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Socialist Appeal, Novemeber–December 1935, Volume 2 No. 2,
Transcribed, Edited and Formatted by Marty Goodman and David Walters in 2012 for the Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line and the Left-Opposition Digitization Project, a joint venture of the ETOL, Holt Labor Library and the Riazinov Library.

From FRAGMENTS of pages reprinted in the 1968 Greenwood Reprints edition. Greenwood in 1968 apologized for this incomplete copy, noting they searched ‘every major collection in the United States’ for an intact copy, without success.

Eight pages were reprinted. Each was missing about 10 to 25% of the page at the bottom or corners or edges. The first page seems to be missing. MOST of these articles, thus, are missing portions of the text.

x’s are used to indicate missing portions of text. There is NOT an exact 1 to 1 correspondence between number of x’s and number of missing letters. But there is a rough and vague (tho not really proportionate) one. Brackets [] are used where there was compelling reason to guess at what a partly wiped out word was. The letters IN the brackets are those guessed at. NOTE that only relatively compelling (from context) guesses resulted in letters being filled in, and in all cases when this was done, it is indicated. Eventually PDF files of all this material will be made available, so others can make their own guesses based on the fragmentary and damaged pages presented by Greenwood Reprints of this issue. —M. Riazanov


by Albert Goldman

A Permanent Feature of the Appeal

Countless problems arise in the socialist movement. Theoretical and practical questions crowd in one upon another in different sections of the country. They cannot all be treated at length, especially in a magazine so small as the Appeal. But they should be mentioned and discussed. An attempt will be made to treat those questions which do not receive extended discussion either in the Appeal or elsewhere in our party press.

If comrades disagree they are at liberty to say so in letters, without mincing words. If not too long, the letters will be printed; If too long their gist will be given. There is nothing in the revolutionary movement so important from the educational standpoint as a serious discussion on questions of theory and practice. We can have all the lectures and classes in the world and our membership will know very little about the problems confronting our movement. One hot discussion involving an immediate problem or a theoretical question can educate our members more than a hundred lectures and classes. And what is more, party members, like other human beings, love a fight and will come to hear a discussion of opposing view points but will not come to a formal lecture or class. We hope that the readers of the Appeal will not hesitate to write and take issue with any xxxaw point presented in the pages of the Appeal an in this xxxxx [in] paticular.

* * *

Socialist Election Victories

The electoral victories achieved by the Socialist Party in Reading and Bridgeport furnished occasion for the New Leader to go into raptures and to point out a moral which the right wing hopes the party members will take to heart. No one denies the party organizations of Bridgeport and Reading are in the hand hands of the right wing. Consequently the fact that McLevy was elected mayor of Bridgeport and Stump mayor of Reading is to the right wing a justification for their kind of socialism.

“ No pseudo-revolutionaries have shaped party policies, no scholastic speculations of what we will do during a period of chaos and confusion have disturbed the work of reaching the masses.” So goes the editorial of the New Leader of Nov. 9th. It was said of the Bourbons of France that they learned nothing and forgot nothing. Of the right wing it can be said they learn nothing and forget everything.

The socialists of Germany had tremendous electoral victories; the same is true of the communists of Germany. And what a pathetic role both parties played in the struggle against Hitler. They also pointed to their gains during elections as xxxxxtion that fascism could not gain power. The Austrian xxxxx had a tremendous nuxxxx tes. But the leader[ship] xxxx could only point xxxx little, weak fingxxxx xxxx fascists xxxx xxxx xxxx the Austrian xxxxxxx xxxx of the two cities. Tho[ugh] xxxx xxxnat the workers [in th]ose cities have traveled away from the capitalist parties and [ex]pect something from the Socialist party. With McLevy and [S]tump at the head of the Socialist parties in those cities the [w]orkers will surely be disappointed. Not the type of socialism [r]epresented by the good government socialists of Bridgeport, Reading and Milwaukee will solve the problems of the working [c]lass. Undoubtedly that type of socialism might receive more votes because McLevy and the rest of the reformists are every ready to compromise in order to get votes and because it takes [ti]me for the workers to decide to take the path of struggle [r]ather than that of voting.

We are not at all opposed to socialist victories at the pools. We shall work for such victories at every opportunity. But revolutionary socialists never forget that such victories at best are only an indication as to the development of the masses. Such victories tin themselves do not give power to the working class. The working class will gain power through organization and struggle and left wing socialist would much rather prefer a victory of the workers in a strike than an election for an alderman. To utilize every election for the purpose of educating the masses in principles of socialism and organizing them for the inevitable struggle is the task of revolutionary Marxists.

Let the right wing gloat at their “ victory” and sneer at those who are interested in theoretical problems. Their road is that of social democracy of Germany. The left wing, without minimizing the importance of the gains made, will realize that the struggle is far from being over with the election of a respectable socialist as a mayor of a city.

