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Yipsels Unite with Spartacus at Toledo Meet

(14 December 1935)

From The New Militant, Vol. 1 No. 50, 14 December 1935, pp. 1 & 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

TOLEDO, Ohio – The youth section of the local Stalinists succeeded in capturing themselves and several Y.W.C.A. secretaries at the Toledo Youth Congress held at the Central Labor Union Hall, Saturday afternoon, November 30. Going one better on the Elders of the Church (Stalinist), who held the fort at the recent American League Against War and Fascism conference, the fledgelings succeeded in preventing entirely any discussion on the war and sanctions question, which had been introduced into the conference by a joint resolution against support of imperialist governments and their sanctions submitted by the Young Peoples Socialist League and Spartacus Youth League.

Highly advertised and ballyhooed, the conference began on the evening of November 29, with a meeting at the Civic Auditorium featuring a symposium of representatives of the Republican, Democratic, Socialist and Communist Parties on What Our Party Offers American Youth. For over three hours, the 300 of the faithful who lost themselves in the echoing vastness of the huge auditorium were, drenched by the greatest outpouring of reactionary balderdash ever spewed over a helpless audience, – saved only by the forthright utterances of Ben Fisher, national secretary of the Yipsels, who openly denounced the chauvinist policies of the Stalinists and attacked the support of sanctions and one’s own imperialist government in a war crisis.

The Minimum Is Zero

William Weinstone, who represented the Stalinists in the Symposium, completely skirted the entire war question, ducked the direct challenge of Fisher on the C.P. position on sanctions, and confined the greater portion of his remarks to sugary sentimental plea for organic unity between the Socialists and Stalinists. Waldo McNutt, Chairman of the American Youth Congress, one of the two main speakers on the program, distinguished himself in his remarks by declaring the purpose of the Congress to be “the uniting of the youth on a minimum program on which everyone could agree.” Everyone agreed on the minimum program offered – the minimum being nothing at all.

The wind-up speaker, and chief attraction of the evening, however, was Reverend Theodore Adams, pastor of the Ashland Avenue Baptist Church. The Reverend put on a regular revival and offered as the solution of the problems of American youth the slogan “Come to Jesus!” (sic!), and punctuated his pious exhortations with an attack on the Soviet Union, linking the workers’ fatherland with Nazi Germany! Reverend Adams is the respectable front the Stalinists in control of the Congress are using to appeal to the church groups. The actual conference, attended by 40 delegates, a majority of Y.C.L. and New America members in a bloc, lasted about 4 hours on Saturday afternoon. One hour of this time was spent in again listening to Mr. McNutt say nothing in the polished platform manner of a washing-machine salesman who just slays the Y.W.C.A. secretaries. Then the conference was divided into “commissions,” directed in reports on youth and “unemployment, industry, education, war and fascism. This was intended to prevent any full and open discussion before the entire congress on resolutions introduced by the Yipsels and S.Y.L.

However, a majority report in favor of the joint anti-sanctions resolution was reported by the commission on war and fascism, of which Sam Pollock was elected chairman. When the report was read to the congress, Lottie Gordon, Y.C.L. representative and wife of the district C.P. organizer, took the floor and charged the contents of the report to be out of order. After an hour’s fight on the floor, in which the Y.C.L. members by parliamentary conniving, succeeded in preventing any discussion on the actual contents of the resolution, it was tabled. During the course of the debate, however, it was revealed that the leaders of the A.Y.C., those staunch defenders of democratic rights, were opposed to “any controversial subject being discussed, since such subjects are against the program of the congress which is limited only to those questions on which all are in agreement.” (sic!)

The one significant phase of the entire affair was the genuine and principled united front affected between the Young Socialists and Young Fourth Internationalists on the basis of a fundamental agreement on the war question.

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