Carl Cowl Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page


A Run-in with the Party in Duluth

(August 1932)

Letters from the Militants, The Militant, Vol. V No. 32 (Whole No. 128), 6 August 1932, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).


A rousing open air meeting was held Sunday night by the Communist League on the Court House Square. Listening attentively to an excellent speaking program, 600 workers applauded vigorously the fight of the Left Opposition for the unity of the Communist movement on the basis of Leninism. For the first time on the streets of Duluth the truth about the Chinese revolution and the crisis in Germany was told. Comrades Dunne and Skoglund, respectively, clarified these questions and demonstrated the international basis for the struggle of the Opposition, especially the menace of Fascism in Germany, which now constitutes the main danger to the Soviet Union.

Comrade Bloomberg’s analytical report of the four national conventions of the political parties held in Chicago was frequently interrupted by stormy applause. In a speech filled with fighting exposure of the Republican and Democratic platforms, and satire and scorn for the Socialist party platform, he called on the workers to rally behind the Communist party candidates in the coming elections.

It was not until the collection that the party bureaucrats became concerned. Some minor functionary called out to the audience that the money collected was not going to the Communist party. We can sympathize with the anxiety of one who makes a living from such collections on the street, but, as comrade Bloomberg immediately pointed out, the chairman, Miles Dunne, had openly announced the meeting under the auspices of the Communist League. All funds are to be listed for our publication and organization work. The audience responded splendidly.

Comrade Cowl then made an appeal for the unity of the Communists in the name of the Communist League. He urged all class-conscious workers to demand of the party bureaucrats a cessation of their splitting tactics concealed under pseudo-revolutionary slogans of social Fascism and their slander against the Left Opposition. He challenged the hecklers to debate the disputed questions then and there or any other time or place they might designate. Workers who accept our program for reform of the party should not hesitate to support our press and join our ranks.

Instead of rushing to the defense of the position of the party as self-respecting Communists should, the Stalinists proceeded to start another meeting in the center of the crowd, amidst boos and angry shouts of the workers, who saw that the issue at stake in this instance was clearly the attempt of the party to break up the meeting, after they had been invited to participate.

One Stalinist bureaucrat, with the bureaucrat’s contempt for the wishes of the working class, sneeringly launched a tirade of mud-slinging and personal slander against the character of Trotsky and the record of Bloomberg and Cowl. All of which, as is to be expected, left the audience cold. So that it was not difficult, in the midst of comrade Sara Avrin’s speech on the “Washington Massacre” to bring the entire audience, with the exception of the few faithful, to the other side of the monument which served as our platform. Here our meeting continued with greatly increased interest and closed with a number of questions and discussion. We called on all the workers present to participate in the anti-war demonstration the following night.

As these lines are written for the current issue of the Militant, a public challenge to the Communist party to debate the proposition: That Trotsky Is an Enemy of the Working Class has been issued in the capitalist press by the Communist League for Tuesday night on Court House Square. The results of this meeting and other organization work in Duluth will be reported in the next issue of the Militant.



Carl Cowl Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 31.12.2013