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Pamphlet No. 1 

Manifesto and Program 



Communist Party of America 

Chicago, 111. 


Constitutional Provisions 

Sec. 1. Every person who accepts the principles and tactics 
of the Communist Party and the Communist International and 
agrees to engage actively in the work of the party shall be eligible 
to membership. It is the aim of this organization to have in its 
ranks only those who participate actively in its work. 

Sec. 2. Applicants for membership shall sign an application 
card reading as follows: 

"The undersigned, after having read the constitu- 
tion and program of the Communist Party, declares his 
adherence to the principles and tactics of the party and 
the Communist International; agrees to submit to the 
discipline of the party as stated in its constitution and 
pledges himself to engage actively in its w^ork." 

Sec. 3. Every member must join a dvaly constituted branch 
of the party. There shall be no members-at-large. 

Sec. 4. All application cards must be endorsed by two per- 
sons w^ho have been members for not less than three months. 

Sec. 5. Applications for membership shall not be finally 
acted upon until two months after presen.tation to the branch, 
and in the meantime applicant shall pay initiation fee and dues 
and shall attend mieetings and classes. He shall have a voice and 
no vote. Provided that this rule shall not apply to the charter 
members who make application to newly organized branches dur- 
ing the first month. 

Sec. 6. No person who is a member or supporter of any 
other political organization shall be admitted to membership. 

Sec. 7. No person who has an entire livelihood from rent, 
interest or profit shall be eligible to membership in the Commu- 
nist Party. 

Sec. 8. No person shall be accepted as a member who en- 
ters into the service of the national, state or local governmental 
bodies otherwise than through the Civil Service, or by legal' com- 

Provided that the civil employment by the government is of 
a non-political character. 

For information regarding the local organization in your 
city write to 






The world is on the verge of a new era. Europe 
is in revolt. The masses of Asia are stirring uneasily. 
Capitalism is in collapse. The workers of the world 
are seeing a new life and securing new courage. Out of 
the night of war is coming a new day. 

The spectre of Communism haunts the world of capi- 
talism. Communism, the hope of the workers to end 
misery and oppression. 

The workers of Russia smashed the front of inter- 
national Capitalism and Imperialism. They broke the 
chains of the terrible war ;" and in the midst of agony, 
starvation and the attacks of the capitalists of the 
world, they are creating a new social order. 

The class war rages fiercely in all nations. Every- 
where the workers are in a desparate struggle against 
their capitalist masters. The call to action has come. 
The workers must answer the call ! 

The Communist Party of America is the party of 
the working class. The Communist Party proposes to 
end Capitalism and organize a workers' industrial r.e- 
public. The workers must control industry and dis- 
pose of the products of industry. The Communist Party 
is a party realizing the limitations of all existing work- 
ers' organizations and proposes to develop the revolu- 
tionary movement necessary to free the workers from 
the oppression of Capitalism. The Communist Party 
insists that the problems of the American worker are 
identical with the problems of the workers of the 


A giant, struggle is convulsing the world. The 
war is at iend, but peace is not here. The struggle is 
between the capitalist, nations of the world and the in- 
ternational proletariat, inspired by Soviet Eussia. The 
Imperialisms of the world are desp.era"tely arraying 
themselves against the onsweepihg proletarian' revo- 
lution. •; • 


ing the Marxian policy that it was the task of the revo- 
lutionary proletariat alone. There was a joint move- 
ment that affected the thought and practice of Social- 
ism: on the one hand, the organization of the skilled 
workers into trade unions, which secured certain con- 
cessions and became a semi-privileged caste; and, on 
the other hand, the decay of the class of small produc- 
ers, crushed under the iron tread of industrial concen- 
tration. As one moved upward and the other down- 
ward, they met and formed a political juncture to use 
the state to improve their conditions. The dominant 
Socialism expressed this compromise. It developed a 
policy of legislative reforms and State Capitalism. 

The whole process was simple. The workers were 
to unite with the middle class and government owner- 
ship of industry was to emancipate the working class. 
Parliamentarism- was to revolutionize the old order of 
slavery and power, of oppression and destruction. 

It was simple, but disastrous. The state, as owner 
of industry, did not free the workers, but imposed a 
sterner bondage. The capitalist state was made strong- 
er by its industrial functions. The parliamentary rep- 
resentatives of the workers played at the parliamentary 
comedy, while Capitalism developed new powers of 
oppression and destruction. 

But Imperialism exposed the final futility of this 
policy. Imperialism united the non-proletarian classes, 
by means of State Capitalism, for international con- 
quest and spoliation. The small capitalists, middle 
class and the aristocracy of labor, which previously 
acted against' concentrated industry, now compromise 
and unite with concentrated industry and finance-capi- 
tal in Imperialism. The small capitalists accept the 
domination of finance-capital, being allowed to parti- 
cipate in the adventures and the fabulous profits of 
Imperialism, upon which now depends the whole of 
trade and industry. The middle class invests in mo- 
nopolistic enterprises; its income now depends upon 
finance-capital, its members securing "positions of su- 
perintendence," its technicians and intellectuals being 
exported to lands in process of development. The 

workers of the privileged unions are assured steady 
employment and comparatively high wages through 
the profits that come in from the savage exploitation 
of colonial peoples. All these non-proletarian social 
groups accept Imperialism, their "liberal and progress- 
ive" ideas becoming camouflage for Imperialism with 
which to seduce the masses. Imperialism requires the 
centralized state, capable of uniting all the forces of 
capital, of unifying the industrial process through state 
regulation, of maintaining "class peace", of mobilizing 
the whole national power for the struggles of Imperial- 
ism. State Capitalism is the expression of Imperialism, 
precisely that State Capitalism promoted by Moderate 
Socialism. What the parliamentary policy of Socialism 
accomplished was to buttress the capitalistic state, to 
promote State Capitalism to strengthen Imperialism. 

Moderate Socialism developed while Capitalism 
was still competitive. Upon the advent of monopoly and 
Imperialism, Socialism emerged into a new epoch, — 
an epoch requiring new and more aggressive proleta- 
rian tactics. Capitalism acquired a terrific power in 
industry and the state. The concentration of industry, 
together with the subserviency of parliaments to the 
imperialistic mandates and the transfer of their vital 
functions to the executive organ of government, made 
more clear the impossibility of the parliamentary con- 
quest of power. The older unionism and parliament- 
ary Socialism proved their utter incompetence for the 
new conditions of struggle. These conditions devel- 
oped the concept of industrial unionism in the United 
States and the concept of mass action in Europe. Impe- 
rialism made it necessary to reconstruct the Socialist 

But Moderate Socialism itself did not change un- 
der the necessity of events. The consequence was a 
miserable collapse under the test of the war and the 
proletarian revolution in Kussia and Germany. 

In the Russian Revolution, the proletariat, urging 
on the poorer peasantry, conquered the power of the 
state after the first revolution had established the dem- 
ocratic parliamentary republic. It established a die- 

tatorship of the proletariat. This proletarian revolu- 
tion was accomplislied in spite of the opposition of 
Moderate Socialism, represented by the Mensheviki 
and the Social Revolutionists. These Moderates argued 
that since Russia was economically an undeveloped 
country, it was premature to make a proletarain revo- 
lution in Russia and historically impossible to reahze 

Moderate Socialism in Germany also acted against 
, the proletarian revolution. It offered a capitalist par- 
liamentary republic as against proletarian dictatorship. 

The issue in Germany could not be obscured. Ger- 
many was a fully developed nation industrially, its 
economic conditions were mature for the introduction 
of Socialism. But Moderate Socialists rejected the 
revolutionary task. 

There is a common policy that characterizes Mod- 
erate SociaUsm ; that is, its conception of the state. Out 
of the conception that the bourgeois parliamentary 
state is the basis for the introduction of Socialism de- 
veloped a directly counter-revolutionary policy. 

