Update 12-17: Sunday, April 22, 2012.

"Minutes of Meeting of Local Hudson County, NJ, held Sept. 28, 1919."  Minutes of the first post-convention meeting of Local Hudson County, NJ -- including the cities of Hoboken and Jersey City, across the river from New York City. New Jersey's delegates to the 1919 Emergency National Convention staked out an intermediate position between the Left Wing Section and the Regulars, generally supportive of the former but seeking to continue work within the Socialist Party rather than to bolt. With the resignation of left wing supporter State Secretary Fred Harwood -- discouraged by the course of the party convention -- Milo C. Jones was named his replacement. The minutes reveal that the National Office of the SPA was $5,000 in debt and the State Office of the Socialist Party of New Jersey $1,000 in debt. Nine branches of the organization were found to have joined the Communist Labor Party and their charters were subsequently removed. A statement to the party written by convention delegate Rose Weiss was approved by the local and is reprinted in full here. The Weiss resolution declared: "We wish emphatically to  protest at the manner in which the convention was conducted. The exclusion of the minority faction, the evasion of the issue as to the right of the National Executive Committee to revoke chargers and suspend members at will, the holding of secret caucuses, and the passing of machine slates for the election of committees, the unwillingness to face the issues squarely, manifest tendencies which, if not checked, will give rise to a despotism within the party as dangerous and as undesirable as that prevailing in the capitalist parties."

"Socialists to Vote for Left Wing Nominees: Members of the Seceding Groups Were Put on the Ticket at Primaries: State Executive Committee Calls for Working Class Unity at Polls." (NY Call) [Sept. 30, 1919]  Although the regular faction of the Socialist Party of New York resoundingly defeated the slate of the Left Wing Section in the first primary election in party history (held Sept. 2, 1919), there were some Left Wing candidates in Brooklyn, Queens, Rochester, and Buffalo who emerged triumphant. After the first week of September, these "Socialist Party nominees" were no longer members of the party, having left for the rival Communist Party of America or Communist Labor Party. The question arose: What were oyal party members  to do about these non-Socialist Party Socialist nominees? The State Executive Committee pondered the issue and decided to endorse the voting of a straight party ticket, including departed dissidents. "Forget the personalities and wage the strongest campaign we have ever yet put up," the New York SEC advised. "It is believed that the result of the action will be a warmer and more cordial feeling between the factions," the article of this short piece in the New York Call opines.

"Open Letter to James Pontius in Sedalia, Missouri from William L. Garver in Springfield, Missouri." [circa Sept. 30, 1919]  With the Socialist Party's 1919 Emergency National Convention in the rear view mirror, State Secretary of the Socialist Party of Missouri at last feels free to offer his own assessment of the recent party crisis. The split Garver attributes to the personal leadership ambitions and enmities of Left Wing Section leaders Ludwig Katterfeld and Alfred Wagenknecht. If the Socialist Party was not radical enough, these leaders and their followers could simply have joined the Socialist Labor Party, Garver suggests, since its historic leader Daniel DeLeon had been lauded by Lenin and it had maintained a delegate at the founding congress of the Communist International in March 1919. Garver calls the "so-called Communists" "paper revolutionaries" and notes that whereas in Russia the revolution was based around a land program and was backed by a cooperative movement including 48,000 societies. The Communists had neither and furthermore dismissed such matters as insignificant. "They want all or nothing," Garver complains. The Socialist Party's role remains education of the working class and the role of the unions should be to train workers for the eventual management of industry and to develop a cooperative network for the distribution of goods in the post-revolutionary future, Garver indicates.

"Constitution of The Federated Press League." [as published April 1921]  Although the left wing news service The Federated Press is familiar to many historians of American labor history in the 1920s, less known is the fact that there was an apparently short-lived organization established around that service called the Federated Press League, which from April 1921 published its own weekly newspaper, the Federated Press Bulletin. This is the initial set of organizational laws of this membership group. Membership was open to any individual 16 years of age or older, either by individual membership or by groups affiliating with the league en bloc. Primary units were to be groups called Local Councils. Organization was to be done on a state basis, with each state headed by a President and Vice-President, who together with the national Executive Secretary and Treasurer were to form a General Council. This body was to elect a 9 member Executive Board to handle ongoing operations of the League. A sliding scale of dues, payable annually, were established, with regular dues set at $5 per annum, semi-weekly service recipients set at $25, daily service recipients at $50, and life membership set at $1,000. Dues were to be payable to the local councils, who would forward 95% of their collections to the national office of the organization. Local councils were to meet monthly, annual conventions of the organization to be held annually.

