Update 11-15: Sunday, December 11, 2011.
"Statement of Purpose of the Social Democracy of America." [December 1897] Early advertisement of the Social Democracy of America, a pioneer American socialist organization chaired by Eugene Debs which continued forward the work of the American Railroad Union. The group declares for itself a mission to "conquer capitalism by making use of our political liberty and by taking possession of the public power, so that we may put an end to the present barbarous struggle, by the abolition of capitalism, the restoration of the land, and of all the means of production, transportation, and distribution, to the people as a collective body, and by the substitution of the co-operative commonwealth for the present state of planless production, industrial war, and social disorder... For such purpose one of the States of the Union, to be hereafter determined, shall be selected for the concentration of our supporters and the introduction of co-operative industry, and then gradually extending the sphere of our operations until the National Co-operative Commonwealth shall be established."
"Socialist Held on $20,000 Bail Under Spy Act: State Secretary of Washington Jailed After Giving Evidence in Case." (NY Call) [event of April 30, 1918] This article in the New York Call details the arrest of Emil Herman, State Secretary of the Socialist Party of Washington, for alleged violation of the Espionage Act committed on April 1, 1918. A raid on the office of the SPW had resulted in the confiscation of about 700 pieces of literature, as well as 7 cases full of correspondence files, receipt books, and other party records. Herman was jailed on the eve of May Day, pending payment of a $20,000 bond. "No inkling was given of what the authorities intend to rely on; nor does the defendant know," the news story in The Call remarks.
"Party Officials to Confer on New Program: Socialist Referendum on Current Issues Would Be Dangerous Now, Says Committee." (NY Call) [May 10, 1918] With arrests of Socialists under the terms of the so-called Espionage Act being made nationwide by law enforcement authorities, spurred on by the Wilson Administration, party leaders decided that discretion was the better part of valor and opined that it was "impossible to have a free and frank discussion of the problems involved" in a proposed referendum on the party's war policy put forward by Local Cook County, Illinois. All referendums on the question of the war were consequently being ruled out, in favor of the annual joint conference of the State Secretaries, the NEC, and other national officials that was specified in the new party convention. The NEC attempts to set aside internal debate in favor of what it perceived as a decisive election campaign in the fall of 1918 in its statement to the party membership reproduced here.
"Bolshevism Revealed." (leaflet of the Anti-Sabotage League) [February 22, 1919 ] (graphic pdf, 1.9 megs) Four page leaflet first published February 22, 1919 by the Boston News Bureau. Reprinted by the Anti-Sabotage League of Rochester, NY. This short propaganda leaflet deals with the so-called "nationalization of women" practiced by the newly established Soviet regime of Soviet Russia in the city of Vladimir, which is (comically) asserted to have decreed that "Any girl having reached her eighteenth year and not having married is obliged, subject to the most severe penalty, to register at the Bureau of Free Love of the Commissariat of Surveillance. Having registered at the Bureau of Free Love, she has the right to choose from among the men between the ages of 19 and 50 a cohabitant husband...." Also included is text of a decree on the nationalization of women purportedly passed by the Soviet of the city of Saratov. Very rare item by an early anti-Communist organization, only two copies showing in OCLC WorldCat as of December 2011. Parallel file uploaded to Archive.org.
"A Year of the League," by Charles Krumbein [Feb. 1923] Recap of the events of the first year of existence of William Z. Foster's Trade Union Educational League by one of his co-thinkers. Krumbein sets readers straight about the actual birth date of the organization, noting that "Although the Trade Union Educational League was organized in November 1920, it is really only a year old, because previous to the launching of The Labor Herald in March 1922, it consisted of little more than a few scattered groups throughout the country." Krumbein sees real progress for TUEL in its advocacy of a Labor Party, affiliation with the Red International of Labor Unions (Profintern), and in advancing the slogan of Amalgamation as a mechanism to achieve industrial unionism. Krumbein notes the integration of the radical movement into the existing union structure had been instrumental in helping cure the "infantile sickness of dual unionism." Krumbein notes the coordinated efforts of Samuel Gompers and his "lackeys" to attempt to "discredit the League in the eyes of the rank and file by painting it red and denouncing it as a Russian conspiracy against the labor movement." Circulation of The Labor Herald needs to be quadrupled to 50,000 copies per month, Krumbein opines.