Communism rejects this conception of the state. 
It rejects the idea of class reconcilation and the par- 
liamentary conquest of Capitalism. The Communist 
Party alone is capable of mobilizing the proletariat for 
the revolutionary mass struggle to conquer the power 
of the state. The Communist Party, realizes that it is 
necessary to develop separate organs of working class 
political power by means of which to crush the resist- 
ance of Capitalism and estabhsh the Communist Com- 


SocialiBm in the United States, prior to the appear- 
ance of the Socialist Labor Party, was a movement of 
iHolated and indefinite protest. It was the sport of mid- 
dle claBS movements, while itself split by Socialist and 

Anarchist factions. , ^ ^ „. ,. ^ ^^ ., 

The Socialist Labor Party, after casting off the 
non-Socialist elements, developed as a consistent party 
of revolutionary Socialism. Particularly, the S. L. P. 

realized the importance of imparting a Socialist char- 
acter and consciousness to the unions. The Socialist 
Labor Party, together with the experience of the West- 
ern Federation of Miners and the American Labor 
Union, developed the theory and practice of Industrial 

The struggle of the Socialist Labor Party against 
the old unionism developed a secession from the party 
of elements who considered protecting the reactionary 
American Federation of Labor more important than 
revolutionary Socialism. These, together with bour- 
geois and agrarian radicals, organized the Socialist 

The Socialist Party was a party of Moderate 
Socialism. Its policy was that of government owner- 
ship of industry, not the proletarian conquest of power. 
It maintained that the middle class and the lesser cap- 
italists are necessary in the Socialist struggle against 
Capitalism. The Socialist Party asserted in substance : 
Socialism is a struggle of all the people against the 
trusts, making the realization of Socialism depend upon 
the "unity of the common people", the workers, the 
small capitalists and investors, the professions. In short 
the official policy of the Socialist Party was to attain So- 
cialism by means of capitalist democracy. 

The Socialist Party stultified proletarian political^ 
action by limiting it to elections and participation in 
legislative reform activity. The party favored reac- 
tionary trades unionism as against revolutionary in- 
dustrial unionism. 

"'The Socialist Labor Party developed a purely 
theoretical activity, of real value, but was isolated from 
the masses. The Socialist Party attained a considerable, 
membership, but largely of a petty bourgeoise charac- 
ter. The war brought in new industrial proletarian 
elements but the party still isolated itself from revolu- 
tionary theory and practice. The proletarian masses 
in the Socialist Party required simply the opportunity 
to devplop a revolutionary proletarian policy. 

The Socialist Party under the impulse of its pro- 
letarian membership adopted a militant declaration 

against the war. But the officials of the party sabo- 
taged this declaration. The official policy of the party 
on the war was that of liberal pacifism. The party 
bureaucracy united with the People's Council which 
propagandized a Wilson peace. The 1918 party plat- 
form accepted the Wilson "fourteen points" as adopted 
by the pro-war Interallied Labor and Socialist Con- 

The war and the proletarian revolution in Russia 
sharpened the antagonism between the party poHcy 
and the revolutionary proletarian temper in the party. 
Kevolt broke loose. The Socialist party was crushed. 
The Communist Party is the response to this revolt and 
to the call of the Communist International. 


The United States is now a world power. It is 
developing a centralized,' autocratic federal govern- 
ment, acquiring financial and military reserves for ag- 
gression and wars of conquest. Imperialsm now con- 
sciously dominates the national policy. 

The war strengthened American Capitalism, in- 
stead of weakening it as in Europe. But the collapse 
of Capitalism in other countries will play upon and 
affect events in this country. Feverishly, American 
.capitalism is developing a brutal campaign of terror- 
ism. It is, utterly incompetent on the problems of re- 
construction that press down upon society. Its "recon- 
struction" program aims simply to develop power for 
aggression and plunder in the markets of the world. 
While this is not the moment of actual revolution, it 
is a moment of struggles pregnant with revolution. 

Strikes are developing, verging on revolutionary 
action, and in which the suggestion of proletarian dic- 
tatorship is apparent. The striker-workers try to usurp 
functions, of industry and government, as in the Seattle 
and Winnipeg general strikes. 

A minor phase of proletarian unrest is the trade 
unions organizing a Labor Party, in an effort to con- 
serve whaf they have secured as a privileged caste. A 
Labor Party is notJ:he instrument of aggressive work- 

ing class struggle; it can not break the power of the 
capitalists and the profit system of oppression _ and 
misery, since it accepts private property -and the "rights 
of capital." The practice of a Labor Party is in 
general the practice of the Socialist Party — co- 
operation with bourgeois "progressives" and reforming 
Capitalism on the basis of the capitalist parliamentary 
state. Laborism is as much a danger to the proletarian 
as moderate petty bourgeois Socialism, — the two being 
expressions of an identical social tendency and policy. 
There can be no compromise either with Laborism or 
reactionary Socialism. 

But there is a more vital tendency, the tendency of 
the workers to start mass strikes — strikes which are 
equally a revolt against the bureaucracy of the unions 
and: the capitalists. The Communist Party will en- 
deavor to broaden and deepen these strikes making 
them general and militant, developing the general po- 
litical strike. 

The Communist Party accepts as the basis of 
its action the mass struggles of the proletariat, engag- 
ing directly in these struggles and emphasizing their 
revolutionary implications. 


The proletarian class struggle is essentially a polit- 
ical struggle. It is a political struggle in the sense that 
its objective is political, — overthrow of the political 
organizations upon which capitalist exploitation de- 
pends, and the introduction of a proletarian state 
power. The objective is the conquest by the proletariat 
of the power of the state. 

Communism does not propose to 'capture' the 
bourgeoise parliamentary state, but to conquer and de- 
stroy it. As long as the bourgeoise state prevails, the 
capitalist class can baffle the will of the proletariat. 

In those countries in which historical development 
has furni&hed the opportunity, the working class has 
utilized the regime of political democracy , for its or- 
ganization against Capitalism. In all countries where 
the conditions for a workers' revolution are not yet 

ripe, the same process will go on. The use of parlia 
mentarism, however, is only of secondary importance 

But within this process the workers must never 
lose sight of the true character of bourgeois democ- 
racy. If the finance-oligarchy considers it advantage- 
ous to veil its deeds of violence behind parliamentary 
votes, then the capitalist class has at its command in 
order to gain its end, all the traditions and attainments 
ot former centuries of working class rule, multiplied by 
the wonders of capitalist technique-— lies, demagogism 
persecution, slander, bribery. To the demand of the 
proletariat that it shall be content to yield itself to 
the artificial rules devised by its mortal enemy but not 
observed by the enemy is to make a mockery of the 
proletarian struggle for power, a struggle which de- 
pends primarily on the development of separate organs 
of working class power. 

The parliamentarism of the Communist Party 
performs a service in mobilizing the proletariat against 
Capitalism, emphasizing the political character of the 
class struggle. 

The conquest of the power of the state is accom- 
plished by the mass power of the proletariat. Political 
mass strikes are a vital factor in developing this mass 
power, preparing the working class for the conquest 
of Capitalism. The power of the proletariat lies funda- 
mentally in its control of the industrial process. The 
mobilizing of this control against Capitalism means the 
initial form of the revolutionary mass action that will 
conquer the power of the state. 


The older unionism was based on the craft divi- 
sions of small industry. The unions consisted pri- 
marily of skilled workers, whose skill is itself a form 
of property. The unions were not organs of , the mili- 
tant class struggle. Today the dominant unionism is 
actually a bulwark of Capitalism, merging in Imperial- 
ism and accepting State Capitalism. 

The concentration of industry and the develop- 
ment of the machine process expropriated large num- 


bers of the skilled workers of their skill ; but the unions 
still maintained the ideology of property contract and- 
caste. Deprived of actual power by the ineifective- 
ness of its localized strikes as against large scale indus- 
try, trades unionism resorts to dickers with the 
bourgeois state and accepts imperialistic State Cap- 
italism to maintain its privileges as against the unskilled 
industrial proletariat. 

The concentration of industry produces the indus- 
trial proletariat — ^the machine workers. This prole- 
tariat, massed in the basic industry, constitutes the 
militant basis of the class struggle. Deprived of skill 
and craft divisions, the old petty isolated strike is 
useless to these workers. 

These facts of industrial concentration developed 
the concept of industrial unionism among the organ- 
ized workers, and mass action among the unorganized. 

Mass action is the proletarian response to the 
facts of modern industry, and the forms it imposes 
upon the proletarian class struggle. Mass action de- 
velops as the spontaneous activity of unorganized 
workers in the basic industry; its initial form is the 
mass strike of the unskilled. In these strikes large 
masses of workers are unified by the impulse of the 
struggle, developing a new tactic and a new ideology. 

Mass action is industrial in its origin, but it 
acquires political character as it develops fuller forms. 
Mass action, in the form of general political strikes 
and demonstrations, unites the energy and forces of 
the proletariat, brings proletarian mass pressure upon 
the bourgeois state. The more general and conscious 
mass action becomes, the more it antagonizes the bour- 
geois state, the more it becomes political niass action. 
Mass action is responsive to life itself, the form of 
aggressive proletarian struggle under Imperialism. 
Out of this struggle develops revolutionary mass action, 
the means for the proletarian conquest of power. 

