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Full text of "Party building and political leadership"

Party Buildin 

and 

Political 



WM. Z. FOSTER 
ALEX BITTELMAN 
JAMES W. FORD 
CHARLES KRUMBEIN 



THREE SPEECHES 
of WORLD SIGNIFICANCE 



The Commijnists in the People's Front 

Earl Browder 10 

Mastering Bolshevism 

Joseph Stalin 05 

Organizational Problems of the 
Communist Party 

A.A.Zhdanov 10 



For complete catalogue of Marxist-Leninist 
literature write to 

WORKERS LIBRARY PUBLISHERS 

P. O. Box 148, Sta. D New York City 



PARTY BUILDING AND POLITICAL 
LEADERSHIP 



*\ 



OTHER PAMPHLETS BY 
WILLIAM Z. FOSTER 

• 
A Manual of Industrial Unionism 

10 cents 

What Means a Strike in Steel 

5 cents 

Questions and Answers on the 
Piataltov-Radek Trial 

10 cents 

The Crisis in the Socialist Party 
5 cents 

Organizing Methods in the Steel Industry , 

5 cents 

Industrial Unionism 
G cents 



Unionizing Steel 
B cents 



PARTY BUILDING 

AND POLITICAL 

LEADERSHIP 



BY 

WILLIAM Z. FOSTER 

ALEX BITTELMAN 

JAMES W. FORD 

CHARLES KRUMBEIN 



NEW YORK 
WORKERS LIBRARY PUBLISHERS 



The first two articles in this book are 
reports delivered at the Plenary Meet- 
ing of the Central Committee of the 
Communist Party, U.S.A., held June 
iy-2o t 1937* The second two articles 
are excerpts from reports at the same 
meeting. 



PUBLISHED BY 

WORKERS LIBRARY PUBLISHERS, INC. 

P. O. BOX 148, STA. D, NEW YORK CITY 

AUCUST, 1937 

209 



CONTENTS 

PARTY BUILDING AND POLITICAL 
LEADERSHIP 

By William Z, Foster 7 

THE PARTY AND THE PEOPLE'S FRONT 
By Alex Bittelman 77 



DEVELOPING NEGRO COMMUNIST 
LEADERS 



By James W. Ford 



102 



PROBLEMS OF DEVELOPING 
LEADING FORCES 



By Charles Krumbein 



J 



115 



Party Building and 
Political Leadership 



By WILLIAM Z. FOSTER 



Part I 



In the United States, under the 
blows of the difficult economic situ- 
ation and the threat of political reac- 
tion, the masses are moving towards 
the People's Front; they are being 
rapidly radicalized and are breaking 
the leading strings that held them so 
long under the control of the capitalist 
class. There is a deep class differentia- 
tion and shifting of class forces. This is 
shown by the unparalleled regrouping 
of political and economic organiza- 
tions during the past year, including 
splits in the Republican, Democratic 

7 



and Socialist parties, the rise and 
breakup of the Townsend and Cough- 
lin movements and the deep split in the 
American Federation of Labor, and 
also especially by the growth of the 
C.I.O., Labor's Non-Partisan League, 
the great peace movement, the youth 
and women's movements, etc. Es- 
pecially are the forces of reaction and 
incipient fascism grouping themselves 
around the Republican Party, and 
those of democratic progress around 
Roosevelt. 

But the Communist Party and the 
Daily Worker do not experience an 
organic growth corresponding to the 
expanding mass movement of the toil- 
ers. Our Party is active in every phase 
of the developing People's Front move- 
ment and it has greatly increased its 
prestige and forces in mass organiza- 
tions of all kinds— trade unions, labor 
parties, fraternal, national, farmer, 
youth, Negro, women, peace, anti-fas- 

8 



cist, labor defense, unemployed, vete- 
rans, as well as in political life general- 
ly. This lays a sure basis for future 
growth, but for the present the expan- 
sion of the Party and the Daily Worker 
lags badly. Thus, during the past year, 
a period of unparalleled mass organiza- 
tion and class struggle, our Party's 
membership has fluctuated around 
40,000, and the circulation of the Daily 
Worker stagnates. 

The problem of speeding up the 
growth of the Party and its press, of 
liquidating the contradiction between 
the rapid intensification of the class 
struggle and the slow growth of our 
Party constitutes the most urgent issue 
now before the Party. 

Before analyzing this problem it is 
necessary first to eliminate a harm- 
ful misconception. This is the opinion 
that the economic situation in the 
United States is not favorable to the 
rapid growth of the Communist Party, 

9 



that the Communist Party cannot grow 
in periods of "prosperity" but requires 
a situation of economic crisis or de- 
pression. 

Such a notion is basically wrong. 
The growih of the Communist Party 
is conditioned by a whole complex of 
factors, not the economic question of 
industrial production alone. When, as 
at present, with some 9,000,000 work- 
ers unemployed, with the cost of living 
rapidly rising, with the masses more 
conscious of economic and political 
grievances than ever, with millions of 
workers and other toilers organizing 
and fighting, the groundwork is at 
hand for a rapid expansion of the 
Communist Party's strength and in- 
fluence* Therefore, if our Party and 
its press are not now growing faster the 
reasons are not to be found in an un- 
favorable objective situation, but in 
other factors which we shall develop as 
we go along. There is absolutely no 

io 



reason in the objective situation why 
our Party should not be numerically 
several times stronger than it is at the 
present time. 

REVIEW OF ORGANIZATIONAL CON- 
DITIONS AND METHODS 

That the Party as a whole needs 
greatly to improve its organizational 
work, its recruitment and assimilation 
of new members goes without saying. 
There is the grossest neglect of this 
fundamental question. Without defi- 
nite improvement in this vital work all 
talk of building the Party and its press 
will remain fruitless. 

The Resolution of the June Plenum 
of the Central Committee correctly 
calls for "a general review of the or- 
ganizational conditions and methods 
of the Party/'* This general review 



* Resolutions of the Ninth Convention of 
the Communist Party, Workers Library Pub- 
lishers, New York, 10 cents. 



1 1 





and the improvements that should re- 
sult from it must have as its starting 
point the strengthening of the Party's 
united front alliances, of developing 
the Party's contacts in the numerous 
mass organizations, of intensifying the 
toilers' struggle and raising it to higher 
political levels, and of fulfilling the 
Party's general tasks in the developing 
People's Front movement. Examined 
from this standpoint, the following can 
be summed up as an outline of some of 
the Party's major organizational tasks. 
A. A greater organizational con- 
sciousness. Our Party needs further 
education in the necessity of carrying 
on systematic Party organizational 
work. Too much reliance h still placed 
on mere agitation, the regular building 
of the Party being left largely to spon- 
taneity. This situation must be dras- 
tically corrected. The whole Party 
membership must be made acutely or- 
ganization conscious, and educated 

12 



never to forget that the building of a 
great mass Communist Party is the 
center of all of our activities. Party 
building must be made the central 
issue everywhere and at all times 
throughout the Party. 

B. Intensified preparation of cadres. 
The cadre question also must be re- 
shaped in view of the present situation. 
Our whole system of the training of 
cadres must be broadened and speeded 
up to satisfy the great demand for 
trained personnel created by the grow- 
ing mass struggle and the multiplying 
activities of our Party. It must be espe- 
cially directed toward producing the 
new types of cadres demanded by the 
new mass organizations. All our schools 
must be extended. 

We must especially adopt a bolder 
policy of promoting comrades to more 
responsible work, and thus bring out 
their latent abilities. While stressing 
the great importance of the cadre ques- 
ts 






tion we must not, however, fail to com- 
bat the wrong theories of those who 
try to justify inexcusable inactivity by 
urging a lack of capable cadres. 

c. Link together the Party's organ- 
izational and educational work. The 
education and organization of workers 
are essentially one process, both on a 
Party and mass scale, and the two 
phases of the work must be closely co- 
ordinated. The combination of the 
two former separate agitprop and or- 
ganization departments into the educa- 
tional-organizational department is an 
important step forward in the methods 
of Party building and mass work, and 
the full logic of it must be developed 
throughout the districts. This depart- 
ment should study the methods of agi- 
tation and organization used by vari- 
ous other organizations— political par- 
ties, trade unions, fraternal organiza- 
tions, etc. The department should also 
send out instructors to the districts to 

H 



check up on the carrying out of its 
directives. 

d. Connect Party recruiting with the 
mass movement. Party building must 
be made an organic part of every mass 
campaign of the Party, The educa- 
tion-organization department must 
concern itself directly with the plan- 
ning of our mass work and weave into 
it the various tasks of Party building. 
Heretofore, Party building has been 
considered too much as a separate 
Party activity, detached from actual 
mass work. Thus, for example, during 
the recent election campaign, many 
big mass meetings were held; radio 
speeches delivered; literature distrib- 
uted; etc, in which no appeal whatever 
was made actually to draw workers into 
the ranks of our Party. 

The Party must also fight energetic- 
ally against the "stages" theory of or- 
ganization; which is, that first we build 
the mass organization and later the 

*5 









Party. Party building must be a con- 
tinuous process, proceeding simulta- 
neously with the development of the 
mass campaigns, and must not be the 
object simply of occasional Party re- 
cruiting drives. The Party Organizer 
should be broadened out from its 
present narrow inner-Party line (that 
is, its dealing almost entirely with 
purely Party affairs), and should also 
concern itself directly with all im- 
portant problems of mass organization, 
linking Party building with them, 

e. New methods of Party recruiting. 
Our methods of recruiting members 
into the Party should be restudied with 
regard to our united front situation 
in the developing People's Front move- 
ment. Very often prevailing methods 
of recruitment are too narrow, too 
much confined to close Party circles* 
We must find broader approaches to 
the awakening masses and develop sys- 
tematic efforts to recruit among them 

16 



on the basis of the shop, union, family, 
friends, neighborhood, fraternal or- 
ganizations, etc Special attention 
must be paid to developing recruiting 
activities by all our contacts in the 
mass organizations, particularly our 
hundreds of new functionaries. Also, 
the fractions should be given more re- 
sponsibility for Party recruiting. A 
better planning and check-up should 
be developed for all recruitment work. 
f. Reduction in membership fluctu- 
ation. Our efforts to correct the evil of 
membership fluctuation, through 
which we lose a large percentage of the 
new members recruited yearly, must 
also be based upon the united front 
situation of the Party and the tasks 
of the developing mass movement. 
There must be a better distribution of 
tasks to new members, a more systema- 
tic education of these new members, 
a better dues collection system, a more 
thorough check-up on those who have 






dropped out of the Party, the raising 
of the political tone of the unit life, 
etc. 

g. Connect the Daily Worker 
more closely with the mass movement. 
The problem of improving the circula- 
tion of the Daily Worker must also be 
examined in the light of our tasks in 
the growing People's Front movement. 
In the first place, it is necessary to link 
the paper up more closely with the 
workers' struggles. The Daily Worker 
must be not only a first-class journal of 
general labor information and com- 
ment; it must especially be a fighting 
organ and leader of the mass struggle. 
It must be reorganized as the main 
agitational expression of the Party. 
The paper should display greater ini- 
tiative in the inauguration and inten- 
sification of the mass struggle by sys- 
tematic exposures of bad conditions in 
plants; concentrated reporting of 
strike situations; specially organized 

18 



circulation of the paper in struggle 
zones, etc. The special editions in the 
auto strikes, the steel strikes and the 
Minnesota elections are very good steps 
in this general direction. 

