Exclusion Act

There have been three Exclusion Acts at Worldcons, two major/one minor, all of which ultimately drew negative responses from fandom.

(1) At the 1939 NYCon I (the first "worldcon"), the Triumvirs who were running the show (Sam Moskowitz, Will Sykora and James V. Taurasi), citing "conflicts" which had occurred at the Newark con brought on by Don Wollheim and other Futurians, ultimately denied entry to six members of the New York Futurian Society -– Wollheim, Robert A. W. Lowndes, Cyril Kornbluth, Lois Gillespie, Fred Pohl and John Michel. Although the Triumvirs had talked about the possibility earlier, actually doing so was apparently an on-the-spot decision made when attempts to negotiate an alternative failed (Wollheim and Moskowitz could not agree upon terms allowing their admission) and upon the discovery of some "Michelist" (essentially pro-Communist) fliers which the group intended to distribute. At least four FuturiansDave Kyle, Richard Wilson, Jack Rubinson and leslie perri –- were not barred. The reaction of fandom as a whole, while not necessarily pro-Futurian, was very definitely anti-Exclusion.

(2) The mini-Exclusion did not take place until the next time a Worldcon was held in New York, the 1956 NYCon II, when the convention chairman was Kyle, one of the Futurians who’d been allowed to enter NYCon I. Kyle excluded those who had not purchased a banquet ticket from hearing the GoH talk by Al Capp or any of the rest of the proceedings. See Balcony Insurgents for the full details (or at least fuller than this) of how "Dave Kyle says you can't sit here.".

See also the Breendoggle (AKA the Boondoggle).

Contributors: Dr. Gafia

from Fancyclopedia 2 ca. 1959
The Triumvirs, in planning for the NYCon I, considered excluding their feud-opponents the Futurians from the gathering to avoid such conflict as had marred the Newark Convention. No decision was reached, but when the conventioneers began arriving Taurasi stopped Wollheim Lowndes Kornbluth and Gillespie and told them they couldn't enter the hall. (It appears that some pushing and shoving was done about this time, but no blood drawn.) Moskowitz came out and they talked and argued for about fifteen minutes, SaM telling Wollheim that they would admit the four if the Futurians promised "not to do anything to harm the progress of the convention." Wollheim refused to accept conditional admittance but in another passage of the conversation said they could be ejected if they didn't behave. Moskowitz sent for the superintendent of the building, but couldn't get in touch with him. Finally he went looking for Sykora to consult with him, but on the way found a stack of Michelistic sheets and pamphlets (which Pohl and others had run off the night before for distribution at the con) where Pohl and Michel had cached them behind a radiator. In the end, all six — Wollheim Lowndes Kornbluth Gillespie Pohl and Michel — were refused admittance. Police had been called but were not put into service by the Triumvirs.

Many attendees, including Morojo of LA, Hart of Texas, and Mrs Swisher of Massachusetts, urged the convention committee to admit the six, and other members of the FSNY including Kyle Wilson Rubinson and leslie perri were not barred. In the afternoon, Kyle gained the floor on a pretext and held it to make a motion that the excluded fans be admitted. But Sykora as chairman talked a while and changed the subject. (There was no fan discussion period, and no motions were recognized, during the convention.) On the third day of the con, while most attendees were watching a fan baseball game on Flushing Flats, the Futurians and their sympathizers met at a Futurian Conference to discuss the Exclusion Act, but this was not a part of the convention.

Because of its dramatic quality, as well as the issues involved, the X Act came to dominate talk about the convention as time passed. The Triumvirs tried to do as they had done in rising to power — ignore the existence of fan feuds — but finally, at the PhilCo in the fall, Moskowitz published their side of the matter (theretofore unrepresented and uninquired about) adding charges that the Futurians' refusal to make the promise asked showed that they wanted to be excluded, in order to better their strategic position in the feud if they weren't able to upset the convention itself. Resentment over the thing decreased somewhat thereafter but the Triumvirs were never forgiven.

The Second or Little Exclusion Act, so called, was a piffling affair at the NYCon II when the con committee briefly refused to allow any attendees who had not paid for the banquet ($7) to listen to the dinner speakers from the balcony overlooking the hall. But this was resented rather as fuggheadedness than malice.
from Fancyclopedia 1 ca. 1944
Fearing conflict such as marred the Newark Convention, the Triumvirs discussed the question of admitting the Futurians in planning the World Convention. No decision was arrived at, however; Moskowitz was less unfavorably inclined toward the Futurians than Sykora and Taurasi. The nite before the Convention, Pohl and others mimeographed a number of Michelistic sheets and pamflets to distribute at the WSFC as they had at the Newark gathering. Next morning, as the Conventioneers began arriving, among them were Wollheim, Lowndes, Kornbluth, and Gillespie. As they started into the hall upstairs, Taurasi stopped them and said they couldn't go in. It appears that some pushing and shoving was done about this time, but no blood drawn. Sam Moskowitz came out of the hall and they talked and argued for about fifteen minutes. Moskowitz told Wollheim they would admit them if the Futurians would promise not to "do anything to harm the progress of the Convention". Wollheim refused, but in another passage of the conversation, said they could be ejected if they didn't behave. Moskowitz sent for the superintendent of the building, but couldn't get in touch with him. Finally he said he'd go find Sykora and consult with him. On the way down, he found the pamflets, apparently hidden behind a radiator, having been left there by Pohl and Michel who arrived later than the other four. So far your Herodotos has tried to reconstruct the happenings. In the end, those six were refused admittance. Police had been called, but were not put into service by the Triumvirs.

Unknown to the excluded six, Kyle had anonymously printed a yellow pamflet warning against an expected effort by the Triumvirate to use the Convention to resurrect the ISA or put across something else thru their parliamentary control. As it turned out, these suspicions were unfounded, for there was no fan discussion period, and no motions were recognized. Many attendees, including Morojo of LA, Hart of Texas, and Mrs Swisher of Massachusetts, urged the convention committee to admit the six Futurians. Other members of the FSNY, including Kyle, Wilson, Rubinson, and leslie perri, were not barred. In the afternoon, Kyle gained the floor on a pretext and held it to make a motion that the excluded fans be admitted. Sykora, chairman, talked awhile and changed the subject.

Because of its dramatic quality, as well as the issues involved, the X Act came more and more to dominate talk about the Convention as time passed. The Triumvirs attempted to do as they had done in rising to power, ignored the existence of fan feuds; finally, at the Philcon in the fall, Moskowitz published an article giving their side of the matter, which had theretofore been unrepresented and uninquired about. He further charged that the Futurians' refusal to make the promise asked, showed that they wanted to be excluded, in order to better their strategic position in the fan war, if they weren't to be able to upset the Convention plans. Resentment over the thing decreased somewhat, but fandom has never forgiven it.