Statements on the Split in the Communist Party from Revolutionary Age (Communist Party (Majority Group) Vol. 1 No. 1. November 15, 1929.

Supporters of the Communist Party (Opposition), the leading figure of which was Jay Lovestone, rally in New York City on May Day, 1936.

The U.S. supporters of the ‘Right’, or ‘International Communist Opposition’ associated with Nikolai Bukharin had been in control of the Communist Party since the 1927 death of Charles E. Ruthenberg, but would be expelled from the Communist International with Bukharin and allies’ 1929 political defeat by Stalin. The expelled included a number of senior Party leaders, including its Secretary Jay Lovestone. While these documents from the new ‘Revolutionary Age,’ paper of Lovestone’s Communist Party (Majority Group), name their adversaries as ‘Fosterites,’ William Z. Foster was deeply mistrusted by Stalin’s leadership and though a natural to lead the Party, would be passed over. The far less dynamic Earl Browder would lead the Party until his own expulsion after World War Two when Foster, after twenty five years as the most prominent figure in the Party, would become its leader and Chair. The post includes an appeal, a statement on the issues, a list of the expelled and leadership of the new organization.

Statements on the Split in the Communist Party from Revolutionary Age (Communist Party (Majority Group) Vol. 1 No. 1. November 15, 1929.

An Appeal To All Party Members and Revolutionary Workers

…The elements around the REVOLUTIONARY AGE founded our Party and carried it thru the most difficult periods. Around them crystallized the leadership under which the Party developed into a fighting revolutionary Party which won international recognition as the “stalwart leader of the workers in fierce class battles.” Under this leadership and the Leninist line it pursued our Party left its glorious imprint on the pages of. the history of the American class struggle. The American workers will not quickly forget Passaic, New Bedford, the needle trades struggles, the great miners’ strikes, the strikes in the newly industrialized South, the formation of the new unions and the tremendous steps forward in the organization of the unorganized. The Party was indeed turning the corner towards becoming the mass Communist Party of the American proletariat, capable of linking up its daily struggles with its final revolutionary aim.

All these achievements were made in spite of a most pernicious internal war that had been raging since 1923. The demoralizing factional warfare was conducted under the leadership of W. Z. Foster who came to our Party in 1922 from the ranks of the A. F. of L. burocracy. The group behind Foster arose and developed as an outspoken right-wing group, with opportunist sectarian policies and a sharply un-Marxian, un-Leninist ideology. The struggle against it was a struggle for the building of the Party and its revolutionary ideology. Finally, thru the pressure of nearly 90% of the membership, the bankrupt unprincipled factional group of Foster was decisively defeated at the VI Convention of our Party. The Party and the whole revolutionary movement took a great step forward in its development. The Party stood united behind its historically developed leadership because this leadership had proved able to adopt the correct Leninist policies which registered success in work, increased the membership and influence of our Party and won it leadership in the class struggle.

Precisely at the time, when, after many years of struggle, the Party could look forward to a period of rapid development in the direction of a real mass Party, it became involved m the general crisis in the Communist International.

Under the pretext of “fighting the Rights” the present leadership of the Communist International has been revising the fundamental principles of Leninism and distorting and destroying the Leninist line of the Comintern. As a result the sections of the Comintern have been thrown into isolation, chaos and confusion, and the best and most experienced revolutionists driven out and expelled to be replaced by incapable politically bankrupt “new leaderships.”

The COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES could not be exempt from this general crisis. On the contrary, in the United States, the crisis is best characterized by the fact that the historically developed leadership that came from the REVOLUTIONARY AGE has been replaced by the leadership of the bankrupt extreme opportunist Foster group, which has roots neither in the Party nor among the working masses. This crisis is characterized by the recent Address of the ECCI, with its false revisionist line, its wild charges and accusations, its disastrous proposals. It is characterized by the rapid decline of the Party into sectarianism and isolation, by the even more rapid loss of influence of the Party among the workers, by the dangerous situation of the mass organizations under Communist influence. It is characterized by the mass expulsion of hundreds of the best and oldest revolutionists in the Party.

