Correspondence With Theodore Draper

* * * * *


Please reply to
New York 25, N.Y.
Tel. Riverside 0-0000

April 8, 1958

Albert Weisbord
120 East 70 Street
Chicago Illinois

Dear Mr. Weisbord:

As you may know, I am working on a history of the American Communist movement in a project sponsored by the Fund for the Republic.

I am planning to come to Chicago the week of April 21-27 and I wonder whether I could see you at that time.

I look forward eagerly to the opportunity of making your acquaintance and spending some fruitful hours with you .


Theodore Draper


May 14, 1958.

Dear Mr. Draper

I am taking the liberty of sending you a piece which I would like to see printed in some magazine. What do you think, is it possible? If the Reporter would be interested, would you send it on to Mr. Ascoli for me? If not, will you not please return it as soon as you can so I may send it around myself without undue delay? Many thanks.

The enclosed piece is but one of a series. The others are entitled:
1.The Program of Big Business during the Depression;
2.Government Futility in a Depression;
3.The Communist Program in the Depression.

As you have learned, Mr. Ginsburg of Viking Press turned down “Perspectives of the Depression” but Mr. Best was kind enough to recommend another concern which is now considering it.

We’ll soon be through with the Deutcher Book and shall return it to you pronto. Your own work on France proved intensely interesting. Again many thanks.


Albert Weisbord


May 19, 1958

Mr. Albert Weisbord
120 East 70 Street
Chicago 37, Illinois

Dear Mr. Weisbord:

I waited to write to you until we had received the microfilm of the Class Struggle and I had a chance to go through it. The microfilm arrived this morning, and it made so many things clear that another questionnaire has become unnecessary.

You had two articles. Crucial Moments In Textile Strikes’ (June 1931) and “My Expulsion from the Communist Party” (August-September 1931 and December 1, 1931), that go into just the matters of greatest interest to me.

The events of 1929 can now be placed much more clearly. Losovsky’s attack on you was made at the July 1929 Plenum of the Comintern (Inprecorr, October 4, 1929, p.1197). Also it appears that you were present at the October 1929 plenum of the American party and represented a minority of one against the main resolution (The Communist, November 1929, p 582-3). At this plenum, you were removed from the Central Committee (Daily worker, October 15, 1929, p. 3). I have not been able to find any notice of expulsion; evidently you were quietly expelled or dropped out after this October 1929 affair. The first issue of Class Struggle, dated May 1931, says that the Communist League of struggle was organized March 15,1931. The last issue of Class Struggle is dated September 1937.

I am returning the Ciliga books, which I haven’t finished., because I’ve located copies I am buying. What I read in them seemed enormously engrossing, and now I’ll be able to go through them at my leisure, probably this summer.

I was sorry to hear about Viking’s rejection, but it did not come to me as a surprise. I hope that you’ve received a copy of The Roots by now. I tried out the article on “Our Utopian Labor Leaders…” on one of the Reporter fellows, because Ascoli is not in the city, and we agreed that it didn’t have a chance. You must be accustomed to this sort of thing by now, though, on second thought, I rather think one never grows accustomed to it. I can only think of two magazines where it might find a place, though I know them only as a reader. One is Dissent, put out by a youngish group headed by Irving Howe, and the other is The American Socialist, with an editorial board headed by Bert Cochran, a former Trotskyist. The latter’s address is 857 Broadway, New York 3. I do not dare try to predict what the reaction would be; I merely think that the piece would get a careful reading and there would be no disposition to reject it out of hand, judging from other material in both magazines. I found a great deal in it of the greatest interest, but publishing it requires an editor who does not mind a head-on collision with the entire organized labor movement as now constituted. I’m afraid The Reporter does not begin to fill the bill. Still, Ascoli is not the sort of man who is easily predictable and you might decide to send it into him on your own--without illusions. For various reasons, it would be best for you to do it directly; at least it’s not possible for me to intervene.

I am going to try to put together the whole Passaic story and after next week, and I Im going to take the liberty of bothering you if something should be unclear. Meanwhile, my deepest gratitude for your help so far, and I wish you would give my warmest regards to your wife.


