Update 14-16: Sunday, April 20, 2014.

"Official Minutes of the General Committee of the Socialist Party of St. Louis, June 16, 1919."  The 1919 factional crisis in the Socialist Party began to be felt in the city of St. Louis in June 1919, when the National Executive Committee's May suspension of the Lithuanian and South Slavic Federations forced the General Committee (City Central Committee) to make a decision on how to handle its Lithuanian and South Slavic branch delegates. A special session of the General Committee was called for June 16. The meeting was dominated by Regulars, who approved publication of a lengthy statement on the party crisis written by editor G.A. Hoehn. After a marathon session of nearly 4 hours further debate and decision as whether to formally accept Hoehn's document as official party policy was suspended for one week, when a continuation of the special session of the General Committee was to be held.

"The Socialist Party of the United States -- Its Work in Past and Present: A Statement and an Appeal to the Socialists and Class-Conscious Wage Workers of America..." by G.A. Hoehn [June 16, 1919]  Although there seems to have been no significant "Left Wing" movement in the city prior to June 1919, Local St. Louis was pushed into the fray by the NEC's suspension of 7 language federations, two of which had functioning branches in the city. This 3800 word document by party editor G.A. Hoehn is essentially a reply to the Left Wing manifesto from the perspective of party regulars. "While the World War was on we never heard of a Left Wing, nor a Right Wing," Hoehn declares, noting that through it all the Socialist Party "remained true to the Red Banner of Internationalism." For its commitment to the cause of internationalism and peace, the Socialist Party paid with repression of its press, denial from use of the mails, and arrest and imprisonment of its leaders. "If these comrades are accused of being 'Right Wingers,' we fail to understand how all the so-called 'Left Wingers' succeed in keeping out of jail!" Hoehn remarks. He declares that Local St. Louis has been particularly steadfast in its commitment not only to peace, but to the nascent Russian Revolution, circulating 1 million pieces of literature propagandizing for the cause. "The Capitalist class failed to break up our Socialist Party by attacking it from the outside and by vicious persecution. Attempts will now be made to try the destructive work from the inside," Hoehn declares, intimating that the Left Wing movement as a "white card" party-inside-the-party plays directly into the hands of these enemies. Michigan had clearly written itself out of the SPA through its decision to ban political action, in violation of the national platform; the federation suspension would be investigated by a special committee named by the NEC and decision rendered at the forthcoming August convention, Hoehn indicates. He urges party members "not to act on any proposed referendum in this controversy and to await the action of the Special National Convention." He concludes: "We cannot see any good reason for the so-called 'Left Wing' movement in  our Socialist Party. To charge our national officers with being Scheidemann-Socialists and 'Right Wingers' is ridiculous. The only class that can gain by the Left Wing disturbance is the capitalist class that is organizing a nationwide campaign for the disruption and destruction of the Socialist Party.... Let us eliminate the entire 'Wing' business — left and right — and put our shoulders to the wheel in order that we may lead out movement to victory and success!"

"Official Minutes of the General Committee of the Socialist Party of St. Louis, June 23, 1919."  Conclusion of the special meeting of the General Committee (City Central Committee) of the Socialist Party of St. Louis, called in response to the brewing factional controversy in the Socialist Party of America. An request to print G.A. Hoehn's statement, "The Socialist Party of America -- Its Work in Past and Present" was tabled. The motion to make this statement the official statement of Local St. Louis and to send it out to the Socialist press of the country was carried by a vote of 23 to 10, however. The next meeting of the General Committee was scheduled for Monday, July 7, 1919.

"Official Minutes of  the General Committee of the Socialist Party of St. Louis, July 7, 1919."  Minutes of a regularly scheduled meeting of the St. Louis General Committee (i.e. City Central Committee). This document indicates what appears to be the emergence of an organized left wing movement in the city, with the 8th-9th Ward Branch announcing in a communication their endorsement of the Left Wing Manifesto -- an action which was noted with formal disapproval by the General Committee. The city's Gravois German branch communicated with the General Committee, intimating that the German- and English-language party press was suppressing news of the factional struggle by failing to print Lenin's "Letter to American Workers" and not reporting news of the suspension of "40,000" members of the language federations by the National Executive Committee of the Socialist Party. In reply, City Secretary William Brandt noted that the actual number of members suspended was "less than 28,000" and that the decision had been made to keep the SPA's dirty laundry in terms of factional warfare out of the broadly read official party press (St. Louis Labor and the Arbeiter-Zeitung).


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