Update 14-01: Sunday, January 5, 2014.
"'Nigger' Equality," by Kate Richards O'Hare [March 1912] [New edition.] One of the Socialist Party's dirty little secrets was the presence in its ranks of a significant number of individuals with frankly racist perspectives. This 1912 pamphlet by Kate Richards O'Hare appealing to Southern voters is the epitome -- arguably the most racist document ever issued on the Socialist Party's behalf. The Socialists do not seek social, physical, or mental equality, O'Hare states, but rather "Equality of Opportunity." "Just as long as a 'nigger' can be robbed of the product of his labor by the capitalist class by being shut out from access to the means of life, just that long he can be made the club and chain that will drag and beat the white workers down into the mire of poverty," O'Hare states. The only answer to the race question is segregation, O'Hare declares: "Let us give the blacks one section in the country where every condition is best fitted for them.... If the negro rises to such an opportunity, and develops his own civilization, well and good; if not, and he prefers to hunt and fish and live idly, no one will be injured but him and that will be his business."
"Letter to Art Young in New York City from Charles Garland in North Carver, MA, October 13, 1922." Very short note from the Tolstoyan and capitalist scion who converted his million dollar inheritance into a foundation called the American Fund for Public Service, an entity which provided financial support for such institutions as the American Civil Liberties Union, International Labor Defense, Vanguard Press, and various left wing organizations. Garland offers a one-sentence quote that offers food for thought and perhaps a fitting epitaph: "It often seems that what we do brings no 'results,' yet in a year or in a thousand years the good we do comes back to us, and brings its friends along."
"Letter to C.E. Ruthenberg, Executive Secretary, Workers Party of America in Chicago from Anthony Bimba, Editor of Laisve, Brooklyn, NY, Oct. 8, 1924." [New edition.] This letter to Executive Secretary Ruthenberg from Lithuanian-American Communist journalist Antanas "Anthony" Bimba is extremely interesting on two levels. First, Bimba is critical of the tendency to issue frequent monetary appeals, in this case for the Daily Worker, and he claims that the constant pleading for funds is disorganizing the party: "...The membership of the party, and especially the members of various language sections, who have to support the language press, are being bled white with financial appeals. Hundreds of members stay away from the meetings just because they know that as soon as they step into the hall they will be asked to give a dollar or half a dollar for this or that purpose. Branch meetings are almost entirely taken up by discussions, fights, and arguments on the constantly flowing appeals for financial help. Our party is fast becoming only a money-getting agency." Second, Bimba reveals how it was that the Communist language press was able to sustain itself without massive Comintern funding: "I made a suggestion that the comrades should establish an efficient machinery for doing outside jobs, such as printing of tickets, show cards, throwaways, leaflets, programs, etc. Then an appeal should be made to the party units and organizations under our influence that they should send their jobs to be done by the Daily Worker's printing establishment.... We find from experience that this is a permanent and most important financial resource of the paper. The Lithuanian daily, as such, brings a deficit of thousands of dollars every year, but most of this deficit is being covered from the source mentioned above." Bimba states that he believes the Daily Worker can be made a self-sustaining publication given the size of the party organization if its job printing function is expanded.
"About the Annual Meeting of Työmies," by K.E. Heikkinen [Feb. 13, 1926] Summary of the factional struggle in the Finnish Federation of the Workers (Communist) Party of America in the aftermath of the organization's 1925 reorganization program, which put the party on the basis of shop nuclei instead of the previous language federation-based system. The party loyalist Heikkinen uses the term "party crisis" to describe the 1925 situation and writes here to chronicle the downfall of former member of the Central Executive Committee Henry Askeli, who was removed as editor of the party's central region Finnish daily, Työmies (The Worker) as an oppositionist. Reading between the lines, it appears that Askeli defended the semi-autonomy of the Finnish Federation from growing encroachment on the part of the W(C)PA's Central Executive Committee. It seems the Superior, Wisconsin subdistrict of the Minneapolis district was the heart of this oppositional activity, with many on the staff of Työmies supportive of Askeli. Askeli was cashiered at the 4th National Convention of the WPA, held in Chicago late in August 1925. Askeli issued an article or document about one week after the Aug. 30 close of the convention, detailing his own view of the situation, marking a formalization of his oppositional perspective. The editorial staff attempted to defend Askeli from dismissal on technical grounds, according to this article, but the effort was turned aside by a strong majority at the annual shareholders' meeting.
"God, the Supreme Shoe Manufacturer," by Robert Minor [Feb. 27, 1926] This article by cartoonist and Workers (Communist) Party functionary Robert Minor was written in conjunction with the ongoing Brockton, MA blasphemy trial of Lithuanian Communist newspaper editor Anthony Bimba minces no words in its defense of "the revolutionary materialist philosophy." The archaic law under which Bimba was charged was a relic of the age "when Massachusetts was a colony and was steadily burning witches, and which in its first form imposed the death penalty for atheists," Minor indicates. Minor observes the relationship of the clergy to the ruling class and asserts that "it is necessary, from the point of view of the manufacturing interests, to make the “people” (that is, the working people) believe in some variation of the god myth." In opposition to this, the Communist "helps to free the working class of the superstitious conception of the universe, thereby helping the workers to direct their energies toward the liberation from the rule of the capitalist class," Minor declares. Minor likens the proceedings against Bimba to the recently completed "Scopes Monkey Trial" and asserts that "Bimba denied the Supreme manufacturer, and all of the little shoe manufacturers of Massachusetts, and their priests and preachers and ethical culturists strike at Bimba in vengeance."