Theodore Draper

P.S. I’m going to ask The Reporter to send you a copy of next month’s issue in which I’l1 have a review of the new Djilas book. T.D.


September 5, 1958
360 Riverside Drive
New York 25, N. Y.

Mr. Albert Weisbord
120 East 70 Street
Chicago 37, Illinois

Dear Mr. Weisbord:

I have been working on my chapter dealing with the Passaic strike and a couple of problems have arisen. They are not of great moment but, nevertheless, I like to clean up as much as possible. I hope you will not mind my bothering you.

1. I succeeded in getting a microfilm of a complete file of the Class Struggle. Of greatest important was your article, “Crucial moments in Textile Strikes,” in the issue of June 1931. However, one detail in this article has caused me some trouble.

It deals with the vote on affiliating the Passaic strike with the A.F. of L., and goes as follows:

“Led to believe settlement depended only on my withdrawal, led to believe that I would soon return to Passaic and would come back to the union at the earliest possible moment, I felt it necessary to retreat. The Communist Party officials had united on a motion to the effect that our affiliation to the A.F.of L. with the removal of the Communist leaders was a distinct victory for our policy.’ This I voted against. I proposed the following: the proposal to join the United Textile Workers in form and manner decided is a retreat. If it was not a question of facilitating this kind of a settlement (just and speedy settlement) we would not at this time and in this manner join the U.T.W. This motion was defeated. No settlement came. The strike dragged an four more weary months. Soon the textile organizations collapsed” (P. 5).

But in your book, The Conquest of Power, there seems to be a somewhat different version (Vol.II, P 1115 note).It goes:

“The Communist Party leadership terminated the Passaic Strike in a disgraceful fashion, all the principal leaders of the Party voting that the independent union formed enter the A.F.of L. despite the fact that the communist union leaders were to be expelled. Only two members of the committee voted against, of whom the author is one.”

It would appear that, in the Class Struggle version of 1931, you voted against the characterization of the strike affiliation as a “victory,” not against the affiliation itself. I rather tend to think that the earlier version seems most reasonable in terms of all the circumstances. Nevertheless., there is a discrepancy in the evidence.

Can you give me some guidance on this? I know that at this late date, the problem may be a difficult one but I thought it best to bring it to your attention.

2. The second question is a matter of a single detail and the fault is with the microfilm. I have been trying to find out what the C.P. had in Passaic before you arrived. In your article in Class Struggle, you give the exact figure but, alas, the original from which the microfilm was made was in poor condition and a few letters on the extreme left of the page were lost. And the information happens to come at exactly this point:

Your sentence reads as far as I can make it out :

“In Passaic in 1926 we had ? 0 members.”

In other words, you had a number ending with zero. I suspect that there were two numbers before the zero, for example, 150 or 200. But I can’t be sure.

By some miracle, do you have any idea what the figure was? Or have you located your own file of Class Struggle and can you check this point for me?

I hope you have had a pleasant summer. I worked hard and got through two thirds of my manuscript. If you happen to be in New York again, do not a fail to give me a ring. And warmest regards to your wife.


Theodore Draper


120 East 70 Street
Chicago 37, Illinois
September 8, 1958

Dear Mr. Draper

I am glad to be able to be of service to you in getting the facts straight on the Passaic Strike.

The two statements given in the Class Struggle and in the Conquest of Power are not at all in opposition to each other. I voted against the motion for my removal and my vote remained and stood never withdrawn, especially my own motion explaining the removal was defeated. I then obeyed the discipline of the Party and carried out the motion which I had fought. Had my removal been only a temporary maneuver I would not have stood against it at that time since I understood that I would be back as soon as we had entered the A.F. of L. I see now that these phrases were never meant by the C.P. leaders. Had I understood this point then I would never have proposed my own motion. Not only that I would not have obeyed their decision for my withdrawal. Please keep in mind that although the CP leaders had defeated my motion I explained my withdrawal to the workers exactly along the lines of my motion.

