," published as a broadsheet newspaper. This document reproduces an outsider's perspective of the split and the document, an article by Trotskyist leader Max Shachtman published in the organ of the Communist League of America (Opposition), The Militant. Shachtman declares that "Less than one-tenth" of the appeal of the Lovestone-Gitlow group "is devoted to any differences in platform or principle it may or may not have with the present leadership and line of Stalin and the American Party leadership" and indicates this is "entirely characteristic of the present unprincipled struggle between the Right and Center wings of the Communist movement." He asserts that "Lovestone was put out of the way by Stalin because he was an American base for Bukharin, just as Bukharin and Stalin put Fischer, Maslov, Treint, and Neurath out of the way because they were bases for Zinoviev in 1925. All the other accusations against Lovestone are afterthoughts." Shachtman recounts some of the major events of the Lovestone split, emphasizing the connection of Max Bedacht with the factional activities of the grouping up to his 11th hour capitulation in Moscow.
"The March 6 Demonstrations." (Unsigned article from Revolutionary Age) [events of March 6, 1930] The Communist International proclaimed March 6, 1930 to be "International Unemployment Day," an occasion for worldwide demonstrations against the unemployment associated with the worsening Great Depression. The Communist Party was cheered by the results of these protests, claiming that 1.25 million workers protested in events held in industrial centers around the USA. This article from the official organ of Jay Lovestone's opposition organization, the Communist Party-Majority Group, charges the CPUSA with systematic inflation of turnout estimates and mismanagement of the demonstrations themselves. To the CPUSA's claim of 110,000 in New York City, the CPMG asserts that 50,000 were on the streets, of whom "the greatest number were bystanders, not participants." In Chicago 50,000 were claimed by the Daily Worker -- but "five thousand is an optimistic estimate," the CPMG avers. Detroit's massive turnout of 100,000 was rendered impotent by the incompetent booking of a hall holding just 1,000 for the demonstration rather than making use of nearby public parks. Fifty thousand were claimed in Philadelphia -- less than 300 actually marched. The failure of the CPUSA to forge an authentic united front around the potent issue is emphasized.
"March 6 in Detroit," by William Miller [events of March 6, 1930] The International Unemployment Day demonstration in Detroit was touted by the Communist Party USA as of of the two largest, attended by a mass of 100,000 workers. This article from the press of the rival Communist Party-Majority group charges exaggeration and falsification on the part of "the 'revolutionary' gold brick salesman," the "coward and faker" Jack Stachel (CPUSA DO for Detroit). The demonstration is described as having been an organizational debacle, scheduled for an inadequate space easily controllable by the police. Instead of 100,000, Miller charges that about 30,000 workers answered the call, briefly joined by about 45,000 downtown employees on lunch break. Stachel is said to have went into hiding two days prior to the event, no platform was constructed, and no party leader addressed the crowd. Claims of hundreds of banners were false, Miller asserts, with placards quickly disposed of by the police. Miller states that Stachel's claim that workers had assembled in Campus Martius Park was completely false, that police had effectively sealed off the area from demonstrators. "As a protest from the unemployed workers, it was splendid," Miller declares, "but as an organized demonstration it was a fiasco."
"'Left' Proposals at the Socialist Party Convention," by Jack Stachel [May 11, 1932] Commentary on the forthcoming 1932 convention of the rival Socialist Party of America by CPUSA regular Jack Stachel. Stachel notes the decisive victory of the SP center-right at the group's previous 1928 national convention, at which "Hillquit, Lee, Thomas & Co. decided that the class struggle had become out of style side by side of the chicken pot and the two auto garage." By early 1929 the SPA "openly gave up Marx, whom they had vulgarized and betrayed for years, and adopted Hooverism and Fordism," Stachel asserts. The coming of economic crisis had discredited the theories of prosperity and social peace of the SP Regulars, Stachel intimates, giving life to a new left wing presence in the party, the so-called "Militants." Stachel dismisses this new tendency as "ministers and intellectuals, middle class elements that in 1928 and 1929 led in the praise of organized capitalism and 'class peace.'" Stachel depicts the program of the Miitants as a transparent attempt to undercut the revolutionary program of the Communists, an "attitude to the class struggle that unmasks the Socialists as the agents of the bosses in the ranks of the working class."