William Weinstone (1897–1985) was a Marxist scholar, editor and trade union organizer who helped found the Communist Party USA in 1919. He grew up in Brooklyn, embraced Marxism as a teen-ager and spent his life in a struggle to free U.S. workers from poverty, unemployment and capitalist exploitation. Weinstone was the New York Communist Party’s general secretary and was a candidate in a series of political races there in the 1920s-30s. Weinstone helped organize unions and led strikes in the New York garment industry and among subway and textile workers in the 1920’s. Later, as head of Michigan’s Communist Party, he helped organize strikes that led to union contracts for automobile workers in Detroit in the 1930’s. He was editor of The Daily Worker in 1931-2, and wrote extensively for that newspaper and other left publications. In 1953, he and 12 other Communist Party leaders were convicted of conspiracy under the thought-control prosecution of the Smith Act. His role in the conspiracy was the writing of two newspaper articles, reviewing the party’s educational work and plans to increase membership. He served two years in a Federal prison. William Weinstone’s papers reside with the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Weinstone was immortalized as one of the “witnesses” in Warren Beatty’s 1981 film, Reds, sharing his personal recollections of radical journalist John Reed and his wife, Louise Bryant.
The Political Buro of the Central Committee of the Communist Party USA called a special meeting in Cleveland, Ohio for Saturday, April 17th, 1937. Due to the delay in the arrival of some of the leaders invited, the meeting did not convene until 9 A.M. Sunday, April 18th. It was held in the Jewish Labor Center, 55th and Scoville Streets, Cleveland. Among those present were: Jack Stachel, F. Brown , Clarence Hathaway, Elizabeth Lawson and Harry Raymond (of the "Daily Worker" staff), from New York; William Weinstone, District Secretary for Michigan; John Williamson, District Organizer for Ohio; Ned Sparks, District Organizer for Pittsburgh; John Steuben, Section Organizer for Youngstown; June Croll, from the Women's Department of the national office in New York; Morris Childs, District Organizer for Illinois; Israel Amter and Charles Krumbein, District Organizer and District Secretary, respectively for New York, and Jack Johnstone and Robert Minor, members of the Central Executive Committee of the Communist Party. There were several others present, who were not identified.
Elizabeth Lawson was formerly a student of the University of Minnesota and recently was editor of the Southern Worker, using the pen name of "Jim Mallory," June Croll of the Women's Department was formerly the wife of Carl Reeve, son of "Mother" Ella Reeve Bloor, but was by then the wife of Langston Hughes, "radical negro poet" of Boston. Quite a number of others were invited but could not be present because of the pressure of work in their respective communities.
In opening the session Stachel stated that the purpose of the meeting was to endeavor to clarify a number of problems, among them:
(1) the political situation in the light of the Supreme Court decision on the Wagner Act; (2) the prospect for further work by the Communist Party in the C.I.O. and the A.F. of L. and (3) the Party position today on the negro question. Despite the poor attendance, because of the short notice, it was decided to discuss these matters and then direct the Political Buro to prepare a letter to District and Section Committees on the results of the discussion. The first reports on the political situation were made by Stachel and Brown. report on a special meeting of the CP US Political Buro that was held in Cleveland on 17 April 1937. The meeting was called to discuss (a) the impact of the Supreme Court's Jones & Laughlin decision; (b) Party work in the AFL and the CIO; and (c) Party work among African-Americans.