This sharpening up of the role of 
the Daily Worker as the outstanding 
leading fighting paper of the workers 
can only be successful provided it is 
backed up by a better organization of 
the circulation department. At present 
there is gross neglect in circulating the 
paper at mill gates, union meetings, 
and in many other situations where the 
workers welcome it. It is necessary that 
skilled assistance be brought into the 
circulation department to organize our 
circulation methods on a modern basis. 
There should be developed in the 
Party a spirit and organization some- 
thing similar to the old Appeal Army. 
Circulation of the Daily Worker should 
be raised to the height of a major po- 
litical task. 

19 




J-* ■ 



li J* 



h. Strengthen the shop papers. Our 
shop papers also face new problems in 
connection with the organization of 
huge masses of unorganized into the 
C.I.O. unions. These papers are not 
prospering as they should. Some are 
displaying a tendency to stagnate and 
this must be corrected; for the shop 
papers can be built into powerful 
weapons to bring the Party's policy to 
the masses, and generally to show the 
face of the Party in the shops. 

i. Self-criticism, Party democracy 
and collective leadership. Improve- 
ment in all these elementary respects 
is necessary for the strengthening of 
our Party politically and organization- 
ally. There must be a better examina- 
tion made of our weaknesses— a franker 
admission of errors, if we are to sharp- 
en up our policies and activities; a 
better combination of democratic pro- 
cedure with firm Communist disci- 
pline, if we are to give the workers 

so 



more of a feeling of active participa- 
tion in the life of the Party, and a more 
systematic development of collective 
leadership if we are to develop the best 
leading and working ability that our 
Party has in its forces. 

Substantial improvement of the 
Party's organizational methods along 
the above-suggested lines is bound to 
result in a decided speeding up of Par- 
ty building. It would result in much 
growth for our Party and the strength- 
ening of its influence on all fronts. The 
need of the betterment of our organiza- 
tion work, therefore, cannot be over- 
stressed. 



21 









Part II 

PARTY BUILDING— BETTER POLITICAL 
WORK 

Effective political work among the 
masses is, of course, fundamental to 
the building of the Party and its press- 
In this sense, the resolution of the June 
Plenum o£ the Central Committee of 
our Partv says: 

"In this way, the Communist Party must 
guard against the danger of dissolving itself 
in the general mass movement either ideo- 
logically or organizationally. It must aim to 
become more and more the initiating, organ- 
izing and unifying force of the People's Front 
movement and, at the same time, the gather- 
ing, organizing and recruiting center of the 
most advanced elements of that movement. 
This should express itself in the mass agita- 
tion of the Party, in its independent activities 
of various forms, and in the central organ of 
the Party, the Daily Worker. This strength- 
ening of the initiative and of the indepen- 
dent political activity of the Party can be 
only beneficial to the successful development 

22 



of the People's Front. And, in turn, only the 
most powerful development of the people's 
mass movement can create the most favor- 
able condition for the growth and strength- 
ening of the Communist Party/' 

How, concretely, can we carry out 
these elementary Party tasks? How can 
we apply them in the present situa- 
tion of growing mass struggle and uti- 
lize them most effectively for the build- 
ing of our Party and the Daily Worker? 
In order to answer these fundamental 
questions it will be well for us to ex- 
amine in detail the degree and manner 
in which the Communist Party is real- 
izing, in the concrete situation of the 
rapidly growing American People's 
Front, its historic role as vanguard of 
the proletariat. 

As our approach to this very im- 
portant question which is so vital in 
Party building we will do well to study 
the experiences of the Communist Par- 
ties in France and Spain. In these two 
countries (not to mention China, 

23 



Chile, Mexico and elsewhere) strong 
People's Fronts have developed and 
the Communist Parties have also 
grown rapidly. Thus, in France the 
Communist Party in the last eighteen 
months has leaped up from some 60,- 
000 to 325*000 members and its po- 
litical influence has been enormously 
increased; in Spain a similar develop- 
ment has taken place, the Communist 
Party there growing from 50,000 to 
300,000 in ten months. 

When we examine the French and 
Spanish situations we at once note that 
in France and Spain the Communist 
Parties are in strong positions of po- 
litical leadership in the People's Front. 
They are real vanguard parties. This 
fact is of vast importance in their 
having achieved so much organiza- 
tional growth. For by the excellent po- 
litical work in their respective People's 
Front by which they convinced the 
masses of workers of the politically acl- 

24 



vanced role of the Communist Party, 
these two parties have also, at the same 
time, laid the groundwork for easy re- 
cruitment of the most advanced ele- 
ments into the Party. When the French 
workers once saw clearly the leading 
role of the Communist Party and real- 
ized how necessary our Party was, par- 
ticularly in the everyday struggles for 
immediate demands, they readily af- 
filiated themselves with it. In fact, it is 
only to the degree the workers any- 
where recognized this politically lead- 
ing role of the Communist Party that 
they take up seriously the job of build- 
ing the Party on a mass basis. 

Consider concretely the situation in 
France: In the French People's Front 
the role of the Communist Party as the 
vanguard stands out snarp and clear, 
although the official posts are mostly 
held by other parties. The Communist 
Party proposed the People's Front in 
the first place, was the main factor in 

*5 



organizing it, took a very prominent 
part in the recent victorious election 
campaign, was the most active force in 
reestablishing trade union unity and 
organizing four million workers and 
it is now the militant fighter for every 
step forward of the People's Front. All 
of which leading activity is quite ob- 
vious to great masses of workers and 
this, therefore, develops among them a 
powerful impetus to join such a po- 
litically strong party. 

In Spain the Communist Party is 
also in a minority so far as holding of- 
ficial posts in the People's Front is con- 
cerned, but it has, if anything, played 
a still more outstanding leading po- 
litical role. It, too, originated the pro- 
posal for a People's Front and was its 
main organizer, and it has also taken 
directly the lead for nearly every im- 
portant measure to strengthen the 
struggle against Franco, including the 
powerful mobilization of its forces in 

26 



the army, the better consolidation of 
the government, a unified military 
command, a firm army discipline and 
a concentrated defense of Madrid, the 
improvement of industrial production, 
etc. The result is that militant Spanish 
workers see clearly the advanced role 
of the Communist Party and thus are 
ready to affiliate themselves with this 
powerful and intelligent political or- 
ganization. 

In the United States, however, the 
Communist Party, while moving in 
that direction, does not yet occupy such 
a definite leading political position in 
the various mass movements making 
up the developing People's Front. 
While the Party is undoubtedly giving 
the broad theoretical leadership to the 
growing People's Front movement, the 
actual and immediate and official lead- 
ership of the day-to-day struggles which 
are decisive in winning the general po- 
litical support of the masses rests most- 

27 



Jy in other hands than those of the 
Communist Party. Thus, in its Party 
building our Party lacks the outstand- 
ing leading mass prestige enjoyed by 
the French and Spanish parties, and 
manifestly this makes our Party re- 
cruitment and membership assimila- 
tion considerably more difficult. 

The most elementary reasons why 
the French and Spanish Communist 
Parties occupy a stronger politically 
leading position among the masses 
than does our Communist Party are 
pretty obvious, Sound policies, mili- 
tantly applied, are fundamental in 
their success; but underlying this is the 
basic factor that the fascist and war 
dangers are more acute in these coun- 
tries than in the United States and this 
inclines the toiling masses who are also 
more class conscious than in the United 
States, the readier to follow the mili- 
tant lead of the revolutionary Com- 
munist Party in the People's Front. 

28 



It would be a grave political error, 
however, to conclude from this that, 
therefore, our Party is in no way re- 
sponsible for its relatively weak degree 
of mass political leadership and can do 
nothing substantial about it except to 
plug along and await the ripening of 
the class struggle. Such a fatalistic pas- 
sivity is groundless. It lies distinctly 
within the power of the Party, through 
the further development and improve- 
ment of its political work, and the im- 
provement of its methods of work, 
greatly to improve the Party's prestige 
among the masses and hence to speed 
tip the Party's growth. 



PARTY MASS LEADERSHIP AND 
PARTY GROWTH 

The direct relationship between the 
growth of the Communist Party and 
the degree of the Party f s mass political 
leadership is abundantly demonstrated 
not only by the foregoing comparisons 

2 9 



with the French and Spanish Commu- 
nist Parties, but also by our own ex- 
perience. Our Party history teaches us 
that the more clearly the workers have 
seen the vanguard role of our Party 
the more readily they have joined the 
Party and, what is no less important, 
the more firmly they have maintained 
their membership once they joined. 
And by the same token, when for any 
reason the leading role of our Party 
has been obscured the problems of 
Party recruitment and membership 
fluctuation have always become much 
more difficult. 

It is precisely in those districts and 
situations where the Party has the 
most political prestige that Party 
building is the easiest. Thus it is that 
in the best recruiting district, New 
York, where, through the broad cir- 
culation of the Daily Worker, the great 
May Day demonstrations and Madison 
Square Garden meetings, the indepen- 

3o 



dent Party activities in strikes, etc, as 
well as by systematic work inside the 
trade unions and other mass organiza* 
tions, the workers are made, in large 
measure, to see the face of the Party 
and to feel its power as a leading po- 
litical force. In California, the second 
best recruiting district, the Party also 
enjoys much prestige as a political 
leader, won during several years of 
agricultural workers' strikes, marine 
workers' strikes, the San Francisco gen- 
eral strike, etc., in which struggles the 
Party did not hide its light under a 
bushel, but, to a considerable extent at 
least, appeared before the workers as 
their practical, daily political leader. 

To the foregoing examples could be 
added many more from our Party's 
past, illustrating the same fact, Thus, 
in the great unemployed campaigns of 
*929-33> during which our Party occu- 
pied a strong leading position be- 
fore the masses, Party building was 

3» 










greatly facilitated, although we did not 
fully utilize the favorable situation. 
Likewise, during the big T.U.U.L. coal 
strike of 1930, where the Party leader- 
ship was clearly recognized by the 
striking masses, 1,100 miners were re- 
cruited into the Party in the Pittsburgh 
district with little effort. And, similar- 
ly, one of the best periods of Party 
growth was during the great strike 
wave of 1933-36, in which, through the 
wide activity of the Trade Union 
Unity League and our Party directly, 
the Party's leading role was much em- 
phasized and made visible to the 
masses. 

On the other hand, by the reverse 
operation of the same principle, our 
Party's history also provides many in- 
stances where Party building has been 
hampered by the Party's failure to de- 
velop political leadership. This was 
notably the case in our many "Left'* 
sectarian enterprises of the past, in- 

3* 



eluding the skeleton Trade Union 
Unity League unions, narrow Labor 
Parties, etc. While in such cases the 
leading role of the Party seemed great- 
ly to be emphasized, this was only in a 
pseudo sense. In reality, the Party was 
only being exposed in its isolation and 
its leadership lacked the necessary mass 
basis. Besides these sectarian tenden- 
cies which injured the Party's mass 
leadership, there was also in our his- 
tory much Right opportunism by 
which our Party also obscured its lead- 
ing role. Thus, in various united front 
mass movements the Party tended to 
lose its identity in the general work 
and consequently failed to develop the 
definite and visible mass leadership 
necessary for the most effective Party 
building. Evidences of t*his Right ten- 
dency are especially to be found in 
abundance in the present great organ- 
izing campaigns in steel, auto, textile, 
etc., and the danger from this source 

S3 









increases as our united front work, ex- 
pands. 

I have remarked earlier that it lies 
distinctly within the power of the Party 
very substantially to improve its posi- 
tion of political mass leadership. In- 
tense mass work on a united front basis 
is, of course, the starting point for all 
growth of the Party. But in doing such 
work the Party must not be simply a 
helper or auxiliary to the various cur- 
rent mass movements, of tailing after 
them politically, of liquidating itself 
into them. It is not enough that the 
Party be active; its activities must also 
take on a leading character. In all these 
mass movements the Party must find 
the ways and means to stand out clearly 
as the most constructive force, as the 
real political leader of the masses in the 
daily fight as well as in general theory. 
The more the Party succeeds in accom- 
plishing this objective, the easier and 

54 




quicker it will grow in numbers and 
influence. 

