Editorial Notes

What About Morgenstern and Goodman?

(May 1931)

Written: May 1931.
First Published: The Militant, Vol. IV No. 10, 15 May 1931, p. 2.
Transcription/HTML Markup: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
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What are the officials of the party and the I.L.D. going to do about the defense of Morgenstern and Goodman, the two members of the Communist League who are facing trial on charges of sedition in Philadelphia? Are they going to support them in the spirit of class solidarity and arouse the workers about the case, or are they going to continue to sabotage and betray these militants out of factional spite, as they have been doing up till now? We intend to have an answer to these questions, and every honest class conscious worker will want an answer too.

Our readers already know about the case. It is a part of a general attack against the radical labor movement in Pennsylvania. The two comrades were arrested for distributing the unemployment leaflet of the Communist League, and the statement in the leaflet that “the solution of the unemployment problem can be found only in the proletarian revolution” was held to be seditious by the Grand Jury which brought in the indictment. A number of Communists have already been convicted under this law. Only a few weeks ago comrade Lawrence, a party member, was convicted and sentenced. Indictments are pending against several others.

The problem is a very serious one. It involves the legality of the revolutionary labor movement in Pennsylvania and the liberty of the most active militants. A real move to arouse the workers and form a united front of class defense is needed. The I.L.D. has the duty of organizing this fight, but it is not being done. On the contrary, the bureaucrats are playing a game of the most treacherous sabotage.

At first they refused to do anything for Morgenstern and Goodman and the latter were compelled to get their own lawyers in the first proceedings and to raise their own bail. Up to the present date the Party press has suppressed all news of their case. The I.L.D. publicity ignores them. On top of that the united front conference of the I.L.D., with Engdahl present, refused to seat the delegates of the Communist League a few days after their indictment. Retreating from this shameful position under a storm of protest from workers in the ranks of the I.L.D., they are now trying to cover themselves up with a promise of “legal defense” at the trial.

This is not enough! Morgenstern and Goodman are revolutionists, and they do not rely on lawyers to get them “justice” in the courts of the class enemy. We want a mass movement of working class protest to defend them! We want a public mass meeting to inform the workers what is going on and what it means! We want a broad united front conference of workers’ organizations to launch a militant campaign against the sedition law and for the defense of all its victims! We want publicity about the case, not a conspiracy of silence, worthy only of agents of the prosecution!

You are playing with fire, bureaucrats!

The revolutionary workers have never yet turned their backs on class war prisoners because of their political views. If you continue to do it they will turn their backs on you. If the class defense of Morgenstern and Goodman cannot be organized with your help it will be organized without you and against you!

Last updated on: 27.12.2012