THE REVOLUTIONARY AGE Saturday, May 31, 1919 Chicago Turns to the Left!
HE Cook County Convention of May 17 18 rev sulted in a clean sweep for the Left Wing. It was more than a test of strength of the local opposing elements. yet even in this limited sense this Convention would he of high national significance, because the Left Wing conquest of Chicago is the best possible proof of the Left Wing conquest of the whole American party «wanting only another half year of conventions and elections to record itself in terms of a new party ofl icialdom and a new orientation in the party policies and tactics. I) This Convention was :1 Left Wing victory on the basis of what is perhaps the most carefully and completely elaborated statement. in terms of platform and resolutions. of the Left Ving movement in this country. 2) This Convention meant a decisive con quest of a local party unit of over 6500 members: a victory so conscious of its own purposes and so definitelv organized that it can only make rapid gains from day to day. 3) Finally, this Convention victory will at once be translated into a new control of Local Cook County on the firm basis of revolutionary Socialism.
These are confident claims, but need no argument beyond the textual and mathematical facts which they generalize. At this time the secretarial work has not been completed which will provide the details of the platform and resolutions adopted. but those who rccall the program published by the Chicago By Ferguson branch unils of tile city. nder the able and aggressivc leadership of Comrade Alexander Stoklitsky, now acting as ranslator Secretary for the Russian Federation, thc Russian speaking branches have received education in the principles of revolutionary Socinli The Lithuanian Translator Secretary, Cornrade. lson. the Lettish Secretary. Comrade Putin.
the Hungarian Secretary. Comrade Frankel. and many oilicrs in llll language groups have co opcralcd ably in a dual ci ucutionaleurganization campaign. which. mowcd its results :it the Cook County Convention. and is bound within :i w months to compel a clear alignment of Ila. lllt in party with the (fonnnnnist lulcrnalional.
Sonn of Ihv fundamental snobbery and narrow nalionalism of the Right Vingers displayed itself in clumsily indirect insinuations about the alien cliaracter of the Left Wing while over protesting their own own adherence to Socialist iiiternationalisml This much detail is given to emphasize the organized character of the Chicago Left Wing strength. There is not a branch in the city or county without Left Wing adherents. but the assured control lies in the two dozen or more branches which stand as units on a well de lined program of revolutionary Socialism. Tlils control has algeady reflected itself sufficiently in 41 county organization to assure the Left Wing fruits of its victory in relation to the local party and other official activities.
0n the other hand the demoralization of the tician element displayed itself in an almost ludict bolting of the Convention (hiring its second sess.
The Napoleon of the exodus, which took about of the Convention, certainly less than 10. was quite amiable Comrade Seymour Stedman, who inentarily forgot his responsibility as one of the tional Executive CoinmittEe and forgot to use his on better judgment. This handful of delegates, who ha been in stenl for half a year that somebody was try in. to split the party. when faced with the realizatior that the party was rargaitizcd right under thei eyes. without a murmur about a secassion, decided ti prove that there was a desire to Split the party by trying a little splitting on their own account.
The Convention went through its three sessions of May 18th without a word of curiosity about the bolters. and with relief from their silly tactics of time killing and obstruction. The opposition to the Lef Wing expressed itself in debate and questioning; anc the opportunity for real discussion was never cut oil by the Left Wing. About all the writer heard of the liolters was that they started a meeting in a nearby hall. but soon came to the conclusion that no one knew what they wanted to do. It was quite ap Communist Propaganda Leage four of five The Most Important Book of the Year Just Outl parent that all except the most conspicuous months ago, to which has been added all available circumstances in the interim, will realize that there was thorough preparation for this Convention so far as the questions of party principles and tactics are concerned.
Postponing this part of the report to a future article. it need only be said now that an American Socialist Party on the basis of the new Cook County program would find itself in complete unity with the Communist International and with the revolutionary proletariat of the United States. Chicago The Proletarian Revolution in Russia By Lenin and Leon Trotzky Edited, with an Introduction, Notes and Supplementary Chapters By Louis Fraina figures finally found their way back to thi Convention. nly Stedinan is named from among the little band of bolters because the writer is confident that Stedman regreted his. excitet action within an hour after the secession; ant this typifies the Convention split as not a all a forecast of any rupture in the loc: organization. Stedman. absolutely realized. the opening of the Convention that the Lei Wing had a solid two thirds vote. whicl would have easily increased at once if lht Left Ving victory takes special significance not only from the importance of the local itself. and the industrial territory tributary to Chicago. but also from the fact that this is the headquarters of the old party regime.
