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Reva Craine

The SWP and the New York Elections

(5 July 1945 / 3 September 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 36, 3 September 1945,p. 4.
The letter is also quoted in full in Party Policy in the New York Election Campaign, SWP Internal Bulletin, Vol. VII No. 7, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The New York Local of the Workers Party has just made public the text of a letter which it sent more than a month ago to the corresponding branch of the Socialist Workers Party in an effort to arrive at an agreement which would avoid the presentation of two conflicting candidates for the office of Mayor of New York in the present municipal election.

The Socialist Workers Party, while it never acknowledged receipt of this letter or sent a reply to the proposal, has, however, decided to reject the offer to arrive at an agreement or even to discuss the possibility of joint action.

As readers of Labor Action know, Local New York of the Workers Party announced some time ago its decision to nominate Max Shachtman, national secretary of the party, for the office of Mayor. It was only after this announcement was made public that the Socialist Workers Party decided to enter a candidate of its own for the same office.

In spite of this fact, the Workers Party felt it its duty to the cause of revolutionary socialist unity to address a letter to the Socialist Workers Party in the hope of averting the confusion that might well be created among many militant, radical and socialist workers who would be confronted with a choice between two candidates whose election platforms do not have any fundamental differences between them.

As is to be seen from the letter, the terms of the agreement were left entirely open so that they might be arrived at in the course of discussion between the two organizations. The letter also points out that regardless of the terms of the agreement, it would not be necessary for either party to give up its own platform, its own views, or its own campaign, all of which could be put forward in complete political independence.

It is well known that such practical agreements are not only permissible from the standpoint of socialist principle, but have been made time and again between working class parties and organizations, even though there have been political differences between them on numerous questions.

The Socialist Workers Party, however, or rather the Cannonite group in the leadership of it, voted to reject the Workers Party proposal out of hand. The rejection was voted against the protest of a minority group, led by Albert Goldman, Felix Morrow and Oscar Williams, prominent party leaders, who pointed out the need and value of accepting the proposal of the Workers Party and appointing a sub-committee of the SWP to discuss the question with the WP.

The action of the Socialist Workers Party, which is animated by a narrow-minded and bureaucratic sectarianism, as well as by a violent factional antagonism toward the Workers Party, is only the latest of a series of such actions which have brought discredit to the SWP. Among the most discrediting of these actions in recent times, which aroused bitter criticism even in its own ranks, was its refusal in Los Angeles and Akron to join with the Workers Party and other groups in united picketing demonstrations against notorious fascists like Gerald L.K. Smith and Gerald Winrod.

The full text of the letter sent to the Socialist Workers Party by Local New York of the Workers Party over the signature of its organizer, Reva Craine, is as follows:

July 5, 1945

Local New York City Committee
Socialist Workers Party
116 University Place
New York, N.Y.

Dear Comrades:

As you know, the Workers Party has nominated Comrade Max Shachtman for the office of Mayor in the coming New York municipal campaign. We note that the Socialist Workers Party has nominated Comrade Farrell Dobbs for the same office, and Louise Simpson for the office of Councilman. The campaign platforms present by the Workers Party and the Socialist Workers Party in the New York election will, in all likelihood, reveal no fundamental or radical differences. Under these circumstances, much confusion can be created among workers, especially those who are more advanced politically, and the common cause to which we adhere can be harmed.

We believe it is possible to arrive at an agreement between the two parties which, while assuring the political integrity of both, would eliminate the confusion and avert the harm. While confident of the possibility of joint action in the election campaign, we do not wish, to anticipate its exact terms.

Therefore, we have selected a sub-committee to meet with a similar committee representing your organization for the purpose of exploring the possibilities of joint action in the New York election. Our sub-committee is prepared to meet with you at the earliest possible moment


Fraternally yours,
Local New York, Workers Party
Reva Craine, Organizer

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