After the vote for my withdrawal was taken in Passaic the true and scandalous situation was revealed that the CP meant simply to desert the strike as holding nothing more of profit to them. They terminated the strike in a disgraceful fashion not simply because of my withdrawal, which was to them merely the first and necessary step, but by a whole series of capitulations and cowardly desertions of which I had not had the slightest inkling would be forthcoming.

I had never been against affiliation with the A.F. of L., on the contrary I had been for such affiliation, but not on condition that the workers leadership be expelled and disgraced. Affiliation without removal of militant leadership would have been a victory; affiliation with such removal as a temporary measure was a retreat; affiliation under the circumstances carried out by Gitlow and Co. was pure and simple disaster and betrayal of the workers. What the liars Gitlow and Co. were calling a “victory” was precisely the betrayal planned ahead of time that they were hiding in their conspiracy.

You can readily see for yourself that had the workers in Passaic been able to get a just and speedy settlement there would have been built up a strong and militant local union to which I could have easily returned and really nothing could have been done about it. The contracts could not have been torn up and the workers would have been protected and made stronger. But the liars Gitlow and Co. knew at the time that they were telling lies and that no such just or speedy settlement was actually in sight. Apparently they voted against my motion precisely because they did not want to go on record as having promised a just and speedy settlement was pledged to them were I to withdraw, not because they praised as a “victory” what I characterized as a “retreat” and then put in writing that the retreat was due to the pledge of a just and speedy settlement.

I can not seem to be able to lay my hands on my copies of the Class Struggle. There was a Jewish branch and a Hungarian branch. Others were built up in the course of the campaign. If you said about 150 members that would be about right, I think.

Let me sum up my position then:
1. I was against my withdrawal
2. I was against joining the UTW if I had to withdraw
3. I was reconciled to my temporary withdrawal, if the workers could get a just and speedy settlement, even if that meant also joining the UTW without me.
4. I obeyed the CP decision because I thought that we would have situation 3 realized.

We both reciprocate your good wishes. Many thanks. Can you send me address of Monthly Review so I can send them manuscript? Thanks

Albert Weisbord


August 6, 1959
Chilmark Mass

Mr. Albert Weisbord
6123 S, Kimbark Ave
Chicago 37, Ill.

Dear Mr. Weisbord:

We must have missed signals. I have been waiting for word from you before sending out the manuscript. I imagined that you might be making a trip and I didn’t want it to float around until you return. But nothing lost. The chapter will now go out to you and you should receive it in a few days, I am going to stay here until the beginning of September, then back to 360 Riverside Drive, New York 25.It would be safe to write to me here until August 20. In any event, there will be plenty of time for me to take into consideration your criticisms before turning in the manuscript. I look forward eagerly to -your reactions.


Theodore Draper


Mrs. Henry Schwarzschild
34-22 Seventy-sixth Street
Jackson Heights 72, New York
August 19,1959

Mr. Albert Weisbord
6123 South Kimbark Avenue
Chicago 37, Illinois

Dear Mr. Weisbord:

At Mr. Theodore Draper’s request, I am sending you herewith a copy of Chapter 9, “The Politics of Trade Unionism,” from his forthcoming second volume of the history of the CPUSA.

Mr. Draper will have written to you about this. As you know, he would appreciate having your comments as soon as possible.

Would you be good enough to return the manuscript to me but to send your comments to Mr. Draper directly. After August 28, he will be back in New York at 360 Riverside Drive, New York 25.

Sincerely yours,

Kathleen Schwarzschild


6123 Kimbark
Chicago 37, Illinois
August 26, 1959

Dear Mr, Draper:

The arrival of your manuscript containing your “Chapter 9 ‘The Polities of Trade Unionism” permits me to comply with your requests that I send you my comments .I shall limit myself to remarks about the Passaic strike and to me personally.

1. First of all, I ask you to change your footnote #28 so as not to base your remarks about me on an “interview”, since I do not know what notes you took, nor their correctness, and your footnote gives the impression that I am responsible for your statements. The fact is, you have made a selection of your own which is not accurate in all respects. For my personal data it is bettor to rely on this written letter than on any “interview". (For example, let me say now that despite my study of Leninist literature at Harvard I did manage to get good marks, and even earned a Scholarship. I had even been selected for Phi Beta Kappa in C.C.N.Y even though I was very busy with Socialist literature.)