But the Party cannot improve its 
degree of leadership arbitrarily or 
artificially. It cannot be done by a 
grabbing for official posts in mass or- 
ganizations, or by vain boasts of Com- 
munist achievements in the class strug- 
gle, or simply by putting out more 
radical slogans than those of the basic 
mass movements, # or by merely insisting 
that our Party is the vanguard of the 
proletariat. Such mechanical attempts 
to win leadership can only weaken the 
growing united front and isolate the 
Party from the masses. Tke Party can 
develop leading prestige only by car- 
rying through a whole series of prac- 
tical political and organizational meas- 
ures, by proving in the daily struggle 
that it is actually the most intelligent 
and militant influence in the working 
class. 

35 






THE PARTY'S CHANGING STATUS IN 
THE CLASS STRUGGLE 

In weighing the problem of develop- 
ing and strengthening the Party's mass 
leadership and thereby of building the 
Party more rapidly, it is necessary to 
consider two important changes that 
have been brought about recently in 
the Party's position in the class strug- 
gle by the developing People's Front 
movement. The first of these is that 
numerous mass movements, officially 
led by non-Communists (but in which 
Communists actively participate) have 
now taken up and made their own, 
various progressive slogans and activ- 
ities in the advocacy and pursuance pf 
which our Party had for many years a 
sort of "monopoly/' The second im- 
portant change in the Party's situation 
is that the Party has recently passed 
over from a position of relative isola- 
tion to one of broad united front ac- 
tion. 

36 



Let us consider first the ending of 
the Party's "monopoly" of various pro- 
gressive slogans. It is an incontestable 
fact that for a long period our Party 
practically stood alone in defending 
many of the most elementary slogans 
and interests of the toiling masses. This 
was because the A. F. of L. was deeply 
reactionary and either ignored or 
fought against everything progressive 
and because the Socialist Party, al- 
though it had many of these issues in 
its program, was so permeated with op- 
portunism and prostrated by weakness 
that it did practically nothing about 
them. But now the situation is radical- 
ly changed. Huge masses of workers 
have become conscious of the need for 
measures and methods once supported 
almost solely by the Cdmmunist Party, 
and many leaders and great mass move- 
ments have developed around these 
issues. These slogans have passed from 
the stage of agitation to that of mass 

37 



action. Communists can only rejoice at 
this wide acceptance of our progressive 
slogans, that the masses are going the 
way we urged. It shows the role of our 
Party as the vanguard, that the ad- 
vancing masses are at last developing 
a political program of their own in op- 
position to the bourgeoisie, and are 
thus laying the foundations for a great 
People's Front movement in the 
United States. 

Take, for example, the question of 
industrial unionism. For many years 
the Communist Party and its imme- 
diate allies were practically the only 
ones to fight, both inside and outside 
the A. F. of L., for this measure. But 
the huge C.l.O. movement, headed by 
John L. Lewis, has now sprung up and 
the immediate leadership of the fight 
for industrial unionism has passed into 
its hands. The C.LO. has also gained, 
at the same time, the practical leader- 
ship in the organization of the unor- 

38 






ganized, another slogan in the applica- 
tion of which the Communist Party 
alone, for many years, did any serious 
work. 

The same is true regarding leading 
the opposition against the Green re- 
actionary officialdom in the A. F. of L. 
This, too, was long carried on almost 
solely by the Communist Party and the 
Trade Union Educational League in 
the face of great persecution; but now 
this important function has also fallen 
under the leadership of the C.LO. 

Similarly with regard to the struggle 
for unemployment relief and social in- 
surance. From 1930 to 1933 especially, 
the Communist Party and its support- 
ing organizations were the unchal- 
lenged mass leaders in this field, mili- 
tantly conducting huge demonstra- 
tions all over the country; while the A. 
F. of L. leaders trailed after Hoover's 
starvation program and the Socialist 
Party was quite inactive. But Roose- 

39 



velt, the A. F, of L., the Townsend 
movement, and many other organiza- 
tions and leaders have since stepped 
forth with programs of unemployment 
relief and social insurance and thereby 
the leading role of the Communist 
Party on this question has been greatly 
obscured. 

The Communist Party, the T.U.E.L. 
and the T.U.U.L. were pioneers also 
for ten years in advocating a militant 
strike policy, while the rest of the labor 
movement, from the A, F. of L. to the 
Socialist Party, was buried deep in class 
collaboration and based its activities 
primarily on a no-strike program. For 
this militancy we were condemned as 
disrupters and wreckers of the labor 
movement. But now the masses in 
many A. F. of L. organizations, as well 
as in the C.I.O. itself, have adopted an 
active strike policy the symbol of which 
is the sit-down strike. Accordingly, the 
Communist Party's leadership in this 

40 



respect is not so clearly evident as for- 
merly. 

Likewise, many other progressive 
economic and political slogans and 
programs, long advocated in the 
unions almost alone by the Commu- 
nists in the face of great persecution by 
the officialdom, have now been taken 
over as their own by these organiza- 
tions and leaders. Thus irt the recent 
I.L.G.W.U. convention the union lead- 
ers were given big ovations and unlim- 
ited credit for the splendid success of 
the union, a success based on policies 
for advocating which the Commu- 
nists were expelled wholesale from the 
same union by the same leaders only 
a few years ago, 

A similar development has taken 
place in the peace movement. When in 
the years following the Sixth Congress 
of the Comintern in 1938, the Commu- 
nist Party called upon the masses to be- 
ware of the war danger this was con- 

4i 



demned as absurd and our warnings 
were treated as "just so much Moscow 
propaganda." Our Party then had in- 
deed pretty much a "monopoly" of 
active anti-war slogans. But now gi- 
gantic masses are awake to the war 
danger and huge peace organizations 
and movements have developed to 
combat it. These are extended far be- 
yond the scepe of Communist official 
leadership and the great masses look 
much more to Roosevelt (even though 
he has distorted the peace slogans) 
than to our Party as the leader of the 
anti-war forces. 

Thus it is also in the case of Commu- 
nist slogans for the struggle against 
fascism, for labor defense work, for the 
demands of ihe youth, Negroes, wom- 
en, etc., that were once widely con- 
demned as mere Moscow innovations 
without relation to American life. 
They have now become largely the de- 
mands and the basis of movements of 

4« 





huge masses, the programs of organiza- 
tions and leaders who can by no stretch 
of the imagination be called Commu- 
nist, All of which goes to show that 
the so-called impractical Communist 
Party was indeed the most practical 
and far-seeing organization, and that 
our Party has functioned, in the matter 
of the masses' immediate needs as well 
as their fundamental revolutionary ob- 
jective, as the vanguard of the prole- 
tariat* 

At this point we may well ask our- 
selves why, if political leadership is 
such a stimulus to Party growth, did 
not our Party grow more during the 
years in which it had so much of a 
"monopoly" in the advocacy of so 
many progressive slogans, and why was 
it that great mass movements which 
have grown up recently around these 
issues have done so largely outside the 
scope of official Communist leadership? 
The answer to these questions is, first, 

43 



that it was precisely in the mass strug- 
gles led by our Party around these pro- 
gressive issues that the difficult task 
was accomplished of laying the solid 
foundations of a strong Communist 
Party in the great American capitalist 
stronghold; second, that the Commu- 
nist Party's influence in all the progres- 
sive movements of the day, including 
those under the non-Communistofficial 
leadership, far exceeds what appears on 
the surface and cannot be measured 
simply by the numerical strength of 
our Party; and, third, that if the Party 
did not grow faster and develop more 
direct leadership in the labor move- 
ment during the period in question it 
was due to a complication of hindering 
forces, such as sectarian methods of 
applying mass slogans, inadequate or- 
ganizational wort in the mass move- 
ments, fierce resistance by the employ- 
ers and the government (discharge, 
blacklist, arrests, clubbings, deporta- 

44 



tions, etc.), persecution by labor bu- 
reaucrats (expulsions, Red-baiting, 
etc.), the years' long inner-Party fac- 
tional struggle, and the demoralization 
and passivity among the working class 
caused by many years of A. F. of L. mis- 
leadership and capitalist propaganda. 

RAISING THE TOILERS' STRUGGLE TO 
HIGHER POLITICAL LEVELS 



Obviously when so many of the im- 
mediate-demand slogans long advo- 
cated almost solely by the Communists 
have been adopted by various mass 
movements not under direct Commu- 
nist leadership, our tasks with regard 
to these slogans have been modified 
and we must reorientate our Party's 
policy accordingly. How \hen shall the 
Communist Party act as vanguard in 
connection with these slogans? The an- 
swer is that basically, the Party must 
develop further its leading political 

45 



role by: (a) pressing for the most ener- 
getic application of these immediate- 
demand slogans; (b) realizing their 
full implications; (c) preventing their 
distortion; (d) supplementing them 
with other mass slogans of a more ad- 
vanced type, In short, the Communist 
Party can build up the necessary mass 
prestige only by taking the lead in rais- 
ing the whole siruggle of the workers 
and other toilers, notably the C.I.O. 
movement, to higher political levels. 
By adopting our immediate-demand 
slogans the masses have taken a long 
step forward; it is our task now to lead 
them politically to more advanced 
stages, making absolutely certain that 
the whole mass, especially the C.I.O., 
moves forward instead of only our- 
selves, which would result in our break- 
ing away from the masses and becom- 
ing isolated. Let us, therefore, examine 
the above-noted fourfold character of 
this general task. 

46 










a. Energetic application of the im- 
mediate demand slogans. Although the 
trade unions and other mass organiza- 
tions adopt progressive slogans they 
usually apply them in a relatively slug- 
gish manner. Not only are immediate- 
demand slogans thus supported half- 
heartedly, (such as the six-hour day 
demand by the Railroad Brother- 
hoods) but also their endorsement is 
frequently of a formal character (such 
as the A. F. of L. demand for unem- 
ployment insurance). In general, con- 
servative or even progressive leaders of 
various types of mass organizations, by 
their hesitancy and timidity, develop 
only a fraction of the power of the mass 
movements which they head. 

In this fact, the Communist Party 
finds one of its most important tasks 
and opportunities for developing po- 
litical mass leadership. The Party must 
be the dynamo in all movements of the 
workers for immediate demands. It 

47 



must fight for the actual full realiza- 
tion of these demands. Its members 
must be the best leaders, fighters, or- 
ganizers and JimmieHigginses on every 
front of the class struggle. They must 
have the answer to every practical 
problem as the movement develops; 
they must spur on the masses; they 
must arouse the workers' militancy and 
fighting spirit, they must be the leaven 
that leaveneih the whole lump. This 
intensification of the workers' struggle 
for immediate demands is a veritable 
cornerstone for Communist Party lead- 
ership and growth. In order to achieve 
it to the maximum possible extent our 
Party must be more active in initiating 
mass struggles; it will have to learn 
how more effectively to concentrate all 
available forces, both national and lo- 
cal, in a given struggle (better than we 
did in the General Motors strike) and 
also how more systematically to com- 
bine these forces in the field to carry on 

4 8 



the mass fight (better than we did in 
the national steel organizing cam- 
paign). 

b. Realizing the full implications of 
mass slogans. Not only do trade unions 
and other mass organizations, as at 
present led, usually apply their pro- 
gressive immediate demand slogans 
weakly, but also in a narrow sense. 
Therefore, another important channel 
to Communist mass leadership is in 
broadening out the application of such 
slogans and the linking together of the 
scattered struggles around them. 

