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Forty-Fifth 

National Convention 

Socialist Labor Party 

June 1-4,2001 

Minutes, Reports, Resolutions, Etc. 




Published 2001 

Socialist Labor Party 

P.O. Box 218 

Mountain View, CA 94042-0218 

Online edition August 2006 



PROCEEDINGS OF THE 

45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 
SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

June 1-4, 2001 

Holiday Inn 
Santa Clara, Calif. 

MORNING SESSION, FRIDAY, JUNE 1, 2001 

National Secretary Robert Bills called the 45th National Con- 
vention of the Socialist Labor Party to order at 9:25 a.m. with the 
following remarks: 

Greetings: 

One hundred twenty-five years ago a small group of men met in 
a commodious three- or four-story building in Philadelphia to form 
a new political party. That building still stands today in a run- 
down neighborhood of the city, looking a little run down itself. 
Nonetheless, it still stands, a silent monument to what took place 
within its walls 125 years ago. Since then it has been put to many 
uses, and only a handful of people living today knows what hap- 
pened there during the very month that the country was celebrat- 
ing the 100th anniversary of its independence from British rule. 

Not all the men who gathered in that Philadelphia hall in July 
1876 remained loyal to the organization they created or the cause 
it was meant to espouse. Some who abandoned the new party were 
trade unionists; others were Socialists. Among the former was 
Adolf Strasser, ultimately president of the cigarmakers' union and 
vice president of the American Federation of Labor, who would 
later tell a committee of the U.S. Senate that trade unions "have no 
ultimate ends." Among the latter was Frederick Sorge, a friend and 
correspondent of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. 

Despite these desertions, Engels said this new party was "called 
upon to play a very important part in the movement." It would go 
on to reassert the right to life, liberty and happiness in its plat- 
form, to declare that those rights were impossible for the majority 
without collective ownership and democratic social control of the 
means of life, and to initiate a new union movement based on the 
class struggle and with an "ultimate end," the Socialist Republic. 

That new party, founded at a Union Congress in Philadelphia 



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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

125 years ago, was the Workingmen's Party of the United States, 
which, one year later, changed its name to Socialist Labor Party. 
And just as Engels foresaw, the SLP has played an important part 
in the history and development of the socialist and labor move- 
ments in America. 

Today, you have gathered in this hall as its elected representa- 
tives to convene its 45th National Convention. The SLP may ap- 
pear to be a little run down, like that old building that still stands 
in Philadelphia; but it too still stands, not as a monument to its 
own past, but as a living body dedicated to the same ultimate end 
that has inspired thousands of working-class men and women for 
more than 100 years. The SLP is small, battered and badly in need 
of new members to flesh out its ranks to carry on the struggle for 
the Socialist Republic. As I said to one member who felt battle 
weary several years ago, the SLP may be small, but its principles 
and program make it a political superpower. It is for you who have 
gathered here to attend to its affairs and to decide how those prin- 
ciples and that program will be advanced over the next two years. 

Accordingly, with these few thoughts about the importance of 
the work you are about to undertake, I hereby call this 45th Na- 
tional Convention of the Socialist Labor Party to order. 

Temporary Organization 

K. Boettcher was elected temporary Chairperson. 

J.P. Catusco was elected temporary Recording Secretary. 

C. Camacho was appointed temporary Sergeant at Arms. 

Election of Credentials Committee 

The Chair recommended that the committee consist of three. 
There being no objection, it was so ordered. The Chair opened the 
floor to nominations. C. Camacho, J. Groelke and R. Burns were 
nominated. Nominations were closed, and the three having ac- 
cepted nomination, the Chair declared them elected. At 9:30 p.m. 
the convention recessed for 15 minutes to allow the committee to 
do its work. Reconvened at 9:55 a.m. 

C. Camacho presented the following report: 

The Credentials Committee reports that there are 10 delegates 
present, nine of which presented their credentials, one of which did 
not bring his credential but for whom there was a duplicate on file. 
Section Portland's delegate, Comrade Scott Hess, could not attend 
the convention for personal reasons. Comrade Joe Groelke, alter- 

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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

nate delegate, has attended in his place. Section Cook County, 111., 
delegate, Comrade Henry Coretz, is unable to attend due to family 
obligations. Section Cook County failed to elect an alternate dele- 
gate. National member-at-large Darrell H. Knight, an elected dele- 
gate, unexpectedly submitted his resignation as a member of the 
SLP. National members-at-large did not elect an alternate. 

The committee recommends the following delegates be seated: 
Section San Francisco Bay Area (1): Ken Boettcher; Section New 
York City (1): John-Paul Catusco; Section Cleveland (1): Robert 
Burns; Section Portland (1): Joe Groelke; Section Philadelphia (1): 
Jack Blessington; National Members-at-Large (5): Bernard Bort- 
nick, Christian Camacho, Richard Cassin, Carl C. Miller Jr. and 
Stephen Raper. 

Fraternally submitted, 

CHRISTIAN CAMACHO, Chair 

JOSEPH GROELKE, ROBERT P. BURNS 

Credentials Committee 

On motion, the report was adopted. 

Election of Agenda Committee 

The Chair recommended that the committee consist of three. 
There being no objection, the Chair opened the floor for nomina- 
tions. C. Miller, J. Blessington and S. Raper were nominated. 
There being no additional nominations and the three having ac- 
cepted, the Chair declared them elected. 

At 10:00 a.m. the Chair declared a 10-minute recess to allow the 
committee to do its work. Reconvened at 10:10 a.m. 

C. Miller presented the following report: 

Friday Morning Session, June 1 

1. Permanent Organization 

a) Election of Chairperson 

b) Election of Vice Chairperson 

c) Election of Recording Secretary 

— Appt. of Asst. to Recording Secretary 

d) Appointment of Sergeant at Arms (by Chair) 

e) Election of Mileage Committee (2) 

2. Determination of Attendance Policy 

3. Report of Sergeant at Arms 

4. Report of the National Secretary (such sections as can be 
read) 

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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

5. Adjournment to Afternoon Session 
Friday Afternoon Session, June 1 

1. Roll Call 

2. Report of Sergeant at Arms 

3. Report of the National Secretary (completion) 

4. Introduction of Resolutions 

5. Discussion of Sections of National Secretary's Report 

6. Adjournment to Saturday Morning Session 
Saturday Morning Session, June 2 

1. Call to Order 

2. Roll Call 

3. Reading of Minutes of Previous Sessions 

4. Report of Sergeant at Arms 

5. Discussion of National Secretary's Report (if necessary) 

6. Unfinished Business 

7. New Business (including Resolutions From Delegates) 

8. Determination of Committees 

9. Referring Matters to Committees 

10. Election of Committees 

11. Adjournment to Next Session 

Order of Business for All Subsequent Sessions 

1. Call to Order 

2. Election of Chairperson (if necessary) 

3. Election of Vice Chairperson (if necessary) 

4. Roll Call 

5. Report of Sergeant at Arms 

6. Reading of Minutes of Previous Day's Sessions (Morning 
Session only) 

7. Unfinished Business 

8. Reports of Committees 

9. New Business (Last Day — only matters that can be given 
immediate attention) 

10. Last Day — Reading of Minutes 

11. Adjournment 

Fraternally submitted, 

CAEL C. MILLER JR., Chair 

STEPHEN A. RAPER, JACK BLESSINGTON 

Agenda Committee 

On motion, the report was adopted. 



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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

Permanent Organization 

A motion to elect a permanent Chairperson was passed. On mo- 
tion, K. Boettcher was elected permanent Chairperson. 

On motion, C. Camacho was elected permanent Vice Chairper- 
son. 

On motion, J. P. Catusco was elected permanent Recording Sec- 
retary. 

D. Bills was appointed assistant to the Recording Secretary. 

C. Camacho was appointed permanent Sergeant at Arms. 

Election of Mileage Committee (2) 

On motion, R. Burns and B. Bortnick were elected to constitute 
the committee. 

Determination of Attendance Policy 

The National Secretary recommended that this be an open con- 
vention. A motion to concur in the recommendation passed. 
The Sergeant at Arms reported one visitor present. 

Report of the National Secretary 

The National Secretary read the following section of his report: 

National Headquarters 

Several major developments affecting the National Headquar- 
ters and its staff have occurred since the NEC Session 14 months 
ago. The most important of these were the death of Comrade Na- 
than Karp, Comrade Genevieve Gunderson's recurring health prob- 
lems, the move (the third since 1994) and most recent, Comrade 
Ken Boettcher's decision to leave the staff after 17 years of dedi- 
cated service to the SLP and its official journal. 

Comrade Nathan Karp died on April 22, just 12 days after the 
NEC had met and adjourned. I informed the NEC in a letter writ- 
ten on April 24, as follows: 

Dear Comrades: 

It is my sad but unavoidable duty to inform you that Comrade Na- 
than Karp died on Saturday, April 22. The immediate cause of death 
was a massive heart attack. 

Comrade Karp admitted himself to Kaiser-Permanente hospital in 
Santa Clara, Calif., on Wednesday, April 12, after he began to experi- 
ence an acute shortness of breath. While in hospital it was discovered 
that he was accumulating fluids in his stomach, which may have been 



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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

caused by a bleeding ulcer. However, there were several other complica- 
tions that undermined his strength. He was not only suffering from 
heart failure, but from kidney failure as well. The heart attack that his 
physicians believe was the immediate cause of death occurred while 
Comrade Karp was undergoing a kidney dialysis treatment. 

All of us here are too deeply affected at the moment to give much 
thought to how this profoundly saddening loss will affect the National 
Headquarters operation. I will try to gather my thoughts and write 
again later this week or early next week. 

NEC members wishing to send their condolences to Comrade Anne 
Karp are asked to do so through the National Office. 

With inexpressible sadness, I am, 

Fraternally yours, 
Robert Bills 
National Secretary 

The National Office received many letters and cards expressing 
the sadness of members and Party supporters from across the 
country. Portions of some of these were printed in the July 2000 
issue of The People. The members of the NEC also wrote to express 
their own feelings, of course, as exemplified by this excerpt from 
one Comrade Bortnick wrote on April 23, 2000: 

Dear Comrade Bills, 

I was deeply shocked and grieved to hear of the death of Comrade 
Nathan Karp. In considering the kind of verbal tribute one might pay 
this giant of a man, suitable words are not easily found. But he was 
above all a teacher, conveying to all who would listen to his wise coun- 
sel, the benefits of his keen intellect and analytical skills. I'm aware 
that his contributions to the Socialist Labor Party were immeasurable 
and covered the whole range of Party offices and activities. Those who 
worked closely with him doubtlessly have a more intimate and compre- 
hensive perspective. 

For me, the key role he played as participant in freeing the Party 
from what can only be cited as a sectarian log-jam, coming to a head at 
the 1977 National Convention will ever remain engraved in my mem- 
ory, to cite one instance of his contribution to the workers' movement. 
# & % % % 

Fraternally yours, in grief, 
Bernard Bortnick 

It was in response to a similar letter from NEC member Bruce 
Cozzini that I summed up my own feelings during the month that 
followed Comrade Karp's death. On June 1 I wrote to Comrade 
Cozzini to say: 



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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

The peculiar thing about my own feelings where Nat Karp is con- 
cerned is that I have not yet reached the point where I feel the loss. I 
am consciously aware of the facts, but the reality of it just hasn't sunk 
in. I have written it so many times in recent weeks that it almost seems 
to have lost the ring of sincerity, but I am sincere when I say that I 
can't get past the idea that Nat will be walking through the office door 
tomorrow morning and greet me as he passes my door on the way to his 
desk. This failure of mine may be due to the work and the travel that 
has taken up my time since Nat died on April 22, even though the trav- 
eling was prompted by the wish to attend his funeral in New Jersey. 
The reality asserts itself here and there, but I think that if I let it rush 
over me without diversions to deflect the impact I would be rendered 
useless for weeks. I guess it's a kind of defense mechanism: "The war 
goes on. No time now to grieve for fallen comrades. There will be time 
enough for that later." It sounds corny, I know, and if I heard it from 
anyone else I would probably wrinkle my brow and screw up the corner 
of my mouth. But I know it's real in me. 

Fraternally yours, 
Robert Bills 
National Secretary 

The reality of it has sunk in now, but I cannot say I feel any bet- 
ter now that I have accepted it. The SLP has lost one of its most 
valuable assets. The People has lost its best informed and most 
eloquent voice. The headquarters staff has lost its most important 
counselor and guide. And I have lost one of my most cherished 
comrades and friends. 

I could say much more on this, of course, but I said most of it at 
the memorial meeting the National Office sponsored last June. 
Perhaps the National Convention will see fit to take that state- 
ment, and others printed in the July 2000 issue of The People, and 
append it to the proceedings as a permanent tribute to one of the 
finest men who ever passed through the SLP and the world that it 
seeks to transform. 

* 

Those of you who have read recent National Convention and 
NEC Session reports in preparation for this convention know that 
Comrade Genevieve Gunderson, the Party's bookkeeper, has been 
battling some severe health problems in recent years with a com- 
bative spirit that has been an inspiration to us all. Unfortunately, 
she no sooner seems to beat back one threat when another comes 
along to add to her trials. About three months ago, under date of 



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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

March 6, 2001, I found it necessary to inform the NEC that Com- 
rade Gunderson was waging yet another battle with the same te- 
nacity and courage she has shown in the past. What I wrote in that 
connection was this: 

Dear Comrades: 

S{C *fC 2JC !f< 5f* 

In January, Comrade Gunderson's doctor decided it was desirable to 
resume her chemotherapy treatments because her cancer had started to 
grow again. The treatments were to be oral and self-administered at 
home. Almost immediately upon resuming the treatments, Comrade 
Gunderson began to experience certain side effects. On January 28, she 
was admitted to the Kaiser-Permanente hospital in Santa Clara, where 
she was treated for severe dehydration. Following her release four days 
later, she was too weak to return to work and stayed home for several 
weeks. She returned to work on February 26, but clearly her stamina 
has declined from what it was before this latest bout of illness. 

The state of Comrade Gunderson's health is not a new source of con- 
cern, of course, and neither are the steps taken to minimize the effect 
on the headquarters. In practical terms, this means that Comrade 
Donna Bills has stepped into Comrade Gunderson's shoes in most re- 
spects, which obviously has its effect on other "departments." We are 
skating on very thin ice, indeed. 

Comrade Gunderson and I travel to work together every day; 
but, in truth, she has been forced to surrender most of her former 
responsibilities to Comrade Donna Bills. What that means in prac- 
tical terms is that Comrade Bills has now assumed nearly all the 
duties and responsibilities that would ordinarily fall to a fully 
staffed National Office — meaning, of course, the National Office 
proper, the business office, the shipping department and the sub- 
scription department, not to mention all the things she does on the 
editorial side of The People. 

Most of this has been detailed in past reports, and if there had 
been more time it may have been possible to expand on the situa- 
tion here. Suffice to say that without Comrade Donna Bills the Na- 
tional Headquarters would cease to function. 

The following letter to NEC member Bortnick, though written 
almost a year ago, may offer some insight to how things are at Na- 
tional Headquarters. It was mailed under date of June 27, 2000, 
and reads as follows: 

Dear Comrade Bortnick: 

This will acknowledge receipt of your letter of June 21. Thank you. 

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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

I am sorry that I have not acted on your five motions and the drafts 
of an invitation to the Writers Conference you have submitted. How- 
ever, I really haven't had much time to think about the conference or 
anything related to it since Comrade Karp died. 

The NEC Session adjourned on April 2. Comrade Donna Bills went 
to work immediately on the proceedings. You faxed your first draft of an 
invitation to the Writers Conference on April 18, which also was my "all 
nighter" for the May issue of The People. I did not come to work on April 
19, and on April 20 I had to pick up the papers and help Donna pack 
them for shipment. Somewhere in there we managed a couple of visits 
to Comrade Karp in the hospital, on one of which we picked up his car 
and took it back to his apartment. I also read through the proceedings 
before they were sent to the printer, though I forget what day we 
turned them over to the printer. Comrade Karp died on April 22. None- 
theless, the proceedings were shipped out on April 25, which, inciden- 
tally, called the necessity of a large part of your draft into question. 
Four general letters and a ballot for the referendum went out the same 
day. During this period, Donna made some preliminary arrangements 
for the memorial meeting that was eventually held on June 4. We also 
took a trip up to Oakland to look at and choose which place to take for 
the meeting. Your motions, though dated April 27, are receipt dated 
May 1. By then I was already "stressing" about the June issue, but I 
managed to write you a letter on May 8. That brought your letter of 
May 14. The copy deadline for the June issue was May 10. A general 
letter went out on that day. We shipped the June issue on May 18, and 
we wrote and mailed a letter inviting readers in the Bay Area to attend 
the Memorial Meeting. The next day, Donna, Anne Karp and I got on 
an airplane for New Jersey and Nat's funeral. Donna and I did not re- 
turn to the office until May 29, which gave us only six days in which to 
prepare everything for the memorial meeting. By June 5 we had pretty 
much run out of steam. June 8 brought me Comrade [A]'s latest, which 
made my day. Nonetheless, by June 12 we managed to send out a fairly 
substantial packet of correspondence to the NEC. The copy deadline for 
the July issue was June 14. Donna and I shipped that issue on June 22, 
which was only five days ago. 

The rent situation concerns me, of course, but not half as much as 
the Party's general financial condition. With cash assets of less than 
$165,000, the SLP is in serious financial trouble. Comrade Donna Bills 
doesn't think this is enough to cover a new lease, regardless of the 
monthly rent, and still meet the payroll, taxes, hospitalization, print- 
ing, mailing and other routine expenses for another year. The deficit 
through May 31 was $30,000 plus. It could reach $70,000 or $80,000, or 
even more, by the end of the year. I will try to write more about this be- 
fore having to turn my attention to the August issue of The People. 

So, to repeat, I haven't had any time in which to think about the 
Writers Conference, your letter of May 14, your final draft of an invita- 
tion, or much of anything else since Comrade Karp died on April 22. 
Comrade Donna Bills and I have been very busy since then. I will do my 



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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

best to get to your letter, etc., before having to turn my attention to the 
August issue. 

Please be aware, however, that Comrade Karp's death has created at 
least two major problems for me — the unfinished archives and a big 
hole in The People — and that Comrade Gunderson's worsening condi- 
tion has placed many new demands on Comrade Donna Bills. 

The building goes on the market on July 1. If it gets snapped up we 
may have bigger problems to worry us than a simple increase in rent. 
There's just so much Donna and I can do. We have to be very careful 
about keeping our priorities in order. Whether struggling over another 
issue of The People for two weeks should occupy a high place among 
those priorities is something I'm debating in my own mind. There may 
be nothing to debate by the time work would start on the September is- 
sue. Things aren't looking very bright to us at the moment. However, I 
don't want to make any hasty recommendations or decisions that I 
might live to regret. I wish the NEC was more attentive. 

Other matters noted. 

With best wishes, 

Fraternally yours, 
Robert Bills 
National Secretary 



Last year, the Party was forced into its third headquarters move 
since 1994, and it is highly probable that a fourth move will have 
to be made before the current lease expires next September. 

About six weeks after the NEC Session last year, the landlord of 
the building where the headquarters were in Mountain View hand- 
delivered a letter from which the following passage is taken: 

On June 15 all tenants will be on a month to month basis. At that 
time everyone's rent will increase to $2.25 per square foot net. If you 
have looked around the area I think you will agree this is still below 
current market value. As an example, space at 110 Pioneer Way is cur- 
rently renting for around $2.50 per foot Triple Net, and for a 2,700-foot 
space opening in September they are asking $3.00 per foot. 

Mr. McCauley was right about where rents were heading, and as 
I found, may even have understated the case. In any event, under 
date of June 1, 2000, 1 wrote the NEC as follows: 

Dear Comrades: 

I enclose two (2) letters from John "Tony" McCauley, the Party's 
landlord, both dated May 15. The covering letter on letterhead is clearly 
meant for all three of the remaining tenants, but the second on plain 
paper is specifically for the SLP. 

You will note that the anticipated rent increase is now in effect. This 

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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

month we paid $2,156.25 instead of $1,500.00. (Incidentally, the 
$1,800.00 figure given in my report to the NEC in Session was an error. 
The correct figure, until now, was $1,500.00 a month.) 

The split in rent for June is explained by the fact that our lease ex- 
pired on June 15. 

You will also note that the increase that takes full effect in July is 
more than Mr. McCauley suggested earlier. Instead of the new rate be- 
ing set at $2.00 a square foot it has been set at $2.25 a square foot. 

By the foot, by the yard, or just in one lump, however, the increase 
from $1,500.00 to $2,812.50 is equal to 87.5 percent in one swoop. That 
is double the increase that compelled us to move from Sunnyvale, 
though the actual dollar amount is still considerably less. 

The building has not been sold as yet. I will keep you informed. 

Fraternally yours, 
Robert Bills 
National Secretary 

Partly in response to this, but specifically to the letter I had 
written to him on June 27, Comrade Bortnick wrote the following 
under date of June 29: 

Dear Comrade Bills, 

This will acknowledge receipt of your letter of June 27, 2000. Your 
summary of the events of the past two months has been an exhausting 
schedule. And it has been both a physical and an emotional drain. Of 
course I knew that you and Comrade Donna Bills were inundated. 
However, I appreciate the time you have given to detail your activities 
for the NEC. 

To come to the heart of yours and my concern, and I'm sure the rest 
of the NEC, the financial crisis is upon us. We need to start thinking 
about how we are going to husband the funds we have left in bringing 
the organization to an orderly retreat to a new status, namely the Party 
without The People, at least the Party organ as we know it now. 

In my view we need to suspend the publication of The People imme- 
diately (that is there should not be an August issue) in order to use our 
limited human and monetary resources to avoid an abrupt and chaotic 
crisis later on. Perhaps there are funds left to complete the unfinished 
archives, and to begin thinking about how we will reconstitute the 
Party and either reconfigure or vacate the existing headquarters in fa- 
vor of something smaller and more affordable. 

This may mean emphasizing or going "online" exclusively or some 
other mode to reach the members and sections. The continuing madden- 
ing pace you and the rest of the staff have been through should not be 
allowed to go on even if we had the funds to cover 4 or 6 months more of 
publication. 

I agree that we shouldn't "make any hasty recommendations or deci- 
sions." At the same time we cannot afford to take resources and funds 
down to the wire. I know I'm "lecturing to the choir" in saying this. I be- 

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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

lieve we should try to get our income as close to balancing our expendi- 
tures as possible and still try to come up with a mode of organization 
that keeps the sections functioning and morale as high as possible. 

Fraternally yours, 

Bernard Bortnick 

For several reasons I did not find it possible to respond to Com- 
rade Bortnick for nearly two months. That reply was written under 
date of August 22, as follows: 

Dear Comrade Bortnick: 

Please pardon this belated reply to your letter of June 29, and your 
followup of June 30.1 

Since I wrote you on June 27 the Party's financial situation has im- 
proved slightly because of the "anonymous" $25,000 contribution to the 
Nathan Karp Memorial Fund. That amount is not enough to turn the 
corner on the Party's financial security — not by a long shot — but it may 
have bought us just enough "wiggle room" to apply the brakes on the 
drain until an effort can be made to raise a special fund. Even if the in- 
come dwindled to nothing we should have enough to operate "normally" 
for one more year with enough left over to wrap things up in the second 
year, should it come to that. 

You and the other NEC members will have noticed that I have set a 
$25,000 goal for the annual Thanksgiving Fund. I usually don't like to 
set goals of that sort, particularly these days when sections no longer 
hold regular fundraising socials and the likelihood of more than one or 
two sections holding Thanksgiving Affairs is extremely remote. None- 
theless, if we are to survive beyond one year something has to be done 
to shore up the Party's cash reserves. 

Furthermore, something has to be done to get us out from under the 
overwhelming burden of the present rent. We can't stay where we are, 
and for at least two reasons we can't move out of the area. Comrade 
Gunderson is too sick and too dependent on her present team of doctors 
even to consider a move to, say, Sacramento, where space can be had for 
a good deal less than anything I have been able to find here in "Silicon 
Valley." Comrade Boettcher is also tied to the area. 

Accordingly, I started looking around for new headquarters in this 
area a few weeks ago. Almost from the git-go I found what seems to be a 
terrific place in San Jose. It is essentially a free standing, two-story 
building of 1,950 square feet. It is half office and half warehouse, which 
would enable us to get rid of the storage lockers and bring everything 
back under one roof. Better yet, the asking price is "only" $1.00 a 
square foot, i.e., $1,950 a month, not including utilities. That is more 
than the $1,530 we were paying at the present location (including the 



On June 30, Comrade Bortnick sent a brief e-mail in which he said, "...perhaps 
we should try to get a conference call for all NEC members dealing with the finan- 
cial problems and the options that face us at this point." 

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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

lockers) until recently, but considerable less than the $3,094.50 (lockers 
included) we are paying at present. 

One major drawback with the place I am dickering over is that the 
lease would actually be a sublease, which is something I would avoid 
like the plague under any other circumstances. The business next door, 
a fairly large contracting firm, has leased the building I am negotiating 
over, plus a large "yard" and some other structures to the rear. We have 
no use for any of that, of course, and Mr. Seifert, our prospective land- 
lord, has no immediate use for the building. 

Another sticking point right now is over getting a clear-cut option to 
renew for a second year. If he balks at that I may let it go and start 
looking elsewhere. However, it is a virtual certainty that I will not be 
able to find anything of that size for that price. Comparable space in the 
area is even more expensive than what we're paying now. If it doesn't 
work out it may be necessary to think about wrapping things up during 
the first year — but even then it would be necessary to move before we 
could even start to wind things down. 

A third problem is that any move will almost certainly have to be 
done professionally. That will be costly, no doubt, but I don't see how we 
can get around it. 

I have no wish to give up and have decided to put the brightest face 
possible on our situation until the question of moving has been settled. 
That, combined with the success (or failure) of the $25,000 Thanksgiv- 
ing Fund, will clarify things. Let's let those two things take shape be- 
fore deciding on anything as drastic as what you suggested in your let- 
ter of June 29 or what I suggested at the NEC Session. 

As for the Writers Conference, I think we have to hold that in abey- 
ance. 

With best wishes, 

Fraternally yours, 
Robert Bills 
National Secretary 

Several days later I was able to inform the NEC that a satisfac- 
tory agreement had been reached on the San Jose facilities and 
that barring some last-minute obstacle the sublease would be 
signed. That letter was written under date of August 25, as follows: 

Dear Comrades: 

It is now a virtual certainty that the National Headquarters will be 
moving from its present location in Mountain View to a new location in 
San Jose. I expect to sign the new lease today or tomorrow. It will take 
effect on September 1 and will be good through August 31, 2002. In 
other words, it will not be a one-year lease with an option to renew for a 
second year. It is a two-year lease. 

I have not decided if Comrades Boettcher, Donna Bills and I will at- 
tempt to make the move ourselves or if I will call in some professional 



Socialist Labor Party 14 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

movers. I will be calling in some professionals to give estimates, but I 
also want to keep the expense down as much as possible. It will be ex- 
pensive either way, however. Renting a truck isn't cheap. 

Furthermore, I am also hoping to execute the whole thing without 
having to skip an issue of The People. We managed to pull that off when 
moving from Sunnyvale to Mountain View three years ago, but then we 
at least had Jim Parker to do some of the work. I don't want to risk an 
injury to any one of the three of us since that could cripple the whole 
headquarters operation. 

Either way we do it, the three of us will have to pack, then unpack 
and set things up at the new location. We will also have to clean out the 
two storage lockers at some point, but if we have to pay an extra month 
or two of rent on them to avoid suspending The People it will be worth 
it. 

Of course, there is no way to avoid paying double rent on two head- 
quarters for the month of September. That, combined with the moving 
expense and the deposit on the new place will result in a whopping defi- 
cit for the month. There will also be the usual array of incidental ex- 
penses for new stationery, new telephone connections, etc. 

Still, I am convinced it is the best thing to do. We can't stay here, not 
only because of the high rent — $3,094.50 a month, including the two 
lockers — but also because of the uncertainty about the building. 

The new headquarters comprise about 1,950 square feet of space, 
compared to the 1,250 square feet we occupy today — or 1,400 square 
feet when we add in the storage lockers. 

The new offices are divided about equally between office and ware- 
house space. There is a roll-up door for easy access by delivery services. 
About one-fourth of the office space is on the second floor. (I will occupy 
all of that.) There are five offices downstairs. All but one of the offices 
have windows and natural light. 

The "base rent" on the new offices will be $1,950.00 a month during 
the first year, plus $150.00 a month to cover utilities, or $2,100.00 in 
all. We also have to arrange for our own garbage, but that expense 
should not be much. 

The "base rent" will be $2,145.00 during the second year, plus utili- 
ties and garbage. 

In addition, a security deposit of $2,000 will be due when we sign the 
lease. 

The move will also affect us in other ways. Comrade Donna Bills will 
have to start driving to work for the first time since the headquarters 
moved from Brooklyn to the West Coast in 1974, and I will also have to 
drive. It's a 22-mile round-trip commute. Fortunately, however, it is 
also a "reverse commute," i.e., most of the morning and evening traffic 
travels in the opposite direction from the direction we will be taking at 
those times of day. The plan is for me to pick Comrade Gunderson up in 
the morning and for Comrade Donna Bills to drive her home in the eve- 
ning. 

The added gas expense and wear-and-tear on our two aging cars will 



Socialist Labor Party 15 www.slp.org 



SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

also force the two of us to take salary increases sometime soon. 

There are many other details, of course, but this is enough for the 
moment. I will keep you informed. 

