American Communism and Soviet Russia: The Formative Period

By Theodore Draper | Go to book overview

17
The Runaway Convention

WE LEFT the Sixth World Congress of the Comintern as it came to a close in Moscow at the end of August 1928. Lovestone had received some hard blows, but had emerged from the congress seemingly unscathed. The Opposition had mounted several major offensives against him, but they had dwindled in action to little more than raiding operations. To make the outcome even more confusing, Foster, the Opposition's foremost leader, had wandered away from the main body of his troops into a strange no man's land between the warring camps.

To most American Communists Lovestone was still the Comintern's favorite American son. Any doubts about it were soon dispelled by a supplementary decision issued on September 7, 1928, only a week after the congress, by the Comintern's top command. It expressed the opinion that, despite some Right errors by both sides, "the charge against the majority of the Central Committee of the Party representing a Right line is unfounded." Since this was precisely the charge that the Opposition had made the crux of its case against Lovestone's majority, the Comintern's statement did not leave the Opposition much to shoot at.

The majority made this statement public and, lest anyone miss the point, added its own interpretation that "the Comintern is continuing its policy of supporting the present Party leadership."1 Even if this

-377-

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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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