So fundamental and basic are the issues involved that the very life of the Communist movement in America and on a world scale is at stake. Against the revision of Leninism, against the destruction of our parties and of their mass influence it becomes the duty of all Communists, of all revolutionary workers to fight.

Jay Lovestone speaking.

The appearance of the REVOLUTIONARY AGE as the organ of the CP-Majority Group comes at a decisive moment. The sharpening contradictions of world imperialism, the drive upon the working class at home, the war preparations against the Soviet Union, the intensification of the repressions against the masses in the colonies and semi-colonies-in short the war danger and the rapidly increasing symptoms of radicalization of the masses raise the necessity of the unification and the consolidation of all Communist forces upon a revolutionary Leninist line as the chief task of our times. It is to fight for this burning need in the United States and internationally that the REVOLUTIONARY AGE resumes publication. It is an organ of Marxism-Leninism in the revolutionary class struggle. It is an organ for the Communist Party, for the Communist International.

The struggle which the REVOLUTIONARY AGE is taking up as the spokesman of the CP-Majority Group is the struggle not only of the members of the Communist Party but is the struggle of all revolutionary class conscious workers as well. For a capable and courageous Communist Party carrying out a revolutionary line is the basic necessity of the whole working class in its struggle for emancipation. The Communist Party cannot be separated from the working class. The anti-Leninist course which the “new leadership” of the ECCI and of our Party are forcing upon the Communist movement is a serious danger to the whole working class movement, to all mass organizations and to all mass struggles. Thru the united efforts of the best sections of the Communists and the revolutionary workers will the present crisis be overcome and health and virility again restored to our movement.

The REVOLUTIONARY AGE appeals to all Party members and to all revolutionary workers for support in the struggle, for assistance in establishing itself firmly and in increasing the sphere of its circulation and influence.

Support and build the REVOLUTIONARY AGE! For a united Communist International on the line of Leninism.

‘Statement of the Communist Party-Majority Group: The Achievements” of the CC Plenum.

On November 6, 7, 8 there took place the first plenum of the Central Committee since December 1928. In this interval — the longest between plenums in the history of our Party — there had happened many important events in the life of the entire Comintern and of its American section: for instance, the revisionist anti-Leninist Address of the ECCI; the turning of the Party leadership over to the opportunist Foster group; the systematic revision of the principle of Leninism, of the line of the line of the 6th World Congress and of our Party; the regular absorption of Trotskyism; the expulsion of nearly one-third of the Central Committee, including the entire historically developed leadership of our Party bearing the repeated endorsement of the Comintern over a period of years and the support of 90% of the membership; the removal, expulsion, and driving out of hundreds of the best comrades and the loss of thousands more through “enlightenment,” demoralization, and disintegration; the serious crisis in the new unions and the collapse of our mass work; the paralysis of the Party institutions and the decline of the Party into the grossest opportunism covered with empty “Left” phrases.

Will Herberg.

Finally after months of terror and confusion, with almost the entire previous leadership expelled, a plenum was called. It was prepared in secret. Its sessions were buried in still greater secrecy. Every measure was taken to make impossible the least attempt at free discussion of the issues before the Party; every step was taken to terrorize even the “accepters” and “endorsers” of the Party-wrecking anti-Leninist line of the Address. Comrade B. Lifshitz, who has hitherto voted for every expulsion and revision demanded by the clique now dominating the ECCI, was not permitted even to be present at the plenum.

The declaration of the former leadership of the Party now expelled, which was addressed to the plenum and which contained a clear statement of the crisis in our Party and the issues before us was, of course, never permitted to come before the plenum itself but was suppressed by the factional ring now running and ruining the Party.

Ben Gitlow.

A “New Line” Thesis Adopted.

