American Communism and Soviet Russia: The Formative Period

By Theodore Draper | Go to book overview

9
Politics and Trade-Unionism

WE CAN now pick up the thread of the story as it unfolded after the Comintern representative, Sergei Ivanovich Gusev, turned the Workers party over to Ruthenberg's faction at the Fourth Convention in the summer of 1925.

In October Foster, accompanied by his liege, Bittelman, set off for Moscow to contest Gusev's decision. But by the time they arrived in the Russian capital, they were confronted with an even more ominous threat to their dwindling power.

Ruthenberg was not content with depriving Foster of his hard-won political leadership. He soon moved to strip Foster of his hitherto unchallenged trade-union leadership and even to do away with his personal base, the Trade Union Educational League. Thus the next round in the factional struggle was fought most fiercely in the tradeunion field.

Much had happened to Foster and the T.U.E.L. to make both of them vulnerable to this line of attack.


Three periods

Before Bolshevization three periods of American Communist trade-union policy can be clearly distinguished.

The first, from 1919 to 1921, was based on revolutionary dual unionism. The Communists considered the A.F. of L. a "bulwark of

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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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