The Communist Party expels Jay Lovestone, a founding member and its General Secretary, in 1929 for ‘Brandlerism.’ Other leading figures of the Party to be expelled with Lovestone included Ben Gitlow, Betram D. Wolfe, J.O. Bentall, Ellen Dawson, Will Herberg, Jack Rubinstein, Herbert Zam, Charles S. Zimmerman, Alex Bail, William F. Kruse, Bert Miller, and Harry Winitsky.
‘Statement of the Central Committee on the Expulsion of Jay Lovestone from the Communist Party of the United States of America’ from The Daily Worker. Vol. 6 No. 95. June 27, 1929.
The struggle against the line and decisions of the Communist International in our Party has now reached its climax. The Party is face to face with an organized attempt at a split.
The Political Secretariat of the Executive Committee of the Communist International has informed the Central Committee that “Comrade Lovestone left June 11 for the U.S. despite the decision of the Political Secretariat of the ECCI.” By this action Lovestone has defied the decisions of the ECCI and has violated the discipline of the Comintern, despite previous warning, in the most flagrant manner.
It is now the duty of the Central Committee to take the necessary measures against the breach of discipline of Lovestone and to point out to the Party the political meaning of Lovestone’s conduct. The open defiance by Lovestone of the decisions of the Communist International is only the last link in the long chain of acts of struggle from within the Cl against the Comintern and its policies. By this action Lovestone begins the open struggle against the Communist International from without, and is undertaking a definite step of open organization for the splitting of our Party.
The present step of Lovestone against the Communist International is the culmination of a process of political development of a line in opposition to the line of the Communist International. Beginning with individual Right errors and deviations, this line quickly crystallized into a platform which places Lovestone today into the ranks of the international Right fighting against the Communist International. After the Ninth Plenum of the Executive Committee of the Communist International, which began the struggle against the Right danger, Lovestone and Pepper took up their opposition to this struggle under the cover of the theory of American exceptionalism. They declared that the Right danger did not exist in America. The course thus begun was consciously followed by Lovestone and Pepper at the Sixth World Congress of the Comintern. It was at this Congress that the internationally crystallizing Right wing made its first definite attempts at formulating its platform and of seeking to have this platform adopted as that of the Communist World Party. The heart of this program was contained in its emphasis on the growing strength and stability of world capitalism and of its underestimation or denial of the growing contradictions of the post-war crisis. Both Lovestone and Pepper made themselves the spokesmen of these attempts of the international Right wing. They added their voices to the chorus which attempted to dull the consciousness of the parties of the Communist International to the growing class struggle through a systematic overemphasis of the strength of the enemy.
The thesis of Lovestone and Pepper presented to the Sixth Convention of our Party further expresses this development to the Right. In the thesis the situation in America is analyzed in the manner of the international Right. In place of emphasizing the intensification of the contradictions of American capitalism and the necessity for preparing the Party for the sharpening class struggles, it overemphasized the strength of the capitalist enemy and underscored the elements of difficulty. The battle cry of the international Right against the Communist International found its ready echo in Lovestone’s slogan of the “running sore” in the Comintern.
After the Sixth Congress political divergence with the line of the Communist International passed over into organizational steps against the CI. When the attempts to prevent the recall of Pepper from work in the United States could no longer succeed, Lovestone and Pepper entered into a conspiracy to defy the decisions of the Comintern and to deceive not only the Central Committee of our Party but the entire Party and the CI. This action in the Pepper case had nothing in common with Communist principledness, but was an act of deception, a rotten maneuver clearly showing the imprints of petty bourgeois politiciandom.
The political struggle of Lovestone and Pepper against the CI reached a further stage in the mobilization of the Sixth Convention of our Party against the Open Letter and the Organizational Proposals of the Comintern. The representatives of the CI were treated as ambassadors of an enemy who were to be fought, deceived and outwitted. The mobilization of the convention against the CI decision was a mobilization against the CI itself. The Communist integrity of the delegates to the convention, composed of the best proletarians of our Party, would never have permitted open and obvious propaganda against the Comintern. The mobilization therefore took the form of deception of the delegates to the convention, and of concealed maneuvers against the CI. Lovestone did not dare to suggest to the convention delegates that the resistance to the CI decision should go farther than to secure a reconsideration by the CI of the disputed questions. The “running sore” slogan supplied the “political” excuse of non-acceptance of the decisions.
