Lovestone in Power
WITHIN a few hours of Ruthenberg's death, the struggle for the succession broke out.
The contest narrowed down to two members of Ruthenberg's old faction, Lovestone and Weinstone. As Ruthenberg's right-hand man in the national office and field commander of their faction, Lovestone was his natural successor. Weinstone came forward to challenge him as the choice of Ruthenberg's former rivals, Foster and Cannon. Cannon had not been able to get his new team into action against Ruthenberg, but he was ready for Ruthenberg's successor.
In less than forty-eight hours after Ruthenberg's death, Foster, Cannon, and Weinstone came together and decided to back Weinstone as the new General Secretary.1 Among them, they controlled a majority of the Central Executive Committee, which was constitutionally empowered to elect the General Secretary.2
Foster made the first move. At a meeting of the Political Committee three days after Ruthenberg's death, he proposed that a plenum of the C.E.C. for the purpose of filling the vacant post should be held in conjunction with the Ruthenberg memorial meeting in New York, only five days off. Lovestone and his backers knew that the combination behind Weinstone could not be headed off in so short a time. They righteously protested that they would not permit "mechanical arrangements" in the C.E.C. -- by which they meant the triumvirate's private understanding -- to thwart the will of the membership. They