Fraternally yours, 

Robert Bills 

National Secretary 

Subsequently, I was able to write the NEC to explain how things 
were shaping up at the new headquarters. That letter, which was 
written under date of November 9, was as follows: 

Dear Comrades: 

This is to inform you that the move from Mountain View to San Jose 
is virtually complete. What remains to be done is to transfer the con- 
tents of the two storage lockers to the new offices. That will be done 
sometime after the December issue of The People has been shipped. 

The move went smoothly. The headquarters staff did all the packing, 
but professional movers were hired to transfer the Party's property 
from the old location to the new one. The cost of the move is reported in 
one of the recent monthly financial statements that you have received. 

There is one outstanding problem that has made life difficult: the 
National Office has no direct access to the Internet or to e-mail. It will 
be a few more weeks before that problem is resolved. In the meantime, 
home computers are being used for those purposes. Unfortunately, that 
access is slow and laborious. It has hindered our ability to download 
and respond to e-mail, and to access the news and information sources 
needed to write articles for The People. Again, however, the problem 
should be resolved within two or three weeks. 

The commute from Mountain View, where Comrade Gunderson 
lives, and from Sunnyvale, where Comrades Ken Boettcher, Donna Bills 
and I live, takes about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on traffic. The 
commute to Mountain View and Sunnyvale takes about the same time. 

Comrade Donna Bills arrives at work at about 7:30 a.m. each morn- 
ing. She is alone until Comrade Gunderson and I arrive together at 
about 9:30 a.m. Comrade Boettcher does not arrive until about 9:30 
a.m., and he generally leaves for his other job by 12:00 noon. 

Comrades Donna Bills and Gunderson leave the office together at 
3:30-4:00 p.m., depending on the workload. My own hours vary. I stay 
until at least 7:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays because 
the outbound traffic is horrendous between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. I con- 
tinue to stay much later on Mondays and Wednesdays, as I have done 
for at least the last seven years. My Saturday hours are about the same 
as those on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. 

Because of the move, two issues of the paper and another recent trip 
to Las Vegas I have fallen even further behind in correspondence than I 
was before the move. This is not good, obviously, but I don't know what 
to do about it except keep plugging away at the pile. Most SLP mem- 
bers appear to be patient and understanding, but the backlog of unan- 

Socialist Labor Party 16 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

swered questions from e-mail contacts is getting to be a major embar- 
rassment. 

Incidentally, I was under the impression that during last May's NEC 
Session one of its committees discussed the possibility of one or two 
NEC members taking on responsibility for drafting answers to some of 
these questions. The names of the members who apparently were will- 
ing to volunteer their services were never reported to me, however, and 
I have not been able to pursue it with the NEC. If any member of the 
NEC has a similar recollection, I would appreciate having the informa- 
tion. 

Fraternally yours, 

Robert Bills 

National Secretary 

Ultimately a truck was rented and three of us — Comrades 
Donna Bills, Ken Boettcher and I — cleaned out the two storage 
lockers in Mountain View and transferred their contents to the 
new offices. 



The most recent development to impact the National Headquar- 
ters was Comrade Ken Boettcher's recent decision to leave the 
staff. That development was reported to the NEC under date of 
April 9, as follows: 

Dear Comrades: 

NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS 

This is to inform you that Comrade Kenneth Boettcher has decided 
to leave the headquarters staff. His last day will be Friday, April 20. 

In a memorandum dated April 5, Comrade Boettcher cited some per- 
sonal and financial problems that forced him to make this decision. I 
know that he was sincere when he said he made his decision "with a 
very heavy heart," and that he would not have made it if he believed he 
had a choice. 

Comrade Boettcher will remain in the area and keep his full-time 
job. In addition he has taken a part-time job that he hopes will help him 
work his way out of the financial difficulties he finds himself in. 

This is an amicable separation, unlike so many in the past, and not a 
wholly unexpected one. Nonetheless it presents us with a formidable 
problem. 

In his memorandum, Comrade Boettcher says he wants to volunteer 
his services three Sundays a month to do layout for The People and at- 
tend to some other tasks. I have accepted his offer, but I don't know 
how realistic it is or how long such an arrangement might last. With 
two outside employers tugging at him it is easy to see how such an ar- 
rangement could break down at any time. 

Hiring some professional outsider for the express purpose of doing 

Socialist Labor Party 17 www.slp.org 



SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

layout for The People may not be very practical or realistic, either. The 
cost could be prohibitive if it meant bringing someone into the office one 
or two days a month. Comrade Boettcher has suggested it could cost as 
much as $70.00 an hour, and that even a person familiar with the vari- 
ous computer programs needed to put The People together might need 
two eight-hour shifts to do the job, at least to start. If that's true it 
could cost an additional $1,000.00 a month to continue publication by 
such an arrangement. Farming out the job may be as expensive, but it 
is an option I must investigate. 

It is conceivable that Comrade Boettcher could eventually train me 
to do the job, but not now. I have a convention to prepare for, and un- 
less someone on the NEC takes pity on me and volunteers to deliver the 
convention banquet address I may be saddled with that as well. 
I will keep the NEC informed. 

Fraternally yours, 

Robert Bills 

National Secretary 

To this it must be added that Comrade Boettcher is probably 
putting in as much or more time at the office than he did when he 
was still a part-time employee. Accordingly, at least for now, Com- 
rade Boettcher's decision has not had a serious impact on what, 
these days, passes for "normal operations" at National Headquar- 
ters. 



Occasionally the National Office receives a letter from a member 
who expresses interest in joining the staff. Those occasions have 
been extremely rare in recent years. However, in February 2000 I 
received one such inquiry from a national member-at-large in up- 
state New York, as follows: 

Dear Comrade Bills, 

I am seriously thinking of moving to the West Coast to get out of the 
snow belt, and have considered getting more involved with the SLP. 

Enclosed you will find a copy of my resume, with other materials, for 
your consideration for possible permanent employment with the SLP.... 
Thank you for your time and interest in this matter. 

Sincerely 

Daniel P. Englert 
Member-at-Large 

Regrettably, I could not answer the comrade's letter right away, 
and set it aside for later attention. Time passed and, finally, on 
May 3, 2000, the comrade called the National Office to report a 
change of address. I answered the phone myself, so it must have 

Socialist Labor Party 18 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

been in the evening after everyone else had gone. He did not men- 
tion his letter, but I did and promised it would get a reply. I also 
tried to prepare him for what that reply would be, but he had an- 
ticipated what I would say. When I wrote the promised letter sev- 
eral weeks later, it was as follows: 

Dear Comrade Englert: 

When you called the National Office on May 3 to report a change of 
address, I promised that I would be replying to the letter you wrote on 
February 1 offering your services for possible employment at the Na- 
tional Office. I may have explained why I could not respond to your let- 
ter before your call; but since shortly before — that is, since Comrade 
Karp's death — the routine here has suffered even more. At any rate, 
you have my sincere apology for the inordinately long delay. 

After a delay of that length, I regret that I cannot offer you any en- 
couraging news. The National Office is certainly in need of help, but the 
Party's financial predicament at present is such that it is impossible to 
see how we could take on another staff member. There might be excep- 
tions in specific areas where the vacancies have had a crippling effect, 
but even those positions, all of which entail special skills, would involve 
a tremendous risk. 

Regrettably, the best I can offer at the moment is that I will keep 
your letter on file against the time when the Party's financial situation 
has improved and the possibilities of expanding the staff again become 
realistic. 

With best wishes, 

Fraternally yours, 
Robert Bills 
National Secretary 



Last November I received a letter from a friend of the SLP in 
Florida who raised a question about the National Headquarters 
that he thought might be on the minds of members and other sup- 
porters of the Party as well. What he wrote, in part, was this: 

Dear distant friends, 

I have a question, dear friends, that has nagged me for the many 
years I have subscribed to The People. The question in mind is about 
the physical location of the Socialist Labor Party in the very epicenter 
of capitalist technological production and innovation and the (perhaps) 
most expensive place to live on our increasingly benighted planet. Why? 

I am sure the same thoughts have occurred to other readers and 
wonder if a small article in our paper might not be in order. I certainly 
do not mean that my questions imply any criticism — only wondering. 



Socialist Labor Party 19 www.slp.org 



SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

Again, I could not respond to this inquiry for more than two 
months, but on January 25 I was finally able to set some time 
aside and sent our friend the following: 

Dear Mr. B.: 

Thank you for your letter of November 18, with which you enclosed a 
$25.00 contribution for the Thanksgiving Fund. 

I apologize for the time it has taken me to reply to the question you 
raised, but there have been many interferences (personal as well as 
"business") that have caused me to fall behind. To keep from compound- 
ing the number of similar delays I am working my way backwards 
through the pile on my desk, which may or may not be the right strat- 
egy- 

You wondered why the SLP keeps its headquarters "in the very epi- 
center of capitalist technological production and innovation and the 
(perhaps) most expensive place to live on our increasingly benighted 
planet. ...Why?" 

Well, to borrow your colorful phrase, the "epicenter" of capitalism is 
precisely where the headquarters of the SLP belong. What better place? 
If the answer is the expense involved I would have to say that it is not 
as much of a factor as it might be if the SLP were larger and its head- 
quarters staff as numerous as it was when we moved to this area from 
Brooklyn back in 1974. 

As things stand, however, the headquarters staff is very small. 
There are only four of us; but when it comes to the expense only two of 
us really count. That is because one of the four works only part time for 
the SLP while holding down a full-time job with one of those Silicon 
Valley companies that go to make this the "epicenter." Another one of 
us is essentially a volunteer whose income is derived from Social Secu- 
rity and a pension from a previous job. As for the two who make up the 
full-time staff, their salaries are modest and could not be lowered even 
if it were possible to move the offices to some other part of the country. 
Apart from that, we could not get along without our part-timer or the 
retired member who make up half of the present staff, but who are tied 
to the Bay Area for reasons I do not feel at liberty to discuss. We would 
lose them, but could not replace them except at great expense that 
would more than wipe out any savings we might realize in other re- 
spects. 

We have, for the most part, dodged the high-expense bullet. One step 
in that dance was the decision to move the headquarters from Moun- 
tain View to San Jose last fall. The monthly rent here is comparable to 
what it would be in Sacramento, for example, or to any other large city 
where we could expect to find printers with newspaper presses and 
other things needed to keep The People and other SLP operations 
afloat. 

There are other practical problems that enter into the picture. For 
one, there is no one to spare to go out and scout the country with the 
thoroughness that would be needed before any long-distance move could 

Socialist Labor Party 20 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

be made. To do it we would have to shut down the headquarters (and 
The People) for several months, at least. The effect would be devastat- 
ing, as we learned in 1994 when we were compelled to suspend The 
People for five months just to move from one Silicon Valley location to 
another. We have made our experience on that score and have no inten- 
tion of pressing our luck again. 

If the SLP were to experience a change in fortune in the next few 
years — a change in which its membership grew and the possibility of 
increasing the staff, increasing the size and frequency of The People, 
publishing fresh new literature in large quantities, etc. — the compul- 
sion for moving to someplace not too remote from the "civilized world" 
for financial reasons would be much greater than it is now. 

SLP members, of course, are better informed on such matters and 
have it within their power to override the judgment that has been made 
in this regard. It is not a neglected question, however, but one that is 
periodically reviewed by the Party's NEC and at the National Conven- 
tion level. 

I hope that what I have written here provides you some insight into 
the situation and why the SLP believes that the prudent thing to do at 
present is to stay put, at the "epicenter." 

Sincerely yours, 
Robert Bills 
National Secretary 

I do not know if our friend was right about his question being on 
the minds of other SLP supporters, or, if it is, that they would find 
the answer I offered to him satisfactory. However, after "Mr. B." 
got my letter he replied with another $25.00 for the Christmas Box 
Fund and wrote, in part: 

Dear Friend, 

Thank you so very much for your most interesting and complete re- 
ply to my letter questioning the location of an organization such as ours 
in the "epicenter" and all that. I am really somewhat amazed that you 
would give so much time and effort to explain the reasons for being in 
"The Valley." 

Thank you again for your letter and a large thanks for the excellence 
of our publication, The People! 



On motion, this section of the National Secretary's report was 
referred to an appropriate committee when elected. 

A five-minute recess was declared at 11:05 a.m. Reconvened at 
11:11a.m. 

The National Secretary read the following section of his report: 

Socialist Labor Party 21 www.slp.org 



SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 



Party Finances 

A detailed report on the Party's finances is not possible and may 
not be necessary, or even desirable. The main points can be 
summed up with a minimum of numbers and with relative ease. 

On January 1, 2001, the SLP had cash reserves of $153,832.00. 
As of April 30, those reserves had fallen to $128,711.00, meaning 
that expenses had exceeded income by about $25,120.00. At that 
rate of depletion — about $6,280.00 a month — the deficit will reach 
$75,360.00 by the end of the year and the Party's cash reserves will 
be reduced to $78,470.00. Carry similar monthly deficits over to 
August 31, 2002, when the lease expires, and the Party's cash re- 
serves could be reduced to a mere $28,230.00, or less. The implica- 
tions are clear. 

A simple summary of last year's financial activity would look 
something like this: 

Income 

Funds $95,402.00 

Sales 14,153.00 

Interest Posted on Deposits 9,833.00 

Miscellaneous 5,422.00 

Total $124,810.00 

Expenses 

Regular expenses $93,304.00 

Payroll 56,562.00 

Miscellaneous 24,673.00 

Total $174,539.00 

These are not the "official" figures. They come from the monthly 
statements prepared by the business office and routinely reported 
to the NEC. The latest monthly statement, for April 2001, is avail- 
able to the convention. 

The official figures are compiled once a year by the certified pub - 
lie accountant, R. Leonard Stickler, who has been auditing the 
Party's financial books and records since 1974. Mr. Stickler's report 
for the 2000 calendar year is complete, and it too is available to the 
convention. His report will also be sent to the membership, as the 
Party's Constitution provides, soon after this convention adjourns. 
However, the figures given here for the first four months of the 
current year are close enough to give the convention a reasonably 

Socialist Labor Party 22 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

accurate appreciation of what the situation was as of April 30, 
2001. 

Under date of July 25, 2000, after Mr. Stickler had completed 
his audit for the 1999 calendar year, the following general letter 
was sent to the membership: 

To the Sections and Members of the SLP 

Dear Comrades: 

1999 FINANCIAL STATEMENT 

I enclose copies of the annual financial statement for the year ending 
December 31, 1999, for distribution to members of your sections who 
are in good standing. National members-at-large will find their individ- 
ual copies of the statement enclosed. 

Please note that the $227,738.00 shown as "cash on hand and in 
banks" as of December 31, 1999, included $30,000.00 held in escrow and 
not immediately available to the SLP to meet routine and other ex- 
penses. Accordingly, the cash on deposit and readily available to the 
Party on December 31, 1999, was closer to $198,000.00. 

As of May 31, 2000, the cash on deposit and readily available had 
declined by about $34,000.00 to about $164,000.00. This was the lowest 
bank balance since July 1997, when the Party's cash reserves fell to 
about $147,000.00. 

Monthly deficits for the first five months of the current year aver- 
aged about $6,800.00. If those monthly deficits are not eliminated or 
dramatically reduced during the next several months until the end of 
the current year, the deficit for the 2000 calendar year could exceed 
$81,500.00 and reduce the Party's cash reserves to less than $116,500. 
If that should happen, the SLP will be confronted with some difficult 
choices. 

One member of the NEC has already suggested suspending "The 
People immediately ... to use our limited human and monetary re- 
sources to avoid an abrupt and chaotic crisis later on." Fortunately, 
however, the NEC member failed to submit his recommendation as a 
motion for the NEC to act on. Accordingly, no such decision has been 
made. 

The People is not a major factor in the Party's financial predicament. 
Last year, it cost the Party about $22,800.00 to print, mail and ship The 
People. However, sales and contributions to funds for its support, i.e., 
the Press Security, Thanksgiving and Xmas Box Funds, came to nearly 
$56,300.00, and accounted for 56 percent of the Party's total income 
from all sources during the year. Accordingly, suspending The People 
for the sake of the $22,800.00 it cost to print, ship and mail it obviously 
wouldn't pay if it cost the Party $56,300.00 in contributions, which it 
almost certainly would. A yearlong suspension would simply add 
another $33,500.00 to the deficit and compound the Party's financial 
problems. 



Socialist Labor Party 23 www.slp.org 



SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

The primary burden of The People, as I reported to the NEC Session, 
is editorial, not financial. Nonetheless, The People is not immune from 
the effects of the financial problem the Party is confronted with. 

Rent, utilities, salaries, taxes, hospitalization, insurance, supplies, 
equipment, maintenance, repairs, Labor News and National Office 
shipping and postage expenses, etc., would continue, with or without 
The People. 

There is only one way to confront and overcome the Party's present 
financial problems, and that is for the membership and other support- 
ers of the SLP to increase their contributions to the Party's funds. The 
NEC has authorized the National Office to launch a special fund to bol- 
ster the Party's cash reserves. That could not be done immediately, but 
will probably be done sometime within the next month or two, depend- 
ing on how the headquarters situation unfolds. In the meantime, of 
course, the Nathan Karp Memorial Fund, particularly the anonymous 
contribution of $25,000 that boosted the total to nearly $35,700, has 
helped to ease the situation somewhat. However, we cannot afford to be 
complacent about doing everything possible to increase the Party's cash 
reserves before the boost that special contribution gave the Party is 
used up and we fall back toward a potentially dangerous situation. 

Accordingly, I urge every member to do everything within their 
power to come to the Party's assistance at this critical juncture, and to 
make it a habit to contribute regularly to Party funds. One way to do 
this, of course, is to request a Sustainer Fund card and to pledge a 
minimum amount every month. 

For our part, we are looking into new ways to reduce expenses even 
further than they have been reduced in recent years. Our efforts in that 
direction were extremely successful, as you know. But the recent in- 
crease in rent, from $1,250 to $2,812.50 a month threatens to wipe out 
much of the progress made on that front. 

The main thing on the National Office agenda, apart from continuing 
uninterrupted publication of The People, is to find a new and less ex- 
pensive location for National Headquarters. That may not be easy be- 
cause the vacancy rate in this area is extremely low at present. We may 
end up in a warehouse, or in cramped offices much smaller than we oc- 
cupy today. However, as long as you stick with us and feed the Party's 
war chest we will continue to publish The People and do everything else 
possible to spread the Party's message. We are determined to do our 
part, but our ability to do it depends entirely on you. 

Fraternally yours, 
Robert Bills 
National Secretary 

It should be noted that $25,000.00 of the $30,000.00 held in es- 
crow when the figures in that letter were compiled had been do- 
nated to the Party and absorbed into its regular cash reserves by 
the time the general letter went out. Indeed, it was the same 



Socialist Labor Party 24 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

$25,000.00 that boosted the special Nathan Karp Memorial Fund 
to $35,700.00. The donor has asked to remain anonymous, but un- 
der date of July 25, 2000, I wrote her the following in appreciation 
of her gift: 

Dear Comrade . . . : 

Thank you so very much for your letter of July 5 and for the magnifi- 
cent gesture you have made with your $25,000 gift, which you desig- 
nated for the Nathan Karp Memorial Fund. 

I am at a loss for the words that would give anything approaching an 
adequate expression of the depth of my personal gratitude. I only regret 
that you have given your gift on the condition of anonymity, since that 
closes the door to others filling in the gaps that my own poor expression 
of appreciation can convey. 

I wish so much that the occasion for your gift could have been a dif- 
ferent one. All of us would much prefer to have Comrade Karp back at 
his desk, and it is still strange and disconcerting that he is not and will 
never again be there. 

I am sure that Comrade Karp would be deeply gratified if he knew of 
your splendid gesture dedicated, as it was, to his memory. I know that 
he would have found the words that I can only grope for. 

And so while it may be hopeless to put together an expression of 
gratitude that would be worthy of him or of your splendid gift in his 
memory, we can at least rededicate ourselves and strive to emulate his 
example. Your generous gift will give us a fighting chance at this diffi- 
cult juncture, the severity of which you are as much or more keenly 
aware than most SLP members. 

Thank you, Comrade. . . , thank you very much. 

Fraternally yours, 
Robert Bills 
National Secretary 

In a similar gesture last summer, a long-time supporter of the 
SLP and her husband established an annuity fund for the Party's 
benefit. I do not have their permission to use their names, so, for 
now, will refer to them in the same anonymous fashion. I acknowl- 
edged their gift and expressed appreciation on behalf of the SLP in 
the following letter mailed under date of August 24: 

Dear Ms. . . . : 

I received copy of the July 22 . . . letter on August 7. That's quite 
awhile ago, so I begin with an apology. 

I received it just a few days before the September issue of The People 
went to press, which is to say when I was hard pressed to finish things 
up. Thereafter most of my time was spent scouring "Silicon Valley" in 
search of some affordable and decent offices for the SLP to move its 



Socialist Labor Party 25 www.slp.org 



SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

headquarters into. Luckily I have succeeded, or think I have succeeded. 
Some minor dickering over certain terms of the proposed lease still has 
to be done before I seal the deal. However, I am confident that these 
things can be worked out and that the matter will be settled within a 
few days. The trick then will be to move the offices without having to 
suspend The People as became necessary in 1994. 

Now, then, what can I say to express my appreciation, and the ap- 
preciation of the SLP as a whole, for the wonderful thing you have done 
to help ensure the Party's future financial security? A simple thank you 
seems woefully inadequate, but the language doesn't offer much more. I 
might underscore it, or embellish it in some way, but it would all come 
down to the same thing. Fact is there are no adequate words to tell you 
how much your generosity is appreciated or how much it will ultimately 
mean for the SLP. Thank you, thank both of you, very much. 

Sincerely yours, 

Robert Bills 

National Secretary 

Another sizable gift, but for a specific purpose, was received last 
year from Comrade Nathan Goldberg of Los Angeles, which I ac- 
knowledged with the following under date of June 12: 

Dear Comrade Goldberg: 

I am writing to express my deepest appreciation for the generous gift 
you sent under date of May 21 to assist the National Office in purchas- 
ing a new microform reader-printer. That amount of money cannot have 
been easy to come by or to part with. It is exceedingly generous, and 
with the similar special contribution received earlier and mentioned in 
the printed proceedings of the recent NEC Session takes us very close 
to the $10,000 goal. Thank you very, very much. 
With warmest regards, 

Fraternally yours, 

Robert Bills 

National Secretary 

Other gifts and donations given annually, incrementally or occa- 
sionally in support of National Office funds could be mentioned, 
and would be if I had time to carefully compile a comprehensive 
list that would not cause me to offend some who might be inadver- 
tently overlooked. However, I will run that risk by mentioning one 
other — not because he is any more generous towards SLP funds 
than others — but because of the method he has chosen. He is Com- 
rade Carl Miller of Houston, Texas, who wrote the following para- 
graph into an activity report submitted last July: 

Comrade Villarreal and I received the Party's financial report and 
Socialist Labor Party 26 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

we read it with much concern. I myself have been regretting the fact 
that I have not sent donations on a more regular basis. If the Party's 
bank account is set up for direct deposit I would like to have money 
taken from my paycheck and sent directly to you. This would be easier 
for me and probably for you also. I talked this over with the rep from 
the administrative service [of] the company I work for and he said it 
would be no problem. All I need is the routing number for the Party's 
bank account and [to] fill out a form, and the money will be wired di- 
rectly to you each pay period. Let me know if this would be acceptable 
to you or if you would prefer that I mail it to you. Either way, I will do 
my best to contribute more regularly and to the best of my limited 
means. 

Comrade Miller is the only member to contribute in this way, at 
least on a regular monthly basis. However, as I wrote to Comrade 
Miller last August: 

Direct deposit as a way of contributing to Party funds on a regu- 
lar basis is an excellent idea that other Party members and sup- 
porters might take a shine to. The bank name, routing number and 
any other information our business office thinks you might need 
will be appended below as a postscript. 



Members of the SLP understand how important gifts such as the 
$25,000.00 mentioned have been to the Party, for without them the 
walls would have caved in on us long ago. As I reported to the 43rd 
National Convention five years ago: 

Similarly, the financial statement mailed to the membership last 
November included a covering letter that called attention to the 1995 
deficit of $136,600, and added: 

"... Although the Party has run a deficit every year during the 
1990s, last year was the first since 1992 that ended with a net loss. 
Each of the other three years (1991, 1993 and 1994) ended with sur- 
pluses despite the annual deficits recorded. In each of those three years 
the deficits (as reflected in the annual financial statements) were wiped 
out by bequests...." 

A table of figures was inserted to show how these deficits had been 
wiped out in the three years mentioned. However, it was followed by a 
brief statement cautioning that the report, while providing an accurate 
picture of what the Party's financial condition was on December 31, 
1995, had no bearing on the financial situation as of November 5, 1996. 
As I went on to explain: 

"... Indeed, according to an unaudited report recently compiled by 
the business office, the Party's cash reserves as of October 31, 1996, 
were less than $200,000. What this means is that the Party is on the 



Socialist Labor Party 27 www.slp.org 



SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

verge of a major financial crisis that becomes all the more urgent when 
it is understood that the current headquarters lease expires on July 31, 
1997, i.e., in less than nine months. To avert the crisis that threatens, a 
concerted effort to replenish the Party's cash reserves must be made be- 
fore the 1997 National Convention. ..." 

In the meantime, however, I urge every member of the Party to con- 
tribute as generously to Party funds as their personal circumstances 
will allow, and every section to increase their fundraising efforts on the 
Party's behalf. 

The following passages, including the chart referred to in the 
preceding ones, are taken from that general letter, which was 
dated February 10, 1997: 

Another larger source of income, of course, are the cash donations 
members and sympathizers make to SLP funds. Over the last five 
years, however, such contributions have declined by nearly 43 percent, 
i.e., from over $88,700 received in 1992 to just over $50,600 in 1996. A 
major factor in this decline undoubtedly has been the decline in the 
number of regularly scheduled fundraising social affairs held by sec- 
tions. 

A third major source of revenue, but one that by its nature is com- 
pletely unpredictable, are bequests the Party from time to time receives 
from the estates of deceased members and sympathizers. This source of 
income to the Party, unpredictable though it is, has reduced or elimi- 
nated deficits that otherwise would have crippled the Party. Several 
examples were cited in the covering letter to the financial statement for 
1995. However, a more graphic illustration of this can be seen by com- 
paring the total amount realized from this source to the totals derived 
from funds and interest over the past five years (1992-1996), as follows: 

Funds $330,332.49 

Interest $103,794.98 

Subtotal $434,127.47 

Bequests $440,645 .47 

Total $874,772.94 

While these figures on income do not take into account literature and 
People sales, dues payments, the annual mileage assessment, or several 
other relatively minor sources, they should be sufficient to demonstrate 
how much bequests and similar arrangements by Party members and 
friends have benefited the SLP. However, of the nearly $441,000 de- 
rived from this source during the past five years, about $411,000 was 
received between 1992 and 1994 and barely $30,000 was received dur- 
ing the two years of 1995 and 1996. I do not know what accounts for the 
drop, but what these figures make clear is that without this source of 
support in the past the SLP would not have survived to face the finan- 
cial predicament it is in today. It is a debt that can never be repaid ex- 
cept by buckling down to the task of ensuring that all these splendid 
gifts from many benefactors — gifts ranging in amounts from a few hun- 

Socialist Labor Party 28 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

dred dollars to several reaching into the tens of thousands — were not 
given in vain. 

The point was underscored the next year in these passages from 
my report to the NEC Session in May 1998: 

In short, the cumulative deficit for the second half of the year came 
to about $31,772, with monthly deficits averaging roughly $5,300. Com- 
bined with a deficit of $49,742 from the preceding period, the deficit for 
the year came to $81,514. While these numbers differ slightly from 
those in the audited financial statement for 1997, the difference is a 
minuscule one. According to the audited statement, the deficit was 
$80,859. 

In October 1996, the National Office was informed by a New York at- 
torney that the Isidor Newman Estate had been settled. This es- 
tate — which was the outstanding estate alluded to in my report to the 
43rd National Convention — had been pending since 1992. However, 10 
months more went by before the assets from that estate were finally 
distributed. Finally, on August 5, 1997 — less than one week after fin- 
ishing the move to Mountain View — I received a check representing the 
SLP's share of that estate. That share, as you know, was for 
$191,485.12. 

The NEC was informed of the settlement before the check was hand- 
delivered to the National Office by the California attorney who had 
been representing the Party's interests in this particular matter since 
the death of attorney Roger Mulholland. NEC Member Cozzini re- 
sponded to the news by writing: 

"It was good to see that the estate is settled. However, it takes the 
pressure off only temporarily. If we don't grow the Party, it too will 
evaporate." 

NEC Member Mahoney responded in a similar vein by expressing 
his pleasure that distribution of the Newman Estate was finally at 
hand, but adding: "These funds, welcome as they are at this time, do 
not exactly 'move our fat out of the fire. 

In a reply to Comrade Mahoney on August 14, 1 wrote: 

"The Newman funds came as a very pleasant surprise and greatly 
exceeded the most optimistic expectations I had allowed myself to imag- 
ine during the months — seemingly interminable months — during which 
it dragged on unsettled. . . . 

S{C !jC 3|£ !|< 5f* 

"It is true, as you and Comrade Cozzini note, that the Newman funds 
do not solve the Party's financial problems, and that those problems 
cannot be solved without the addition of new membership and a widen- 
ing of the Party's circle of friends and supporters. That is the task that 
has been cut out for the new NEC, of course, and I am trying desper- 

Socialist Labor Party 29 www.slp.org 



SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

ately to get things here squared away so I can turn my attention to that 
all-important problem. It does not help that the headquarters staff is so 
small and overrun by unavoidable routine. However, that is just an- 
other slice of the pie cut out for us, and I only hope that we manage not 
to choke on it." 

