Update 13-23: Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013.
"200 Seized in Federal Alien Raid." (NY Call) [event of Sept. 26, 1917] At 10 pm on the night of September 26, 1917, hundreds of plainclothes police and federal agents were used to execute coordinated mass raids in the Greater New York area against suspected enemy aliens. Hundreds of arrests were made, including at least 107 in two police precincts of Brooklyn alone, with officials anticipating the ultimate arrest of perhaps 1,000 over the course of the operation. In addition to individuals, extensive numbers of documents were collected by the raiders, with a few to future prosecution of those arrested. One case of an individual firing upon police with a gun is reported as are allegations that prisoners who resisted arrest were "roughly handled." Passing comment is made that investigation of IWW meetings had been taking place for a considerable time, with authorities making notes about meetings of the organization and the individuals who attended them.
"Rand School Getting Ready for New Home: People’s House Will Soon Be Finished -- Plans for Restaurant Are Pushed." (NY Call) [Sept. 26, 1917] Short news report from the New York City Socialist daily detailing the forthcoming move of the Rand School of Social Science from 140 E 19th Street to 7 E 15th Street. With purchase of the new building essentially complete, a hurried remodeling was taking place under the watchful eye of executive secretary and building manager Herman Kobbe in an effort to have the building ready for a Nov. 1, 1917 new season of classes. The new building was to include offices for other radical organizations -- including State Headquarters for the Socialist Party of New York -- as well as a gymnasium, auditorium, library, classrooms, and a cooperative restaurant. Considerable detail is provided about the last of these, which was to be run for the benefit of those paying a $5 membership fee, paying full price on their meals but receiving a periodic rebate check for the profit earned on their purchases.
"Haywood and 8 Others Held for Conspiracy." (NY Call) [event of Sept. 28, 1917] On September 28, 1917 the other shoe dropped on the IWW when the federal grand jury in Chicago returned indictments for 166 leaders and key activists of the organization, charging them with "conspiring against the government." This initial news report from the Socialist New York Call indicates that about 20 officers surrounded IWW headquarters in Chicago and arrested nearly 70 people for questioning, holding 9 who were named in the indictment. Topping the list was Secretary-Treasurer "Big Bill" Haywood, Solidarity editor Ralph Chaplin, and head of the publicity bureau George Andreytchine. Bails for the nine ranged from $10,000 to $25,000, according to the article.
"Raid on IWW Seen As Blind for Big Attack: Crushing of All Organizations Which Tell Truth is Expected in Washington Circles." (NY Call) [events of Sept. 28, 1917] Socialist Party commentary on the September 28 mass arrests of the leadership of the Industrial Workers of the World. The Department of Justice's operation against the IWW is depicted as a first step, "evidently designed to lull the Socialists to sleep with the belief that the government does not intend to assail, and possibly destroy, their organization." There follows analysis of the motive for the arrests of the 166 IWW leaders, volition for which is said not to have come from the DoJ, but rather from mill and mine operators of the West and Northwest, their profits impacted by ongoing strikes. This had moved Montana's Democratic Senator Thomas J. Walsh to return to his home state to study the "battlefield," where he obtained and studied IWW literature. "Walsh loaded himself up with IWW literature and digested it with the thoroughness with which a chattel-slave-owning judge a generation ago might have digested the anti-slavery literature of those days," the writer notes, intimating that he, as representative for the mill and mine owners, took the lead in pushing for repression of the IWW as an organization having "no place in the American system...either in peace or in war."
"Large New Home of Finnish Socialists Will Be Formally Opened Next Thursday" (NY Call) [Sept. 30, 1917] Details of a move to posh new headquarters by the Finnish branch of Local New York, Socialist Party. Formerly the home of the Columbia Club, the Finnish branch invested a staggering $110,000 for the real estate and another $17,000 in remodeling costs -- undoubtedly more than $1 million in 2013 terms. Funds for purchase of the building came from the fund-raising "entertainments" and annual fair sponsored by the Finnish branch. The four-story building included a four-lane bowling alley in the basement, a gymnasium, a bookstore, ample space for the editorial offices of Raivaaja (The Pioneer), Eastern regional daily of the Finnish Socialist Federation, as well as recreation rooms and an auditorium with space for 1500 people. Details are included about the history and weekly activities of the Finnish branch, which included singing, dramatic, and sewing sections, and hosted lectures and dances on a weekly basis.
