Update 14-17: Sunday, April 27, 2014.

"Official Minutes of the General Committee of the Socialist Party of St. Louis, August 4, 1919."  As the Emergency National Convention of the Socialist Party approached, the factional controversy in St. Louis expanded. The regular August 4 meeting of the General Committee (City Central Committee) was dominated by the report of Secretary William Brandt (reprinted as a separate document). An effort to table Brandt's report and the charges it preferred against several Left Wing activists was narrowly defeated, 18-17. A resolution proposed by Brandt was passed 18 to 15, querying whether the delegates present were supporters of either of the two Left Wing movements (Batt-Chicago or Ferguson-NYC) and whether they had taken part in the organization of affiliates of the Left Wing Section in St. Louis. The vote on this question was Yes: 6, No: 29, Refused to Vote: 10. An effort by the Left Wing and its sympathizers to force a general membership meeting of Local St. Louis was defeated procedurally by a vote of 18-15. One may conclude from the similarity of the voting on this set of divisive issues that the Center-Right faction held a narrow majority over the Left Wing and its sympathizers on the General Committee of Local St. Louis. A committee of 5 was selected to hear the charges preferred by Brandt and the meeting carried over to August 11.

"Report of the Secretary to the General Committee of the Socialist Party of St. Louis," by W.M. Brandt [August 4, 1919]  Lengthy report by the Secretary of Local St. Louis, Socialist Party, detailing the eruption of the Left Wing controversy in the party organization and formally preferring charges against Melting Pot editor Henry Tichenor and three members of the Local Executive Committee. Brandt notes that the Executive Committee had formally banned the distribution of factional literature from a July 20, 1919, mass meeting held in support of the Russian and Hungarian socialist revolutions. Joseph Stutz, Steve Witkay, William Waddell (aka George Moser) and Joseph Norvell had nevertheless sold copies of the July 5 issue of the Left Wing organ The Revolutionary Age at the meeting, Brandt notes, adding that 14 of the 16 pages of the tabloid were "devoted to the controversy and was full of malicious attacks on the Socialist Party." Moreover, Tichenor's magazine had declared itself the official organ of the Left Wing Section in St. Louis. The magazine had made note of headquarters obtained for the Left Wing Section's office. Hence, Brandt declares, "a secret underground organization was formed, by and of some of our party members, for the avowed purpose of destroying the Socialist Party in St. Louis." Brandt demands the appointment of a 5 member investigating committee to assess the merit of his charges, with their results to be returned to a special session of the General Committee (City Central Committee) of Local St. Louis one week hence.

"Official Minutes of the General Committee of the Socialist Party of St. Louis, August 11, 1919."  Continuation of the meeting of August 4, which named a 5 member committee to hear charges of party treason preferred by Secretary William Brandt against certain Left Wing activists of the Socialist Party of St. Louis (aka Local St. Louis). Surprisingly, the committee unanimously rejected all three of the specific charges levied by Brandt, indicating that since the General Committee of Local St. Louis had not condemned the Left Wing section, and since agitation for revision of the Socialist Party program was permissible, it followed that no violation of the party's organizational law had taken place. The convention to be held at the end of the month would decide the Left Wing question on the basis of evidence, the special investigative committee asserts. Secretary Brandt attempted to sink this report by proposing an alternative motion which would have dismissed the charges he had made against specific individuals, while "reorganizing" certain Left Wing party branches, effectively requiring party loyalty pledges for readmission. Brandt's aggressive alternative proposal was narrowly defeated, 26-24, before the original motion was positively concurred in by a vote of 23-18. These numbers again demonstrate a narrowly divided St. Louis organization on the eve of the 1919 Chicago split.


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