Update 12-22: Sunday, May 27, 2012.

"Consul of Russian Republic Here to Open Trade with US; Authorized to Spend $200,000,000: His Official Statement of Conditions Lays Ghost of Lies and Slanders of Violence About Soviet Rule and Its Aims..." (NY Call) [March 21, 1919]  Initial report in the Socialist Party's New York Call announcing the formation of the Russian Soviet Government Bureau, headed by Ludwig C.A.K. Martens. Announcement of Marten's appointment as the official representative of the Soviet government to the United States was made March 20, 1919, according to the article, with Martens having been informed of the decision by cable "about three months ago" (i.e. at the end of December 1918). Martens attempts to whet the interest of the American capitalist class with a promise of an initial $200 million in purchases, paid up front in gold. Stating that previously Germany had been far and away the largest trading partner of the old Russian regime, in the light of Germany's own economic problems "in a trade sense, as well as in a political sense, Russia is starting anew." On behalf of the Soviet government, Martens seeks a negotiated end to the intervention and blockade of Russia. He declares Soviet Russia to have been the subject of "false and often absurdly silly reports about the nature of the institutions and measures" taken against its opponents, while acknowledging the Soviet government having had to "adopt stern measures against people who continuously and openly plot for a re-enslavement of the Russian workers and who resort to methods of violence in their fight." The article indicates that Martens had forwarded his credentials to the State Department in Washington, DC for decision.

"A Basis for Discussion: Letter to Editor of the New York Call,  signed by David P. Berenberg et al., March 23, 1919."  [NEW EDITION] With an organized Left Wing Section beginning to organize itself in the Socialist Party, a rather eclectic assemblage of 13 of the party's leading lights attempted to stave off factionalism and a potential split by moving the party to the left in response to grassroots demands. Signing alphabetically, headed by David Berenberg, this group adocated the rapid convocation of an emergency national convention, the elimination of reform planks, the adoption of a uniform national program which would "agitate exclusively for the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of an industrial democracy," the renouncing of any international congress called by so-called "moderate socialists," and the adoption of new radical party literature in line with these new tactics. Signatories include those who would be instrumental in the Regular faction's fight against the Left Wing Section in 1919 (Berenberg, Walter Cook), founding members of the Communist Labor Party (Ludwig Lore, Albert Pauly), future communists after the 1921 split (Benjamin Glassberg, Scott Nearing), among others.

"Minutes of the Central Committee of the Socialist Party of New York County,  Meeting of March 25, 1919."  Minutes of a single meeting of the governing body of Local New York, Socialist Party. Resolutions honoring the Hungarian Soviet revolution and greeting and promising support of Soviet Russia's new representative to the United States Ludwig C.A.K. Martens are passed. Of primary interest is the esoteric matters of the jostling for seats on the Central Committee between Left Wing and Regular factions, with an effort by the 8th Assembly District branch to recall Regulars John Block, Algernon Lee, and Louis Waldman and replace them with Left Wingers Max Cohen, Hyman Goldberg, and Fanny Horowitz rejected by the Central Committee upon protest that the recall was not regularly conducted. A new election of representatives to the Central Committee of Local New York is to be held by the 8th A.D. branch before such delegates are to be seated, the meeting decides. Also included is the lengthy report of a committee to investigate a disturbance in the 2nd Assembly District Yiddish language branch, said to have been related to incompatible personalities, marked by flooding of the branch by members of other New York Yiddish branches and by an unprecedented transfer to the 2nd A.D. Yiddish branch of 16 members from the Russian language branch.

"Assembly Votes to Spend $50,000 on Bolshevism Hunt: Socialists Ridicule Bill -- Probe Sleeping Sickness, and Start with Legislature
Is Claessens' Amendment -- Save Money, We’ll Tell You, Says Solomon." (NY Call)
[March. 26, 1919] 
Unsigned news story in the Socialist New York Call marking the establishment of the Lusk Committee by the state legislature on March 26, 1919. Facing landslide support for the measure among the two "old parties" in the Albany, Socialist Party Assemblymen Gus Claessens and Charles Solomon took to the floor to ridicule the proposal, urging a probe of sleeping sickness in the legislature which had caused such a high rate of absenteeism and lack of care in the affairs of the state. Solomon provocatively declared: "As far as I am concerned if there is any virtue in Bolshevism, I don't care whether it was born in Russia or Germany or anywhere else. I am ready to receive it with open arms for the virtue there is in it.... To the extent that what you call Bolshevism is opposed to capitalist government, the Socialist Party as represented in this chamber is in agreement with that purpose, and you gentlemen can make the most of it."