The Chicago movement has never had distinctive local character. because its leadership has been tinged with the party ofiicialdom coming in from all over the country.
But the point to be emphasized is the organized character of this Left Ving victory.
To the Right Wingers and Centrists this was the mystifying and annoying circumstance.
They could understand lots of more or less aimless talking and more or less confused voting, but the sight of a solid Left phalanx of about 400 votes out of some 650 a solid.
fairly uniform vote, going with a definite, clear cut program. carefully discussed and criticised for weeks ahead. that was not their idea of a Socialist convention.
The first and perhaps the clearest test vole came with the election of the Resolutions Committee. after Comrade William Bross Lloyd had easily been scaled as Chairman as the Left Wing candidate. The highest vote for one of the official family as candidate :for the Resolutions Committee was I77; one of the most popular Socialists in Chicago.
who has failed to make clear his understanding and alignment on the issues before the party. aiid may therefore be characterized at the moment as Centrist, received 236 votes; while the live Left Wing candidates averaged close to 400 votes. the high votc goingr to 44.
The representative charact er of this Convention is evident from the large number of delegates and the high attendance, the basis of representation being delegate to lo members. The general issues to come before the Convention had been discussed more or less thoroughly in something like 50 branches. so there was nothing here in the nature of surprise or hasty judgment. The main portions of the resolutions had been published in the Chicago Socialist two weeks before the Convention. and a series of debates had been staged between representatives of the opposing camps.
The Left Wing movement in Chicago. taking its theoretical initiative in the work of the Communist Propaanda League. had as sun cd definite organization character in abc two dozen of the most important This unique book traces the course of the great Russian Revolution from. lfurrli lt)l7 In October 1918, in the words of the two masters of the Revolution, lt consists of a mass of articles and pamphlets written during ic Rpiioluliimi. covering every important phase of the Revolution, arranged to make a consecutive story.
Coxrnx rs: Part One The First Stage of the Revolution. by Lenin (March 12 to May Part Two The General Program of the inlsltcv )y. Lenin (tactics. program and general policy. Part ThrcewThe Struggle for State Power. by Lenin and Leon Trotzky (May It? to the uprising of July 16 17. Part oiirw he Revolution in Crisis. by Leon Trotzky (written at thi coil of August. analyzing the Bolslievik defeat in Jilly. the Moscow Conference and the problems of the future. Part FiveThe Prolciarian Revolution Conquers. by Louis Fraina (Suptember to January the coup etat of November the Constituent. sscmbl nclndcs articles of Lenin and Trotzky and docue inentsl Thc Revolutionary Struggle for Peace. by Leon in (December to Brest Litovskl. Part Sevenv The Sm chi hc and its Problems. by Lenin (May, 1918. Siipplcmcntary orcigu Relations (July to October. 1918; Lenin.
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light had been made on principles, instea of by sharpening lines by dilatory jockeying which compelled a seemingly harsh offensive on the part of the Left Wing. If anything further is heard of party spliting in Chicago.
Stedman and his dozen or so of o flicial lieutenants will stand convicted of a pre calculated design toward that end: at least. the deliberate raising of the vanity of personal opinion. or lack of basis for intelligent opinion. above the level of devotion to the 504 cialist movement.
So much concerniiig the mechanics am history of this important Convention. Its contributions toward the working out of the new character of the American Socialist movement, in terms of program, tactics, and questions of party organization will be considered in another article. ne comment is made now to counter the impression of an organized vote as indicating a follow thc leader Convention. all rehearsed in advance. emphasized above. the main party issues had been thoroughly discussei in advance and thc results reduced to definit form. ibiit without prompting or even the at operation of those conspicious on the floor for the Left Wing there were resolutions introduced touching every instant proletarian light of revolutionary significance. The coinrades abroad and our own class war com: rades in the jails. the strikefs of Lawrence and Winnipeg, and the fighting lhe revolutionary proletarians everywhere were recognized in kinship in that Convention in the most convincingly genuine way that the writer has ever witnessed in an Socialist gathering. And it is this spontt ncous sensitivencss to the world fight of th rising proletariat by the conscious Americai proletarians which is the vitality of the re.
olutionnry Socialist movement in the nite.
The anniversary of Italy entrance into the world war passed without any demonstration of celebration the press reports.
Apparently the Italian people are recovering their poise.