Take, for example, the application 
of the slogan of "organize the unorgan- 
ized." Today this is largely confined to 
the GXCX unions. It must also be 
spread to A, F. of L. and independent 
unions that do not infringe upon the 
industries being organized by the 
C.I.O. Communists must see to it that 
the "organize the unorganized" slo- 
gan is applied upon the widest possible 

49 




front. There is very much room for the 
Party to sharpen up its work on this 
basic issue and in so doing greatly im- 
prove its mass prestige. 

In the fight for better wages, shorter 
hours, etc., it is also the leadership task 
of the Communists to spread this strug- 
gle upon the widest practical basis, to 
link up the workers' scattered strikes 
into broad national movements, to 
raise these economic issues to national 
political questions of the first magni- 
tude. 

And, likewise, in the case of the slo- 
gan of trade union unity. The C.LO/s 
application of this slogan, by the build- 
ing up of its own forces, is excellent. 
But the Communist unity slogan must 
be still broader; it must also undertake 
the organization of the progressive 
forces within the A. F. of L. actively to 
support the unionizing campaigns of 
the C.I.O., to repudiate the splitting 
policies and misleadership of Green 

5° 



and Co., and to fight for an eventual 
general convention of all trade unions^ 
the C.I.O., A. F. of L., Railroad 
Brotherhoods, etc*, to establish trade 
union unity in the United States on the 
basis of the C.LO. program. The Party 
has not displayed sufficient initiative 
on this question. 

Similarly, it is the task of the Com 
munists to broaden out the application 
of the industrial unionism slogan. It is 
well that this slogan be applied by the 
C.LO. to the mass production indus- 
tries. But the question of industrial 
unionism affects the whole working 
class and the fight for it must also be 
carried into the building trades, rail- 
road unions, into all A. F, of L. unions, 
in the most practical forms adapted to 
these organizations and industries. Our 
Party has not done this sufficiently and 
its mass influence has lagged accord- 
ingly. 

The progressive wing of the labor 
5 1 



movement, including the Communist 
Party, tends also to apply too narrowly 
the slogan of political action by the 
workers and other toilers. In the mat- 
ter of election strategy* it is correct, as 
the C.LO. advocates, to support pro- 
gressive candidates on the Democratic 
ticket against the danger of a reaction- 
ary victory. But we must also go much 
further. The Communist Party must 
be the leader for the placing of united 
front candidates independent of the 
old parties, for the crystallization of all 
the toilers' scattered political forces 
into a great national Farmer-Labor 
Party, Here too our Party, by increased 
activity, can win a much larger degree 
of mass leadership than it now enjoys. 
We must be especially on guard against 
tendencies to weaken or discard the 
Farmer-Labor Party slogan. 

Many more examples could be cited 
of progressive slogans narrowly ap- 
plied in the fields of labor legislation, 

5* 



in the fight for peace, against fascism, 
for civil rights, for the rights of youth, 
Negroes, women, etc. It is the task of 
the Communists to broaden out these 
demands and struggles and to realize 
their full political implications. In the 
measure that the Party accomplishes 
this work will its leading prestige ex- 
pand and the growth of its membership 
and press be facilitated. 

c. Prevent distortion of slogans. The 
Communist Party must also fight 
against all distortion of popular-de- 
mand slogans, whether by progressives 
or reactionaries* Roosevelt's twisting 
of the mass anti-war sentiment into a 
"neutrality" resolution against Spain 
is an example of such distortion, Then, 
among many other examples, there is 
also the notorious ^demagogic use of 
democratic and anti-fascist slogans by 
reactionary elements. Fighting such 
distortions is a broad road to political 
leadership by the Communist Party. 

53 



d. The advocacy of more advanced 
slogans. Besides intensifying and 
broadening out the application of cur- 
rent mass immediate-demand slogans, 
and preventing their distortion, the 
Communist Party also has before it a 
fruitful source of mass leadership in 
putting forth the more advanced im- 
mediate-demand slogans as these con- 
stantly become necessary and capable 
of rallying masses in the developing 
struggle. This is elementary in raising 
the workers' fight to higher political 
levels and to do it as a basic function 
of our Party as the vanguard of the 
proletariat. Our Party must constantly 
develop the struggle perspective of the 
masses; it must be the trail blazer of the 
exploited generally. The most fatal 
thing that could happen to our Party's 
leadership is to neglect this most vital 
task, and thus to fall politically in the 
wake of the various sections of the gen- 
eral mass movement, 

54 



Our Party's experience offers many 
examples where we properly take the 
lead in initiating new, practical mass 
slogans. An excellent case in point was 
our launching of the general strike slo- 
gan in San Francisco, a step from which 
our Party gained much real leadership 
prestige. Our present advocacy of the 
slogan of the People's Front is another 
example of good political leadership- 
But there are also many examples 
where we have failed to show alert- 
ness and where other parties and 
groups issued burningly necessary slo- 
gans that won them broad mass sup- 
port. The Party, to win the maximum 
mass political leadership, must greatly 
improve its work in this very important 
respect. 

Our Party must also more energetic- 
ally show leadership in educating the 
masses. Especially is this necessary and 
important in the case of the huge num- 
bers of workers who have recently 

55 



joined the C.I.O. unions. We must not 
stand around and wait until other peo- 
ple take the lead in this trade union 
education work, and it is precisely the 
Daily Worker that must be developed 
as the Party's chief instrument in this 
great work of mass education. 

In connection with the general ques- 
tion of advocating advanced slogans 
and educating the masses the Party 
must also lay stress upon the mass 
propagation of its revolutionary ob- 
jectives. Recently there has been con- 
siderable slackness in this respect. The 
teaching of Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist 
principles of socialism is not merely 
an inner-Party affair; it is basically a 
matter of broad mass agitation. Fail- 
ure militantly to advocate socialism for 
the United States would weaken our 
Party's leadership, both among the 
large numbers of the more militant 
workers who provide the membership 
sinew and bones of our Party and also 

56 



among the broad masses who are more 
and more losing faith in the capitalist 
system and are groping for the revo- 
lutionary way out. We must rememebr 
that the Communist Party is not only a 
Party of progressive immediate de- 
mands, but also the Party of the pro- 
letarian revolution. Any tendency to 
neglect active propagation of our revo- 
lutionary slogans plays directly into 
the hands of the Trotsky ites and others 
making demagogic use of Left phrase- 
mongering. The development of the 
maximum Communist mass leadership 
and Party growth imperatively de- 
mands an aggressive propagation of 
socialism, closely linked up, of course, 
with the immediate fighting slogans of 
the toiling masses. 

In this brief survey *of the Commu- 
nist task of raising the toilers' strug- 
gles to higher political levels it is evi- 
dent that our Party is not making the 
fullest use of the broad opportunities 

57 



for mass leadership lying wide open 
before it. It must, therefore, conscious- 
ly sharpen up its work in this whole 
matter. The reward for so doing will be 
a far greater political following and a 
much easier and more rapid Party- 
growth. 

TWO MAJOR CONSIDERATIONS 



In carrying out this central task of 
raising the toilers' struggles to higher 
levels, to the level of proletarian unity 
and the People's Front, by militantly 
intensifying the fight for their imme- 
diate demand slogans; by broadening 
out the application of these slogans, 
drawing their full implications, pre- 
venting their distortion and by initiat- 
ing new and supplementary slogans of 
a more advanced type, two elementary 
considerations must be constantly 
borne in mind by the Party. 

The first is that all this activity must 

58 



be based upon the principle of 
strengthening the united front be- 
tween the Communists and progres- 
sives, anti-fascist forces and, thus, upon 
advancing the growing People's Front 
movement. This consideration cannot 
be emphasized too much. The very 
heart of Communist policy is the 
Leninist strategy of the united front 
for the mobilization of the masses. 
Only by strengthening the united 
front can the Communist Party itself 
become strong and the stronger the 
Communist Party the stronger the 
united front. It is precisely because the 
French and Spanish Communist Par- 
ties were the best, most militant fight- 
ers for the People's Front that they, 
themselves, grew so powerful. When 
we speak of Communist Party political 
leadership in a practical sense, there- 
fore, we mean Communist leadership 
in building the united front. The Com- 
munists must be the greatest fighters 

59 






against any and all tendencies to split 
or weaken the united front, which is 
the basis o£ the broad, growing People's 
Front movement. 

The second elementary considera- 
tion to bear in mind in the strength- 
ening of Communist leadership and, 
hence, of Party building, is that the 
work of the Party must be carried on 
so openly that the masses can clearly 
see what the Party is actually doing. 
The French and Spanish Parties are 
not only the best builders of the 
People's Front, but they work in such 
a way that the masses can plainly recog- 
nize their activity* But with us, hiding 
the face of the Party is one of our 
greatest present-day weaknesses. It is a 
major obstacle to developing the 
Party's mass leadership and growth. It 
also seriously exposes the Party to 
demagogic attacks. This concealment 
of the Party's face is brought about in 
many ways, such as failure to circulate 

60 



the Daily Worker, neglect to cultivate 
independent mass activities by our 
Party in struggle situations, by promi- 
nent mass workers using undue cau- 
tion in making known the fact that 
they are Communists, by ultra-sensi- 
tivity to Red-baiting and by otherwise 
making it impossible for the workers 
to perceive clearly our Party at work. 
Through such face-hiding practices 
our Party is prevented from getting 
due credit for very much of the effec- 
tive work it is doing in the class strug- 
gle and thereby serious barriers are 
erected against the Party's growth. 
Workers cannot be expected to join a 
Party which they do not see definitely 
in action as a Party, nor do they want 
to affiliate themselves to a semi-under- 
ground organization. Face-hiding ten- 
dencies in our Party are a harmful 
Right-sectarian hangover and out- 
growth from past persecution experi- 
ences and are out of place in the pres- 

61 












ent broad united front mass move- 
ments. The development of the Party's 
leading prestige and growth impera- 
tively demands that all such tendencies 
by liquidated and that our Party be 
fully legalized in the labor movement, 

SPECIAL PROBLEMS OF CROUP RELATION- 
SHIPS WITHIN THE UNITED FRONT 

In the preceding section of this ar- 
ticle I have dealt with problems of 
Party mass leadership confronting us 
with respect to the first element of the 
recently changed position of our Party 
in the class struggle; that is, the fact 
that the developing People's Front 
movement has taken up and made its 
own various slogans of immediate de- 
mands, the advocacy of which long has 
been a sort of Communist "monopoly." 
Now let us consider some of the major 
problems of Communist leadership 
arising out of the second element of 
our Party's newly changed position in 

62 






the class struggle, namely, that the 
Party in the last couple of years, 
through a successful application of its 
basic policy, has largely advanced from 
a status of relatively isolated action to 
one of intensive united front move- 
ments. 

We have seen that the united front 
is our Party's line of action in support 
of all immediate demands of the masses 
and that all Communist policy is based 
on strengthening the united front. But 
to carry on the united front success- 
fully requires a whole series of com- 
plex conditions. The Party can grow 
in numbers and political mass leader- 
ship only if it meets successfully these 
conditions. That it has not yet thor- 
oughly adapted itself to its united 
front tasks we shall see^at a glance. 

