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