Hal Draper

Yipsels Remain True to Revolutionary Tradition

(August 1937)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. 1 No. 3, 28 August 1937, p. 9.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

“The Yipsels show in advance what the party will be like a year from now” – that is what the left wing Yipsels used to boast during the last few years, When each advance of the party to the left was presaged and prepared by a similar movement among the youth. In the fight against the first Old Guard, the YPSL was. won soonest, and became a powerful lever in swinging the party.

Today too the national YPSL belongs to the left wing. And this is one of the reasons why the Right wing entered upon its present desperate campaign to split and liquidate the party before the left wing gains a majority. It is also one of the surest indications that the Appeal group is the heir and continuator of the best left wing traditions of the movement.

Majority with Appeal

An overwhelming majority of the YPSL supports the left wing Appeal group. Here is a quick survey of the national situation.

  1. Out of approximately 1,200 members, we have at least 800. And as usual, the percentage is much more on the basis of active membership only.
  2. Almost all leading cities and states are ours: California, with about 200 members, among whom the non-Appealites can be counted on two hands; Ohio; Massachusetts; Chicago; upstate New York; eastern Pennsylvania; Newark. In New York City, Appeal is the largest group, larger than Clarity, but not a majority, having received 41 per cent of the vote in the city election held last May. In Philadelphia, steady gains are being made.
  3. Virtually only Appeal cities and states have registered growth in numbers, in activity and mass influence. California has grown in the last year, under Appeal leadership, from two circles to ten or more, with inspiring work especially among the agricultural workers. Chicago’s membership has actually doubled under Appeal control. Meanwhile the Clarity centers stew: Pittsburgh, the only important Clarity city outside of New York and Philadelphia, is a good example of this.

And the little-tin-soldier leaders of Clarity pretend that they are the mass-workers while we are ... sectarians!

Clarity however controls the NEC (elected two years ago) and the national machinery; and like the capitalist class, they are determined that the Left shall not win legally. Panicky, they are resorting to every shady trick to keep a formal majority at the coming National Convention in September.

Shady Clarity Devices

  1. The NEC shifted the place of the convention from the mid-West (Ohio or Chicago) to Philadelphia, which is a Clarity city and all the way East, thus making it more difficult to send delegates from the Appeal centers in the West.
  2. The basis of representation is nothing short of weird: one delegate for 5 members, two for 8, three for 23. The exact effect of this is uncertain at present.
  3. The books were closed for dues payments counting towards convention representation on May 30, when the convention call was issued by the NEC, without any previous drive for paying up. All that was done was to insert a notice in YPSL Affairs, which goes only to leading comrades. At the same time, circles were allowed to purchase stamps on credit up to May 30, even though they paid at any later time. The result is that many places will not be fully represented because they were not given a chance to make a drive; and the Clarity National Office can use the credit provisions to jack up the representation of Clarity circles by bookkeeping transactions.
  4. That Clarity is using such crooked measures to steal the convention has been proved through a private letter which came to light in New York, from Irving Barshop, New York Executive Secretary, to Al Hamilton. It shows, first, utilization of Altman’s split campaign in New York to get rid of Appealites in strategic circles where their vote and influence would count; and second, direct falsification of League records to increase Clarity representation. One can assume that this practise was not limited to New York.

Expulsions Begin in New York

In New York the Clarity-Right wing bloc in control of the YPSL has recently been conducting as real a split campaign as has Altman in the party. When four Yipsel applicants for the party were rejected as “Trotskyites” (two of them with the consent of two Clarityites on the party Executive), the YPSL Clarityites illegally dropped them from the League also, because “Altman demands it”. All posts are being denied Appealites. Unprecedentedly flimsy charges have been brought against Appealite Executive Committee members. The latest move was the expulsion of Comrade Bergner, who recently broke with Clarity on uncovering the letter referred to above and preferred charges against Barshop. The charges against Barshop were not taken up, but instead Bergner was illegally expelled with no quorum present!

These crooked dealings and provocative attacks on the left wing have so far resulted only in the resignation of a group of members from the YPSL Clarity caucus in New York.

What stands out above all is: if the three-way split which Clarity so desires takes place, there will be no youth organization left but ours. Clarity (and, it goes without saying, Altman) will not be able to salvage enough from their wreckage to maintain a pretense of an organization. The YPSL will continue its traditional custom of going with the left.

Last updated on 19 November 2014