* * *

Workers’ Party Splits

Less than a year old, the Workers’ party has just experienced one of the inevitable “ pains of growth.” Some fifty to a hundred members of that party, led by Hugo Oehler, have been expelled from or left the party. They will probably form an addition to the numerous groups of revolutionary sectarians convinced that they are the only faithful disciples of Marx and Lenin.

At the very period when the Workers’ party was being organized by the amalgamation of the Communist League of America (Trotskyites) and the American Workers’ party (Musteites) Trotsky made a sharp tactical turn which history will undoubtedly record as one of the boldest and most brilliant maneuvers in revolutionary strategy. He advised the revolutionary internationalists of France to enter into the Socialist party. Later on he advised the same tactic for most other European countries. Naturally such a sharp turn caught many of his followers unaware and, accustomed to repeating formulas instead of analyzing every concrete situation, they accused Trotsky of “ capitulating to the social-democracy.”

In this country a bare handful of us also saw the necessity of bringing the isolation of the Trotksyists to an end by entering the Socialist part and participating in the general left wing movement of the party. The vast majority, however, determined to launch an independent party.

From the very beginning Oehler assumed a leftist position on the French turn and accused Cannon and Shachtman, the leaders of the W.P. of harboring designs of bringing the W.P. into the Socialist party. Although experiencing a considerable growth at the beginning, the new party did not continue to grow by leaps and bounds, as predicted by its organizers, and this fact aided in the formulation of a factional grouping which in turn paralyzed the party completely. The question of the “ French turn” was the center of the factional struggle. The more realistic Cannon saw the leftward movement in the Socialist part in this country and realized its importance; the doctrinaire Oehler swept that movement aside as of no consequence. A different approach to the backward tendencies in the S.P. was advocated [by] the majority under Cannon advising a sympathetic approach xxxx xxxx Ochlerites insisted upon an attack all along the line. xxxx xxxx xxxx the split has been consumated the W.P. is in a xxxx xxxx to solve the probl[ems of] its relationship to the xxxxx xxxxx xxxx. It seems clear xxxxx xxxx as an independent xxxx xxxxx xxxx. W.P. has noth[ing] xxxx xxxx xxxxxx highly improbable. This xxxxxxxx revolutionary xxxxx would be strengthened tremendously if the Trotskyites [would] decide to enter the Socialist party. Composed of a group [of ex]perienced revolutionists and probably the best trained theor[etical] group in the country, the Socialist party would have nothing to lose and everything to gain by admitting the Trotskyites into the party. The right wing, of course, will fight the admission of the Trotskyites tooth and nail but that should not for one moment make the left wing hesitate in advocating and fighting for their admission. Within the next six months we shall see whether the leadership of the W.P. and the leadership of the S.P. will further the interests of the revolutionary movement, - by accepting that application, with the understanding that they should be given all the rights and assume all the obligations of Socialist Party members.

* * *

Can the Stalinists Go Lower?

We were handed a sample copy of the People’ s Press. It was a Stalinist sympathizer who presented us with it. A look of triumph on his face. “ Take a look at that and see what we’ re doing to reach the masses.” We glanced through and not until we saw the names of Frank L. Palmer, and Carl Haessler, two stalwart Stalinist stooges, were we convinced that the Stalinist sympathizer was really serious.

This messy paper will obviously be justified as part of the American Approach, an idea which recently catapulted Lous Budenz into the Communist party. If the Stalinist are taking over July 4th, Memorial Day and perhaps Armistice Day why not become real Americans and get a large circulation of the press by showing the dainty ankles (and parts above it) of Hollywood stars? Why not give the American people Stalinism through sexual suggestion? And so with the blessing of the Stalinists the sympathizers have launched an organ which is a prelude to the People’ s Front (and rear).

Let us for a moment glance through the philosophy of the paper. We say ’ philosophy’ because after all a former professor of philosophy is connected with it. The first page informs the readers that fascism is a result of Mussolini’ s fondness for loose women. Afflicted with syphilis his brains softened and the result was visions of grandeur. On that same first page we are also treated with a suggestion that Hearst is what he is because of his fondness for Marion Davies. Knowing what we do about the communists we hope, for their sake, that no investigation be made into the private lives of some of the leading communists. Two “ snappy picture pages” will undoubtedly convince the innocents that socialism a la Stalin is really superior to capitalism.

Now if this were simply a venture to make some money for the promoters we would be tolerant and recognize the right of a human being living under the capitalist system to descend to the gutter in order to make an easy living although such people would surrender the right of being taken seriously in the labor movement. But we are certain that the People’ s Press was launched for the purpose of educating the American masses. In that case we are justified in asking: Must not the educators themselves be educated?

Several times before we were of the opinion that Stalinism had reached the lowest depths. With the venture of the People’ s Press we have become convinced that the pit is bottomless.

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