After arrival in Moscow, however, the delegation, under the instigation of Lovestone. adopted a course which from the very beginning transgressed the rights and duties of representatives of a loyal section of the Communist International. The delegation of the American Party in Moscow fought in a spirit which placed them in an obvious attitude of opposition to the Comintern. The ultimative character of the ten demands submitted by the delegation to the American Commission on April 10th, the declarations of May 9th and May 14th appear as undeniable witnesses to this effect. And the statement of Comrade Gitlow to the plenary session of the Central Committee of the CPSU repeated the slanderous attacks of the Right elements of the International upon our brother Party of the Soviet Union. The disgraceful defiance of the CI in the session of the Presidium of May 14th was not merely a logical outcome of the antagonistic line adopted by Lovestone against the CI, but was part of a consciously calculated plan of campaign of Lovestone against the Communist International.
Lovestone’s course since he has chosen the path of the international Right wing, shows that he is not only in contradiction with the line of the Communist International, but with that of the American Party as well. The American Party has always regarded itself as a staunch defender of the line of the Communist International and readily and promptly gave its support to the struggle against Right elements and against all deviations within the Communist International. For that reason Lovestone was compelled to adopt a resolution of condemnation against the conciliators Evert. Humbert Droz, etc., at the same time secretly and privately he tried to rally the Party for struggle against the CI by condemning the treatment of the Everts, Humbert Droz, etc. Lovestone repeatedly tried to keep up Communist appearances by resolutions against the Right danger in the CPSU. At the same time, he insidiously mobilized against the CI and against the Central Committee of the CPSU under the slogan of “No hooliganism” against the Right elements of the CPSU.
This contradictory position could not very long be maintained, — Lovestone was bound to come into open conflict with the Comintern and with the Party. This has manifested itself in the defiance of the CI by Lovestone and in his unauthorized return to America; the decisive political conflict between the opportunist line of the international Right, accepted by Lovestone, and the Bolshevik line of the Communist International has now found its final expression in the flagrant breach of Comintern discipline by Lovestone.
The cablegram of Lovestone of May 15th (published elsewhere in this issue of the Daily Worker) sent from Moscow to former group supporters glaringly reveals the intention of Lovestone in the action which he has now taken.
“Start wide movements in units and press for return of complete delegation,” says this cable. Thus suggesting public political propaganda against the Soviet Union practically under the slogan of “Release the Political Prisoners.”
“Take no action on any …. CI instructions,” commands this remarkable document. Thus demanding the defiance of the Comintern.
“Carefully check up all units, all property, all connections, all mailing lists of auxiliaries, all sub-lists, district list; removing some, offices and unreliables. Check all checking accounts, all organizations, seeing that authorized signers are exclusively reliables, appointing secretariat for auxiliaries and treasury, dis-authorize present signatory. Instantly finish preparations sell buildings, especially eliminate W trusteeship, Remove Manya Reiss.” These are undeniable definite steps to take our American Party out of the Communist International. These are measures that could be undertaken only by an enemy of the Comintern to split the Party.
This effort of Lovestone to split the ‘Party did not succeed. The American Party has learned enough out of its own history and out of the history of the Comintern to place the authority and revolutionary integrity of the Communist International above all. That is why, in spite of Lovestone’s expectations and instructions our Party accepted unhesitatingly the CI Decision and exposed and isolated Lovestone. Lovestone who had thus unhesitatingly cut himself loose from the CI by open declaration of war against it on May 14th, found that’ by this act he had also cut himself loose from our Party. It was a recognition of this fact that he was isolated and not a repentance or a change of mind that led him to the declaration of June 9th. In a cable printed elsewhere in this issue. This cable was sent through factional connections in the United States and transmitted to the Central Committee. It found immediate factional circulation in the Party. This cable was an attempt to sneak back into the confidence of the Party by means of a common deception. At the same time, through the cable, Lovestone aimed to keep before the eyes of the Party his platform of struggle against the CI. While declaring formal submission to CI authority, this authority was openly challenged and its political judgment condemned as destructive to the Party. The Central Committee could not permit the use if the channels of the Party or the use of its press for this insidious purpose of Lovestone, and correctly evaluated the declaration of Lovestone not as one of submission to the CI, but as a further manoeuver against the CI. Events have proven the correctness of the stand of the Central Committee.