The conception of mass action has little in com- 
mon with Syndicalism. In its mass impulse, Syndical- 
ism was a protest against the futility of parliamen- 
tarism. But anarcho-syndicalism tactically and 


theoretically is a departure from Marxism. It does 
not appreciate the necessity of a proletarian state dur- 
ing the transition period from Capitalism to Commun- 
ism (which implies the disappearance of all forms of 
the state) . Syndicalism makes the proletarian revo- 
lution a direct seizure of industry, instead of the con- 
quest of the power of the state. 

Industrial Unionism, also, cannot conquer the 
power of the state. Under the conditions of Capitalism 
it is impossible to organize the whole working class 
into industrial unions. It will be necessary to rally 
the workers, organized and unorganized, by means of 
revolutionary mass action. Moreover, industrial 
unionism does not actually construct the forms of the 
Communist administration of industry, only potentially. 
After the conquest of power the industrial unions may 
become the starting point of the Communist recon- 
struction of society. But the conception thatthe ma- 
jority of the w^orking class can be organized into con- 
scious industrial unions and construct under Capitalism 
the form of the Communist society is as Utopian as the 
moderate Socialist conception of the gradual "growing 
into Socialism." 


The proletarian revolution comes at the moment 
of crisis in Capitalism, of a collapse of the old order. 
Under the impulse of the crisis, the proletariat acts 
for the conquest of power, by means of mass action. 
Mass action concentrates and mobilizes the forces of 
the proletariat, organized and unorganized; it acts 
equally against the bourgeois state and the conserva- 
tive organizations of the working class. Strikes of 
protest develop into general political strikes and then 
into revolutionary mass action for the conquest of the 
power of the state. Mass action becomes political in 
purpose while extra-parliamentary in form; it is 
equally a process of revolution and the revolution itself 

in operation. r^, ■, 

The state is an organ of coercion. The bourgeois 

parliamentary state is the organ of the bourgeoisie 


for the coercion of the proletariat. Parliamentary gov- 
ernment is the expression of bourgeois supremacy, the 
form of authority of the capitalist over the worker. 
Bourgeois democracy promotes the dictatorship of 
capital, assisted by the press, the pulpit, the army and 
the police. Bourgeois democracy is historically neces- 
sary, on the one hand, to break the power of feudalism, 
and, on the other, to maintain the proletarian in sub- 
jection. It is precisely this democracy that is now the 
instrument of Imperialism, since the middle class, the 
traditional carrier of democracy, accepts Imperialism. 
The proletarian revolution disrupts bourgeois democ- 
racy. It disrupts this democracy in order to end class 
divisions and class rule, to realize industrial self-gov- 
ernment of the workers. Therefore it is necessary that 
the proletariat organize its own state for the coercion 
and suppression of the bourgeoisie. Proletarian dic- 
tatorship is a recognition of that fact; it is equally a 
recognition of the fact that in the Communist recon- 
struction of society the proletariat alone' counts as a 

While the dictatorship of the proletariat performs 
the negative task of crushing the old order, it performs 
ithe positive task of constructing the new. Together 
with the government of the proletarian dictatorship, 
there is developed a new "government," which is no 
longer government in the old sense,, since it concerns 
itself with the management of the production and not 
with the government of persons. Out of workers' con- 
trol of industry, introduced by the proletarian dic- 
tatorship, there develops the complete structure of 
Communist Socialism — industrial self-government of 
the communistically organized producer^. When this 
structure is completed, which implies the complete ex- 
propriation of the bourgeoisie, economically and po- 
litically, the dictatorship of the proletariat ends, in its 
place coming the full, free social and individual auton- 
omy of the Communist order. - 


The Communist International, issuing directly out 
of the proletarian revolution in action, is the organ of 


the international revolutionary proletariat ; just as the 
League of Nations is the organ of the joint aggression 
and resistance of the dominant Imperialism. 

The Communist International represents a Social- 
ism in complete accord with the revolutionary char- 
acter of the class struggle. It unites all the conscious 
revolutionary forces. It wages war equally against 
Imperialism and moderate Socialism — each of which 
has demonstrated its complete inability to solve the 
problems that now press down upon the workers. The 
Communist International issues its call to the conscious 
proletariat for the final struggle against Capitalism. 

It is not a problem of immediate revolution. The 
revolutionary epoch may last for years, and tens of 
years. The Communist international offers a program 
both immediate and ultimate in scope. 

The old order is in decay. Civilization is in col- 
lapse. The workers must prepare for the proletarian 
revolution and the Communist reconstruction of society. 

The Communist International calls ! 

Workers of the World, Unite! 


The Communist Party is the conscious expression 
of the class struggle of the workers against capitalism. 
Its aim is to direct this struggle to the conquest of 
political power, the overthrow of capitalism and tht 
destruction of the bourgeois state. 

The Communist Party prepares itself for the revo- 
lution in the measure that it develops a program of 
immediate action, expressing the mass struggles of the 
proletariat. These struggles must be inspired with 
revolutionary spirit and purposes. 

The Communist Party is fundamentally a party of 
action. It brings to the workers a consciousness of 
their oppression, of the impossibility of improving their 
conditions under capitalism. The Communist Party 
directs the workers' struggle against capitalism, de- 
veloping fuller forms and purposes in this struggle, 
culminating in the mass action of the revolution. 



The Communist Party maintains that the class 
struggle is essentially a political struggle; that is, a 
struggle to conquer the power of the state. 

a) The Communist Party shall keep in the fore- 
ground its consistent appeal for proletarian revolution, 
the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of a 
dictatorship of the proletariat. As the opposition of 
the bourgeoisie is broken, as it is expropriated and 
gradually absorbed in the working groups, the prole- 
tarian dictatorship disappears, until finally the state 
dies and there are no more class distinctions. 

(b) Participation in parliamentary campaigns, 
which in the general struggle of the proletariat is of 
secondary importance, is for the purpose of revolu- 
tionary propaganda only. 

(c) Parliamentary representatives of the Com- 
munist Party shall not introduce or support reform 
measures. Parliaments and political democracy shall 
be utilized to assist in organizing the working class 
against capitalism and the state. Parliamentary rep- 
resentatives shall consistently expose the oppressive 
class character of the- capitalist state, using the legis- 
lative forum to interpret and einphasize the class strug- 
gle ; they shall make clear how parliamentarism and 
parliamentary democracy deceive the workers; and 
they shall analyze capitalist legislative proposals and 
reform palliatives as evasions of the issue and as of no 
fundamental significance to the working class. 

(d) Nominations for public ofiftce and participa- 
tion in elections are limited to legislative bodies only, 
such as municipal councils, state legislatures and the 
national congress. 

(e) The uncompromising character of the class 
struggle must be maintained under all circumstances. 
The Communist Party accordingly, in campaigns and 
elections, and in all its other activity, shall not co- 
operate with groups or parties not committed to the 
revolutionary class struggle, such as the SociaHst Party, 
Labor Party, ^Non-Partisan Lea,gue, People's Council, 
Municipal Ownership Leagues, etc. 



The Communist Party shall make the great indus- 
trial struggles of the working class its major cam- 
paigns, in order to develop an understanding of the 
strike in relation to the overthrow of capitalism. 

(a) The Communist Party shall participate in 
"mass strikes, not only to achieve the immediate pur- 
poses of the strike, but to develop the revolutionary 
implications of the mass strike. 

(b) Mass strikes are vital factors in the process 
out of which develops the workers' understanding and 
action for the conquest of power. 

(c) In mass strikes under conditions of concen- 
trated capitalism there is talentthe tendency toward the 
general mass strike, which takes on a political char- 
acter and manifests the impulse toward proletarian 

In these general mass strikes the Communist Party 
shall emphasize the necessity of maintaining industry 
and the taking over of social functions usually dis- 
charged by the capitalists and the institutions of cap- 
italism. The strike must cease being isolated and pas- 
sive; it must become positive, general and aggressive, 
preparing the workers for the complete assumption of 
industrial and social control. 

(a) Every local and district organization of the 
Party shall establish contact with industrial units in 
its territory, the shops, mills and mines— and direct its 
agitation accordingly. 

(b) Shop Committees shall be organized wher- 
ever possible for the purpose of Communist agitation 
in a particular shop or industry by the workers em- 
ployed there. These committees shall be united with 
each other and with the Communist Party, so that the 
party shall have actual contact with the workers and 
mobilize them for action against capitalism. 


The Communist Party must engage actively in 
the struggle to revolutionize the trade unions. As 
against the unionism of the American Federation of 


Labor, the Communist Party propagandizes industrial 
unionism and industrial union organization, emphasiz- 
ing their revolutionary implications. Industrial Union- 
ism is not simply a means for the everyday struggle 
against capitalism; its ultimate purpose is revolution- 
ary, -implying the necessity of ending the capitalist 
parlia,mentary state. Industrial Unionism is a factor 
in the final mass action for the conquest of power, as it 
will constitute the basis for the industrial administra- 
tion of the Communist Commonwealth. 