"Letter to the Editor of the New York Call by Evans Clark in New York City, March 27, 1919."  With his name used as a political football by adherents of the Regular and Left Wing factions of the Socialist Party in the party press, research director for the Socialist members of the New York State Assembly Evans Clark wrote this letter to the New York Call to clarify his views. His words are prescient: "I believe that the criticisms of party theory and the general program of the “Left Wing” are, in the main, sound. I believe that they should be discussed in every branch and local. But I am heartily opposed to organized divisions in the Socialist Party. A Left Wing is desirable, but a Left Wing Section is suicidal. Organized divisionism subordinates principles to an unseemly squabble for personal and political power. It is inevitable. Organized division breeds organized opposition, hatred, bitterness, wrangling, and utter confusion. Either the party or the division must always die, if these methods are pursued."

"Deportation -- Where?" by John Reed [March 30, 1919]   Deportation is "the most modern and most fashionable method employed by tyrants to get rid of their rebellious subjects," John Reed declares in this article in the Sunday magazine section of the Socialist Party's New York Call. He traces recent use of the practice to atrocities committed by the Turks against the Armenians and by the Germans against the Belgians, noting deportation's gaining of favor in Bisbee, Arizona (expelling 1,200 striking miners and their sympathizers to the desert) and Coatesville, Pennsylvania (where the black population of several hundred was expelled after the war). Now, Reed notes, it is foreign-born strikers who are being deported by the American government to the countries of their birth. But where? In the case of the Russian-born being held at Ellis Island for deportation, "If they are deported to any party of Russia, except Soviet Russia, they are doomed to certain death, either at the hands of their own master-class, the Finnish White Guards, or the Allied troops." Only by direct deportation to Soviet Russia via the Baltic Sea would these detainees avoid the fate of Mexican revolutionaries under the Roosevelt administration -- who were sent across the Rio Grande to be shot down by the forces of Mexican strongman Porfirio Diaz. Reed calls for the American government to open its frontiers to "those foreigners who want to leave this monstrous industrial tyranny of ours, where the laws are seemingly made to be obeyed by workingmen only." In such a case, Reed contends, "the 'alien agitators' will go home, and there will be such a rush for the seaports that there won’t be enough ships to carry them."

"Soviet Consul Again Greeted by Big Crowds: Martens Asserts that Soviet Russia is Now Supported by All Parties." (NY Call) [event of March 31, 1919]  Short news account of the second public appearance in New York City by Ludwig Martens, newly appointed Soviet Consul to the United States. Speaking before an enthusiastic overflow crowd, Martens spoke in Russian, and asserted that Right Socialist Revolutionaries and Mensheviks had come over to support the Soviet government in the face of foreign intervention, owing to the "great dangers it involves to all liberty in Russia." He was joined on the platform by Louis Basky, a leading Hungarian-American radical, who spoke on behalf of the ongoing Hungarian Revolution (the Soviet government being in power in Hungary at the time). There was "only one way to help the Hungarian and Russian Soviet governments," according to Basky, that being "to revolutionize America" and to "wage an uncompromising class war against capitalism." Meeting chairman Nicholas Hourwich drew great applause for stating the "Left Wing proposes to bring Bolshevism to America," according to the article.

"Service Men in Second Raid on People’s House: People Disperse Mob -- Lee Blames Hyland for Trouble -- Scab Herders in Crowd." (NY Call) [event of April 7, 1919]  Organized mob violence by returned American soldiers was not just a phenomenon of small towns and isolated places, this article from the New York Call indicates -- it was used as a tool even in the urban mecca of New York City. On April 6 and April 7, 1919 efforts were made by uniformed bands of military personnel to invade and ransack the headquarters building of the Socialist Party's Rand School of Social Science, under the banner of anti-"Bolshevism." Another building, offices of the Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines’ Protective Association was, in fact, vandalized and looted. The Call's report indicates that a Canadian soldier named "Shelly," said to be an organizer of strikebreakers for the Tugboat Operators in the current harbor strike, was suspected as the ringleader behind these operations. Socialist New York City Alderman Algernon Lee places the ultimate blame upon Mayor John F. "Red Mike" Hylan for obliviously making "factless statements that breed prejudice" about the radical movement, thereby helping to stir up "mob spirit."


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