A Philip Randolph provides many examples of how to build and break coalitions. Randolph understood that alliances bring economy of scale and cross-pollinate ideas from one movement to another. He also understood if a member or group of members is going down the wrong path, it is better to let them go down that road alone. He understood relationships are important, but the welfare of the people he is here to protect is more important.
Randolph’s first coalition was formed to aid the Scottsboro Boys to fight their 1931 case. The Scottsboro Boys were a group of black hobos that fought a group of white hobos for the right to stowaway on a train car. After losing the fight, the white hobos got two white women to accuse the blacks of rape. The Scottsboro Boys are arrested and almost lynched. A rushed trail and a harsh conviction followed to prevent a race riot.
Randolph teams up with the NAACP and the Communist Party. Randolph, having the Pullman Porters at his aid, was able to make sure news of the trial got across the country. The NAACP had the lawyers and the political pull to make sure the Scottsboro Boys had a retrial. The Communist Party had money and pull with white liberals and radicals. The team was able to free four of the nine men. 
The members of the team decided they should keep a good thing going. In May of 1935, the National Negro Congress is founded at Howard University. They had their first convention in Chicago in February of 1936. The NNC had 800 delegates representing every major national and local Civil Rights, Labor, and Leftist organization. The goal was to fight for Civil Rights as a subset of economic equality. The NNC will encourage blacks to join the unions, the unions to accept black people, and pooling resources to support leftist candidates and policies. The largest difference between NNC members and mainstream leftist and Civil Rights organizations is the thought race is a material, not moral construct and racism is a national not Southern issue. 
The biggest division in the group was the Communist and liberal Civil Rights leaders. The Communist wanted to change the economic system of the United States. Beck refers to this as a “Second Order Change.” The Liberals wanted more blacks involved in industries outside domestic and agricultural. The Liberals wanted “First Order Change.”
On top of having different philosophies, many Communist Party leaders were in contact with the Soviet Union (USSR). The USSR and the USA had a very complicated relationship in the 1930’s. USSR was part of the allied alliance against Germany. At the same time, the Soviet Union vowed to spread Communism all over the world. The spread of Communism was a direct threat to American capitalism. Many of the liberals did not want to get involved in taking on the entire government. They also did not want to be implicated in an espionage investigation
In 1939, the USSR signed an agreement with Germany not to attack. Essentially, the USSR left the Allied Alliance. The USSR leaving the war caused a split in the NNC. The Liberals wanted to support the war effort and desegregate the military. The Communist wanted to become pacifist. A. Philip Randolph and the other liberals left the NNC in 1940. 
In 1941, Germany reneged on the pact with the USSR and invaded. The American Communist Party does a one-eighty and now supports the war effort. The Communist go so far that they no longer call for the military to desegregate. The new stance is Hitler is the primary enemy and racist are a secondary enemy. After the war is over, the Civil Rights struggle will continue.Many of the NNC members and black people in the Communist party at large left when the party abandoned Civil Rights. One of those people was Bayard Rustin. The NNC dissolves in 1947 due to Cold War Suppression. 
Randolph took the contingent that was pro-USA and started the “Double V” movement. The goal was to encourage black people to join the war effort and desegregate the military. The committee will grow to the March on Washington Movement that will force the desegregation of the war industry and the military. It will also increase Randolph’s influence with a host of presidents. More on this subject will fill a later blog post.
As the reader can see, Randolph again shows exceptional judgment. He had watched the Soviet Revolution since 1917 when he viewed it optimistically. He watched the atrocities it committed over the last fifteen years and determined he wanted no part of it. The USA had its problems, yet he understood that these problems could best be solved within the USA. Becoming a puppet to a foreign government caused not only the loss of independence, but it also puts the organization even more at odds with the government that has power over the lives of the members. Randolph made the best decision for himself and the Brotherhood by leaving the NNC. By keeping his independence, he was able to take a practical stance against oppression
1. “Scottsboro Boys, Trial, and Defense” http://www.blackpast.org
2. “The National Negro Congress of 1936” http://freepress.org
3. “National Negro Congress” http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org
4. Report on Deathblow to Jim Crow by Charles Manning
5. “The Negro March On Washington Movement in the World War II Period” https://theanarchistlibrary.org