The ‘American Exceptionalism’ of Jay Lovestone and His Comrades, 1929-1940

Buy hardcover (Brill)
Published Nov 2016
ISBN: 9789004224438

Dissident Marxism in the United States: Volume 1

Edited by Paul Le Blanc, La Roche College and Tim Davenport

The first ‘American Exceptionalists’ belonged to a left-wing current led by Jay Lovestone. Briefly in control of, then dramatically expelled from, the US Communist Party, they maintained an independent existence on the US Left from 1929 to 1940. Some became prominent in the labour and civil rights movements, while Will Herberg became a prominent Jewish theologian and an editor of the conservative National Review, and Bertram Wolfe worked as an anti-Communist ideologist with the US State Department. Lovestone himself collaborated with the CIA to help shape the Cold War foreign policy of the AFL-CIO. Yet earlier documents and articles from the Lovestone group provide rich information and remarkable insights on twentieth-century realities and radicalism.

Biographical note

Paul Le Blanc (Ph.D., 1989) University of Pittsburgh, is Professor of History at La Roche College. He is author or editor of twenty-five books related to the labour movement, including A Freedom Budget for All Americans with Michael Yates.

Tim Davenport has been centrally involved in a number of important on-line efforts, including Wikipedia, the Marxist Internet Archive, and oversees a website on early American Marxism ( He is a member of Historians of American Communism.


All interested in the history of the United States, the labor movement, social movements, civil rights, socialism, the twentieth-century world, Communism, anti-Communism, Stalinism, Marxism, political and social theory.

Table of contents

List of Photographs
Preface, Paul Le Blanc


1. What is the Communist Party Opposition?
Bertram D. Wolfe

2. Politics, Activism and Marxism of the Lovestone Group
Paul Le Blanc


3. Organisational Roots of Jay Lovestone’s Communist Party Opposition
Tim Davenport

4. The Lovestone Split of 1929
1. ‘Proposals of the delegation of the sixth National Convention’
2. Joseph Stalin, ‘Speech in the American Commission of ECCI’
3. Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, ‘Speech in the American Commission of ECCI’
4. ‘Address of ECCI to all members of the CPUSA’
5. Max Bedacht, et al., ‘Appeal to the Comintern, of 14 May 1929’
6. Joseph Stalin, ‘First speech of 14 May 1929 in the Presidium of ECCI’
7. Joseph Stalin, ‘Second speech of May 14 1929 in the Presidium of ECCI’
8. ‘The split telegram of 15 May 1929’
9. CC of the CPUSA, ‘Decisions of Central Committee of CPUSA on 14 May address of Comintern’
10. CPUSA, ‘The significance of the Comintern address’
11. ‘Material for the enlightenment of the members’ (Lovestone’s cable and Wolfe’s reply to ultimatum)
12. CC of the CPUSA, ‘Statement of the CC on the expulsion of Jay Lovestone’
13. Jay Lovestone, et al., ‘Appeal to the 10th Plenum of ECCI, July 10 1929’
14. CC of the CPUSA, ‘Statement of the CC on the July 10 Lovestone appeal’
15. Ben Gitlow, ‘For the sixth Congress decision’
16. Statement of the Polbureau of the CPUSA on Expulsions
17. CPUSA Majority Group, ‘Declaration to the Plenum of the Central Committee’


5. Russia and International Affairs: 1929–36
1. Jay Lovestone, ‘The crisis in the Communist International’
2. Alex Bail, ‘Defend the Soviet Union! Smash the imperialist “Holy War” against the USSR’
3. Revolutionary Age, ‘Wave of revolt sweeps India’
4. Louis Becker, ‘Dizzy With success’
5. Jay Lovestone, ‘Thirteen years of the Russian Revolution’
6. Jay Lovestone, ‘Germany at the Crossroads: Fascism on the rampage
7. Will Herberg, ‘Jews in Russia – Negroes in the USA: a Lesson from the Soviet Union’
8. CPUSA(O) Resolution, ‘On general line and inner-Party course of the CPSU’
9. Jay Lovestone, ‘The Nazis take power – what now?’
10, CPUSA(O), ‘On the new line of the Comintern’
11. Jay Lovestone, ‘Soviet Foreign Policy and the world revolution’
12. Workers Age, ‘The Russian events’