Immediately upon his return Lovestone failed to report his presence to the Central Committee but instead has been holding meetings and conferences with Party members, in which he continued his mobilization against the CI. Rumors of new expulsions by the CI were put into circulation by him, thus continuing his propaganda against the “running sore,” “hooliganism,” etc. Lovestone, though urgently invited to appear before the Secretariat, and, in spite of his promise to appear, finally refused to come and answer for his defiance of the Comintern.
In his defiance of CI decisions, his return to America, and by his conduct since his return, Lovestone has taken the logical step resulting from his irreconcilable political differences with the line of the CI. It is now the duty of the Central Committee and the Party to draw the logical conclusion from Lovestone’s act of war. In defense of the unity of the Party and in expression of the overwhelming will of the membership of the Party the Central Committee answers the challenge of Lovestone’s split with expulsion from the Communist Party of the USA. In expelling Lovestone, who has become a renegade to the cause of Communism, the Central Committee and the entire Party will mercilessly fight to destroy any of his attempts and maneuvers to splitting the Party. The proletarian membership of our Party will rally behind the Central Committee and will defeat the splitters and renegades.
The membership will quickly expose the manouvers of Lovestone to shield his acts against the Communist International with the banner of the Sixth World Congress. It will understand that these are the common manouvers of all renegades. The will of the Sixth World Congress was decisively for a fight against opportunism and opportunists, a fight to eradicate factional strife, to establish discipline, to sharpen up the revolutionary line of the Party, to prepare for the severe class struggles ahead. Lovestone is for the continuation of a factional fight, for a factional struggle against the Communist International. Lovestone is opposed to the struggle against opportunism and the opportunists, but instead works with the international Rights in the vain efforts to place the opportunists in control of the Communist International.
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USA, standing on the line of the Sixth World Congress, the line of the Communist International, is carrying out this duty in preparing the Party for the sharpening class struggles. Lovestone wants to prepare the Party for struggle against the CI.
The duty of the American Party is to eradicate factionalism from the Party, to tear it out root and branch. Lovestone seeks to maintain his faction and aims to transform the faction fight within the Party into a factional struggle against the Communist International.
The duty of the Party is to cleanse the Party of all bourgeois influences and to combat the Right danger in the most concrete and effective way. Lovestone attempts to mobilize the American Party for the defense of the international Right wing against the Comintern and for the adoption of his Right wing program by the American Party.
The duty of the Communist Party of the USA is to combat the clearest expression of bourgeois opportunism as embodied in Brandlerism. Lovestone wants to import Brandlerism into the United States. The duty of the American Party is to maintain its unity on the political line of the Comintern. Lovestone wants to split the Party, for rejection of the line of the Comintern, and for the revision of the Sixth World Congress.
The Central Committee calls upon the Party members to give a most decisive answer to the international Right wing and to its American lieutenant, Lovestone.
The last step of Lovestone in his efforts to split the Party, turns any concealed opposition to the CI Decision into an open agency against the CI. The Party must ruthlessly expose the concealed opposition which will seek to carry on the policies and tactics of Lovestone inside the Party.
The unity of our World Party, the unity of the American section, the Bolshevik integrity of our Party is the concern of every Party member. Every Party member will rally to the defense of the Party.
Fight against the contamination of the Party by petty bourgeois opportunism.
Defeat the international Right and its American lieutenants.
Combat unprincipled factionalism as the main obstacle to Bolshevization.
Struggle against all attempts to split our Party and maintain our Party as an active and worthy section of the Communist International.
Repudiate all methods of intrigue, falsehood and deception as anti- Communist bourgeois politiciandom.
Mobilize for the unreserved acceptance and speedy application of the only correct line for our Party, the line of the Sixth World Congress and of the Address of the Communist International.
Strengthen the work of the Party, increase its day-to-day activities, deepen and broaden our trade union work, intensify the struggle against the war danger, build the Party.
Maintain Bolshevist discipline as the only firm basis for Party unity.
CENTRAL COMMITTEE, COMMUNIST PARTY OF AMERICA.
The Daily Worker began in 1924 and was published in New York City by the Communist Party US and its predecessor organizations. Among the most long-lasting and important left publications in US history, it had a circulation of 35,000 at its peak. The Daily Worker came from The Ohio Socialist, published by the Left Wing-dominated Socialist Party of Ohio in Cleveland from 1917 to November 1919, when it became became The Toiler, paper of the Communist Labor Party. In December 1921 the above-ground Workers Party of America merged the Toiler with the paper Workers Council to found The Worker, which became The Daily Worker beginning January 13, 1924.
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