The plenum brought forth a “new line” thesis, the most shameful document in the history of our Party. The forthcoming issue of The Revolutionary Age will contain a detailed analysis of this document. It is thoroughly anti-Marxian and anti-Leninist in approach, method, and content. Cursory glance shows us that it contains:

1. An altogether false view of the present international situation. An attempt is made to cover up and justify the revision on the party of the ECCI of the principles of Leninism and the main line of the 6th Congress. A similar attempt is made to conjure away the deep-going crisis in the Comintern — a fact unfortunately too substantial to be thus treated.

2. A misleading, erroneous, and inaccurate “examination” of the present economic situation which bristles with examples of the crass ignorance of the most basis fundamentals of Marxian economics as well as of the objective conditions in the USA.

Harry Witinsky

3. An acceptance of Green’s (the AFL’s) theory of wages and the “higher strategy of labor.”

4. An “analysis” of rationalization which seeks to bridge the gap between the first position of the “new leadership” and the present revisionist line of the 10th Plenum. Here we find confusion worse confounded.

5. “Proof ” that “in the United States class battlesare growing over from the bourgeois offensive to the proletarian counteroffensive and partly to direct offensive struggles.” While the recent semi-racketeer truckmen’s strike in New York is cited as “evidence” of this “revolutionary offensive,” the objective social-economic basis of the real radicalization process is entirely ignored.

6. An “estimation” of the Right danger which betrays a total lack of understanding of this question and an absolute ignorance of the social composition of the American working class, the background of our Party, and the prevailing class relations.

Bertram and Ella Wolfe.

7. A brief “attack” upon the Cannon-Trotskyites (that is, those that haven’t been readmitted yet) because they have deserted the path of yesterday and “become” opportunists(!).

8. A statement on Party “shortcomings” reading in part: “A certain degree of slowness in following up political criticism of Right errors with organizational measures.”

The Freiheit’s Zionist policy is not cited here, of course. Then again the Thesis speaks of “the still insufficient development of inner-Party democracy and the development of Bolshevik self-criticism.”

But of course there is not a word said of the “enlightenment campaign” of terror and destruction.

9. A program of action that is vague and contradictory, false in line and based upon a false analysis. It neglects the new union movement and evades the problem of working in the old unions.

10. The very important Negro question is dismissed in virtual silence.

11. So is the increasingly important agricultural crisis.

12. An absolute failure to expose in any way the fraudulent claims of Hoover, Mellon, Ford, Catchings, etc. about “bourgeoisification” and the “conquest of poverty.”

The Opportunist Foster Group Gains Open Control.

The Central Committee added 12 new members to itself to replace those who were elected by our 6th Convention. Among the great figures added are: Dunne, Hathaway, Wagenknecht, Harrison George, P. Smith, Johnstone, etc. The Polcom was also completely reorganized and the bankrupt discredited Foster Group had 4 out of 14 places on the Polcom. In place of Gitlow, Lovestone, Brataric, and Wolf, the plenum installed Dunne, Hathaway, Harrison George, and Schmies. The latter was added only after his open capitulation to Foster. Now, with the YCL representative Foster has 9 out of 15 members who openly proclaim themselves Fosterites. And it was not so long ago that we were condemned for saying that the line of the Address was to give the Party to the Fosterites!

Irving Brown.

Weinstone is to represent the Party in the ECCI and preparations are being made to replace him with an equally “reliable” comrade.

Thus proceeds the “new course”! Where are those comrades who assured us that the Address was “never intended” to “give the Party to the minority”? Where are those comrades who assured us that although they “accepted” the Address they would “fight Fosterism to the bitter end”?

The “new course is increasingly showing its real political complexion and increasingly the resistance of the Party membership grows. The “secret plenum,” its Thesis and its organizational decisions will have the inevitable effect of winning new sections of the Party membership to the struggle waged by the CP-Majority Group.

‘New Leadership Splits the Party’

Charles Zimmerman.