Contrary to what Comrade Mahoney said, however, the benefit de- 
rived from estate settlements in 1997 did pull the SLP's "fat out of the 
fire," at least for the time being. Besides the two SLP sympathizers 
whose estates I have mentioned, the SLP owes a debt of gratitude to 
Comrade Chris Radov, who bequeathed $2,000 to the Party, and to 
Comrade Casimir Kanczuzewski, whose bequest of $20,000 brought the 
total realized from this source of income during the year to $216,312. 
Those four bequests turned an $80,859 deficit into a surplus of 
$135,453. Because of the foresight, generosity and devotion of these 
members and sympathizers, the SLP's cash reserves, as of March 31, 
1998, stood at $321,072.33. These four estates accounted for nearly two- 
thirds of the Party's income in 1997, and without these magnificent fi- 
nal gestures the Party's cash reserves today would be closer to 
$105,000. If every SLP member and sympathizer were to follow the 
splendid example set by these four dedicated individuals, the Party's 
capacity to fight for its future would be immeasurably enhanced." 

Nonetheless, apart from the anonymous gift of $25,000.00 to the 
special Nathan Karp Memorial Fund, and the annuity from which 
the SLP has not yet benefited, nothing comparable to the Newman 
Estate has surfaced since. Two estates are in probate at present, 
but the Party's share in their proceeds is expected to be relatively 
small. 

The National Office is painfully aware that it has not been able 
to act on the advice of NEC Sessions and National Conventions 
held since 1998 to prepare an appropriate appeal to mail to Party 
members and supporters, together with the booklet Steps You Can- 
Take to Provide for the Financial Security of the Socialist Labor 
Party. This convention may adopt a motion or report similar to 
those adopted by the NEC Sessions and National Conventions 
mentioned, though no such motion or resolution is necessary to 
convince the National Office of the financial predicament the Party 
is in or how imperative the need is to come to grips with it. As a 
preliminary step in that direction, the National Office deliberately 
chose the SLP Sustainer Fund, which the NEC established in the 
1970s, as the fund for the 45th National Convention Banquet. Eve- 
ryone who contributes to the convention fund will receive a letter of 
thanks that will also urge them to become regular contributors to 
the Sustainer Fund. A sustainer card with one stamp affixed will 

Socialist Labor Party 30 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

be enclosed with that letter. Thereafter, our attention will be 
turned back to the matter of preparing a suitable appeal to accom- 
pany a mailing of the Steps You Can Take booklet. 

In the meantime, Party members are again urged to increase 
their donations to help us wipe out these crippling monthly defi- 
cits. 

For now we have no expectation of overcoming all the Party's fi- 
nancial problems, only of meeting the immediate crisis by eliminat- 
ing the deficits and gaining some ground toward building up the 
cash reserves to a point where we can look forward with more op- 
timism than can be easily supported at present. 



On motion, this section of the National Secretary's report was 
referred to an appropriate committee when elected. 

The National Secretary read the following section of his report: 

Editorial Matters 

Twelve monthly issues of The People were printed last year. No 
special issues or issues with extra pages were printed. However, 
special notice was taken of several anniversaries of significance to 
the SLP and the socialist movement. 

Among others, The People took notice of the 110th anniversary 
of the SLP's reorganization as a Marxist party in 1890 (February), 
the 129th anniversary of the Paris Commune of 1871 (March), the 
100th anniversary of the SLP's decision to drop "immediate de- 
mands" from its national platform, the 100th anniversary of the 
Daily People (July), the 100th anniversary of the De Leon- 
Harriman debate on the union question (July), and the 100th an- 
niversary of the infamous Kautsky Resolution (December). 

Passing notice was also taken of the 110th anniversary of The 
People (April), the 111th celebration of International Labor Day 
(May), and the 148th anniversary of Daniel De Leon's birth in 1852 
(December). 

In addition, two pages of the July issue were devoted to a special 
tribute to Comrade Nathan Karp. 

During the year, 15 writers submitted 143 manuscripts for pub- 
lication. One hundred eight articles submitted by 11 writers were 
published in one form or another, but 35 from seven writers were 
not. 

Of the 108 articles printed, 63 came from the headquarters staff. 

Socialist Labor Party 31 www.slp.org 



SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

Thirty-eight of those were by Comrades Ken Boettcher (30) and 
Nathan Karp (8). Fifty-eight of the articles printed came from five 
members who attended the Writers Conference in 1994. Seven ad- 
ditional articles came from three members and two sympathizers. 
One article from the field was adapted to the letters column and 
two were used as Field Reports. 

Apart from the staff, the writers and the number of their articles 
used were: 

Bernard Bortnick, (conferee, member-at-large) 12 

Barbara Graymont (conferee, Section New York City) 11 

Diane Secor (conferee, Section San Francisco Bay Area) 7 

Bruce Cozzini (conferee, Section San Francisco Bay 

Area) 6 

John-Paul Catusco (Section New York City). 5 

Brian Blanchard (Australia) 1 

Jeff Chern (member-at-large) 1 

Bill Mahan (sympathizer) 1 

Don Patrick (sympathizer) 1 

Nine of Comrade Boettcher's articles were used as editorials and 
four were used as page one leads. Three of Comrade Karp's articles 
also were used as page one leads. The leading article for the 
August issue was written by Comrade Bruce Cozzini. 

Besides two items already mentioned, excerpts from six letters 
and reports to the National Office were used to produce Field Re- 
ports columns in five issues. The additional writers and the occa- 
sions their correspondence was drawn upon were Comrades Luis 
Figueroa of Section Philadelphia (1), Donna Bills of Section San 
Francisco Bay Area (1) and Comrade Robert Burns of Section 
Cleveland (1). 

Twenty-three letters from readers were printed in six Letters to 
The People columns during the year. Two of those were printed 
with editorial comments. One was answered separately under the 
heading, 'Abolish the Wages System!" Nineteen additional letters 
were printed in a special column under the heading, "Other Trib- 
utes to Nathan Karp." 

Six articles from the Pacific News Service were used during the 
year. In addition, 12 De Leon editorials were reprinted and the 50 
Years Ago column appeared in nine issues (though three of those 
were from 25 years ago and one was from 100 years ago). 

Socialist Labor Party 32 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

Twenty other reprints from back issues — many in connection 
with the anniversaries mentioned — were tracked down, typed up 
and used during the year, compared to only four in 1999. The in- 
crease was due in part to copy shortages at critical moments and in 
part to insufficient time for writing fresh articles on the historic 
events commemorated or on other subjects. Two reprints were used 
as editorials, two were largely rewritten and three required intro- 
ductions. Apart from these reprints, modified versions of four 
Question Periods from back issues were printed and the SIU chart 
was used once. 

Comrade Donna Bills should be mentioned for her efforts. Her 
proofreading and ad designs, her work on the Activities, Directory 
and Funds columns and on the annual postal report were all essen- 
tial contributions. 

In addition, of course, none of this could have been brought to- 
gether and printed without Comrade Boettcher's skillful design 
and layout work at the computer. 

Special mention should also be made of Sam Bortnick, whose 
photographs of Comrade Nathan Karp and a homeless man graced 
the pages of the July and February issues, respectively, and of 
Emily Bills for her photograph of the Wall of Martyrs at the Pere- 
Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France, which was used to illustrate 
our tribute to the Communards of 1871 in the March issue. 

To provide the convention with a complete picture of where mat- 
ters stand at present, I would add that 57 articles from six writers 
were printed in the six issues published so far this year. This num- 
ber does not include two from Sergiy Skubenko of Ukraine, four 
articles and letters adapted for use as Field Reports and a large 
quantity of other matter. Sixteen of the 57 articles printed were 
from Comrade Boettcher, followed by Comrades Bortnick (10), 
Secor (7), Graymont (6) and Catusco (3). In short, 26 came from the 
field and 3 1 from the National Office. 

* 

No controversies involving The People arose last year, and no 
grievances were submitted for the NEC to resolve. Last June, how- 
ever, the following e-mail was received from a national member-at- 
large who was clearly dissatisfied: 

Dear Acting Editor Bills, 

So sorry about Comrade Karp. What a loss to the Party. 

I read on p. 79 of NEC 2000 minutes that there is a serious shortage 

Socialist Labor Party 33 www.slp.org 



SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

of writers for The People. Amazing! I am quite willing and able to write 
for The People. Why don't you ask for my help? I must say, as a licensed 
psychotherapist with 15 years of clinical practice and several years of 
working on my own personal issues, I find you to be rude, abrupt, aloof, 
rigid, authoritarian, dictatorial, and condescending. 

Have you even noticed that I have stopped submitting articles? Have 
you not figured out that it is because I am discouraged by laboring over 
an article only to have it disappear at the national office? I am a good 
writer and I am willing to write for The People but I am tired of submit- 
ting articles which are not used and receive no editorial comment or 
feedback at all. 

Also, not once have I ever received an expression of thanks from you. 
And you belong to a glorious political party which professes to value 
human labor. I don't expect all my submissions to be printed but I need 
to know — a line or two would suffice — what is wrong with an article I 
write which is not used for The People. 

Do you treat everyone like this or just me? Your personal lack of 
warmth could have something to do with the rough shape the Party is 
in. There was talk in the minutes of a writers conference this year and I 
could certainly try to attend that. 

I would love to write for The People again but I need to know my la- 
bor is valued. By the way, where are all the articles I have submitted 
over the past several years which were not used in The People? My final 
thought is that it is simply poor leadership on your part to have a 
writer such as myself so willing to help out but yet so discouraged. You 
have a responsibility to nurture and guide your writers-at-large. I 
would like for the NEC to see this e-mail. How can I arrange that? 

Sincerely, etc. 

I do not know what provoked this particular outbreak, but I re- 
sponded with the following on June 12: 

Dear Comrade. . . : 

This will acknowledge receipt of your e-mail of June 8. Thank you. 

Article IX (The Party Press), Section 3, of the Party's Constitution 
provides as follows: 

"Between Conventions, the NEC shall have control of the contents of 
all Party organs, and shall act on grievances connected with the same." 

If you believe you have a legitimate grievance concerning your sub- 
missions for publication in The People, my suggestion would be that you 
follow the procedure provided by the constitutional provision cited. 
Specify what your grievance is and submit it to the National Office. It 
will then be submitted to the NEC for consideration and any action that 
the NEC may deem appropriate. 

Fraternally yours, 
Robert Bills 
National Secretary 



Socialist Labor Party 34 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

I heard nothing more from him until September 12, but with the 
move and other demands on my time could not reply until the following 
was e-mailed on December 8: 

Dear Comrade . . . : 

Please pardon this belated reply to your e-mail of September 11. The 
search for new headquarters, the move and other difficulties disrupted 
normal office routine and made many similar delays unavoidable. Your 
patience and understanding are deeply appreciated. 

Your e-mail consisted of four succinct paragraphs, as follows: 

"I submitted two articles to you in July, I think, one on slaughter- 
house workers and racism and another on the Communist Manifesto . 

"Again, no response. 

"Was there something wrong with the articles? Is it not your job to 
provide editorial feedback? 

"Please clarify this matter or I will have to either resign from the 
SLP or complain to the NEC." 

Frankly, I do not know if there was anything wrong with those par- 
ticular articles. I read them only carefully enough to determine that 
they contained quotations from sources that you neglected to enclose 
with your articles. There were footnotes referring to books, magazines 
and news articles, but no marked photocopies of any of that. Apparently 
you expected me to locate the books, the magazines and the news arti- 
cles, and then to locate the passages you quoted. 

You say that you received no response to your articles. No response 
was needed. I have requested your cooperation in submitting and mark- 
ing your sources in the past. Under date of August 11, 1998, for exam- 
ple, I wrote you a letter in which I said, in part: 

"No matter what is decided about this particular article, however, I 
must remind you of how important it is always to send your sources 
when submitting articles. Footnotes don't do me much good, so please 
make a point of sending me any news clippings you use, or photocopies 
of them, whenever you submit an article. And when you do, please 
make sure that they include the full name of the newspaper or maga- 
zine they're from, and the date of the issues in which they were printed. 

"Ditto with quotations from books. A photocopy of the page or pages 
you are quoting from is what is needed. 

"In addition, portions of articles or book pages should be clearly 
marked to show what is being quoted or cited. Once in a while, but 
thankfully not often, someone will send a gob of clippings with nary a 
clue of where to look to verify a fact or a quotation. When that happens, 
someone here either has to do the writer's research job all over, or in 
self-defense I have to instruct that the article be filed and forgotten. 

'Your cooperation in this will make our lives here a bit easier, and 
we will be grateful for it." 

The direct answer to your second question is no, it is not my "job to 
provide editorial feedback." The headquarters staff is too small and the 
demands on its time and energies are too great to allow for that. If the 



Socialist Labor Party 35 www.slp.org 



SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

SLP had a full-time elected Editor it might be different. As it is, how- 
ever, everything the National Office staff does to keep the Editorial De- 
partment and The People afloat is done on a voluntary basis. All we 
have asked in return is a little cooperation in such things as including 
source materials and saving us the time of having to read through them 
all to verify the accuracy of quotations, the presentation and interpreta- 
tion of facts, etc. Everyone else who writes for The People, even new- 
comers. ..seem to understand this. 

I hope this finally clarifies the matter for you. If you do not find it 
satisfactory, then, of course, you should "complain to the NEC," which 
is precisely what I urged you to do some time ago. 

Fraternally yours, 

Robert Bills 

National Secretary 

There is nothing further to report from that quarter. Last No- 
vember, however, one steady contributor wrote to express concern 
about his "batting average." As he put it: 

I have noted that my "batting average" has dropped in the past sev- 
eral months. I attribute this to the fact that I am trying to compose the 
articles I write directly on my computer without the intermediate step 
of hand writing them. The latter gave pause for more deliberation about 
what I was writing about. . . . 

This contributor had nothing to worry about, but I wrote a re- 
sponse to explain why some of his recent contributions could not be 
used. That letter, in part, was as follows: 

Dear Comrade: 

This will acknowledge your e-mail of today. Thank you. 

I gave up writing by hand years ago — decades, to tell the truth. My 
handwriting was and remains completely illegible, even to myself. I al- 
ways relied on typewriters, until computers came along. When the of- 
fice got its first computers, I remember Nat Karp telling me how I 
would learn to love them. He thought I would benefit most from the cut- 
and-paste feature that allows paragraphs, sentences, even lowly punc- 
tuation marks, to be moved around. He was right about my learning to 
love computers. I was hesitant at first, but they grew on me. Cut-and- 
paste is only a small part of what I like about them, but that's another 
story. Ironically, Nat never quite got the hang of computers; but, for me, 
I could not survive without one. Cut, paste, write, edit, I do it all on the 
computer — and since the Internet and World Wide Web came along I 
hardly ever type out a quotation from scratch. I simply take them di- 
rectly from their source. 

Your "batting average" isn't so bad. I think you've sent in 16 articles 
this year. Eleven of them have been printed. I didn't print your article 



Socialist Labor Party 36 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

on Yucca Mountain [because] we just printed an editorial on that sub- 
ject in June and your article didn't seem to add anything new. 

Your article on "academic freedom" did give me a problem, but I 
don't think it had anything to do with it being written on a computer. It 
had to do with the main idea or thesis that you presented in your sec- 
ond paragraph. 

"Universities, often characterized as lofty sanctuaries of knowledge, 
research, academic freedom and discovery, are institutions whose true 
nature is thinly concealed behind the commercial needs of the capitalist 
system. Indeed, they are themselves businesses marketing a commod- 
ity. That commercial product is imparting the knowledge, technical 
training and the capitalist 'gospel' to prospective workers. 

"It is particularly the latter that is troubling. Those courses meant to 
impart culture, literature, art, music, philosophy and history often stray 
from the 'script' of bourgeois ideology. Such was the case when Prof. 
Robert Nelsen showed and discussed the male nude photographs of the 
late Robert Maplethorpe at the University of Texas at Dallas during his 
'exploration of the arts' course." [My emphasis.] 

There is bourgeois ideology, no doubt about that. But I do not believe 
you can sustain the idea that there is a bourgeois ideology on what the 
content of photographs ought to be. 

I dashed off something in an attempt to collect my own thoughts be- 
fore trying to edit the article, but I could not refine my thinking enough 
to boil it down into a succinct few sentences in time to get back to your 
article. Deadlines were pressing. For what it's worth, however, here is 
what I jotted down in reaction to what you wrote. It's rough, very 
rough, and quite literally spontaneous, but I think it is clear enough for 
you to see what I was thinking. 

"Capitalism does not care what workers think, provided what they 
think does not interfere with or threaten the capitalist system. 

"It does not care if workers are devout Christians or died-in-the wool 
atheists. It couldn't care less if workers look at a nude and see art or 
pornography. 

"As long as workers are content to submit to the system of wage ex- 
ploitation, capitalism couldn't care less what occupies a worker's mind. 

"But within capitalism there are many subordinate interests that do 
care what workers think. Religious creeds that bank on the pennies 
that workers drop into the collection plate have a material stake in 
what goes on in the worker's mind. [This, I think, comes closest to the 
realm of ideas you were thinking about.] 

"The entertainment industry, in which competition is fierce, is unre- 
lenting in its efforts to attract worker's attention and take up their 
time. 

"The advertising business that peddles an infinite number of com- 
modities, many of which would be indistinguishable except for the 'eye 
appeal' of their packaging, not a few of which are useless, and some of 
which are downright harmful, all seek to plant previously unthought of 
wants and desires in working-class minds. 



Socialist Labor Party 37 www.slp.org 



SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

"This unceasing competitive drive to beguile workers into buying 
this in preference to that, or that in preference to something else, in 
swallowing one idea about the origin of the universe over a host of other 
ideas on the same subject, etc., creates the illusion of intellectual free- 
dom within the bounds of capitalist society; but as often as not it is 
merely the 'freedom' to be prevailed upon and bamboozled by someone 
or some institution that is out to make a buck by separating workers 
from a share of their wages. 

"Workers are obviously affected by this relentless struggle. ..." (I 
broke off here.) 

Bourgeois ideology, the capitalist view of the world and the meaning 
of life, can be summed up in a single word, P-R-O-F-I-T. That may seem 
a very narrow outlook, which it is, but it also gives rise to a universe of 
conflicting ideas and values that grow out of a universe of conflicting 
material interests. 

Fraternally yours, 
Robert Bills 
National Secretary 

When Comrade Douglas Irving, National Secretary of the SLP of 
Canada, wrote to express his regrets over the death of Comrade 
Karp, he enclosed a book review from a local newspaper. Though 
he did not say so specifically, I assumed the enclosure was a silent 
suggestion that a similar review be printed in The People. Accord- 
ingly, in my reply on June 1, 1 referred to the clipping as follows: 

Dear Comrade Irving: 

Thank you very much for your letter of May 4 and the review of 
Francis Wheen's Karl Marx from the Ottawa Citizen. I only knew of the 
book because of a review that appeared in the Socialist Standard, the 
monthly magazine of the Socialist Party of Great Britain. That review 
was interesting enough to pique my interest in the book, and what you 
enclosed heightens my interest even more. Obviously it is a book that 
should be taken notice of by The People, but there is so much else that 
must be attended to these days that things that are important in them- 
selves must take a back seat to what is absolutely imperative. The 
book, I'm afraid, doesn't fall into the latter category. Perhaps one of the 
SLP members who write for The People will notice the book and submit 
a review for publication. 

Fraternally yours, 
Robert Bills 
National Secretary 

Every so often the "Editor" will receive a letter that brightens 
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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

his day. On April 25, for example, the following was received by e- 
mail: 

Dear Comrade Bills; 

Just a short note to say you did a great job in editing and substan- 
tially adding to the article on IBM and the Nazis. It greatly enhanced 
the article and added considerable depth. When you add this much it 
should be listed as a joint effort. I don't think it is right for me to re- 
ceive credit when you have done so much to develop the subject. I real- 
ize this is probably the case for a lot of articles contributed to The Peo- 
ple. 

Fraternally, 

B. BORTNICK 

In reply I told Comrade Bortnick I was glad that the changes 
pleased him, and added: 

In theory, at least, the "Editor" gets a share of credit for every- 
thing he allows into the paper, and more than a share of the blame 
if he allows in (or keeps out) what he shouldn't. What he does to 
avoid anything to be blamed for and to make The People a credit to 
the SLP goes on in the shadows, so to speak. His job is to make 
everyone "look good," and thereby make The People and the Party 
"look good." His decisions are rarely shared with anyone other than 
the individual contributors who compare what they submit to what 
goes to print, or doesn't go to print. 

You are right to suppose that more goes into The People than 
meets the readers' eye. 

No doubt more could be culled from National Office files to pro- 
vide the convention with information on how circumstances and 
conditions have affected The People since the NEC Session last 
year. I believe this is sufficient. However, if the convention finds 
that more information is needed to assist it in its deliberations, 
those files are at its disposal. 

* 

In my report to the NEC Session last year, I said that the edito- 
rial situation had gotten so bad that something drastic had to be 
done to save The People. As I explained and recommended: 

The . . . stalwarts need to be reinforced. Without any real prospect of 
augmenting the headquarters staff, the only possible source of "new 
blood" to expand the pool of writers available to The People is the mem- 
bership as a whole. In my opinion, something similar to the 1994 Writ- 
ers Conference is needed to draw out that new blood and determine if it 



Socialist Labor Party 39 www.slp.org 



SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

has what it takes to keep The People afloat. Accordingly, the following 
recommendations are being submitted for the NEC's consideration: 

First: That the NEC in Session review the entire list of members in 
good standing of the Party to determine if there is sufficient material to 
warrant holding a second SLP Writers Conference this year, preferably 
over the Labor Day weekend of September 2-3, 2000. 

Second: That the NEC in Session draw up and adopt a resolution in- 
viting the members it chooses to attend such a conference. 

Third: That the NEC in Session establish a special fund to help de- 
fray the expense that holding such a conference would entail. 

However, if the NEC decides that no such conference can or should 
be held, and unless this Session adopts a resolution outlining some 
other viable plan for continuing publication, I would request that the 
NEC in Session draw up and adopt a suitable resolution announcing 
permanent suspension of The People with the December 2000 issue, or 
an earlier issue in the event it becomes necessary to relocate the Na- 
tional Headquarters later this year. 

The NEC did none of these things. Instead, it adopted a middle 
course by electing special committees to invite certain members to 
such a conference, if it was decided to hold one. The work of the 
special committees was to be done after the NEC Session ad- 
journed. 

The special committees went to work immediately. On April 18 
they e-mailed the National Office a list of members to invite and a 
draft of the letter of invitation. I was informed by the committees 
that the draft was for me to "annotate or comment on." I did not 
believe it was my place to do either where the invitation was con- 
cerned, unless it contained some factual error. However, I did feel 
it necessary to comment on the special committee's remark that 
the list of members to invite had been decided "in consultation with 
the National Secretary." Accordingly, under date of May 8 I replied 
to the special committees, in part, as follows: 

Dear Comrade Bortnick: 

^: % fc % fc 

I do not think it is accurate to say that the NEC Session's committee 
reached a decision on who to invite to the conference "in consultation 
with" me. No decision was reached in my presence. The meeting wasn't 
held for that purpose, at least that is not what the committee told me. 
The committee told me it wanted guidance on who to consider, not who 
to choose. 

By the time that meeting was over I had recommended six members 
who I thought should be invited automatically, without the committee 
wasting any time going over their qualifications. . . . Not one of these 



Socialist Labor Party 40 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

names appears on the list of 15 that heads your draft. 

I also recommended that the committee consider 11 other members 
after it had decided on how many would be needed to hold a successful 
conference and what the Party could afford to spend on airfares, hotel 
accommodations, meals and possibly lost wages, and I singled three of 
those 11 members out for special consideration. Two of the three who I 
suggested for special consideration. ..appear on your "A list." The third 
member I thought fell into that category was. ..excluded. 

^ ^ IfrC !f< ^ 

Incidentally, I would remind you and Comrade Mahoney that atten- 
dance at the conference will be by invitation only. The reminder may be 
unnecessary, but I thought I should mention it since you apparently 
have chosen to exclude all those I thought should be invited and one I 
felt deserved special consideration. 

With best wishes, 

Fraternally yours, 
Robert Bills 
National Secretary 

The special committees submitted their final list of names and 
the final draft of a letter of invitation under date May 14, 2000. 
The final draft was as follows: 

Dear Comrade . . . . : 

At the recent National Executive Committee session held in Santa 
Clara, Ca., April 1st, and 2nd, 2000 that part of the National Secre- 
tary's report on "Editorial Matters" addressed an issue of vital concern 
to the Party, namely the continued publication of The People. At the 
center of this concern was the diminishing number of correspondents 
and a decline in articles from field correspondents that must be relied 
upon to a greater degree than ever if publication is to continue and, in- 
deed, if a measure of the burden that the National Office has heretofore 
carried is to be raised. 

To drive home the urgency of this issue we enclose that portion of 
the National Secretary's Report on "Editorial Matters" which clearly 
summarizes this issue. Please give careful consideration to its contents, 
(see p. 1, 2, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19 enclosed) 

In reading this portion of the report, you will find that page 18 calls 
for an expansion of "the pool of writers" and convening a second writers 
conference similar to the one that was held at the National Headquar- 
ters in 1994. 

It will also he noted that the National Secretary called upon the 
NEC to take 3 specific steps to supplement the staff of The People cor- 
respondents. The NEC responded accordingly: "(1) Your committee in 
consultation with the National Secretary has reviewed the membership 
list and concluded that there is "sufficient material to warrant holding 

Socialist Labor Party 41 www.slp.org 



SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

a second SLP writers conference." (2) We recommend that the NEC ex- 
tend invitations to those selected. The NEC regrets that time did not 
permit it to draw up a resolution in session inviting those members to 
attend such a conference. NEC member Bortnick will undertake to pre- 
pare an appropriate letter of invitation. (3) We recommend that the 
NEC set up a special fund that will help defray the costs of holding this 
writers conference." 

You are one among (to be determined by the NEC in consultation 

with the National Secretary) comrades that have been asked to seri- 
ously consider attending the proposed writers conference. 

Although the date of the proposed conference has not been fixed, La- 
bor Day weekend, September 1st and 2nd, 2000, has been suggested by 
the National Secretary. 

Some of you have made contributions to The People in past issues, 
some of which were printed and others perhaps not. The proposed con- 
ference offers an excellent venue to clear up misunderstandings, get to 
know one another and share common concerns, clarify those questions 
that may have vexed you, gain a better understanding of the conditions 
the editorial office of The People works under, and offers vital guide- 
lines that cannot be as effectively communicated in writing. 

In order to make the appropriate preparations, we have set a dead- 
line date for your response indicating your willingness to attend this 
conference of (to be set by the National Office). Please send your reply 
by filling out the enclosed form, and mailing it in the self-addressed en- 
velope enclosed. Your prompt consideration will be greatly appreciated. 

Fraternally Yours, 
Bernard Bortnick 
By order of the National Executive 
Committee 

The letter of invitation was enclosed with the following, also 
dated May 14, 2000: 

Dear Comrade Bills, 

This will acknowledge receipt of your letter of May 8, 2000. Changes 
have been made in accordance with the commentary that you offered; 
hence I resubmit the following: 

Please submit the following motions to the National Executive 
Committee: 

1. Motion: to concur in the recommendation of the National Secre- 
tary to hold a writers conference. 

2. Motion: to hold such a conference on the Labor Day Weekend of 
September 2 and 3, 2000. 

3. Motion: that the place of the conference be at the National Head- 
quarters. 

4. Motion: that Comrades Bernard Bortnick and Mike Mahoney be 
placed in nomination as permanent chairpersons of the special commit- 
tee overseeing the coordination of the writers conference. 

Socialist Labor Party 42 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

5. Motion: that the following draft letter be concurred in and mailed 
to possible attendees of the writers conference (appended below). 

Fraternally Submitted: 
Bernahd Bortnick, NEC 

None of this — the list of names, the letter of invitation or the 
five motions — were formally submitted to the NEC. That is, no bal- 
lot was mailed and sent out. Although the special committees had 
moved fast, they were not fast enough. The death of Comrade Na- 
than Karp, the headquarters situation and a growing concern over 
the rapid depletion in the Party's cash reserves were among the 
conditions and circumstances that led to one postponement after 
another. 

In the meantime, we have continued to publish The People with- 
out interruption, but not without increased difficulties for a dimin- 
ished headquarters staff and a dwindling core of dedicated SLP 
writers. 



On motion, this section of the National Secretary's report was 
referred to an appropriate committee when elected. 

A five-minute recess was declared at 12:20 p.m. Reconvened at 
12:30 p.m. 

The National Secretary read the following section of his report: 

State of Organization 

A net loss of one section and 12 members occurred during the 
year. 

The NEC disbanded Section Akron, Ohio, on December 5. Three 
transfers out of the section to Section Cleveland were initiated, but 
could not be completed before the year ended. 

The NEC accepted five applications for membership. Seventeen 
names were removed from the membership list. Three resigned, 
two were dropped for nonpayment of dues and one was expelled. 
Eleven members died. In addition, one national member-at-large 
transferred to Section New York City. 

Three sections reported holding 12 regular business meetings 
last year. They were Sections San Francisco Bay Area, Cook 
County, 111., and Wayne County, Mich. Section Portland, Ore., re- 
ported holding 11 business meetings, Section Cleveland reported 
10, Section Milwaukee six and Section Akron one. Section Phila- 
delphia reported three business meetings held during the year, but 

Socialist Labor Party 43 www.slp.org 



SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

that information is incomplete. Section New York City failed to re- 
port. Accordingly, reports on 67 business meetings being held dur- 
ing the year were received, at which the average attendance was 
four. 

SLP national members -at-large living in 23 states and the Mar- 
shall Islands account for 57 percent of the Party's membership. 



On motion, this section of the National Secretary's report was 
referred to an appropriate committee when elected. 