"To the American Council of the  Communist International: An Open Letter." [April 1, 1921]  In an effort to resolve the factional war that had split the American Communist movement and to better organize the radical movement in Mexico and other countries in the Western hemisphere at the end of 1920 the CI appointed a 3 member "American Agency," consisting of UCP member Karlis Janson-"Scott," Louis Fraina of the CPA, and an independent, the Japanese Marxist Sen Katayama, who had spent many years in the country. The American Agency proved largely ineffective in negotiating unity but ultimately supplied Moscow with sufficient information that a "shotgun wedding" could be arranged. This open letter to the American Agency appeared in the press of the Communist Unity Committee, an organized group headed by Alexander Bittelman which included pro-unity members of both the CPA and the UCP. This document is a comment upon Feb. 20 and 27, 1921 unity proposals of the American Agency to the two rival American Communist parties and their membership. The letter indicates the fight between the two governing Central Executive Committees which was obstructing unity had merely been taken underground following the Comintern's formal directive for merger. The open letter of the CUC is critical of the American Agency for its failure to "determine the reasons that brought to a deadlock the unity negotiations of the two Central Committees" and to reveal to the rank and file "how this deadlock could be broken and unity achieved." The CUC declares that neither proportional nor equal representation of the two organizations will result in authentic unity at a joint convention unless the rank and file is persuaded of the necessity of such a merger and empowered to bring it about.

"The CUC to the American Agency of the CI (An Open Letter)." [April 17, 1921]  Another document in the ongoing unity dance between the obstructionist United Communist Party and the Communist Party of America on the one hand and the pro-unity Communist Unity Committee and American Agency of the Comintern on the other. The American Agency's April 4, 1921 communication to the unwilling partners had been met with "subterfuge and evasion" by the CPA, the open letter notes. The UCP had formally accepted the AA's proposals, "but unofficially they will put all kinds of obstacles in the way of unity," the Communist Unity Committee warns. The CUC declares that "The situation calls for deeds of a decisive and determined nature. You must be prepared to act in the interests of Unity, as your mandate actually empowers you to do, over the heads of the two ruling cliques. But for this you need an organ of expression, since you cannot expect the official party press to be at your service." Access to the CUC's publication, the bi-weekly newspaper Communist Unity, is offered to the American Agency, who is cautioned that unless a successful unity convention were to be held within the next 4 weeks, the two parties would declare the American Agency's efforts a failure and send new delegations to Moscow for the 3rd World Congress of the Comintern, where the fight would be reopened anew.

"Our Movement in Crisis." [April 20, 1921]  With the 3rd World Congress of the Comintern on slated to open on the other side of the world in June, as April came to a close a practical deadline for unity of the American Communist movement was fast approaching. This is a published summary of the situation by the pro-merger Communist Unity Committee. The timeline according to the CUC was as follows: on April 2 the three member American Agency of the Comintern had at last received a mandate from the Comintern to force unity between the two obstinate American Communist parties. This had been followed on April 4 by a letter to the two Central Executive Committees submitting this mandate and 9 conditions for merger. The UCP formally accepted the same, but covertly continued its policy of obstruction. The CPA had accepted only the concept of a unity convention presided over by a "neutral" chairman, while holding out reservations to the other 8 conditions of the American Agency.  The leadership of the CPA "contest the right of the Agency to bind the convention with conditions. The fact that the Agency has been given by the Communist International full power does not worry them a bit. They just don’t want to accept the conditions." The threat of a permanent split of the American movement loomed, in the view of the CUC. It was therefore up to the rank and file to "be ready to properly perform its supreme and difficult task of electing the right persons to the Joint Unity Convention," since the ruling machines "will stop at nothing, no matter how low, to crush and exterminate the real and sincere defenders of the cause of Unity," the CUC declares.


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