Let us see more concretely, then, 
how the Party should develop its po- 
litical leading prestige and thereby 
accelerate its growth under the ex- 

65 



panding united front conditions. 
A. The full Communist program. In 
his recent speech to the Plenum of the 
Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 
Comrade Stalin forcefully pointed out 
the danger of Communists getting so 
buried in economic work that they 
overlook other vital political tasks, in 
this case the fight against the counter- 
revolutionary Trotskyites. Stalin's 
warning is full of meaning also for 
the American Communist Party. For 
there is a broad tendency throughout 
the Party, especially in the centers 
where the C.I.O, is working, to devote 
the Party's forces to the task of trade 
union matters to the exclusion of many 
other important activities. A classical 
example of this tendency was recently 
seen in Flint, where the Party became 
so immersed in the strike and union 
building that it paid little or no atten- 
tion to the local city elections, and the 
Republican Party managed to sneak 

64 



1 



into power without serious opposition. 
Obviously, with this "bogging 
down" tendency, the Party cannot 
function as a real political leader. To 
develop such leadership it is necessary 
for the Party to present its whole po- 
litical program. As things now stand, 
in various places and with many in- 
dividuals, there is a tendency for the 
Party to fall into a sort of trade union 
economism. This tends to liquidate 
our Party into the mass trade union 
movements. The cure is not, as some 
comrades say, to do less trade union 
work. But in carrying out this impor- 
tant work the Party must so conduct 
its activities that the whole Commu- 
nist program moves forward and not 
merely a part of it. Failing to bear this 
consideration clearly* in mind definite- 
ly limits our political mass leadership. 
B. Criticism of united front allies. 
Constructive criticism of those groups 
and parties with whom we are formal- 

65 



ly or informally cooperating in united 
front mass movements is also funda- 
mental to the development of our 
Party's mass political leadership and 
growth, as well as to the health of the 
mass movement generally. This criti- 
cism must not be merely negative in 
character, that is, by pointing out the 
shortcomings of our allies; it must 
especially be positive by the assertion 
of our own constructive proposals and 
program. 

But here, again, in this constructive 
criticism our Party suffers grievous 
weaknesses. In some cases (Detroit, for 
example) Communists have too sharp- 
ly and also incorrectly criticized the 
progressive elements and thereby need- 
lessly alienated great masses of work- 
ers. But in the main our weakness in 
this general respect consists of making 
too little criticism of progressively-led 
movements. This RighL tendency is 
manifested, among other examples, by 

66 



inadequate criticism of Roosevelt and 
Lewis, and by a failure to put forward 
our own program (including our revo- 
lutionary slogans) in the mass move- 
ments led by these men. 

The general effect of failure to criti- 
cize constructively is to blunt our 
Party's line, to fail to make our Party's 
program stand out distinctly in rela- 
tion to those o£ the various mass move- 
ments that we are supporting. This 
blunting o£ the Party's line is all the 
worse when our revolutionary slogans 
are also soft-pedalled. In consequence, 
the leading role of the Communist 
Party is hidden, and the incentive of 
militant workers to join our Party or 
remain within it is not stimulated; for 
why should they affiliate themselves to 
our Party if they cannot see the ad- 
vanced character of its program and 
activities? 

c. The independent role of the 
Party. In mass movements of various 

67 



I 



kinds based upon the united front of 
progressive and Left elements it is not 
enough that the Party support activi- 
ties conducted solely under the banner 
of the united front. It must also de- 
velop its own activities as a Party, both 
in support of the united front line, 
and also of its own more advanced 
Communist Party program. This is 
good for the mass movement and good 
for our Party. In all situations the 
Communist Party must come forward 
with its own proposals, press, litera- 
ture, meetings, etc., and thus show iu 
face clearly to the masses. Only when 
this is done effectively will the masses 
appreciate the role of the Party as a 
leading force and be really impelled 
to join its ranks. 

But we neglect all this grievously in 
the practice. Too often we do all our 
work under the official auspices of the 
mass organization and next to nothing 
under our own Party's banner. This is 

68 



a definitely liquidatory tendency which 
must be changed. The Party must 
function independently as a Party, as 
well as jointly with other groups with- 
in the united front. To do it is a prime 
necessity for it to develop political 
mass leadership. 

D, A militant Party initiative. The 
Party must also display a strong initia- 
tive, both in furthering the accepted 
program of the united front and in 
blazing the way to higher forms of 
struggle* How this can be done effec- 
tively is shown by the daily practice 
of the French and Spanish Communist 
Parties, whose militant initiative in 
the shaping of policies and the inaugu- 
ration of united front actions is a 
prime basis of their mass leadership. 
They are the driving force in the Peo- 
pled Front; they lead it from ahead, 
push it from behind, build it tip from 
the bottom. It is obvious that our 
Party must cultivate more of this mili- 

69 






tant initiative and fighting spirit. In 
too many cases Party forces accept 
the initiative as resting more or less 
automatically in the hands of others. 
There is too much routinism in our 
mass work; too much tailing after 
various mass movements. In the 
clays of the T.U.U.L. our task was 
to cultivate the initiative of the 
Red unions which were somewhat 
overwhelmed by the Party's militancy; 
but now our task is to develop the 
initiative of the Party within many 
vigorous mass movements. More mili- 
tant initiative and a more active and 
fighting spirit will do very much in 
winning added mass leadership and 
increased numerical strength for our 
Party and the Daily Worker. 

e. Organizational leadership, Com- 
munists must not scramble for official 
posts in mass organizations, as this can 
only alienate us from valuable mass 
elements. It is, of course, necessary that 

70 



we Communists acquire our organiza- 
tional share of leadership in the 
People's Front. But this can be accom- 
plished only by superior work in the 
class struggle. Our advance to greater 
official leadership must be primarily 
on the basis of agreement and joint 
slates with our progressive united front 
allies in common struggle against the 
reactionary elements. It is no serious 
problem for Communists to become 
officials in this way if they show them- 
selves to be the best workers and lead- 
ers in the daily fights around the im- 
mediate issues of the workers. 

In this matter our Party practice dis- 
plays many errors and weaknesses. 
There are some comrades who, with a 
fear of Red-baiting, are satisfied if they 
get "recognition" from their united 
front allies and passively allow the 
latter to occupy more than their fair 
share of major official posts. This is 
wrong; for Communists are no "blush- 

71 



ing violets" that stand modestly aside 
while others assume responsibility in 
the class struggle. Then there are other 
comrades who, with a narrow sectarian 
line, make the worse error of failing to 
make proper united front alignments 
with the progressives especially in 
union elections, and thus they carry 
on needless struggles against our po- 
tential allies for control, which tend 
to isolate the Party from the masses. 
The Communist Party is not out to 
"capture" the mass organizations, and 
it by no means assumes that all com- 
petent and honest leadership is con- 
tained in its own ranks. It works for a 
People's Front based on a joint leader- 
ship by all progressive forces. Commu- 
nists must use restraint, flexibility, and 
good judgment in building up the 
official mass leadership. We must learn 
to work cooperatively and in confi- 
dence with all progressive anti-fascist 
elements throughout the mass move- 

7* 



ments. We must ever bear in mind that 
the strengthening of the united front 
is the immediate goal of every step we 
take throughout the mass movements. 
This is a vital necessity for the develop- 
ment of the Party's maximum politi- 
cal leadership and to facilitate the 
Party's growth. 



IN CONCLUSION 

In the foregoing pages I have under- 
taken to analyze the problem of build- 
ing our Party from the standpoint of 
the specific conditions confronting us 
in the growing People's Front move- 
ment in the United States. I have 
tried to show: 

i. That the objective situation is 
highly favorable to the growth of the 
Party and that if our Party is not grow- 
ing faster the cause is to be found else- 
where than in the objective situation. 

s. That all our organizational meth- 
ods need to be restudied and rnodern- 

73 



ized in the light of the situation of 
united front, mass radicalization, and 
sharp class struggle in which the Party 
finds itself in this period of the birth 
of the People's Front movement. 

3. That the degree of political mass 
leadership exercised by the Commu- 
nist Party is a basic factor in Party 
building and that we must improve 
our work in this respect. 

4. That our Party can definitely im- 
prove its position of political mass 
leadership by overcoming various 
erroneous theories current in the Party, 
that objective conditions are unfavor- 
able, by sharpening up its work in the 
advocacy of immediate demands and 
revolutionary slogans, by showing its 
face more clearly to the masses and by 
generally improving upon the Party's 
independent activities, concentration 
and initiative. 

5. That the development of Com- 
munist mass political leadership can 

74 



only proceed upon the basis of 
strengthening the united front with 
ihe progressive elements and intensi- 
fying the mass struggle of the toilers 
and for the creation of the People's 
Front. 

The sum and substance of the article 
is that we have in our hands the pos- 
sibilities of greatly increasing the 
Party's tempo o£ development and 
growth. By adopting the suggested im- 
provements our Party can make real 
progress towards its goal of becoming 
a broad mass Communist Party. 

Our Party should bear in mind 
Stalin's timely statement (Foundations 
of Leninism, p. 162): 



"The Party should march at the head of 
the working class, it should see farther than 
the latter, it should lead the proletariat, and 
not lag behind. . . . Only a party which is 
conscious of its function as vanguard of the 
proletariat, which feek itselE able to inspire 
the masses with a proletarian class conscious- 

. 75 



ness, only such a party can lead the worker* 
out of the narrow path of trade unionism and 
consolidate them into an independent polit- 
ical force. Such a party is the political leader 
of the working class." 



j|B 



The Party and the 
People's Front 

By ALEX BITTELMAN 

Comrades, the report of Comrade 
Browder and the resolution pre- 
sented to this plenum have given our 
Party a powerful weapon for initiating 
the most important work before us to- 
day. That is the building of our Party 
as a more effective and leading force 
in the struggle for the united and Peo- 
ple's Front, I am convinced that, as a 
result of this Central Committee meet- 
ing, if the Party takes, hold of these 
documents, the report of Comrade 
Browder, the resolution, and the sum- 
mary of the discussion which we are 
having here, and uses them to arouse 
the Party, to draw every member into 

77 



the task of building the Party, it will 
really begin moving on the road 
toward making a mass party out of 
our organization. 

SHIFTING POLITICAL ALIGNMENTS 

From this angle, I should like to dis- 
cuss further some of the highlights of 
Comrade Browder' s report, first of all, 
about the political situation. Comrade 
Browder said that the political con- 
dition of the country is in flux, that 
class relationships are changing, and 
that as a result, although not in the 
same tempo, changes are taking place 
in the parties which necessarily reflect 
the shifting of class forces. This is a 
fundamental point in understanding 
the present-day political conditions, as 
well as the perspectives. 

It is a fact, as Comrade Browder ex- 
plained, that the Republican Party of 
today is not the same party, not the 
same traditional Republican Party. 

78 



Nor is the Democratic Party. It is a 
fact which no one will deny, a fact 
which we made known some time ago, 
before the last November elections— 
that the Republican Party has become 
the center of reaction and fascism, the 
main concentration ground of these 
forces, and that the Democratic Party, 
under pressure from the independent 
struggles of the masses in the country, 
as well as the progressive elements 
within, is moving generally in a pro- 
gressive direction. That is correct. 
From this, certain very important con- 
clusions follow as to the immediate 
perspectives in the struggle for the 
Farmer-Labor Party, concerning our 
tactics and policies. 

What is the perspective of the re- 
actionary forces in this country so far 
as alignments are concerned? We don't 
have to guess about it. We know it. 
The reactionaries are doing their best 
today to undermine and break up the 

79 



Democratic Party. It might be more 
correct to say that they are trying to 
undermine and break up the hold of 
President Roosevelt on the Demo- 
cratic Party. It is not hard to under- 
stand why they are trying to do this. 
First, from the point of view of im- 
mediate consideration. If the reaction- 
arks can destroy Roosevelt's hold up- 
on the Democratic Party and its 
machine,, this will weaken the very 
modest program of the Democratic 
Party and therefore create for them- 
selves a new basis for consolidation of 
the reactionary forces. Thar would im- 
mediately reflect itself on such ques- 
tions as balancing the budget, taxa- 
tion, relief, or anything that is vital to 
the interests of the masses, and which 
determines today class alliances and 
class struggle. 

