By J.J. Thomson
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Extra resources for Recollections and Reflections
It was very clear that Walker had no intention of going back to Seattle to work with Noral. " I couldn't back out after making that commitment. I found it to be a full time job to read and try to understand those many publications. They believed right and justice belonged on their side, protesting against imperialist war, supporting the shingle weavers' picket line, marching for unemployment insurance, saving the Scottsboro boys, organizing industrial red trade unions, and fervently defending the Soviet Union against threatened imperialist war.
That was probably close to half the population of Seattle. This caused spontaneous violent protests from the people directly affected. I was granted the floor by votes of the members at the meetings because many members wanted to know what the Communist program really was. These were the policies of the Communist Party's Unemployed Councils, which additionally advocated unemployment insurance and demanded union wages be paid for all work relief. This policy caused me severe problems later because it did not answer to the needs of the people in 1932.
Then I discovered that most of the active leaders were unfamiliar with the academic background of the Party theories and relied instead on current orders and directives from the top national leaders. Our speakers continually Page 27 competed with IWW leader "Big" Jim Thompson who frequently spoke on Skid Road on the corner of Washington and Occidental streets in Seattle—an area which has been redesigned by the city planners and has lost its identity with its past. Here again we accepted the claims of the top party leaders, little understanding the complexity of establishing a socialism that could be accepted as a real step toward our ideal of Marxian communism.