2. Before becoming National Secretary of the Young Peoples Socialist League, I had been an active member of the Socialist Party Branch in Brooklyn, New York. Had given courses for the Rand School of Social Science under Algernon Lee and David P. Berenberg, and had received from that School a sum of money for research for a treatise on the value of nonofficial educational institutions at a time when the New York State Legislature was trying to make the operation of the Rand School difficult, if not illegal. I was also an active worker in the Socialist Party election campaigns at the time.

I was elected National Secretary of the Young Peoples Socialist League not by accident but only after a long and arduous organization tour of several months duration from which there had emerged a National Convention in Fitchburg, Massachusetts where I was unanimously chosen.

I was not only the National Secretary of the Young Peoples Socialist League but also, in 1924, a member of the National Executive Committee of the Socialist Party, the Acting District Organizer for the Socialist Party for Massachusetts, and a delegate to the Conference for Progressive Political Action that nominated LaFollette for President in Cleveland that year.

During my entire Socialist Party period I was an activist, strongly believing in organizing the masses of workers not because of any inspiration from the Narodniki (whom, however, I respected) but because of correct Socialist principles. I often spoke before trade union bodies and carried on organizing work. I participated actively in the 1921 mine and railroad strikes and addressed local strikers in Utica, New York, Terre Haute, Indiana, and elsewhere.

Thus, by the time I had decided to join the Workers (Communist) Party in 1924 I had had already a number of years of hard practical organization work behind me and on no account could be considered “Just a student". In fact, I had had a far better training than “Zig-Zag” Fosters, the Cannons, the Dunnes, the Johnstones, the Lovestones and the others who overnight, as it were, had jumped to leadership of the immigrant Communists.

When I resigned from all positions in the Socialist Party and entered the ranks of the Workers Party, my resignation stated that I believed that the Socialist Party did not represent the working class. The works of Lenin about testing leaders of the movement in struggle matched my own views. The theses on Bolshevization of the Party and the changeover from foreign branches to shop nuclei and work directly among the masses of workers were especially appealing. At the time I did not know of the artificial and shyster character of the Workers Party leadership and its generally untested history and my own views on the necessity of testing party leaders through struggle were to bring me the outright hatred of the top party leadership regardless of factions.

That the Workers Party did not consider me as some innocent youngster was seen in their offer that I come to Chicago for work in the “center”, which I refused becoming, instead, a textile weaver. I was never asked to join the Young Communist League headed by such permanent “youngsters” as Schactman, Zan, Darcey, Harberg, et al. The Daily Worker printed my resignation on its first page.

After joining the Workers Party and acting under John J. Ballam then the New England District Organizer, I became the most active force in creating the United Front Committees of Textile Workers of which you write and which really existed only in Massachusetts and in Rhode Island. In the course of my visits to Lawrence, Massachusetts, I helped influence the One Big Union minded Fred Beal, whom I had previously been in contact with when I was a Socialist Organizer, to become a part of the group. His role was to increase in the New Bedford Strike of 1928.

John J. Ballam strongly agreed with this work and I believe that he was so impressed with it that, as an influential member of the Ruthenberg group, he helped greatly in moving that group to change its trade union line in a parallel direction. This trade union decision of the Ruthenberg group was, indeed, one of the factors that induced me to adhere to that group. From my point of view, it was not that I “accepted” Ruthenberg’s line so much as the Ruthenberg group had agreed to mine. I did not have to change my views; the Ruthenberg group had to change its.

Thus, it is not Gitlows work among the miners early in 1925 that led the Party in the new trade union line. so far as the organization of the unorganized was concerned, it was the United Front Committees of Textile Workers.

The term “United Front Committees” was applied to our organization because we felt we were organizing only preliminary groups composed of militants of various tendencies in preparation for our wider strike and unionization campaigns.

