Letters from the Militants, The Militant, Vol. III No. 2, 11 January 1930, p. 8.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).
No doubt, by the time this appears in the Militant, the Freiheit will have reported another victory for the Party in the Minneapolis Independent Workmen’s Circle, Branch 89, It seems that the more decisively the Party defeats itself in the mass organizations with its “barricade” policies the more triumphantly it proclaims victories.
The scene this time, was the election of a delegate to the special convention of the order to be held in Boston, January 12, 1930. After weeks of campaigning in the Freiheit, and caucusing with every element willing to negotiate, Moses was finally able to gather together a motley support for himself at the meeting.
In the front rank of the supporters of the Communist party policy and its candidate stood such gentry as H. Supak, well-known needle trades boss, S. Segal, proprietor of a men’s garment shop, Shulberg novelty perfume manufacturer, and others of this ilk. This alliance is an excellent illustration of how extreme “Leftism” in theory goes hand in hand with open opportunism in practice. Moses is the same one we have many times exposed for the same practices while in the Party. This is the same Moses who shrieked for our expulsion as “renegades” and “counter-revolutionaries”.
Now although the open support of the bosses contributed somewhat to the defeat of the Party, the outstanding honors in all Justice, must be given to comrade Saltzman himself. Moses, it seems, was doing a fairly good job organizing his group in preparation for the elections, when the aforementioned strode upon the scene. First on learning that I. Berg, secretary of the local branch, was nominated in opposition to Moses, he launched a campaign of attack against him and all those who might support him as “Trotskyists,” “renegades” and “counter-revolutionaries”, although Friend Berg is quite innocent of the charge.
In reality, Berg is a typical Left wing I.W.C. worker of whom there are hundreds in the organization, loyal, painstaking and unalterably opposed to the policy of the party in the Independent, and to Moses, whom the party has entrusted with the execution of that policy. No factor contributed more towards crystallizing opposition to the party than the charge that all those who supported Berg as a delegate to the convention were “Trotskyites”, “renegades” and counter-revolutionaries. Every self-respecting Left winger, not befoozled by the new phraseology (and many who were) rebelled against this schoolmaster threat and voted overwhelmingly for Berg, though normally their vote might have gone to the party.
It is regrettable that our own comrades did not clearly take the lead for the position of the Communist Opposition. No clear voice was raised in defence of Communism and the Communist party as against the distortions and hysteria of the present party misleadership. It is true that the provocations of the Party bring out passionate rebellion from honest proletarians, but a Leninist direction must be given to this healthy movement, or it will be lost in the swamp of reaction and may become anti-Communist in character. It is above all essential at present for the comrades of the Opposition to clearly define before the membership its policy on all questions pertaining to the future of the order. A means must be given the Left wing (now repulsed by the Party) of rallying around Left traditions and preserve them against the black hand of reaction now reaching out for control of the order.
And this raises the question of the immediate development of a definite Left wing group in the Independent, one which will openly, militantly and clearly speak and act for Communist principles, criticising the maneuvers and phrasemongering of the Party and resolutely fighting for the presentation of proletarian policies within the order.
Last updated: 1.10.2012