Update 12-07: Sunday, February 12, 2012.
"The 'Workers' Party," by Joseph Sharts [Jan. 3, 1922] Announcement of the formation of the Workers Party of America to a Socialist audience by a Socialist observer, as published in the New York Call. Sharts has a righteous laugh at the debacle of the Left Wing Section over the past two years: "Instead of viewing the American situation in a scientific way, as informed Socialists ought, the 'left wingers' yielded to emotional impulses. They wanted the Socialist Party, back in 1918, to take a more 'militant' attitude. The absurdity of a 'militant' attitude on the part of a mere handful of the masses, while the vast majority of American workers are not even class-conscious, didn't strike them then, and doesn't strike them now. This new 'Workers Party' still peddles the old phrases: 'militant,' 'action,' etc. Movements do not make themselves militant by slinging 'militant' phrases; nor do they get 'action' by shrieking 'action.' A really militant man, a real fighter, so long as he is not in position to strike, will talk softly, will bide his time; he does not unpack his heart of pompous phrases of war with knowledge that he cannot translate his boasts into action. And this, we think, is the true difference between the Socialist Party and these 'left wing' rebels."
"James Connolly: Irish Republican Leader and International Socialist," by Patrick L. Quinlan [Jan. 26, 1922] Celebration of executed Irish revolutionary James Connolly by one of his former comrades in the American radical movement, Patrick L. Quinlan. Quinlan intimates that the 1916 "Easter Rising" was Connolly's greatest contribution to history. With public sentiment turning towards Irish independence, Quinlan states, the English government "began the diabolical scheme to destroy the manhood of Ireland in one fell swoop." "A pogrom of the leaders of the people" was to be followed by "wholesale conscription of all men under 45, and a deportation to Flanders," according to Quinlan. Connolly and his associates saw what was taking place and at the critical moment decisively matched force with force, doing battle in the streets against the superior arms of the occupiers. Though the fighting and executions that followed claimed several thousand lives, including that of Connolly himself, Quinlan declares that the Easter Rising was pivotal in preserving the nation: "In keeping their young men off the field of carnage they saved the race and preserved Ireland as an entity in the family of nations; for, except as a geographical expression, Ireland would be no more."
"About Eugene V. Debs: Socialist Leader’s Family Ask that Comrades and Friends Use Patience and Leave Him Rest," by Theodore Debs [Feb. 2, 1922] Theodore Debs, beloved brother, comrade, and personal secretary of Gene Debs, makes a plea in the socialist press for the indulgence of party members and organizations seeking an audience with or personal appearances from the recently released Socialist Party leader. The trials of confinement had caught up with the 66-year old Socialist, while an onslaught of telegrams, letters, visitors, and phone calls sapped his remaining strength. Theodore Debs reveals that his brother had already broken down from nervous exhaustion three times earlier in his life and declares that "he must not break down again." Time for rest and recuperation is prescribed, and a plea for silence is made, since "Gene cannot engage himself to make a speech or to respond to their many calls and demands." Nor, having been cut off from information for so long, was Gene Debs so far able to "adjust himself" to the current political situation, his brother notes. "He will be heard from directly in various ways as soon as the clogged up state of affairs here is relieved and strength will permit," Theodore Debs promises.
"Debs Appeals for Prisoners: Leader Requests that All Trade Unions and Societies Work for Release of War Prisoners," by Eugene V. Debs [March 4, 1922] Finally recovered from nearly 3 years in Federal prison, Socialist leader Gene Debs launched himself into a campaign on behalf of the more than 100 political prisoners remaining behind bars due to convictions under the so-called Espionage Act -- mostly members of the IWW. In this appeal to trade union locals Debs notes that "These men, brothers of ours, committed no overt act, no crime of any kind... The infamous Espionage Law, under which these men were convicted, has long since been repealed, and there is not the slightest excuse to longer hold them in prison." Debs charges that the same "plutocrats, profiteers, and pirates of Wall Street and their degenerate henchmen in all their servile capacities" who had enacted the "monstrous Espionage Law" in order to "gag the truth and strangle free speech while they were putting over their criminal war conspiracy" were now aligned against the release of its victims. Debs asserts to his trade union audience that "that every solitary profiteer and every politician and other stool-pigeon of the profiteer...who wants to keep the political prisoners where they are, is also in favor of the open shop." A sample resolution for adoption by trade union locals is attached.
"Butte Paper Dies: Betrayed Workers and Went the Way of All Flesh." [April 13, 1922] Short news snippet marking the death of the Butte Bulletin, weekly newspaper published by the trade unions of Silver Bow County and Butte, Montana, and most significantly edited by Communist Party stalwart William F. Dunne. "The Bulletin was established as a daily about four years ago, with William F Dunne as editor, and later with the assistance of Jack Carney. The paper suspended about a year ago and resumed as a weekly. During its career the policy oscillated between Communism, with bitter antagonism to the Socialist Party, and support of the Democratic Party, Dunne appearing on the Democratic ticket several times as a candidate," the story notes.