It was following this strategy that, an my initiative and urgings, the Party decided to allow me, under Ballam’s supervision, to call all the scattered independent small textile unions into a conference to get them to unite to organize the unorganized. After an extensive tour by myself on which I reported in full to the Party, a conference of those unions was held in New York City in 1925. Even before Passaic I had been arrested several times for organizing activities. At the time of Passaic I was an active member of the Associated Silk Workers Union of Paterson.

3. You write I developed a theory to turn to the “Industrial Villages"; This was a "thesis” submitted to the Party and a formal article appeared prominently in the Daily Worker entitled “Face to the Industrial Village” under my name. Could you not find this article and cite it in your footnotes? This article was in correction of Bucharin’s right-wing slogan “Face to the Village” which was then so popular in the fight against Trotsky’s Program of industrialization.

4. The local Communists I “rubbed the wrong way” were the Jewish former Bundists in Paterson. I did not rub the local Communists of Passaic the wrong way, nor those of Boston, or of Providence. In New York, yes, the District leadership was rubbed the wrong way, but they were going the wrong way!

Right in the text you quote a Joseph Freeman’s impression of me that I was both morbidly ambitious and morbidly shy. No one ever called me morbid before or since, to my knowledge. There were many people who know me by close observation, why do you have to give prominence to a person whom I did not know and who did not know me? Is this your best source of authority as a historian, or do you yourself artfully want to show me as morbid? What is the sense of this artificial intrusion of such an authority as Freeman? When did this gentleman make the statement. Certainly not at the time of the Passaic strike. Was it made at the time when the party hacks around the “Masses’ were trying to besmirch all non-stalinists? Do not forget that you, yourself, got your training there and it is something for you to get out of your system. I know that the Ford Foundation for the Republic is not created to show any Communist whatever in a good light, and I do not expect you to make me an exception, but you would have a better place as an historian if you did not pick your historical “sources” from the group of dilletante hangers-on composing the “Masses” scribblers.

Similarly, you cite a couple of people who write that I was a “figure head". Since I take it you yourself do not believe this, why not state in the same footnote whether they offered any basis in their text for such a conclusion? What I am trying to say is, that as a historian, you have to show some judgement as to whom you cite, and why you cite them not just pick them off the street,

5. You write that I won over the Passaic workers because of fervor and loyalty. But how about correctness of policy, strategy, and tactics, do you think that they, together with courage, count for nothing with the workers? Your addition of the adjective "charismatic” is gratuitous and gives the impression that I was some sort of religious messiah. You are not here writing clever superficial pieces for some magazine but trying to act as a sober historian.

You say “I could not repeat it”, meaning the Passaic strike. This is an ambiguous phrase since the same situation is never really repeated in history. But, what do you mean to imply by this type of guesswork as to what I “could” or “could not” do? You are in no position to judge this, but only that I, in fact, did not repeat Passaic.

6.It perturbs me that although, in answer to your request, I wrote you, in a letter dated September 8,1958, the full story of my veto on my withdrawal from the strike and stressed how the two accounts in the Class Struggle and in the Conquest of Power were not in the least contradictory, you completely ignore this letter of mine so that by implication, I’m placed in a position of telling “two versions” and thus of lying, or covering up, or something of the sort. This is doing me an injustice and I resent it.

Let me spell out my position again so that I cannot be misunderstood:

a) The Party Leaders wanted to dump the strikers and get rid of all responsibility. While this was the real motivation, of course they did not openly express it.

b) At the meeting the Party Leaders declared that they had definite guarantee’s that the mill owners would agree to a just and speedy settlement but only if they dealt with the U.T.W. A.F.L and not with the U.F.C. At the same time the Party leaders declared that the U.T.W. would take in the strikers and negotiate this just and speedy settlement but only if Weisbord withdrew from the picture. These Party Leaders then moved that the strikers enter the U.T.W.. at the price of Weisbord’s withdrawal as this would be a victory for the Party.

