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6 SOCIALIST APPEAL to The Role of Norman Thomas The Clarity Group It is Altman who provides the fronts. from the North American climax, Altman tempo increas 11. and the strike movement, ties. has made no public uttercement that keeps this crew to Committee the American es, and the bureaucratic blows repeating the time worn state ance on the arrest of our three gether, and Altman who maps League. Sabotage of indepen fall fast. By combination ments about labor militancy pro comrades; declined to partiout its strategy. Around himself dent socialist work in the trade provocateur and policeman tact voking fascist reaction; demand cipate in a public committee or he has assembled all the dregs unions, with pro Stalinist Alt ics, he breaks up the membership ing, with the capitalist press, speak at a public meeting their of Local New York: left over manites and pro Stalinist policies meeting of June 4th, in order to greater union responsibility (i. defense; and was influential in Old Guardists; Stalinists open shoved down the throats of the prevent discussion on Spain. He e. less of a class struggle poli the decision of the Workers Deand disguised; pacifists of fifty Leagues. Sabotage of the work passes a ruling that branches cy. and (July 17th) attacking fense League not to intervene.
seven varieties; the stalwarts of of the American Committee for cannot instruct delegates to the the conception of the closed shop. His one specific statement apthe I. People Fronters; the Defense of Trotsky; no Local City Central Committee without peared in his column, where he petty trade union bureaucrats; New York mass meeting on the a week previous notification.
Thomas for La Guardia used the arrests to make a viciall the grave yard socialists, Trials; no membership meeting He rules that it is a breach of ous thrust at Oehler. Civil liberwho scarcely know the address on the Trials. No vote ever taken discipline for branchese to reedt Thomas course become clearer. in normal times, but these com Every day, the implications of ties, it seems, are all very well whipped them into a group under mination of the City Convention, under charges. He gerrymand. At the July 12th meeting of the rades were on the wrong side of his slecom: Drive out the Left in defiance of the sentiment of ers the membership allocations. New York City Central Com the barricades the side of the wing.
the active membership and the He rules that a branch protest mittee on the New York City revolutionary workers during explicit provisions of the City ing any ruling of the City Ex lection Campaign, it was Thomas the Barcelona events.
Altman Wrecking of Constitution. Constant pressure ecutive is subject to the lifting who was chief spokesman for the Thomas still retains a few ilAltman has had time and ex against the Call to make it re of its charter. He turns down Altman resolution. Thomas, who lusions. He has hoped, and still perience to prepare himself for vert to its character under the applications for Party member has so often written and spoken seems to hope, that it is possible his campaign. For a year he has editorship of the Altmanite, Le ship from all those suspected of about genuine and bona fide to expel a number of the had. systematically run Local New venstein. Systematic, day by day, sympathy to revolutionary ideas. Labor Parties, who has, in words, factional minded adherents of York into the ground.
Not a provocation of Left wingers: He prefers charges against left been so critical about Stalinists the revolutionary tendency, and single indopondent Party cam whenever they open their mouths, wingers on every conceivable and liberals for their opportun to retain the good construcists approaches to the Labor tive mass workers. Thomas can paign; three or four mass meet whether in public or inside of ground.
And, on July 6th, his panges in all that time under Local the Party. Flooding of the Labor Central Committee began the ex marks that the resolution would had no opportunity in his experiParty question, showed in his re be pardoned his mistake: he has of all repotutionary Left wingers cisions displeased him. Driving pulsion and suspension of Left mean support of La Guardia. In ence of learning the meaning of the voice of a tired radical. he revolutionary solidarity. Prior from all responsible posts and full speed toward support of La wingers from the Party.
committees. Strangling of Party Guardia.
In Altman, the Right wing complained that he never again to the Special Session of the activities in Stalinist united Now, as his campaign nears its finds its fitting leader.
wished to go through another he inclined to believe that campaign like that of 1936, where the Party crisis could be solved everyone was against us. and by instituting a loyalty oath the Socialist Party isolated. Still demanding fealty to the Second more revealing is another recent International, and thus weeding incident: short while ago, as out the die hard revolutionists.
