Jay Lovestone


Jay Lovestone

Jay Lovestone (1897-1990) was at various times a member of the Socialist Party of America, a leader of the Communist Party USA, leader of a small oppositionist party, an anti-Communist and CIA collaborator, and foreign policy advisor to the leadership of the AFL-CIO and various unions within it.

Early history

Born Jacob Liebstein to a Jewish family in Lithuania, he emigrated with his parents in 1907 to New York's Lower East Side. A student activist at the City College of New York, he became a socialist and was a founding member of the Communist Party of America in 1919, which merged with the Communist Labor Party in 1921 to form what became the Communist Party USA.

In 1921, Lovestone became editor of the Communist Party newspaper, "The Communist", and sat on the editorial board of the "The Liberator", the arts and letters publication of the Workers Party of America. Upon the death of Charles Ruthenberg in 1927 he became the party's national secretary.

The party was divided into three factions, the "Ruthenberg-Lovestone faction", the "Cannon faction" and the "Foster faction". The Cannon faction was the smallest and worked with the Foster faction. The Ruthenberg-Lovestone faction represented the vast majority of the party.

With the Communist Party of the Soviet Union riven by a succession struggle following Lenin's death, the factions in the US eventually corresponded with factions in the Soviet leadership, with Foster's faction being strongly supportive of Stalin and Lovestone's faction sympathetic to Bukharin. As a result of his trip to the Comintern Congress in 1928 where he, and Maurice Spector were accidentally shown Trotsky's thesis criticising the direction of the Comintern, James P. Cannon became a Trotskyist and decided to organise his faction in support of Trotsky's position.

Cannon's support for Trotsky became known before he had fully mobilised his supporters. Lovestone led the purging of Cannon and his supporters in 1928.

When Bukharin was purged from the Soviet Politburo in 1929, Lovestone suffered the consequences. A visiting delegation of the Comintern asked him to step down as party secretary in favour of rival William Z. Foster. Lovestone refused and departed for the Soviet Union to argue his case. Lovestone insisted that he had the support of the vast majority of the Communist Party and should not have to step aside. Stalin responded that he "had a majority because the American Communist Party until now regarded you as the determined supporters of the Communist International. And it was only because the Party regarded you as friends of the Comintern that you had a majority in the ranks of the American Communist Party".

When he returned to the US, Lovestone was forced to pay for his insubordination and was expelled from the party – obstensibly not for challenging Stalin, but for his support of Bukharin and the Right Opposition and for his theory of American exceptionalism, which held that capitalism was more secure in the United States and thus different, more moderate strategies should be pursued by socialists than elsewhere in the world. That contradicted Stalin's views and the new Third Period policy of ultra-leftism promoted by the Comintern.
*"External link to [http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1929/cpusa.htm Stalin's comments on the CPUSA and Lovestone] ."

Communist Party (Opposition)

Lovestone and his friends had thought that they commanded the following of the mass of party members and, once expelled, optimistically named their new party the "Communist Party (Majority Group)". When the new group attracted only a few hundred members it changed its name to the "Communist Party (Opposition)". They were aligned with the "International Communist Opposition", which had sections in fifteen countries.

The CP(O) later became the "Independent Communist Labor League" and then, in 1938, the "Independent Labor League of America" before dissolving in 1941. The party published the periodical "Workers' Age" (originally "Revolutionary Age"), which was edited by Bertram Wolfe, along with a number of pamphlets.

Union and anti-communist activities

Lovestone had, while within the Communist Party, played an active role in the Party's labor activities, primarily within the United Mine Workers, where the party supported the revolt against John L. Lewis's leadership led by John Brophy. His allies within the party, particularly Charles S. Zimmerman, had a great deal of power within the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union prior to the debacle of 1926.

After his expulsion, Lovestone formed a base within ILGWU Dressmakers Local 22, to which Zimmerman had returned after his expulsion from the CPUSA. Lovestone and Zimmerman worked their way into the good graces of Dubinsky, who had been their fiercest enemy before their expulsion.

