A milestone document on the road to the Communist Party. Issued in the aftermath of 1919’s May Day maelstrom, a call from Charles E. Ruthenberg, Maximilian Cohen, and Louis C. Fraina for a national meeting of the third internationalist Left Wing, which had been developing in the Socialist Party since 1915, and published in John Reed’s ‘New York Communist.’ The fractious Left Wing was never united and the June 21-24 New York City meeting only hardened those divisions. It would be another three years before the majority of U.S. Communists were in a common organization.
Call for a National Conference of the Left Wing from The New York Communist. Vol. 1. No. 7. May 31, 1919.
Call for a National Conference of the Left Wing of the American Socialist Party, issued by Local Boston, (Louis C. Fraina, Secretary); Local Cleveland, (C. E. Ruthenberg, Secretary); and the Left Wing Section of the Socialist Party of New York City, (Maximilian Cohen, Secretary).
The international situation and the crisis in the American Socialist Party; the sabotage the party bureaucracy has practiced on the emergency national convention, the N.E.C. aligning our party with the social-patriots at Berne, with the Congress of the Great Betrayal; the necessity of reconstructing our policy in accord with revolutionary events, all this, and more, makes it necessary that the revolutionary forces in the Socialist Party get together for counsel and action.
This call is therefore issued, for the holding of a National Conference of the Left Wing of the American Socialist Party, to discuss:
1.-The crisis in the party, and action thereon; the conquest of the party for the party, for revolutionary Socialism.
2.-The New International; ways and means to prevent the party aligning itself with the “International” of the social-patriots, of the Ebert-Scheidemann gangsters, and the wavering centre; affiliation with the Bolshevik-Spartacan Communist International alone.
3.-The formulation of a declaration of principles and purposes of a national scope of the Left Wing of the American Socialist Party.
4.-Forming some sort of a national council or bureau of the Left Wing for propaganda, securing of information and spreading information.
5.-To express and draw together the revolutionary forces in the party; to consider other means of furthering the cause of revolutionary Socialism.
This call is issued to locals of the Socialist Party, branches and Left Wing groups within the party. The test of admission, provisionally, will be acceptance of the Manifesto of the Left Wing of the Socialist Party of Greater New York.
Left Wing locals are invited to send delegates officially. Where a local officially refuses to participate, branches or minority groups in the party accepting the principles of the Left Wing should send delegates.
Representation-one delegate for every 500 members. No local or group should send more than four delegates. Locals or minority groups with less than 500 members are entitled to one delegate.
The conference will be held starting Saturday, June 21, in New York City Each delegate will be taxed $25 for a central fund, out of which will he paid the expenses of all delegates.
Left Wing Locals and Branches, act! Send communications to Maximilian Cohen, 43 West 29th St., New York City.
The New York Communist began in April, 1919 as John Reed’s pioneering Communist paper published weekly by the city’s Left Wing Sections of the Socialist Party as different tendencies fought for position in the attempt to create a new, unified Communist Party. The paper began in a split in the Louis Fraina published Revolutionary Age. Edited by John Reed, with Eadmomn MacAlpine, Bertram Wolfe, Maximilian Cohen, until Reed resigned and left for Russia when Ben Gitlow took over. In June, 1921 it merged with Louis Fraina’s The Revolutionary Age after the expulsion of the Left Wing from the Socialist Party to form The Communist (one of many papers of the time with that name).
PDF of full issue: https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/thecommunist/thecommunist1/v1n07-may-31-1919-NY-communist.pdf