c) I and Zak voted against this motion which was however, carried. When I voted against the motion including my withdrawal, I was voting against all of it, not part of it. It included a vote against my withdrawal against these circumstances, and I never retracted that vote. Now, having lost in the first motion, I then introduced my own motion, affirming that the removal of the strike leader was not a victory but a necessary retreat in the light of the pledge for a just and speedy settlement. This motion was voted down. I proposed this motion because
1) it definitely put on the record that the Party leaders had declared they had secured a pledge for a just and speedy settlement, and
2) that my withdrawal, being only a retreat, had to be considered in the light of temporary expediency and not in the light of permanency. Whereas the Party leaders wanted to liquidate the strike and the union and they in reality had no pledge for a just and speedy settlement, I thought the union would be made secure by a contract which would allow me to return later. Whereas the Party leaders wanted me to be removed for good (though they did not say this) I wanted to return.

d) Now that their motion was carried against my vote and my own motion had been lost, the question arose, should I obey the decision of the Party. The answer was YES,
1) because I was not opposed on principle to joining the A.F.L;
2) because I thought I might be able to come back into the Union and once inside the A,F.L carry on more strongly than ever;
3) because it would have been very difficult to carry on all alone.

e) Someone had to explain the matter to the strikers, and it could be no other than myself. My explanation followed my line and not that of the Party Leadership. I said we had received pledges for a just and speedy settlement if they joined the U.T.W. and that the treacherous U.T.W. leaders would not take them into the AFL unless I withdrew. While withdrawal of the strike leader would ordinarily be a strike breaking act, still here the strike would soon be over according to the pledge and at any rate I would be around to see that everything went well. This was not farewell but au revoir, Later, the Stalinists were to declare that I had “run away” from the strike and had thus betrayed the strikers.

7. You speak of the role of Foster, Gitlow and others, but don’t mention the absence of any effective role by Cannon, or, better, his liquidatory view that Communists should not lead strikes since they will always be crushed. I have exposed Cannons point of view in my writings but—strange to say- you fail to mention it.

8. In your chapter you deal not only with Passaic but with the garment workers struggles conducted by Gold, Wortis, Boruchewits, Zlmmerman, and others. It seems to me you might well make the point that these people had an organized, disciplined fraction behind them, in an organized field; it was quite otherwise in Passaic. It is one thing to win over a local union controlling small factories centered in a socialistic working class; it is another to go out into an unorganized field facing huge corporations and having an entirely new working class element to deal with. The two struggles are really not on the same plane.

In one sense I had an advantage here. In the garment trades, Party factionalism among the membership could always be used to hamper the left-wing leaders to bring them in line with whatever Gitlow or Foster or the others decided, This could not be done in Passaic. The Party leaders HAD to work through me, Knowing full well my contempt for them. No Dunne (of the Cannon group) could say to me “you must crawl back on your belly” as he could say to Zimmerman.

Incidentally, we never stopped issuing membership cards in Passaic, although we did not collect dues from strikers since they had no income.

9. I can not agree with you that the Party leaders effort to get rid of the Passaic situation was due to Moscow’s interference. The Comintern decision to the effect that "accessional movements and the formation of parallel trade unions should not be instigated or encouraged” did not pertain to Passaic. Passaic did NOT represent a accessional movement, nor was it a dual union. although the Comintern criticism conceivably might have applied to the garment workers struggles. The organization of the unorganized was no dual unionism.

In 1927, 1928, and 1929 I continued to work exactly as in 1926. Now does that fit in with your theory? In 1927 I was District Organizer in Detroit trying to organize an independent Auto Workers Union. In 1928 I was delegate to the Profintern where I refused to work with Gitlow and did not go with him to his visit to Bucharin. From the Profintern I went immediately to the New Bedford Strikes, etc.

All this means that your entire position that Passaic was ended by order of the Comintern is entirely false and your entire chapter has to be rewritten in the light of that fact. Your guesswork is that of an “outsider” and can easily be exploded.

The actions of the Party leaders toward Passaic can be explained by the fact that these leaders were not prepared to remodel the Party and the leadership along the lines that work such as that in Passaic must inevitably entail. In essence, these party leaders had never been communists and could not become so now. The Comintern was not against the Passaic venture; rather in 1928 the Comintern was sabotaged by the American Party leadership.

