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C. Curtiss

Opposition and Unemployed in Los Angeles

(May 1933)

League Activities, The Militant, Vol. VI No. 27, 20 May 1933, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Los Angeles – Part of the machinery set into motion-by the United Front anti-Fascist letter of the C.I. was an anti-Hitler united front conference in Los Angeles on April 28.

This conference was not called by the Communist party but by a united front provisional organization of German groups.

Proof that the “united front from below under revolutionary leadership” has gone the way of the “third period” and the “struggle for the streets” was had by the fact that neither the Communist party nor the Young Communist League were represented officially.

We presume, their assumption was that their presence there would frighten from the “broad united front” the three branches of the ILD, the IWO, the FSU, the friends of the Polish Political Prisoners, the LSU, the Icor, and the Unemployed Council as well as two or three German speaking organizations: Workingmen’s Benefit, Maennerchor, etc. And by no means shall we forget the Cremation Society who were present, too.

The only Communist organization openly participating was the Left Opposition.

A delegate of the Left Opposition was placed on the resolutions committee. In this committee he proposed three resolutions, in addition to the two already proposed. One of the resolutions, on the struggle against fascism, stood for a united front with all labor organizations against the fascist attacks, particularly with the socialist party. The socialist party was condemned for refusing to participate in this conference.

Other resolutions, on anti-Semitism pointed out that the struggle against Fascism and anti-Semitism by the Jews could only be waged by the lower social strata allying themselves with the proletariat, and demonstrated that only a new social order could abolish religious and racial prejudices.

The third resolution on the Defense of the Soviet Union showed that Hitler represented the spearhead of the attacks on Russia, and the labor movement particularly in the countries intervening between Russia and Germany must join the anti-Fascist bloc. (The party voted against the resolutions of the L.O.)

The party seems determined to to make of the anti-Hitler struggle an affair of fraternal German and Jewish groups instead of a labor affair. The local branch off the Opposition took a determined position against this. The consensus of opinion of revolutionaries here is that Stalinism is ready for a nice sanitary disposal.

Call the Cremation Society!

Activity of the Left Opposition

The comrades in the Los Angeles branch of the League are very active in the class struggle particularly in the mass unemployment movement, the Unemployed Cooperative Relief Association in which they are very influential. The organization is slowly progressing. We are developing a group of erstwhile scissor bills into class conscious battlers, although in this as well as in other activities we suffer acutely from lack of forces.

The organization has demanded $50,000 monthly from the city. This morning’s newspapers state that Mayor Porter has appropriated $20,000. The cause for this “liberality” is a dual one, a combination of pre-election political activity, and the forestalling of our movement by a political concession.

The movement has also gone on record for the freedom of Mooney, has elected a delegate by proxy to the Free Mooney Congress in Chicago.

Some time ago, when the U.C.R.A. placed an evicted family’s furniture back into the home, the man, Tibbs, was arrested. After a nine day trial, costing the authorities at least $1,000, the verdict was “not guilty.” This was a victory for the unemployed.

The unemployed are turning on their disconnected gas, light and water in the tens of thousands. A number of half-hearted arrests have taken place on this account, too.

Friday, April 27, a member of the organization was placed on the streets. The unemployed determined to make a demonstration in the form of a continual meeting 24 hours daily at a pitched tent before the workers former home. This tactic had won shelter for the family before.

In the small hours of the night, when the members keeping vigil had dwindled to 35 warming themselves before bonfires, the police and “red squad” swooped down and brutally beat the unemployed. It was not that horror of horrors, a “red”, that was clubbed but one of themselves. The unemployed are aroused.

So the lessons of the class struggle, of private property, of the role of the state are being beaten home. We are busy drawing conclusions, organizing the instinctive rebellion into revolutionary Marxist paths.

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Last updated: 4 September 2015