Lapas attēli
PDF
ePub

affiliation prior to my contact with the Socialist Party with any radical organization. I did not identify it as a radical organization, because I was enrolled in it by my pastor, who thought it would be a good thing.

By 1928, I was identified with but not a member of the Socialist Party. In the fall of 1928 I organized and became the president of a student League for Industrial Democracy chapter at the University of Pittsburgh, the League for Industrial Democracy being a Socialist student organization, not affiliated with the party but in general allied with it.

In the fall of 1928, I entered the University of Pittsburgh, having previously had a year at night school in the downtown university, 1927–28.

On the campus I joined the Liberal Club, organized approximately 2 years previously, following a meeting by Norman Thomas on the campus. But in this Liberal Club I had my first contacts with actual Communists. This occurred in the late fall or early spring of 1928 or 1929. Although not yet a full sophomore, I was nominated for presidency of this club. It was understood that there was no opposition, but at the last moment a chap who was identified in the club as a Communist was not only nominated but was elected by what was obviously a premeeting caucus determination. This individual who defeated me was a person going by the name of William Albertson, A-l-b-e-r-t-s-o-n, living with his mother in Pittsburgh. His father was the superintendent of a Soviet textile factory in Leningrad, and this was common knowledge among his fellow students. Albertson was subsequently, in 1952, indicted under the Smith Act, so he is current.

In the spring of 1929, I became interested through the American Civil Liberties Union in the Mooney-Billings case as a labor cause, and the Liberal Club, with my consent as a board member, arranged a meeting on the University of Pittsburgh campus on the MooneyBillings case. The meeting was subsequently disallowed by the authorities, and a clash resulted with the University of Pittsburgh authorities, the consequence of which was that William Albertson, myself, and a graduate assistant who was not directly connected, by the name of Frederick Woltman, now employed by the New York World-Telegram, and so forth, were expelled. This case involved me in fairly close collaboration in the courts in the course of legal proceedings with William Albertson and others who either at the time or subsequently I have identified as Communists or Communist sympathizers.

However, 2 weeks after the climax of events at the University of Pittsburgh, I was employed by the Teamsters International Union to prepare a study for them of a strike they were conducting in the dairy industry in the city of Pittsburgh, and in the course of conducting some meetings to publicize this study, public meetings, I found my erstwhile associate, Mr. Albertson, trying to break up said meetings and trying to disrupt the relationship between the unionmen on strike and their officers from the international union. This was my first insight into the actual nature of Communist interest in industrial disturbance. Their sole interest in this concern was to inject themselves into the situation, and the person who headed up their injection was this chap who 2 weeks before I had been fighting shoulder to shoulder with in our dispute with the University of Pittsburgh authorities.

[ocr errors]

I might say that 1 year later the University of Pittsburgh offered me unconditional reinstatement in the university, but due to surviving loyalty to the other associates, who were not included in the offer, I declined and did not accept this offer.

This was extended to me by Mr. J. Steele Gough, who was the executive secretary of the university, on behalf of the board of trustees at the time. Mr. Gough is now head of the Falk Foundation in Pittsburgh.

Just prior to this incident at the University of Pittsburgh, I was in the city of New York, in the spring of 1929, for the first time. I visited the headquarters of the Methodist Federation for Social Service. There I met the secretary, a little old woman by the name of Winifred Chappell. To my rather intense surprise, she began to relate an incident which she was personally a witness to a few days before, when she had attended a Communist Party meeting in New York City, at which there had been violence involving the stabbing of an alleged Trotskyite. This whole incident, somewhat shockingly,

as related in the gayest of spirits as if it were just part of an eve ning's entertainment. There was no concern about potential murders in a political meeting. As far as I know, that finished me up with the Methodist Federation for Social Service. I never renewed my membership after the beginning of 1930, although I did see this Winifred Chappel again in the summer of 1929

in one of the summer camps or institutes arranged by the Methodist Church, where she was teaching classes, and at that time she further sought to interest me specifically in the concern of various people with the allegedly inspiring events taking place in Soviet Russia. I did not see her after that summer.