The National Secretary read the following section of his report: 

General Activities 

Sections and members of the Party reported a distribution of 
34,382 copies of The People last year, compared to a reported dis- 
tribution of 31,742 copies in 1999. Sections accounted for 32,590 
copies and national members-at-large for 1,792 copies. Section San 
Francisco Bay Area's reported distribution was 22,059 copies, most 
of them through the efforts of Comrades Mary and Frank Prince. 

Sections and members also reported a distribution of 20,749 
leaflets during the year, of which 10,372 were reported by sections 
and 10,377 by members-at-large. The reported distribution of leaf- 
lets in 1999 was 31,811. 

Twenty-nine public meetings were held during the year. 
Twenty-one of those were discussion group meetings reported by 
two sections and the SLP Group of Houston. Section Portland re- 
ported holding 12, the SLP Group of Houston reported five and 
Section San Francisco Bay Area reported four. Eight of the public 
meetings reported were fundraisers. Three of those were sponsored 
by Section Cleveland, three by Section Philadelphia and two by 
San Francisco Bay Area. 

Other activities reported during the year included the following: 

Section San Francisco Bay Area set up a literature table at West 
Valley Community College on two occasions and at a "Free Mumia" 
rally held in San Francisco. 

Comrade Louis Fisher of Section Cook County was interviewed 
on PBS's Chicago affiliate, WBEZ-TV. Comrade Fisher, of course, 
was the Party's candidate for president in 1972. (His running mate 
was Comrade Genevieve Gunderson, now the Party's bookkeeper.) 

Section Cleveland set up a literature table at the Slavic Village 
Fair in that city, and as reported in The People, distributed leaflets 
to striking steel mill workers in Mansfield, Ohio, last August. 

Socialist Labor Party 44 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

Sections New York City and Philadelphia cooperated in distrib- 
uting leaflets at a Puerto Rico Day parade in Manhattan last year 
with the assistance of national member-at-large John-Paul Ca- 
tusco. (Comrade Catusco has since transferred into Section New 
York City. Before his transfer, however, he distributed SLP leaflets 
to workers, patrons and passersby at New York City Museum of 
Modern of Art on a daily basis during the MoMA workers' strike.) 

The SLP Group of Houston distributed SLP literature at an 
Earth Day festival in that Texas city. 

At the end of the year, 23 bookstores and newsstands carried 
The People and 11 self-service newsstands were operated by sec- 
tions and members in three states. 

The National Office received 281 contacts last year. One hun- 
dred thirty-two of those were by e-mail, excluding 39 e-mails from 
49 teachers and students who contacted the National Office during 
the year. Twenty-three of the 281 contacts took out subscriptions to 
The People. A majority of those new subscriptions (14) resulted 
from the distribution of leaflets. 



On motion, this section of the National Secretary's report was 
referred to an appropriate committee when elected. 

The National Secretary read the following section of his report: 

Party Press and Literature 

1. The People 
The press run for May was 9,700 copies, of which 9,146 were put 
into circulation and 554 were spoiled or held for National Office 
uses. The distribution was as follows: 

Domestic subscriptions 1,718 

Foreign Subscriptions 73 

Domestic Bundles 7,279 

Foreign Bundles 76 

Office Use 554 

The May issue circulated to 49 states, the District of Columbia, 
Puerto Rico and the Marshall Islands. The missing state was 
North Dakota. The May issue was also mailed to 13 other 
countries. 1 



Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, India, Italy, Mexico, 
The Netherlands, New Zealand and Ukraine. 

Socialist Labor Party 45 www.slp.org 



SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

Included in the circulation for May were 431 libraries and 17 li- 
braries in other countries. 

Apart from libraries, about 60 percent of all domestic subscrip- 
tion copies of The People are mailed to individual readers who live 
in the eight states where sections of the Party are organized. Cali- 
fornia leads with 257, followed by New York (132), Ohio (88), 
Pennsylvania (81), Michigan (79), Illinois (67), Wisconsin (38) and 
Oregon (26). 

One hundred sixteen bundles of the May issue were mailed or 
shipped. Thirty-three went to sections and 22 went to national 
members -at-large. Fifty-three bundles went to nonmembers, two 
went to libraries, five went to members in Australia and Canada, 
and five went to nonmembers in other countries. Twenty-four bun- 
dles were mailed or shipped to commercial outlets. Bundle sizes 
averaged 57 copies. 

Every section of the Party received at least one bundle of the 
May issue. Section San Francisco Bay Area led with 10, followed by 
Sections Cleveland (8), Cook County (6), New York City (3) and 
Philadelphia (3). 

Section San Francisco Bay Area also led in the number of copies 
shipped in bundles. That number was 2,102, the same as for 1999. 
Section Milwaukee was next with 500 copies, followed by Sections 
Cleveland (275), New York City (195), Portland (150), Philadelphia 
(110), Cook County (28) and Wayne County (15). The 22 bundles 
sent to national members -at-large accounted for 692 copies. 

Michael Preston of Buffalo, N.Y., continued his lead among 
nonmembers with 2,015 copies, an increase of 15 over the figure 
reported last year. 

Four hundred sixty-seven subscriptions to The People were en- 
tered last year. Three hundred ninety were new and 77 were from 
former readers whose earlier subscriptions had expired. Fifty-one 
of these new and "old/new" subscriptions were for three years, six 
were for two years, 88 were for one year, 244 were for six months 
and 78 were for four months. Six hundred nine subscriptions were 
received in 1999, of which 509 were new and 100 were old/new. 

The sources for all new and old/new subscriptions received last 
year were: gift subscriptions (206), free trial subscriptions (76), Na- 
tional Office contacts (37), sections and members -at-large (31), The 
People's subscription coupon (23), Web site (18), The People's list of 
former subscribers (7), advertisements in back issues of other pub- 
lications (1) and miscellaneous other sources (68). 

Socialist Labor Party 46 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

Nine hundred ninety-nine subscriptions came due for renewal 
last year. Five hundred three were renewed and 496 were removed. 
Accordingly, the renewal rate for the year was 50 percent, down 
from 53 percent in 1999. 

Receipts from sales last year were $22,181.00, compared to 
$12,952.00 in 1999 and $17,348.00 in 1998. 

No sample copies were mailed last year, no advertisements were 
placed and no effort was made to follow up on the clearance mail- 
ings reported to the NEC a year ago. Contributing factors were a 
lack of funds, a lack of staff and problems associated with moving 
and reestablishing National Headquarters. 

* 

California's "rolling blackouts" have not interfered with the pro- 
duction or circulation of The People , but there have been other 
problems. On October 20, for example, the following letter was sent 
to the NEC: 

Dear Comrades: 

This is to inform you that the November issue of The People has been 
delayed. The issue did not go to press on Wednesday, October 18, as 
scheduled, but will be printed on Wednesday, October 25. 

Several problems contributed to the delay. One was that it was nec- 
essary for me to go to Las Vegas on October 7 and that I did not return 
to the office until October 12. Another was a shortage of usable copy 
submitted from the field and insufficient time for putting the new of- 
fices in order while writing enough copy to fill the November issue. A 
third is that establishing an Internet link (now our primary source of 
news and information) is taking longer than anticipated. 

In haste, 

Fraternally yours, 
Robert Bills 
National Secretary 

There were other occasions when it appeared that an issue 
might be delayed. The problem usually stemmed from a shortage of 
copy. One exception was explained in the following letter written to 
the NEC on November 20: 

Dear Comrades: 

Something quite unexpected has happened. Pizazz Printing, the 
company that has been printing The People since at least 1984, sud- 
denly went out of business last week. I did not learn of this until yes- 
terday, not directly from a representative of Pizazz, but indirectly from 
our mailer, San Jose Mailing. San Jose Mailing called us yesterday in 



Socialist Labor Party 47 www.slp.org 



SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

the belief that we knew of Pizazz's collapse but might want recommen- 
dations on other printers to approach. Acting on their recommendation, 
I have been in touch with another printer. That printer has "penciled us 
in" for the January issue, which should go to press on its scheduled 
date, i.e., Wednesday, December 20. 

I am hopeful that we can work out a permanent deal with this other 
printer, Publishers Press. If not, I am informed that there are other op- 
tions open to us. 

Twenty-four hours ago this development had all the earmarks of a 
potential disaster. Pizazz was a huge operation that printed scores of 
newspapers, among them the Metro (circ. 60,000) and the Stanford 
Daily. Pizazz's collapse has sent them all scurrying. Some of them were 
forewarned by a week or so, I am told, but not us. In that sense we were 
a week behind in the scramble to find a new printer, but it now appears 
that everything should work out. 

Fraternally yours, 

Robert Bills 

National Secretary 

Things did work out with the new printer, Publishers Press, and 
the December issue was printed on schedule. Although I have not 
been entirely satisfied with the quality of our new printer's work, 
most problems have been minor and I am confident they can be 
ironed out. 



E-mail subscriptions, which are not included in any of the pre- 
ceding figures, declined from 201 in April 2000 to 175 for the issue 
of May 2001. One reason may be that the online service that proc- 
esses these subscriptions now identifies inactive or discontinued e- 
mail addresses, which enables us to remove them from the list. A 
second reason may be that people with the right equipment have 
the option of helping themselves to the PDF edition of The People , 
which has been a regular feature of the Party's Web site since De- 
cember 1999. 

For those who may not be familiar with them, PDFs, or Portable 
Document Format files, enable us to upload near-perfect replicas of 
the printed edition. Indeed, because The People is produced almost 
entirely by electronic means — from raw copy to finished prod- 
uct — it might be said that the printed edition is closer to being a 
replica of the electronic one than the other way around. 

In any event, the PDF edition can be viewed on a computer 
screen, or downloaded and printed at the convenience of the indi- 



Socialist Labor Party 48 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

vidual without having to register with any electronic subscription 
service. 

2. Labor News Activities 

Labor News sales last year came to $4,730.00, compared to 
$13,944.00 in 1999 and $5,631.00 in 1998. 

Apart from 500 copies of the 2000 NEC Session proceedings and 
100 copies of The SLP and the Unions as a Socialist Studies, no 
new books or pamphlets were published during the year. Several 
possibilities for new pamphlets and Socialist Studies mentioned in 
my report to the NEC last year were not printed, primarily because 
of the financial situation and partly because of the disruption 
caused by the move. Nonetheless, six standard leaflets were re- 
printed last year. The titles and quantities printed were as follows: 

SLP National Platform 10,000 

Socialist Industrial Unionism: The Workers' Power 10,000 

What Is Socialism? 10,000 

What's Behind the Attack on Public Education? 10,000 

What's Wrong With the Labor Unions? 10,000 

Who Are the Polluters? 10,000 

In addition, short runs of three special leaflets were printed in 
response to special requests, as follows: 

Mumia Abu-Jamal & Capitalist Justice 4,000 

The Seattle Police Riot 2,000 

The Death of Amadou Diallo 2,000 

It may be superfluous to add that when no SLP books or pam- 
phlets are published or reissued the supply of Labor News titles 
can only decline. A number of standard SLP books and pamphlets 
have gone out of print in recent years, and supplies of several oth- 
ers are extremely low. However, without the funds needed to pub- 
lish new titles, or new editions of standard works, the Party's abil- 
ity to provide potential members with the educational materials 
they need can only decline. 

A Labor News line of electronic books on compact disks probably 
offers the best possibility for getting around this problem, or at 
least a part of it. CDs are capable of holding so much material that 
every book, pamphlet and leaflet ever printed by the SLP would 

Socialist Labor Party 49 www.slp.org 



SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

easily fit onto just one of them. Recently, for example, a former 
member of the old SLP of Great Britain made a gift of one such 
disk to the National Office. The disk is one in a series produced 
under the general heading of Essential Classics in Politics. This 
particular disk is devoted to works of Karl Marx and Frederick 
Engels, and includes PDF versions of the following: 

1. A History of the Communist League 

2. Anti-Duhring 

3. Capital (all three volumes) 

4. The Civil War in France 

5. Class Struggles in France 

6. The Communist Manifesto 

7. The Condition of the Working Class in England 

8. Critique of the Gotha Program 

9. The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte 

10. Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German 
Philosophy 

11. Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State 

12. The Part Played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to 
Man 

13. The Peasant Question in France and Germany 

14. Preface to a Critique of Political Economy 

15. Socialism: From Utopia to Science 

16. Value, Price and Profit. 

The disk also contains something called A Student's Edition of 
Capital (not to be confused with Edward Aveling's A Student's 
Marx) and several other features, including illustrations for each of 
the PDF files it contains. 

Unfortunately, the National Headquarters staff is much too 
small to undertake such a project alone. While there is nothing to 
say that a compact disk must always be filled to the hilt before it 
can be offered for sale, the preparation of the material needed to 
make even one reasonable offering, and to do it within the Party's 
means, would require the help of some competent volunteers. 

3. Web Site 
In my report to the NEC Session last year, I estimated that the 
SLP's Web site received 26,416 "hits" in 1999. That estimate was 
based on concrete information the National Office received for 48 
weeks during which 24,362 confirmed hits, or visits to the Web 
site, could be confirmed. The larger figure was based on the aver- 

Socialist Labor Party SO www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

age of 508 confirmed hits a week over the 48-week period, multi- 
plied by 52. 

Last year the National Office again received concrete informa- 
tion confirming the number of hits over a 48-week period. The 
number was 45,632, almost double the number of confirmed hits 
for 1999 and an average of 951 hits a week. That number, when 
multiplied by 52, suggests there were about 49,452 hits last year. 

Over the first 14 weeks of the current year for which informa- 
tion is available, the number of hits was 12,551, for an average of 
897 a week. However, the number of hits during the first 14 weeks 
of 2000 was 12,405, or 886 a week. In short, www.slp.org appears 
to be on a record-breaking pace for 2001. It is too soon to tell, of 
course, but the National Office continues to do everything it can to 
expand and improve the contents of the site. 

Adding new features and titles is an important inducement to 
encourage visits and return visits to the site. Among the additions 
made last year were: 

The Burning Question of Trades Unionism (Daniel De Leon) 

Early Efforts at Socialist Unity (Nathan Karp) 

Free Trade (Karl Marx) 

Plain Words to Boston Workingmen, Jew and Gentile (De Leon) 

Reform or Revolution (De Leon) 

The ST&LA vs. the "Pure and Simple" Trade Union (De Leon- 
Harriman Debate) 

The Constant Revolution (Robert Bills) 

Wage-Labor and Capital (Marx) 

What Means This Strike? (De Leon) 

Another addition made last year was the SLP's Resolution on 
Puerto Rico. 

This year's additions include Crises in European History (Gustav 
Bang), a collection of De Leon editorials under the heading of 
Workers, Wages and Wall Street and the article "The Socialist Pro- 
gram: What It Is and How It Developed." 

Two new sections on SLP history and joining the SLP were 
added this year. The former features the articles "Socialism in the 
U.S.: From Utopia to Science," by Comrade Barbara Graymont, 
and "How the SLP Emerged as a Marxist Political Party." The his- 
tory section also contains the SLP's National Platforms from 1887, 
1904, 1908 and 1912, the proceedings of the Sixth (1887) National 
Convention and two National Convention resolutions from the 
1970s, "The Energy Crisis" and "The Middle East Crisis." 

Socialist Labor Party 51 www.slp.org 



SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

The other new section — Join the SLP — features the article "Why 
YOU Should Join the SLP," the Party's Constitution, its Declara- 
tion of Fundamental Principles, Organizational Norms and Proce- 
dures, Intervention and Union Work: An SLP Handbook, To the 
Prospective Member of the Socialist Labor Party and the SLP 
Membership Application form. 

Seventy-four editorials by Daniel De Leon have been posted on 
the Web site, which includes the 10 contained in Workers, Wages 
and Wall Street and 10 in De Leon on Labor Parties. 

All told, the SLP Web site now features 10 distinct sections that 
include about 125 PDF and HTML versions of SLP documents, 18 
PDF issues of The People, links to several other Web sites, 33 SLP 
mailing addresses, telephone and fax numbers in three countries, 
13 e-mail addresses in the United States and connections to three 
SLP local Web sites maintained by Sections New York City, Port- 
land, Oregon, and the SLP Group of Houston, Texas. 

PDF versions of De Leon's As to Politics and Two Pages From 
Roman History will soon be added to the site, as will an updated 
version of the SLP pamphlet, Socialism: Questions Most Frequently 
Asked and Their Answers . De Leon's translation of Marx's Eight- 
eenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte is also in the works, and sev- 
eral more of De Leon's own works (such as Flashlights of the Am- 
sterdam Congress) are in preparation. 

Comrade Boettcher is working on a complete makeover of the 
site that will make it more attractive, easier to navigate and allow 
for some additional sections. 

4. De Leon Project 

Nine hundred ten articles, editorials and other works by Daniel 
De Leon were typed and electronically stored last year. Seven hun- 
dred sixty-seven of those were typed at the National Office and 143 
were typed professionally. An additional 361 items have been 
typed and stored since January 1 of this year. 

These additions bring the number of items typed and stored to 
8,073. What remains to be typed from the files of the Daily People 
are the months of May through December 1909, except two weeks 
from October that Comrade Donna Bills typed last year. 



On motion, this section of the National Secretary's report was 
referred to an appropriate committee when elected. 

Socialist Labor Party 52 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 
The National Secretary read the following section of his report: 

SLP and the Internet 

In my report to the NEC in Session last year, I raised certain 
questions about the SLP and the Internet. Among other things, I 
quoted the following from an e-mail I had written in response to 
one I had received from a national member-at-large: 

There are no e-mail guidelines for members-at-large or sections to 
follow where e-mail contacts, etc., are concerned. I am hoping that ex- 
perience will suggest what they ought to be, or in what ways they 
should expand on or differ from the existing guidelines for keeping the 
National Office informed and for intra-Party communications. My sug- 
gestion would be that you review those existing guidelines in your copy 
of Organizational Norms and Procedures and that you continue to for- 
ward to the National Office copies of everything you write or receive 
pertaining to the SLP. We may simply file those that seem routine or do 
not appear to warrant special comment — but the N.O. should be kept 
fully informed. Indeed, if the members who participate in this experi- 
ment don't think to keep the N.O. informed we'll never know if special 
guidelines are needed because the Party will never be able to benefit 
from the accumulated experiences, problems, etc., that we make or en- 
counter. 

I went on to remind the NEC that while some members of the 
committee had written to express their individual approval of that 
reply, and of a general letter asking for e-mail addresses for the 
Party's official Web site, no motion approving of either had been 
offered. "More important, perhaps, no member of the NEC has 
raised any question about or voiced any opinion on a number of 
organizational concerns that must eventually be addressed." 

For example: Two of the seven e-mail connections now active and us- 
able are for sections, and all three of those that will be added sometime 
soon are for sections. However, of the five section e-mail addresses 
linked or soon to be linked to the SLP Web site two belong to section or- 
ganizers and none that I know of belongs to a section. The other three 
belong to members of sections who are not the organizers. Yet, the 
Party's Constitution provides as follows: 

"The Organizer shall conduct the local organization and agitation, 
subject at all times to the decisions of the membership. The Organizer 
shall also conduct the correspondence with the NEC." (Article IV, Sec- 
tion 8 [a]) 

Does this pose a problem, and if it does, what can or should be done 
to deal with it? 

There are many other potential problems that could be cited. How- 

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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

ever, the electronic age waits for no one, and if the NEC cannot identify 
and make adequate provision for all, or even some of the more signifi- 
cant ones during these proceedings, it should either elect a special 
committee or adopt some other procedure to identify potential problem 
areas and make recommendations for their remedy. 

Therefore, I would recommend that this matter be referred to a 
committee of the NEC for preliminary consideration at the NEC Ses- 
sion, and that that committee should return with a recommendation for 
the NEC as a whole to consider and decide. 

I continued by suggesting that local Web sites posed another set 
of questions having "organizational and constitutional implica- 
tions" that needed answers: 

. . . For example: Should the Party regard local Web sites as local lit- 
erature in the same sense as local leaflets or platforms? Should the 
Party regard them as local publications in the same sense as a local 
newspaper? Or are they something so new and different that the 
Party's Constitution and Organizational Norms and Procedures fail to 
make adequate provision for them? 

The NEC in Session responded to these concerns by electing a 
special Committee on Internet Communications composed of three 
members, two of whom were members of the NEC. The National 
Office formally notified the committee of its election and of the re- 
sponsibilities the NEC had entrusted to it under date of April 24, 
as follows: 

Dear Comrades: 

This is to inform you of your election to a special committee of the 
National Executive Committee to be called Committee on Internet 
Communications. The committee will continue until the term of the 
present NEC expires with the 45th National Convention next year, or 
until the present NEC determines its work is complete and should be 
dissolved. 

According to the minutes of the NEC Session, held April 1-2, 2000, 
Comrade . . . was the first elected and, accordingly, will act as tempo- 
rary Chairman until the committee elects a permanent Chairman. The 
Chairman should promptly report his election and will be responsible 
for all communications with the National Office. The National Office 
will promptly forward all communications from the committee to the 
NEC. 

The NEC's directions to the Committee on Internet Communications 
are contained in the . . . report on "General Activities" adopted by the 
NEC " 

The text of the report with the NEC's instructions was inserted at 
this point. (It is also printed in the published proceedings of the NEC 

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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

Session.) In closing my letter to the special committee, I added: 

The committee should report its progress to the National Office at 
least once a month. If the committee has any questions about its re- 
sponsibilities, etc., it should bring them to the attention of the National 
Office. 

The e-mail addresses of all members of the Committee on Internet 
Communications are listed below. 

Fraternally yours, 

Robert Bills 

National Secretary 

No monthly reports were received from the special committee, 
and no recommendations from it have been submitted to the NEC 
or to the National Office for consideration by this convention. Ac- 
cordingly, none of the questions and potential problems that led 
the NEC to elect a special Committee on Internet Communications 
have been resolved; the sections and members are still left without 
any meaningful guidance from the national organization; and, in 
the meantime, new questions and problems have cropped up to add 
to the list. 

On January 23, for example, Comrade Carl Miller wrote the fol- 
lowing to the National Office: 

I have taken the initiative and started an e-mail discussion group us- 
ing a service called e-groups. What this amounts to is a group that posts 
e-mails to a special e-mail address and this message is in turn distrib- 
uted to everyone who subscribes to the list. The list was intended to 
garner interest in the SLP here in Houston. My thinking was if people 
were exposed to what we were about and learned about our principles 
and program they would be more likely to come to our discussion meet- 
ings and perhaps join. At this point we have ten subscribers to the list 
and I believe that at least half of them are here in Houston. I have had 
some difficulty in getting those who have subscribed to participate, post 
questions or matters for discussion but I feel that they will come around 
sooner or later. I would appreciate it if you would subscribe to the list 
also, to read over what has been posted and provide some guid- 
ance. ...Subscription is free and only takes a few minutes. One of the 
subscribers is Comrade John-Paul Catusco of Section New York City. 
He has been very helpful in posting items for discussion. I am not sure 
of what area of the SLP Constitution this would come under, or 
whether this was an advisable venture to begin with but I felt it could 
reap some good benefits. I would like your advice on this. If you find 
that this is not a good idea please let me know and I will make any 
changes necessary." 



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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

I replied to Comrade Miller under date of February 1, in part, as 
follows: 

I was aware of your e-mail discussion group initiative because you 
brought it to my attention somewhere along the line. Unfortunately, I 
have not been able to say anything about it to you or to the NEC. The 
explanation is that I have been dreadfully busy and that my time has 
been chopped up by some personal concerns on top of the usual mass of 
correspondence, office routine, editorial matters, etc. 



This area of activity is something that should be discussed at the 
National Convention to work out some basic guidelines. The guide- 
lines in force now are those that apply to regular correspondence 
and touch on other existing Party rules and regulations as, for in- 
stance, that discussion group moderators are supposed to be 
elected by sections or, where national members-at-large are con- 
cerned, approved by the NEC or the National Office. Those rules 
may or may not be specifically adaptable to the new technology, 
but the SLP will never work it out unless members having the 
right combination of organizational sense and technical knowledge 
get involved in developing reasonable guidelines to prevent chaos. 
Hopefully eligible members-at-large having an active interest in 
this sphere of activity — members such as yourself — will make 
themselves available for nomination and election as delegates to 
the convention. 

Under date of March 6, 1 wrote the NEC a letter on several mat- 
ters. The relevant passage from that letter is as follows: 

Second: Last July, Comrade Carl Miller of Houston, Texas, initiated 
an online SLP chat room or discussion group. He has informed those 
who participate that this activity has no official sanction, which was as 
correct as it was wise. Recently he informed me that two former SLP 
members. ..began to participate. (A third former member. ..also partici- 
pates.) Comrade Miller has expressed concern and asked the National 
Office for guidance. Unfortunately, I have not been able to provide him 
with any. However, I think it is important that NEC members "look in" 
on this group and acquaint themselves with the discussions and how 
they are conducted. . . . However, I would discourage any NEC member 
from participating until the NEC or the National Convention makes a 
decision concerning SLP involvement with such things and how they 
are to be conducted. 

No member of the NEC or its special committee has looked in on 
Comrade Miller's "chat room" that I know of. No member of the 

Socialist Labor Party 56 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

NEC or its special committee has written to the National Office to 
offer any observations, comments or motions for the NEC to con- 
sider or to refer to the National Convention. 



On motion, this section of the National Secretary's report was 
referred to an appropriate committee when elected. 

The National Secretary read the following section of his report: 

Internal Matters 

Turner Affair 
Acting on instructions by the National Executive Committee, the 
National Office sent the following letter to Charles Turner of Seat- 
tle, Washington, under date of April 21, 2000. The letter was sent 
by certified mail and read as follows: 

Dear Comrade Turner: 

This is to inform you of the following motion, which the NEC adopted 
while in session on Sunday, April 2: 

"That Comrade Turner is instructed to inform the NEC whether or 
not he is the author of the article 'Rule of Capital' that appeared in the 
New Unionist's January issue; such response to be received within two 
weeks of the date of the letter conveying this instruction." 

Accordingly, your reply to this inquiry should be mailed in time to 
reach the National Office no later than Friday, May 5, 2000. 
By instruction of the NEC, 

Fraternally yours, 
Robert Bills 
National Secretary 

The designated time having elapsed, the National Office sent 
the following letter to the NEC under date of May 5: 

Dear Comrades: 

This is to inform you that Comrade Charles Turner of Seattle, Wash- 
ington, did not reply to the letter of April 21 by May 5. 

This will also inform you that the return receipt from the certified 
letter mailed to Comrade Turner on April 21 was received on May 2. 
The return receipt was postmarked at Seattle on April 25 and was 
signed by Comrade Turner. In other words, Comrade Turner signed for 
the letter of April 21 on April 25, or 10 days before the May 5 deadline. 

Fraternally yours, 

Robert Bills 

National Secretary 

Under date of May 13, the National Office received the following 
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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 
letter from NEC Member Bruce Cozzini: 

Dear Comrade Bills: 

In the National Secretary's letter of April 21, Comrade Charles 
Turner was provided with the NEC's instruction to inform the NEC 
with regard to authorship of New Unionist articles. As noted in your 
letter of April 5 to the NEC, he signed for the certified mail, yet chose 
not to reply to the NEC's by the deadline specified in the NEC's ruling. 

Accordingly, in accordance with Article V, Section 14, of the Party's 
Constitution, I move that Charles Turner, having refused to abide by 
the NEC ruling as stated in the April 21 letter, be expelled from the So- 
cialist Labor Party. 

Fraternally, 
Bruce Cozzini 

Thereupon, a ballot was prepared and submitted to the NEC for 
action. All seven NEC members returned their ballots by June 15, 
when the following was written to the committee: 

Dear Comrades: 

This is to inform you that all ballots have been received regarding 
the motion to expel Charles Turner from membership. All seven mem- 
bers voted in favor of the proposition. Accordingly, Charles Turner has 
been expelled. An appropriate notice will be sent to the sections and 
members as soon as time permits. Charles Turner is being informed to- 
day. 

The following comments were offered: 

M. Mahoney: "Any member who proves incapable or unwilling to 
maintain their membership by acting within the rules and regulations 
of the SLP warrants expulsion." 

D. Secor: "Charles Turner was well aware of the fact that his failure 
to respond could result in his immediate expulsion from the SLP. He 
obviously doesn't care and he is totally indifferent about the harm he 
has done to the organization for the last few years." 

Fraternally yours, 
Robert Bills 
National Secretary 

As provided by the Party's Constitution, notice of this action by 
the NEC was sent to the sections and members of the SLP. That 
notice was incorporated with the general letter of June 26, 2000, as 
follows: 

EXPULSION NOTICE 

This will also serve to inform you that the National Executive Com- 
mittee, in accordance with the organizational and executive responsi- 
bilities imposed upon it by the Party's Constitution, and acting under 

Socialist Labor Party 58 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

the authority vested in it by that Constitution, has expelled Charles W. 
Turner of Seattle, Wash., from membership in the Socialist Labor Party 
for his deliberate and willful refusal to comply with explicit and binding 
instructions of the NEC as conveyed to him under date of April 21, 
2000. 



On motion, this section of the National Secretary's report was 
referred to an appropriate committee when elected. A motion was 
passed to rescind the previous action and consider a new motion. 
On motion, the report on "Internal Matters" was accepted as read. 

The National Secretary read the following section of his report: 

NEC and National Officers 

The Constitution of the Socialist Labor Party provides that the 
National Convention shall elect a National Executive Committee 
composed of seven members for a term of two years. The term of 
office begins and ends with the National Convention, but the 
names of each of those the convention elects must be approved by a 
general vote of the whole membership of the Party. 