Norman Thomas has, for many his pacifism and his love of demand that the neutrality embargo part of the general drive in His colleagues explained to him years, been the outstanding fi mocracy and civil liberties. be applied by the Govern. Spain against revolutionists, sev the awkwardness of such a progure of the Socialist Party. As Anything goes in a fight against ment to Germany and Italy. This eral Americans were arrested by posal coming at that time.
has often been the case with out the Left. Thomas is no legalist demand is, in political funda the Government in Barcelona. Let no mistakes be made about standing figures Thomas has for when it comes to opposing revo mentals, identical with the re These included three of our own Thomas. Thomas no longer occua long time believed that his po lutionary Marxism. On the ques formist. Stalinist position on party comarades Harry Milton, pies the independent position sition could enable him to rise tion of the suppression of the in sanctions (and is of course Charles and Lois Orr (the latter which he so long tried jealously above the Party and its conflict ternal organs that outrageous supported by reformists and Sta two subsequently released. and to guard. He has given up his ing tendencies, much as the State violation of genuine party demo linists. and is diametrically op Hugo Oehler, secretary of the independence. He is not an ally sometimes aspires to rise above cracy, on the exclusion of mem posed to the Marvist position on Revolutionary Workers League, of the Right wing; he is now an the warring classes. Unfortun bers of the Appeal tendency war and the War Resolution of and for many years a well known integral part of the Right wing, ately, this is not possible, no from the Thomas threw the Party. In the issues of July militant in the labor movement and he must act accordingly. He matter how outstanding the fig down his gauntlet. When resis 10th and 17th, the column has of this country. Thomas. who has made his choice; and, through ure may be. This Thomas should tance developed, he did not hesi contained a series of downright for so many years has capitaliz his decision, he has signed his have learned from his experiences tate to deliver his cheap ulitma reactionary comments on the led on his defense of civil liber own political death warrant.
in the struggle with the Old tum: do it my way, or refuse Guard. Then, too, he tried to the leadership of the Party.
rise above the conflict, tried up Following the Convention, Thoto the last moment, at the Chi mas traveled in Europe for two cago Convention, and even there months. During this time, howThe so called Clarity group al In practise, it results in an un set for the Clarity to after tried to minimize and de ever, he kept his stand unmis legedly constituted a majority at ending series of miserable capi function. The only which lay the consummation of the con takeably clear to the Party mem the Chicago Convention. It took tulations to the Right and trea could have functioned would have flict in the split.
been one which was really dewith sorrow and with indigna his alternate at the Philadelphia formal responsibility for the cherous blows to the Left.
tion, he nevertheless had to meeting. There was majority on the new In Evolution of Clarity Group termined to develop the Party choose.
firmly into a evolutionary orsome speculation in certain sec a certain sense this is true; but In the past few months, also, tions of the Party about where understood only by realizing that centrist grouping is the same. meant prominently an what that truth means can be The evolution of every suchganization. This would have Thomas had to choose. It is a he would stand upon his return. Clarity is not in actuality a ge While political conflicts are dev which would have laid down the when either alternative of the Immediately upon his arrivai nuine political tendency. Clarity eloping, and before lines are law to the disloyal and anti rechoice really costs something, back in this country, he held a has no program, either in gene drawn with complete clarity, such volutionary Right wing, whose particularly when you are one series of conferences with repre raly or with reference to con groupings show signs of strength sole aim is to prevent the revowho considors himself above the sentatives of the Right wing. He crete conditions as they arise in and growth, and even may ap lutionary development. But Clewhile as the majority by the nature of petty squabbles of ordinary mor gave them his guarantee that he the life of the Party; and having pear for tals. It is disturbing to one dis would go down the line in the no program, it cannot consolid rity. Then, as the conflict ma centrist politics, is not that kind position; and somehow seems to drive against the Left wing. All ate a genuine political grouping. tures, the ground is cut away of break through the shell of the doubts were set at rest.
Clarity is a half way house; a from the middle, and only two grand generalities socialism in temporary resting spot for those roads are left. The centrist Impotence of E.