But aside from the immediate point 
of view, reactionaries view this con- 
dition from the angle of the longer 

80 



perspective. There are going to be im- 
portant municipal elections this year, 
and then a Congressional election in 
1938, and then the next Presidential 
election. The reactionaries feel that if 
ihey ran weaken the Democratic Party 
by undermining Roosevelt's standing 
in that party, they have created the 
possibility of preventing the progres- 
sive forces in the Democratic Party 
from playing an important role or a 
decisive role in the political life of the 

country. 

It is not absolutely certain to anyone 
what will happen, but so far as re- 
actionary plans are concerned, it is 
clearly visible what they are driving at. 

They caimoL hope to bring the Re- 
publican Party to victory either in the 
next Congressional elections or in 

1*140, unless they destroy the New Deal 
in the Democratic Party, or the Demo- 
cratic Party as such, as a major po- 
litical party. 

81 



I 



The wide masses of workers, es- 
pecially those who are being drawn 
into the big mass movements— the 
C.LO,, Labor's Non-Partisan League- 
while they might not always be con- 
scious of the implication of events, to- 
day sense this situation. They feel that 
as things are now, and until the na- 
tional Farmer-Labor Party emerges as 
a power, the only effective force that 
stands between them and a victory of 
reaction on a really Urge scale is 
Roosevelt's hold upon the Democratic 
Party. 

From this, of course, ali kinds of 
conclusions are being drawn, and 
many of them wrong conclusions. But 
the fact in itself nevertheless remains 
a fact, that at the present time, when 
there is no mass Farmer-Labor Party 
powerful enough to contest for power 
and win, the masses know that if this is 
not in existence there is something 
else in existence, the Democratic Party 

8* 



which, though it includes reaction- 
aries, fascists and semi-fascists, is dom- 
inated nationally by middle-of-the- 
roaders like Roosevelt himself, sup- 
ported by people to the Left, well to 
the Left, progressives, labor men, and 
potential adherents to the Farmer- 
Labor Party in the United States, and 
that due to certain developments in 
the country this has become a force 
that stands in the way today of a wider 
extension of reaction either on the eco- 
nomic or political field. 

Comrade Browder has demonstrated 
this very concretely and constructively 
in his report- The conclusion is that 
we must take into account this attitude 
of the wide masses, and especially that 
of the C.LO. and groups around it, 
and from this, and ot\ the basis of this, 
proceed to push further the develop- 
ment toward the Farmer-Labor Party. 

Does that mean that we accept all 
the illusions that some of the C.I.O, 

83 






people may have about this situation? 
Of course not. And we must not be 
quiet about such illusions. Where we 
find illusions existing that stand in the 
way of promoting further the advance- 
ment of the progressive movement 
toward the Farmer-Labor Party, we 
must dissipate them by propaganda 
and agitation. This is how the van- 
guard can function at the present time. 

THE ROLE OF THE COMMUNIST 
PARTY 

You see, there is no need to have 
any blueprint worked out for the van- 
guard, for all times and all countries. 
Marx didn't do it, Lenin didn't do it 
and Stalin didn't do it either. It de- 
pends upon the political maturity of 
the class forces and Party forces in a 
given situation, in which the proletar- 
ian revolution develops and the van- 
guard functions. 

Now, to give you an example— the 
84 



Communist Party of the Soviet Union 
in October, 1917, was the vanguard of 
the Russian working class, and as the 
vanguard, it proceeded to organize the 
socialist revolution. The Communist 
Party of the United States, being a 
Communist Party, a Party of Lenin 
and Stalin, is the vanguard of the 
working class of America. But nobody 
will conclude that therefore we must 
decide to organize now the socialist 
revolution in the United Stales. This, 
of course, is extreme. It is made pur- 
posely, so as to show the historic ap- 
proach to the question of what a van- 
guard like us can do at various historic- 
al periods. It always must be a van- 
guard, but in what sense? It must al- 
ways fight shoulder to shoulder in the 
front ranks of its class for the interests 
of that class. That is true always, 
under all conditions. 

Second, the Communist Party, while 
fighting for the daily needs of the 



masses as part of that class, must al- 
ways by propaganda, by agitation, and 
by our independent actions, show the 
workers the deeper meaning of their 
struggles; show them the next step, 
and work with this aim- that the 
whole movement, not only we alone, 
become ripe for making these next 
steps. 

A Communist Party whose struggle, 
whose class relations are more acute, 
whose political struggle is more ma- 
ture, will play a more leading role 
than others, though all Parties are 
destined to play a leading role in the 
class struggle and in the people's 
movement generally. I say this in order 
to emphasize what has been explained 
by Comrades Foster and Browder and 
in the resolution. The point is to em- 
phasize it so that it stands out very 
clearly. We cannot permit ourselves 
to work in mass organizations like 
any other member does. We must al- 

86 



ways work as Communists, which 
means something more. 

And to further emphasize why we* 
as the vanguard, must always endeavor 
to bring the movement forward to its 
next step, let me discuss the idea of 
pushing forward the whole movement 
and not just ourselves. There was a 
time when our Party and the situation 
in the country were much less mature 
than today. We were a Party mainly 
of propaganda and agitation and lead- 
ers of minority movements* Very im- 
portant ones. Movements which played 
a very great role in making possible 
the present-day upsurge, but, never- 
theless, minority movements. Then, 
we could more easily afford to make a 
more rapid transition in the direction 
from a lower stage to higher stages. 
But today, when we' have the C.LO. 
and a new working class movement of 
the country marching in the direction 
of progress, it has become somewhat 

87 



different. It becomes possible not only 
for ourselves and minority movements 
to become ready to make the next step, 
but by working properly, in a correct 
way, to prepare the ground for the 
whole movement making thai next 
step. And I believe that by carrying 
forward these policies in the true spirit 
of The Communist Manifesto, our 
Party can really build itself as a mass 
party in this country. 

THE NEED FOR BUILDING 
A MASS PARTY 

Comrade Browder in his report said 
that the fact that our Party is not grow- 
ing as it should grow, and that our 
Baity Worker, one of the best papers 
in this country and a Communist 
paper at that, is growing so slowly, is 
an intolerable situation. I should like 
every comrade to take back home ex- 
actly this fact-that it is an intolerable 
situation. It must be changed. We have 

88 



to make our Party understand why 
it is intolerable. And why is it? Is it 
on some general abstract ground that 
it is intolerable? And are there some 
more immediate and more acute rea- 
sons why it is intolerable? 

I want to communicate to you a cer- 
tain opinion relating to this problem 
given to me by a sympathizer of our 
Party, a very intelligent person and 
very helpful to the Party in many ways 
and a friend in the best sense of the 
word. And he wanted to know why it 
is that the Communists are so anxious 
about getting more members in the 
Party, He said: "You have about 40,- 
000 members, or thereabouts, con- 
scious Communists, wel Morgan i zed, 
well-disciplined. They are really lead- 
ers, not just rank and file, You have a 
press. You have a program and a po- 
litical strategy which command at- 
tention among the widest masses 
throughout the entire world, and you 

89 



are making your general political in- 
fluence very strongly felt in many 
places, thus enabling the movement to 
go in the correct direction." 

"Is it true/' he wanted to know, 
"that the general direction in which 
ihe C.LO. is going is the direction in 
which you would like it to go?*' 

And 1 answered: "Yes, M 

"Then why," he asked, "are you so 
anxious about the slow growth of the 
Party? The social revolution is not yet 
around the corner. For the present, 
you can fulfil all your important tasks 
with the approximate number that 
you have. 

"If you begin to grow, since, even 
from your own point of view, you will 
have to work with the progressive 
allies, will these allies not become fear- 
ful of a much larger Party? Would it 
not be better strategy to remain about 
your present size and still influence the 
movement sufficiently by your correct 

90 



policies? Of course, you have got to 
recruit, but why be so impatient?" 

I found the exposition of this point 
of view very important, from this angle 
—that it contains a certain plausibility, 
that truth and untruth are so well 
mixed here that I should not be sur- 
prised to find that this is not only the 
viewpoint of this sympathizer, but that 
there are perhaps many other sym- 
pathizers with the same point of view. 
Perhaps some within our own Party 
hold this view. There may be a feeling 
that: Well, of course we want to be a 
bigger Party; who doesn't want the 
Party to be a bigger Party? But why is 
it so essential that we now must go 
ahead and become bigger? Well, why 
is it necessary? 

Let me go back to Engels for a min- 
ute and what he thought was the pe- 
culiar nature of the American labor 
movement. He said: One thing that 
distinguished the American labor 

91 



movement from other countries, at 
that time, was that the American 
working class has been making numer- 
ous starts, beginnings, upsurges, of 
tremendous importance in scope, in 
militancy, and in revolutionary dis- 
play of instinct, and suffered just as 
many set-backs. We know that to be a 
fact ourselves. That is true. And then 
Engels said: Why was it so? And he 
answered: Because these big mass 
movements of the American proletar- 
iat lacked the backbone of a revolu- 
tionary party, the vanguard. Engels 
said: Of course setbacks are inevitable, 
though we always fight against them! 
but when there is a revolutionary 
party within the working class, the 
setbacks will not occur so often. And 
when they do occur they will not be so 
disastrous, but when there is no revo- 
lutionary party within the working 
class, they will always be disastrous. 
Today we are facing an upsurge of 
9* 




the working class, unseen and unheard 
of in the United States before, an up- 
surge which Comrade Dimitroff is able 
to characterize as the birth of the 
American working class as a class. Ob- 
jective conditions today, if we see them 
nationally and internationally, and we 
cannot separate the two, are very favor- 
able for the continued growth of this 
new working class into a position, 
both organizationally and politically, 
of continued power and strength. 

Yet it is perfectly just to ask, are we 
guarding against setbacks? No, we are 
not. Things may take place which we 
cannot foresee. But we can see the 
strong reactionary power and strength 
in this country, there is plenty of 
reserve power, economic and political, 
for reaction to give us ,plenty of head- 
aches and troubles in the coming 
months and years. We are not insured 
against setbacks, even for this tre- 
mendous change that is taking place 

93 



in the country today. And if we will re- 
member the history of the American 
labor movement and its lessons, then 
we will realize why it is important to 
have a bigger, a mass Communist 
Party to cement and push forward the 
present upsurge, for its success, and 
thus bring nearer the socialist revolu- 
tion. It is, I believe, for this reason 
that Comrade Browder in his report, 
Comrade Foster in his speech, and the 
political resolution before us, say that 
the slow growth of the Party and the 
Daily Worker is intolerable, that we 
have to begin to build the Party and 
to make it a mass party. 

Again, by way of emphasis, the 
Party will be built if every Party mem- 
ber takes part in the building of it. 
The Party will be built and the Daily 
Worker will be built if every Party 
member and every Party organization 
makes this one of their main tasks. 



94 



PARTY AND MASS MOVEMENT 
BUILT TOGETHER 

Now in this connection I should like 
to say a few words. Is it correct to put 
up as one against another, as being in 
opposition, the building of the Party 
and the building of the mass move- 
ment? Can we say that when we build 
the trade unions, the People's Front, 
we build it for somebody else? And 
when we build the Party, we build for 
ourselves? I do not thinK" so. I do not 
think that in this fashion we will really 
mobilize the Party to build the Party. 