With Dubinsky's support, Lovestone went to work for Homer Martin, the embattled President of the United Auto Workers, who was attempting to drive his political rivals out of the union by charging them with being communists. Martin's and Lovestone's tactics, however, only succeeded in unifying all of the disparate groups in the leadership of the union at that time into a single coalition opposed to Martin and, unintentionally, enhancing the reputation of CP members within the union. The UAW's Executive Board, with the support of the CIO, proceeded to oust Martin, who left to form his own rump version of the UAW. Lovestone followed him for a time.

Lovestone had maintained his relationship with Dubinsky throughout this period; Dubinsky helped finance Martin's new union and worked for its affiliation with the AFL. In 1943, Lovestone became the director of the International Ladies' and Garment Workers' Union's (ILGWU) International Affairs Department. Dubinsky also helped Lovestone find work in 1941 with an organization favoring the United States' entry into World War II. Dubinsky was concerned that Lovestone's past role in the Communist Party would taint him and suggested the Lovestone change his name; Lovestone declined to do so.

In 1944, Dubinsky arranged to place Lovestone in the AFL's Free Trade Union Committee, where he worked out of the ILGWU's headquarters. Along with Irving Brown he led the activities of the American Institute for Free Labor Development, an organisation sponsored by the AFL which worked internationally organizing labor unions in Europe and Latin America which were not Communist controlled. In connection with that work he cooperated closely with the CIA, feeding information about Communist labor union activities to James Jesus Angleton, the CIA's counterintelligence chief, in order to undermine Communist and left wing influence in the international union movement and provide intelligence to the US government.

In 1949, Lovestone became executive secretary of the new International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) which had similar aims to the FTUC. He remained there until 1963 when he became director of the AFL-CIO's International Affairs Department (IAD), which covertly channelled millions of dollars from the CIA to anti-communist activities internationally, particularly in Latin America. He held that position until 1974, when he was expelled from the AFL-CIO upon discovery of his longstanding CIA connections.

Reference materials

Lovestone donated his extensive records to the Hoover Institution. An associate Louise Page Morris has also donated her correspondence. Lovestone's FBI file is reported to be 5,700 pages long. [cite web
url=http://www.loc.gov/catdir/description/random0412/98039514.html
title=Publisher description for A covert life : Jay Lovestone, communist, anti-communist, and spymaster
publisher=Library of Congress
]

References

Further reading

* Ted Morgan, "A Covert Life: Jay Lovestone, Communist, Anti-Communist & Spymaster", Random House, 1999, hardcover, ISBN 0-679-44400-9
* Robert J. Alexander, "The Right Opposition: The Lovestoneites and the International Communist Opposition of the 1930s" Westport CT 1981
* Fred Hirsch, "An Analysis of Our AFL-CIO Role in Latin America or Under the Covers with the CIA", 1974, 57 pages, look for this on [http://dogbert.abebooks.com/servlet/BookSearch?an=Fred+Hirsch&tn=Latin+America&sortby=2&cf=MOREREFINE ABE]
* [http://historycooperative.press.uiuc.edu/journals/llt/49/09devina.html#REF19 Victor G. Devinatz "Reassessing The Historical UAW: Walter Reuther’s Affiliation with the Communist Party and Something of Its Meaning – a Document of Party Involvement, 1939", "Le Travail", 2002]

External links

* [http://www.bolerium.com/cgi-bin/bol48/find/keywords/Jay%20Lovestone%92s%20Group.html Search on Bolerium.com for books relating to the Lovestone Group] Bolerium.com
* [http://www-hoover.stanford.edu/publications/digest/991/danielson.html Article, "A Fierce, Freedom-Loving Man" by Elena Danielson in "Hoover Digest"]
* [http://www.pww.org/past-weeks-1999/Jay%20Lovestone.htm Jay Lovestone: An international fink]
* [http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml%3Fi=19990524&s=buhle Lovestone's Thin Red Line] by Paul Buhle, "The Nation"

"Adapted from the Wikinfo article [http://www.wikinfo.org/wiki.phtml?title=Jay_Lovestone Jay Lovestone] , licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License."


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