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Party Breaks Meet in Malden

(September 1931)

From The Militant, Vol. IV No. 25 (Whole No. 84), 26 September 1931, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

BOSTON – At its last meeting, the Malden branch of the League of Struggle for Negro Rights, upon the suggestion of comrade Dubin, one of its members and a known member of the Boston Left Opposition, voted to have comrade S. Gordon lecture before them on the Negro and Unemployment. As soon as this leaked out to the party district office, orders were immediately issued to mobilize the party fraction of the L.S.N.R. to prevent Gordon from speaking at all costs. The fraction thereupon instigated the branch secretary to notify the rank and file of the organization that the lecture had been called off, without any previous decision by the branch or any other such bothersome “bourgeois” procedure.

The meeting was attended by about half a dozen party members of the fraction and only two non-party Negro comrades, while the organization is supposed to have a membership of more than forty, mainly Negro workers. Immediately, the party fraction put through one of its members, Pizer, who had not attended a single meeting since the formation of the branch, but who had been sent down for the special purpose described above, to preside at the meeting. He quickly rattled through the business end, and then, concerning the decision passed previously, he declared brazenly (after the nth turn towards workers’ democracy in the mass organizations) that the branch in Malden had no right to choose who should speak for it, the L.S.N.R. is an organization closely affiliated to the Communist party, there is a United Front Scottsboro Committee in Boston, all speakers must be approved by that committee before they can speak before the branch (!). Amidst protest this tool of the bureaucracy proceeded, as chairman, to make an amendment to the motion passed invalidating it. Amid further protests, the party fraction rushed the amendment through in such a whirlwind fashion that a number of sympathizers who had gathered to hear the lecture just stood there dazed.

Comrade Dubin, after some difficulty, obtained the floor, denounced the maneuvers of the nether bureaucrat, and demanded that Gordon be allowed to make a statement before leaving. The chairman shouted him down, arousing the indignation of a non-party Negro comrade present, by the name of Hindon, who got up, expressed the purpose of the organization as a united front organization to be a struggle against the capitalists and not a fight against others who want to participate in this united front, and also demanded that Gordon be given the right to make a statement. This comrade too was shouted down by the chairman, and councilled in a threatening manner “not to allow his sentiments to get the better” of him (!). The pretty trick of the bureaucrats had been carried through, disruption and confusion had been thrown into another “non”-party “mass” organization, with the sole end in view of preventing the Opposition from making its voice heard before the workers.

Some of the party fraction tried to provoke the comrades. We interfered, calling out loud that we leave all fighting to be turned against the bosses, among the workers we demand only discussion, and we’ll get it yet! It is quite clear that the only achievement of the whole tactic pursued by the party, is further discreditment, further isolation from the masses, further confusion of the ranks of the revolutionary workers. The incident is very typical. Our answer, the answer of the Opposition, to such wretchedness, must be: a tenfold increase in our activities, a powerful concentration of our efforts to penetrate the ranks of the party, to put a stop to this suicidal policy which is leading the party and the revolutionary movement to destruction. Many and heavy tasks are facing us, the objective situation presents enormous possibilities for real and rapid advance to the revolutionary goal. We must not allow this petty violence, this dissipation of the forces of the revolutionary vanguard to go on. The life of the movement depends on this. We must gather our forces quickly and act soon and effectively.

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