(a) The Communist Party recognizes that the 
A. F. of L. is reactionary and a bulwark of capitalism. 

(b) Councils of workers shall be organized in 
the shops as circumstances allow, for the purpose of 
carrying on the industrial union struggle in the old 
unions, uniting and mobilizing the militant elements; 
these councils to be unified in a Central Council wher- 
ever possible. 

(c) It shall be a major task of the Communist 
Party to agitate for the construction of a general indus- 
trial union organization, embracing the I. W. W., 
W. I. I. U., independent and secession unions, militant 
unions of the A. F. of L., and the unorganized workers, 
on the basis of the, revolutionary class struggle. 


The Communist Party shall encourage movements 
of the workers in the shops seeking to realize workers' 
control of industry, while indicating their limitations 
under capitalism ; concretely, any movement analogous 
to the Shop Stewards of England. These movements 
(equally directed against the union bureaucracy) 
should be related to the Communist Party. 



The unorganized unskilled workers (including the 
agricultural proletariat) constitute the bulk of the 
working class. The Communist Party shall directly 
and systematically agitate among these workers, 
awakening them to industrial union organization and 



In close connection with, the unskilled workers is 
the problem of the Negro worker. The Negro problem 
is a political and economic problem. The racial op- 
pression of the Negro is simply the expression of his 
economic bondage and oppression, each intensifying 
the other. This complicates the Negro problem, but 
does not alter its proletarian character. The Com- 
munist Party will carry on agitation among the Negro 
workers to unite them with all class conscious workers. 


The United States is developing ah aggressive 
militarism. The Communist Party will wage the 
struggle against militarism as a phase of the class 
struggle to hasten the downfall of Capitalism. 


The struggle against Imperialism, necessarily an 
international struggle, is the basis of proletarian revolu- 
tionary action in this epoch. 

(a) There must be close unity with the Commun- 
ist International (for common action against the Im- 

(b) The Communist Party emphasizes the 
common character of the struggle of the workers of all 
nations, making necessaYy the solidarity of the workers 
of the world. 


1. Name and Purpose. 

Sec, 1. The name of this organization shall be THE 
COMMUNIST PARTY of America. Its purpose shall be the 
education and organization of the working class for the estab- 
lishment of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, the abolition of 
the capitalist system and the establishment of the Communist 

II. Emblem. 

Sec. 1. The emblem of the party shall be a button with the 
figure of the earth in the center in white with gold lines and a 


red flag across the face bearing the inscription, "All Power to 
the Workers"; around the figure of the earth a red margin shall 
appear with the words "The Communist Party of America" and 
"The Communist International" on this margin in white letters. 

III. Membership, 

Sec. 1. Every person who accepts the principles and tactics 
of the Communist Party and the Communist International and 
agrees to engage actively in the work of the party shall be eligible 
to membership. It is the aim of this organization to have in its 
ranks only those who participate actively in its work. 

Sec. 2. Applicants for membership shall sign an application 
card reading as follows: * 

"The undersigned, after having read the consti- 
tution and program of the Communist Party, declares 
his adherence to the principles and tactics of the party 
and the Communist International: agrees to submit to 
the discipline of the party as stated in its constitution 
and pledges himself to engage actively in its work." 
Sec. 3. Every member must join a duly constituted branch 
of the .party, There shall be no members-at-large. 

Sec. 4. All application cards must be endorsed by two 
persons who have been members for not less than three months. 
Sec. 5. Applications for membership shall not be finally 
acted upon until two months after presentation to the branch, 
and in the meantime applicant shall pay initiation fee and dues 
and shall attend meetings and classes. He shall have a voice and 
no vote. Provided that this rule shall not apply to the charter 
members of new branches nor to the members who make applica- 
tion to newly organized branches during the first month. 

Sec. 6, No person who is a member or supporter of any 
other political organization shall be admitted to membership. 

Sec. 7. No person who has an entire livelihood from rent, 
interest or profit shall be eligible to membership in the Com- 
munist Party. 

Sec. 8. No person shall be accepted as a member who 
enters into the service of the national, state or local governmental 
bodies otherwise than* through the Civil Service or by legal com- 
pulsion. '' 

Provided, that the civil employment by the government is of 
a non-political character. 

Sec. 9, No members of The Communist Party shall con- 
tribute articles or editorials of a political or economic character 
to publications other than those of the Commvinist Party or of ^ 
p'arties affiliated with the Communist International. (This clause 
shall not be considered as prohibiting the contribution of articles 


written from an economic or scientific standpoint to scientific or 
professional journals. Permission to answer an attack upon the 
Communist Party in the bourgreoise press may be granted by the 
Central Executive Committee). 

IV. Units of Organization. 

Sec, 1. The basic organization of the Communist Party 
shall be branches of not less than seven members. (Applicants 
for a charter shall fill out the form provided by the National 
Organization. ) 

See. 2. Two or more branches located in the same city 
shall form a City Central Committee. City Central Committees 
may include branches in adjacent territory, subject to supervision 
of the central management of the party. 

See. 3. City Central Committees and all other branches 
in the same state shall form State Organizations. Provided, that 
under the control of the Central Executive Committee more than 
one state may be included in a single District Organization; and 
provided also that District Organizations may be formed by the 
Central Executive Committee along the lines of industrial rather 
than state divisions. 

Sec. 4. Branches of the Communist Party made up of mem- 
bers who speak a foreign language, when there are ten or more 
of such branches, consisting of a total not less than 750 mem- 
bers, may form a. Language Federation. Provided, that this 
rule shall not apply as to members of those Federations, affilia- 
ting with the party at the time of its organization or within four 
months thereafter. No more than one Federation of the same 
language may exist in the party. 

Sec. 5. All language branches shall join and become part 
of the Federations of their language, if such a Federation exists. 

Sec. 6. All subsidiary units shall be combined in the Com- 
munist Party, Brianches of the cities, states, districts and federa- 
tions shall be units of the Communist Party. 

V. Administration. 

Sec. 1. The supreme administrative body of the Com- 
munist Party shall be the, convention of the party. 

Sec, 2. Between the meetings of the conventions the 
supreme body shall be the Central Executive Committee elected 
by the convention. The Central Executive Committee shall con- 
sist of fifteen members. The convention shall also elect five 
alternates who shall take their places as members of the Central 
Executive Committee in case of vacancies in the order of their 


Sec. 3. The Central Executive Committee shall elect from 
its members a sub-committee of five mem'bers, who together with 
the Executive Secretary and the Editor of the central organ of 
the party shall be known as the Executive Council. The mem- 
bers of the Exeicutive Council shall live in the city in which the 
National Headquarters are located or in adjacent cities. This 
Executive Council shall carry on the work of the party under 
the supervision of the Central Executive Committee. 

Sec. 4. The Convention shall elect an Executive Secretary 
and the Editor of the central organ of the party. All other 
officials shall be appointed by the Central Executive Committee. 

Sec. 5. The Executive Secretary and Editor shall conduct 
their work under the direction of the Central Executive Com- 

Sec. 6. The supreme administrative power of the State, 
District, Federation or City units shall be vested in the conven- 
tions of these respective units. Conventions of the State or 
District Organization shall be held in May or June each year. 

Sec. 7. Between conventions of the District, State and 
Federations the Central Executive Committee of these organi- 
zations shall be the supreme bodies. 

Sec. 8. The Central Executive Committee of these organi- 
zations shall in each case be elected by the conventions, which 
shall also determine the number of members. 

Sec. 9. The City Central Committees shall consist of dele- 
gates elected by the branches upon the basis of proportional 
representation. They shall meet at least once each month. The 
City Central Committees -shall elect their Executive Committees 
and Executive Officers . 

Sec. 10. Each Federation shall elect a Translator-Secretary, 
who shall have an office in the National Headquarters and whose 
salary shall be paid by the National Organization. . Translator- 
Secretaries are the representatives of their organizations in the 
National Headquarters, and shall serve as mediums of commu- 
cation. They shall submit monthly to the Executive Secretary 
and the State and District Organizations a statement showing 
all the dues stamps sold during the previous month, Translator- 
Secretaries shall not be eligible to membership in the Central 
Executive Committee but shall meet with the Committee and the 
Executive Council and have a voice but no vote. 

VI: Dues. 

Sec. 1. Each applicant for membership shall pay an initia- 
tion fee of fifty cents, which shall be receipted for by an initiation 
stamp furnished by the National Organization. The fifty cents 


shall be divided between the branch and Gity Central Committee. 
Where there is no City Central Committee its share shall be 
paid to the State or District Organization, 

Sec. 2. Each member shall pay forty cents per month in 
dues. Stamps shall be sold to the State or District Organization 
at fifteen cents; State or District Organizations shall sell stamps 
to the City Central Committees and branches in cases where there 
are no City Committees at twenty-five cents; City Central Com- 
mittees shall sell stamps to branches at thirty cents. 

