The Left at War
ONE EVENING in the winter of 1917--on January 14, to be exact--about twenty Left Wing Socialists came together at the home of Ludwig Lore in Brooklyn. Of those present, eleven can be definitely identified. There were five Russian exiles, Trotsky, Bukharin, Mme. Kollontay, V. Volodarsky, and Grigorii Isakovich Chudnovsky. There were two more émigreé--Sen Katayama from Japan, and S. J. Rutgers from Holland. The four known Americans present were Boudin, Lore, Fraina, and John D. Williams, the last representing the Socialist Propaganda League of Boston. Fortunately we have first-hand accounts of the meeting by two of the participants, Lore and Katayama, which they wrote in 1918 and 1919 respectively, while memories still were fresh. That they should have done so indicates how large the meeting loomed in their recollection of the development of the Left Wing.
The separate paths which brought this unique collection of real and would-be revolutionists to Brooklyn show how complex and far flung were the social and political forces moving in the direction of the American Communist movement. The presence of Trotsky, for example, was totally unforeseen. The meeting had been called a few days earlier without him. But when he happened to get off the boat from Barcelona on the thirteenth of January--Lore tells us that he arrived the day before the meeting, which is why it is possible to de-