"Ruthenberg Opens Testimony in His Defense," by Jay Lovestone [Morning, April 26, 1923] Report of preliminaries of the Ruthenberg trial for alleged violation of the Michigan Criminal Syndicalism law by the Communist Party leader's right hand man, Jay Lovestone. This account of Ruthenberg's testimony provides extensive detail about the Communist leaders educational, political, an employment history -- his having attended a Lutheran parochial school and business college, having started his work career sanding picture moldings in a frame factory before moving to clerical tasks, and having come to Socialism in 1907 before joining the Socialist Party of America in 1909.
"Ruthenberg Permitted to State Teachings of Communist Party," by Jay Lovestone [Afternoon, April 26, 1923] Lovestone documents extensive maneuvering between the prosecution and the defense to limit Ruthenberg's testimony as to the overriding principles of the Communist Party of America — a shift in strategy from that followed in the just concluded trial of William Z. Foster, which resulted in a hung jury. Lovestone indicates that the prosecution spent 45 minutes attempting to rule all such testimony out of bounds, which lead defense attorney Frank P. Walsh successfully countered by arguing that such testimony went to the heart of the intent of Ruthenberg's participation at the ill-fated August 1922 gathering in Bridgman, Michigan. Lovestone quotes Ruthenberg as testifying that "the Communist Party does not advocate and teach the use of force," but rather it would be the capitalist class that would ultimately resort to force in an effort to maintain their privileged position.
"The Ruthenberg Trial," by Caleb Harrison [Morning, April 27, 1923] Press release of the Workers Party's Caleb Harrison detailing the morning of the second day of defense testimony in the Michigan trial of C.E. Ruthenberg. Harrison notes that the session was dominated by legal wrangling between prosecution and defense over the admissibility of a party document supported by Ruthenberg calling for the elimination of the underground party in favor of an open organization. The matter had been deferred on a technicality and Ruthenberg was temporarily removed from the stand in favor of 25 year old Jay Lovestone, who noted that since June 1921 he had been an employee of the Communist Party in a variety of capacities up to and including that of Executive Secretary. The proficiency of chief defense counsel Frank P. Walsh is remarked upon by Harrison, who notes that "when it comes to a struggle over law points, practically every big legal question in the case [had] been ruled in favor of the defense."
"The Ruthenberg Trial," by Caleb Harrison [Afternoon, April 27, 1923] A Workers Party view of the afternoon session of the second day of defense testimony in the Criminal Syndicalism trial of party leader C.E. Ruthenberg for participation in the August 1922 Bridgman Convention of the CPA. Reports from the convention read into evidence "gave the listeners the impression of widespread activities by the Communist Party in every field of working class organization; but nowhere was there a suggestion that the Communist Party had carried on activities violating the Criminal Syndicalist Law of the state of Michigan or any other state," Harrison notes. The defense had repeatedly explained to the jury that "the Communist Party was not an underground, illegal organization because it was engaged in illegal work, but because raids and persecutions directed against it had obliged it to exist in an illegalized state in order to carry on its work," Harrison says.
"C.E.R.’s Trial," by Caleb Harrison [Morning, April 30, 1923] Continued coverage of the Ruthenberg trial, entering the third day of presentation of the defense. Harrison notes the manner in which the prosecution pumped witness Jay Lovestone for information during their cross-examination of him, attempting to learn the relationship between the Communist Party and the Federated Press and to prove that the American Communist Party's move to the legal Workers Party of America organization was a policy conceived by and directed by Moscow. Lovestone insisted under oath that "the call for the convention for the organization of the Workers Party had been issued long before any instructions had been received, and that the advice received from the Communist International had merely confirmed action already taken by the Central Executive Committee of the Party," Harrison reports.
"The Negro Problem is Important," by Otto E. Huiswoud [April 30, 1923] Short piece by top black Communist Otto Huiswoud directed to a sympathetic party audience and distributed through the Workers Party of America News Service. Huiswoud notes that the one-tenth of the American population of African ethnic extraction are the "most ruthlessly exploited of any working class group." Huiswoud's analysis is simple and clear: "Disappointed and disillusioned by the constant failures of the political reformers to secure any redress of their wrongs, many Negroes are turning to radical movements and are acting as a haven for the masses. They are at present race-conscious. It is the duty of the revolutionists to turn this race-consciousness into class-consciousness." This conversion is particularly critical for Caucasian revolutionaries, Huiswoud indicates, since "just as they are used by the ruling class today as strikebreakers, so will they be used in the future to crush any revolutionary attempt on the part of the white workers."