Update 12-23: Sunday, June 3, 2012.
"Report of the CEC of the United Communist Party on the Case of 'Adams' and 'Flat.'" [circa April 1, 1921] Official statement by the governing Central Executive Committee of the United Communist Party of America to its membership concerning the recent battle between the CEC majority and dissident Chicago members, as yet unidentified, using the pseudonyms "Adams" and "Flat." According to the report, indiscipline began at the Dec. 1920-Jan. 1921 Kingston Convention, at which "Adams" and "Flat" attempted to resign when two of their factional allies failed to gain election to the CEC. This resignation was rejected by the convention. The pair then are said to have put the Chicago district ahead of the party as a whole by reporting directly to a Chicago District Convention on national affairs and by submitting to the discipline of that convention, which had the pair return to New York City to serve on the Editorial Board of the UCP. When the CEC attempted to change editorial policy at its publications and print a notice of the same, "Adams" and "Flat" are said to have resented the intrusion and to have resigned their editorial positions. The pair were upbraided for their "childish and irresponsible flouting of discipline" at a meeting of the CEC and threatened to make a factional issue of the dispute. A hearing was held before the CEC about this discipline issue at which the pair were asked about whether they would abide by the majority of the CEC's decision, which the Chicagoans refused to answer. The CEC decided to remove the pair from the CEC for their actions and to suspend them from the party for 3 months. Also included here is a brief summary of a CEC' special committee's findings on the testimony of Jay Lovestone in the Harry Winitsky trial. Lovestone is found to have been "ordered to take the stand by the proper authorities, with instructions not to divulge any Party information, nor to hurt the defendant’s [Harry Winitsky’s] case. Comrade Beacon [Lovestone] complied with these instructions closely. The committee found no basis for charges." Lovestone is criticized for not having made "what is today regarded as a proper Communist stand."
"Statement to the Executive Committee of the Communist International by Suspended UCP Members 'Flat' and 'Adams.'" [circa April 1, 1921] One still obscure chapter of the history of American Communism's underground period relates to the factional fisticuffs between two Chicago-based members of the Central Executive Committee, pseudonyms "Flat" and "Adams," and the majority faction which dominated that governing body. The two still unidentified Chicagoans were elected to the CEC by the Dec. 1920-Jan. 1921 Kingston, New York Convention. They became embroiled in a fight over unequal compensation for members of the CEC, with extra per diem expenses allowed to Alfred Wagenknecht and L.E. Katterfeld, who each had families and who justified their additional compensation by their need to maintain dual residences. "Flat" and "Adams" attempted to take the fight to the party press but were denied space, causing them to return home to Chicago in a huff without permission. This resulted in their being cashiered from the CEC and suspended from the UCP for three months for the violation of party discipline. The suspended Chicagoans raise other additional matters of difference with the CEC majority, including what they see as an "artificial territorial division of the country into numerous districts" which spreads the party's resources thin, as well as an overprinting and insufficient verification of distribution of party literature. Excessive wages to party workers are declared to be " a danger to the Party as they may attract undesirable elements.
"Draft of a CPA Appeal and Protest to the CI on the Ultimatum of the American Agency As Presented by 'Scott' [Janson]." [April 11, 1921] Archival document outlining the position of the Communist Party of America towards the so-called "American Agency" of the Communist International, a 3-person committee assigned the task of brokering unity between the feuding Communist Party of America and United Communist Party. The CPA were put off by the fact that it was the UCP member Karlis Janson ("Scott") who was the sole individual around to implement the Comintern's unity plan, with CPA member Louis Fraina and non-factional member Sen Katayama out of the country in Mexico. The CI plan for a convention of 60 delegates, consisting of 30 from each party, is strongly opposed. "We cannot understand what new or special conditions have arisen under which a change from the previous decision of the EC of the CI for proportional representation is made necessary," the appeal declares, adding that the CPA does "recognize that the American Agency should have full power to enforce unity, but object to the AA using its power to enforce conditions which are contrary to the express conditions and decisions of the EC of the CI." Further objection is made to the plan for appointment of an Executive Secretary for the soon-to-be united organization, which is held to be a first occurrence in the annals of the Comintern. "The charge that the Federations in the CP of A are autonomous is absolutely false," the document ads. The Comintern is asked to reject the American Agency's unity plan and to restore a unity convention delegated by actual paid membership of the two participant organizations. "Whatever your final decision will be we pledge our party to carry them out implicitly," the CPA hastens to add.
"Letter to 'Comrade Stepan' in Moscow from Charles Dirba in New York, April 12, 1921." Letter from the Executive Secretary of the Communist Party of America to the party's "man on the ground" in Moscow, the as-yet-unidentified "Comrade Stepan." With a Comintern deadline for unification of the two rival American parties just weeks away, Dirba remains insistent that the Comintern's "American Agency" (UCP member Karlis Janson, CPA member Louis Fraina, and non-party representative Sen Katayama) had "overstepped [their] authority" by issuing an ultimatum mandating a joint unity convention on the basis of equal 30 member delegations. Dirba places the blame for the undermining of the larger CPA's justifiable claim to dominate the proceeding upon Janson (pseudonym "Scott"), supported by Katayama (pseudonym "Yavki"). With respect to Fraina, Dirba notes that "his relations to the Party have been rather strained ever since he without any authority had vouched for Dr. Nosovitsky and brought him into the Amsterdam Conference in the beginning of 1920. He was officially censured for this act by the CEC. Besides there was quite a little friction between him and the CEC on account of his failure to return to this country promptly. The CEC passed two times a decision calling upon Louis [Fraina] to return immediately, none of which was carried out." Dirba provides information for "Stepan" to present to ECCI, including the group's average paid membership figure of 6,717 for the four months Dec. 1920 to March 1921 -- figures which "do not include many exemptions, which are very heavy at this time of unemployment."