Sec. 3. Branches of Language Federations shall purchase 
their dues stamps through their Federations. Translator-Secre- 
taries shall pay ten cents per stamp to the National Organization 
and shall remit to each State or District Organization ten cents 
for each stamp sold each month. Where a City Central Com- 
mittee exists the State or District Organization shall remit five 
cents of this amount to the City Central Committee. Members 
of Language Federation Branches pay forty cents per stamp, ten 
cents going to the branch and ten cents to the Federation. 

Sec. 4. Special assessment may be levied by the National 
Organization, Federations or the Central Executive Committee. 
No member shall be considered in good standing unless he pur- 
chases such special assessment stamps. 

Sec. 5. Husband and wife belonging to the same branch 
may purchase dual stamps, which shall be sold at the same price 
as the regular stamps. Special assessments must be paid by 
both husband and wife. 

Sec. 6. Members unable to pay dues ou account of unem- 
ployment, strikes, sickness or for similar reasons shall, upon 
application to their financial secretary, be furnished exempt 
stamps. Provided that no State or District Organization or 
Federation shall be allowed exempt stamps in a proportion 
greater than 5 per cent of its monthly purchase of regular stamps. 

Sec. 7. Members who are three months in arrears in pay- 
ment of their dues shall cease to be members of the party in 
good standing. Members jvho are six months in arrears shall be 
stricken- from the rolls, '^o member shall pay dues in advance 
for a period of more than three months. 

VIL Discipline. 

Sec. 1. All decisions of the govei;ning bodies of the party 
shall be binding upon the membership and subordinate units of 
the organizations. 

Sec. 2. Any member or. organization violating the decisions 
of the party shall be subject to expulsion by the organisation 
which has jurisdiction. Charges ag'ainst members shall be made 


before branches, subject to appeal by either side to the City 
Central Committee or State or District Organization where there 
is no City Central Committee. Charges against the branches 
shall be made beforei the City Central Committee, or where there 
is no City Central Committee, before the State or District 
Organization. Decisions of the City Central Committee in the 
case of branches shall be subject to revision by the State or 
District Organization. Charges against State or District Organi- 
zations shall be made before the Central Executive Committee. 
When a City Central Committee expels a Federation branch, the 
branch shall have the right to present its case to the Central 
Executive Committee of the Federation. If the Central Executive 
Committee of the Federation decides to that effect it may bring 
an appeal for reinstatement before the Central Executive Com- 
mittee of the party, which shall make final disposition of the 

Sec. 3. Members and branches of the Federation shall be 
subject to the discipline of the Federation. Branches expelled 
by the Federation shall have the right to appeal to the City Cen- 
tral Committee, or, when there is no City Central Committee, to- 
the State or District Organization. If the City Central Com- 
mittee or the State or District Organization does not uphold the 
expulsion the matter shall be referred to the Central Committee 
upon documentary evidence^ and if the decision of the City Cen- 
tral Committee or State or District Organization is upheld, the 
branch shallbe reinstated as a branch of the Federation. 

Sec. 4. Each unit of the party organization shall restrict its 
activities to the territory it represents. 

Sec. 5. A member who desires to transfer his membership 
to another branch shall secure a transfer card from the filnancial 
secretary of his branch. No branch shall receive a member from 
another branch without such a transferral card, and upon pres- 
entation of the transfer card the secretary of the branch receiving 
the same shall make inquiry about the standing of the member 
to the secretary issuing the card. 

Sec. 6. All party units shall use uniform application cards, 
dues books and accounting records, which shall be printed by, the 
National Organization. 

Sec." 7. All employes of the party must be party members. 

VIII. Headquarters. 

Sec. 1. The National Headquarters of the party shall be 
located in Chicago. In an emergency District or State Ofiice 
may be used as the National Headquarters. 


IX. Qualifications. 

Sec. 1. Membere of the Central Executive Committee t}i 
Executive Secretary, Editor, International Delegates and I't 
national Secretary and all candidates for political office " ^^~ 
have been members of the party for two years at the tim ^l 
their election or nomination. Those shall be eligible to ele r 
to party offices or nomination to public office on June 1 igl^/f 
who join the Communist Party before Jan. 1, 1920. All V 
state their intention of joining the Communist Party shal}\° 
eligible at this convention. ® 

X. Conventions. 

Sec. 1. National Conventions shall be held annually dur" 
the month of June, the specific date and place to be determ" °f 
fay the Central Executive Committee. The Central Execut"^ 
Committee may call Emergency Conventions, and such conv^^^ 
tions may also be called by referendum vote. 

Sec. 2. Representation at the National Convention shaU be 
upon the basis of one delegate for each 500 members or major 
fraction thereof; provided, that when the number of deleeat 
would exceed a total of 200 the Central Executive Gommitt^^ 
shall increase the basis of representation so that the number of 
delegates shall not exceed that figure. 

Sec. 3. Delegates shall be apportioned to the State or 
District Oi^anizations on the basis of one delegate for eacK such 
organizatioii, and the apportionment of the balance on the bads 
of the average membership for the six months prior to the issue 
of the call for the convention. Delegates shall be elected at the 
Convention of the State or District. Organization. 

Sec. 5. Delegates to the National Convention shall be paid 
their traveling expenses and a per diem of $5.00, 

Sec. 5. The call for the convention and the apportionment 
of delegates shall be published not later than April 1. 

XI. Referendum and Recall. 

Sec. 1. Referendums on the question of party platform 
policy or constitution shall be held upon the petition of 25 or more 
branches representing 5 per cent of the membeship; 2) or by 
initiative of the Central Executive Committee; 3.) of " by initiative 
of the National Convention. 

Sec. 2. All officers of the National Organization or those 
elected to public office shall be subject to recall upon initiative 
petition of 25 or more branches, representing 5 per cent of the 
membership. A recall vote of the membership may also be 
initiated by the Central Executive Committee. 


Sec, 3. Each motion and resolution shall be printed in the 
official bulletin and remain open for ninety days from the date 
of first publication, and, it it has then not received the reqaialte 
number of seconds, it shall be abandoned. The vote on each 
referendum shall dose sixty days after its submission. 

Sec. 4. Referendums shall be submitted without preamble 
or eomment, but the party press shall be open for discussion of 
the question involved during the time the referendum is pending. 

XII. International Delegate and Secretary. 

Sec. 1. Delegates to the International Congress and alter- 
nates and an International Secretary and alternate shall be 
elected by the convention. 


Any branch of the Socialist Party or Socialist Labor Party 
which endorses the program and constitution of the Communist 
Party and applies for a charter before Jan. 1, 1920, shall be 
accepted as a branch. 

The provisions of Art. Ill, Section 4, shall not be enforced 
until after Dec. 1, 1919-, except as to the two signatures. 


That this Convention authorize the secretary immediately 
to issue a Special Organization Stamp to sell at fifty cents to 
create a fund for the organization of the party. 



Report of Louis C. Fraina, International Secretary of 

the Communist Party of America, to the Executive 

Committee of the Communist International. 

As International Secretary, I make application for 
admission of the Communist Party of America to the 
Bureau of the Communist International as a major 

The Communist Party, organized September 1, 
1919, with approximately 55,000 members, issues 
directly out of a split in the old Socialist Party. The 
new party represents more than half the membership 
of the old party. 