In the summer of 1929, I did work for the Finnish Social Democratic Federation directing a young people's labor college for their children in Ashtabula, Ohio, and Daisytown, Pa. In August of 1929, after the conduct of this series of labor college sessions, I was called on the telephone by one Horace B. Davis, who at that time represented himself and was quite possibly a sort of radical Quaker liberal, but who either was at that time or has subsequently become a Communist Party person to my knowledge, operating in various unions, having been shoved out of Cumberland, Md., on the insistence of the CIO Textile Workers for his Communist activities; most recently, I believe, at the University of Kansas City. Professor Davis, as he was known, called me on the telephone and asked if I would act as an observer for the Civil Liberties Union local committee in Pittsburgh at a series of Communist meetings on the north side of Pittsburgh where there was alleged to be danger of police violence. In accordance with this request I did attend this meeting, seeing a demonstration in one of the north side parks, which then adjourned to a mass meeting in the International Labor and Socialist Lyceum, which has since disappeared. At that time it was well known and was the headquarters of the Communist Party in Pittsburgh.

On the way from that meeting, I spoke to one officer whom I knew from the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union, the waiters' local, a man by the name of Zeno. This individual was a professional labor spy, as we now identify them. He worked for private detective agencies engaged in industrial espionage.

My attendance at that meeting was reported to the Gulf Refining Co., with whom I was at that time on leave of absence in their service station division, and I was blacklisted in the city of Pittsburgh for the balance of that year.

In the spring of 1930 I was engaged as an organizer by the Socialist Party, by the Pennsylvania State committee. I was not actually, to show the looseness of this particular organization, a member of the Socialist Party until after I was employed as a full-time organizer. At that time it was suggested to me that I also join the party, which I did. That membership continued continuously from that time until March of 1941, when I publicly resigned from the Socialist movement.

I functioned as an organizer for the Socialist Party, and my next establishment of contact with the Communist, William Albertson, was as a result of an incident that occurred at the State convention of the Socialist Party in May of 1930. At this time I personally sponsored a resolution condemning the British Labor Party Government for the use of troops against Gandhi in India. The issue was very bitter because of the pride which all Socialists took in the British Labor Government, and the resolution caused a considerable division and could not have been defeated. There was publicity on this dispute.

A few weeks later in Pittsburgh, on a downtown street, for the first time since I had seen him trying to break up my meeting for the teamsters union in 1929, I saw this William Albertson, who then gave me an index into the psychology of this particular group by asking why, when I had so many supporters at this State convention, did I not organize them and lead them out of that organization and split and form an organization of my own.

Beginning in 1931, I was engaged jointly as newspaper correspondent and publicity director for the two Socialist members of the house of representatives in the Pennsylvania State Legislature and, as such, I was a member of the Legislative Correspondents Association in my capacity as a correspondent, of course, not as a publicity man. I served in that capacity during the regular session of 1931, the special session of 1931, the special session of 1932, and regular session of 1933, during the period that that legislature was in session.

In the early summer of 1931, upon the adjournment of the legislature, I returned to Pittsburgh to find a demonstration or starvation strike of miners being waged in western Pennsylvania counties. This strike was not an industrial dispute in the normal sense, inasmuch as the majority of the so-called strikers were actually unemployed ininers, but the unemployment and food situation was actually so acute that these miners, having no organization, expressed their resentment in terms of a strike, although they had no jobs for the most part. This was an ideal place for the Communists to operate, and they had moved in under the heading of their National Miners Union, because of the sympathy for the miners which is very strong in all sections of the labor novement as such, and because of the general community sympathy for the plight of the miners who, living in their small towns, had none of the even minor charity that a small city affords because there was nobody in their town except miners, and they were all unemployed and pretty hungry.

It was an ideal situation from the Communist point of view, but the Socialist Party office, after consulting with some of the members of the American Federation of Labor in the Pittsburgh Central Labor Union, decided that in spite of the Communist leadership, we could not let the miners go unaided. We therefore organized the labor and Socialist miners relief fund, and we shipped hundreds of tons of food and clothing into this so-called strike area, which was actually not a strike area at all. However, I place emphasis upon this because it is a pattern of Communist activity which could enable me in 1946, which was 15 years later, in discussing the experience in Communist countries with the UNRRA, the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation, and the political use of relief, I found there was not a single instance that they experienced that was not duplicated in the Communist relationship in this relief field in Pittsburgh in 1931. The pattern was so absolute and mechanical.