What is wrong with our organiza- 
tional condition and methods today? 
It is precisely that we do not do these 
two things simultaneously, both things, 
build the Party and build the mass 
movement as part of % an all-inclusive 
great task of preparing the victory of 
the working class in this country. It is 
only when we can make every Party 
member understand that if he is a good 

95 



trade union organizer but does not 
utilize every action in his trade union 
work, in whatever form that conditions 
may dictate, to build the Party, recruit 
for the Party, raise the prestige of the 
Party's paper, he is not doing a com- 
plete job, a Communist job. In the 
• same way, if he goes about recruiting 
Party members, building the Party 
press circulation, but is not doing it in 
a way to build the general movement, 
the People's Front, he is not doing a 
complete job, a Communist job. A 
Communist job, a complete job, is to 
strengthen the mass movement; and 
to strengthen the mass movement is to 
get better results for building the Com- 
munist Party. Only in this way can and 
will we build the Communist Party. 

MARXIST PROPAGANDA AMONG 
THE MASSES 

In conclusion, on one of the essential 
phases of building the Party, I men- 

96 



tion only one phase, because many 
have been discussed already, and time 
does not permit to discuss all o£ them. 
The one phase I want to pick is the 
propaganda of Marxism among the 
masses, the propaganda among the 
masses o£ the special role of our Party, 
and of the special class tasks of the 
proletariat in the struggle for social- 
ism. 

The Daily Worker has not been 
fulfilling this task as it should, and if 
the Daily Worker doesn't do it, the 
chances are that in the Party as a whole 
the job will not be done welL The 
prestige of the Daily Worker is grow- 
ing, not only in the Party but outside 
also. It is therefore becoming an im- 
portant, more potent and influential 
weapon in building the mass move- 
ment and building our Party. It is, 
therefore, necessary when we speak of 
improving our propaganda on a wide 
mass scale, the propaganda of Marx- 

97 



ism, that we first of all turn our atten- 
tion to the Daily Worker, the Sunday 
Worker, and how we can best organize 
the work through these mediums. 

When we speak today of the propa- 
ganda o£ Marxism— the teachings of 
Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin on a 
mass scale— we are not indulging in the 
use of phrases but we are proposing to 
meet not only a need, but something 
possible and realizable. It wasn't al- 
ways so. But today, listening to the re- 
ports of the comrades from the dis- 
tricts, what did they report? That the 
workers today are thinking politically, 
they have problems and want them 
solved. And if the workers have po- 
litical problems and want them an- 
swered, this is our opportunity to 
bring to them Marxist answers to 
their questions. Therefore, instead of 
spreading Marxism on a small scale, 
we must become active on a large scale 

98 



and meet the needs of the masses by 
the widest circulation of Marxist lit- 
erature. 

In this Marxist propaganda, I wish 
to emphasize two points. First, some- 
thing which we seem to forget— the 
special role of our Party in the given 
historical conditions—not abstractly, 
but in the given historical conditions. 
I think it could not have been better 
put than by Comrade DimitrofF in his 
recent article,* when he said that in 
the present historical conditions the 
Communist Party fulfils the role of the 
vanguard by being a factor of unity 
in the ranks of the working class as 
well as in the ranks of the People's 
Front— a factor that promotes political 
enlightenment and understanding 
among the masses, pushes the move- 
ment forward, makes impossible the 



• Georgi Dimitroff, "The Communists and 
the United Front," The Communist, June, 

99 



victory of fascism and thus creates the 
prerequisites for socialism. 

Second, in connection with this, the 
role of the working class as a class and 
the struggle for socialism in the United 
States. When we speak of propaganda 
of socialism, we do not mean merely 
copying the traditions of the Social- 
Democratic abstract presentation of 
socialism. When we speak of propa- 
ganda of socialism today in the present 
historical period, what do we mean? 
We mean the following: Systematic ex- 
posure of capitalist exploitation and 
of the fact that fascism is a product 
of capitalism. It means, second, that 
we must always point out the leading 
role of the working class in the libera- 
tion of mankind from the horrors of 
capitalism. It means systematically 
popularizing the victories of socialism 
in the Soviet Union. If we do that, we 
will thereby create the possibility for 
a much wider conversion of the work- 



100 



ers to the Communist Party and will 
also be building the independent 
power of the working class for influ- 
ence and leadership in the struggle 
against reaction, fascism and war. 



101 



Developing Negro 
Communist Leaders 

By JAMES W. FORD 

During the last five or six years 
the Communist Party has made 
some fine headway among the Negro 
people. We have great prestige among 
the masses and great influence among 
certain organizations of the Negro 
people. 

The Communist Party, by its ideol- 
ogy and in its organization of strug- 
gles for equal rights and opportunities 
and for cultural advancement, started 
a renaissance in the life of the Negro 
people in the United States. The strug- 
gles in behalf of the Scottsboro boys, 
for Angelo Herndon's freedom, for 
equality in the trade union move- 

102 



ment, for civil rights through peace 
and democratic movements, for oppor- 
tunity of advancement in the political 
field, have not only resulted in great 
advancements for the Negro people 
generally, but have brought forth stal- 
wart leaders and rank-and-file fighters 
among Negro men, such as Angelo 
Herndon and many others. 

But wide recruitment into the Par- 
ty, particularly of Negro women fight- 
ers and leaders, on the basis of these 
advances, sadly lags behind. We are 
therefore called upon to give the ques- 
tion of recruitment of Negroes into 
our Party serious organizational and 
political attention. Happily, we are 
reaching a turning point in our ap- 
proach, appeal and work among Ne- 
gro women. , 

It is a glorious thing to find at our 
plenum and in the Negro commission 
discussions that Negro women are 
clamoring to get into our Party. They 

103 



are beating at our doors, I think that 
is a mighty fine thing. We must find 
the way to make it possible for Negro 
women to get into our Party and into 
the fullest leadership in the Party. 
We must take lessons from the Negro 
organizations on this question. Wo- 
men are the foremost leaders of the 
Negro people. Most organizations 
have an active women's leadership. 

On June 6, a conference was held 
in Harlem by the women's commis- 
sion on work among Negro women. It 
was a most successful conference. I 
will not speak about it in detail now. 
That, I am sure, will be done by the 
comrades of the women's commission. 
To win Negro women and involve 
them in mass activity, we must learn 
to take up in a mass way the special 
problems of Negro women and organ- 
ize them for struggle. 

I think, in the first place, we should 
give consideration to the organization 

104 



of women domestic workers. Do you 
know, comrades, that the greatest de- 
gree of employment among the Ne- 
groes as a whole is found, according 
to U.S. statistics, among domestics and 
personal servants? No one has to tell 
this audience of the working condi- 
tions of this category of workers. The 
fact is that they are not organized and 
it is difficult to organize them because 
of the peculiarities of the industry. 
We also find a great number of Negro 
women throughout the country among 
the laundry workers. If we develop 
struggle among these workers alone, 
we will bring thousands of them into 
organizations, and we will win hun- 
dreds of them for the Communist 
Party. Naturally, there are other cate- 
gories. There are many white-collar 
workers, there are thousands of teach- 
ers, middle class and other categories. 
The resolution of the women's com- 
mission on work among Negro women 

says: 

105 



"The main emphasis was on the promotion 
of cadres. It was proposed that special atten- 
tion he given to Negro women on the basis 
of their special problems; that special wo- 
men's training classes be organized where 
necessary, that more Negro women be brought 
forward in the leadership of the Party, trade 
union, C.I.O., unemployed and peace move- 
ments." 

There is absolute agreement with 
this. In Chicago, for example, one of 
the best C.LO. organizers in the Cal- 
umet region is a Negro woman. In 
Harlem one of the most active com- 
rades in the United Aid Committee 
for Ethiopia is a Negro woman. I want 
to call your attention to a woman 
comrade who has been brought for- 
ward as the leader of the Workers 
Alliance in Harlem. This work had 
been led by one of our outstanding 
men comrades who recently was sent 
to Detroit. When this comrade left, 
the organization called a meeting to 
replace him. The Workers Alliance in 

106 



Harlem had become a mass move- 
ment. We needed a good comrade to 
take the place of the one who was 
leaving. We, of course, had had our 
eyes on a comrade for a long time— a 
woman comrade. She was called into 
the meeting of the executive and dis- 
cussed the work of the Workers Alli- 
ance. At the conclusion some one arose 
and said, *'I nominate Comrade 
Frankie Duty organizer for the Alli- 
ance." There was a unanimous deci- 
sion. Comrade Duty has proved her 
worth. 

Only today was there a mass dem- 
onstration of the relief workers in 
Harlem, Four thousand workers took 
part; thousands lined the streets. It 
was my pleasure along with Herbert 
Benjamin, national leader of the 
Workers Alliance, to lead this dem- 
onstration through the streets of Har- 
lem with Mrs. Frances Duty. We were 
very proud. As we wound our way 

107 



through the streets of Harlem, work- 
ers along the line of march were con- 
stantly waving their hands in friendly 
greetings to Comrade Duty, hailing 
her by her name. It was a great thing. 
Here was a woman, who had become a 
mass leader— not only a woman leader, 
but a leader of one of the largest mass 
movements in Harlem—respected and 
accepted by the masses. That is the 
kind of leader that Comrade Dimitroff 
spoke of at the Seventh World Con- 
gress of the Communist International. 
That is the way we try, and want, to 
bring women leaders forward in Har- 
lem and throughout the country. We, 
and I personally, feel very proud of 
Comrade Duty. She has qualified. It 
does us or the comrades no good un- 
less we can continue this method of 
bringing leaders forward. Artificial 
promotion means nothing; it some- 
times makes a lot of trouble for us. 
I want to give another example. 
108 



Everybody here knows about the mass 
organization and movement in and 
around the Harlem hospital. Harlem 
hospital issues serve as a rallying 
ground for civic movements in the 
whole of Harlem. I don't want to re- 
late the whole story of this develop- 
ment. But I must say a word about the 
comrade who did it, and how it was 
done. You know the comrade. She is 
a fine woman comrade. She is a nurse. 
She joined our Party some time ago, 
and began systematic work of agita- 
tion among the nurses and patients, 
with the knowledge that she had to 
do it at the risk of her job. She did it. 
She recruited one, then another and 
another into the Party. She worked 
under the guidance of the section com- 
mittee. This work went 'on for a year 
or more. The unit grew. It finally 
grew to 40 members of the Party. 
Doctors were recruited. The group be- 
came a mass movement of more than 

109 



400 people in and around the Harlem 
hospital. Shop bulletins were issued. 
Today, this comrade is a mass leader 
in Harlem. She had no reservations; 
she simply worked. She respected the 
section leadership and did not fail to 
come every day to it for guidance. 
She had no subjective feelings about 
the Party nor about her work. She 
saw her duty to the people around her 
and did that duty. In all of my ex- 
perience, I have seen no finer example 
of leadership, of an attitude to work 
and to the Party on the part of any 
of our comrades than that of this 
comrade. She is a member of the Har- 
lem Division Committee of the Com- 
munist Party, and a member of the 
District State Committee. I have no 
doubt that she is going to become one 
of the outstanding leaders of our 
movement. 

These two examples of women com- 
rades show how to develop cadres and 

no . 



leading mass personnel. Let us con- 
tinue that method. It would be mighty 
fine if we could plunge into the or- 
ganization of the domestic workers. 

We have had the occasion to pay 
tribute at this plenum to one of the 
longest in Party membership among 
the leading Negro women comrades. 
I refer to Comrade Maude White, 
whose tenth anniversary in our Party 
is being celebrated this month. It 
was very fine of Comrade Browder to 
use this occasion to dramatize work 
among Negro women by paying tribute 
to Comrade White. Ten years, ordi- 
narily, is not a long time ? f, for ex- 
ample, we compare it to the long, 
brilliant record of Comrade Mother 
Bloor. But it is unusual for a Negro 

woman comrade. We do not have 

i 

many who have been in the Party ten 
years. 



in 



BUILDING THE PARTY AMONG THE 
NEGRO PEOPLE 

In order to build the Party among 
the Negro people and to extend the 
united Negro People's Front, it is 
necessary to renew our struggle for 
the immediate and elementary needs 
of the Negro people. Our Party must 
stand out as the independent fighters 
for the Negro people. 

