Update 13-19: Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013.

"Escaped the Censor," by Jack Carney [Aug. 13, 1917]  A strongly anti-war newspaper piece by Irish radical and future inaugural member of the National Executive Committee of the Communist Labor Party of America Jack Carney. Carney quotes verbatim a letter (possibly apocryphal) written by his cousin Jack from the trenches to his mother in Britain. The letter claims that prior to making a bayonet charge the British troops are "compelled to drink four glasses of the strongest rum, so that we will not know what we are doing." "if they had prohibition here, the men would give themselves up before they would take human life as they do," the 18-year old soldier declares. Carney notes that information is slowly slipping through the censorship of the warring countries -- "slowly but surely the truth will come out, and so sure as it does, then goodbye to those who are pulling the wool over the people’s eyes." Despite improved revolutionary prospects, Carney see no positive aspect resulting from the war: "I may be sentimental, and you may call me emotional, but I would rather the Social Revolution were put off until the end of time rather than it come about in a war like this," he insists.

"Request for a Comintern Statement: Submitted by W.Z. Foster for CEC Majority, Workers Party of America." [circa April 15, 1924]  In its earliest incarnation the Communist International was an organization which took input from its member parties, adjudicated disagreements, and issued binding directives -- which were either observed or sabotaged, depending to a great extent on whether the Comintern directive aided or hindered specific factional interests. This circular relationship is particularly evident in this document, presented by William Z. Foster on behalf of his "Foster-Dunne-Cannon group" to the American Commission of ECCI, seeking an official Comintern "statement" on 20 matters affecting the American party. The document unsurprisingly calls for an endorsement of the strategy, tactics, and slogans espoused by the majority Foster group  Trade Union Educational League. It also specifically calls for reorganization of the American party on the basis of "shop nuclei" -- an extremely radical restructuring which under the banner of "bolshevization" would shatter and fundamentally alter the American party in 1925. Moreover, Foster calls for the renaming of the party as the "Communist Workers Party," followed by a shortening of this name to Communist Party "as quickly as the situation justifies it." A renaming as the Workers (Communist) Party would ensue in 1925, followed a shortening to "Communist Party USA" in 1929.

"Conflict in the Central Executive Committee of the Workers Party." [April 17, 1924]  This unsigned 5,000 word archival report, clearly written by a representative of the Comintern closely connected with the Central Executive Committee of the Workers Party of America, appears to have been regarded as a definitive background assessment of the American political situation, as reflected through factional party politics. Although a bit "inside baseball" in terms of content, it is remarkable for its even-handed treatment of the positions and activities of the Pepper-Ruthenberg, Foster-Cannon, and Lore factional groups. The positions of the two main factions with respect to the so-called "Third Party" situation in 1924 (exemplified by the movement's nominal head, Sen. Robert LaFollette, Sr.) are characterized as greatly similar. The strategy and machinations behind the changing convention dates for the forthcoming convention of the Federated Farmer-Labor Party are carefully explained. Opposition to all Third Party collaboration is said to have been centered in New York -- not Chicago -- and to have been headed by the Lore group, working with elements of the Finnish and Yiddish-language Federations and members of the former Workers Council group who came together to help found the WPA in 1921. The factional situation had been inflamed by an attack made upon William Z. Foster's performance as National Industrial Organizer, dropped on the convention by a John Pepper-led outgoing CEC. This maneuver is criticized, "for if there actually were any deficiencies in [Foster's] activities, the whole CEC was responsible." Further factional discord resulting from the removal of District Organizers in Philadelphia and New York City and their replacement by Foster-Cannon loyalists is noted.


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