1. Socialist Party, Socialist Labor Party, I. W. W. 

The Socialist Party was organized in 1901 of a 
merger of two elements: 1) seceders from the Social- 
' , o£?^, ^^^y' -^^^^ Morris Hillquit, who split away 
in_ 1899 largely because of the S. L. P.'s uncompro- 
mismg endeavors to revolutionize the trades un- 
ions; 2) the Social Democratic Party of Wisconsin 
a purely middle-class liberal party tinged with So- 
^^^m^^'c.^^ ^^'^^ ^^""^^^ ^' Berger was representative. 
-iocin ^f^f^^^^ ^^^^^ I'^rty, organized definitely in 
l«90, acted on the basis of the uncompromising pro- 
letarian class struggle. Appearing at a period when 
class relations were still in state of flux, when the ide- 
ology of independence, created by the free lands of the 
West, still persisted among the workers, the Socialist 
Labor Party emphasized the class struggle and the class 
character of the proletarian movement. Realizing the 
peculiar problems of the American movement, the So- 
socialist Labor Party mitiated a consistent campaign for 
revolutionary unionism and against the dominant craft 
umomsm of the American Federation of Labor, which 
iXr^'Iflf /^'. '™'^ workers-^aristocr'arsT df 

ng da^V^ ThlTf T'^ ""^^^"^^ ^^P"^«^ «f *h^ fork- 
ing class. The S. L. P. was a party of revolutionary So 
ciahsm against which opportunist elements revolted 

T,rP<«lrf .^/f ''^■^'^T'^" ^^^ ^^^ ^« immature ex- 
pression of American Imperialism, initiated by the re 
quirements of monopolistic Capitalisih A movement 
of protest developed in the middle cSss, wS,Tmt- 


ing with the previous impulses of petty bourgeois and 
agrarian radicalism, expressed itself in a campaign of 
anti-Imperialism. There was a general revival of the 
ideology of liberal democracy. The Socialist Party ex- 
pressed one phase of this liberal development; it 
adopted fundamentally a non-class policy, directing its 
appeal to the middle class, to the farmers, to every 
temporary sentiment of discontent, for a program of 
government ownership of the trusts. The Socialist 
Party, particularly, discouraged all action for revolu- 
tionary unionism, becoming a bulwark of the Gomper- 
ized A. P. of L. and its reactionary officials, "the labor 
lieutenants of the capitalist class." This typical party 
of opportunist Socialism considered strikes and unions 
as of minor and transitory importance, instead of devel- 
oping their revolutionary implications ; parliamentarism 
was considered the important thing, legislative reforms 
and the use of the bourgeois state the means equally for 
waging the class struggle and for establishing the So- 
cialist RepubHc. The Socialist Party was essentially 
a party of State Captialism, an expression of the domi- 
nant moderate Socialism of the old International. 

But industrial concentration proceeded feverishly, 
developing monopoly and the typical conditions of Im- 
perialism. Congress^ — parliamen.tarism — assumed an 
aspect of futility as Imperialism developed and the 
Federal government became a centralized autocracy. 
The industrial proletariat, expropriated of skill by the 
machine process and concentrated in the basic industry, 
initiated new means of struggle. The general condi- 
tions of imperialistic Capitalism developed new. tac- 
tical concepts — mass action in Europe and industrial 
unionism in the United States, the necessity for extra- 
parliamentary means to conquer the power of the state. 

The old craft unionism was more and more incap- 
able of struggling successfully against concentrated 
Capitalism. Out of this general situation arose the In- 
dustrial Workers of the World, organized in 1905 — an 
event of the greatest revolutionary importance. The 
I. W. W. indicted craft unionism as reactionary and not 
in accord with the concentration of industry, which 


wipes out differences of skill and craft. The I. W. W. 
urged industrial unionism, that is to say, a unionism 
organized according to industrial division : all workers 
in one industry, regardless of particular crafts, to unite 
in one union; and all industrial unions to unite in the 
general organization, thereby paralleling the indus- 
trial structure of modern Capitalism. Industrial union- 
ism was urged not simply for the immediate struggle 
of the workers, but as the revolutionary means for the 
workers to assume control of industry. • 

Previous movements of revolutionary unionism, 
such as the Socialist Trades and Labor Alliance and 
the American Labor Union, united in the I. W. W. The 
Socialist Labor Party was a vital factor in the organiza- 
tion of the L W. W., Daniel De Leon formulating the 
theoretical concepts of industrial unionism. Industrial 
unionism and the conception of overthrowing the parli- 
amentary state, substituting it with an industrial ad- 
ministration based upon the industrial unions, was re- 
lated by De Leon to the general theory of Marxism. 

The Socialist Party repeatedly rejected resolutions 
endorsing the L W. W. and industrial unionism, al- 
though supporting I. W. W. strikes by money and pub- 
licity. The Socialist Party supported the A. F. of L. 
and craft unionism, rejecting the revolutionary implica- 
tions of industrial unionism-r-the necessity of extra- 
parliamentary action to conquer the power of the state. 
After the panic of 1907, there was an awakennig 
of the American proletariat. New and more proletar- 
ian elements joined the Socialist Party. Industrial un- 
ionism developed an enormous impetus, and violent 
tactical disputes arose in the party, particularly in the 
Northwest where the new unionism was a vital factor. 
These disputes came to a climax at the Socialist Party 
Convention of 1912. The tactical issue of industrial 
unionism was comprised in the prpblem of whether 
parliamentarism alone constituted political action, 
whether parliamentarism alone could accomplish the 
revolution or whether extra-parliamentary means were 
indispensable for the conquest of political power. The 
Socialist Party Convention, by a large majority, emas- 
culated the Marxian conception of poiitical action, lim- 


iting it to parliamentarism; an amendment to the party 
constitution defined political action as "participation in 
elections for public office and practical legislative and 
administrative work along the lines of the Socialist 
Party platform." That year the Sociahst Party, by 
means of a petty bourgeois liberal campaign, polled 
more than 900,000 votes for its presidential candidate; 
but thousands of militant proletarians seceded from the 
party in disgust at the rejection of revolutionary indus- 
trial unionism, while William D. Haywood, representa- 
tive of the industrialists in the party, was recalled on 
referendum vote as a member of the National Executive 

The organization of the Progressive Party in 1912 
made "progressiv'ism" a political issue. The Socialist 
Party adapted itself to this "progressivism." But this 
progressivism was the last flickering expression of 
radical democracy; Theodore Roosevelt harnessed pro- 
gressivism to Imperialism and State Capitalism. A new 
social alignment arose, requiring new Socialist tactics. 

2. The War, the Socialist Party and the Bolshevik 

After 1912, the party officially proceeded on its 
peaceful petty bourgeois way. Then — ^the war, and the 
collapse of the International. The official represent- 
atives of the Socialist Party either justified the betrayal 
of Socialism in Europe, or else were acquiescently silent, 
while issuing liberal appeals to "humanity." 

As the war continued and the betrayal of Socialism 
became more apparent, and particularly as the Amer- 
ican comrades learned of the revolutionary minority 
elements in the European movement, there was a revo- 
lutionary awakening in the Socialist Party, strength- 
ened by new accessions of proletarian elements to the 
party. The first organized expression of this awakening 
was the formation of the Socialist Propaganda League 
in Boston, in 1916, issuing a weekly organ which after- 
wards became "The New International," with Louis C. 
Fraina as Editor and S. J. Rutgers as Associate. The 
League emphasized the necessity of new proletarian 
tactics in the epoch of Imperialism. In April, 1917, was 


started "The Class Struggle," a magazine devoted to 
International Socialism. In the State of Michigan, the 
anti-reformists captured the Socialist Party, and car- 
ried on a non-reformist agitation, particularly in ''The 

The enormous exports of war munitions, the devel- 
opment of large reserves of surplus capital, and the as- 
sumption of a position of world power financially by 
American Capitalism forced the United States into the 
war. There was an immediate revolutionary upsurge 
in the Socialist Party. The St. Louis Convention of the 
Party, in April, 1917, adopted a militant declaration 
against the war, forced upon a reluctant bureaucracy 
by the revolutionary membership. But this bureau- 
cracy sabotaged the declaration. It adopted a policy of 
petty bourgeois pacifism, uniting with the liberal Peo- 
ple's Council, which subsequently accepted Presi- 
dent Wilson's "14 points" as its own program. 
Moreover, there was a minority on the National 
Executive Committee in favor of the war; in August, 
1918, the vote in the N. E. C. stood 4 to 4 on 
repudiation of the St. Louis Declaration. The Socialist 
Party's only representative in Congress, Meyer London, 
openly supported the war and flouted the party's dec- 
laration against the war ; but he was neither disciplined 
nor expelled, in fact secured a renomination. Mor- 
ris Hillquit accepted the declaration against the war, 
but converted it into bourgeois pacifism, being a prom- 
inent member of the People's Council. In reply to a 
question whether, if a member of Congress, he would 
have voted in favor of war, Hillquit answered ("The 
New Republic," December 1, 1917) : "If I^had believed 
that our participation would shorten the world war and 
force a better, more democratic and more durable 
peace, I should have favored the measure, regardless 
of the cost and sacrifices of America. My opposition 
to our entry into the war was based upon the conviction 
that it would prolong the disastrous conflict without 
compensating gains to humanity." This was a complete 
abandonment of the class struggle and the Socialist con- 

30 , 

ception of war. The war was a test of the Socialist 
Party and proved it ofiicially a party of vicious cen- 

