American Communism and Soviet Russia: The Formative Period

By Theodore Draper | Go to book overview

18
How to Lose a Majority

THE preparations for the delegation's trip to Moscow were no less extraordinary than the trip itself.

The simultaneous absence of three key leaders, Lovestone, Gitlow, and Bedacht, was clearly fraught with danger. They could not fight successfully abroad unless they could be sure of holding their forces intact at home. Before leaving, therefore, they were confronted with the problem of filling the vacuum in the top leadership during their absence.

They entrusted their power to two other leading figures of their group -- Robert Minor, whom they made Acting General Secretary, replacing Gitlow in the highest executive post, and, as his right-hand man, Jack Stachel, the Organization Secretary.

The delegation went off to Moscow in high spirits. Its leaders exuded optimism that right was on their side, that the Russians could not disregard their overwhelming majority at the convention, and that Stalin was the kind of man with whom they could make a favorable deal. This optimism helps to explain why they decided to go at all.

But they did not wholly disregard the possibility that they might be in error and that the party might be taken away from them. Against this eventuality, they took the most extraordinary of precautions. They later revealed that Stachel and Minor had prepared a list of names of reliable members of their faction to whom all party property

-405-

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American Communism and Soviet Russia: The Formative Period
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Note ix
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction 3
  • 1 - The New Day 9
  • 2 - The Farmer-Labor United Front 29
  • 3 - Roads to Chicago 52
  • 4 - The Parting of the Ways 75
  • 5 - The Lafollette Fiasco 96
  • 6 - How to Win A Majority 127
  • 7 - Bolshevization 153
  • 8 - Party LIfe 186
  • 9 - Politics and Trade-Unionism 215
  • 10 - Ruthenberg's Last Wish 234
  • 11 - Lovestone in Power 248
  • 12 - American Exceptionalism 268
  • 13 - The Turning Point 282
  • 14 - The Sixth World Congress 300
  • 15 - The Negronn Question 315
  • 16 - The Birth of American Trotskyism 357
  • 17 - The Runaway Convention 377
  • 18 - How to Lose A Majority 405
  • Notes 445
  • Acknowledgments 533
  • Index 535
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