"A Social Rat’s End: Coward and Squealer Begs for Mercy from a Capitalist Judge -- Max Cohen and his Final Groan." (The New Age) [April 13, 1922] Interesting background detail on the life saga of Max Cohen, secretary of the Left Wing Section of the Socialist Party and member of the Central Executive Committee of the underground Communist Party of America before being expelled for criticizing the party leadership and shuttled off on a Comintern mission to Central America. According to this snarky news report from the Socialist Party press, Cohen had been under indictment for violation of the New York Criminal Anarchy statute since November 1919 but had fled the state to Mexico. He turned himself in in April 1922, professing to having seen the error of his ways, promising not to associate with radicals, and professing to have become an "ultra conservative." As a result of this meek appeal for mercy Cohen received, it seems from this article, a suspended four year jail term sentence and five years of probation.
"Debs Can’t Write to Prisoners: D of J Rules Him Out -- Interesting Correspondence," by Otto Branstetter [April 27, 1922] Executive Secretary of the Socialist Party of America Otto Branstetter passes on to the party press this exchange of correspondence between the recently-released federal prisoner Eugene V. Debs and postal censorship authorities at Leavenworth Federal Prison. Debs attempts to send greetings and encouragement to a Socialist prisoner there, J.O. Bentall, commending his courage, fortitude, and self-sacrifice as "an inspiring example to your comrades everywhere." This correspondence is intercepted in the mail room, however, and returned to sender in accord with prison rules, which do not allow inmates to "correspond with inmates, or former inmates, of this or any other penal institution, except by special permission from the warden." To this Debs responds with another letter, slamming the "brutal and idiotic rules that govern the average prison," which "stamp the officials who control these institutions as being intellectually and morally the inferiors of the hapless human beings in their custody." These sentiments are echoed by Branstetter, who places the onus for such "stupid and inhuman rules" on the U.S. Department of Justice.
"Socialists Convene: National Party Meet and Affiliate with Vienna -- Party’s Stand Reviewed -- Debs Sends Greetings." [May 4, 1922] Detailed report from the Socialist press about the 10th National Convention of the Socialist Party of America, opened in Cleveland on April 29, 1922. The article notes that Morris Hillquit had been elected chairman of the gathering for the 9th time of the 10 conclaves in party history (illness kept him away from the Emergency National Convention of 1919). Hillquit's keynote speech is quoted at length, in which he lauds the recent meeting of representatives of the three internationals in Berlin and the first Conference for Progressive Political Action as positives steps forward for the American radical movement. The main decision of the gathering was that the SPA should immediately apply for membership in the International Working Union of Socialist Parties (a.k.a. Vienna or 2-1/2 International). Otto Branstetter is re-elected as Executive Secretary, Bertha Hale White as Assistant Secretary, and Hillquit as Party Chairman. Includes a complete list of delegates and cables received by and read at the convention.
"Elect Socialist in Seattle: Denounced as 'Internationalist' and 'Socialist,' Doc Brown Wins Mayoralty Contest in Western City." [May 25, 1922] Very brief news report noting the election of Dr. Edwin J. Brown, long time leader of the "Right" faction in the Socialist Party of Washington, as mayor of Seattle. It is intimated that Brown was no longer a member of the Socialist Party at the time of his election, but that he nevertheless acknowledged that he "stood where he has always stood and had not changed his principles." Brown received 27,000 votes in the Seattle mayor's race, outpacing his nearest opponent by a record margin of 12,000 according to the story.
"The United Front: Shall We Have Solidarity Or Be Slaughtered?" by Eugene V. Debs [June 22, 1922] Socialist leader Gene Debs responds in a generally positive manner to the Communist International's recent call for a United Front on the left, while rejecting emulation of Moscow in theory or tactics. "The radical elements of the American working class must either accommodate their tactical differences and unite in a solid phalanx against capitalism or they will surely be further divided and ultimately devoured by their enemies," Debs notes. However, he adds, "Internationalism does not mean to mean that any one country shall arrogate to itself the right to impose its nationalism upon all other countries, thus making them international." Debs declares that "it is patent that by far the largest element of disagreement within our own ranks found source in the revolutionary inspiration furnished by the Russian revolution. Americans should not ignore the fact that this is America... There is absolutely no certainty that the American workers would meet with success should they decide to abandon their own program of militant industrial and political unionism for that of Moscow; but there is a degree of certainty in the belief that they would get no hearing from the masses of American people." Debs makes an ultimately doomed plea for the divided American left to "cease bickering and quarreling, do the work that is necessary and within reach of our hand, and walk arm in arm toward Socialism."
"American Farmers in Russia," by Harold Ware [April 1923] Enthusiastic article from the magazine of the Friends of Soviet Russia by the Communist Party's chief agricultural expert, Harold Ware, relating the activities of the FSR's first "tractor battery" dispatched to Soviet Russia. Ware notes that -- contrary to popular belief -- the Russian peasant was not "superstitiously opposed to modern machinery." Instead, Ware states, it was "he Tsarist regime and subsequent wars and blockade have prevented him from its use; that alone has kept agriculture in its present primitive state." Ware further asserts that it was Russian peasants, rather than urban machinery operators or students, who was best trainable to operate modern agricultural machinery, owing to their understanding of the land and deep appreciation of the superiority of machine-based agriculture to homemade implements drawn by animals. Ware urges the formation of additional tractor batteries and notes that a huge tract of land near Cheliabinsk had been set aside for the establishment of "the biggest grain farm in the world."