The Passaic strike had great reverberations for the Party in many respects. It made the old language federations, the old factions. the old leaders, and the old methods obsolete. The membership was greatly stimulated to emulate the Passaic example. Large numbers of young people took a f resh course in their work and tried to carry on in a similar manner. And never forget that the Party leadership was honeycombed with men like Foster, Lovestone, Zak, Gitlow. and others who were suspected of working with the police and federal government and who later showed their true colors in that respect.

In all your work you overlook the fact that the Party was more the agent of the FBI than it was of the Comintern. If you do not grasp this fact you do not grasp the essential story of the Party, although if you stated so the FBI would never forgive you.

Willy-nilly, however, after Passaic the Party leaders could not stop the new trends which Passaic had opened up. They could not stop the participation of the United Front Committee under my direction in the New Bedford Strike and in the Paterson Strike of 1928; they could not stop the formation of a new National Textile Workers Union of which I was unanimously elected in 1928 the National Secretary; they could not stop the organization of the Gastonia strike and union in 1929 under my direction and planning as National Secretary of the National Textile Workers Union.

10.You fail to mention that the Passaic Strike, for all the liquidatory efforts of the Party leaders, was yet carried on so long and well because the entire Party membership rallied to the cause. Many fine loyal party members participated actively in the field and when the Party Leaders treacherously withdrew not only me but many active comrades, some of them refused to leave and carried on the bitter struggle to the end. Other party members were very active in the rear giving aid through such organizations as the International Labor Defence. the International Workers Relief, cooperatives, trade unions, language clubs, etc. This to no trifle to overlook, but you managed to do it. Do you know why? Because you refuse to give any credit to any communist worker if you can avoid it.

You also overlooked the “trifle” that when the workers went back to work they won more than the right to be rehired without discrimination. The 10% wage cut was rescinded and similar wage cut threats throughout the country were never carried out. You who are so quick to quote the trifling Freeman, how can you overlook this?

11.The Police agent Jack O’Brien was sent to me by the New York District Office through Bert Miller (with knowledge, I am sure, of Weinstone, Stachel, Gitlow, and others). I had never met him before in my life and, in the light of Gitlow’s police lies, you better make this crystal clear.

12. Incidentally, Passaic was not a silk center but a wool and worsted center. My ideas of an extension of the strike was to connect Passaic and Paterson through the Lodi - East Paterson area, the great piece dying center of the country. We never seriously expected a strike in Lawrence as we had no illusions about the Party Leadership, or about such plain rank-and-filers as Beal.

Please let me know what corrections you intend to make.


Albert Weisbord


September 2, 1959

Mr. Albert Weisbord
6123 Kimbark
Chicago 37, Illinois

Dear Sir:

I dislike answering insulting letters, but I am going to make an exception in your case.

For your information, I intend to make such corrections as I see fit, but I will take your letter of August 26,1959 into account. It has, indeed, enabled me to see some things more clearly and I certainly intend to make some changes, though not necessarily the ones you may expect.



Theodore Draper


[Below is an outline of a letter or article in regard to the above correspondence.]

How Not To Write History—Draper

1.Draper not historian but flashy, cynical reporter out to prove that there is not a single worthwhile person among the Communists.
A. Uses subjectively sources of information.
B. Makes wild guesses.
C. Unproved generalizations.
D. Gyrates among leaders.
E. Overlooks mass of members.
F. Frequently omits important matters.
G. Uses footnotes falsely.

2. Title shows work not history but dedicated to prove a point. Previous title “Roots of Communism” not at all “Roots".

3. Ruthenberg a “mere Office Executive".

4. Foster’s role in the Steel Strike.

5. Bedacht previously an old fashioned radical agitator (quotes Bedacht himself)

6. What was the membership of Foster’s syndicalist league of N.A. which lasted 1912-1914, of the Int. T.U.E.L. 1915-1916? Whom did he organize? Did he organize packing house workers 1917?

7. Cannon becomes I.W.W. organizer. What job did he hold? Whom did he "organize"? Any activist could be “organizer” all this based on Cannon …….

8. Pg-78 Cannon’s ……. ……. had given him a vivid impression of how big the Country was” But Cannon as I.W.W. org……………………………………………………