The Thomas Line whose political ideas are still con grouping is pressed to the wall.
our time. defense of civil liThe character of the berties. unity against war and fused, who have not yet made it has to jump. Normally, the became at once obvious in the As in other cases, Thomas at up their minds where they stand bulk of the leadership of the cen fact that it could not run the fascism. elementary decency. titude toward the internal situa and in what direction they pro trist grouqing enters a bloc with Party. It took the more and the rest which are so pleas. tion in the Party could just as pose to go (which, in passing, is the Right (not openly or honest than three months even to pubant and often so convincing to easily be deduced from his point why Thomas appeared more or ly, of course, but with suitable lish the Convention proceeding!
utter, and which commit oneself of view on the key political ques less an an ally of Clarity until formulas. while the active and Only one issue of the American to so conveniently little.
tions. His column which like he definitely chose the Right militant ranks of the centrist Socialist Monthly has appeared Thomas with Right wing all his public utterances and writ wing. Clarity is based on con grouping take their proper stand to this day, and not a single is.
ings he conducts without the fusion, on words out of joint with the Left (while they were sue of the discussion organ voted We must give Thomas this slightest regard for Party disci with actions, on brave motions formerly prevented from doing by the Convention and subsecredit, however: he has chosen. pline or legality during the and feeble deeds, on endless only by the ambiguous and two quently scuttled by the After some delay, some hesita weeks since his return has made maneuvers. temporizing, faced politics of the centrist lead itself. Two issues of the Call tion, some effort to eliminate the an interesting study. He assig. hesitation, delay. Clarity spends ers. and the passive and reac have been cut to eight pages; necessity for making a choice, ned responsibility for the Barce its time building houses of cards, tionary sections of the centrist and the decision to move the Cali after days when as immediately lona events to the POUM and the to watch them blown over by a ranks go over to their natural to Chicago has of course never following the November Elections Anarchists. His criticism the puff from Left or Right. Clarity home in the Right. The centrist been carried out. The Party rehe talked at length about quit Soviet persecutions has been con holds endless caucus meetings tendency, independent registration. scheduled for imting the Party and the move sistently from the right, using which can never decide anything; grouping, is blown to pieces; and mediately after the Convention, ment, Thomas made up his mind, them as a text from which to writes documents and make remains, if at all, only as a piti is only now getting haltingly unand made it up firmly. He de attack the whole conception of speeches that have no relation to ful clique.
der way.
No pamphlets have cided to join forces with the a workers state and, in pas reality, and complains bitterly at Clarity reached its point of been published. Not a single orRight wing; and he made this sing, suggesting at least the par reality rudness in contradicting maximum surface development at ganized campaign has been condecision just preceeding the Chi tial guilt of Stalin victims. its documents and speeches; mak the Chicago Convention, where ducted. Where the Party has cago Convention. The decision Openly in his column he attacks es elaborate plans which can it claimed an outright majority. been active, this has been due was not accidental, but it is not not merely the Fourth Interna never be lifted from the paper Even then, however, underneath solely to local initiative. All of necessary here to trace its poli tional, but the members of the on which they are written. In all that surface the inner decay was these symptoms are due, not to tical genesis and development. Party who believe in the Fourth of these features, Clatity is a well advanced, and showed itself sabotages on the part of either Thomas is a determined man. International.
classic example of a centrist ten in a dozen instances. The chief Right or Left (as Clarity would and once having decided, he act These things are not symptom was the fact that when like to pretend in order to excuse ed in a determined fashion. At keeping with Thomas traditional As a centrist tendency, Clarity ever Thomas cracked, his whip, its own responsibility. but to every crucial point, he domina politics. It is important to ob tries to mediate between the ex the Clarity majority crumbled the fact that the has ted the Chicago Convention. Un serve, however, that since his tremes in the Party, to hold the without a shadow of resistance. provided no firm leadership; and, der his whip, the alleged Clarity solid incorporation into the Right balance between Right and Left. Nevertheless, Clarity took over ecause of its political nature, majority went down like wheat wing, Thomas politics have ac. For this reason, Clarity is al its majority on the could not.
before the storm. The real and tually suffered a retrogression ways for peace and unity From then on, the disintegration The Right wing, however, had telling blows against the Left a natural and usual result of his and truce and putting off de of Clarity proceeded with cumul no intention of waiting around were struck by Thomas. And in present lineup. For example: cisions. In actuality, of course, ative speed. The general process for Clarity and the Clarity fighting against the Left, Tho Thomas, in his column, gave the such politics is nothing but un outlined above has been taking to make up their minds. They mas, like all others of his kind, lead for what is by now, appar scrupulous and hypocriticial place in condensed form. went ahead at once with their finds no difficulty in forgetting ently, Party policy the de double dealing and horse trading. It was impossible from the out plans to smash the Party and on as an of dency.