Library: Christine Berl & Henry Weinfield's letter of resignation - April 2, 1974

letter of resignation | 2 >

At 3:00 A.M., March 29th, we received a telephone call from George Turner, relaying a message from Lyn Marcus. The message ran as follows:

Marcus is suspending Christine from the NEC and the NC. He is cancelling her concert in Boston. She will not be allowed to blackmail the organization through fundraising. L. Marcus regards her as a potential traitor to the human race; wants no personal contact with her until she repudiates this threat; and that finally, like her father and mother, she seems to have made her peace with the fascists.

all of which was delivered in a military drawl.

The threat to which Turner alluded had to do with a phone conversation Christine had had earlier with Ed Spanaus in which she stated that she could do no further political organizing on behalf of an organization with which she found herself in profound disagreement on several issues. Therefore, she urged that she have the opportunity to straighten out these differences with Lyn himself so that the fundraising concerts scheduled to begin a week later could proceed on a clear-cut basis: either as direct activities of the Labor Committee, or on the basis of a United Front with the Artists for Humanity. During this conversation Spanaus mentioned that if Christine were to give the concerts, she could not make known her disagreements with the organisation ir. public; to which she agreed.

Having considered the nature of this message, and the manner in which it had been related to us, we realized that if we were indeed to be considered as "potential traitor(s) to the human race," our lives were in some danger. We were therefore obliged to take the precautions of lodging with the Special Services of the Police Dept. and the FBI the telephone message verbatim as it had been delivered to us--not as a complaint to be acted upon by those authorities, but simply as a piece of information that would protect us from any encroachment. We also prepared a narration of the sequence of events listed in this document (above), which we communicated to certain friends, non-Labor Committee members, with strict instructions" to divulge that story to the Press in the event of our disappearance, or should they consider us to be in imminent danger. Finally, we communicated ail of these things to L. Marcus in a telegram dated March 29th, which also announced our resignations from the organization.

What the substance of our disagreements with the organization was, and why, after having received the telephone call, we considered ourselves to be in such imminent danger as to warrant an action which under normal circumstances would have been inadmissable for socialists, constitutes the remainder of this document.

In the first place, we had for some time viewed with dismay the deter ioration of an organization which had formerly represented the most ennobled expression of the Marxist-Humanist tradition, and which alone possessed the intellectual and political capabilities necessary to implement worldwide socialism, to an organization which, on the basis of military contingencies, real or imagined, was effectively squelching within its own ranks the very political dialogue which had hitherto contributed to its intellectual preeminence.

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