ALTHO the expulsion campaign is hardly more than three months old, the “officially recognized” expulsions already amount to 125. Another batch of over a hundred cases are declared to be “pending.” As a matter of fact, these figures are gross underestimations, for one thing, because they do not take into consideration those comrades who have been “dropped,” or “disconnected,” or expelled in some “unofficial” way. The total actually reaches well over 350, and every day brings new additions. Practically all of these comrades are functionaries. Moreover, there are expulsions in every district of the Party. The split in the Party brought in by the “new leadership” is widening rapidly.

Among the C.C. members expelled are: Bixby, C. W. (founder of Party, well known leader in shoe industry); Dawson, Ellen (leader of textile workers-Passaic, New Bedford, Gastonia); Gitlow, Ben (founder of Party, member of National Council of Left Wing of Socialist Party, former secretary of Party, member of the Ecci and of Executive Board of R.I.L.U.); Kruse, Wm. (former district organizer of the Chicago District); Lovestone, Jay (founder of Party, member of National Council of Left Wing of Socialist Party, secretary of Party from March 1927 to March 1929, member of the Ecci) ; Miller, Wm. (founder of Party, leader in the automobile industry); Vratarec, F . (founder of Party, leader among the anthracite miners); White, Wm. J. (founder of the Party, identified with the revolutionary movement for decades, leader among the steel workers); Wolfe, B. D. (founder of the Party, member of the National Council of the Left Wing of the Socialist Party, former representative of the Party to the Ecci); Zimmerman, Ch. S. (founder of the Party, leader of the needle trades workers) . In addition Lifshitz, Ben (founder of Party, former industrial organizer of the N. Y. dist.) has been suspended from the Party.


The expelled C.C. candidates are: Bail, Alex (founder of the Party, former district organizer of the Boston district); Miller, Bert (founder of the Party, former org. secretary of the New York district); Novak, Ch. (founder of the Party, leader among the Jugoslav workers) ; Sorenson, J. (former district organizer of the Washington-Oregon district); Welsh, Ed. (former head of the Negro work in the N.E.C. of the Y.C.L.); Zam, H. (founder of the Party, secretary of the Y.C.L. from December 1927 to May 1929, member of the E.C.Y.C.I.) The expelled CCC members are: Bentall, J.O. (founder of Party, first revolutionary worker imprisoned for his anti-militarist agitation in the World War), and Nemser, M. (founder of Party, for years active in the Bolshevik Party in Russia).

In future issues of the R evolutionary Age we will continue to print lists of the expelled. Comrades in the districts are urged to rush in the names of comrades expelled just as soon as the expulsions take place.

Workers Age was the continuation of Revolutionary Age, begun in 1929 and published in New York City by the Communist Party U.S.A. Majority Group, lead by Jay Lovestone and Ben Gitlow and aligned with Bukharin in the Soviet Union and the International Communist (Right) Opposition in the Communist International. Workers Age was a weekly published between 1932 and 1941. Writers and or editors for Workers Age included Lovestone, Gitlow, Will Herberg, Lyman Fraser, Geogre F. Miles, Bertram D. Wolfe, Charles S. Zimmerman, Lewis Corey (Louis Fraina), Albert Bell, William Kruse, Jack Rubenstein, Harry Winitsky, Jack MacDonald, Bert Miller, and Ben Davidson. During the run of Workers Age, the ‘Lovestonites’ name changed from Communist Party (Majority Group) (November 1929-September 1932) to the Communist Party of the USA (Opposition) (September 1932-May 1937) to the Independent Communist Labor League (May 1937-July 1938) to the Independent Labor League of America (July 1938-January 1941), and often referred to simply as ‘CPO’ (Communist Party Opposition). While those interested in the history of Lovestone and the ‘Right Opposition’ will find the paper essential, students of the labor movement of the 1930s will find a wealth of information in its pages as well. Though small in size, the CPO plaid a leading role in a number of important unions, particularly in industry dominated by Jewish and Yiddish-speaking labor, particularly with the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union Local 22, the International Fur & Leather Workers Union, the Doll and Toy Workers Union, and the United Shoe and Leather Workers Union, as well as having influence in the New York Teachers, United Autoworkers, and others.

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