Another factor necessary in build- 
ing the Party among the Negro peo- 
ple is the question of training and re- 
training our personnel. This was a 
special point on the agenda of the 
Negro Commission of the plenum, 
Comrade Bassett made an excellent 
report and outlined a program of 
reading, study, self-study courses and 
schools for speedily overcoming a very 
great shortcoming in this field. 

If we make a careful analysis of our 
Negro personnel we find both among 
the leading forces as well as among 




secondary leaders a woeful lack o£ 
systematic training in revolutionary 
theory and practice. We have, there- 
fore, agreed to organize a national 
training school We have agreed to 
require of comrades in leading work, 
who are unable to attend these schools, 
to submit a plan of self-study and 
reading. 

There is a great need for pamphlets 
on Negro problems. A number of 
comrades have been assigned to write 
popular pamphlets. 

We are emphasizing again that spe- 
cial attention be given to the organ- 
ization of the Party apparatus in those 
districts where there are large concen- 
trations of Negroes, The experiences 
in Harlem, Chicago and Cleveland 
should be extended. A special problem 
is daily attention on the part of the 
state or district bureaus to this work. 
' Following the plenum regional con- 
ferences in the biggest and most im- 

"3 



portant districts should be organized 
and a representative of the Center 
should attend these conferences. 

At a recent meeting of the Negro 
Commission held in New York, Com- 
rade Browder said the following to us: 

"I would say that the main feature of the 
past year has been that in the field of work 
among the Negro people. As in most of the 
other fields of our work, we have begun to 
realize on a mass scale the results of the line 
of the Seventh World Congress of the Com- 
munist International. We have begun to 
emerge from sectarian isolation and become 
a mass influence, a mass power. As in our 
Party work generally, this has been accom- 
panied by a sharpening of alt the problems 
involved in our work. All of our weaknesses 
and inadequacies come out most sharply now 
precisely because we have made some tre- 
mendous gains and thereby face responsibil. 
mes which politically we feel equipped to 
meet." 



114 



Problems of Developing 
Leading Forces 

By CHARLES KRUMBEIN 



A few thoughts to be emphasized 
on the question of inner-Party 
democracy. We stressed at the Ninth 
Convention, at the December Plenum, 
and since, the importance of political 
discussion in the lower organizations 
of the Party- Such political discussion 
will serve two major purposes: 

1. It will give all our Party mem- 
bers a degree of political education; 

i>. Since the discussion will be 
around main issues confronting the 
masses and the Party policy thereon, 
the membership will be participating 
in the enriching and broadening of 
that policy, in actually helping to 




formulate the policy, which means a 
broadening out of our Inner-Party 
democracy. 

Further, on the question of inner- 
Party democracy, it is my opinion that 
we must extend generally the setting 
up of delegated bodies, on a ward, 
assembly district, county and city ba- 
sis, these delegated bodies to be the 
leading body in the given territory, 
deciding policy for their territory 
within the general line of the Party, 
and working out the application of 
policy and decisions of the higher 
bodies. AH this within the scope of 
democratic centralism: the delegated 
bodies to be set up on the basis of pro- 
portional representation of the units 
and branches, with special considera- 
tion to the main problems of the ter- 
ritories in the selection of the dele- 
gates. The delegated bodies should 
meet monthly, giving their main at- 
tention to some one important mass 

116 



problem and the Party's policy and 
activities related thereto. The dele- 
gated body should elect the officers 
and an executive committee to meet 
between the regular meetings of the 
delegated body. Were the officers to 
be chosen in any other way, there 
would be a rift between the delegated 
bodies and the officers which would 
not strengthen inner democracy but 
create additional problems. 

Now, as regards personnel, I wish 
to make a few concrete suggestions 
that the entire Party can immediately 
adopt: 

1. Every district should build up 
what I chose to term a 'iive list" of 
personnel. On a district scale, they 
should include the members of the 
district committee, members of the 
section committees, the leaders of the 
most important units and branches, 
and Party comrades who are leaders in 

117 



mass organizations but are not on 
these committees. 

This should not be the old type of 
biography, but should briefly state a 
comrade's background, his experience 
-organizational as well as educational 
-and there should be space left to 
keep the list alive- the comrade's po- 
litical and organizational develop- 
ment, responsibility, initiative, relia- 
bility, etc. These lists cannot be kept 
alive unless the entire district leader- 
ship is continuously on the alert; at 
meetings and otherwise they should 
watch the activities of the comrades 
that are listed, noting their progress 
or retrogression; they must turn this 
information over to the personnel 
director, to be then turned over to a 
comrade who does the technical work • 
on the list. Two purposes are hereby 
served: (a) a greater consciousness on 
the part of the district leadership as 
regards personnel; and (b) the prac- 

u8 



tical use that this list will have for 
the selecting of comrades for given 
work, setting up of commissions, com- 
mittees, etc. 

This can also be done in a large 
number of sections, the lists to include 
the section committee, the branch ex- 
ecutives, the unit bureaus, and Party 
comrades in leadership in mass organ- 
izations on a section scale. 

2. Another practical proposition as 
regards personnel is to apply Com- 
rade Stalin's proposal of two deputies 
for every functionary, making allow- 
ances, of course, for the difference be- 
tween the situation in the Soviet 
Union and in the United States. Can- 
not we at least, all of us, from the 
Central Committee down to unit lead- 
ers, select one or two comrades for the 
purpose of cultivating them, organiz- 
ing our work so that we can find time 
to discuss Party as well as personal 
problems with these comrades-per- 

119 



sonal problems in the sense of the par- 
ticular work that they are doing, and 
also other personal problems that they 
may have? 

Cannot we, in addition, systematize 
our life at least to the point where we 
can have these comrades go to eat 
with us occasionally; spend a recrea- 
tional Sunday with them and their 
families, during which time we could 
discuss "shop" a little? I am sure that 
with very little effort, but some sys- 
tematic organization, this can be done. 
In this way literally thousands in our 
Party will be helped and our Party 
generally will be benefited. 

In my recent trips to the districts 
I became very conscious of what I 
consider a serious defect in our ap- 
proach to comrades. In a number of 
places I found leading comrades, 
when considering comrades for cer- 
tain posts or committees, appraise 
them first from the standpoint of their 

120 



weaknesses, and often reach the con- 
clusion that they are not fit. Com- 
rades, we have no ideal people. All 
of us have weaknesses, but all of us 
have more of the positive than the 
negative. The approach must be, first, 
the positive side of every comrade, at 
the same time considering his weak- 
nesses, placing him in a position where 
the positive side can be utilized and 
where we can collectively help to cor- 
rect the weak side. If this approach is 
made, many more comrades will be 
brought forward into leading posi- 
tions, much more use will be made of 
our human material. 

I now want to raise a question or 
two as regards shop papers. Review- 
ing a number of shop papers from 
different sections of the country, as 
well as different industries, I was able 
to obtain quite a good picture of the 
political content of these valuable in- 
struments of ours— valuable since they 



121 



reach hundreds of thousands, and in 
many cases, basic workers. I want to 
deal with only one phase of the ques- 
tion, and that is, bringing the Party 
forward. 

Most of the papers that I reviewed 
do not bring the Party forward at all. 
Jn some instances, the Party is brought 
forward only in so far as the imme- 
diate economic or organizational is- 
sues of the particular shop are con- 
cerned, and in no instance is the Party 
brought forward as the Party of so- 
cialism. The vast majority of the shop 
papers contain nothing more than 
what a militant trade union paper 
carries. Some of them bring in such 
questions as the Supreme Court issue, 
Spain, etc. This is very good; but 
again, a militant trade union paper 
also brings in these questions. There* 
fore, it can be seen that unless our 
papers carefully, simply and system- 
atically connect the immediate issues 

222 



of the shop with the general problems 
of the working class and the common 
people, and from that to the need of 
socialism, using the examples of the 
Soviet Union as the final and perma- 
nent solution of all the problems, it 
will not be possible for the Party to 
gain the leadership of the majority 
of the workers and eventually win 
them for its full program. 

Many of the shop papers contain a 
box asking the reader to join the Par- 
ty. But this must surely confuse those 
readers, where the content of the pa- 
per is very similar to the organization- 
al and political content of the union 
or its paper. The workers, in such 
cases, do not understand why a Com- 
munist Party is necessary, since the 
shop paper does not bring out the 
fact that our Party is the party of 
socialism. 

Of course, this problem cannot be 
solved in a mechanical way. Every 

123 



shop, factory, mill and mine has a 
different composition of workers and 
different problems, and these factors 
must be taken into consideration; but, 
generally, it must be said that the shop 
papers must be improved, first con- 
necting the general issues and prob- 
lems of the working class and the com- 
mon 'people as a whole with the im- 
mediate problems of the shop, and 
from this, propagandizing the need 
for socialism as the only and final 
way out. 

The last point I wish to make is 
that the reports on recruiting to the 
Party show that a large number of 
active and leading trade unionists are 
being brought into the Party. A key 
question, therefore, is the education 
of these comrades* Educating them in 
Marxism-Leninism makes them better 
leaders and equips them to transmit 
this education to thousands upon 
thousands of workers in the shops and 

124 






in the unions. This in turn lays the 
base for real mass recruiting to our 
Party and mass circulation for our 
Daily Worker and Sunday Worker. 

This is not an easy problem to solve, 
since these comrades are very busy 
building and giving leadership to 
their unions. But I am sure that they 
are confronted with many problems 
and the workers are asking them many 
questions which they find difficult to 
answer. They would be very grateful 
if ways and means were found where- 
by these questions could be made clear 
to them. A practical suggestion in this 
connection, it seems to me, is for dis- 
trict and section organizers to organ- 
ize an informal meeting once a week 
of about two hours 1 duration on a 
Sunday morning or some other timei 
where a talk could be given on the 
events of the week, with a Marxist- 
Leninist interpretation, followed by 
questions and discussion. It may not 

12 5 



be possible to get many of them to- 
gether to start with, but I feel certain 
that if those brought together feel 
that they are really getting something 
out of these meetings—something that 
will help them in the course of their 
work— the news will spread and the 
attendance will increase, so that meet- 
ings such as this can become a real 
institution, the value of which would 
be tremendous. 

This suggestion is only one means; 
others surely can be found. That we 
are confronted xviih a problem in this 
connection must be obvious to every- 
one, and the problem must be solved. 
Full-time and part-time Party train- 
ing schools must be organized on a 
greater scale than ever before, and as 
many of the trade union comrades as 
possible brought to these schools. The 
unft and fraction meetings must de- 
velop political discussions so (hat 
these trade union comrades will be 

126 






benefited. But, in addition to this, I 
emphasize that special means must be 
found for educating, in a Marxist- 
Leninist way, these trade union lead- 
ers who are joining our Party in large 
numbers and who are the Party's con- 
tact with hundreds of thousands of 
basic workers. 



■ - ,:> , 



I10W ?I 






..,■■ '• 






127 




EAH1 BROWDEH. general secretary, Commu- 
nist Party: "It is already one of the Indispensable 
papers of America for all people who want to be 
well-informed," 

HEYWOOD BROUN. President, American News- 
paper Guild: "It has made itself part of the 
American tradition An excellent newspaper." 

I* J. McCONNELL, Congressman from Montana: 
"The Daily Worker is America's outstanding 
labor newspaper." 



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