Ernest Erber Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Ernest Erber

Erber Hits Plan to Steal YPSL Convention

Calls on Circles to Guarantee Honest Meet

(August 1937)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. 1 No. 2, 21 August 1937, p. 8.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

New York City
August 15, 1937

To all Circle Secretaries;
(To be read at next Circle meeting)

Dear Comrades:

This letter is an appeal to the membership to take immediate steps to secure the election of a fair and representative convention and thereby defeat the conspiracy of the centrist leaders to steal the convention from the majority and split the League.

The centrist leaders began their mad attempts to secure a majority at the convention some six months ago by systematically placing factional organizers in the field under the guise of League organizers. Three months ago, with bureaucratic disregard for the wishes of the membership, they deliberately changed the location of the convention from Akron to Philadelphia in order to increase the difficulties of the western left wing section in sending delegations while easing the task for their two eastern strongholds, New York City and Philadelphia. As the convention approaches and it becomes apparent to them that even these shoddy maneuvers leave them far from having a majority, they now embark upon a frenzied campaign of gerrymandering, dues stamp record juggling, illegal transfers, and other corrupt practices.

Brazen Fraud

I receive reports virtually daily from Cleveland, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, Ithaca, N.Y., and other places, telling of the brazen attempts on the part of the national office or the local centrist leaders to fraudulently defeat the left wing nominees. When all of these reports will have been collected with irrefutable evidence to verify them, they will constitute a veritable “black book” of the crimes of the centrist leaders against the revolutionary majority of the League as well as against those of the centrist minority who are opposed to the introduction of chicanery and fakery into the Y.P.S.L.

The practices engaged in by those in control of the League machinery have created a situation where it is no longer possible to adhere to the legal forms of the NEC when this crooked “legality” of the centrist leaders is designed to defeat the left wing by corrupt methods. The controlling bodies have abdicated their right to legislate on questions of representation by the methods they have stooped to.

Their methods of representation has given New York City, with only twice the membership of California or Chicago, three times as many delegates, while Philadelphia, with less than half the membership of California or Chicago, has been given two-thirds the number of delegates. They have had members vote in Columbus and transferred them to vote again in Cleveland. They have nullified the election of a left wing delegate in Ithaca because a centrist member was absent. They have sold dues stamps on credit so that circles like Baltimore will meet with three members present to elect two delegates. They give Chicago 120 members when a census last May showed 193. They engaged in practices of the type exposed in the notorious Barshop letter.

Since these practices have destroyed all possibility of holding a convention that really represents the membership, it is necessary that the circles take matters into their own hands to enable the League to meet in a representative convention and prevent the centrist leadership of the youth from carrying through the orders of the Clarityite group in the Party to split the Y.P.S.L. rather than permit the left wing to gain control. There is only one fair method for the election of delegates remaining to the circles. This is to:

  1. Have your circle examine its records and the books of the members to determine the number in good standing.
  2. Elect delegates to the convention on the basis of the ratio decided upon by the national office despite the obvious injustice of their system (1 for 5, 2 for 8, 3 for 23, and an additional delegate for every fifteen members or major fraction thereof).
  3. Supply your delegates with indubitable proof of the membership of your circle, either by means of the treasurers records or the membership cards.

Only this procedure can save the League from the disrepute into which the revolting methods of the centrist leaders are plunging it. Let the membership teach the cynical politicians in control of the apparatus that the capture of the majority of the dues stamps leaves one far from capturing the majority of a national convention of the Young People’s Socialist League.


With Socialist greetings,
Ernest Erber
National Chairman,
Young People’s Socialist League

Ernest Erber Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 23 November 2014