For example, we discovered—we happened to rent offices in the same building in Pittsburgh, and one day, first in the Communist press and then in a release in the daily press, there was a charge that we were, as a labor and Socialist relief committee, using the alleged similarity of names, cashing checks and contributions actually aimed at their miners relief committee.

We had some experienced old hands who had fought the Communists in 1919, who immediately said, “This is an evidence, from all past experience with the Communists, that they are doing precisely This because they only charge you with doing a discreditable thing if they themselves are already engaged in it." We therefore got hold of a postal inspector and moved in on their office and found that they had been doing precisely this. Checks had forged endorsements, using the similarity of names, and had been cashed and were being cashed and were in their office at that time, and we forced them to make restitution.

Throughout the miners' area, going out on our relief trucks, we found, for example, that on 1 or 2 occasions the relief stations scattered through the western Pennsylvania mining area did not get aid from the Communist trucks some mornings. The shipments didn't come in or the money ran low. On those mornings they were crude enough to go through with their trucks and leave large bundles of Daily Workers in empty relief stations where the potato barrel was empty. They left Daily Workers. This is an example of the type of callousness which is possible in their type of operation.

At this time we had a rather interesting experience also with the attitude of the liberal magazines in a contest involving Communists as against some other type of labor organization in this area. The Nation magazine sent a correspondent into Pittsburgh, and he proceeded to consult the Communist office and wrote an article completely false, alleging that the labor and Socialist relief fund was giving relief only to Socialist miners. We had at that time exactly six members of the Socialist Party in that entire Pittsburgh mining area, and we were shipping tons of food. But we did discover as part of the Communist pattern that this was exactly what was being done to recruit members to the Communist Party from this trade-union front, the National Miners Union, in the course of this strike. Thev were told if they signed a party card, they would be sure to get these relief shipments which were being raised by private solicitation across the country.

a

In the late fall of 1931 and beginning in the winter of 1932, we were still shipping relief as we were making arrangements with authorities for the gradual transfer of these miners' relief kitchens to public responsibility because the fiction of a strike had disappeared, but the people's needs still remained and public authorities were beginning to take on this responsibility, and we arranged that transition. Before that transition occurred, we were repeatedly, particularly in Washington County, in several meetings of this miners union, from which all the Communists and their various relief and other functionaries had disappeared for some 2 or 3 months before, but these same locals were in receipt of appeals for the West Virginia-Ohio Miners Relief Committee, these hungry miners, because the Communists had started a new operation in the West Virginia-Ohio area stimulating the same sort of strike. But they were sending to these hungry miners—whom they left without leadership, help, assistance at all-appeals to contribute to their new scene of operations.

This was extremely interesting, because all the details, the charges of falsification, diversion of funds, and so forth, which actually represented what the Communists themselves engaged in, were typical. The story in the Nation magazine was protested by Norman Thomas at the time. An individual at the University of Pittsburgh was assigned by the Nation to investigate and get a correction. That individual's name was Colston E. Warne at the University of Pittsburgh. Colston E. Warne, subsequently transferring to Amherst College, had been one of our advisers during our student conflict with the university authorities in 1929, but we had found that he did not deal with us aboveboard. He consulted ostensibly with myself and the other student who was known to be a Communist, but we found out later that he met privately with the said Communist student and there was where the decisions were actually made as to the strategy in the fight on the alleged civil-liberties issue in the University of Pittsburgh. However, we did not know this until a few years subsequently.

This time, Colston Warne was assigned by the Nation to investigate this allegedly false story that they had printed on this miners' relief situation. He investigated but, strangely enough, at the time no report was ever made by the Nation as a result of his investigation, although the facts were clearly false. As we know now,

the reason was that Colston Warne made no recommendations for any correction. It was purely a coverup operation, because his political sympathies were already known.

It was at the end of that year, in 1933, that he transferred to Amherst College, boasting to me at the time that he thought this was a pretty safe haven because the president of Amherst in 1932 was a man who was primarily interested in classical things and was a bug, as he said, on academic freedom. He found his berth. He is still there.

My first experience with actual Communist violence had actually occurred in the course of the political campaign of 1930. We will cut back just for this point, because I want to bring it up later in 1933.

In 1930, I had helped organize a meeting in support of the Socialist candidate for governor, which was addressed by Mayor Stumpf of Reading, Pa. The meeting was held in a theater on a Sunday after

You must remember that I was very much a neophyte in

а

[ocr errors]

noon.

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »