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Labor Action, 17 June 1946


Background of Those
Who Joined WP


From Labor Action, Vol. 10 No. 24, 17 June 1946, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


Last week’s Labor Action reported the entry of the SWP Minority into the Workers Party. We print below the revolutionary record of some of these comrades.

Albert Goldman

Albert Goldman, as a very young militant in the IWW, in Chicago, became one of the earliest founders and militants in the Communist Party. As a young Communist he distinguished himself by the first polemic written in this country in defense of revolutionary Marxism and the Bolshevik revolution, as embodied in the principles of the early Communist International, when he published a pamphlet in reply to an attack on Bolshevism written by the then leader of the American Socialist Party, Morris Hillquit.

In the same period, due to his militant activity in the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America in Chicago, he was framed by the right wing bureaucrats and expelled from the union. It is interesting to note that many years later, when he broke from the Communist Party to join the Trotskyist movement, the Stalinist leaders used the frame-up charges of the right wing bureaucrats against comrade Goldman, although more than ten years before then the Central Committee of the Communist Party had officially cleared him of the falsified charges.

Active for years in the Communist movement as one of its most prominent leaders in the midwest, comrade Goldman was especially known for his brilliant and tireless work in labor defense cases, having become the most prominent legal representative of the International Labor Defense.

After the climactic bankruptcy of the Stalinist movement in Germany in 1932–1933, which led to the unresisted seizure of power by Hitler, comrade Goldman and comrade Bennett broke away from the Communist Party and joined the Trotskyist movement, then organized in the Communist League of America. When the left wing movement began to gain strength and significance in the Socialist Party, between 1934 and 1936, comrade Goldman joined the Socialist Party and became the outstanding spokesman of its Marxist wing. When the right wingers succeeded in 1937 in expelling the left wing from the Socialist party, comrade Goldman became one of the principal founders of the new Trotskyist organization, the Socialist Workers Party, and a member of its National Committee. Active in every phase of work of the party, he achieved international prominence in the capacity of attorney for Leon Trotsky during the hearings conducted at Mexico City by the International Commission of Inquiry, headed by John Dewey.

As one of the outstanding defendants in the case, he also conducted the magnificent defense of the 18 Trotskyist militants tried in Minneapolis. He served a term of 18 months in the Federal penitentiary at Sandstone, Minnesota. Upon his release he became the active leader of the minority group in the Socialist Workers Party, fighting against the bureaucratic regime which the leadership had established in the party. He was the first to champion the idea of unification between the Workers Party and the Socialist Workers Party and conducted an unremitting struggle to have the party leadership decide in favor of unity.

At the recent meeting of the National Committee of the Socialist Workers Party, at which the Cannonite leadership made amply clear that it had succeeded in preventing the unification, and was determined to prevent it in the future, comrade Goldman announced that he was leaving the Socialist Workers Party and joining the Workers Party which stood for unity and for the principles of revolutionary Marxism and the Fourth International.

Lydia Bennett

Began activity in the Socialist movement at age of six as pupil and later teacher and member of Central Committee of Social-Democratic Sunday Schools of Chicago. Joined Young Peoples Socialist League just prior to the split in the Social- Democratic movement precipitated by the Russian Revolution and took a leftward course through the Independent YPSL, the Young Communist League (underground) and the Young Workers League (legal youth organization of the communist movement).

In 1921 became secretary and organizer of branch of the Workers (Communist) Party – subsequently the Communist Party – and served uninterruptedly as branch and section activist and functionary for twelve years. Was expelled from the Communist Party in 1933 for Trotskyism and became a member of the Communist League of America. Entered the Socialist Party in 1935. Was active in the organization of the Socialist Workers Party, becoming a member of the National Committee in 1942.

During the course of activity, functioned as organizer and secretary of Chicago locals of the International Labor Defense, Workers International Relief and Friends of the Soviet Union as well as of party units. In 1931 was secretary of FSU workers’ delegation to the May Day celebrations in the Soviet Union.

In the period of the great depression and its accompanying police repression against radical organizations, served time (or was “detained”) in 21 jails and prisons in four cities in two states for organization and agitation among unemployed as member of CP Unemployed Councils.

Acted consistently and uninterruptedly as organizer, teacher and speaker throughout her party history until the blighting attitude of the majority of the SWP toward minority opinion in its party made activity impossible.

FRANK JOHNSON: Member of Communist League of America, worker in heavy industry, trade union activist and organizer.

DELLA JOHNSON: Member of Social-Democratic movement in pre-revolutionary Russia, member of Young Communist League in the U.S., member of Communist League of America.

JACK RANGER: Joined Trotskyist movement in 1933 in Minneapolis. Defendant in Minneapolis case.

AL RUSSELL: Joined Trotskyist movement in 1932. Organiser of truck drivers in Omaha. Served jail term in Minneapolis for leading strike action. Minneapolis case defendant.

DAN LEEDS, BERNIE FORREST, SARAH LEEDS, MARIAN HILLYER: All members of Spartacus Youth, the youth section of the Trotskyist movement formed in 1932. KARL HILLYER, member of SWP since organization and formerly member of Yipsels.

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