The Russian, Revolution was another test of the 
party. Officially, the Socialist Party was for the Men- 
shevik policy and enthusiastic about Kerensky; while 
the New York "Call," Socialist Party daily newspaper 
m New York City, editorially characterized Comrade 
Lenin and the Bolsheviki, in June, 1917, as "anarchists." 
The party officially was silent, about the November 
Revolution ; it was silent about the Soviet Government's 
proposal for an armistice on all fronts, although the 
National Executive Committee of the Party met in De- 
cember and should have acted vigorously, mobilizing 
the party for the armistice. But the revolutionary 
membership responded, its enthusiasm for the Bol- 
shevik Revolution being magnificent. This enthusiasm 
forced the party representatives to speak in favor of 
the Bolsheviki, but always in general terms capable of 
interpretation." After the Brest-Litovsk peace, there 
was a sentiment among the party representatives for 
war against Germany " to save the Russian Revolu- 

The Socialist Party carried on an active campaign 
against intervention in Russia. However, this cam- 
paign did not emphasize the revolutionary implications " 
ol the situation m Russia, as making mandatory the re- 
construction of the Socialist movement. A campaign 
against intervention must proceed as a phase of the 
general campaign to develop revolutionary proletarian 

3. The Left Wing Develops. 

During 1918 the Socialist Party was iii ferment. 
The membership was more and more coming to think 
in revoltitionary terms. Then came the armistice and 
the German Revolution. The response was immediate. 
On November 7, 1918, a Communist Propaganda 
League was organized in Chicago. On November 9 
Local Boston, Socialist Party, started to issue an agita- 
tional paper, "The Revolutionary Age." This paper 
immediately issued a call to the party for the adoption 
of revolutionary Communist 'tactics, emphasizing that 

, 31 ■ 

the emergence of the proletariat into the epoch of the 
world revolution made absolutely imperative the re- 
construction of Socialism. In New York City, in Feb- 
ruary 1919, there was organized the Left Wing Sec- 
tion of the Socialist Party. Its Left Wing Manifesto 
and Program was adopted by local after local of the 
Socialist Party, the Left Wing acquiring a definite ex- 
pression. The Left Wing secured the immediate ad- 
hesion of the Lettish, Russian, Lithuanian, Polish, 
Ukrainian, South Slavic, Hungarian and Esthonian Fed- 
erations of the party, representing about 25,000 mem- 
bers. The official organs of the Federations did splen- 
did work for the Left Wing. 

In January, 1919, the National Executive Com- 
mittee of the Socialist Party decided to send delegates 
to the Berne Congress of the Great Betrayal. This ac- 
tion was characteristic of the social-patriot and centrist 
bent of the party administration. There was an im- 
mediate protest from the membership, the Left Wing 
using the Berne Congress as again emphasizing the ne- 
cessity for the revolutionary reconstruction of Social- 
ism. In March we received a copy of the call issued by 
the Communist Party of Russia for an international 
congress to organize a new International. "The Revo- 
lutionary Age" was the first to print the call, yielding 
it immediate adhesion; while the Left Wing Section of 
New York City transmitted credentials to S. J. Rut- 
gers to represent it at the congress. Local Boston in- 
itiated a motion for a referendum to affiliate the party 
with the Third International; this was thrown out by 
the national administration of the party on a techni- 
cality; but after much delay another local succeeded 
in securing a referendum. (The vote was overwhelm- 
ingly in favor of the Third International.) 

The Left Wing was now, although still without a 
definite organization, a formidable power in the So- 
"cialist Party. Previously all revolts in the party were 
isolated or consisted purely of theoretical criticism; 
now there was this theoretical criticism united with 
a developing organization expression.- There was not, 
as yet, any general conception of the organization of 
a new party; it was a struggle for power within the 
Socialist Party. 

32 . 

About this time the call for the new Socialist 
Party elections was issued. The Left Wing decided 
upon its own candidates. The elections constituted an 
overwhelming victory for the Left Wing. The na- 
tional administration of the Socialist Party, realizing 
the impending disaster, decided upon desperate mea- 
sures. Branch after branch and local after local of 
the party, which had adopted the Left Wing Manifesto 
and Program, was expelled. Morris Hillquit issued 
a declaration that the breach in the party had become 
irreconcilable, and that the only solution was to split, 
each faction organizing its own party. At first the 
expulsions were on a small scale ; then, the danger be- 
coming more acute, the national administration of the 
party acted. The National Executive Committee met 
in May determined to "purge" the party of the Left 
Wing. The N. E. C. was brutal and direct in its 
means : it refused to recognize the results of the elec- 
tions, declaring them illegal because of "frauds." It 
issued a call for an emergency national convention on 
August 30, which was to decide the validity of the 
elections, meanwhile appointing an "investigating com- 
mittee." But in ord^r to insure that the convention 
would "act right," the N. E. C. suspended from the 
Party the Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Hungarian, South 
Slavic, Lettish, and Lithuanian Federations, and the So- 
cialist Party of Michigan State. In all, the N. E. C. 
suspended 40,000 members from the party — a delib- 
erate, brazen move to control the election of delegates 
to the convention. 

The charge of "fraud" was an easily detected 
camouflage. The elections were so overwhelmingly 
in favor of the Left Wing candidates as to prove the 
charge of fraud itself a fraud. For international dele- 
gates the vote was (excluding three states, where the 
returns were suppressed, but which would not alter the 
results). Left Wing candidates: John Reed, 17,235; 
Louis C. Fraina, 14,124; C. E. Ruthenberg, 10,773; A. 
Wagenknecht, 10,650; L E. Ferguson, 6,490 — Right 
Wing candidates: Victor L. Berger, 4,871; Seymour 
Stedman, 4,'729; Adolph Germer, 4,622; Oscar Amer- 


inger, 3,184; J. L. Engdahl, 8,510; John M. Work, 
2,664; A. I. Shiplacoff, 2,346; James Oneal, 1,895; 
Algernon Lee, 1858. Louis B. Boudin, who was pro- 
war and against the Bolshevik Revolution, secured 
1,537 votes. The Left Wing elected 12 out of 15 mem- 
bers of the National Executive Committee. The mod- 
erates who had been dominant in the Socialist Party 
were overwhelmingly repudiated. Kate Richards 
O'Hare (supported by the Left Wing, although not its 
candidate) defeated Hillquit for International Secre- 
tary, 13,262 to 4,775. 

The N. E. C, after these desperate acts and after 
refusing to make public the vote on the referendum to 
affiliate with the Communist International, decided to 
retain ofBce until the convention of August 30, al- 
though constitutionally it should have retired on June 

The issue was now definite. No compromise was 
conceivable. Events were directly making for a split 
and the organization of a new party. The Old Guard 
was concerned with retaining control of the Socialist 
Party organization, even if minus the bulk of the mem- 
bership ; the Left Wing was concerned with the princi- 
ples and tactics. 

5. The National Left Wing Conference and After 

Just prior to the session of the National Executive 
Committee, Local Boston, Local Cleveland and the Left 
Wing Section of the Socialist Party of New York City; 
issued a call for a National Left Wing Conference, 
which met in New York City on June 21. The Confer- 
ence was composed of 94 delegates representing 20 
states, and coming overwhelmingly from the large in- 
dustrial centers, the heart of the militant proletarian 

There was a difference of opinion in the Confer- 
ence as to whether a Communist Party should be organ- 
ized immediately, or whether the struggle should be 
carried on within the Socialist Party until the emer- 
gency convention August 30. The proposal to organ- 
ize a new party immediately was defeated, 55 to 88. 


Thereupon 31 delegates, consisting mostly of the Fed- 
eration comrades and the delegates of the Socialist 
Party of Michigan, determined to withdraw from the 
Conference. The majority in the Conference decided 
to participate in the Socialist Party emergency con- 
vention, all expelled and suspended locals to send con- 
testing delegates; but issued a call for a convention 
September 1 "of all revolutionary elements" to orgaur 
ize a Communist Party together with delegates seced- 
ing from the Socialist Party convention. 

One important thing was accomplished by the 
Left Wing Conference — it made definite the issue of 
a new party, which until that moment was very in- 
definite. The minority in the Conference emphasized 
the inexorable necessity for the organization of a new 
^ party. This was in the minds of practically all, but 
it now became a definite conviction. There were cen- 
trists in the Conference who still felt that the old party 
could be captured, who recoiled from a split; and these 
voted with the majority to go to the Socialist Party 
convention; but the majority in the majority was con- 
vinced of the necessity for a new party, differing with 
the minority of 31 simply on the right procedure to " 

After the Conference, the minority of 31 issued a 
call for a convention on September 1 to organize a 
Communist Party, repudiating all participation in the 
Socialist Party convention. 

