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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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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