"The Crisis in the Communist Party," by James Casey [c. Late Nov. 1936] Large file, 1.4 megs. Graphic pdf of a full pamphlet by Socialist Party partisan James Casey criticizing from the left the new "People's Front" line of the Communist Party USA. The People's Front represented a fundamental departure from "the fundamental teachings of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels" as well as disowning "in deeds, if not yet in words, all of the preachings and hopes of Nicolai Lenin, great interpreter of Marx." The People's Front put aside the class struggle as "outdated," Casey contends, thereby rendering the CPUSA as an organization of "open class collaboration" -- a "social reform organization." The party's membership had thus been cast into a "Niagara of Confusion" and an exodus from CP ranks in response to the new line had followed. Casey pointedly notes that party dues books had been changed, removing the full page devoted to the party's form of organization and goals, leaving only information about dues rates and room for monthly dues stamps. Changes to the form and content of the "new" Daily Worker -- and a decline in its circulation under the People's Front -- are further noted as indicative of the Communist Party's rightward turn. Party leader Earl Browder's electoral pronouncement that "We must defeat Landon at all costs," thereby tacitly endorsing the Democratic Party and Franklin D. Roosevelt, is called "the most shameless and, at the same time, the most disgraceful chapter in the history of the American Communist Party." Casey concludes with a call for Communists to join with Socialist Party members to fight for higher wages, better living conditions, defense of the Soviet Union, and against imperialism, imperialist wars, and class collaboration.
"Open Letter from Earl Browder in Yonkers, NY, to the Yonkers Club, CPUSA, Feb. 1, 1946." Defense against expulsion charges by the recently defrocked General Secretary of the Communist Party USA to the primary party unit to which he belonged, the Yonkers Club of the CPUSA, which was constitutionally charged with initiating the expulsion process. Browder defends himself point-by-point from charges preferred against him on Jan. 28, 1946 that he had "advanced Keynesian ideas" and demonstrated political passivity by failing to attend meetings of the Yonkers Club. Browder acknowledges having stayed away from meetings, but indicates that this decision was agreed upon with the Party leadership to minimize political turbulence following his removal as General Secretary. Browder had been further preoccupied finding work to support his family, he notes, as his notoriety as a Communist and his official disrepute within the Communist movement presenting dual "barbed-wire entanglements" which made his situation particularly difficult. Browder sharply denies having advanced Keynesian ideas, noting that this accusation was of recent currency via an article by nemesis William Z. Foster in the Jan. 20, 1946 issue of The Worker. A lengthy appendix to the letter to the Yonkers Club launches an assault on Foster's leadership, alleging the CPUSA had been led away from the decision of the July Convention to support the Truman Administration as the continuer and leader of the grand Roosevelt coalition. Instead war had been declared on Truman as the "chief enemy," Browder declares, with the CPUSA alone abandoning the "Roosevelt-labor-democratic" coalition to pursue a third party oppositional strategy. Browder charges that "under the slogan of 'vanguardism' Foster has put our Party membership in a situation of bafflement and unclarity, isolated form their former allies, and uncertain who are friends and who are enemies." Disaffection had emerged in party ranks as a result of this alleged "anarcho-syndicalist" turn, accompanied by wide demoralization, dropping membership figures, and a new round of destructive factionalism. A return to the July 1945 line supporting the Truman Administration as head of a grand coalition is demanded.
"Appeal of Earl Browder to the National Committee, CPUSA Against the Decision of the National Board for His Expulsion, Feb. 8, 1946." With his expulsion confirmed by the executive of the national CPUSA (National Board) on February 5, 1946, ousted General Secretary Earl Browder issued this final appeal to the governing National Committee on Feb. 8. Browder again attempts to methodically undercut the case against him, charging undue haste, violations of normal party procedure, and a series of factual falsifications and misrepresentations of his actions by his factional enemies, headed by William Z. Foster. Browder denies that he engaged in factional activities or that he in any way departed from the party line with respect to his testimony before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Browder's nemesis, William Z. Foster, is charged with possessing "fantastic factional hatred" and accused of having "stultified and confused" the labor movement by acting as an "irresponsible factionalist [chatterbox]." Browder defends his mimeographed economic commentary in the newsletter Distributors Guide (circulation: 200) and reiterates the dishonesty of the charge of organizational passivity for having skipped meetings of his local unit, the Yonkers Club. He defends his statement critical of party policy made before the executive of the Yonkers Club, declaring that "nothing that I there expressed can be made grounds for expulsion without abolishing all inner democracy within the Party." He asks for the National Committee to overturn the National Board's confirmation of his expulsion.