American Communism and Soviet Russia: The Formative Period

By Theodore Draper | Go to book overview

10
Ruthenberg's Last Wish

AFTER the Comintern's verdict in favor of Ruthenberg as party leader, the factional storm gradually subsided. Membership meetings throughout the country "unanimously endorsed" the new leadership and its policies. At the Seventh Plenum at the end of 1926, the Comintern, for the first time in five years, found it unnecessary to appoint an American Commission to deal with an American factional struggle.1

The men around Ruthenberg were seasoned veterans, who had never accepted Foster as a "real Communist" and never intended to let power slip out of their hands again. The "big three" in the Chicago national office -- the General Secretary, Ruthenberg; the Organization Secretary, Lovestone; and the Director of Agit-Prop, Bedacht -- had fought side by side since the formation of the Workers party. In the key New York district, Weinstone went back to his old job as District Organizer, which he decided to rename "General Secretary," as more befitting to his sense of self-importance. The New York AgitProp director, Bertram D. Wolfe, was an old-timer who had helped to form the party in 1919 and had recently returned after three and a half years in Mexico. Jack Stachel, head of the New York organization department, was a fast-rising newcomer.

Stachel was born of East-European Jewish parents who had emigrated to New York's East Side when he was still a child. After leaving school at an early age, he had worked at odd jobs and had

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