Letter from L.E. Katterfeld in Dighton, KS, to John Reed in New York City

August 19, 1919.

Source:A document in the Comintern Archive, f. 515, op. 1, d. 4, l. 27.
Transcription\Markup: Tim Davenport and Andrew Pollack

John Reed
New York City

Dear Comrade:—

Just a word to encourage you to continue with the course of action laid down at the Left Wing Conference. I note that the National Council thinks it “futile.” I assure you that it is worthwhile to make the fight within the Party until the Convention.

Even if we were sure to lose there we should make an honest effort because that is the ONLY way that we can demonstrate to the great mass of the membership of the Party who ARE revolutionary that they can not realize their aspirations within the Socialist Party. If we split off before then there will be tens of thousands that should be with us but that will not follow us out. It is our solemn duty to bring the issue up in such a way that ALL the revolutionary elements possible will stand together.

But the case at the convention is not at all hopeless. We have a very good chance to win there. The delegates from the western states that are being elected are almost solid Left Wing, and it looks as though we shall have a majority even without the support of the National Council. It would certainly be a crime if we should have the power at the convention to seat the New York Left Wingers, for them not to be there to be seated. Please be sure, in spite of the doleful forebodings of the Council, which is already calling for a new Party, to have every Left Winger that has been elected to come to that Emergency Convention to challenge the right of the Gerberites to represent the expelled Locals. It is a ten to one shot that we’ll be able to seat every delegate that you send that has a plausible claim to be seated in that Emergency Convention.

Then we can transform the Socialist Party into the Communist Party and avoid the calamity of two competing organizations each claiming to stand for Communist Socialism.

Urge all delegates to report to A. Wagenknecht at 113 South Ashland Blvd., Chicago, by the 29th. That’s where the Convention will be, also our headquarters. We’ll have a caucus the evening of the 29th, and all should be there to help decide upon a common course of action before the Convention. Hope to see you there then and fight the good fight shoulder to shoulder.

Yours in revolt, L.E. Katterfeld

Dighton, Kans. Aug. 19, 1919

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