The National Executive Committee elected by the 44th National 
Convention is composed of the following seven members: Donna 
Bills (Section San Francisco Bay Area), Bernard Bortnick (national 
member-at-Large, Texas), Christian Camacho (national member- 
at-large, Florida), Bruce Cozzini (Section San Francisco Bay Area), 
Luis Figueroa (Section Philadelphia), Michael R. Mahoney (Section 
Milwaukee) and Diane Secor (Section San Francisco Bay Area). 

In anticipation of this convention, the National Office canvassed 
the sections and national members-at large for the names of mem- 
bers eligible, qualified and willing to serve on the NEC during the 
2001-2003 term of office if elected by the convention and confirmed 
by the referendum. The names returned in response to the canvass 
are: 

Kenneth Boettcher (Section San Francisco Bay Area) 

Richard S. Cassin (national member-at-large, New Hampshire) 

Bruce Cozzini (Section San Francisco Bay Area) 

Michael R. Mahoney (Section Milwaukee) 

Diane Secor (Section San Francisco Bay Area) 

Richard Wilson (national member-at-large, California) 

These six names should be referred to a committee of this con- 
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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

vention for consideration. Guidance on how that committee should 
proceed will be found in the "NEC and National Officers" section of 
my report to the 44th National Convention. 

Besides electing an NEC of seven members, the National Con- 
vention is to elect the three national officers for which the Party's 
Constitution provides. The offices for which provision is made are 
National Secretary, Financial Secretary and National Editor. Two 
of those offices are vacant, and the term of the member who cur- 
rently occupies the office of National Secretary expires with this 
convention. As with the NEC, the members this convention elects 
to fill these offices must be submitted to the referendum for ap- 
proval. 

These matters should also be referred to a committee of the con- 
vention. Guidance on how that committee should proceed will also 
be found in the "NEC and National Officers" section of my report to 
the 44th National Convention. 



On motion, this section of the National Secretary's report was 
referred to an appropriate committee when elected. 

The National Secretary read the following section of his report: 

International 

Under date of May 20, the following was e-mailed to Sergiy 
Skubenko of Kiev, Ukraine: 

Dear Comrade Skubenko: 

It is customary for the SLP of America to invite its sister organiza- 
tions in Australia and Canada to submit reports on their activities for 
the year for presentation to the National Convention. 

Because of the extreme pressures under which the small headquar- 
ters staff has been forced to work this year, I am just now turning my 
attention to putting together my own report for the 45th National Con- 
vention, which will convene on Friday, June 1. 

I recognize that this is very short notice, but if you can spare the 
time I would like to invite you to send a report on Ukrainian SLP ac- 
tivities for the year. I know the membership of the SLP in America, 
Australia and Canada would be pleased and encouraged if you could 
manage it. If not, I will do my best to put something together from the 
correspondence we have had over the months. 

In hopes of hearing from you, I remain, 

Fraternally yours, 
Robert Bills 
National Secretary 



Socialist Labor Party 60 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 



Similar letters were sent to Comrade Brian Blanchard of Aus- 
tralia and Comrade Douglas Irving, National Secretary of the SLP 
of Canada, a few days before. 

Australia 
Comrade Blanchard faxed the following response under date of 
May 28: 

Dear Comrade Bills: 

I received your letter this afternoon, Monday, May 28, 2001. I am 
sorry that you could not get through to me by fax, but I am afraid it 
doesn't work on automatic. I have to be there to put it on manual and 
press the start button, only then does it take incoming calls. Also on 
weekends we go out a lot so I can't have been there when you called. 
Sorry about that. I was given this old fax machine which I hardly ever 
use, so that is why I haven't had it fixed, apart from the fact that I don't 
have the money to spare. 

You ask me for a report of my activities for last year. I am happy to 
try and oblige but there are two problems. Firstly, I just haven't got 
much to report, certainly nothing very positive and, secondly, I have the 
same problems trying to write a report as I do trying to write an article. 

As for the fax number, and as it is so difficult, maybe it is better to 
leave it off the list in The People and the online directory. 

Getting back to a report, the only things I have done are trying to 
write a few articles for The People and phoning the national radio sta- 
tion whenever I can to have some input in their programs. This doesn't 
amount to much activity at all, but as I am on my own here in this very 
small place it's about all I can do. 

One contact I spent a lot of time on, giving him lots of SLP books to 
read, is Bill Bartlett. He still gets The People and was impressed by De 
Leon but he told me that he joined the IWW and I think he spends time 
arguing with them, on the Internet about direct action, etc. He takes De 
Leon's side but always had a hankering for the IWW and anarchy, 
strange mixture. 

Wherever I go I make an effort to talk to people, in a humorous way, 
using the class struggle and taking a working-class slant. For example, 
at the supermarket or hardware shop if I have a heavy bag I say, "Gee 
it's as heavy as a politician's pay packet or it's like the amount of money 
I make for the boss each week." I always get a laugh of agreement and I 
try to spend a moment or two running down the system before I go and 
most people agree with what I say. 

On Thursday this week the ABC [Australian Broadcasting Com- 
pany] national radio crew will be in Launceston to do a talk back on GE 
[genetically engineered] food. I will go there and I am sure I will get a 
chance to have a say, during the afternoon and probably also at 6 p.m. 
when the program goes to air. The meeting starts at 12 noon and fin- 

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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

ishes at 7 p.m. so I should have plenty of time to bring in a socialist an- 
gle on the matter. 

The ABC is a big state-owned public broadcasting concern being in- 
volved in both national and local radio, as well as television, music, the 
Internet and the arts. The new CEO, one Jonathan Shier, has been in 
charge for 14 months and is a political puppet of the present Howard 
government who has been busy sacking hundreds of workers, dumbing 
down the broadcasts and generally trying to get staff to support the 
government line. 

A few weeks ago Shier was in Launceston with 150 of his managers 
for a three-day meeting at a posh hotel here. A group called the Friends 
of the ABC organized to meet and oppose his sackings, etc. Although 
not a paid-up member of the Friends of the ABC, they made me their 
spokesman for the period of his visit. As a result, I was on local radio 
three times in three days, and had my photo on the front page of the lo- 
cal paper one day and on page four the next day. Although I wasn't able 
to talk about socialism, I was able to make points about free speech and 
noninterference in the news by either political party. I carried a sign 
saying "Keep our ABC and fire Shier." He got so upset with this that he 
refused to see me, even though I was to lead a four-person delegation to 
speak to him. I had no interest in meeting him; my only aim was to 
make what propaganda I could out of his visit. 

Canada 
Comrade Irving also faxed a reply under date of May 28, as fol- 
lows: 

Dear Comrade Bills: 

Thank you for your letter of May 19th, 2001, which I have just re- 
ceived this day, May 28th, 2001. I have been out of town since May 
17th, and therefore was not aware of your letter. Please accept my 
apologies for the delay in answering same. 

The membership in the Canadian Party is reduced to six members, 
all reductions have been through death due in large part to age. There 
are only two members active in distributing literature and The People. I 
myself receive five copies of The People and distribute four of those cop- 
ies to contacts. 

I maintain the National Office as our headquarters and look after 
the financial affairs of the Party. The Party's finances are still in rea- 
sonable shape, though donations are few and far between! 

The social climate is still not conducive to promoting a true socialist 
system!! 

On behalf of the members of the Socialist Labor Party of Canada, 
may I wish you a successful 45th National Convention. 

Fraternally yours, 
Doug Irving 
National Secretary 



Socialist Labor Party 62 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 



Ukraine 

Regrettably, Comrade Skubenko did not answer my e-mail, and 
unfortunately I did not have time to review the files to "put to- 
gether" anything that would be of value to the convention or of in- 
terest to the membership. 

Incidentally, however, I am not surprised that Comrade 
Skubenko did not reply. Apart from the short notice I was able to 
give him, his work requires frequent trips to distant parts the 
country, often for a week or two at a time. 1 



On motion, this report was accepted as read and filed. 
On motion, the convention adjourned until 3 p.m. 



AFTERNOON SESSION, FRIDAY, JUNE 1, 2001 

The convention was called to order at 3:05 p.m. 

On roll call, all present. 

The Sergeant at Arms reported two visitors present. 

Introduction of Resolutions 

B. Bortnick presented the following: 

2A: Draft Resolution on the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict 

I. Background 

The current armed conflict that erupted between Israelis and 
Palestinians after the collapse of the Peace Conference at the Wye 
Estate, which was hosted by President Clinton and attended by 
Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Barak, and the Palestinian Author- 
ity chairman, Yasir Arafat, portends the unraveling of an imperial- 
ist structure that despite its ups and downs has survived intact for 
the better part of a century. 

The extraction of oil from the Middle East is, and remains, the 
primary concern of U.S. and Western imperialism. The various po- 
litical arrangements that have emerged with governments 
throughout the Middle East over many decades have been crafted 
to support that objective. The material and military support Israel 

See page 60. 
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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

receives from the U.S. is a legacy of the effort to counter past So- 
viet imperialist objectives, using the single most stable capitalist 
state in the region. The Gulf War, its aftermath, and the embargo 
and military actions against Iraq, the instability aggravated by the 
emergence of Osama bin Laden, the Iranian/Syrian support of 
Hezzbolah, the maintenance of a fleet in the Persian Gulf, air 
bases in Turkey and Saudi Arabia all attest to the commitment to 
maintain and secure the material objectives of world capitalism. 

American foreign policy has sought to sort out "The Good, The 
Bad, and The Ugly" or those governments that will conform to 
capitalism's prime material objectives, those who do so reluctantly 
and with reservations, and those who won't. With few exceptions, 
all states in the Middle East are authoritarian regimes or thinly 
disguised dictatorships resting upon military force. 

Whether authoritarian or bourgeois democracies, unrest among 
the millions of impoverished working-class oppressed has been 
largely channeled into nationalistic illusions and religious fanati- 
cism. In none of those states has an expression of true working- 
class objectives emerged. 

This is true among the Israeli working class where an incessant 
barrage of deceptive propaganda promotes irredentist visions of a 
biblical Israel rooted in the ancient past in order to justify settle- 
ment expansion into so-called Judea and Samaria. Indeed, the con- 
cept of nationhood and national boundaries did not exist 2000 
years ago in the era of city-states. This fact has proved no impedi- 
ment to continued encroachment on Palestinian lands in Jerusa- 
lem, the West Bank and Gaza with the destruction of homes and a 
refusal to confront the ethnic cleansings of the past, nor recogni- 
tion of the right of return of Palestinian refugees to Israel or 
equivalent restitution. Successive Israeli governments, in confor- 
mance to a long-established military plan to divide up the West 
Bank and Gaza into 64 military districts, have chosen to establish 
"facts on the ground" while waving the olive branch. 

Palestinian resistance has alternated between protests and 
seething anger gradually becoming more intense in the face of Is- 
raeli intransigence and cavalier military actions, the much- 
heralded ploy of "concessions" made by Ehud Barak at Wye not- 
withstanding. In response Israel has chosen state terrorism, 
whether instigated by the Likud, Labor or coalitions of the other 
fractious parties. With few exceptions all are arrayed against a 
subjugated population, indiscriminately turning its superior in- 

Socialist Labor Party 64 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

struments of war under thin hypocritical pretexts of protecting Is- 
rael against violence. In fact, the current bloody incursions and 
indiscriminate shootings of Palestinian men, women and children 
undermined the very premise of the state of Israel as "a haven for 
the Jews," considering the death of many Israelis through the 
years, and have already inflicted enormous damage to the tenuous 
peace process. 

Within this seething ferment stepped that ancient relic Ariel 
Sharon, resurrected from disgrace, posturing as the "conquering 
hero" who through his provocations officially launched the "inti- 
fada" with the acquiescence of Laborite Barak. This former Israeli 
general, whose career has been marked by periodic excesses dating 
back to the 1950s, was removed as defense minister after investi- 
gations of the Shatila and Sabra refugee massacres by Christian 
Falangists allied with Israel during the war with Lebanon. 

As daily reports of reciprocal attacks and reprisals roll in, con- 
cern within the Bush administration has taken the form of warn- 
ings to both sides and admonitions that "violence must stop," a 
demand that the Israeli government tirelessly drums. As one ob- 
server noted, had this been the criterion for peace in Vietnam, that 
war would still be ongoing. Additionally, presidential invitations to 
White House conferences and dispatching Secretary of State Colin 
Powell to test the waters within Arab capitals among "The Good," 
underscored U.S. capitalism's concern. The Bush administration's 
ambivalence over inviting Arafat illuminates the problem. 

This has placed the U.S. in a difficult situation — they are appre- 
hensive that the entire Middle East may come unglued if Chair- 
man Arafat is not invited, while worrying that his media-cast role 
as official whipping boy for starting the violence will lead to pro- 
tests in the U.S. That effect might further inflame Arab national- 
ism, possibly bringing down or changing policies of the so-called 
"moderate Arab countries," and increase support for Saddam 
Hussein, further driving a wedge in the support that the moderates 
have thus far reluctantly given. 

As The Other Israel (newsletter of the Israeli Council for Israeli- 
Palestinian Peace) noted, "The Bush administration's declared pri- 
ority in the region is to reestablish the anti-Saddam coalition. 
While not having any special liking for Arafat, Bush and his advis- 
ers are well-aware that continued Israeli brutality towards the 
Palestinians could play into the hands of Saddam Hussein by rous- 
ing the support of Arab masses and threatening the stability of the 

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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

fragile pro-Western regimes." (p. 3, March 2001) 

In the final analysis, this is the threat that haunts capitalist in- 
terests and their political agents. Popular uprisings against op- 
pressive Arab regimes, whether in the guise of religious or nation- 
alist garb, threaten oil profits. 

II. Resolutions 

Whereas the political subjugation of a population expressing as- 
pirations and a desire to establish their national identity is inimi- 
cal and an impediment to international working-class unity, the 
Socialist Labor Party of America condemns the continued occupa- 
tion of the West Bank and Gaza by Israel and the brutal military 
force used to insure its continued dominion over those areas; and 

Whereas the Israeli and Palestinian working classes face mutual 
oppression under the capitalist system, whether Palestinian or Is- 
raeli, the Socialist Labor Party of America calls upon them to es- 
tablish mutual connections to oppose their common class enemy; 
and 

Whereas the Socialist Labor Party of America's policy statement 
of May 1978 remains a valid analysis, we affirm support of that 
original statement. 

Fraternally submitted 
BERNARD BORTNICK 
Delegate, Nat'l Member-at-Large 

On motion, the resolution was referred to an appropriate com- 
mittee when elected. 

J.P. Catusco presented the following resolutions: 

2B: Resolution on Overturning the 1920 Anti-IWW Ruling 

1) Whereas since 1976 the SLP has not only removed the ruling 
forbidding its members to join procapitalist trade unions but has 
also encouraged its members to be as active as possible within 
those same procapitalist trade unions; and 

2) Whereas there is only one economic organization in the 
United States which has declared itself to be anticapitalist; and 

3) Whereas that same organization is democratically structured, 
industrially organized and worker run in ways in which none of the 
procapitalist AFL-CIO unions are; and 

4) Whereas that same organization is the only one existing in 
the United States today which comes close in any way to represent- 
ing the SLP's concept of Socialist Industrial Unionism; and 

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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

5) Whereas the SLP contributed a substantial amount of its 
physical, financial and intellectual resources towards the founding 
of that organization in 1905 and its development through 1908. 

Be it resolved, That this convention overturn the 1920 ruling 
which forbids members of the SLP from also being members of the 
Industrial Workers of the World; or if it is not in the power of this 
convention to do so that the matter be submitted to a general vote 
of the membership. 

Fraternally submitted, 
JOHN -PAUL CATUSCO 
Delegate, Section New York City 

On motion, the resolution was referred to an appropriate com- 
mittee when elected. 

2C: Resolution for a New Booklet Entitled "Why I Joined 

the SLP" 

1) Whereas the recruitment of new members is of primary im- 
portance towards increasing the influence and effect of the SLP; 
and 

2) Whereas the current literature published by the SLP relating 
to membership recruitment deals with that issue in a well-stated 
but more business-like and less personal nature; and 

3) Whereas the most powerful asset which the SLP possesses are 
the diverse group of workers who fill its ranks. 

Be it resolved, That the SLP shall publish a booklet consisting of 
a series of short personal essays from the membership entitled 
"Why I Joined the SLP." 

Fraternally submitted, 
JOHN -PAUL CATUSCO 
Delegate, Section New York City 

On motion, the resolution was referred to an appropriate com- 
mittee when elected. 

2D: Resolution on Language Use in The People 

1) Whereas the SLP being made up entirely of working people, 
the majority of whom may have at one or more times in their lives 
been involuntarily unemployed or destitute; and 

2) Whereas the main group of people who we are trying to reach 
through our agitation are also working people who may have simi- 

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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

lar personal histories of unemployment; and 

3) Whereas as far as Marxists should be concerned there is only 
one proletariat, which although it may be divided ideologically is 
united both socially and economically as the working class; and 

4) Whereas it is not the purpose of the SLP to divide the working 
class any further on the false lines on which the capitalist class 
already divides it. 

Be it resolved, That the phrase "slum proletariat" and any varia- 
tion such as "slum proletarian" are to be consigned by the SLP to 
the lexical dustbin of history, and that such terms are not to ap- 
pear in The People as a current description of any organization 
made up of our fellow workers with whom the SLP may theoreti- 
cally disagree with. 

Fraternally submitted, 
JOHN -PAUL CATUSCO 
Delegate, Section New York City 

A motion to refer the resolution to an appropriate committee 
when elected was lost. 

C. Miller presented the following: 

2E: Resolution for Purchasing Air Time on WBCQ, a Short- 
wave Broadcast Station Located in Monticello, Maine 

1) Whereas the spreading of the program and principles of the 
SLP to the widest possible audience is of utmost importance; and 

2) Whereas there are many who do not have access to the Inter- 
net or an outlet for The People but may own or have access to a 
shortwave receiver; and 

3) Whereas reaching an international audience who may have 
never been exposed to the SLP or it's program would be of great 
benefit to the advancement of Marxism-De Leonism around the 
world. 

Be it resolved, That the SLP should purchase air time on WBCQ 
and produce a radio program of at least a half-hour on a weekly 
basis in order to spread the principles and program of the SLP to 
the largest possible audience both via radio and the Internet since 
WBCQ also broadcasts using that medium. Since WBCQ operates 
on shortwave frequencies the coverage area extends over large por- 
tions of the earth, including all of the U.S., Eastern Canada, the 
Caribbean, Central and South America and parts of Europe. This 



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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

would, of course, depend on propagation conditions and time of 

year. 

Fraternally submitted 

CAEL C. MILLER JR. 

Delegate, Nat'l Member-at-Large 

On motion, the resolution was referred to an appropriate com- 
mittee when elected. 

On motion, the convention adjourned until 6 p.m. 



EVENING SESSION, FRIDAY, JUNE 1, 2001 

The convention was called to order at 6:08 p.m. 

On roll call, all present. 

The Sergeant at Arms reported three visitors present. 

Discussion of Sections of the National Secretary's Report 

Discussion on the section "National Headquarters" began at 6:09 
p.m. and ended at 6:25 p.m. 

Discussion on the section "Party Finances" began at 6:25 p.m. 
and ended at 6:40 p.m. 

A five-minute recess was declared. Reconvened at 6:45 p.m. 

Discussion on the section "Editorial Matters" began at 6:45 p.m. 
and ended at 7:25 p.m. 

Discussion on the section "State of Organization" began at 7:25 
p.m. and ended at 7:28 p.m. 

Discussion on the section "General Activities" began at 7:28 p.m. 
and ended at 7:48 p.m. 

On motion, the convention recessed for 10 minutes at 7:50 p.m. 
Reconvened at 8 p.m. 

Discussion on the section "Party Press and Literature" began at 
8 p.m. and ended at 8:17 p.m. Discussion on the section "The SLP 
and the Internet" began at 8:17 p.m. and ended at 8:37 p.m. 

Discussion on the section "NEC and National Officers" began at 
8:37 p.m. and ended at 8:40 p.m. 

On motion, the convention adjourned until 9 a.m., Saturday, 
June 2. 



MORNING SESSION, SATURDAY, JUNE 2, 2001 

The convention was called to order at 9:05 a.m. 

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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

On roll call, all present. 

On motion, the minutes of Friday's sessions were approved as 
read. 

The Sergeant at Arms reported two visitors present. 

Determination of Committees 

A motion was passed to constitute two committees as follows: 
Committee on Organization and Committee on Headquarters and 
Finance. On motion, the convention went into informal considera- 
tion. A substitute motion was adopted to constitute three commit- 
tees as follows: Committee on Organization, Committee on Head- 
quarters and Finance, and Committee on Resolutions. 

Referring Matters to Committee 

At 9:25 a.m., a motion was passed to recess for five minutes. Re- 
convened at 9:40 a.m. 

On motion, the following sections of the National Secretary's re- 
port were referred to the Committee on Organization: "SLP and the 
Internet," "Party Press and Literature," "General Activities" and 
"State of Organization." 

On motion, the following sections of the National Secretary's re- 
port were referred to the Committee on Headquarters and Finance: 
"Editorial Matters," "NEC and National Officers," "Party Finances" 
and "National Headquarters." 

On motion, all resolutions were referred to the Committee on 
Resolutions. 

Election of Committees 

On motion, the Committee on Organization is to consist of four. 

A motion was made and seconded that the Committee on Head- 
quarters and Finance consist of four. An amendment that the 
committee consist of three was adopted. The motion as amended 
was passed. 

On motion, the Committee on Resolutions is to consist of three. 

At 9:50 a.m., a motion was passed to recess for five minutes. Re- 
convened at 9:55 a.m. 

Committee on Organization: C. Camacho, C. Miller, J. Blessing- 
ton and R. Cassin were nominated. On motion, these four were 
elected to constitute the committee. 

Committee on Headquarters and Finance: B. Bortnick, J. 
Groelke and R. Burns were nominated. There being no further 

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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

nominations, the Chair declared nominations closed. A motion was 
passed to reopen nominations. A hand count of the previous vote 
was requested. A subsequent hand count showed one in favor, 
eight against reopening nominations. 

The Chair proceeded to call for a hand vote to elect the Commit- 
tee on Headquarters and Finance with the following results: J. 
Groelke-8, B. Bortnick-9, R. Burns-9. The Chair declared J. 
Groelke, B. Bortnick and R. Burns elected. 

Committee on Resolutions: J. P. Catusco, S. Raper and K. 
Boettcher were nominated. There being no objections, the Chair 
declared these three to constitute the committee. 

At 10:20 a.m., a motion was passed to recess for one hour. Re- 
convened at 11:30 a.m. 

Reports of Committees 

Committee on Organization: C. Camacho reported the commit- 
tee has gotten a sense of the work before it and suggested the con- 
vention reconvene later in the day. 

Committee on Headquarters and Finance: B. Bortnick reported 
the committee requires six to seven hours to develop reports and 
stated it would serve no purpose to reconvene again today. 

Committee on Resolutions: K. Boettcher reported the committee 
requires four to six hours to develop a report and would not benefit 
from reconvening again today. 

At 11:35 a.m., a motion was passed to adjourn until 9 a.m., Sun- 
day, June 3. 



MORNING SESSION, SUNDAY, JUNE 3, 2001 

The convention was called to order at 9:06 a.m. 
On roll call, all present. 

The Sergeant at Arms reported three visitors present. 
On motion, the minutes of Saturday's session were approved as 
read. 

Reports of Committees 

Committee on Organization: C. Camacho reported progress. 

Committee on Headquarters and Finance 
B. Bortnick presented the following report: 



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Report on Party Finances 

We have read and reread the National Secretary's report, lis- 
tened and taken note of the commentary made on the convention 
floor, and further discussed the sobering prospects brought to our 
attention. 

There is little point in reiterating these facts other than to say 
we concur in the National Secretary's comments. 

Among other debilitating factors, the Party's basis is rapidly 
shifting from a Party of sections to one of members-at-large, which 
in turn has had direct ramifications on the Party's methods of fi- 
nancial support. Whereas in the past we depended heavily upon 
section and subdivision fundraisers to offset deficits, we are more 
and more depending upon individual contributions from isolated 
members while still encouraging continued section fundraising ef- 
forts and, indeed, increasing section members. 

The SLP Sustainer Fund, the target of fundraising efforts of this 
convention, has become an effective focus of fundraising activities. 
We therefore support the call for members to become regular con- 
tributors if they have not already done so. For those who are al- 
ready contributing, we urge consideration be given to increasing 
those amounts. 

We also concur in the National Secretary's intent to prepare a 
mailer to members and sympathizers embodying the various meth- 
ods of obtaining increased financial support to the Party relative to 
the 45th National Convention Banquet. 

Finally we take this occasion to thank members and sympathiz- 
ers for the generous contributions they have made and again to 
those who have made exceptional contributions. 
Fraternally submitted, 
BERNARD BORTNICK, Chair 
ROBERT BURNS, JOE GROELKE 
Committee on Headquarters and Finance 

On motion, the report was adopted. 

Committee on Resolutions: K. Boettcher reported progress. 

New Business 

The National Secretary reported that two resolutions from a na- 
tional member-at-large were received by the National Office. The 
Chair read the resolutions as follows: 

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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 



Resolution 3-A 

Issue a membership list by state and country. Only those mem- 
bers and sympathizers that give their permission would be listed. 

Fraternally submitted, 
JOSEPH J. FRANK 
National Member-at-Large 

On motion, the resolution was referred to the Committee on 
Resolutions. 

Resolution 3-B 

Give seminars in high schools and colleges with their permis- 
sion. Discuss the world's problems and the SLP solution. 

Fraternally submitted, 
JOSEPH J. FRANK 
National Member-at-Large 

On motion, the resolution was referred to the Committee on 
Resolutions. 

The National Secretary reported an e-mail dated June 1 had 
been received from S. Skubenko of the SLP of Ukraine. 

A motion to hear the report was passed. 

The National Secretary proceeded to read the following: 

Dear Comrade Bills, 

Sorry for delay with report which is connected with the fact that our 
access to Internet still is temporary. We hope that the report is not too 
late. Of course, SLPU will be proud if you'll add the information about 
us on your Web site as you wrote to us and inform about our e-mail and 
mailing addresses. Please feel free to do it in the way you consider as 
optimal. Below is the attempt of report for 2001. 

During 2001 we continue our job to propaganda of Marxism-De 
Leonism ideas to the workers and students. We distributed five differ- 
ent forms of leaflets: 

•Leaflet with the scheme of work of Socialist Industrial Unionism, 
which was taken from The People (75 copies were made in February 
2001); 

•Leaflet for Kiev enterprise Leninskaya Kuznya with calling to cre- 
ate mass independent De Leonist trade union (45 copies were made in 
February 2001); 

•Leaflet with explanation of our positions concerning fighting of two 
bourgeois clans in Ukraine (80 copies were made in March 2001); 

•Leaflet based on the De Leon's speech "What the Strike Means?" 

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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

basing on materials you sent us on Ukrainian languages (25 copies 
were made in April 2001); 

•May Day leaflet (50 copies were made in April 2001). 

We conducted our Marxist-De Leonist propaganda by organizing 
picketlines with our banners and distributing the leaflets on the follow- 
ing Kiev enterprises: Leninskaya Kuznya, Slavutich, Tochmashpribor, 
Tyre Plant (Bila Tserkva, Kiev region), Aviant, Electronmach, Cher- 
vona Zirka, Rosinka. 

We are also working with the students of Shevchenko University, 
Polytechnic University, Civil Aviation University and Agrarian Univer- 
sity. 

As a result we organized permanent seminars for researching of 
heritage of Daniel De Leon for our contacts amongst workers and stu- 
dents, with the help of which we already recruited new members of our 
Party and have a lot very perspective contacts. 

It's necessary to note that we sometimes should repel the provoca- 
tions of Bogdan Nikolenko's organization — so-called New Union Party 
of Ukraine (NUPU). For example, when it becomes known that we are 
organizing the picket line in the checkpoint of Rosinka enterprise, Nik- 
olenko and his abettor came with their provocative banners "For real 
Marxism-De Leonism" and "Down with bureaucrats from SLPU." It 
made our job harder, because workers could think that De Leonist 
movement is splitted, even despite the fact that we had nine comrades 
against two NUPU members. We should to banish the provocateurs 
from the checkpoint. But provocations continue, including those in In- 
ternet. 

We created the filing of The People, which is keeping at my flat and 
each our member or contact may take and read it in any time as well as 
another materials on Russian, Ukrainian and English languages. 

We regularly took part in the actions, which took place as fighting 
between bourgeois clans with our De Leonist propaganda, where we ex- 
plained that workers have no side in this struggle and only Marxism-De 
Leonism is the solution. 

At the moment we have 11 members of SLPU and a lot of supporters 
and contacts amongst workers and students. We organized regular 
monthly payment to the Party pledge, as it was adopted in the statute. 
At the moment our pledge includes 24 USD (the low figure is explained 
by extremely low income of majority SLPU members, especially stu- 
dents and unemployed). This figure, however, is enough for relatively 
small number of copies of leaflet, but on the permanent base. It's very 
important that we have access to computer and Internet at my work- 
place, secretly from the boss. It's the best option we may have at the 
moment. 

Sorry again for late reply. I'm looking forward to hear from you. 

Fraternally yours, 
Sergiy Skubenko 
National Secretary 



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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

On motion, the report was referred to the Committee on 
Organization. 

On motion, the convention adjourned until 2 p.m. 



AFTERNOON SESSION, SUNDAY, JUNE 3, 2001 

The convention was called to order at 2:17 p.m. 

On roll call, all present. 

The Sergeant at Arms reported four visitors present. 

Reports of Committees 

Committee on Organization 
C. Camacho presented the following reports: 

Report on State of Organization 

This committee has reviewed that section of the National Secre- 
tary's report dealing with "State of Organization." That report in- 
dicates a decrease in the membership, a decrease in sections and 
an increase in the number of members-at-large in comparison with 
section members. 

