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Labor Action, 13 June 1949


One for the Museum

A Document From The CP Jungle:
How A Former Leader Was Expelled


From Labor Action, Vol. 13 No. 24, 13 June 1949, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


While little additional evidence is needed to prove the kind of dictatorial regime that exists inside the Communist Party, the following documentary material may still be of interest. It illustrates the way in which the CPs fuehrers go about expelling one of their own leaders (or former leaders).

The case involved goes back to 1948 but the material has only recently been published in a mimeographed internal bulletin put out for CP members by an opposition group associated with the names of Sam Darcy. Bill Dunne, Harrison George, etc., all formerly leading members Of the Kremlin’s American agency. The bulletin is entitled Manhattan Communist Bulletin – For a Bolshevized CP (sic) and is mailed by the group to CP members in New York. The issue quoted is April 1949.

The case is that of Max Bedacht, former secretary-general of the CP (1929-30), member of its national committee (1919-1936), member of the Executive Committee of the Communist International (1926) and formerly editor of The Communist. The document we republish here is a copy of the official charge laid against Bedacht, on the basis of which he was expelled. Readers may find it weird even for the totalitarianized CP. Bedacht was officially expelled because the differences of opinion which he held were not “honest” ones – that’s all.

His Own Medicine

An introductory note in the MCB summarizes the Bedacht case as follows. All capitalized emphasis in quotes is from the original. Boldface type is our own emphasis.

“The wave of expulsions from the Party is increasing. Today it reaches out to engulf everyone who is even slightly critical of Party leadership. It attempts to drown every voice, regardless of the past or present activity of the individual on behalf of the Party. One of the most incredible and disgusting cases is the expulsion of Comrade Max Bedacht, a charter member and former Secretary General of the Communist Party, U.S.A.

“Comrade Bedacht began to criticize the Party leadership several years ago. Although his criticisms were expressed only through the ‘legal’ channels of the Party and were based on 47 years of activity in the Communist movement, THEY WERE NEVER DISCUSSED OR ANSWERED. Instead, the Party leadership began a campaign of slander against him. Comrade Badacht submitted articles to the Daily Worker for the recent preconvention discussion, but they were never published. He was elected to the New Jersey State Convention, but the leadership refused to seat him as a delegate. He submitted a letter to the National Convention, but instead of discussing it, the leadership of the Convention prefaced a statement to it which, in effect, declared Comrade Bedacht expelled ...

“After this, the leadership asked Comrade Bedacht’s club (Frenchtown, N.J., Branch) to expel him. The club refused. The leadership thereupon appealed to themselves to reverse the decision of the club. This was accomplished without difficulty and Comrade Bedacht was expelled ‘officially’ on October 13, 1948.”

Thus another “enemy of the people” bit the dust. It should be added, in case that is necessary, that the procedure worked out on Bedacht should be perfectly familiar to that gentleman, since it is exactly the sort of thing Bedacht used to engineer in his own time. (He was on the receiving end, this trip.)

Following is the official document of the CP. It speaks for itself.


Review Commission of the Communist Party of New Jersey

It is our considered opinion that Bedacht’s vicious and slanderous attacks against the Party and its leadership are not motivated by, nor is its source, HONEST political differences of opinion on political line.

On the contrary, after investigation, we are convinced that Bedacht has attempted to develop “a line” in order to attack the national leadership of our Party.

Ever since 1946 when his thesis on National Group Work was rejected, Bedacht has refused to recognize his error, but on the contrary has embarked upon the road of factionalism, political disruption, and dishonest attempts at “line” making in order to smear and discredit the leadership of the Party – with the purpose of vindicating his own overexaggerated ego and his wrong position on the national-group question.

This explains Bedacht’s behavior during the whole pre-convention discussion. His was not a discussion of political problems. It was rather an attempt to USE the pre-convention discussion for factional purposes.

If anyone were to follow HIS “theoretical line” it could lead to nothing but disaster. If followed, that line would lead to the isolation of the left from all other anti-imperialist forces.

But Bedacht himself does not take his own line seriously. He is ready to back down and agree that tactics pursued are correct when he is pressed to answer specific questions. He gave his game away when he stated to the Chairman and Secretary of the Review Commission:

“Even though the line is not perfect, SOMETHING could be made of it. But it’s the leadership that’s no good.”

We have therefore come to the conclusion that Bedacht has been embarked upon a factional road ever since 1946. That he has sunk so low as to place himself above the Party and the interests of the working class.

He seeks to undermine the Party by projecting slogans and propositions which would disorient the Party and the working class; by carrying out a dishonest, underhanded campaign against the Party and its leadership; by willfully attempting to deceive the comrades in his club, county and state as to his real purposes and intentions.

Since the convention, Bedacht has shown no inclination towards recognizing the anti-party, anti-working-class road that he is traveling. On the contrary, he has continued his attempt at deceit and through double-talk and appeal to the “soft spots” of the comrades in his branch, attempts to remain in the Party for his self-announced purpose of “fighting the leadership the first chance I get.” It is the unanimous opinion of the State Review Commission that in view of the foregoing, Max Bedacht is no longer eligible for membership in the Communist Party as determined by Article III, Sections 1 and 2 of the Constitution CPUSA. We therefore recommend that the State Board of New Jersey Communist Party reverse the decision of the Frenchtown Club, and expel Max Bedacht from the Communist Party.

Review Commission Communist Party of N.J.

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