6. Russia and International Affairs: 1937–40
1. Jay Lovestone, ‘People’s front illusion’
2. Bertram D. Wolfe and Lambda, ‘The truth about the Barcelona events’
3. Jay Lovestone, ‘The meaning of the Soviet “purges”’
4. Will Herberg, ‘Jacobin defense in the Spanish war’
5. Bertram D. Wolfe, ‘Stalinism menaces the world labor movement’
6. ‘Another Moscow Trial! A statement’ [Bukharin Trial]
7. Lewis Corey, ‘War and armament economics’
8. Workers Age, ‘Stalin indicates Reich alliance’
9. Jay Lovestone, ‘Tomorrow’s war’
10. ILLA, ‘Stalin-Hitler pact – what does it mean?’
11. ILLA, ‘Keep America out of war!’
12. Workers Age, ‘Russia Invades Poland, ready for grab’
13. Workers Age, ‘And now Finland’
14. Will Herberg, ‘The new imperialism of Stalinist Russia’
15. ILLA, ‘Resolution on war policy’ (Convention 28–29 December 1940)

7. Social Struggles in the United States
Early Struggles
1. Ben Gitlow, ‘The AFL Convention and the Left Wing’
2. Ellen Dawson, ‘Gastonia’
3. Charles S. Zimmerman, ‘Second Convention of the Needle Trade Union’
4. Harry H. Connor, ‘The Communists and the Unemployed Council’
5. Edward Welsh, ‘The Harlem Tenants Council
Race and Racism
6. Grace Lamb, ‘The church versus the Negro’
7. Communist Party Opposition, ‘Marxism and the “Negro question”’
8. Edward Welsh, ‘The National Negro Congress’
9. Lyman Fraser, ‘Economic problems of Negro workers’
10. Ernest Calloway, ‘New problems for Negro labor’
Trade-Union Movement
11. Jay Lovestone, ‘Problems and tasks of the American labor movement’
12. Jay Lovestone, ‘Address to ILGWU Convention’
13. Charles S. Zimmerman, ‘American labor faces the future’
14. Charles S. Zimmerman, ‘Hope of trade union movement’
15. Will Herberg, ‘The CIO and the problem of unity’
16. Charles S. Zimmerman, ‘Call for labor unity
United Auto Workers
17. Auto striker, ‘Flint striker tells story of GM violence’
18. Stuart Meffron, ‘The battle of Flint’
19. E.B. and Mary Flint, ‘Women in the auto strike’
20. Jay Lovestone, ‘Implications of the sit-down’
21. Jay Lovestone, ‘Latest Stalinist assault upon auto union’
Regarding Others on the Left
22. Bertram D. Wolfe, ‘Trotsky and Trotskyism’
23. Dorothy Dare, ‘Joining the CPO’
24. Edward Welsh, ‘May Day speech, 1937’
25. Bernard Herman, ‘Review of Ben Gitlow’s I Confess’

8. Marxist Theory
Applying Marxism
1. Jay Lovestone, ‘Some specific features of the American labor movement’
2. Will Herberg, ‘The heritage of the Civil War’
3. Bertram D. Wolfe, ‘Marx and America’
4. Will Herberg, ‘The passing of the gods’
5. Will Herberg, ‘Basic features of Fascism’
Re-examining Marxism
6. Will Herberg, ‘The American face of Fascism
7. Workers Age, ‘Marxism probed in fine symposium’
8. Lewis Corey, ‘Recreating Socialism’
9. Will Herberg, ‘Dilemma of Socialism’
10. Bertram D. Wolfe, ‘The basic core of Marxism’

9. Fadeout
1. Jay Lovestone, ‘Marxists and the unions’
2. Will Herberg, ‘Convention of a new beginning’
3. ‘Jay Lovestone’s testimony to House of Un-American Activities Committee’
4. ‘Letter from Dissident Lovestoneites’
5. ‘Towards a genuine American democratic Socialism!’ (1940 dissolution statement)