This committee recognizes and affirms that the section is the 
preferred unit or subdivision of the Party, that individual members 
of the Party are obliged to strive to form sections in the firm un- 
derstanding that the section is the best vehicle from which to con- 
duct the Party's agitation and education. 

To this end, and in keeping with Article III, Section 5 of the 
Constitution, this committee makes the following recommendation: 

Wherever possible, members living in a particular locality where 
no section exists or in a state in which there is a section but where 
that section is too far, should establish a network of communica- 
tion for the purpose of initiating and/or coordinating SLP activity 
with the objective of creating a section. As specified in Article III, 
Section 5 of the Constitution of the Socialist Labor Party, two or 
more members living in a locality "shall... constitute themselves a 
committee to work under the direction of the subdivision — Section 
or NEC — having jurisdiction over them." The members of that 
committee should use whatever means of communication is avail- 
able to them but should vigorously explore the possibility of obtain- 
ing and using e-mail, Internet chat, teleconferencing or any combi- 



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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

nation of those mediums to create this networked committee be- 
cause they are the latest, fastest and most efficient means pres- 
ently available for collective communications. 

By way of additional information provided to this committee it is 
noted that at least one section underreported the number of busi- 
ness meetings it held. This is unfortunate as it prevents the Na- 
tional Office from submitting a thorough report and this conven- 
tion from accurately assessing the strengths and weakness of the 
Party's sections. Therefore, this committee urges the membership 
to be more diligent in submitting their reports to the National Of- 
fice on a regular basis. 

Fraternally submitted, 

CHRIS CAMACHO, Chair 

JACK BLESSINGTON, RICHARD CASSIN 

CARL C.MILLER JR. 

A motion to adopt the report was not concurred in. A motion to 
rescind the preceding motion was adopted. On motion, the report 
was referred back to committee. 

Report on General Activities 

After carefully examining that section of the National Secre- 
tary's report dealing with "General Activities," this committee reaf- 
firms that members should continue to give The People the widest 
possible circulation and should take advantage of every opportu- 
nity to distribute leaflets and other Party literature. Experience 
shows that this is the most productive and effective means of 
bringing the Party's principles and program to those who may not 
have been exposed to them previously. 

The "General Activities" report provides useful information on 
the Party's agitational efforts. 

Sections and members -at-large should make every effort to hold 
discussion meetings on a regular basis in order to bring together 
groups of workers who have an interest in the SLP. 

It is with great pleasure that this committee notes that part of 
the National Secretary's report that mentions veteran member 
Comrade Louis Fisher's public television interview. Comrade 
Fisher's perseverance is an example of the stuff of which SLP men 
and women are made. Comrade Fisher is an example to be 
emulated. 

In connection to e-mail contacts and responses received by the 

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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

National Office mentioned in the National Secretary's report, and 
the potential of this medium to disseminate the Party's Marxist-De 
Leonist program, this committee offers the following 
recommendations : 

1. That members and friends of the SLP who are already sub- 
scribed or thinking of subscribing to the electronic version of The 
People wherever possible seek out appropriate Internet forums in 
which to post or circulate articles and leaflets in either text or 
HTML formats. 

2. That active members and friends of the SLP who dedicate 
their e-mail communications to SLP activity on the Internet insert 
a signature file at the bottom of their letters advertising the SLP 
Web site and include a URL link, facilitating to the reader naviga- 
tion into our site. 

Fraternally submitted, 

CHRIS CAMACHO, Chair 

JACK BLESSINGTON, RICHARD CASSIN 

CARL C.MILLER JR. 

Committee on Organization 

A motion was made to adopt the report. A substitute motion to 
refer the report back to the committee was adopted. 

Committee on Headquarters and Finance 
B. Bortnick presented the following reports: 

Report on National Headquarters 

The National Secretary's report clearly and systematically iter- 
ates the issues confronting our National Headquarters staff. 

We are keenly aware of the precarious situation we are confront- 
ing in terms of dwindling human resources, and the increased 
stress placed upon the shoulders of Comrade Donna Bills and the 
National Secretary. 

At the same time we recognize the critical support that contin- 
ues to be made by headquarters members Comrades Gunderson 
and Boettcher, the latter who is now on a volunteer basis, and ac- 
cordingly express our appreciation. 

We belatedly concur in the decisions made by the National Sec- 
retary in obtaining the latest headquarters premises. Considering 
the cost of rentals in the Bay Area this was an exceptional find, 
and along with other cost-cutting measures it was a great relief to 

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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

have found it. 

In a similar vein, the decision to make the move with help of the 
three N.O. comrades only deserves our applause, appreciation and 
thanks. 

These should all be recognized as successes in keeping the Party 
afloat despite all odds. Nonetheless, it is apparent we cannot con- 
tinue on a precarious path indefinitely. 

It has often been said that the SLP is a "volunteer" organization. 
We concur, and now is the time for those members who are able, to 
volunteer. In this regard we recommend that consideration be 
given to enlarging editorial contributions from the field noted in 
the report on "Editorial Matters." 

We also recommend that those members capable of responding 
to questions received over the Internet make their names known to 
the National Office and the NEC with a view to constituting a 
standing committee to respond to Internet questions. The guide- 
lines for such a committee should be addressed by the NEC. 

These two measures could help relieve some of the pressures on 
the N.O. staff. 

In recognition of the enormous contribution made to the socialist 
movement and the Party by our late Comrade Nathan Karp, we 
recommend that the tributes to him carried in The People of July 
2000 be published in the proceedings of this National Convention 
report. 

Fraternally submitted, 

BERNARD BORTNICK, Chair 

ROBERT BURNS, JOE GROELKE 

Committee on Headquarters and Finance 

A motion was made to adopt the report. At 2:55 p.m. a motion 
was passed to recess for five minutes. Reconvened at 3 p.m. On mo- 
tion, the report was referred back to committee. 

Report on Editorial Matters 

In studying the report on "Editorial Matters," we have an up- 
dated understanding of the ongoing problems and issues which the 
Acting Editor, Comrade Robert Bills, has experienced. 

These lie primarily in having sufficient copy whose quality and 
content are suitable for use in The People, as well as a problem 
with contributors following the guidelines that have been sent to 
prospective writers. 

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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

We are fortunate in having an Acting Editor who is a stickler for 
maintaining a high standard for The People. His goal is a paper 
that reflects a profound understanding of Marxism-De Leonism 
and refuses to allow the contents of our journal from sinking to the 
mundane level that characterizes the contents of a lot of so-called 
socialist papers. For us it is not just sufficient to publish a Marxist- 
De Leonist paper but one that educates our class. 

This said, and lacking a permanent Editor, it is incumbent that 
we renew our efforts to obtain sufficient copy from contributors in 
an effort to relieve the burden on Comrade Robert Bills. 

Several ways of doing this have been suggested, including re- 
newing a second Writers Conference in accordance with the NEC 
draft letter of May 14, 2000. Another approach suggested a confer- 
ence call to prospective and current contributors. Yet another sug- 
gestion proposed a video conference that could be staged at our lo- 
cal Kinko's that provides facilities for that purpose. 

Perhaps the most viable approach, and the one we recommend 
considering our limited money resources, is to convene a Writers 
Conference for a selected and targeted group of comrades. They 
could be identified and polled regarding prospective commitments 
to write on a regular basis, and asked to attend a session at the 
National Office. Those comrades that are already regular corre- 
spondents need not attend and would be sent an appropriate letter 
conveying appreciation for past efforts and to continue their good 
work. 

Fraternally submitted, 

BERNARD BORTNICK, Chair 

ROBERT BURNS, JOE GROELKE 

Committee on Headquarters and Finance 

A motion was made to adopt the report. On motion, the report 
was referred back to committee. 

Committee on Resolutions 
K. Boettcher presented the following reports: 

Re Resolution 3-A 

The Resolutions Committee has reviewed and discussed the 
resolution and found that the Socialist Labor Party already has 
such a list. This list is in The People as well as on the SLP official 
Web site and contains the names of those members who have given 

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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

their permission to be listed. The Resolutions Committee does wish 
to encourage more members of the SLP to sign on to these lists as 
points of contact. 

However, since this list is already in existence this committee 
does not concur. 

Fraternally submitted, 

KEN BOETTCHER, Chair 

JOHN-PAUL CATUSCO, STEPHEN RAPER 

Committee on Resolutions 

On motion, the report was adopted. 

Re Resolution 3-B 

The Resolutions Committee has reviewed the proposal and de- 
termined that this resolution simply reiterates a long-standing 
Party practice and adopting it would not add anything new. There- 
fore the committee does not concur. 

Fraternally submitted, 

KEN BOETTCHER, Chair 

JOHN-PAUL CATUSCO, STEPHEN RAPER 

Committee on Resolutions 

On motion, the report was adopted. 

Re Resolution on Overturning the 1920 Anti-IWW Ruling 

This committee has reviewed past SLP convention reports, reso- 
lutions, the Handbook on Intervention and Union Work, as well as 
recent articles and editorials pertaining to the historic relations 
between the SLP and the IWW. The research has shown that a 
1978 resolution entitled "seeking allies," which includes the IWW 
as a possible ally for actual revolutionary agitation, was passed 
and is still in effect. We find that this resolution is in the same 
spirit as the one which is before us now. 

Therefore this committee does not concur in Comrade Catusco's 
resolution. However, it recommends that in the spirit of the resolu- 
tion and in keeping with the spirit of the resolution on "seeking 
allies" that the matter of seeking allies be referred to the NEC for 
consideration and/or procedures for building appropriate organiza- 
tional alliances, specifically the possibility [of] an alliance with the 
IWW. 

Fraternally submitted, 

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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

KEN BOETTCHER, Chair 

JOHN-PAUL CATUSCO, STEPHEN RAPER 

Committee on Resolutions 

A motion to adopt the report. On motion, the report was referred 
back to committee. 

Re Resolution for Purchasing Air Time on WBCQ 

Even though Comrade Carl Miller of Houston, Tex., has volun- 
teered his time and services to produce a regular weekly radio pro- 
gram, adopting the resolution creates certain editorial, financial 
and even organizational issues which go beyond the scope of this 
committee. 

The resolution may have merit if the programs could be pro- 
duced on a monthly basis, with readings from The People as con- 
tent and with adequate oversight. Therefore this committee does 
not concur in the resolution but recommends that it be referred to 
the NEC. 

Fraternally submitted, 

KEN BOETTCHER, Chair 

JOHN-PAUL CATUSCO, STEPHEN RAPER 

Committee on Resolutions 

On motion, the report was adopted. 

Re Resolution for a New Booklet Entitled 
"Why I Joined the SLP" 

This committee has reviewed the proposal and does not concur. 
The committee believes that the idea has merit but recognizes that 
such a project should be left to the oversight of the NEC. Therefore 
the committee moves to refer the resolution to the NEC. 

Fraternally submitted, 

KEN BOETTCHER, Chair 

JOHN-PAUL CATUSCO, STEPHEN RAPER 

Committee on Resolutions 

On motion, the report was adopted. 

A motion to recess for one hour was not concurred in. On motion, 
the convention adjourned until 9 a.m., Monday, June 4. 



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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 



MORNING SESSION, MONDAY, JUNE 4, 2001 

The convention was called to order at 9:05 a.m. 
On roll call, all present. 

The Sergeant at Arms reported two visitors present. 
On motion, the minutes of Sunday's sessions were approved as 
read. 

Reports of Committees 

Committee on Organization: C. Camacho reported progress. 

Committee on Headquarters and Finance 
B. Bortnick presented the following reports: 

Report on National Headquarters 

The National Secretary's report clearly and systematically iter- 
ates the issues confronting our National Headquarters staff. 

We are keenly aware of the precarious situation we are confront- 
ing in terms of dwindling human resources, and the increased 
stress placed upon the shoulders of Comrade Donna Bills and the 
National Secretary. 

At the same time we recognize the critical support that contin- 
ues to be made by headquarters members Comrades Gunderson 
and Boettcher, the latter who is now on a volunteer basis and, ac- 
cordingly, express our appreciation. 

We concur in the decisions made by the National Secretary in 
obtaining the latest headquarters premises. Considering the cost of 
rentals in the Bay Area ,this was an exceptional find and, along 
with other cost-cutting measures, it was a great relief to have 
found it. 

In a similar vein, the decision to make the move with the help of 
the three N.O. comrades only deserves our applause, appreciation 
and thanks. 

These should all be recognized as successes in keeping the Party 
afloat despite all odds. Nonetheless, it is apparent we cannot con- 
tinue on a precarious path indefinitely. 

It has often been said that the SLP is a "volunteer" organization. 
We concur, and now is the time for those members who are able to 
volunteer. In this regard it is imperative that consideration be 
given to enlarging editorial contributions from the field as noted in 



Socialist Labor Party 82 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

the report on "Editorial Matters." 

We recommend that the NEC establish a standing committee of 
members with access to the Internet that would be willing to re- 
spond to questions about the SLP. The identification of appropriate 
members, guidelines and procedures for establishing such a com- 
mittee shall be at the discretion of the NEC. 

These two measures could help relieve some of the pressures on 
the N.O. staff. 

In recognition of the enormous contribution made to the socialist 
movement and the Party by our late Comrade Nathan Karp, we 
recommend that the tributes to him carried in The People of July 
2000 be published in the proceedings of this National Convention 
report. 

Fraternally submitted, 

BERNARD BORTNICK, Chair 

ROBERT BURNS, JOE GROELKE 

Committee on Headquarters and Finance 

A motion to adopt the report was made. An amendment to 
strike the words "headquarters members" and "who is" in the third 
paragraph was passed. On motion, the report as amended was 
adopted. 

Report on Editorial Matters 

In studying the report on "Editorial Matters," we have an up- 
dated understanding of the ongoing problems and issues which the 
Acting Editor, Comrade Robert Bills, has experienced. 

These lie primarily in having sufficient copy whose quality and 
content are suitable for use in The People, as well as a problem 
with contributors following the guidelines that have been sent to 
prospective writers. 

We are fortunate that Comrade Robert Bills is a stickler for 
maintaining a high standard for The People. His goal is a paper 
that reflects a profound understanding of Marxism-De Leonism 
and refuses to allow the contents of our journal to sink to the mun- 
dane level that characterizes a lot of so-called socialist papers. For 
us it is not just sufficient to publish a Marxist - Dc Lconist paper 
but one that educates our class. 

This said, and lacking a permanent Editor, it is incumbent that 
we renew our efforts to obtain sufficient copy from contributors in 
an effort to relieve the burden on Comrade Bills. 

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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

Several ways of doing this have been suggested, including re- 
newing a second Writers Conference in accordance with the NEC 
draft letter of May 14, 2000. Another approach suggested a confer- 
ence call to prospective and current contributors. Yet another sug- 
gestion proposed a video conference that could be staged at our lo- 
cal Kinko's that provides facilities for that purpose. 

The most viable approach, and the one we recommend consider- 
ing our limited money resources, is to convene a Writers Confer- 
ence for a selected and targeted group of comrades. Based upon the 
work that has already been done by the NEC, a new effort should 
be initiated by our executive body to identify, poll and obtain com- 
mitments by prospective correspondents to attend a Writers Con- 
ference at the National Office. 

Qualifications for attendance are at the discretion of the NEC 
but should include a binding commitment to contribute copy to The 
People on a regular basis. Those comrades that are already regular 
correspondents need not attend and could be sent updated infor- 
mation and an appropriate letter conveying appreciation for past 
efforts and to continue their good work. 

Fraternally submitted, 

BERNARD BORTNICK, Chair 

ROBERT BURNS, JOE GROELKE 

Committee on Headquarters and Finance 

A motion to adopt the report was made. An amendment to strike 
the words "Marxist-De Leonist" in the last sentence of the third 
paragraph was passed. On motion, the report as amended was 
adopted. 

NEC and National Officers 

Your committee recommends the following members as nomi- 
nees for the National Executive Committee: 

1. Kenneth Boettcher 

2. Bruce Cozzini 

3. Michael R. Mahoney 

4. Diane Secor 

5. Stephen Raper 

6. Chris Camacho 

7. Carl Miller 

All seven of these members have expressed a willingness to 
serve in this capacity. 

Socialist Labor Party 84 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

As for the three national officers, Comrade Robert Bills has indi- 
cated his willingness to continue as National Secretary for the next 
term. 

However, there are no prospective candidates that have been 
brought to our attention willing to serve as Editor of The People 
nor that of Financial Secretary. 

Fraternally submitted, 

BERNARD BORTNICK, Chair 

ROBERT BURNS, JOE GROELKE 

Committee on Headquarters and Finance 

A motion to adopt the report, was seconded On motion, the re- 
port was referred back to committee. 

Mileage Committee 
B. Bortnick presented the following report: 

Your committee reports that the delegates listed below have re- 
ported that their mileage in attending the NEC Session is as fol- 
lows: 

Section Delegates Amount 

S.F. Bay Area Ken Boettcher $ 

New York City John-Paul Catusco 42.50 

Cleveland Robert Burns 

Portland Joe Groelke 240.00 

Philadelphia Jack Blessington 

Nat'l Mbrs-at-Large Bernard Bortnick 

Chris Camacho 402.50 

Richard Cassin 246.50 

Carl C. Miller Jr. 280.00 

Stephen Raper 362.50 

Robert Bills, Nat'l Sec'y 
In keeping with this report, your committee recommends that 
the members be paid the amounts due them, the total being 
$1,574.00. 

Fraternally submitted, 

BERNARD BORTNICK, Chair 

ROBERT BURNS 

Mileage Committee 

On motion, the report was adopted. On motion, the convention 
extended its thanks to those delegates who were able to travel to 

Socialist Labor Party 85 www.slp.org 



SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 
the convention at no cost to the Party. 

Committee on Resolutions 
K. Boettcher presented the following report: 

Re Resolution on Overturning the 1920 Anti - IWW ruling 
Prohibition Against Dual Membership in the SLP and the 

IWW 

This committee has reviewed past SLP convention reports, reso- 
lutions, the Handbook on Intervention and Union Work, as well as 
recent articles and editorials pertaining to the historic relations 
between the SLP and the IWW. The research has shown that a 
1978 resolution entitled "seeking allies," which includes the IWW 
as a possible ally for actual revolutionary agitation, was passed 
and is still in effect. We find that this resolution is in the same 
spirit as the one which is before us now. 

Therefore, the committee recommends that Comrade Catusco's 
resolution be referred to the NEC for further investigation in the 
spirit of the original 1978 resolution, and that the NEC's recom- 
mendations, if any, be reported in the published proceedings of 
that body. 

Fraternally submitted, 

KEN BOETTCHER, Chair 

JOHN-PAUL CATUSCO, STEPHEN RAPER 

Committee on Resolutions 

A motion to adopt the report was seconded. An amendment to 
strike the words "anti-IWW" in the title and insert "Prohibition 
Against Dual Membership in the SLP and the IWW" was passed. 
On motion, the report as amended was adopted. 

The Chair reminded the convention of its responsibility to draft 
a National Platform. On motion the matter was referred to the 
Committee on Headquarters and Finance. 

At 9:55 a.m., a motion was passed to recess for one hour. 

* 

The convention was called to order at 11:10 a.m. 

On roll call, all present. 

The Sergeant at Arms reported two visitors present. 



Socialist Labor Party 86 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 



Reports of Committees 

Committee on Organization 
C. Camacho presented the following report: 

Report on the SLP and the Internet 

This committee has studied and discussed that part of the Na- 
tional Secretary's report titled "SLP and the Internet." Regrettably, 
this committee is unprepared to develop and offer any permanent 
guidelines for the conduct of Internet activity and communications, 
and urges the NEC to take up this matter at the earliest possible 
date. 

This committee acknowledges the potential usefulness of the 
Houston Internet discussion list and other possible future lists as 
SLP activities. However, in view of their potential to attract dis- 
rupters and consume an inordinate amount of time that could be 
spent on more productive face-to-face local activities, we do not feel 
that discussion list and chat room activities should be emphasized. 

Also, the committee endorses and recognizes the "Socialist Labor 
Party— Houston, Tex., Committee" Web site, the SLPNYC Web site 
(Section New York City), and Portland, Ore., section of the Social- 
ist Labor Party Web site as official Web sites of the Socialist Labor 
Party of America. 

We recommend that the NEC consider the following suggested 
guidelines for sections and members using the Internet to conduct 
Party activities: 

1. That each site dedicated as a discussion forum, such as the 
Houston Internet discussion list, prepare in consultation with the 
NEC or National Office and make available on their site a FAQ 
(frequently asked questions) document defining its purpose, pa- 
rameters and rules of participation. 

2. That copies of login names and passwords used by the sites' 
administrators to make changes and deletions be placed on file 
with the N.O. and/or section organizer in the event that it be nec- 
essary for the NEC or the organizer to override the administrator's 
access and control of that site, organizer and/or N.O. to be alerted 
of any changes in login names and/or passwords. 

3. That ownership and control of e-mail groups, discussion lists, 
chat rooms and Web sites dedicated to SLP propaganda or activity 
must rest with the section and/or the NEC. 

Socialist Labor Party 87 www.slp.org 



SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

4. Wherever possible the section and/or NEC shall review the 
content of SLP Web sites and recommend changes where neces- 
sary. 

5. A link to the national Web site shall be prominently dis- 
played. 

6. All e-mail communications relating to SLP matters shall have 
a copy directed to the N.O. by placing the N.O. e-mail address in 
the courtesy copy "cc:" window of the outgoing message. Members 
are also encouraged to place a link leading to the SLP Web site in 
the signature portion of their e-mail messages in order to promote 
the Web site to interested recipients. 

Fraternally submitted, 

CHRIS CAMACHO, Chair 

JACK BLESSINGTON, RICHARD CASSIN 

CARL C.MILLER JR. 

Committee on Organization 

A motion to adopt the report was made. On motion, the report 
was referred back to committee. 

Committee on Headquarters and Finance: B. Bortnick reported 
progress. 

Committee on Resolutions 
K. Boettcher presented the following report: 

Re Resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 

This committee has reviewed the proposed statement on the Is- 
raeli-Palestinian conflict, the Party's 1978 statement on the Middle 
East crisis and recent articles and editorials on the subject and 
recommends that the convention adopt the following revised ver- 
sion of the statement: 

The 45th National Convention of the Socialist Labor Party une- 
quivocally condemns the ongoing U.S. imperialist manipulation of 
events and alliances in the Middle East. 

The goal of that manipulation is continued U.S. capitalist-class 
control over the production and distribution of oil. The crass mate- 
rial interests that lie behind U.S. imperialism's need for that con- 
trol produced the economic and social conditions that fueled the 
recent renewal of armed conflict between Israel and the Palestini- 
ans. They also make peace a virtual impossibility in the Middle 
East and increase the risk of global conflagration. 

Socialist Labor Party 88 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

Ensuring the uninterrupted flow of oil from the Middle East is a 
primary concern of U.S. imperialism, which remains heavily de- 
pendent upon imported oil to run domestic industry and power its 
empire. The political arrangements made in past decades with 
governments throughout the Middle East, and which are being cul- 
tivated by Colin Powell and the Bush administration, all support 
that objective. 

The material and military support Israel receives from the 
United States government is an attempt to bolster a beachhead for 
U.S. capital and Western imperialism in the region. This beach- 
head was established not only to promote capitalist and imperialist 
economic interests, but also to counter the imperialist objectives of 
what was then the Soviet Union. 

The Gulf War and its aftermath, the embargo and continued 
military actions against Iraq, the maintenance of a fleet in the Per- 
sian Gulf, air bases in Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and the Clinton 
and Bush administrations' overtures to the ruling classes of nearby 
African countries all attest to the ongoing commitment of the U.S. 
ruling class to maintain and secure their material objectives. 

American foreign policy sorts out those governments that will 
conform to capitalism's material objectives, those who do so reluc- 
tantly, and those who won't. Military and other economic and stra- 
tegic aid flows to those who toe the line for U.S. capital, regardless 
of whether the governments involved are nominally democratic, as 
in the case of Israel, or autocratic regimes like virtually every other 
nation in the region. 

Unrest among the millions of impoverished working-class op- 
pressed in every country in the Middle East has been largely chan- 
neled into nationalistic illusions and religious fanaticism. In none 
of those states has an expression of true working-class interests 
emerged. 

Among the Israeli working class, an incessant barrage of decep- 
tive propaganda promotes reactionary, irredentist visions of an Is- 
rael rooted in the biblical past to "justify" settlement expansion 
and continued encroachment on Palestinian lands in Jerusalem, 
the West Bank and Gaza. That propaganda promotes the destruc- 
tion of Palestinian homes and a refusal to confront past ethnic 
cleansings by the Israeli state. It refuses to recognize the right of 
Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, or to other restitu- 
tion. 

Palestinian resistance and anger have become more intense in 

Socialist Labor Party 89 www.slp.org 



SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

the face of Israeli intransigence and cavalier use of military force. 
Israel's response to Palestinian terrorism has been state terrorism, 
carried out under the governments of the Likud, Labor and coali- 
tions of other parties. With few exceptions, all are arrayed against 
a subjugated population and have indiscriminately trained Israel's 
superior instruments of war on Palestinian men, women and chil- 
dren. 

Daily reports of this seething ferment, of reciprocal attacks and 
reprisals, have prompted the Bush administration to issue warn- 
ings to both sides and to repeat the admonitions tirelessly 
drummed by the Israeli government that the "violence must stop." 
But warnings and admonitions cannot bring a lasting peace. 

The Bush administration's packing off of Colin Powell on tour of 
the region serves notice to the participants that U.S. capitalism is 
not seeking peace in the region so much as it is allies to enforce its 
imperialist will. Whether the Bush administration continues this 
tactic or promotes some new peace initiative, its main goal in the 
region is a continued "stability" in the region — forced or other- 
wise — that will allow the oil to flow. 

The political subjugation of a population expressing legitimate 
aspirations to national identity is inimical to international work- 
ing-class unity. Therefore, the Socialist Labor Party of America 
condemns the continued occupation of the West Bank and Gaza by 
Israel and the brutal military force used to insure its continued 
dominion over those areas and to maintain the beachhead desired 
by U.S. capital. 

The Israeli and Palestinian working classes face mutual oppres- 
sion under the capitalist system. Therefore, the Socialist Labor 
Party of America calls upon them to establish mutual connections 
to oppose their common class enemy. 

Moreover, the Socialist Labor Party of America's policy state- 
ment of May 1978 on the Middle East crisis remains a valid analy- 
sis of the situation, and we affirm support of that original state- 
ment and its conclusion: There can be no peace in the Middle East 
until the working classes of the world, first and foremost the U.S. 
working class, have dealt with their respective ruling classes and 
established a socialist world of peace, plenty and freedom. 

Fraternally submitted, 

KEN BOETTCHER, Chair 

JOHN-PAUL CATUSCO, STEPHEN RAPER 

Committee on Resolutions 

Socialist Labor Party 90 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

A motion to adopt the report was made. On motion, the report 
was referred back to committee. 

New Business 

A motion to amend Article V, Section 3 of the Constitution by 
removing the words "two years" and inserting the words "18 
months" was adopted, as follows: "All members of the NEC shall be 
members who have held continued membership for at least twe 
years 18 months and must be citizens of the United States." 

On motion, the convention adjourned until 4 p.m. 



AFTERNOON SESSION, MONDAY, JUNE 4, 2001 

The convention was called to order at 4:15 p.m. 

On roll call, all present. 

The Sergeant at Arms reported three visitors present. 

Reports of Committees 

Committee on Organization 
C. Camacho presented the following reports: 

Report on the SLP and the Internet 

This committee has studied and discussed that part of the Na- 
tional Secretary's report titled "SLP and the Internet." Regrettably, 
this committee is unprepared to develop and offer any permanent 
guidelines for the conduct of Internet activity and communications, 
and urges the NEC to take up this matter at the earliest possible 
date. 

This committee acknowledges the potential usefulness of the 
Houston Internet discussion list and other possible future lists as 
SLP activities. However, since the Party has not yet accumulated 
sufficient experience that provides a full understanding of all its 
implications, and in view of the need to spend as much time as pos- 
sible on direct face-to-face, person-to-person local activities as the 
surest way to bring people in contact with the SLP, we do not feel 
that discussion list and chat room activities should be given pre- 
eminence over the other customary forms of SLP activity. 

Since up to now the initiatives undertaken by members and sec- 
tions in creating Web sites have been largely directed toward local 
activities and outreach, it is the opinion of this committee that In- 

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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

ternet Web sites shall be treated as a form of local literature. 
Therefore, the guidelines for the treatment of local literature and 
publications as defined by the Organizational Norms and Proce- 
dures apply. Internet discussion groups, lists and forums fall under 
the category of local discussion meetings as defined in the Organi- 
zational Norms and Procedures and Guide for Discussion Groups 
and shall be governed accordingly. 

We recommend that the NEC consider the following suggested 
the following as interim guidelines for sections and members using 
the Internet to conduct Party activities: 

1. That moderators of online discussion groups be subject to the 
approval of the section or the NEC as stated in Article III, Section 
E (1) of Organizational Norms and Procedures and the Guide for 
SLP Discussion Groups. 

2. Unless otherwise directed by the NEC, that local Web sites 
limit their scope to local issues and activities as stated in Article V, 
Section D of Organizational Norms and Procedures dealing with 
local publications literature . 

3. That copies of login names and passwords used by the sites' 
administrators to make changes and deletions be placed on file 
with the N.O. and/or section organizer. 

4. That ownership and control of e-mail groups, discussion lists, 
chat rooms and Web sites dedicated to SLP propaganda or activity 
should rest with the section and/or the NEC. 

5. Wherever possible the section and/or NEC shall review the 
content of SLP Web sites and recommend changes where neces- 
sary. 