In the course of its development the Left Wing, 
while Communist in its impulse, had attracted elements 
not all Communist. There were conscious centrists; 
comrades who had for years been waging a struggle 
for administration control of the party; and comrades 
who were disgusted with the gangster tactics pursued 
by the Old Guard in control of the party administration. 
The situation now began to clarify itself— Right Wing, 
Centre, Left Wing. ' 

The important factor in this situation was the di- 
vision in the organized Left Wing— the National 
Council, elected by the Left Wing Conference, and the 
minority which had organized a National Organiza- 


tion Committee and issued its own call for a Commun- 
ist Party convention. This constituted more than a 
split in the Left Wing : it was a split of the conscious 
Communist elements in the Left Wing. This division, 
if persisted in, meant disaster. Unity was necessary 

not simply organization unity, which at particular 

moments must be dispensed with, but revolutionary 
unity. This unity was accomplished by agreement for 
the merger of the two factions on the basis of a Joint 
Call for a Communist Party convention on September 


The overwhelming majority of the organizations 
and delegates represented at the Left Wing Confer- 
ence accepted the Joint Call. 

The Left Wing had found itself, unified itself, de- 
termined upon the organization of a real Communist 
5. The Conventions and Revolutionary Reconstruction 

The Socialist Party Convention met on August 
30th. The repudiated National Executive Committee 
manipulated the roster of delegates to insure Right 
Wing control, dozens of delegates suspected of sym- 
pathy for the Left Wing being contested and refused 
admission to the convention. The police was used 
against these delegates — an indication of the potential 
Noske-Scheidemann character of the Old Guard of the 
Socialist Party. The Left Wing was stigmatized as 
anarchistic, as consisting of foreigners, as an expres- 
sion Of emotional hysteria. The Socialist Party con- 
vention was ruthlessly dominated by the Right Wing, 
which used the camouflage of greetmgs to Soviet Rus- 
sia and words about the "Revolution." It did not 
adopt a new program in accord with the new tactical 
requirements of Socialism, avoiding all fundamental 
problems. The Socialist Party convention adopted a 
resolution calling for an "international congress" to 
organize the "Third International," to include the Com- 
munist Party of Russia and of Germany, but ignoring 
the existing Communist International! A minority 
resolution to affiliate with the Communist International 


was decisively defeated. The two resolutions are 
submitted to referendum vote. (There is a group still 
in the Socialist Party styling itself "Left Wing" which 
is unscrupulously trying to garner sentiment for the 
Communist International to revitalize the old party.) 
The Socialist Party now represents about 25,000 mem- 

The delegates refused admission to the Socialist 
Party convention proceeded to organize their own con- 
vention, the first act of which was to proclaim itself 
the "legal convention" of the Socialist Party — a beau- 
tiful centrist twist! These delegates organized them- 
selves as the Communist Labor Party. This was on 
Sunday, Aug. 31. 

On Monday, the Communist Party convention met 
with 140 delegates representing approximately 58,000 

A committee of five from the "Left Wing" con- 
vention met with a committee of the Communist Party 
to discuss unity. The C. L. P. offered unity "on a 
basis of equality," that is, to combine the two conven- 
tions as units, delegate for delegate. This the Com- 
munist Party rejected. The delegates in the Commun- 
ist Labor Party convention' were a peculiar mixture, 
some of them openly repudiating the Left Wing princi- 
ples and tactics, others notorious Centrists. The 
Communist Party committee proposed that all dele- 
gates at the Communist Labor convention having in- 
structions to participate in the Communist party con- 
vention (about 20) should come in as regular dele- 
gates; while delegates whose organizations had 
adopted the -Left Wing Manifesto and Program but 
who were not instructed to organize a Communist 
Party (about 2D) would be admitted as fraternal dele- 
gates. The other delegates, representing an unknown 
constituency, or no membership at all, who were simply 
disgruntled at the Old Guard for its gangster tactics, 
could not be allowed to participate in the organization 
of a Communist Party. 


The Communist Labor Party convention refused 
this offer and proceeded to organize a permanent 
party. The delegates organizing the C. L. P, repre- 
sented not more than 10,000 members, many of whom 
are now joining the Communist Party,' 

This third party adventure was the result of a 
number of factors: personal politics, centrism, and the 
fact that Communist elements from the Western States 
had not been in close touch with the more rapid devel- 
opments in the East. 

Having consciously organized a third party, the 
Communist Labor Party is now making "unity" its 
major campaign. The former Left Wing organizations 
are almost entirely accepting the Communist Party, 
achieving unity through membership action. One 
word more: the C. L. P. speaks much of "an Ameri- 
can Communist movement" and fights our party on the 
issue of "Fed^ation control." This is malicious. 
There has been one disagreement with the Federation 
comrades: concerning this, it might be said that the 
Federation comrades may have been too precipitate 
and the American comrades too hesitant. But the Fed- 
eration comrades have worked earnestly for an uncom- 
promising Communist Party. In any event, if the 
Federations offer any problem, it is a problem of in- 
ternal party struggle and action. The sincerity of the 
Federation comrades, all other considerations aside, 
is attested by their yielding administrative power to the 
non-Federation comrades. 

The Communist Party Manifesto is a consistent 
formulation of Communist fundamentals; its Program 
a realistic application of these fundamentals to the 
immediate problems of the proletarian struggle; its 
constitution based upon rigorous party centralization 
and discipline, without which a Communist Party 
builds upon sand. 

» 6. The General Situation 

The Communist Party appears at a moment of 
profound proletarian unfest. There has been strike 
after strike, developing larger and more aggressive 


character. There is now a strike of more than 300,000 
workers in the steel industry, a really terrific portent 
to American Capitalism. 

There is a revolutionary upsurge in the old unions: 
the longshoremen of Seattle have just refused to allow 
munitions for Kolchak & Co. to be transported. There 
is a strong sentiment in favor of the Eussian Soviet Ee- 
public. In the unions the workers are becoming con- 
scious of the reactionary character of their officials, and 
movements of protest and a sentiment for industrial 
unionism are developing. 

But the American Federation of Labor, as a 
whole, is hopelessly reactionary. At its recent con- 
vention the A. F. of L. approved the Versailles peace 
treaty and the League of Nations, and refused to de- 
clare its solidarity with Soviet Eussia. It did not even 
protest the blockade of Eussia and Hungary! This 
convention, morever, did all in its power to break radi- 
cal unions. The A. F. of L. is united with the govern- 
ment, securing a privileged status in the governing sys- 
tem of State Capitalism. A Labor Party is being or- 
ganized^much more conservative than the British 
Labor Party. 

The Industrial Workers of the World is waging 
an aggressive campaign of organization. It has de- 
cided to affiliate with the Communist International; 
but its press and spokesmen show no understanding of 
Communist tactics. The I. W. W. still clings to its old 
concepts of organizing all the workers industrially, 
gradually "growing into" the new society, as the only 
means of achieving the revolution: a conception as 
Utopian as that of the moderate Socialist, who proposes 
to "grow into" Socialism by transforming the bourgeois 
state. The Communist Party endorses the I. W. W. as 
a revolutionary mass movement, while criticisjitg its 
theoretical shortcomings. 

Imperialism is now consciously dominant in the 
United States. In his recent tour for the League of 
Nations, President Wilson threw off the mask and 
spoke in plain imperialistic terms, emphasizing the ab- 


solute necessity of crushing Soviet Russia. Congress 
drifts, and is impotent. The government, federal and 
local, is adopting the most repressive measures against 
the proletariat. Armed force, martial law and military- 
invasion are used against strikes. State after state has 
adopted "Criminal Syndicalism" measures, making al- 
most any advocacy of militant proletarian tactics a 
crime. On the least pretext agitators are arrested. 
Deportations occur almost daily; one of our interna- 
tional delegates, A. Stoklitsky, is now under trial for 


American Imperialism is usurping world power, 
constituting the very heart of international reaction. 
Reaction in Europe and the campaign against Soviet 

Russia are supported morally and financially by "our" 
government. An enormous agitation is being waged for 
military intervention in Mexico. The American cap- 
italist class is brutal, unscrupulous, powerful; it con- 
trols enormous reserves of financial, industrial and 
military power; it is determined to use this power to 
conquer world supremacy and to crush the revolu- 
tionary proletariat. 

The Communist Party realizes the immensity of its 
task ; it realizes that the final struggle of the Communist 
proletariat will be waged in the United States, our 
conquest of power alone assuring the world Soviet 
Republic. Realizing all this, the Communist Party pre- 
pares for the struggle. 

Long live the Cummunist International ! Long live 
the world revolution ! 



That is the Slogan of 


Official Organ of the Communist Party of America 


Editorials on Communist Principles and Tactics. 

Comment on Current Developments of Capitalism. 

News Articles from Soviet Russia. 

Articles by the Leaders of the Communist Movement 

in Europe. 
Stories of the Struggles of the Workers. 


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