James P. Cannon

Struggle Over Leadership of the ILD

Written: June 26, 1925
Source: James P. Cannon and the Early Years of American Communism. Selected Writings and Speeches, 1920-1928 © Spartacist Publishing Company, 1992. ISBN 0-9633828-1-0; Published by Spartacist Publishing Company, Box 1377 G.P.O. New York, NY 10116. Introductory material and notes by the Prometheus Research Library.
Transcription\HTML Markup: Prometheus Research Library
Copyright: Permission for on-line publication provided by Spartacist Publishing Company for use by the James P. Cannon Internet Archive in 2005.

The following is an excerpt from the minutes of the Executive Council (Political Committee), the leading committee of the Workers Party. At this time, the Cannon-Foster faction controlled the Council and was able to prevail over the Ruthenberg-Lovestone minority in the struggle for leadership of the International Labor Defense.

Present: Abern, Bittelman, Burman, Cannon, Bedacht, Lovestone, Ruthenberg. Later: Engdahl and Dunne.

International Labor Defense

Comrade Cannon submitted copies of the resolutions to be introduced at the International Labor Defense conference which were approved together with the reporters of the various resolutions.

Copy of the constitution as approved by the subcommittee was also submitted. The minority report of comrade Ruthenberg to strike out the section of the constitution providing for the organization of branches as part of the basic organization of the International Labor Defense.

After discussion the vote was taken resulting as follows:

For the Ruthenberg motion to strike out:

Ruthenberg, Lovestone and Bedacht.

Against: Bittelman, Cannon, Abern, Burman.

The steering committee as decided upon by the subcommittee consisting of Dunne, Gitlow and Cannon was approved.

The Executive Committee recommended that comrade Cannon be chairman of the conference.

Comrade Ruthenberg submitted the report that a non-party member be designated as chairman.

Voting in favor of the minority report:

Ruthenberg, Lovestone, Bedacht.

Voting against:

Bittelman, Abern, Burman, Cannon.

The subcommittee recommended that the steering committee be given full power to act for the CEC in the conference. The recommendation was approved unanimously.

The committee recommended that comrade Cannon be elected secretary of the Labor Defense. Comrade Ruthenberg submitted a minority report that comrade Bedacht be the secretary.

Voting in favor of the recommendation of the committee:

Abern, Burman, Bittelman, Cannon.

Voting for comrade Bedacht:

Lovestone, Ruthenberg, Bedacht.

Comrade Cannon submitted the following recommendations:

1. That the National Committee consist of a clear majority of party members.

2. That the Executive Committee consist of all or nearly all party members.

3. That the CEC decide definitely on the National Committee and Executive Committee at the meeting tomorrow.

After discussion comrade Cannon submitted the motion:

That the Executive Committee consist of 3/4 party members which was adopted unanimously.