6. A link to the national Web site shall be prominently dis- 
played. 

7. The person creating the content of the Web site should be 
named by the section, or in the case of members-at-large should be 
under the direction of the NEC. That person shall be directly re- 
sponsible to the section or NEC for that content. 

8. All e-mail communications relating to SLP matters should 
have a copy directed to the N.O. by placing the N.O. e-mail address 
in the courtesy copy "cc:" window of the outgoing message. Mem- 
bers are also encouraged to place a link leading to the SLP Web 
site in the signature portion of their e-mail messages in order to 
promote the Web site to interested recipients. 

9. Another question that has arisen is the fact that section e- 
mail addresses listed in the SLP directory in some cases do not be- 

Socialist Labor Party 92 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

long to the section organizer, who may not have Internet service. 
Organizers who have e-mail should have their e-mail addresses 
listed in the directory since they are responsible for all communica- 
tions to and from the section. In the event that the organizer does 
not have Internet access, one possible solution is that members of 
the section who have Internet access be named e-mail secretary by 
the membership. This e-mail secretary would be responsible for 
conveying all e-mail correspondence dealing with SLP matters to 
the attention of the organizer for appropriate action. 

Fraternally submitted, 

CHRIS CAMACHO, Chair 

JACK BLESSINGTON, RICHARD CASSIN 

CARL C.MILLER JR. 

Committee on Organization 

A motion to adopt the report was seconded. 

A motion to strike the words "and publications" in the second 
sentence of the third paragraph was adopted. 

A motion to strike the word "publication" under item 2 and re- 
place it with the word "literature" was adopted. 

A motion to strike the second sentence in the first paragraph of 
the report was passed. 

A motion to replace the words "that the NEC consider the follow- 
ing suggested" in the fourth paragraph with the words "the follow- 
ing as interim" was adopted. 

On motion, the report as amended was adopted. 

Report on General Activities 

After carefully examining that section of the National Secre- 
tary's report dealing with "General Activities," this committee reaf- 
firms that members should continue to give The People the widest 
possible circulation and should take advantage of every opportu- 
nity to distribute leaflets and other Party literature. Experience 
shows that this is the most productive and effective means of 
bringing the Party's principles and program to those who may not 
have been exposed to them previously. 

Sections and members -at-large should make every effort to hold 
discussion meetings on a regular basis in order to bring together 
groups of workers who have an interest in the SLP. 

It is with great pleasure that this committee notes that part of 
the National Secretary's report that mentions veteran member 

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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

Comrade Louis Fisher's public television interview. Comrade 
Fisher's perseverance is an example of the stuff of which SLP men 
and women are made. Comrade Fisher is an example to be emu- 
lated. 

Fraternally submitted, 

CHRIS CAMACHO, Chair 

JACK BLESSINGTON, RICHARD CASSIN 

CARL C.MILLER JR. 

Committee on Organization 

A motion to adopt the report was seconded. On motion, the re- 
port was referred back to committee. 

Report on Party Press and Literature 

1. The People 

We cannot stress enough the importance of continuing to dis- 
tribute The People as widely as possible. 

Sections and members should strive at all times to find new out- 
lets and methods to make The People available to as wide a reader- 
ship as possible. It is also important to promote subscriptions from 
regular readers. 

2. Labor News Activities 

In order to build the classconsciousness of the working class 
they must be educated and enlightened. Throughout the history of 
the Party that education and enlightenment has begun with a New 
York Labor News book or pamphlet. The thought that stocks of 
pamphlets and books are dwindling and in danger of not being re- 
printed is disquieting indeed. This must not be allowed to happen. 
To that end, this committee recommends the establishment of a 
literature sustaincr fund for the purpose of replenishing stocks of 
books and pamphlets and above all . We must seek out newer more 
efficient methods of producing this literature, including using 
state-of-the-art technology such as that suggested by the National 
Secretary where literature is recorded to data CD-ROMs. 

3. Leaflets 

Since the entire range of SLP leaflets is posted on the Party's 
Web site, wherever possible sections and members-at-large are en- 
couraged to download them and print them or have them printed 
by a local print shop for distribution, thus potentially saving the 
National Office some expense. Of course, it be desirable for the 
N.O. to maintain a stock of titles for those situations where sec- 



Socialist Labor Party 94 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

tions or members lack the resources to have their own printed or in 
the event that a particular leaflet title may be required for a spe- 
cial agitational occasion. 

Fraternally submitted, 

CHRIS CAMACHO, Chair 

JACK BLESSINGTON, RICHARD CASSIN 

CARL C.MILLER JR. 

Committee on Organization 

A motion to adopt the report was seconded. 

A motion to strike the fifth sentence of the third paragraph was 
adopted. 

A motion to strike the word "indeed" from the third sentence of 
the third paragraph was lost. 

A motion to strike the fourth sentence of the third paragraph 
was lost. 

On motion, the report was recommitted. 

Committee on Headquarters and Finance: B. Bortnick reported 
progress. 

Committee on Resolutions 
K. Boettcher presented the following: 

Re Resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 

This committee has reviewed the proposed statement on the Is- 
raeli-Palestinian conflict, the Party's 1978 statement on the Middle 
East crisis and recent articles and editorials on the subject and 
recommends that the convention adopt the following revised ver- 
sion of the statement: 

The 45th National Convention of the Socialist Labor Party une- 
quivocally condemns the ongoing U.S. imperialist manipulation of 
events and alliances in the Middle East. 

The goal of that manipulation is continued U.S. capitalist-class 
control over the production and distribution of oil. The crass mate- 
rial interests that lie behind U.S. imperialism's need for that con- 
trol produced the economic and social conditions that fueled the 
recent renewal of armed conflict between Israel and the Palestini- 
ans. They also make peace a virtual impossibility in the Middle 
East and increase the risk of global conflagration. 

Ensuring the uninterrupted flow of oil from the Middle East is a 
primary concern of U.S. imperialism, which remains heavily de- 
pendent upon imported oil to run domestic industry and power its 



Socialist Labor Party 95 www.slp.org 



SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

empire. The political arrangements made in past decades with 
governments throughout the Middle East, and which are being cul- 
tivated by Colin Powell and the Bush administration, all support 
that objective. 

The material and military support Israel receives from the 
United States government is an attempt to bolster a beachhead for 
U.S. capital and Western imperialism in the region. This beach- 
head was established not only to promote capitalist and imperialist 
economic interests, but also to counter the imperialist objectives of 
what was then the Soviet Union. 

The Gulf War and its aftermath, the embargo and continued 
military actions against Iraq, the maintenance of a fleet in the Per- 
sian Gulf, air bases in Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and the Clinton 
and Bush administrations' overtures to the ruling classes of nearby 
African countries all attest to the ongoing commitment of the U.S. 
ruling class to maintain and secure their material objectives. 

American foreign policy sorts out those governments that will 
conform to capitalism's material objectives, those who do so reluc- 
tantly and those who won't. Military and other economic and stra- 
tegic aid flows to those who toe the line for U.S. capital, regardless 
of whether the governments involved are nominally democratic, as 
in the case of Israel, or autocratic regimes like virtually every other 
nation in the region. 

Unrest among the millions of impoverished working-class op- 
pressed in every country in the Middle East has been largely chan- 
neled into nationalistic illusions and religious fanaticism. In none 
of those states has an expression of true working-class interests 
emerged. 

Among the Israeli working class an incessant barrage of decep- 
tive propaganda promotes reactionary irredentist visions of an Is- 
rael rooted in the biblical past to "justify" settlement expansion 
and continued encroachment on Palestinian lands in Jerusalem, 
the West Bank and Gaza. That propaganda promotes the destruc- 
tion of Palestinian homes and a refusal to confront past ethnic 
cleansings by the Israeli state. It refuses to recognize the right of 
Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, or to other restitu- 
tion. 

Palestinian resistance and anger have become more intense in 
the face of Israeli intransigence and cavalier use of military force. 
Israel's response to Palestinian terrorism has been state terrorism, 
carried out under the governments of the Likud, Labor and coali- 

Socialist Labor Party 96 www.slp.org 



45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

tions of other parties. With few exceptions all are arrayed against a 
subjugated population and have indiscriminately trained Israel's 
superior instruments of war on Palestinian men, women and chil- 
dren. 

Daily reports of this seething ferment, of reciprocal attacks and 
reprisals, have prompted the Bush administration to issue warn- 
ings to both sides and to repeat the admonitions tirelessly 
drummed by the Israeli government that the "violence must stop." 
But warnings and admonitions cannot bring a lasting peace. 

The Bush administration's packing off of Colin Powell on tour of 
the region serves notice to the participants that U.S. capitalism is 
not seeking peace in the region so much as it is allies to enforce its 
imperialist will. Whether the Bush administration continues this 
tactic or promotes some new peace initiative, its main goal in the 
region is a continued "stability" in the region — forced or other- 
wise — that will allow the oil to flow. 

The political subjugation of a population expressing legitimate 
aspirations to national identity is inimical to international work- 
ing-class unity. Therefore, the Socialist Labor Party of America 
condemns the continued occupation of the West Bank and Gaza by 
Israel and the brutal military force used to insure its continued 
dominion over those areas and to maintain the beachhead desired 
by U.S. capital. 

The Israeli and Palestinian working classes face mutual oppres- 
sion under the capitalist system. Therefore, the Socialist Labor 
Party of America calls upon them to establish mutual connections 
to oppose their common class enemy. 

Ultimately, there can be no peace in the Middle East until the 
working classes of the world, first and foremost the U.S. working 
class, have dealt with their respective ruling classes and estab- 
lished a socialist world of peace, plenty and freedom. 

Fraternally submitted, 

KEN BOETTCHER, Chair 

JOHN-PAUL CATUSCO, STEPHEN RAPER 

Committee on Resolutions 

On motion, the report was adopted. 

New Business 

The National Secretary requested that some time be reserved at 
the end of the convention to pay tribute to those comrades who 



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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

have died since the 44th National Convention. 
On motion, so ordered. 
At 5:00 p.m., a motion was passed to adjourn until 7:15 p.m. 



EVENING SESSION, MONDAY, JUNE 4, 2001 

The convention was called to order at 7:27 p.m. 

On roll call, all present. 

The Sergeant at Arms reported three visitors present. 

Reports of Committees 

Committee on Organization 
C. Camacho presented the following reports: 

Report on Party Press and Literature 

1. The People 

We cannot stress enough the importance of continuing to dis- 
tribute The People as widely as possible. 

Sections and members should strive at all times to find new out- 
lets and methods to make The People available to as wide a reader- 
ship as possible. It is also important to promote subscriptions from 
casual readers. While this committee has no concrete recommenda- 
tion to offer to alleviate the shortage of staff or funds needed to in- 
crease circulation and do followups to clearance mailings, etc., it 
well recognizes the duty of the membership in the field to come to 
the aid of the Party by volunteering their help whenever called 
upon to do so. 

2. Labor News Activities 

As noted by the National Secretary, we have begun to imple- 
ment newer, more efficient methods of producing SLP literature by 
using state-of-the-art technology. However, insufficient staff re- 
sources have hampered these efforts. Accordingly, this committee 
recommends that the NEC poll the membership in order to find 
comrades with the necessary know-how to work on a voluntary ba- 
sis with the National Office in the preparation of a CD-ROM con- 
taining a collection of De Leonist literature. 

3. Leaflets 

Since the entire range of SLP leaflets is posted on the Party's 
Web site, wherever possible sections and members -at-large are en- 
couraged to download them and print them or have them printed 

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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

by a local print shop for distribution, thus potentially saving the 
National Office some expense. The National Office has done an 
outstanding job in preparing and converting the literature of the 
Party into various electronic formats. 

Fraternally submitted, 

CHRIS CAMACHO, Chair 

JACK BLESSINGTON, RICHARD CASSIN 

CARL C.MILLER JR. 

Committee on Organization 

On motion, the report was adopted. 

Report on SLPU Activities Report 

We welcome the report submitted to this convention by Comrade 
Sergiy Skubenko, National Secretary of the Socialist Labor Party 
of Ukraine, and we commend the NEC and the National Office for 
the work it has done to provide our SLPU comrades with SLP lit- 
erature as well as moral and technical support. 

We are highly encouraged and inspired by the perseverance and 
courage of the comrades in Ukraine, especially as they labor on be- 
half of the proletariat under hostile and adverse conditions. 

Additionally, we salute our comrades in the Socialist Labor 
Party of Canada and Comrade Brian Blanchard of Australia. 

We extend to them all our most heartfelt greetings on behalf of 
the Socialist Labor Party of America and on behalf of the proletar- 
iat of the United States of America. 

Fraternally submitted, 

CHRIS CAMACHO, Chair 

JACK BLESSINGTON, RICHARD CASSIN 

CARL C. MILLER JR. 

Committee on Organization 

A motion to adopt the report was seconded. A motion to strike 
the words "and technical" in the first paragraph was passed. 
On motion, the report as amended was adopted. 

State of Organization 

This committee regrets to inform the convention that it was un- 
able to complete its work on the report of the National Secretary's 
report on the "State of Organization." 

We lament that this committee was unprepared to deal with the 
varying important issues raised by the National Secretary in that 



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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

report due partly to insufficient time. 

Fraternally submitted, 

CHRIS CAMACHO, Chair 

JACK BLESSINGTON, RICHARD CASSIN 

CARL C. MILLER JR. 

Committee on Organization 

A motion to adopt the report was seconded. A motion to strike 
the second paragraph was passed. On motion, the report as 
amended was adopted. 

It was noted that a report on "General Activities," the last item 
before the committee, was not yet completed. 

Committee on Headquarters and Finance 
B. Bortnick presented the following: 

Re National Platform 

This committee recommends that the convention adopt the fol- 
lowing as the Party's National Platform: 

The 45th National Convention of the Socialist Labor Party of 
the United States, assembled in Santa Clara, Calif., on the 4th day 
of June 2001, reaffirms its previous national platforms and further 
declares: 

Few can deny that the world today is in a constant state of up- 
heaval. That is reflected in the widespread anarchy, turmoil and 
conflict not only in the developed industrial nations, but also in 
developing nations throughout the world. 

The fact that such conditions prevail generally throughout the 
world, and have prevailed for a long time, logically suggests the 
presence of a dominant common social factor. That common social 
factor, the Socialist Labor Party has repeatedly demonstrated, is 
the capitalist system that does not and cannot work in the inter- 
ests of the majority. It is a social system in which society is divided 
into two classes — a capitalist class and a working class. The capi- 
talist class consists of a tiny minority — the wealthy few who own 
and control the instruments of production and distribution. The 
working class consists of the vast majority who own no productive 
property and must, therefore, seek to work for the class that owns 
and controls the means of life in order to survive. 

The relationship between the two classes forms the basis for an 
economic tyranny under which the workers as a class are exploited 

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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

of the major portion of the social wealth that they produce. 

The beneficiaries and defenders of this economic dictatorship 
never tire of declaring it the "best of all possible systems." Yet, to- 
day, after decades of new deals, fair deals, wars on poverty, civil 
rights legislation, government regulations, deregulations and a 
host of other reform efforts, capitalist America presents an obscene 
social picture. Millions who need and want jobs are still unem- 
ployed despite the official claims that unemployment is at histori- 
cally "low" rates. Millions more are underemployed, working only 
part-time or temporary jobs though they need and want full-time 
work. Millions aren't earning enough to maintain a decent stan- 
dard of living for themselves and their families despite the fact 
that they are working. 

The malignant evil of racism is on the upsurge; so, too, is con- 
temptible discrimination against people of color minorities gener- 
ally. The nation's educational system is a mess and getting worse. 
The health care system, despite heated debate for years, still fails 
to meet the needs of tens of millions. The country's infrastructure 
continues to crumble. Widespread pollution of our environment 
continues. Crime and corruption are pervasive at every level of 
capitalist society. Slums abound and millions of homeless men, 
women and even children roam our streets. Thanks to rising mass 
unemployment and falling real wages, poverty continues to grow. 
The number of people living below the official poverty line has 
risen from 24.1 million in 1969 — years after the Johnson admini- 
stration's so-called "War on Poverty" — to a 1999 level of 32.3 mil- 
lion. 

Even the foregoing fails to give a full picture of the wide-ranging 
plague of social and economic conflicts that contain the seeds of 
war, and a host of other economic and social problems. 

All of those problems still plague the American working 
class — but have grown to even more monumental proportions. 
These long-standing problems and the failure of seemingly unend- 
ing reform efforts to solve or even alleviate them to any meaningful 
degree have imposed decades of misery and suffering on millions of 
workers and their families. Those deplorable conditions continue 
today after what capitalism's apologists and soothsayers refer to as 
the "longest economic boom" in the system's history — a boom many 
they claimed brought prosperity and a sense of security to all levels 
of U.S. society. That capitalist propaganda not only says much 
about capitalist integrity and honesty, it also reflects a consider- 

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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

able degree of callous indifference for the working-class victims of 
this ruthless "expansion." 

Moreover, today, as the "dot-com boom" takes a dive and capital- 
ism enters yet another of its recurring economic busts, the U.S. 
working class stands perilously poised on the brink of yet another 
nightmare of increased joblessness and poverty. 

Against this insane capitalist system, the Socialist Labor Party 
raises its voice in emphatic protest and unqualified condemnation. 
It declares that if our society is to be rid of the host of economic, 
political and social ills that for so long have plagued it, the out- 
moded capitalist system of private ownership of the socially oper- 
ated means of life and production for the profit of a few must be 
replaced by a new social order. That new social order must be or- 
ganized on the sane basis of social ownership and democratic man- 
agement of all the instruments of social production, all means of 
distribution and all of the social services. It must be one in which 
production is carried on to satisfy human needs and wants. In 
short, it must be genuine socialism. 

That is precisely the mission embodied in the Socialist Labor 
Party's Socialist Industrial Union program — a program calling for 
both political and economic organization and action. That program 
also is based upon the SLP's recognition and unqualified accep- 
tance of the fact that the revolutionary change to socialism must be 
the classconscious act of the workers themselves! 

Accordingly, the SLP calls upon the workers to rally under its 
banner for the purpose of advocating this revolutionary change, 
building classconsciousness among workers and projecting a pro- 
gram of organization that the workers could implement toward this 
end. That program also calls for the organization of revolutionary 
socialist unions. These are essential to mobilize the economic 
power of the workers not only to resist the ever-increasing en- 
croachments of the capitalists more effectively, but ultimately to 
provide the essential power to enforce the revolutionary demand. 

Capable of assuming control and continuing to administer and 
operate the essential industries and social services, Socialist In- 
dustrial Unions can exercise the power and provide the decisive 
leverage to "swing" the revolution. Moreover, they have the struc- 
ture that provides the necessary foundation and structural frame- 
work for socialist society. It is the workers who will fill out the new 
societal social framework and make the people's ownership, control 
and administration of the new social structure a reality. 

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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

Despite the many threats to workers' lives, liberty and happi- 
ness today, despite the growing poverty and misery that workers 
are subjected to, a world of peace, liberty, security, health and 
abundance for all stands within our grasp. The potential to create 
such a society exists, but that potential can be realized only if 
workers act to gain control of their own lives by organizing, politi- 
cally and industrially, for socialism. 

The Socialist Labor Party calls upon all who realize the critical 
nature of our times, and who may be increasingly aware that a ba- 
sic change in our society is needed, to place themselves squarely on 
working-class principles. Join us in this effort to put an end to the 
existing class conflict and all its malevolent results by placing the 
land and the instruments of social production in the hands of the 
people as a collective body in a cooperative socialist society. Help 
us build a world in which everyone will enjoy the free exercise and 
full benefit of their individual faculties, multiplied by all the tech- 
nological and other factors of modern civilization. 

Fraternally submitted, 

BERNARD BORTNICK, Chair 

ROBERT BURNS, JOE GROELKE 

Committee on Headquarters and Finance 

A motion to adopt the platform was seconded. 

An amendment to strike the words "so, too, is contemptible dis- 
crimination against people of color generally" in the first sentence 
of the seventh paragraph was made and seconded . 

A substitute amendment to change the words "people of color" to 
"minorities" in the first sentence of the seventh paragraph was 
passed. 

An amendment was passed to change the word "many" to "they" 
in the third sentence of the ninth paragraph. 

On motion, the platform as amended was adopted. 

Re Statement of Fundamental Principles 

This committee recommends that the convention adopt the fol- 
lowing statement: 

The Socialist Labor Party of America, assembled at its 45th Na- 
tional Convention, reasserts the inalienable right of humankind to 
life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 

We hold that the purpose of government is to secure to every 
citizen the enjoyment of this right; but taught by experience we 

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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

hold, furthermore, that such right is illusory to the overwhelming 
majority of the people — the working class — under the present sys- 
tem of economic inequality that is essentially destructive of their 
life, their liberty and their happiness. 

We hold that humanity cannot exercise their right to life, liberty 
and the pursuit of happiness without the ownership of the land on 
and the tools with which to work. Deprived of these, their life, their 
liberty and their fate fall into the hands of the class that owns 
those essentials for work and production. This ownership is today 
held by the minority in society, the capitalist class, exercising 
through this ownership and control an economic despotism without 
parallel in history. 

The nation's wealthiest 10.2 million households — a group that 
includes few workers — reportedly own 69 percent of the nation's 
wealth, while the overwhelmingly working-class balance of 92.3 
million households own only 31 percent. But the "wealth" most 
working-class households "own" is usually merely a home or a car 
in which a bank or finance company really has the largest interest. 
Put another way, most workers merely own the proverbial shirt on 
their back — and little else that helps them much in their struggle 
for existence. 

The ownership of the bulk of the nation's wealth by the few is 
conclusive evidence that labor is robbed of the major portion of the 
product which it alone produces. Thus the worker is denied the 
means of self-employment and, by compulsory idleness in wage 
slavery, is deprived of even the necessaries of life. 

We hold that the existing contradiction between the theory of 
democratic government and the fact of a despotic economic sys- 
tem — the private ownership of the natural and social opportuni- 
ties — divides the nation into two classes: the nonproducing, but 
owning, capitalist class, and the producing, but propertyless, work- 
ing class; throws society into the convulsions of the class struggle 
and invariably perverts government to the uses and benefit of the 
capitalist class. 

As the natural result of social evolution, the capitalist system 
now impels its own downfall. Having completed its normal 
development, this system and its political reflex, the state, are now 
outworn. No longer able to dispose readily of the huge quantities of 
surplus commodities in foreign markets, each capitalist nation 
seeks desperately to crowd out its competitors, with the result that 
wars and conflicts convulse much of the world. In this mad 

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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

struggle for survival, the working classes of all nations are the 
chief sufferers. 

Against such a system the Socialist Labor Party raises the ban- 
ner of revolt and demands the unconditional surrender of the capi- 
talist class. In this supreme crisis no reform measures will stead, 
and history teaches that where a social revolution is pending and, 
for whatever reason, is not accomplished, reaction — dictatorship — 
is the alternative. 

Having outlived its social usefulness, capitalism must give way 
to a new social order — a social order wherein government shall rest 
on industry, on the basis of useful occupations, instead of resting 
on territorial — political — representation. This new social system 
can only be the Socialist Industrial Union form of government if 
the needs of the vast majority are to be served, and if progress is to 
be the law of the future as it has been in the past. Upon the de- 
spoiled workers rests the duty of effecting this revolutionary 
change in a peaceful, civilized manner, using the ballot and all that 
thereby hangs in order to effect the change. 

We, therefore, call upon the wage workers of America to orga- 
nize under the banner of the Socialist Labor Party into a classcon- 
scious body, aware of its rights and determined to conquer them. 

We further call upon the wage workers of America to organize 
into integral Socialist Industrial Unions to enforce their ballot, and 
to fulfill the needs and purposes of the Socialist Industrial Union 
government. Industrial unionism is the Socialist Republic in the 
making; that goal reached, the industrial union is the Socialist Re- 
public in operation. 

Finally, we also call upon all intelligent and social-minded citi- 
zens to place themselves squarely upon the ground of working- 
class interests, and join with us in this noble work of human eman- 
cipation so that we may put summary end to the existing barba- 
rous class conflict. By placing the land and all the means of produc- 
tion, transportation and distribution into the hands of the useful 
producers as a collective body, and substituting the Socialist In- 
dustrial Cooperative Commonwealth for the present state of plan- 
less production, industrial and international wars, and social dis- 
order, a commonwealth can be built in which every worker shall 
have the free exercise and full benefit of his- their faculties, multi- 
plied by all the modern factors of civilization. 

Fraternally submitted, 
BERNARD BORTNICK, Chair 

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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

ROBERT BURNS, JOE GROELKE 
Committee on Headquarters and Finance 

A motion was made and seconded to adopt the statement. 

A five-minute recess was declared at 8:25 p.m. 

An amendment was passed to strike the words "a group that in- 
cludes few workers" in the first sentence of the fifth paragraph. 

An amendment was passed to substitute the word "their" for the 
word "his" in the last sentence. 

On motion, the statement as amended was adopted. 

New Business 

B. Bortnick placed the following names in nomination for the 
National Executive Committee: Ken Boettcher, Chris Camacho, 
Bruce Cozzini, Diane Secor, Stephen Raper. Bernard Bortnick and 
Carl C. Miller Jr. 

The floor was opened for further nominations. 

On motion, K. Boettcher, C. Camacho, B. Cozzini, D. Secor, S. 
Raper, B. Bortnick and C. Miller Jr. were elected by acclamation to 
constitute the NEC for the 2001-2003 term of office. 

B. Bortnick reported that Robert Bills has indicated his willing- 
ness to serve in the post of National Secretary, but that there were 
no names available for the posts of Editor and Financial Secretary. 

R. Bills was nominated for National Secretary. There were no 
further nominations. On motion, R. Bills was elected by acclama- 
tion. 

In Memoriam 
The convention rose to its feet in tribute while the National Sec- 
retary read the names of those members who died in the past year 
since the 44th National Convention . 

1. Frank Musolff, national member-at-large, Calif., June 19, 
1999 

2. Lillian Beck, national member-at-large, Fla., September 1999 

3. Russell Walker Sr., Section Milwaukee, August 27, 1999 

4. Howard R. Sprunger, national member-at-large, Ind., October 
5, 1999 

5. Mary Pirincin, national member-at-large, Calif., January 2, 
2000 

6. Katherine Kapitz, Section Akron, January 12, 2000 

7. Fred Busic, Section Akron, March 12, 2000 

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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

8. Nathan Karp, Section San Francisco Bay Area, April 22, 
2000 

9. John Reynolds, national member-at-large, Calif., July 28, 
2000 

10. Joseph Gingras, Section San Francisco Bay Area, October 3, 
2000 

11. James Minal, Section Vancouver, B.C., Canada, October 4, 
2000 

12. Margaret Rachek, Section Cleveland, October 6, 2000 

13. Peter Kapitz, Section Akron, October 26, 2000 

14. John Carlson, national member-at-large, November 22, 2000 

15. Kenneth Kowalczyk, national member-at-large, N.J., notifi- 
cation received December 21, 2000 

16. Chester Louthan, national member-at-large, Ohio, February 
5,2001 



C. Camacho reported that the Committee on Organization will 
not have sufficient time to complete its work. The National Secre- 
tary inquired of the Chair if that was the committee's decision. 
Camacho informed the Chair that he had not consulted the com- 
mittee. 

At 8:55 p.m., a motion to recess for five minutes for the Commit- 
tee on Organization to confer was adopted. Reconvened at 9 p.m. 

The Chair reported that R. Burns has left the convention to 
catch a plane home. 

Camacho reported that the Committee on Organization did not 
have sufficient time to complete its work. 

On motion, the National Office was authorized to edit the min- 
utes of these proceedings. 

A motion to accept the minutes of Monday's sessions as read was 
seconded. The minutes were corrected to reflect that the names of 
the departed comrades were those who died since the 44th Na- 
tional Convention. 

On motion, the minutes as a whole as amended were adopted. 
On motion, the convention adjourned sine die at 9:11 p.m. 

Fraternally submitted, 
JOHN-PAUL CATUSCO 
Recording Secretary 
DONNA BILLS 
Assistant to the Recording Secretary 

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ADDENDUM 



The following biographical sketch of Nathan Karp is taken from 
the souvenir program distributed at the Nathan Karp Memorial 
Meeting held on Sunday, June 4, in the A.J. Toppers Room of the 
Oakland Marriott City Center Hotel in Oakland, Calif. 

Nathan Karp 

April 25, 1915-April 22, 2000 

Nathan Karp was born in Brooklyn, New York, on April 25, 
1915. His parents, Daniel and Sarah, were young immigrants who 
worked in the New York needle trades when they met in 1908. 
When Dan Karp was 19 he heard Daniel De Leon deliver his ad- 
dress on The Burning Question of Trades Unionism, and he soon 
applied for membership in the SLP. Sarah worked at the Triangle 
Shirtwaist factory in 1911, but she stayed home on that fateful day 
in March when a deadly fire swept through the building near 
Washington Square and snuffed out the lives of 146 other young 
women. Sarah and Dan were married that year. The young family 
moved to southern New Jersey in the late 1910s, where their three 
children, Morris, Nathan and Ruth, grew up and went to school. 

Nathan Karp was a clothing cutter by trade. He spent some time 
in a CCC camp during the Great Depression. In 1935 he followed 
his parents and his beloved brother, Morris, into the SLP. Before 
long he moved to New York City, where he married Anne Wer- 
thamer, his wife and comrade of 63 years. Together they were the 
loving parents of three children, Diane, Alan and Stanley. 

Nathan Karp was a conscientious objector during World War II. 
By 1943 he was elected to the Subcommittee of the SLP's National 
Executive Committee, and for many years he was also a member of 
the SLP's Press Committee. He was the SLP's candidate for United 
States Senator from New York in 1952, for Governor of New York 
in 1953 and for Mayor of New York City in 1954. In 1962, he ap- 
peared before a Senate subcommittee to defend the "equal time" 
provision of the Federal Communications Act, and in 1965 he wrote 
a major statement on the same subject for TV Guide. He left his 
trade in 1963 to join the National Headquarters staff of the SLP as 
assistant to the National Secretary, and he was the SLP's national 
campaign manager in 1964 and 1968. 



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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

In 1969, the membership of the SLP elected him National Secre- 
tary to fill the unfinished term of his predecessor. He was elected 
to a full term of four years in 1972 and to a second term in 1976. 
From 1973 until 1980 he was also de facto Editor of the Weekly 
People. He was instrumental in the decision to move the Party's 
headquarters from Brooklyn to the San Francisco Bay Area in 
1974. More important, however, he took the lead in the effort to 
"revitalize" and rebuild the SLP, starting with the 29th National 
Convention in 1976. In 1980, he was elected Financial Secretary of 
the Party, and from 1983 to 1987 he was a member of the NEC. In 
1990, he assembled a massive array of SLP memorabilia for the 
Party's 100th anniversary celebration and supervised a similar ex- 
hibit for the centennial of The People in 1991. 

He was the author of many SLP statements and publications, 
among them Who Speaks for Socialism? Brinkmanship in South- 
east Asia, Unionism: Fraudulent or Genuine? Crises in America: A 
Revolution Overdue, The SLP and the Unions and Early Efforts at 
Socialist Unity. After retiring as Financial Secretary in 1983, he 
remained on the headquarters staff and was a regular contributor 
of articles to The People. He also acted as a consultant and adviser 
to the National Secretary, and he was at work on the Party's ar- 
chives when he died on April 22, 2000. 



TRIBUTES TO NATHAN KARP 

By Ken Boettcher 

We are here today to honor the life and celebrate the memory of 
Nat Karp. That is an easy thing for me to do. I am one of the 
many — perhaps even hundreds or thousands of — workers who 
benefited and gained inspiration from his razor-sharp classcon- 
scious understanding of the world we live in and the passionate 
intensity of his conviction that it is the destiny of the working class 
to remake the world in the shape of a socialist society of peace, 
plenty and freedom. But I was also among a very fortunate few 
who knew Nat as a friend. That fact gives me more pride than per- 
haps anything else I could say about myself. 

For many years I knew Nat only through the pages of the then 
Weekly People, which I stumbled across as a young hayseed — a 
student, but nonetheless a real hayseed — during a visit to Port- 
land, Oregon, some 30 years ago. The '60s were so full of questions 



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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

that seemed to have no answers. But then I found a newsstand 
filled with copies of the Weekly People. Clearly stated, in logical 
order, crisp and clear, I saw the answers to many of my questions 
about the world. From that time onward, the beacon of the SLP's 
Marxist principles gave purpose to my life. 

Nat and the rest of those comrades who worked for the Party 
and wrote for the Weekly People filled my Oregon hayseed heart 
with inspiration and awe. Nat's perennial dark glasses gave him 
an almost mystic air. When I finally met him during a visit to Na- 
tional Headquarters in the late '70s, my romanticized vision of the 
headquarters staff was not moderated much — the visit was too 
short to get to know them as people. The next time I met him was 
at the 1979 and 1980 SLP conventions, and his knowledge of par- 
liamentary procedure, his grasp of the events of our time and the 
respect he commanded on the convention floor merely increased my 
awe. But his friendliness and mostly gentle encouragement — as 
well as his patience — toward me made me aware there was a real 
human being under those dark glasses and his sometimes stern 
stare. 

Within a few months after I arrived to work at SLP headquar- 
ters almost 18 years ago, Nat, perhaps more than anyone else, 
made me feel at home — offering encouragement and admonish- 
ment, patience and guidance in mostly the right doses at just the 
right times. I imagine he did this with many folks like my- 
self — often, of course, in the shape of a joke or a funny story — one 
of the hundreds of tidbits of humor that he stored away for use at 
the right moment. But he made me feel special, that such a man 
would treat me in such a way. In the intervening years, he was my 
mentor, in a sense the kind of father I always wished to have, and 
despite the difference in our ages, my closest male friend outside 
good old Oregon. He was not just a comrade, but a true friend — one 
who helped me through many a tough time and — perhaps more 
importantly in any friendship — one who accepted help himself at 
least some of the time his friends offered it. 

As old age approached and began to take its toll on Nat, he 
seemed to epitomize the father that poet Dylan Thomas wished to 
urge on when he wrote: 

"Do not go gentle into that good night, 

Old age should burn and rave at close of day; 

Rage, rage against the dying of the light." 

Nat Karp, whom I learned over the years was perhaps even 

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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

more gentle and kind than he ever was demanding and incisive, 
would never go gentle into any good night with respect to the fight 
for socialism. 

Thomas Paine once wrote that, "I love the man that can smile in 
trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow brave by 
reflection. Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose 
heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pur- 
sue his principles unto death." 

Nathan Karp was such a man. 

The window near my desk at the present National Office faces 
the parking spot Nat used for the last two or three years. Morning 
after morning I looked up, upon hearing a car pull up, to see 
him — with a quiet dignity — daily face and overcome the difficulties 
of a body that had survived stroke and heart surgery, ulcers and 
partial paralysis. Slowly the driver's side door would open, and out 
come his arm to grasp it and brace for a slow rise to his feet. A few 
small steps to the rear door and then out would come his walker. 
The sight of him coming across the parking lot to the door, down 
the hall and to his seat day after day made my heart swell with 
pride and, not infrequently, my eyes lose a tear. 

In the words of his beloved Annie — words Nat was fond of quot- 
ing: "Old age is not for sissies." Nat certainly found that to be true, 
yet he never allowed it to stop him. In the gentle way characteristic 
of his later years, he did "rage against the dying of the light." Any- 
one who by mistake or intention defended the interests of the rul- 
ing class learned the rage of this man's intellect and conscience 
even in his last months. 

I'm not sure if I ever told Nat, but I think he knew I loved 
him — and that many people did. We will miss him, and so will the 
movement that motivated his life. Death has robbed us of a real 
working-class champion. If Nat were here today, I can imagine 
what he might say. "Balderdash," I can hear him say. "As Woody 
Allen once said," Nat would continue, "There are worse things in 
life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance 
salesman?'" And Nat would, of course, be right. The thing to fear is 
an inadequate life — something Nat Karp never ever had to fear. 



By Bruce Cozzini 
I had the great good fortune to grow up in the Socialist Labor 
Party and get to know some of the SLP's finest. Joe Pirincin and 

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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

Jack Quinn often stayed at our home, as did the Party's presiden- 
tial candidates. They were tireless workers for socialism, coming 
from the working class and self-educated in the movement. Nat 
Karp was one of that breed, the cream of the crop. They distin- 
guished themselves by the difficult tasks they took on, and Nat 
took on the most difficult, that of leading the SLP through one of 
its most difficult times. I had the good fortune to work at the Na- 
tional Office during that period. 

When I moved to California in 1977 to write for the Weekly Peo- 
ple, the Party was in a state of ferment as new directions were be- 
ing explored. They were exciting times, and I was eager to be part 
of them. My mother and father were concerned about the sacrifices 
involved in uprooting my family to go work for the National Office 
at such a time, but what made them feel good about it was that 
Nat was in charge. They admired his integrity and his grasp of and 
devotion to SLP principles. 

It was an exciting time. We had an outstanding and stimulating 
staff. However, writing full time didn't come easy for me, nor did 
the constant deadlines and the continual pressure. Throughout 
this time Nat was always supportive and helpful, discussing at 
length the principles I was having difficulty with, and offering 
pointers on writing problems. I learned a tremendous amount from 
him. The writing pointers I use all the time in my work now, and I 
can still hear his voice offering them to me. 

For a brief while, to give me a break from working on the paper, 
Nat had me working as his assistant, helping him with correspon- 
dence. During that time I was continually amazed at his feelings 
for the membership. He picked up on subtleties in their letters that 
I missed. He felt deeply for the members and the difficulties they 
faced, both in their SLP efforts and as individuals. 

I was continually impressed with Nat's brilliance as a Marxist. 
On the spur of the moment, he could analyze social problems more 
clearly and coherently than most people can after long study and 
contemplation. And to top it off, he expressed himself with wit and 
humor. It seems strange to wax nostalgic about collection talks, 
but Nat made them not only painless, but truly entertaining. If 
Nat were speaking today, he would have found some appropriate 
funny story. I searched for one, but just couldn't find it. We'll miss 
you Nat. 



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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 



By Bernard Bortnick 

I first met Comrade Nathan Karp at the May-June 1975 Na- 
tional Executive Committee Session in New York. I had been newly 
elected to the committee, replacing Comrade Elizabeth Schnur. I 
was seated among those whom I had always considered the towers 
of the revolutionary socialist movement in America for at least a 
quarter of a century past. Among them were Comrades G. Cozzini, 
J. Pirincin, A. Albaugh and G. Taylor, all on the NEC, and, of 
course, Comrade Nathan Karp. Accordingly, I felt somewhat like a 
"novice," a bit intimidated and out of place. 

Comrade Nathan Karp held the post of National Secretary and 
was also burdened with editorial obligations in the publication of 
the Weekly People since the precipitous departure of the former 
Editor, John Timm, in 1973. 

The Party had recently completed the move of the National 
Headquarters from Brooklyn, New York, to Palo Alto, California, 
in September 1974, and that effort involved changes at many levels 
in the operation of the National Headquarters, not the least of 
which was giving up ownership of the Party press and having the 
Weekly People published commercially. 

The issue of the composition of the NEC Subcommittee re- 
mained to be clarified. A vacancy in an assistant to the National 
Secretary and the uncertainty of the composition and tenure of the 
editorial staff were additional problems lurking in the background. 

These and a number of other issues were aired during that ses- 
sion, and only then did I develop an appreciation for the depth and 
complexity of what the Party faced and, in particular, the multiple 
key decisions and coordination strategies that bore upon Comrade 
Karp and the National Office staff. I groped to make a useful con- 
tribution to the session. I had voted either in favor of or against a 
proposition, apparently to the frustration of Comrade Karp. During 
a recess he approached me and in the kindest terms asked me why 
I had voted as I had. I explained my thoughts and we discussed the 
issue for 10 minutes or so, after which I came away considerably 
enlightened and very impressed with the clarity of his thoughts 
and by the logic of his comments. 

Clarity and logic I came to realize were emblematic of Comrade 
Karp's thought processes. It was during that NEC session that I 
was for the first time repeatedly exposed to Comrade Karp's keen 
analytical mind and accuracy of his judgments. He had "instant 

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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

recall" of facts and figures, a quality which reflected his exceptional 
intelligence. This, coupled with the depth of his knowledge of 
Marxism and Party history, and the speed and energy with which 
he passionately expressed himself, gained him the reputation of 
having a mind like a "steel trap." His guidance was like that of a 
helmsman, correcting the course of the SLP vessel as it moved 
through the treacherous waters of capitalist society. 

In considering the kind of verbal tribute one might pay this gi- 
ant of a man, suitable words are not easily found. But he was to all 
of us a teacher, conveying the benefit of his wise counsel and his 
depth of knowledge. His contributions to the Socialist Labor Party 
were immeasurable and covered a vast range of writings, speeches 
and involvement in the whole spectrum of Party offices and activi- 
ties. 

The key role Comrade Karp played in freeing the Party from 
what can best be described as a sectarian logjam, which came to a 
head at the 1977 National Convention, will ever remain engraved 
in my memory. This was a struggle against what became known as 
the "New York Tendency," a certain confusion of thought that ossi- 
fied into the notion that all past Party decisions were inviolate and 
in the best tradition of Marxism-De Leonism. Comrade Karp re- 
morselessly exposed the shallowness and rigidity of this attitude, 
despite the animosity and acrimony this evoked from some mem- 
bers. His conduct was ruled by Marxian science, the path he had 
followed all of his life. 

He was an individual deeply imbued with the fundamental cor- 
rectness of the Socialist Labor Party and totally committed to its 
cause. Even during his illness he continued to render his services 
to the extent that he could in behalf of the Party. He had a 
thoughtful and warm personality; he was humorous, witty and en- 
gaging — an unforgettable person that I will always feel privileged 
to have known. I will miss him greatly. 

Rachel and I extend our deepest sympathies to Comrade Anne 
Karp, Stan, Alan and Diane Karp, and to all of his family mem- 
bers. 



By Robert Bills 
Nathan Karp was a big part of my life for more than 30 years. 
Some who knew us both say our relationship was like that of father 
to son, but that is wrong. The relationship of parent to child is too 

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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

intimate, too much involved with the passing on of traits and char- 
acteristics that no outsider can possibly share. 

What Nat Karp and I shared was something different. We were 
comrades and friends, two things Nat had more than one occasion 
to say did not always or necessarily go together. 

It was Abraham Lincoln who said: "The strongest bond of hu- 
man sympathy outside the family relation should be one uniting all 
working people of all nations and tongues, and kindreds." 

It was the bond of working together for a common purpose that 
brought Nat Karp and me together and laid the foundation for our 
relationship as comrades and friends. The foundation of our rela- 
tionship was not blood, but a meeting of minds that welcome each 
other because it seems they share certain interests, certain ideals 
and a certain way of looking at things. Where the two things, com- 
radeship and friendship, began to touch and overlap is hard to say. 
But wherever and whenever it began I know that for myself it grew 
stronger as time went by. 

I met Nat Karp for the first time on a sunny San Francisco day 
in the summer of 1969. He was 54, just two years younger than I 
am today, and I was 25. He was newly elected as National Secre- 
tary of the Socialist Labor Party. I was simply a young Party mem- 
ber of three years' standing. He surely had no expectations beyond 
those he might have had at making the acquaintance of any mem- 
ber of the Party, but I was surely excited and felt myself flattered 
to meet him and his wife Annie in that particular way. You see, it 
was not an "official occasion." It was not some Party-sponsored 
meeting or social affair; not some performance of duty where the 
focus of attention shakes hands, smiles and thanks those intro- 
duced to him for their good wishes and words of encouragement. It 
was a personal arrangement that other comrades had made to see 
some sights at Ghiradelli Square, to spend a pleasant afternoon 
together and to share a meal. 

But there was no reason on that particular day in 1969 for ei- 
ther of us to think that any more would come out of that afternoon 
than what it contained. He was 29 years my senior. We grew up at 
different times, some would say in different worlds. We had no 
shared experiences, either as members of a generation or as mem- 
bers of the SLP. He would return to New York and I would resume 
my life here on the coast with the addition of a pleasant memory. I 
had no reason to expect that all that would change one year later 
when Donna and I traveled from Sacramento to San Francisco 

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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

where I was scheduled to give my first talk as an SLP speaker. I 
was scared, didn't do very well, and ordinarily it would have been 
one of those days that anyone would prefer to forget. However, it 
was also the day I was asked if I would consider moving to New 
York to become a member of the National Headquarters staff of the 
SLP. I had no one to consult but Donna, and when she agreed I 
was on my way — and she soon thereafter. 

Those first days and months in New Jersey and New York were 
difficult ones for Donna and me. Nat and Anne took me in when I 
arrived and helped me find a place for Donna and I to live when 
she arrived a month later. They took me to the airport to meet her, 
and showed us as much kindness and concern as if we had been 
members of their own family. 

New York City is a big place. Its size and its concentration, its 
press of humanity were wholly outside the experience of a young 
couple who grew up in much smaller and slower paced California 
and Nevada towns. It was at once exhilarating and intimidating, 
and Donna and I were very much fish out of our water. 

Looking back, there is no doubt in my mind that Donna and I 
managed to survive life in the big city in large part because of the 
kindness that Nat and Anne showed toward us. It was a lopsided 
way to start a relationship, much less a friendship, but we must 
have measured up in ways that mattered. Nat had a talent for siz- 
ing people up. Within a few months of our having moved to the 
East he needed to hire someone else for the headquarters staff. I 
suggested that he consider Donna. 

That was the first time I offered my advice about anything to 
Nat Karp. It turned out to be good advice, as I knew it would. 

Nat Karp loved history, particularly American history. His per- 
sonal library is filled with books about the history of the country 
and historical figures. Apart from Marx, Engels and De Leon, he 
admired such men as Samuel Adams, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jef- 
ferson, William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips and Abraham 
Lincoln — all of them dedicated revolutionaries and opponents of 
tyranny. 

But his admiration of these men was tempered by the knowledge 
that they were merely human, creatures of their times and of their 
circumstances, and subject to all the weaknesses that define hu- 
manity as a creature of its environment. He understood human 
nature very well, and because of that he could admire historical 
figures with an appreciation and perception tempered by his own 

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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

intelligence and insights into the limitations that the social envi- 
ronment create. 

It was Daniel De Leon, I believe, who answered critics of Jeffer- 
son to the effect that it was enough to secure his immortality for 
Jefferson to have written a few lines into the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence proclaiming that all men were created equal and that 
governments ought to derive their powers from the consent of the 
governed. A thousand generations were needed before that plateau 
in the social development of the human race could be reached. It 
was unreasonable to expect more of any one person, no matter how 
gifted, and it betrayed a lack of appreciation of how difficult truly 
historical progress is to make. 

Nat Karp appreciated this. He understood that men and women 
could not always measure up to their own aspirations for them- 
selves or for the world in which we live. But he never used that as 
an excuse not to measure up to his own aspirations. More than 
that, he never gave up on the potential he saw in others, no matter 
how often he may have been frustrated or disappointed by them. 
He wanted the men and women he came in contact with to meas- 
ure up to their own potential. He could be firm, and he could get 
angry. But he also had gentle and insightful ways of reaching out 
to encourage others to improve their skills, and I never knew him 
to deny anyone help or advice when they needed it. He did not 
hesitate when he was asked for his help, and if he felt it was neces- 
sary to take the initiative it was with all the sympathy and tact 
that anyone could wish for. 

During our 30-year relationship as coworkers at the National 
Office, there were countless occasions on which I was witness to 
Nat Karp's boundless energy and dedication under circumstances 
that unquestionably would have left most other men wringing their 
hands in despair. But not Nat Karp. 

When the former Editor of the Weekly People walked off the job 
in May 1973, Nat stepped in without hesitation to prevent the pa- 
per from going under. How he managed it is still something that I 
marvel at, even though as the only remaining member of the edito- 
rial staff I witnessed it at firsthand. 

Occasionally I have taken down the 1973 volume of the Weekly 
People just to read through the many articles and editorials that 
Nat labored over during the months that followed the 1973 NEC 
Session. To this day I am amazed at the variety and the quality of 
what he managed to produce in circumstances that would have 

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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

caused anyone else to throw in the towel. But he didn't. He 
couldn't. It wasn't in his nature. He saw what needed to be done 
and he did it. 

Nat Karp was not only the most intelligent and perceptive man I 
ever met. He was the most self-disciplined man I ever knew. It was 
that self-discipline that enabled him to use his intelligence to a 
purpose. 

Nat Karp's natural attributes, and the self-discipline that al- 
lowed him to make the most of them, sometimes overwhelmed oth- 
ers whose potential may or may not have been as great, but whose 
determination to make the best use of their own potential was not 
as keenly developed. 

I know these things because I was a beneficiary of them. 

When health considerations forced Nat Karp to step down as 
National Secretary at the end of his second full term of office in 
1980, the pool of possible replacements from which to draw was 
limited. When the 1980 National Convention voted to confer that 
honor on me Nat Karp knew that the responsibilities were being 
placed on inexperienced shoulders. During the months and years 
that followed, however, he never intruded himself, but seemed to 
trust to my judgment to decide when and if I felt the need to seek 
his counsel and support. I did that often, and he helped me in far 
too many ways even to begin to list. My preparation had been lim- 
ited to a year or two as one of his assistants, and while I eventually 
found my way in most things, I doubt that I would have lasted be- 
yond that first shaky term without the knowledge that Nat was 
there to help me through. 

Nat Karp was also a man of great personal courage. There are 
dozens of examples I might cite to make the point, but none so re- 
vealing as his struggle to overcome the physical limitations he was 
faced with after he suffered a stroke. 

He insisted on receiving all the physical therapy that was avail- 
able, and he devoted himself to recovering his physical independ- 
ence. He not only accomplished that goal, he returned to work at 
the National Office and dedicated his time, his mind and his en- 
ergy to organizing the Party's vast archives for transfer to the Wis- 
consin State Historical Society. In addition, he continued to write 
articles for The People and never missed an issue until he drove 
himself to the hospital from which he would never return. 

When Donna and I took our last trip to the hospital to visit Nat 
we were informed that he had died about an hour before we ar- 

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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

rived. The doctor who informed us said with a voice marked by 
unmistakable sincerity that "he was a fighter." She didn't know the 
half of it. 

Apart from being the most intelligent, highly disciplined and in 
many ways the most courageous man I ever met, Nat Karp was 
also the most principled man I have ever encountered. His princi- 
ples were synonymous with those of the Socialist Labor Party, to 
which he had wholeheartedly dedicated himself from the time he 
joined at the age of 20. 

But there was nothing pat or dogmatic about Nat Karp. He was 
as perceptive, inquisitive, analytical and logical on the day he died 
as he was that day I met him 31 years ago. 

Nat Karp was my friend and comrade, two things, as I said ear- 
lier, that do not always or necessarily go together. But in my heart 
and in my mind I know that, in our case, they did. 

Nat Karp was everything a man could hope to be — everything an 
admirer, a friend and a comrade could ever hope to emulate. His 
heart was as big as it was courageous. His mind was as powerful as 
his principles were strong. His comradeship and friendship were as 
firm as the grip of his hand. If he had been my father I could not 
have loved him more. 

I can think of no more fitting words for parting from that living 
friendship than a slight paraphrase of those that A.C. Cameron 
wrote when he lost his friend and comrade, William H. Sylvis, in 
July 1869, 100 years to the month before Nat Karp entered my life. 

"And now that he has gone from our midst; that his ac- 
tive. ..brain has been stilled forever; that his words of counsel and 
encouragement will be heard no more, let it be our highest ambi- 
tion to carry to successful completion the good work so gloriously 
begun. Let us re-pledge our devotion to the dissemination of those 
principles to which his life was devoted, and in the attainment of 
which the welfare of the human race is involved; and though we 
may not be able to emblazon our names in letters of such shining 
light, or engrave them high on the scroll of fame as he, yet we shall 
be emulating his virtues by following his example, by making the 
precepts which made him so truly great our precepts, leave behind 
us the fragrance of a well-spent life, and a memory to be honored 
and revered. 

"Then up and be doing, the night has been long, 
Our forces are weak, and the tyrants are strong; 
But while fortune favors the true and the brave, 

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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

Let's pledge our devotion o'er Nathan Karp's grave. 



Avi Bortnick, Oakland, Calif. — I was saddened to hear the news 
about Nathan Karp. I have very fond memories of him, stretching 
back nearly as far as I can remember. I will miss his astute social- 
ist insights and terrific sense of humor. 

Sam Bortnick, Oakland, Calif. — I will always have fond memo- 
ries of Nate, having known him as a friend of the family since 
childhood. 

Jeff Chern, Frisco, Tex. — As a "writer" I often read Comrade 
Karp's articles and questioned my own abilities. He wrote with 
such clarity and economy that it seemed each article went through 
25 drafts. And I'm sure they didn't. Though I met him only once, he 
seemed a man of genuine good humor, but also of uncompromising 
principles. Should all of us today rededicate ourselves to the kind 
of commitment he gave, few of us would have enough years left to 
approach his contributions. The Party will more than miss him, 
and will never replace him. 

Diane Secor, San Jose, Calif. — I cannot find words, so all I can 
do is speak from the heart. Comrade Nathan Karp dedicated his 
life to the Socialist Labor Party and humanity. He led a lifetime of 
self-sacrifice and adherence to principle through thick and thin. He 
always chose to stand for what is right, never yielding to what is 
expedient or convenient. His courage and total commitment to the 
principles of the SLP are a source of strength and inspiration to all 
who knew him. His life and memory are a priceless treasure which 
will endure for generations to come. 

Chris Camacho, Miami, Fla. — I am deeply saddened to learn of 
Comrade Karp's passing. Anyone who have ever met the man and 
heard him speak would agree that he was an exceptional man, a 
gifted speaker and a genuine Socialist revolutionary. Summed up 
in him were the virtues and the wisdom that the Party imparts 
upon its steadfast men and women. The SLP has lost a true work- 
ing-class hero. I consider myself a fortunate person to have met 
him and will mourn his passing for a long time. However, I take 
comfort in the thought that a little bit of what Nathan Karp was 

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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

still lives on in my mind and in my heart. May that little bit live 
forever! 

Manuel Luevano, Stockton, Calif. — Although I did not know Mr. 
Karp personally, I hold deep admiration and respect for this special 
man for all he did and attempted to do for the workingman. He 
worked to the very end for our cause and he richly deserves this 
final tribute. May his soul rest in peace. 

Henry Coretz, Skokie, III. — The loss of Comrade Karp is irrepa- 
rable. I mourn his death along with you and our other comrades in 
the SLP. His life was a gift and a model for the working class to 
emulate. 

John Gale, Phoenix, Ariz. — It is with sadness that I enclose my 
contribution to the Nat Karp Memorial Fund. As far as I was con- 
cerned he was a brilliant, considerate and fair man. A medical con- 
dition prevented me from knowing him and his wife Anne better 
than I did. He was my "boss" for a couple of years at the N.O., and 
when I was stabbed in Brooklyn after I left the N.O., he and the 
whole staff were concerned and came to see me at Kings County 
Hospital. During and after my recovery, he was concerned about 
my recovery and employment prospects for the future. He was the 
most knowledgeable man about Lincoln I ever met and he wrote 
brilliant pamphlets and articles for The People. When and if the 
workers build socialism, I will remember dedicated people to the 
cause of humanity, including Lincoln, De Leon, Arnold Petersen 
and Nathan Karp. 

Brian Blanchard, Launceston, Australia — I am saddened and 
shocked to hear of the death of Comrade Karp. I noted that he 
didn't have an article in the April edition so I thought something 
must be wrong. What a loss to the Party and the world. I never met 
him but I have known him for over 40 years. I salute a profound 
Socialist and a fine human being. He will be sadly missed. The best 
way to honor him, I think, is to carry on the work with as much 
effort and dedication as he did. 

Douglas Irving, National Secretary, SLP of Canada — I was 
shocked to read in your letter of the death of Comrade Nathan 
Karp. I will send a copy of your letter to all Canadian members. I 

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SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY 

am in deep sorrow for the death of not only a great and dedicated 
Marxist, but also a great human being who I had the privilege to 
know personally. 

Roy K. Nelson, Needham, Mass. — Nathan Karp was our elder 
statesman and a guiding influence upon our survival through dete- 
riorating political and social conditions and adaptation to new and 
different circumstances. His death leaves us remaining members 
and leadership to carry on as our parents did for their forefathers. 

Mary And John Brlas, Gulfport, Fla. — We have received letter of 
April 23 with the sad news that Comrade Karp has passed away. 
We were so hoping to seem him next year at the convention. The 
news has saddened us and as you so ably said it: "...to give expres- 
sion to emotions so deeply embedded in my being that they reduce 
all words to hollow and meaningless echoes." We feel the same way 
and we couldn't put it better than the way you have so touchingly 
stated. I believe that most of our members will be speechless and 
saddened. I met Nathan Karp the first time at our federation con- 
vention in 1933 — 67 years ago. He was such a young and energetic 
fellow. 

Tony Marsella, Whiting, N.J. — I was greatly saddened to hear of 
the death of Nathan Karp, a man that I had known and worked 
together with at the Party headquarters. He was one of the best 
human beings that I met. Also a great social mind and outstanding 
intellect from whom I learned all that I know today about the cor- 
rupt system we live under. I will never forget what he did for me 
and others to understand life and ourselves. I am deeply sorry over 
the passing of a fine human being. 

Robert K. Hofem, Carlsbad, Calif. — What a great world this 
would be if the world were populated with Nathan Karps! We are 
deeply saddened that he has left us. 

Dorothy Hardin, McMinnville, Ore. — The People arrived yester- 
day and I was shocked to learn of Nathan Karp's death and so 
very, very sorry. I have been taking the paper for over 15 years, 
and when it arrived each time I would always look first for Na- 
than's articles. Because of his well-reasoned, vigorous writing tal- 
ents I have always assumed that he was a much younger man — so 

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45TH NATIONAL CONVENTION 

learning about his death was a terrible blow, and learning he was 
almost 85 was at first impossible to grasp. I wish I lived nearer so 
that I might attend his memorial. We have lost a fine man. 

D.H. Knight, Boomer, N.C. — The news of the death of Comrade 
Karp was disturbing. I admired his devotion and contributions to 
the Party. His articles in The People always interested me. His 
passing is a great loss to the Party. 

Ralph Reider, Schoolcraft, Mich. — Sorry about the death of Na- 
than Karp. That was a real disaster. He did so much good writing. 
The People should print many of his articles over again. Possibly 
several of his articles could be edited to make a permanent booklet. 

Rob Faivre, Saratoga, N.Y. — Please send three copies of Nathan 
Karp's Unionism pamphlet — and accept the rest of this check as a 
small donation to his memorial fund. His work continues to be of 
value to my students and to my work as a college writing teacher 
and member of a teachers' union that does little more than make 
deals with management. I keep working at it — and look forward to 
sharing the pamphlet with our union president. 

Joseph and Fred Bellon, Brooklyn, N.Y. — We both are saddened 
to read in The People that Nathan Karp has passed on. We both 
send our deepest sympathy to all his family and to every SLP man 
and woman who knew him. We both were inspired by his works 
and words. We will always remember him in our thoughts, and 
may he rest in peace. 



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